Friday, December 21, 2012

One Year On

A short time ago we had our 12 month warranty inspection. We had only a small list of issues, the inspector found a few more but overall nothing major. All problems were fixed within a couple of days; yet another excellent Henley experience.

6 months ago we were broken into and a couple of computers stolen, the thieves just used a crow bar on the front door and walked right in. Even the police were surprised that the thieves had been so brazen. We found out the next day that our neighbour has been broken into 5 times over the past 20 years.

It wasn't long before we had a screen door installed, something of our own design to try and fit in with the front door.

We had already installed a side gate and stained it to match the front door. We quite like the horizontal slats and may use a similar design for the front fence when we finally have that done.
Last time we posted we had finished the concrete and decking around the house and pool just in time for Christmas. This year we have garden around most of the house, just the East boundary and very front still to do.
We now have garden beds along the front

Along the west boundary, including an area for a vegetable garden.

And of course around the pool. Its come a long way since November 2011!

Last but not least, in the extra garage width we installed some Rack It shelving from Bunnings, which was easy to install and is very sturdy. We might now be able to get both cars in garage at last.

Monday, January 16, 2012

From moonscape to landscape

Almost immediately after we took possession of the new house, GardenRidge have been working hard on the landscaping around the house. We signed them up back in October and I posted an update about our plans: Today they have finished the last little bits and we are very happy with the results and more than happy to recommend them to anyone landscaping in Melbourne.

Down the east (laundry & kids bedrooms) side of the house

You can see they did a great job with the concrete so that it will drain well.

Down the west side we have aggregate near the deck and normal concrete near the driveway, the idea being the kids can play cricket or basketball on the normal concrete.

The pool was originally installed last April and has been the source of much stress before, during and after the build. After relaxing in the pool last night at 9pm while it was still quite hot, it was worth well worth it. GardenRidge did an awesome job with the blue stone, decking and the pool fence.

We are starting to put bamboo screening around the paling fence to cover the horizontal beams to meet pool fence requirements.

The outdoor area has been fantastic over the break, we were able to sit under cover during the Christmas day storms and enjoy having diner outside when the weather allows.

Out the front we have the world's biggest driveway. We wanted space so that when the kids get their own cars they can park off street, but it is a little overwhelming right now. Once we get some plants around it we can soften it up. The path the GardenRidge's idea, to "address the street" and it certainly achieves that.

In summary, extremely happy with GardenRidge. Communication was excellent, they helped us organise some of the other trades to get the pool done, had some great ideas and as you can see it looks fantastic.

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

What might we have done differently

Firstly, we love the house and not only because we have been in a shoe box for the past 13 months.

Right now the landscapers are working away on paving, decking and concrete including the driveway. But more on that next post...ok, maybe just a sneak peak.

Still there are things that we would recommend others do and do not do if building the Talise.

Changes we made we would recommend to others:

  • door between kitchen and living
  • fireplace in living
  • sliding door to ensuite
  • highlight windows in family rather than full length
  • sacrifice laundry walk in cupboard for powder outside bathroom (especially if you have a teenage daughter)
  • we added an extra metre to the house across the dining room, definitely worth it

Changes we wish we had made:

  • tiling the walls in the kids bathroom all the way around
  • switching the ensuite and the WIR
  • glass door on pantry
  • two wider windows rather than 3 skinny windows at front, so shutters would be more practical
  • tiling or boards to corridor connecting kids bedrooms. We have floor boards to carpet to tiles as you go from kitchen to laundry
  • 40mm rather than 20mm Caesar stone in kitchen

Things we would do differently next time we build:

  • do not have builder fit out wardrobes if you are going to fit them out yourself, we damaged a lot of plaster taking the builder's shelves off
  • ruthlessly ensure accuracy of electrical plan, especially non standard stuff like data, Henley's electrical process is poor
  • do not accept the builders dishwasher, the technika is flimsy and beeps repeatedly once it has finished a load until you turn it off. Just buy a Bosch.


Wednesday, October 26, 2011

We have the keys

Today we finally received the keys for the house from Henley, 11 months after demolishing the previous house on the block, 12 months after settling on our former home.

Monday, October 17, 2011

The House Inspectors

We had our pre-handover inspection on the 12th with our site supervisor and it went very well with only a few minor issues including
  • lots of very minor paint and plaster touch ups
  • bulkhead above the kitchen cupboards (known omission prior to inspection)
  • the join in the stone kitchen bench needs polishing
  • some woodwork scratches

The site supervisor effectively checked every dot we put on a wall to make sure it was legit, that we weren't looking too close. He was adding his own stickers as well, he was not just relying on us to spot which a touch up is needed.

But the best part is seeing the almost finished house.

The dining and family room.

The dining room and kitchen, which always seems brighter than looking the other way towards the family room.

The living room with the fireplace. We expected the carpet to look grey but now that installed you can clearly see a lot of blue in it.

The powder vanity outside of bathroom

The kids bath with the tiles unexpectedly lining up with the floor. Henley had claimed they would not line up with the floor tiles, but they do.

The building inspector we hired was late due to traffic, not a good look, and then got off on the wrong foot with our site supervisor by immediately pointing out a tiny dint in the guttering. He did however find some more useful things including

  • shower screen seals
  • sliding alfresco doors do not lock/connect easily, the kids certainly could not do it themselves
  • some re-pointing/sealing in a few places
  • the mortar at the base of the portico pillars
  • some minor guttering adjustments

What the inspector failed to tell me was he would not release the report until we had paid him, so instead of receiving the report that Wednesday evening, he finally sent it Friday night after we followed up. So we did not get the report to Henley until the following Monday, potentially costing us a few days before handover. Not happy. We are so looking forward to living in a house with space, we can't wait to get out of here.