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.

Thursday, October 6, 2011

Not the moat

I'm sure like anyone else building right now, the site is largely mud with all the rain we had last week. So with the house now so close to done, we went in search of someone to do the landscaping.

Most companies we called either didn't respond or said they could not start before Christmas. We eventually found a company called Gardenridge who have had some great ideas and can start as soon as we are ready.

We signed up today for Gardenridge to do the driveway, paths, decking, retaining walls, lawn and drainage and then we will have to do the plants and fences ourselves over time.

They are already getting the permits.

BTW, we now have carpet :)

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Floors underneath

We dropped by tonight as one of our fences was meant to replaced today. Work has start on the fence, but even better some of our flooring was done.

It looks fantastic, so good we started wondering if we should have had this done in more rooms than just the family/dining/kitchen and the main corridor.

Our SS supervisor is apparently going to do our handover and said to expect a call next week!

We are also about to sign up a landscaper, more on that in another post...

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Lights on

We popped around tonight and might have turned some lights on.

The CFC globes they have installed are cheap and take a while to warm up. Once they warm up they they change from yellow to white, but we will definitely need to replace these globes with new ones.

In the living room we now have a fireplace

and all the doors are stained

I took another picture of the ensuite from the bedroom too

Monday, September 26, 2011

Site cleaned, nearly there

What a surprise to arrive at the house to meet the site supervisor and find the site has been cleaned, the fence and portaloo removed.

At last from across the street we can see the house without the fence, rubbish bin and loo in the way. Of course the painter decided to turn up at that moment!

Inside most of the basins, sinks and taps have been installed. Our ensuite is now finished...

We selected the square basins but with sloping sides...

That's the toilet roll holder on the right near the door. In fact very near the door, something we might bring up at handover.

The bathroom is also nearly done. I now think we should have extended the tiles from bath around to the shower, but otherwise we are very happy with it. Henley still need to seal the tiles and basins, but its almost done.

Inside the site supervisor had been busy marking with spots areas needing patching, painting etc. There were quite a lot, some obviously needing fixing, some less obvious.

In the master bedroom they have installed two normal lights instead of downlights for reading lights over the bed. The dimmer switches do not work well with CFC globes, but I think having consistent lights in the room make sense. So Henley will install globes that can be dimmed and we will see what they are like before insisting on replacing with downlights as on the plan.

All the shelves have been installed, in the walk-in-robe...

The pantry, which in hindsight we should have had a bench rather than a shelf halfway down. Something we can change when we fit out the kids wardrobes.

Speaking of kids wardrobes...

Also the hall cupboard...

the kids retreat...

and the laundry cupboard...

The flyscreens have been installed on most windows as well as the door handles.

The family and dining room is still our favorite

and of course looking back to the kitchen

In the living room they have punched through the plaster to install the fireplace.

There are four main issues
  1. The data cables have all been pulled to the study instead of the laundry cupboard. As I tried to explain to the admin when we signed the contract this was ambiguous and then not being able to inspect before the plaster went on was frustrating. I've agreed to compromise by having Henley run a single data cable from the laundry to the study so I can keep the ADSL modem in the laundry cupboard where a phone and power point have been installed.
  2. Where we expected oyster lights on the outside walls they have installed junction boxes as the symbol used for these lights is not on the plan. I need to go back to the tender and check.
  3. On one side the garage door they have used pine between the door and the bricks. I pointed this out but the site supervisor was already on it. He had some better timber with him and will make it consistent and both sides.
  4. Henley have realized they have not installed the bulkhead above the kitchen cupboards. Once again this was not clear on the plans.

The site supervisor asked if we could get the fence screens installed this week, apparently the council will be coming around to do a preliminary report soon.

Next week the floors should go in, boards first followed by carpets. Then we should get a call from the handover department. Still looks like we may have the keys by the end of October.