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.



  1. Hi Chatz & Mrs Chatz,
    My husband and I have just put down a deposit with Henley for the Talise Q2. As there is still no display for it I have found your blog extremely helpful!
    Changes we have investigated so far include adding an extra 50cm to the width of the pantry and adding an extra metre to bed 4 (hubby will use that for his office). I think I will investigate the extra metre across the dining room. I was wondering if you find the kitchen big enough, eg; are there enough cupboards? Also, after taking up the storage option did you find the walk in robe small? It looks skinny on the plans. We are in very early stages but we want to get it right at the start. Thanks so much for the blog and the pictures! Fingy

  2. Hi Fingy! This is Mrs Chatz, I'm the one who wanders around saying "I wish we'd done x instead of y". However, it's details only (like another powerpoint in the hallway because it's very long!) and overall we love our house.

    I don't find the WIR small with the storage option. It does have a silly 30cm wide window which you could do without and use the space for shelving. We haven't fitted the WIR out at all because the single and double rails provided by Henley work really well for us. We've put some of those wire-basket drawer units underneath and it is great.

    Adding 50cm to the pantry sounds interesting, how would that work - would you use up the little bit of bench that goes around the corner? That would be great, because we've got dreaded corner cupboards! The little bit of bench is convenient for appliances like the coffee machine and kettle. We only have those corner cupboards and the cupboards above the bench with the stovetop, and combined with the pantry we find there's heaps of space. We put in two banks of drawers either side of the stove, and they're fantastic. There are also two shallow drawers under our ovens which were a complete surprise and are just fantastic for baking stuff.

    The pantry as it is is quite roomy and we're happy with it becasue the shelves are shallow and it's easy to manage everything. Our dog likes to sit in there. We changed the direction of the door because on the basic plan it opened against the corner bench, and made no sense! If you add width the pantry, I'd recommend considering a benchtop in there to make up for the corner bench I think you'll lose, if that makes sense.

    Speaking of cupboards, best thing ever is the overhead cupboards in the laundry. We gave up the walk-in cupboard there to have another vanity outside the bathroom, and we still have heaps of storage in the laundry with the overheads. And they look great.

    Another metre on bedroom 4 would be good but it will make that hallway very long, if that's in addition to the extra metre across the dining room. I love having an extra-wide laundry with that metre, but I imagine you could leave the laundry/bathroom as is, and add the metre to the bedroom only. I think.

    I do wish we had though about the bedroom windows in the kids rooms. I was all "wow, lovely full length windows" but in reality, it makes the rooms really difficult to furnish. Half height windows would be much more practical.

    We'd love to know how you go, and please let us know if you'd like any more information. We found the whole Henley experience to be really good. Good luck!

  3. Hi Mrs Chatz,

    Thanks for getting back to me so quick.

    We have asked for the extra 50cm on the pantry to extend it the other direction, we will keep the dreaded corner cupboard and extend the pantry into the dining room. This is why I am thinking of adding that metre to the dining room. In our current house we have a very large pantry so I really don't want to lose that. We have our freezer and microwave in there. I would like to have the bench like they have in the display homes and shelves above and below. I want the deep bench to fit my microwave and some appliances on. Still working on the layout though. I guess when you have something in your house that you really love you don't want to forgo it in a new place, I think you probably feel that way about your extra vanity. I only have one teenage son so I think we can manage with the standard arrangement.

    Thanks for the tip on the bedroom windows, we were discussing the furniture layout in our sons room and agree that the window makes it a bit tricky. I think I will investigate 1/2 height windows.

    On our plan we don't seem to have a lot of room in the laundry. We will be squashing as many overhead cupboards in as we can but we are keeping the walk in linen. I was thinking of getting a sliding door on it so I can keep my laundry hamper in there without getting in the way of the door. I had considered asking for extra width on the laundry but with the extra metre on the last bedroom the house will be starting to get too long..... don't want to be too close to the hubby's shed.

    We have also asked for an extra metre in width on the alfresco, which has been accepted. I found this a bit funny as they flat out refused to widen the house in any other way. We had asked them to bring the dining room wall out to meet the pantry but that was rejected outright.

    It's funny how we found this floor plan and decided it was perfect for us then as we get into it further we keep coming up with improvements...the nature of the beast I guess. Thanks for your help. I might think about making my own blog. Yours has been so helpful.

    1. Mr Chatz here.

      If I had to pick the one change we did I would definitely do again it would be adding that metre to the dining room. We have a square dining table and there is no way there would have been room for that in the dining room on the plan.

      Whether you then add the metre to the laundry/bathroom like we did or to the bedrooms, I could go either way on that.

      Regarding the walk in robe, I still wish we had swapped that with the ensuite, so we would walk through the robe to the bathroom. I'm not sure if Henley would allow you to do that, but they might.

      I'm not surprised about the Alfresco width extension, thats just extending the roof line at that point, no changes to supporting walls etc.

      My other pet hate is not putting a sliding door from the dining to the kids bedrooms. The kids can hear the TV at night, etc.

      The 12 month inspector said that he often sees the same people again who rebuild the same house but make those changes the second time around...we are not those people!

      Can I ask what area are you building in?

    2. Hi Chatz,
      We are in Broadford. About 30 minutes north of Craigieburn. We originally thought to go with Porter Davis but they refused to build in Broadford.

      We have a 1450sq m block but it already has a large shed on it.

      We are going to contact Henley tomorrow to see if we can book in for our session at Cosham. We have 2 more weeks before we have handover of our block. Then we will get the soil test. We already know its a class p Once we know the $$ damage we will make the final decision on the changes.

      We too have a square dining table, but it's my least favourite item of furniture so I won't be upset if I have to change to a rectangle. Much to hubby's disgust. :-)