Share our trials and tribulations as we build our new home - a custom Dominico by Fairmont Homes NSW

Sunday, October 30, 2011

External Colour Selections and the Kitchen Sink

Ok, we have made our final external colour choices and they are as follows:

Roof: Monier Tiles Elebana ‘Barramundi’
Gutter, Fascia and Downpipes: Colourbond ‘Dune’
Water Tank: Colourbond ‘Dune’
Cladding: Wattyl ‘Maltshake’
Render: Wattyl ‘Romeo Romeo’
Brick: Boral ‘Rose Cove’
Mortar: Raked finish, off-white
Windows: Aluminium ‘Pearl White’
Entry Door: Hume Savoy Range XS24 1200 Entry door in a dark-wooden stain and translucent glass
Garage Door: Panelmasta Caprice ‘White’
Balcony Railing: Colourbond ‘Surfmist’
Eaves: Colourbond ‘Paperbark’
Driveway: Coloured Concrete Colour-Thru 'French Grey'

Roof tile:


Wattyl Colours:


Here are some pics of the bricks with ‘Dune,’ ‘Maltshake’ and ‘Romeo Romeo’ colour chips. We think they work well together. The hardest part really was choosing the render colour, especially as we can no longer get Wattyl sample pots (the reason, we’ve been told for this, is that the company has been sold and in this transition time they’re re-negotiating with suppliers…or something to that effect, no one really knows for sure). 

Overcast light:

Full sunlight:

We actually like that the render colour chosen looks different in different lights. It looks more red in direct sunlight and more purple in indirect or overcast light. They both look nice against the brick and I think/hope it will make the facade even more interesting. Especially as the bricks are two-toned.

The final draw-up of our external colours thanks to New Home Visuals:

We’ve also managed to order a Kitchen sink, which has been no mean feat. The sink we found discounted at Bunnings was the last one in the store and had already been reserved for someone months ago. It took several weeks though for Bunnings to convey this to us (Note: they’re helpful when you’re physically in the store, but don’t rely on them calling you back).  Anyway, turns out there is one left in the entire chain, and it’s at Taree. So, our local Bunnings called Taree, asked them to confirm that they had the sink, that it had all of its accessories and asked them to ship it to us. It’ll take several weeks, but we’re not in a hurry. So, assuming it turns up ok, we'll get a $2,000 sink for less than a quarter of the price!!!! The reason it was $2k is because of all the accessories it comes with. It has a cutting board, plate tray, colander, grater and soap dispenser! We love this sink, and I hope it survives its journey.

Our Sink:

Lastly, I’m a bit behind in doing up a landscape plan.  I know roughly what I want to do, but it’s made complicated by the Estate Guidelines which dictate the types of plants we can have, how many and which size! It’s not easy, especially as there is money riding on this (we had to give over a bond to “promise” we’d build a house in-keeping with the Guidelines). So, tonight and tomorrow I will be brainstorming with my mother who is a gardening almanac. Hopefully we can still submit to Council and Stocklands this week. We’ll keep you posted.

On the home-front, tiling is underway in the unit, painting starts soon and Mick and I are slowly preparing to store things so we can get the unit on the market. Unfortunately Dec/Jan is the worst time to sell, but the area is very sought after so *fingers crossed* it’ll be ok.

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Colours, Landscaping, Tiles and Spas!

With the second-coat of our paint samples drying as I type, Mick and I are one step closer to council submission. ‘Maltshake’ is definitely going to be our cladding colour. It’s warm, creamy and has a subtle pink undertone to tie it in nicely with the rose in the bricks. Colourbond ‘Dune’ seems to be a good segue colour between the ‘Barramundi’ roof tile and cladding. It’s just the render colour that is tricky. We’re waiting for the final coat to dry, but so far we like ‘Berry Bliss.’ It’s a sort-of “earthy rose” colour. I’ll update you with pictures soon.

I think that external colours are the hardest to choose. You need to be sympathetic to your neighbours’ colours and take into account the estate guidelines (if applicable) whilst still choosing colours you like.  In our case we can’t afford to render the whole façade and we can’t choose a dark brick, so our first two preferences are out. There are a lot of colours to choose at the front (roof tile, brick, guttering and fascia, render, cladding, driveway, windows and doors including front door and garage door, eaves, balcony railing etc) so you want to choose colours that don’t overwhelm, but the scheme needs to be able stand on its own when there’s not as much happening at the back and sides.

And of course we ended up falling in love with a brick that itself has two colours (Boral ‘Rose Cove’).

Oh well, it’s not like we see the front of the house all the time and we can always re-paint…right?

On another note, we ordered a spa bath for the main bathroom! It’s not a very large bathroom and we can’t fit a large bath, so we decided to indulge by making the small space count as much as it can. We’re getting the Caroma Newbury Island Plus Body Therapy Spa with hot pump and electronic operation (click here to see more details and there's a picture below). It’s the only one that is double-ended that fits in our space (and I like the rectangular shape), and the hot pump means that we can keep the water warm. I’m in love!

Also, while picking up tiles for the unit I found the tiles I want for the main bathroom and ensuite in the new house. I know it’s too early to choose but they are beautiful! You can see them in the photos/links below:

This tile for the wall and floor of the main bathroom:

…with the matching mosaic (which shimmers) for around the bath and in the shower niche (and the bath niche I’m going to ask for).

For the Ensuite, we want to use the black gloss tile that is on the walls in the photo below and also have the mosaic “feature wall” in the shower as pictured:

They are very beautiful tiles and I just hope that when it comes time to choose, they are still available and we can afford to buy them!

Speaking of money, Mick and I are trying to save a little by doing the landscaping plan ourselves. Mick bought a very complicated (and it’s not even the professional version!) piece of architectural software that we are slowly mastering. I hope to have a landscape design by next week. The software will also be handy for visualising the rest of the house and it saves us $1k in landscaper’s fees (click here to see the program). We’ll also be doing the landscaping ourselves, with the help of my family and a builder/handyman they know. I love gardens and my family has a lot of gardening and landscaping experience. Plus our block is not very big and our plans are not overly ambitious.

Lastly, Champion Homes have cleared the formwork from our block and it looks like our neighbours’ cleared our block of the green waste. We’ll have to pop by next weekend and thank them. Having an amicable relationship with your neighbours is important.

Friday, October 14, 2011

Stuck in the Middle With You

We got a call from our builder Thursday mid-morning to let us know that the house being built next door has dug up the footpath at the front of their block, along with lots of earth, to lay their driveway and so very kindly dumped it all on our land!

Considering the builder, Champion Homes, has been refusing to answer our previous calls or emails about the ongoing problem of them using our block, leaving rubbish on it and leaving the temporary fence open, this called for more drastic action. A very professionally-worded but clearly p*ssed off fax, including clear photos of bob-cat tracks going from our neighbour's block to ours, copies of unanswered emails and the threat of legal action, seemed to illicit a quick response. They have promised to clean up the debris on our block from their build, but honestly, given their reputation, I'll believe it when I see. I have demanded an exact time and date, which I am yet to receive, and my parents have kindly agreed to be our representatives when it happens.

And can you believe it gets worse? The neighbours who have just purchased the existing home on the other side seem to have pruned and removed plants from not only their side of the fence, but ours as well. Then to top it off they left the green-waste "hidden" amongst our garden! At the very least this is disrespectful and at the worst illegal. I can't even chalk this up to a misunderstanding because the boundary-line is clear and the fact that they've tried to hide the evidence on our block is damning. People will never cease to disappoint me. I mean, if they wanted to clear the garden up a bit, all they had to do was contact us through council or our builder (who's sign is on the temporary fencing at the front of our block), just as we did with our other neighbours, and we likely would have agreed. The fact that they then left the rubbish on our block is, in my opinion, just disgusting.

So, our Thursday evening was spent taking photos of the block (which is 45mins from where we currently live) and our Saturday will be spent having a talk to our neighbours (or at least leaving a stern letter in their mailbox).

But as you know there is always a silver lining. It's a bit hard to find ours, but I believe it's the re-assurance that we have chosen the right builder, Fairmont Homes NSW. If it weren't for Daniel checking on our block (as he often does after visiting their other site in the area) and taking time out of his busy schedule to take photos for us when he saw the carnage, we might have realised the problem too late (perhaps after rain washed away 'the evidence'). Also, after letting the owners of the home being built know about our plight (and that we don't blame them), they gave me call and I got to know them a bit better. We had a lovely chat and they told me about the dramas they themselves have had with Champion Homes and gave me a brief introduction to the street. (I don't feel it's my place to discuss the dramas our neighbours have had with Champion, but may I please tell you that I would not wish building with them upon anybody!).

Anyway, here are the photos of the block from Thursday evening:

The pile of concrete and earth on our block:

Tracks across our block:

Some more incriminating tracks (hmmm...i wonder who did it?):

Some of the green-waste scattered in our garden:

Our Builder's sign on the temporary fencing at the front of our block:

A flock of cockatoos grazing in the golf course across the road (I always seem to manage to have a bird photo or two don't I..?):
Thanks Mick for taking a 'happy photo' for me in all the depressing ones.

On a positive note, we found a sink we really like for sale at Bunnings! After checking if we can supply our own sink and that the builder can't get it cheaper, we will be picking it up from Bunnings on Saturday (along with a sausage sandwich I bet!). You can check out our sink by clicking here. We like that it actually manages to tick all of our boxes. No mean feat considering I wanted a laundry-sized sink in the kitchen (to be able to hand-wash my large baking dishes and platters easily) and Mick wanted a secondary sink and drainage tray. And it's on sale!

We're also in the process of getting quotes for wiring our Family Room up for surround-sound speakers and a HD projector, in the continuing effort to turn it into an awesome Media Room. We're also looking into raising the floor at the back of the room to create a 'theatre' effect. We'll also make the window at the rear smaller so we can make the room nice and dark, and now that we're getting skylights in the Meals Area, we can afford to lose the light. Then after we recuperate costs, we hope to be able to actually install the projector and surround-sound system, along with a media unit, some recliners and plantation shutters to complete the transformation. Below is a photo of what we aim to achieve:

On the home-front, tiling in Mick's unit begins Monday. So this weekend will be a "mixed-bag" between preparing the unit, picking up tiles and a sink and confronting our neighbours. As always, we'll keep you posted...

Edit: Council rangers have said that Champion Homes have commissioned a work order to remove the debris. We'll have a cruise by the block sometime soon to check that it's been done. We also spoke to the neighbours on the other side last weekend. They explained that they're new in the country and have been taken advantage of by a dodgy landscaper who has obviously been the one who left the green waste in our garden and our neighbour claims that they didn't know about it. We will give them the benefit of the doubt, after all we don't want to start WWIII, but I hope that we don't have any further issues.

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Two New Additions

Sorry it’s been a while since our last post, but we have mainly been waiting. Waiting for landscaping plans so we can submit for Developer and Council approval, and also for Strata to approve a tiler for Mick’s unit so we can get it on the market.

External colours are mostly selected. We have sample pots of a couple of render and cladding colours so we can double-check them against the brick and roof colour. We had a 2D drawing of the façade with colours drawn up but it’s so hard to depict the bricks correctly. They just look pink in the drawing and that’s not what they really look like.

I’ve included pictures of the colours we like and the draw-up of the façade below:

So, colour selection so far seems to be:

Roof Tiles: Monier Elebana ‘Barramundi’
Cladding: Wattyl ‘Maltshake’
Brick: Boral, ‘Rose Cove’
Render: Wattyl ‘Oporto Wine’
Gutter: Colourbond ‘Dune’
Fascia: Colourbond ‘Dune’
Eaves: Colourbond ‘Paperbark’
Balcony Railing: Surfmist
Windows: Aluminium ‘Pearl White’
Entry Door: Hume Savoy Range XS24 1200 - Dark wooden stain (haven’t picked exact stain yet)
Garage Door: Panelmasta Caprice ‘White’
Driveway: Coloured Concrete Colour Thru ‘Gun Metal’

We’ve also continued to make some changes to the plans (should be finalised this week)…Nothing major now, just small tweaks. More importantly, we have two new additions to the family! And their needs will also now need to be considered when making changes to the plans. They are two seven-week-old cockatiels Mick and I bought this long weekend. I want to get them a large and beautiful cage to sit in the meals area (probably in the opposite corner to the kitchen against the media room wall and stacking doors). They can be a living piece of art/furniture for our house J

Anyway, welcome to the family Lassiter (left) and Bones (right):