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

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Still Waiting on Council...

So, we’re still waiting to hear from Council, who were due back to us Monday…

In the meantime we’ve been juggling training courses, weddings, job changes, and, of course, making all the final decisions so that Fairmont can start the ordering for our house. Going through the plans and decisions with a fine tooth comb is agonisingly awesome and stressful. I really enjoy this sort of thing but Mick and I are both keenly aware that any changes after construction plans are drawn will, justifiably, cost money.

Our final kitchen appointment is next Wednesday and the latest layout is looking great! It’s been tough-going deciding on what to upgrade and what to leave but we’re close now. That same day we will also be stopping by our favourite tile place, the Fairford TileCentre, to make decisions and, possibly, place orders. As nice as Macarthur Tiles were (our builder’s preferred supplier), Fairford Tiles have more the style of tile we like and are a really nice, family-run business. We’ll probably also head to the Reece showrooms around that area and, if we can squeeze it in, possibly grab some paint samples… Expect an epic post next week!

I also have some very exciting news on the light-front (or perhaps I am the only one who finds it exciting)…I have managed to find exactly what I want for the Kitchen pendant lights! Ok, they require re-wiring so they can be installed on a raked ceiling and have a longer drop, but they are beautiful and should (hopefully) suit perfectly! Here’s a pic and link:

While you’re checking them out, you should have a look through the rest of Complete Pad’s wares as they have some nice stuff and have been wonderful to deal with. We will be ordering three of the medium pendants in antique silver. The pendants are so popular that they are on back-order, but we have time and are happy to wait.

Sunday, February 12, 2012

Kitchen, Bathrooms and that old Light Saga...

Sorry I haven’t posted for a while. I badly sprained my right thumb and have been unable to type until today (and it’s still a bit slow-going).

Quite a bit has happened in the past two weeks. Mick’s unit settled and we’ve been busy bees researching taps, tiles, vanities and kitchen products.

We’re edging closer to a finalised kitchen plan but it’s been a tough one balancing price with quality and practicality with form.  We’ve said no to soft-close (It’s $2.5k we can’t justify), integrated bins (we’ll install our own after hand-over), and a few other bibs and bobs we can’t see the value for us in adding. We’ve said yes to under cabinet lights (just one either side of the cooktop), 10 additional drawers (…and counting!), aluminium finger-pull handles, wine rack, and (my favourite) a book shelf. Jury is still out on getting 4cm caesarstone (instead of 2cm), extending the stone splashback behind the rangehood, pull-out pantry set and gloss cabinets vs matt. I will keep you posted!

Bathrooms have been another area that is requiring some hard decisions mostly due to cost (why doesn’t money grow on trees or things cost less..? Wishful thinking I know). Anyway, we’ve decided on a vanity for the main bathroom (we would have it for the powder room also as it does come in a 900, but it’s more than we want to spend there and unfortunately it doesn’t come in a 1500 or we’d have it for the ensuite):

This little unit we’ve chosen for the Powder Room... it looks good in person and feels great to use. Some models have clunky hardware. I’m not a fan of the soft-close used on vanities as it seems to make the drawers harder to open (sort of “sticky”), and that’s even the expensive, Australian-made models I’ve tried.

We’re still undecided about our Ensuite vanity. There’s less choice in the 1500 size than others and a large price difference. We’ve made some enquiries about some so I guess we’ll see how much they are and how they look/feel in person.

Tapware has been another fiddly one. Especially given I want to “mix and match” pieces, which seems to perplex everyone. I see why people like sticking to a range but I don’t like things too “matchy-matchy” and have yet to find a range that satisfies exactly what we want from our bathroomware, as lovely as most of them are, we do have some strict practicalities which limit us. So, our choices so far:

Vanity taps:

Powder Room and Main Bathroom Shower Rail:

Ensuite Twin Shower Rail:

Wall mixer for showers and bath:

 We're also after a 'waterfall' tap for the bath (model TBA) and heated towel rail for the ensuite. The kitchen and laundry taps are likely to be a gooseneck side-mounted mixer (model TBA). We'll also be finalising the number and placement of towel rails, robe hooks, hand-towel rails etc.

Also, remember the saga of the lights? Well, I’ve managed to find a place in China who will customise the lights we like for a fraction of the cost. They have a great Ebay rep and seem to be the factory that makes a lot of the lights sold at commercial lighting stores. As much as I don’t like to do the Australian businessman out of money, sometimes you have to look out for number one and the savings offered by this company are too good to pass up. They can also customise the lights so they will work with our ceiling and everything else we're purchasing is bought locally and usually even made in Australia.

Here are some of our choices:

One each for the formal lounge and dining...though we can't decide whether to get black or white:

I love this light. We will be getting one for the Master Bedroom and one for the upstairs TV Room:

We will put this beautiful, crystal light in the stairwell. Mick worked out the total drop required and the manufacturer will adjust the string lengths accordingly. They can also change the number of lights in it, though they assure me that our height (1.8m from memory) will suit the full 24.

And last but not least, the kitchen pendants:
I could not find what I wanted (for a reasonable price) anywhere. These gems are a nice compromise (I hope!). They will be light and reflective and should hopefully 'disappear' in the space, which is what I wanted. Especially given their proximity to the skylights and downlights, I hope they look nice and shiny. The manufacturer will add extra cord length so that they can sit at the right height from the raked ceiling.

The rest of our internal lights will be modern-looking fluoro's bought locally. Outdoor lights will likely be purchased through Masters or Bunnings, but we'll cross that bridge when we come to it.

With Council due back to us by next Monday, we're on the final stretch now as we ensure everything we want is in the tender and plans before construction starts.