Monday, December 29, 2008

Stefano's Restaurant.

Well we did it a 5 course (well ours was 6 courses, but I will get to that) degustation menu that you have no choices on, basically you get whatever they have on the menu for the night. So the babysitter comes, the same one that we had last time we stayed here and she takes the kids for a swim, off we go to the restaurant. It's in the cellar, it's quite dark with lots of candles and a small table lamp. We were the 7.00pm diners they staggered them with the last ones being 8.00pm. Once you are seated the warm bread comes out with a platter of olives (yuk) and olive oil and goats cheese (that was all good except the olives)
The first course is "Olive Oil Poached Ocean Trout, Cannellini Beans & Chard Salad" it was lovely, we both liked it even though my husband called the fish "kitty kat".
Next came a Pumpkin & Gorgonzola tart (it was served cold and was beautiful) this was the course that only 1 other couple got we are not sure why by we think that it was to slow us down as we didn't have the wine that is served with each course and the other people that did were taking longer as they had to savour their wines. (to everyone that knows my husband he was thinking what next spinach pie, pumpkin is one of his disliked vegetables).
Then came "Fried Zucchini Flowers, with Ricotta & Goats Cheese filling, with Cherry tomatoes & Prosciutto" this was really nice, but the funny thing was that on Christmas Eve I made the same thing and believe or not the filling had the same taste as theirs.
Still going out comes the "Ravioli di Carne with sage butter & shaved Grana" the inside filling was a shreaded veal, I think that this was one of my favourites, very rich but just so good.
By this time we are thinking 1 more course to go but out comes the knife & fork and the waitress tells us you have your main to come. Oh No those pants are going to have to be unbuttoned!!!!
Out comes "Magret Duck in Two Ways, Sweet Potato Mash & Green Beans" one way was Confit- cooked in its own fat and I think the other slow cooked, it was really rich as well, nice but not my favourite and by that time I thought that I was going to explode.
Then finally the dessert came out "Vanilla Bavarois with Caramelised Orange & Vanilla Wafer" well what can I say the Bavarois was so light it was melt in your mouth, the wafer was so thin I could have eaten 1 kilo of them, they were to die for but the caramelised orange was awful, I don't think that caramel & orange go together that's only my opinion but my husband didn't like it either.
Stefano was there waiting on tables and we asked for him to sign his latest cookbook for me (as I have all his other ones signed as well) the waitress brings it over in a lovely Stefano's bag.
We leave there happy back to the babysitter that has been with the kids for nearly 4 hours, because thats how long our 6 course meal took. The babysitter says I am not supposed to say this but I have had a great night, they went to the pool, then the gym, out for a icecream then back to the room to play games on my iphone.
So a good night was had by us all, and you know what I am so looking forward to breakfast as I am starving.

Sunday, December 28, 2008

The Mighty Murray at Mildura.

This is the great Murray River, it seems to have more water in it than the last time we were here (which was about 5 years ago), but after talking to some locals they said that it was always like this. It is a great sight after the flat desolate country that is between Hay and Mildura, it seems like nothing would grow there and the only wildlife that was abundant was a group of Emu's. We stopped at Hay for a coffee and had the best scones and jelly slice and the coffee was really good as well (so I was told, I don't drink it). But it's a bit of a long drive to get there. We are still in Mildura tomorrow so we will be doing all the tourist things.
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Star Hotel - Naranderra

What a beautiful hotel, you can only imagine all the stories that this place
has kept in it's walls. We went through Naranderra this morning and spent 20 minutes looking for koala's, well we didn't see any so we wondered if the sign was for the silly tourists.
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Saturday, December 27, 2008

Camping - my style

Yes they finally got me to go camping, well no not really, this is the foyer of the hotel that we are staying in. It has a huge tent like tower that looks like we are on the Sydney to Hobart boats.
We are off to Mildura tomorrow and we will try to get away early as we have around a 6 hour drive. We are booked into Stefano's Restaurant for a 5 course dinner in the night, we have had dinner there before and it was fantastic so we are really looking forward to our surprise menu.
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This is my Favorite tree.

I got one of these for Christmas, they are a West Astralian Gum Tree, they have the most beautiful flowers and when we took the kids to the park there was about 3 of them in the gardens that were in the park. The one that I got has been grafted onto some other tree that grows well in Sydney, we had a look at these ones and it didn't look like it was grafted. Maybe the weather here is more suitable for them.
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Hello from Wagga Wagga

Saw this sign on a store in the main street, we all thought that it was pretty funny. (Sorry about the quality as it was on my phone)
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Thursday, December 25, 2008

Merry Christmas....

The big guy in the red suit has been, I am not sure how he did it with a gap of only about 2 hours that the youngest was asleep, so we are tired but happy with full bellies and lots of new things to play with.
We are off on our huge trip to Coober Pedy on Saturday , so we are all really looking forward to that.
As we sat down for our Christmas lunch the wish was that it would be the last Christmas lunch that we will have in this house, and that we would be able to have our next Christmas in our new home.
To everyone we wish you a very Merry Christmas and a safe and Happy New Year.

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Patience what is that!!!

Well we are still waiting for the elusive DA approval, our Council Officer has finished all that he has to do but for the DA to be approved the Council's Hydraulic Engineer has to submit his report on our plans.
So we are just waiting for him to get his report together, it is so frustrating that we have been in Council for 7 weeks tomorrow and we are still waiting.
Wisdom Homes go on holidays today so hopefully whilst we are all on our much needed vacations the approval will come through. We have signed the forms for the Construction Certificate to be issued so we are just waiting on the Council.
I am sick of waiting and am very frustrated with the entire process that the Council makes you go through. As you all know this is the second time that we have been through this with this build and it is worse this time, maybe I am just totally over it.
Maybe I will leave a note for the Big Guy in the Red Suit and as he leaves our house on Christmas Eve he will work some magic with the Council. Let's all hope.

Monday, December 15, 2008

Still waiting and waiting and waiting.........

We are still in the hands of our Council, the officer we have is happy with the plans and they have to be signed off by his supervisor. They are also still waiting for the Council's Hydraulic Engineer to give his report on our Hydraulic plans, hopefully it will be all ready this week.
We still have to have a final meeting with the builder so we can go through all our colour choices and all the extra's that we have picked and sign off on everything before they start.
The builders go on holiday's on the 23/12 and don't come back until the 12/1/09 so if we do get approval this week it will be a huge rush to get everything sorted before they go on their Christmas break. It is looking more like a February start, much to my horror. I have a June 09 wish to be in the house it will take a mammoth effort for this to happen.
We are also off on holidays the same time and we are off on a bit of a drive to Coober Pedy via Wagga Wagga, Mildura, Wilpena and Port Augusta on the way down and then coming home through Woomera, Port Augusta, Broken Hill, Cobar and Dubbo hopefully it should be fun with about 4,500klm's to cover I will post some photo's along the way (as long as we get some internet coverage).

Friday, December 5, 2008

The Latest News

Not much has been happening with us but a lot has been happening behind the scenes, the plans are back in Council and their engineer is looking at the Hydraulic Drawings. Hopefully they will be back to our Council Officer early next week (with no problems).
We have changed the downstairs windows to be 1.7mtrs off the floor level so that they comply with the Council privacy conditions, the water tank looks like it will have to be changed to a Bluescope Steel Slimline Tank (this has something to do with the Hydraulic engineer's report), the new plans have the dimensions on them so that they show we are not too close to the fence (the water tank needs to be 450mm from the fence).
I think that the driveway has always complied but the plans didn't have the dimensions on it, so that was fixed with all the other issues.
The architect spoke to our Council officer and sorted out the drop edge beam problem, this has been fixed and we will not have to have one, which is great news as in the Clarendon home we had one and I am sure it was around $6,000 so he has saved us a fair sum of money (that's one we owe you).
We are just waiting on some new costings for the downstairs windows as they will be more expensive than what we had there, also I am checking on the kind of hand basin that we are getting in the upstairs toilet as one of the other lovely people building the same home as us has pointed out that the standard one isn't very nice so they are looking at a different one (thanks Stonecutter, I also owe you one), I would like all the basins to be pretty much the same, so we will wait and see what the standard one looks like.
Also this afternoon I got a call from Winnings Appliances (that's where we purchased all the kitchen stuff from) and they rang to tell me they were delivering it all on Monday, so after explaining that we don't have a house as yet she changed the delivery to be the 10th July, 2009 hopefully we will be in by then, but we needed a date.
The kids are both on Holidays now, the eldest one has already had a week off, we have had both the School presentations so it's over for another year.
Congratulations to both of them, the eldest was 13yrs Boys Swimming Champion and the youngest one got the Boys Academic Achievement award for his class. They have had a hard few months as one of our eldest son's school friend's brother passed away aged 10yrs from a stroke in the last School holidays, and it really shocked the School community. They had a award called the Year 4 Spirit award in his memory at the presentation so that was a thoughtful way to remember him. Some time things like this make you put your life into some sort of perspective and think that what you are going through is not really all that bad after all.
Lets hope that sometime next week we will have an approval and be on our way again, it looks like we will not get a start until after the Christmas break, we both will come back to work on the same day and I look forward to hopefully some pretty fast progress.

Sunday, November 30, 2008

"Stop the Clock"

That's what we are on with the Council, it's called "Stop the Clock", what it means is that they have given us a list of things that they want fixed before they will approve the DA.
We have got 5 things that need to be fixed:
1) Concept Stormwater Drainage Plan- Now I think that has been done so they will have to send it in to them, (our last DA I am sure that these plans were sent in with the DA)
2) Driveway Setback - it must be a minimum 1mtr from the side boundry.
3)Visual Privacy - Home Theatre and Family Room windows will have to be made translucent or they must be 1.7mtrs above the finished floor level.
b.) Upper lounge window must be the same as the above.
c.)Outdoor Leisure - The privacy screen louvers must be fixed and set at angles so that we can not look into the neighbours yard.
4) Fill & Retaining Walls - any reconstituted ground level must not exceed 600mm above or below the natural ground level of the adjoining property.
5) Basix - Require that we have a window in our kitchen, and that the water tank is 450mm away from the fence.
This is our list of things that have to be fixed, some things are easy to fix & other things require a bit more thought as to how to go about changing them.
Wisdom were looking at it on Saturday so hopefully I will have some answers on Monday as to what we can do to fix them all.
We got the Council officer back (the one that we were hoping for) that did our last DA so this is his list of demands.
The kichen window is a problem because we can only put it above the cooktop and that would be a bugger to clean all the time, will have to wait and see what we can negotiate there.
The bobcat came yesterday and cleaned up the glass that was down the bottom of the block, I now think that it wasn't from glass houses that was on our block but from a glass factory that was to the back of our block as there was just so much of it burried in the ground. They were different types of glass as well, someone told me that they was a factory in the area a long time ago, might have to do a bit of research to find out about that.
Hopefully I will have some good news to spread tomorrow about all the things that need fixing.

Saturday, November 22, 2008

Now waiting on Council

Our neighbour notification period is over, and the great news is we had no objections, so now it is in the hands of our Council officer. He told Wisdom that he would give them a call yesterday but I am not sure if he did that. He is looking at our application to see if there is anything that does not comply, you can be assured that they check it twice.
The air-conditioning prices finally came back we have said yes to all but one that was the upgraded ducts in the ceiling, they came in at around $1500 for the 5 different vents, so we will stay with the standard ones and go with the other upgrades which then had a total of nearly $3000.
We also had a problem with the plans, we wanted to make the bathroom window translucent and I had asked them to change it but I hadn't seen a price, so when I checked they asked did we want the toilet upstairs and the ensuite windows done as well. I said no as I thought that they were up high windows the same as in the display at The Ponds, but when I checked the plans the toilet window was 1mtr long by 900mm wide, so we didn't want that.
Wisdom checked with the council who said we had to get the neighbour on that side to write a letter to them saying that he didn't mind the change in windows (way too much hassle as that side is a really old guy) so I told them to make them translucent and I asked them to find out how high the window would be off the ground in the toilet (what worried me was that you would see a shadow sitting on the loo).
They then came back with that the council had agreed to let us change the windows (as they were getting smaller) with out the neighbour notification, but we have a redraw fee of $300 for the new plans and then they have to go back to council. Don't know if it will hold it up but the windows were just too big and we didn't notice them on the plans.
That's about all that has happened, this period is really slow as we wait for the DA approval stamp to be placed neatly on our plans.
We have been really busy at work which is good so the time hasn't dragged along that much, one of the kids goes on school holidays on Friday and the other one on the Tuesday of the following week so I will be busy with them with us as well. It's lucky that they can come into work with us as they are off for 2 months (knew I should have been a teacher, though I think they deserve it as my Friday night Little Athletics Under 10 Boys drive me nuts, and I only have them for a couple of hours).

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Not much has been happening.

We are into the last week of our neighbour notification and we have been over to the block a few times this week. We went over to meet one of the Dad's from School that has a bobcat so that he could have a look at the glass that is on the block. We believe it's from some glass houses that were smashed instead of taken down, he is going to pick up all the glass and take it away so that when we do start to build it will be all done. We just have to move the glass that is less than 60cm's from the fence (as the bobcat's bucket can't get that close to the fence), so that will probably be a Sunday job as I am out all day on Saturday, unless the husband and kids are looking for something to do.
As you can see in the photo's the weeds have taken over, the mower guy came and whipper snipped on Wednesday but only from the sediment fence down and the front verge, as when the bobcat comes he will take the top of the weeds down.
We didn't get the Council Officer that we had last time, I check the internet a few (maybe more) times a day and when a different name came up I was very dissapointed to say the least.
Wisdom rang me on Wednesday to say that they had spoken to our Council Officer and he said that he will have a look at the DA next week, but they usually don't look at it till the neighbour notification is over.
We are still waiting on the new Air-Conditioning quote, it hasn't arrived as yet, Wisdom were going to chase it up with them.
When the kids and I were at the block tonight the neighbours were all out asking the questions, why hadn't we started, who was the new builder, why is the house smaller. Apparently they couldn't understand why we hadn't started and then when the new DA came, some of them thought that the old DA must have been knocked back (that was so far from the truth).
We must have been the talk of the street, how funny is that!!!!

This is the glass that we need to get rid of.

The bobcat is coming next weekend to dig all this up and take it away. We just have to move it away from the fence so that the bucket can get it.
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Look at the size of the weeds!!!!

These weeds have grown so fast and so big, look at them compared to our 9yr old son.
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Council Sign is up.

The Neighbour notification finishes at 4.30pm 19th November,2008
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Saturday, November 8, 2008

Air-Conditioning Appointment

Well we had our air-cond. appointment this morning and all went well, we have asked for a price to upgrade the system to the next model up and also to change 5 of the vents in the living areas out the back of the house to a rectangular streamline duct rather than the standard square one. When we saw the other vent we really liked it and thought that it would look really good in the main living areas as it is really open and it will not stand out. We also have asked for another thermostat in the upstairs area, and we have also gone for 5 zones instead of the 2 that are included (what that means is we will be able to just heat/ cool the bedrooms or the lounge area etc). We also are going to put 2 vents in the garage, this came about as both our boys are born in June and in previous years the weather has been terrible for their parties so we had 2 vents left over in our allocation and my husband came up with the idea and we thought that it made a huge lot of sence. So we will wait to see how much this will all cost.
We went round to the block today to see if the council had put the new DA sign up, but they hadn't so I suppose it will be put up on Monday. I have also been checking to see what officer we have been allocated but as of Friday we still didn't have one, the file is with the team leader waiting for our planner to take it on. As you know we are hopefull of getting the officer that did our last DA approval as he has been through all of our journey with us. We need to cross those fingers again.
The weeds at the block have taken over, who would have thought that where the house had sat for 50 odd years with no weeds under it as soon as it's gone the weeds are taller than our 9 year old son. I am going to get it cleared closer to the build as I don't think that it is worth doing it now and then again before we start.
The fences are also falling over on both sides, so they will have to be replaced once the house is built, one neighbour has said that they want the new fence but I haven't spoken to the other side neighbour.
We are also waiting for one of the Dad's from our kids school to come with his bobcat and take away the dirt down the back of the block that has the remnants of a set of glass houses that were smashed instead of being taken away, we were concerned that the kids and the dog may hurt themselves.
I got the local paper and tried 3 different people to come and give us a quote but 3 weeks later and I haven't heard from any of them, so much for no work in the building industry. I remembered that one of the Dad's had a bobcat so a quick call and he was doing some work in Canberra so he should be back next week, fingers crossed he will be able to fit us in.

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

We have a new DA number...... Yeah.......

We have it, a new number that now tells me we are officially in Council. Most Councils have DA tracking on the internet so you just put in your number and you can see where it is up to.
It works really well as long as they update their systems to reflect what has happened.

Our neighbour notification period finishes on the 21st November, so nothing much happens until that period ends, its really just a waiting game.
We were also advised that we will need a sewer peg out done as we are in the"zone of influence" sounds awful doesn't it. What does it mean, not to sure on that one other than we do have a sewer connection at the bottom of our yard so I assume it means they are not allowed to build near it.
Will ask next time I speak to them and maybe next post I will be able to tell you the whole "zone" story.

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

I hate waiting.....

I spoke to the Council Officer on Friday and he was going to look out for our DA, I don't think that he needs to as it was going to be sent directly to him. So yesterday I kept looking on the Council website to see if we had a new number so that I could check it every 10 minutes (me.......... ...obsessive.....NO) and I have just checked and we still don't have that new DA number. Damn.....
The elusive air-conditioner company rang today after me leaving 3 messages, we wanted to upgrade the amount of zones that we have in the house so that we are not cooling/ heating rooms that we are not using, makes sence to me. Anyway we have an appointment on Saturday with them and they have come in specially as they don't work the weekends, so that makes up for them not ringing me back.
So I am off out to make Christmas cookies tonight with my cousin and not think about that new DA.
As they say tomorrow is another day..........

Thursday, October 30, 2008

We are off to Council......Tomorrow!!!!

We got a huge shock this afternoon, I phoned Wisdom about an Air -Conditioning question and was told the Architect had the DA pack ready, and it was going to be picked up first thing in the morning. Well I was told on Monday that it would take a week for it to be ready, but that was before I made the mistake with the cheque, so I thought that it wouldn't have been ordered until we made the new cheque out.
Once again I was WRONG, that's twice in 4 days (now I am not going to admit any more this week)
it took them just 3 days to have it ready, it is a great feeling to think that we could be about 7 weeks away from a DA approval. I am ringing our last officer at the Council tomorrow to let him know that it's on it's way, hopefully everything is the way that they want it as we have addressed all the things that were of a concern with the last DA. Once again we are very grateful for all the work that has gone into getting these plans to Council so quickly, as you can't imagine what the last 10 months have been like for us, our kids just want to have a home that is theirs with a yard that they can run around in. Lets hope the Council don't have a lot of work and they are just sitting there waiting for our DA to arrive.
Our neighbours will not know whats going on when the new DA arrives for a different house, I am sure that they will be thinking we are mad, but I am sure they won't when they find out what has happened.
Other news on the brick front, I called Austral Bricks to see if there was any homes that had been built in the bricks that we have chosen, they told me that the bricks we have chosen were made in Sydney and now they are being made in Queensland. What has happened is that the Qld bricks are completly different to the NSW bricks colour and style wise. They have only just changed the bricks to be the Qld bricks so there hasn't been any homes built as yet in these bricks.
So maybe we will be the first and we will be the drive past home for anyone wanting to use them.

Monday, October 27, 2008

New Lesson Learnt.

I went up to Wisdom Homes to pay our 5% deposit today and well I have learnt something new, If you make a mistake on a cheque don't just change it and initial the change as the bank won't accept it.
So what happened, I made the cheque out for a lesser amount and then changed it to make it the correct amount and initialled the correction.
WRONG!!!! not one of the smarter things that I have done today.
So I have learnt the hard way that you must put your full signature on the change that you make on a cheque.
Now that I can't be trusted my Husband is going up there tomorrow to give them a new cheque and while he is out he will go and have a look at their new display homes.
In true "Kath and Kim" style I have one word to say and that is "truly stunning" (we just love that show and our kids know the words and sayings off by heart) ok I have gone off the track again. Back to the new display homes, they are just fantastic, beautifully decorated and the 2 story one has the Master Bedroom upstairs and the other bedrooms downstairs, I think this would suit a family that has teenagers and children that won't leave home or worse still boomerangs that keep coming back. I just love the style of home that they build, they have a lovely feel to them. Unfortunately, when we move into ours it will have that family lived in look and not the spotless display home look.
I also changed the roof tile today, we had one that had a ripple profile but I hadn't been happy with it, so when speaking to the designer today we discussed the different colours and decided that the flat profile one that I liked would be suitable, so the change was made.
We are probably about a week away from going to Council, that's if I make no more silly mistakes so keep your fingers and toe's crossed for us.

Sunday, October 26, 2008

Sunday is New Post Day.

Well there have been lot's of things happening, contracts were ready yesterday and we went out to The Ponds to sign them. Minus the kids of course, just way too hard to keep 2 boys occupied whilst going through pages and pages of a building contract (If you have signed one recently you will know what I mean), so that's where Grandma & Grandpa come in (thanks G & G), they did the babysitting while we signed our life away.
Contracts were signed but I have both of the copies with me as I was going to do a Direct Deposit of the 5% into their a/c but we decided that it would be better to give them a cheque for the deposit and I didn't have the cheque book with me, so I will go up to Narellan tomorrow and pay the deposit.
We have to get a copy of the Builders Home Warranty Insurance, I suppose it is to show that we are covered if something terrible should happen to the builder (think back to Beechwood) and that was not with the contracts, so I will get the copy on Monday and pay the deposit, all very easily fixed, and we will be on our way to Council.
We also had a huge win with the water tank we had allocated around $2000 in the tender for 2 slimline tanks but we only need a 3000litre tank and they have included the slimline one in the base price so we got a bit of a early Christmas present (thanks guys).
We still haven't done our electrical plan and this won't be in the tender, so whatever upgrades we do will have to be paid for up front. This is the one thing I am not really looking forward to as you have to try and visualise where all the furniture that you haven't purchased yet is going to go and where you need to put the power points, what lighting you need where and how many extra lights you need.

Yesterday it was also mentioned that we had got to the contract stage really quickly, and I said no it seems like it has been going on forever, but we started this process with Wisdom Homes on the 9th September and yesterday was the 25th October so it has taken them 47 days (6weeks and 5 days) to go from meeting us to having contracts and plans ready to go to Council.
This is an amazing achievement as I know that we are not the only clients of Wisdom, so it is very much appreciated and all I can say is a big Thank You to everyone that has so far contributed to get us to where we are so quickly (you all know who you are). Keep up the great work and we will be having that house warming party before you know it (I would like it in the warmer months if at all possible). Just for the record it took Clarendon 5 months to get to this stage!!!!!!

Found: One toner cartridge in the photocopier machine. (we won't go there but it was good to see that it was in it's rightful home)

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Contracts will be ready for the weekend....

We have a appointment on Saturday to go through our contract, and if it is all ok we will sign it and then pay our 5% deposit. After that has all been done the plans will go off to council. Let's hope that it will all be fine so that we can get our plan's back into council.

As soon as they send them I will be on the phone to the officer that looked after our last DA to let him know that they have been sent, and maybe he will get us again.

Lot's have been happening behind the scene with different costings that we have asked for coming back to us, we asked for the cost to upgrade the whole house to Taubmans Living Silk paint but it was way too expensive so we just left it as the standard paint that is included. We have included all the feature walls and the door into the walk in pantry will be polyurethane Alabaster the same as the cupboards in the kitchen. This cost will be in the new tender, so our bottom line price has gone up again.
We want to get as much as we possibly can included in the contract price so that we know how much we are going to pay for the house and all the extras. We still have to upgrade the tiles and possibly the carpet, so these will all be over the contract price.

I nearly forgot to tell you that there was a bit of good news with the water tank, the basix's came back from the Architect and we can have a 3000 litre tank and the slimline tank will fit down the side of the house, this also means that we should get a credit as we had allowed for 2 slimline tanks (2000 litre tanks).

On another matter my laptop died on Sunday so my husband went and brought me a new one, so that I can still blog while watching the TV don't I just love that. All I need now is a dishwasher next to the lounge and I wouldn't have to get up.

Saturday, October 18, 2008

Our Weekly Update....

We are waiting on the Basix report to come back from the Architect, what it will tell us is what we need to do to ensure that the natural resources such as energy and water are conserved. All new builds have to do this, as it was developed by the NSW Government.

A lot of things go into consideration for example I think brick and tile colour are considered and how many energy lights you use.

As a minimum, a new development must be able to demonstrate the commitments selected will use 40% less mains water, and 25% less energy than conventional buildings of a similar type.

We will then be told what size water tank we need to be able to flush the toilets and also wash the clothes (if we choose to do so, that's wash the clothes)

Contracts are in the process of being drawn up, so we should be back out to The Ponds to sign each and every page of these huge things, sometime next week.

The Hydraulic report can not be done until the water tank size is determined, this is the one report that we are eagerly awaiting as we think we have fixed our transpiration pit problem by raising the house, fingers crossed.

Tile update: I have had the 600x600 tile in front of the kitchen sink in our rental home and that is a high traffic area in our house (especially with a teenager that is a bottomless pit) and it has come up really well, no stains even though I made up some curry paste and layered in on, and left it for over an hour.
It wiped straight off as did all the dirty marks, I tried to scratch it with a sharp knife all it did was leave a carbon mark that came off with jif, and my Dad had a go with a key and it didn't scratch.

Oh and what everyone has been waiting for a toner update!!! Well maybe not everyone, but I need to tell you that it is a really good idea to check that the sticky tape is on the toner cartridge when you pull it out of the box. Why you might ask??? Because clothes don't look good with toner all over them and photocopiers don't work when the toner is on the clothes!!!! Better luck next time.. lol

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

What's been happening....

There have been a few phone calls back and forth from the builders with changes that we want to make to the plans, just minor things like changing the door in our bedroom from a glass panel to a translaminate panel so that it gives a bit more privacy.

We also had a bit of a surprise with the water tanks, we thought that we would need 2 slimline tanks but because the house comes in on one side we are able to fit one 3000 litre tank down that side, so I think that will save us a bit of money and space. Let's hope so....

I have also had really good results with the tile samples, the large 600x600 tile I have had in front of the sink and it is being constantly walked on. So far so good it has taken all the wear and tear really well and it looks clean even though I know it isn't.

It's just a waiting game now, we need to wait for the plans and the hydraulic report and I am sure there are some other reports that we need before we can lodge our DA to council.

We sold a heap of standoffs at work today, about 300 of them, these are what I want to use on our staircase so I have to get enough for our staircase and hide them so that my hubby can't sell them, lucky the ones we sold were mirror, but I want satin so I am going in tomorrow to find and hide I said before he doesn't read this, just as well.....

Sunday, October 12, 2008

Tile Stain Test

With 2 messy boys we need our home to be pretty much bomb proof.
I purchased samples of the tiles and then set about pouring all the common staining things on it, Coke, Coffee, Raspberry Cordial, Raspberries ,Oil and much to my husbands horror port. I left it overnight to soak in but I am glad to advise that not one of them stained they all wiped off.
This tile is looking better everyday.....
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Saturday, October 11, 2008

Kitchen Photo

This kitchen is just stunning, What do you think??? Can't wait to cook up a storm in here...... and use a dishwasher again.....
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Wall Colours

Colour Selection Done

Well the fun part is done, colour selection.....this can be a very daunting task, I spent the best part of last week trying to get my head around what we wanted for our new home. We have been down this path before (our colours were all picked for the other house) and this time it was a whole lot different, I don't know if it was because it is more flexible but the experience was a lot more comfortable and enjoyable.

Brick colours will be as described below with gutters and downpipes in Ironstone and Dune, the cladding at the top will be in Dune and the front door will be Ironstone, the garage door will be B&D Contemporay in Dune and the windows will be Anotec Natural Matt.

The Kitchen will be as displayed (see photo) as I just love the way it has been done (it is a credit to the lovely designer that they have), and the wall colours will be the same as the display home (my husband really liked the colours that have been used in the home) I am really happy with the selection and just can't wait to get my hands on that kitchen (for everyone that knows me, you know how I love to cook).

The front balcony will have a Satin Stainless Steel tube around it which we will either install or supply, the front driveway will be Storm Grey in a Random Blue Stone pattern with a Brick Border around it.

The floor tiles have been picked as well with a 600x600 Ash tile in Glazed Porcelan, this will be a upgrade but we love these tiles and they look fabulous.

Dilorenzo Tiles had the best display that I have ever seen, if you can't find something you like there then there is something wrong, they have so many tiles and I think I would have found something in the standard selection had we not liked this tile so much.

They also have the carpet that is supplied with the build, there were 5 different styles in different colours of course, (the range was pretty good) and we will look at the different ones when we get to the slab stage.

We have also added some feature walls in the house, we were going to do it after handover but we want to be able to move straight in as soon as handover is complete so we have decided to get the builder to do it.

We came away from our colour selection happy and full of hope that this build will be very different to the last one.......

Oh I forgot...... Don't forget that toner.... You know who you are!!!!!!!

Friday, October 10, 2008

Have a look at this!!!!

This has been done by one of the very special people on Homeone Forum. This is the house with the 2 types of bricks that we are looking at. When I saw it this morning I was really happy with the result. Let's see what everyone thinks.
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Thursday, October 9, 2008

Sovereign Facade

This is the facade that we have picked, so if you can imagine the silver bricks will be top and bottom and the pepper coloured bricks will be where the grey render is in the front above the front door.

Plan's are ready....

The plans are ready and my Dad and Son took a drive out to Camden to pick them up and then went on a airport crawl, taking in the sights of Camden, Hoxton Park and Bankstown airports, It's a shame that I had to work!!!!! Not......

Anyway we have those plans in our hot little hands and I have checked them and I can only see a couple of problems, eldest son's WIR door should have been a door and it was a cavity slider, the air-cond has to be more than 3 metres from the boundry but it is on the side of the house which is only 1.4mtrs from the boundry and they have a gas hot water system on the plan but we don't have gas in the street.

So I am going to take the changes out to The Ponds tomorrow to get them fixed, so that we can keep this moving along at a really fast pace.
I have been out at the Austral brick selection place as well as the Laminex showroom as we need the laminex for the bathrooms and laundry.
The kids and I have had heaps of fun and if we went back 20 times we could build a BBQ with the samples that they give you. Our lounge room has all the colour combinations that I have picked and they give you a box that fits 3 bicks plus styrene that acts as the mortar, they look really cool.
I really like the bricks that are below and we have a colour consultation on Saturday, so we will be looking for advice on these colours.

I am also really happy with the laminex colours, the girl that helped me out there was fabulous, she went to a heap of trouble to get the right colour.

We are still really happy with the way everything is progressing, so fingers crossed we will be in council before you know it......

Brick Selection

Brick Selection

Tile Selection

Bristile "Slate"

Saturday, October 4, 2008

Waiting for those plans..... due the 8th October!!!!! Sounds like we are waiting for a baby.....

I mentioned before that I unfortunately have very little of that thing that you sometimes need in life called patience!!!!!

Well this week I have had to call on all that is in my body because we are still waiting for the plans to be drawn up.
Not that they are running late or anything, we were told 2 weeks and when I spoke to the builder this week, I was told that they are due on the 8th October.

There are some drawings that need to be done once the plans are ready and hence that's why I am getting very impatient (it's that damn word again) the hydraulic report is one of them and as we have lifted the house up to give a runoff back to the street we won't know if that will work until the hydraulics are done.

So I sit here waiting for those plans so that the next part of this journey can start to happen.

I have been trying to find that perfect balustrade because as most of you know that is what our business is all about. I found what I liked but unfortunately the building code has changed and we are not allowed to have frameless glass if it is off the ground, so we are trying to find something that looks stunning that also has a top rail.

I know that with 2 very messy boys I am totally going to regret this decision but I really want glass, how many times a day will I have to clean that glass, I don't know but one things for sure as I clean it, I will be thinking what on earth made me want it.

After the 2 very hot days that we have had I am thinking one word ......POOL......

Now that will be another story, I haven't said anything to anyone, so that will be our little secret.....shhh,...... lucky my husband doesn't read this.

Sunday, September 28, 2008

So far so good.

I received a call on Thursday from the Customer Service girl, just to introduce herself and to tell me that the plans had been ordered. I was mighty impressed by the level of service that we have received so far, it is a vast difference to what we have been used to.

Just as long as they keep it up, I will be one happy camper......

A friend and I went out to The Ponds on Friday, I had to pick up some plans that I had left there and also the receipt for our new deposit, we had a big look around and she loved it just like we do, I took some sneaky photo's of the kitchen which I just adore (I can't wait to cook up a storm in this kitchen) it will have an StGeorge induction 90cm cooktop (as there is no gas in the street and it was $10000 to bring it in to our place) and a 60cm underbench oven that cleans itself!!!!!

Back to the plans they said that it will take around 2 weeks to be ready, and then we go through them to make sure they are all correct before any changes that need to be made are done and then off to Council.

The Officer that we had on the last DA thinks that he might get it again so he is looking out for it, we have addressed all the things that were wrong the last time so that hopefully it will go through really quickly (the last one took 7 weeks).

Not much else to report, we are off to the city today for some retail therapy........

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Here we go on that rollercoaster again....

We got the costings back for the garage to be raised, it was not as big a shock as the last one but still $6000 odd dollars. I have given up counting hundreds now as everything seems to be in thousands.

It is amazing how you can go from one figure to $50,000 more without so much as a blink of an eyelid. They are called "upgrades" must haves in my language, you know the ones that look so damn good that when you see the standard one you think I couldn't possibly live with that. I know I am a marketer's dream come true, I am sure that they aim all their advertisements at me!!!!

So I am off the track again, that's me just rambling on can't help myself, maybe there is a self help group for that, can you imagine "Hi my name is Danma and I ramble on".

So today our news is we have paid for the plans to get drawn up, that hopefully is a start in the right direction and we can start this roller coaster ride all over again.

I seem to spend all my time trying to find out things, like how high is the brick wall going to be on the side of the house, because if it is under 6.00metres then we can go 900mm from the side boundary that is what the Clarendon one was so I am pretty sure it will be what the Wisdom will be.
The only difference is we have raised the garage so we will have to wait until the plans are drawn up to see the exact dimensions.

Time wise I hope that they get onto it straight away, because one of my other flaws is that I am terribly impatient, I think that I have passed that one on to my kids............

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

A bit of good news- I think....

Spoke to the Storm water engineer yesterday and after a bit of checking he said that if we raised the Garage level to 34.1 then we would not need the transpiration pit in the backyard (that also means we don't need all the pipes going to it).

So not knowing anything about levels in houses I duly wrote it down and rang our sales person. We looked at the drawings and at the moment the garage level is at 33.78 so it looked to me that it wasn't that much of a difference (you know how you become a expert as soon as you start doing something or watching something, think of the Olympics!!!!)

It looks like they will have to push a bit more dirt to the front of the house to bring it up a bit so that the water can run back to the street.
We may need a drop edge beam if this happens, (I think that's what its called) so we are waiting on costings , hopefully we will have it today.

Sunday, September 21, 2008

Tender ready in 11 days......

Well we got a phone call from the new builder at 12.30 yesterday to say the tender was ready, (They must be kidding right......) It took them 11 days to get it ready and it is nearly all right (that also is unheard of, 2 small mistakes, probably more like misunderstanding's that can be easily fixed).

We have gone over what we wanted again, it must be me (in fact I know it's me, I can't help myself) you know you see an upgrade and then you can't possibly have the standard one.
Oh well that's what we work for, all the upgrades......
I have done a spreadsheet this morning with Must Have's, Maybe's and No's (though the first lot of no's were the mistakes that we weren't having anyway, how funny).

Anyway I have got rid of a few things like making the Alfresco area 1.4mtrs wider as we thought that the cost was too much for the amount of use that we would get out of it. The gutter guards are also going, we will put them in later, so I have taken out around $10,000 all up and am just over what we were up to with Clarendon.

The only difference is that this has carpets, tiles, driveway's and a lot of higher spec'd inclusions but this house is also smaller(38sq).

So what now, well I have to get onto the Stormwater Engineer and speak to him about our Hydraulics as we had a shock when we got the Clarendon Variation of $23,000 that we hadn't budgeted for. It was all to do with the water tanks (we needed a slimline tank, Clarendon didn't do a 450mm slimline tank) so we had to put one in underground and that escalated the costs.
Hopefully we will have some good news about the hydraulics tomorrow.

All done, we have a clear block

Thursday, September 18, 2008

All in a day's work

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Nearly all gone

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Half way through the demo

Just before the demo

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And so the story begins.........

We sold our home in November 07 moved out 1 week before Christmas (I don't recommend doing this to any sane person) and purchased a 2bedroom run down full brick cottage on a 746sq mtr block.
We moved into a small rental home while we looked for our dream home.

FOUND - one dream home!!!! Courtesy of Clarendon some changes to be made nothing structural just an extra en suite upstairs and down and an extra 1mtr to the study. Not too hard you would think!!!

Well 8 months on with the Council DA approved we had to face the facts that Clarendon were not going to build our home, as we would not sign a variation to our contract, that had us responsible for the costs of re pinning neighbours property if they damaged them during construction.

We spoke to The Department of Fair Trading, The Insurance Ombudsman and our Solicitor and they all said the same DO NOT SIGN IT, so we had to take this advice on board even though friends had said don't worry about it, that's not going to happen.

So we told them, we can't sign this and they told us we can't build it. It is awful to get so far but not have anything to show for it (except some plans we can't use and surveys that they have kept and $4000 paid to them which is non refundable), we had knocked down the existing house 3 weeks before all this had happened, so we were left with a empty block and a DA approval that is for a Clarendon Home that we can't build.

What next!!!

Well off we go to some other builders armed with the condition in our DA that is standard to our Council and ask them would you make us sign that we are responsible for the damage to any adjoining properties if you damage it during construction?

Most said no as this wasn't really meant for our type of build but for builds where the garages are constructed under the home.

We found a home we really liked it being the Impression 38 MKII by Wisdom Homes and after speaking to our sales consultant and the director they have said that they would not have this condition. So we pay our money again for the contour survey and we ask for a new tender.

We are hoping that we may have this tender over the weekend, all being well and fingers crossed, if this happens it will have taken them 1 1/2 weeks where as it took Clarendon 6 1/2 weeks to get to this stage and then everything that they did was wrong, but that is a whole new story and we have moved on from it.

We still have a few changes that we are going to make and the OH is out there now trying to make the study bigger.