Wednesday, November 7, 2012

The Black Douglas

Meet the newest member of the family - ok, he's not black but black whippets are really hard to find.  He is called Doug though - Doug the Dog - geddit?
Small dog meets large dog.

Saturday, August 11, 2012

Gardens away

Some catch up shots now that we are back from Malaysian holidays and the landscaping has very nearly been finished in our absence.  The before shot (from the living room due to the neverending rain) ......

 and the after shots:

As you can see, there's instant lawn down and lots of mulch plus paths made from lilydale toppings.  It's a nice change to not wade through mud every time we go outside.  The garden beds are full of manure and compost and broad beans, peas and sugar snaps went in two weeks ago - they're just starting to come up now.  Also in are broccoli and pak choy.  The third bed is for onions, leeks and carrots, but a bit too early to plant the leeks and carrots just yet.  Onion seedlings are waiting to be planted.

Here's Ruby enjoying the mulch.  She's even figured out how to get into her kennel via the door flaps now.  She isn't really reconciled to being outside during the day as she's had quite a few days inside whilst building works are being finished.  One major inside job this week - installation of the (sun shade) roller blinds - still waiting on the fabric curtains though.
 The real chickens won't be quite this big.  It's turning out to be hard to get pullets at this time of year, so they haven't moved in just yet.
 The front yard sits around the new car turnaround area, which is just big enough to do a 3 point turn in.  Everything's rather tiny at the moment but hopefully come spring, there will be a bit of growth.  Finally had the water tank problems sorted out this past week - a crack in the inspection port meant that the line wasn't staying as charged.  But that's now fixed and the tanks are finally filling up - being used currently in the toilets and washing machine.  It's not like the garden needs the water.
At least the lawn's nice and small now - not much to mow.

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Scorched earth policy

At the same time the building works have been finishing up, the landscaping has gotten underway.  Before we moved this was mainly cleaning up the front yard, which is looking considerably more bare than previously.  We're very glad we've got a full front fence at last, although we're STILL waiting for a letter box.  The back's been cleaned up a lot in the last week too - and the veggie beds started to be laid out.  Significant purchases last weekend include a new house for Ruby (she hasn't had too much use of it yet, as she's too scared of the landscapers to venture outside much) and a house for the yet-to-be-acquired chickens. 

Moving day !!!!

It's finally here (or it was.... not much time to blog with all the house moving and a lot going on at work at the same time) - 28 June was moving day!  Only about 2 months over schedule, we finally have moved back in.  The yard continues to be a quagmire, but landscaping is happening at the time of this post, and an update on that to follow.  Here's Ruby and Rob welcoming visitors at our new front door with leadlights - finally with extraneous lumps of timber removed and looking half decent with new paintwork, including to the verandah area.  We don't think Ruby has quite worked out it's home again yet - everything has new paint smell and there's not much left that looks the same either.
The POD arrived on moving day, as did the dining table which has been in storage since we bought it on sale some months ago.  Of course Murphy's law would have it that the two trucks arrived at the same time, hence causing a traffic jam in our own front yard.  They both made it through the front gates though, avoiding clogging up the road outside.  The POD was supposed to go onto the street, but due to the usual debacle involving our council who somehow didn't receive our permit application in time, it ended up on the driveway, hence the door is really facing the wrong way for unloading, but at least we did save a few dollars in permit fees.

Our favorite features so far are the central heating (mmmm, 21 degrees) and the remote control for the front gates.  A close run second is probably the en suite shower (huge shower rose).   Least favorite things are the uplights in the living room which cast a glaring star pattern rather than the soft wash that we were looking for - we'll see if we can adjust them later.  We both took 2 days off work to start unpacking, and Simon kindly came and helped with all the heavy lifting.  By the end of day 1, the POD was emptied and much of the kitchen and master bedroom unpacked, so we really weren't looking too bad.  In the afternoon, a truckload of IKEA furniture arrived, so now we have couches.  They temporarily looked a bit wrinkly, as it was all too much effort to find the iron and iron out the covers before we put them on.  Managed to very rapidly fill up a lot of storage, and also consigned quite a bit of stuff to the roof space.  

A few defects to deal with, but nothing too bad - laundry drain to washing machine had a crack in it, resulting in water all over the floor with the first load of washing.  A bucket solved this temporarily.  Gave all the mod cons a bit of a trial - including the ice maker in the fridge - although that got turned off again pretty shortly as not really a lot of need for ice in this weather.  All in all, lots of unpacking still to do, but quite liveable and very good to be home again! 

Sunday, June 3, 2012

May progress

This update covers about 3-4 weeks of progress - which seems slow but is steady.  At the time of writing nominally only 3 weeks to go! (although we're not sure we can see everything getting done in 3 weeks.... but the builder keeps saying we will).  Most of the obvious progress in the last few weeks really involves the front fence, which went up pretty quickly and is already prepped for painting.  As of this weekend the actuators for the mechanised gates are in, although the power connections are not finished. We're pretty pleased with it, with the exception of the ring latch, which is a bit "floral" looking for my taste, but bearable.  Had a look at the exterior light and letterbox position, and these should go in after painting (to match the fascias/verandah posts etc - the infamous woodland grey colour).

Also on the outside, the vitrapanel is all finished and the metal gate frames are in, with latches done also.  We're waiting for the perforated metal that actually makes up the doors - this is being custom laser cut so will be a little while before it is delivered.  The steel frame has had electrics roughed in, but not connected yet.  We're still waiting for the rest of the longline to go up on the back wall (underneath the window) and also on the dividing wall at the rear of the carport.  Apparently the delay is due to the fact there's a dire shortage of the metal cutters used to trim it to custom length - there's one is the whole country!!!  So we have to wait our turn.  At least it doesn't stop that much else going on for a change.

On the inside, major progress made on the bathrooms, now with all the tiling done and shower fittings in.  Had a bit of to-ing and fro-ing on the main bathroom shower screen which was underspeced in the tender.... so up for yet another variation to accommodate chrome rather than aluminium finish and thicker glass, which is all rather annoying.  Similarly the main mirror lighting is rather oddly asymmetric despite us telling the architect months ago that is should have been symmetric.  But we're gritting our teeth and baring it on the latter as the mirror's already been cut and, although the architect offered to pay for the stuff up, I'd just rather not have any excuses for delays.    The bench tops for the vanities have actually now gone in.  Not sure I'm entirely convinced by the "beigeness" of all the colours.  But it's hard to tell at the moment as we don't have any decent lighting yet.  Exhaust fans also in; toilets on site but not yet installed.  

The laundry trough is also in, with tiled spashback and the pull out storage is all finished.  We're still waiting on door handles for everything except the master bedroom where we have apparently the only 7 handles in stock.  But time to delivery of the rest is only about 10 days as they get manufactured in China. Decided this weekend to lash out and go to Ikea, where we got some lampshades for the bedroom (el cheapo, if we don't like them, we can always get new ones next year).  And we think we might have solved our saga of the couch dilemma - i.e. how to find one we both like, by actually buy 4 single squishy lounge chairs that we can rearrange into 2 couches.  The painters are making progress inside, with 2nd bedroom and study pretty much done, including all the timber trim.  Supposedly this week the hydronic panels go in (where have we heard that before?) and even the carpet goes down soon.  Not sure about the carpet yet, as it looks like the painters still have quite a bit to finish on the living space and bathrooms etc but it's probably not too far off.

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Cupboards galore

Lots of stuff happening in the last couple of weeks.  The floors are finished and have protective covers whilst other work goes on around them.  This has meant the final bit of plastering (the TV wall) and all the skirtings can go in.  These have been primed already and the doors are all hung, with hardware waiting to go in shortly.  Joinery is in progress and nearly finished for the kitchen, office bookshelves, main bathroom, master bedroom and laundry.  Still waiting on doors and drawers in some cases but most of fitting is done with the exception of the ensuite.  We now have lots and lots of storage (although the pantry is a bit smaller than we imagined and somehow we lost our tray cavity, but that can be fixed).... I'm sure we'll manage to fill it somehow. 

Tiling is nearly finished in the main bathroom but yet to start in the ensuite.  We're thinking of getting a new washing machine straightaway to get it installed - but it depends on whether we have time to go shopping as much as anything else.  They had to redo the ensuite trench grate and floor fall as apparently it was more than 30mm that made one feel like standing in the shower was like being on a listing ship!  On the outside the vitrapanel is nearly all in and looks nice - although i'm not a big fan of the fixing rivets.  The painter has made a start on the gutters and fascias, as well as the eaves, and prepped most of the window frames.  Painting seems to have stopped though - not only has there been heaps of rain but waiting on various plumbing items such as downpipes to be fitted and rotten fascias replaced (or so we assume).  

Usual robust discussions on colours - all done far too late in the process but hopefully we're nearly onto the last of these.  The main outstanding one will be the splashback glass colour in the kitchen.  We met with Sam the landscaper on site too to discuss the front fence.  He's done a preliminary cut so the fence can go in by the end of the month.. We've also done lots of rehearsing 3 point turns in the front yard to make sure we can get the car around the gate ok.  We've decided to minimise the amount the front fence is set back from the boundary, and also increase the width of the gate, just in case.  Hydronic heating also due to be fitted towards the end of the month.  All in all, it's finally more obvious that things are moving at full speed ahead!

Friday, May 4, 2012


well not quite Chartres, but it does look nice (still too fancy)

Monday, April 30, 2012

Polar bear in a snowstorm

Not much time for updates today, but floors in... check, painting well under way.... check, joinery started... check, deck nearly finished.... check.  Everything is very white... like trying to find a polar bear in a snowstorm.  Latest move happened on the weekend - back to Chris and Jen's to earn our keep looking after the cat whilst they're on holidays.

No time to learn the wonders of html to format these images better either.

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Easter plaster

 Back from the Easter break and the plasterers have been putting in some overtime on Easter Saturday just gone and last weekend also to get things covered up.  We've got a wonky wall in the passage which won't work so well with the sharp shadowline specified at the wall-ceiling junction, but we'll live with the character.  Other than that the plasterwork is nearly done.  All the plasterboard and final coats of the hard plaster areas have brightened the place up quite a lot.  Tiling to start in the next week or two also.  The final paint coat's done on the external steelwork, so the final steel cladding should also go on soon and then we'll be very close to lockup.  Back wall is in place and waiting for steel cladding also.  The floor's been sanded down to be level, in preparation for the bamboo floor to be laid next week.  This will then get covered up with protective foam and boards while everything else happens, with joinery carcasses to follow soon.  And the deck timber is due to go on next week.  Full steam ahead! We've had the tree out the front trimmed and it's looking a lot better but still so enormous that it casts a lot of shadow on the front yard.  May have to rethink that plan for a fruit orchard.

24 March update

Another month, another house.  Late this month saw us moving out of the Bayswater rental to a house sit in Ormond, where we're looking after Milly the labrador, Tigger the cat, and lots of fish (no names that we know of).  We're here for all of April and DrK is enjoying having kitchen utensils again.  Ruby is enjoying the company of Milly and discovering her inner bully.  Now that the window saga seems to finally be over, the builder can finally make some progress on the interiors.  So the insulation is in and the plasterer is shortly going to be covering all this up. After a bit of a clash with the architect, we've also picked colours for the outside trim (gutters, fascia, porch posts etc) - all done in a bit of a rush as the builder needed it to finish the roof flashing.  Woodland grey has triumphed over federation green.  It's good to see things on the move again.  And we've found some housing that'll take us to the end of June, so here's hoping that'll be the last move.

Monday, March 19, 2012

Slowly, slowly....

Another site meeting last week - window still not fixed then, but done by the time we dropped around at the weekend.  Yep, it is now not possible to stick you hand between the frame and the glass.  But to counterbalance this we also noticed that they didn't make the glass in the bathroom/laundry door obscure like it's supposed to be. Yet another thing for the window manufacturer to fix.  No doubt they hate this job by now, although probably not as much as we resent them for being a big fraction of the builder's expected SIX WEEK delay past the original completion data..... sigh.  This puts us moving in around early-mid June so we're on the hunt for more housing for May-June.  We had been hoping that our current house-sit bookings (through to mid-May) would have seen us through to moving back home.  

Other things that have happened recently - battens are in for the plaster work and the electrician was just finishing off the first fix of all the wiring, so we expect to have insulation and plasterboard coming soon.   The builder has had to reframe the opening for the attic stepladder, as the supplier has suddently decided that the one we originally specified isn't available any more (after being "on order" for six months and just waiting for stock to come in) so that's a bit annoying for him, but at least we didn't have to pay an extra $300 for a custom made ladder.  The lining for the staircase is in, although we hope they're going to frame the gaping hole that currently exists to the underside of the kitchen floor.  Spent a not too painful period choosing between about 12 shades of white for the wall colour and joinery colour.  When we say "not too painful" it was a bit like being at the optometrist's doing pairwise comparisons - which looks better, antique white or shoji white?  Now which looks better, antique white or chalk?  About 20 comparisons later, we managed to make some choices, no doubt which we won't be able to tell the difference between when they're all in place.  

 Finalised a few minor changes to the pantry - i.e. making the door taller so that Rob can actually go into it!  Water tanks are in place although not connected yet - they're pretty big but the drop in level makes them not too bad once in place.  We'll put some shrubbery (ni!) in front of them to hide them hopefully.  And we have an enormous storm water drain at the base of the driveway now - should keep back the floods we think.