Saturday, October 30, 2010


I am happy to report that the bricklayers have finished!

Jason swung by the site yesterday morning and spoke to our fabulous bricklayer Pete and he said his guys would be done by the end of the day - they just need to come back later and do the steps apparently.

So it looks like all going well we should have some gutter and fascia on Monday, oh happy day! If the weather holds out according to our SS we should have a tiled roof by the end of the week - that will make me a very happy camper.

Pete mentioned to Jason that he is very impressed with our new SS, said he is super organised and really on top of things which is great to hear.

I will leave you with a few pics taken yesterday morning, and hope to report back on Monday night with more progress.

Have a great weekend and happy building to all my bloggy friends who are on this crazy ride with us!

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Tile selections

This is a long overdue post, and I am still intending on writing a post outlining our internal colour selections, that will come soon!

So as I mentioned in a previous post tile selection here in Sydney is done at Di Lorenzo, which happens to have a showroom a few doors down from the Metricon head office. Tile selection for us was done right around the same time we had a start on site, but apparently that varies from state to state.

As with all volume builders, Metricon has an allowance for the tiling and a standard builders range to choose from - so if you were to choose everything within that range you shouldn't incur too many any extra tiling costs (although large tiles do incur an extra fee to be laid). I chose quite a number of tiles within that range however also chose some feature tiles and larger tiles that incur extra costs to be laid.

The standard range Metricon allows you to choose from is quite good and the variety and choice was better than I expected.

Having said that the choices I made did add a nice cost to our budget - however tiles can have such an impact it wasn't something I wanted to compromise too much on.

In the kitchen we have a window splashback but around that window there is a small border area that will be tiled. As it is a small area I chose something that I thought would tie in really nicely with our overall colour scheme but also add a bit of a feature to the kitchen.

I ended up going with a glass mosaic tile (some of which are included in the allowance for a very small feature strip in each room) but of course the area was much larger than the allowance! And it costs extra to lay mosaics, supply coloured grout and LAY coloured grout. Ouch.

These will form a border around the kitchen splashback window and will go up one return of our kitchen counter. Note how different they look in each photo due to variations in light and angle.

Not everyones taste but I really like them.

Now onto the laundry - I chose subway style white gloss tiles as we are having dark brown cabinetry in there and wanted to brighten the room with the tiles. The actual tiles were from the builders range but to LAY the gloss tiles incurs an extra cost (cant remember why exactly, but they are 100x400mm (only $77 for the laundry)). Pics of white tiles don't come out well so I don't have one!

The floor tile I chose to be constant throughout the laundry, powder room, bathroom and ensuite for continuity. The floor tile I chose is above the builders allowance (due to the size from memory) but as my wall tiles are 100x400 I wanted the floor tiles to line up properly with the wall tiles so they had to be 400 in length also. Again extra to lay those!

Its really hard to capture the colour correctly in photos, the lighting isn't great in showrooms and I had natural light on one side too so they look more grey in these than I remember them being. They are more brown than grey.

Now to the powder room - same floor tiles as above,  I chose to have the same white subway style gloss wall tiles also for continuity (tile within allowance, extra cost to lay), and in there I chose a really striking feature tile that I absolutely love!
The feature tile is a glass mosaic but because I chose to have it on such a large area only a small amount is included in the builders allowance. Plus extra to lay and extra for coloured grout.

This photo does not do the tiles justice, they look much better in person. As we have dark cabinets and a light benchtop I hope these are a nice contrast to the benchtop and the white wall tiles and create a beautiful striking space. After all the powder room is the bathroom that guests will use so I wanted it to pop!

Now upstairs to the bathroom - same style wall tile as downstairs but I think up stairs they are matte, same floor tile also. In the bathroom we have a white vanity and Osprey Caesarstone benchtop (same benchtop throughout the entire house, including the laundry) so I thought we could get away with having a darker feature tile running up the side of the bath surround and around the top of the bath. I chose a stacked stone tile so I really hope it looks ok!!
The feature tiles added cost above the allowance, and labour costs to lay, same with supply and lay coloured grout..

Again the colours here vary greatly from the actual colour of the tile. This is the only selection I have questioned in my head since so I really hope they look good!!

In the ensuite I chose the same wall tiles and floor tiles as the bathroom and for a feature tile I have chosen a large white tile with a pattern through it, also in white so it is quite subtle. This tile will be laid on the wall above the vanity, including the returns. The tile was within the builders range but we had to pay a tiny bit extra as I chose to have it laid on such a big area. Metricon allows for a small feature strip in each room, which I thought was really good.

Ensuite feature tile. We have dark cabinetry in there and the vanity is huge so lots of white on the walls should brighten it up.

In the toilets we are having the same floor tile as the bathrooms with just a skirting tile (same tile).

For the front balcony and balcony off the master suite I chose a similar toned tile to the other floor tiles, these were within the builders range so no extra charges there.

The consultant I had a Di Lorenzo was fantastic, very patient and helpful, and seemed honest too. Not pushy at all and didn't rush me in the slightest. I was there for almost 4 hours from memory and it took me an hour just to decide on the bathroom (the first room we did) - once I chose the basics like wall and floor tile the rest fell into place easily.

So there is the tile selection process and my choices! Hope that all made sense..

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

No news is...boring and frustrating!

So as the post title eludes to - nothing is happening on site.

Bricks arrived Monday (as the bricklayer suggested to Jason last week, however our SS seemed to think they wouldn't arrive until Tuesday or Wednesday and there will be no brickies on site until Friday and they will work Friday & Saturday to get the bricks done and dusted. If the weather holds out.

I know the building game is all about waiting sometimes but after a 9 month lead up to this build a whole week with the site sitting dormant is just frustrating. Escpecially when the weather has been so great.

According to our SS brickies will finish on Saturday, gutter and fascia will happen Monday (I think) and the roof tiles should be done by the end of next week (thats what was passed on to me anyway.).

I wont get too excited but I hope thats the case - cant wait to see a roof on this house.

After that I presume the cladding goes on and the electricians come to do a rough in before the gyprockers arrive on site.

I think once we have real walls it is going to be very exciting!!

In the meantime to occupy me I am on a neverending quest of sourcing furniture (still looking at this stage), and am thinking about window coverings (lucky me has a friend in the business!), and this week I am very excited by the new soft close door dampers Tim & Tina have for sale over at their new site which you can find here . I chose to have Blum soft closing mechanisms on every door and drawer in the kitchen (for a significant cost but they are fantastic quality), however I am going to buy the ones Tim & Tina have sourced for our laundry, bathrooms and powder room, looking forward to how easy they are to install!

I am also thinking about flooring (need to start looking into that more soon), decking, all the extra electrical we need to do on handover and have started lists of all the post-handover jobs we need to do.. I'm pretty sure the hard work really begins after handover!

We have a few steps leading up to our portico so this is what I would like to do at the front of our place eventually..

Monday, October 25, 2010

Monday update

Did my usual Monday drive by today and was happy to see 3 pallets of bricks had been delivered - aside from that the site looked like a ghost town!

When I spoke with our SS on Friday he said the bricks would turn up Tues/Wednesday so I will be surprised (very pleasantly!! ) if there is any work done before Thursday.

After woeful weather Saturday afternoon and all day yesterday it actually became fine by late afternoon here in Sydney so I hope it holds out for us to see some progress this week.

No exciting pics today - just a few from through the fence late last week..

Friday, October 22, 2010

Happy Friday!

This Friday sees our house *so* close to the end of bricking its very exciting!

Jason went by the house and spoke to the boss bricklayer, Pete, who told him they are super close to being finished but have run out of bricks as they rejected so many chipped or damaged ones - and they are waiting for more to arrive :)
Our bricks are 'colour on' rather than 'colour through' which means any chips in the face of the brick are very obvious as the colour is just on the surface not the whole way through the brick.

Apparently they had a delivery recently of 3 pallets but due to so many being damaged they ran out quickly.

I called our SS for an update and he told me he expects the bricks to arrive Tuesday or Wednesday, and then hopefully the brickies will be back Thursday to finish up. He said once they have finished the scaffolding needs to be raised for the gutter and fascia to be installed, then the tiles go on after that.

Hopefully then this time in two weeks all that will be finished. So next week will more than likely see mostly dormant days unfortunately...

Some pics from today:

Study window and space for front door to the right

Side of garage looking back to living room and dining room

Living room windows

Outdoor room

Rear of family room

Rear of family room and master suite

Rear of outdoor room and balcony off master suite

Rear of master suite

Side view of study wall and front portico

Front portico and balcony off bedroom

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Display home photos

I thought for a post today I would post some more photos of the display version of our home.

Our colour scheme varies greatly from these but most of the details are the same or similar.

The thing to note when looking at display homes is the builder more often than not has decked the house out with almost every upgrade they can in the hopes of inspiring customers to do the same! It is great to see what can be done on top of the standard however - just good to keep in mind every change costs money!

I came across these on another blog however have been led to believe the images were actually taken by Metricon so they get credit for most of the images. No copyright infringement is intended whatsoever - if you happen to have taken these please contact me and I will absolutely credit you :)

The study. That staircase is an upgrade - we are having the same one in our house.
The window in our study is just one panel rather than three and is set at about head height so I can utilise that wall for storage/furniture

Living room. Those bi-fold doors are not standard, neither is the fireplace or the shelves open to the dining room. We are having standard windows on there and no fireplace or shelves - just a large cut out section in the wall looking into the dining room. As gorgeous as the doors are - they are a huge expense and I thought with the back section of the house so open it would be nice to have a living area that was more cosy.

Kitchen - obviously ;) 
The island is an upgrade - so is the 'microwave tower' on the right.
The window splashback was included in our upgrade package but the one on display appears bigger to me - I must remember to measure it when I am up there next!
The cooktop located in the island is also extra. 
We are having the island, although with the sinks in the island (I spend WAY more time at the sink than at the cooktop!!) and the cooktop facing the window.
That door on the right leads into the walk in pantry and is an upgrade too! Standard is a plain door not glass with a timber frame. We are having that upgraded door in the powder room, laundry and master suite however.

Dining room.
That high window you see above the couch is non standard (we included it in our plans) and where the two lots of doors meet right in the top right hand corner of the photo it is standard to have a pier/pillar to support the above floor. To remove that would require a steel beam above and would have cost a few thousand dollars so we chose to keep the pillar!

Dining room.

Instead of three sets of bifolds as are seen in the display we are having sliding stacking doors - the difference in price is HUGE.
Our doors will be stained in the same colour.

You can see the outdoor room in this photo. The standard arrangement does not include that wall where the fireplace is, it is just open to the backyard. So the fireplace, decking, doors, wall and ceiling fan are all upgrades :) ooh - and the slab under the decking is extra too - about 3K apparently!
I also forgot to mention the actual outdoor room and balcony above are not standard inclusions in our house (I think it is with some Metricon designs) -  expect to pay around around 29K for it on a home like ours ;) (Ouch!!) Ours was reduced in size due to council regs which was a substantial saving.

Family room. They have no cornice downstairs in the display - they are square set. Expect to pay a couple of thousand dollars for that.
We will have that niche for the entertainment unit(an upgrade) and the same windows in our house.

Outdoor room looking into family room

Upstairs leisure room. That niche where the entertainment unit is standard, but the high set window is an upgrade (which we have included)

Master suite. Our ensuite entrance is different as this arrangement is an upgrade, which has a bath in the ensuite. Where that timber panelling is in the display home is where we will enter our ensuite.
We paid extra to have a set of sliding cavity doors there to be able to close off the ensuite rather than have it open all the time.
That window above the bed is an upgrade too, which we opted to have.

Ensuite. Our will be the same as this, (except we have two sets of drawers and two sets of cupboards in the vanity) only a different colour scheme. Most of what you see here is an upgrade -  the shower, the size of the vanity, the basins and taps, the bulkhead above the vanity..

The balcony (off the master suite). 
Most of this is standard once you choose to add it to the house - apart from the ceiling fan (which we have included) and the shutters (which we will add after handover).

So there is a peek into the display house for some almost Friday fun! Thats just a small glimpse of how easy it is to add, and add and add to the base price of a house!

The end is near..for the brickwork anyway!

Jason swung by the site yesterday and had a chat with the boss brickie (they met coincidentaly a few months before our house started ;) ) and he has said they will be finished either today or tomorrow morning at the latest!

Had the weather on Saturday not been so awful (it was hideously windy) they would have been on site and would probably have been done by now but thats the way the building cookie crumbles!

Looking forward to a phone call from our SS (who has said he will call weekly with an update) to find out when the guttering and fascia is booked in to go up - then the roof tiles.

Here are a few pics from yesterday.

The area they are working on in this pic is where the stairs will be. I upgraded that window to be translucent as the view out there isn't very attractive - our neighbours driveway and porch - and a window up that high is hard to install blinds and shutters on, this way we won't need any window covering.

Looks to be pretty much complete at the back now in terms of bricking except for the piers for the outdoor room/balcony. That small section above the window up top in the master suite will be infilled with gyprock and painted. Not quite sure why they cant do brick infills but no matter - I'm sure the painted section will tie in nicely with the cladding around the balcony.

Can't wait to see a roof and cladding go on then I can stop obssessing over the weather forecast!

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

And the bricking keeps rolling on!

I went past the site on Monday afternoon and was happy to see about 7 brickies there working away. It was a glorious day in Sydney so it was great to see out house taking shape in the afternoon sun!

Yesterday however the weather was miserable, and it drizzled consistently here on the North Shore so I wasn't expecting to see anyone on site - (our place is about 25 minutes from where we are currently living) but I drove by anyway (of course there was a small part of me that was hopeful!!).
The drive by proved fruitful as the brickies were indeed there and working!

Here are some pics from Mondays drive by:

Lots of bricks ready to go at the front for the portico and above the garage

The leaning tower of bricks! I *think* behind to the left may be some steps??

Side view - this side appears to be almost done, apart from a few courses to be done above the garage.

The whole of the upstairs facade at the front is to be covered in cladding

That hole there in the bricks was for the meter box, the brickies left a space there for it after the power pole was installed on this side of the property so now they have to brick it up and make a new one on the right side!

The wall there at the back with the timber windows is the master suite and will be bricked all the way to the roof (thankfully! - much better insulation I imagine than the cladding)

That our balcony - it will be clad rather than bricked

Still a little bricking to be completed on this side - the whole height of the stairs will be bricked and the front part of the house (the study) will be bricked to the same height as that back section you can see in this photo.

weather is looking good for the rest of this week so fingers crossed it holds out for the brickies to finish up.