Friday, 28 October 2016

House sale

We thought long and hard about when to sell our house. Do we sell in time for moving in to our new build or do we sell it now and know how much money there is to spend?

 Option 1 would mean dealing with the bank to arrange finance while still having a mortgage for our current home but option 2 would mean a rental property for 12 months. We decided to sell our house so I know how many upgrades I can have ;-) I

t went on the market at the beginning of August and it sold within 3 weeks! Although we are really happy it sold I didn't think it would sell so quickly. We were heading for a holiday on September 16th and wouldn't be back until 9th October. Settlement was 21st October. Argh that wouldn't leave me much time to come home and pack. Oh yeah and find a place to rent!!

Tender or not to Tender?

I was dreading our tender appointment.  So much to go through in one day.  I had already advised them we would not sign on the day.  We would need to take the documents home to digest the document before signing and paying our deposit.

 The day before Tender appointment our Building Co-ordinator rang to advise there had been an issue with our documents. Although the Hillside 34 now exists on their computer system there was some sort of a glitch and our plans are still incorrect. She advised to go ahead with the appointment because a lot of the costing would be accurate but we would not be able to sign until the plans were correct.

There were only a couple of surprises at our Tender presentation:


The presenter said ‘When you get your driveway done you would use this drain’ and I said ‘You mean when Porter Davis do our driveway’. She said 'Porter Davis won't do your driveway'.  Ahh that isn't what is in our sales quote...  She advised us that Porter Davis do not do Driveways unless it is a house and land package. I opened my sales quote and showed her that 90m of category 3 exposed aggregrate driveway had been included in our quote at a cost of $12,500. As it was included in our quote which was part of our decision making process to go with Porter Davis I don’t see how they can remove it now. It must be an option otherwise our Sales Consultant would not have been able to add it. She went on to tell us that they will not do such a large driveway because they do not want to insure it. Hmmm that gives me faith in their building practices. I told her I wasn’t happy with it and it would need to be followed up. At least we do not have to sign today. After our meeting our Building consultant told us that was odd and she would follow it up for us. I hope she can give us some favourable news.


We specifically asked our sales consultant if colorbond downpipes were included and she told us they were and wrote it on our plans. Our tender document did have a cost against the colorbond downpipes. I queried this and she said they were not included. I told her we were told they were and showed her our plans where our sales consultant had written colorbond downpipes. She told me the sales consultant would have written it on the plans so it is included as a cost in our tender. It isn’t a huge cost but that is not the point. I left it on the day but I will query it with our sales consultant.


I am very passionate about waterproofing as we have had issues with a previous house where it rained in our kitchen from faulty waterproofing in our bathroom. It was a long drawn out process to claim through the house warranty and we were still out of pocket considerably to get it rectified.  Because of this we are paying extra for Porter Davis to provide waterproofing to the CURRENT Australian Standard rather than their "Alternative Solution" which uses a previous level of Australian Standards. So needless to say I am surprised they have taken the maintenance clause from their alternative solution and included it as a note at the end of the tender document. I am not sure if it is on all tender documents but I am not happy.

I am happy to use a bath mat as we do this already. I’m happy to remove excess water after showering as we do this as well. These are reasonable requests. I am not happy that we are expected to :

Maintaining any sealing system including waterproof membranes, caulking, shower seals, silicon adhesives, penetration seals, wall and floor junction seals etc, so that they are waterproof and and achieve the required seal. Sealing systems should be inspected and replaced(as necessary) on a regular basis. Maintainance should occur at a minimum of every 12 months and may need to be increased if aggressive shower cleaning agents are used.

Given the issues we have had with our bathroom I am very weary of this clause. How do you maintain a waterproof membrane? How do you inspect the waterproof membrane? How do you perform maintenance on a waterproof membrane every 12 months? Surely to do this you would need to remove the tiles and more than likely damage the membrane in the process. Do Porter Davis expect us to replace the membrane and tiles every 12 months? Surely they can build bathrooms to stand up to the 10 year structural warranty? Needless to say this will need further discussion as it isn’t reasonable to expect this.

Our appointment did not last very long as they did not need to go away and make the required updates or discuss any of the issues today. Both our presenter and our Building Co-ordinator were lovely and although we had a few issues they listened and agreed to look into it. It was agreed they will work on our Tender document and we will review the documents mid October after our holiday. Contract signing has been cancelled until Tender completed. Luckily our land does not title until February 2017 so we are not yet in a hurry.

Thursday, 27 October 2016

World Of Style - Kitchen

Next up was kitchen.

 We knew what colors we wanted so choosing was easy. Reading Homeone I knew to make sure the splashback would be one piece. Our consultant made a note to ask during our Kitchen Culture appointment

 Kitchen Stone:: blanco matrix
cabinets: polar white gloss
Splashback: western mall

Laundry Cabinets: Lustrous Elm
Benchtop: Lustrous Elm
We decided to keep laminate bench tops in the laundry and matched them to the cabinets. We saw this at WOS and it looked good for the laundry.

Bathroom Stone: blanco matrix
Cabinets: ? wood

Kitchen Culture

Next we sat down to go through our kitchen design. Not surprisingly her plans were different again. Thankfully we had our Hillside 34 plans with us and our consultant had to change the measurements on her plans to ensure she advised us correctly. Boy are we going to have to go through our plans at tender with a fine tooth comb!

 I am so glad I read about the splashback on Homeone as our splash back would not have been one piece as our kitchen was too wide (if the plans were correct, of course). I made it clear that the splashback would have to be one piece or I would change to tiles. We agreed to make our kitchen smaller by 10cm to ensure a single splashback piece could be used. I asked for it to be specified on the plan as a note that 1 piece was to be used.

 Our plans include a butlers pantry and a pantry. Don’t be fooled that the butlers pantry is any differnet to the pantry. Porter Davis only include shelving in the butlers pantry, the same as in a pantry. We included cabinetry to the butlers pantry as well as a sink.

Additional Upgrades:
4 pot drawers, 2 on either side of the oven
free standing 900mm oven – included in promotion.
4 under cupboard lights
80mm stone edge to island benchtop (40mm included in promotion)
40mm stone edge on remaining bench tops
support post to the benchtopm(same as display home)
double cabinet to one end of island bench (same as show home)
cabinetry above fridge opening
silk finish on all cabinetry
microwave space to Galley cabinetry
bank of 2 drawers to bathroom
additional under bench cabinetry to laundry
overhead cabinetry to laundry

 Although we knew what we wanted it was still time consuming. It was time for a break. We had 10 mintues before meeting with our tile consultant. Our first consultant did advise us that they have changed the appointment for the Hillside to be over 2 days because it is such a big house. On one hand I am glad we only had to take 1 day off work but on the other hand I don not want to be rushed into making decisions. We scoffed down a sandwich from the cafĂ© on site and headed to tiles. I wonder if she will have the correct plans?

Did you feel rushed making your decisions?

World Of Style

World Of Style - colors 

 I'm a bit late updating my blog but I'll do my best to catch up on all thats been happening.

 My sister and I had tickets to Neale Whittacker at World of Style so I decided to arrive earlier and check out the displays. I figured if I could make a few decisions on what I wanted and plant the seed with hubby he would think they were his decisions!

 We had arranged to have a tour of World Of Style before our appointment. We had the lovely XXXXX take us around. We had a clear idea of what we wanted and amazingly hubby and I were on the same page. My biggest disappointment was with the stone choices. I think it is poor form on Porter Davis to only have 3 cat 1 stones to choose from. They have a large range of stone and you are sure to find something you like if you want to spend the money. Lucky for us we wanted something similar to what we have now and it was one of the 3 from Cat 1.

 The day before our appointment and we were ready. Or so I thought. We had a call from our WOS consultant asking if we had any questions and I asked what time we were likely to finish and was advised 5pm. Oh crap… Although I knew it was an all day thing I hadn’t processed what that meant. I had arranged for someone to take the kids to school but not for someone to pick them up and look after them until I got home! A quick ring around and we had that sorted.

 Appointment day arrived and we were a little early so we sat and enjoyed a coffee. Because we had been before we knew parking could be an issue. Make sure you take coins for the parking meters and find a spot for all day parking. We started off with Colors. The first thing we noticed was the plans they were using were incorrect. We were building a Hillside 34 and the plans were the 35 version. Our consultant made a note for tender.


Colorbond roof: monument
Windows: monument
Brick: Homestead Buff
Front door: monument
Render for portico: dune
Gables: dune

Carpet: Cedar plank
Laminate: Rustic Dusty Rock

Driveway: aggregate (bottom sample in below photo)

What do you think of our selections so far? What colours did you choose?

Thursday, 18 August 2016


We started looking at houses while we were waiting for the Stage 4 land release. We fell in love with the Metricon Santorini but kept looking around at other builders. We then fell more in love with the Henley Monteray Belle! The sales agent did not have time to talk to us which I thought was a bit rude as we were genuine buyers. She didn’t even request our number to follow up. I emailed Henley asking for a quote and I received an email to let me know I had been assigned a sales agent and they would get back to me within a couple of days. After a follow up email and another few weeks wait I spoke to another sales agent only to be told Henley do not build in Romsey.  

And then we walked through the Hillside at Romsey. We didn’t dare consider it because it was out of our budget. Although I love the design of the Monteray Belle we started to think a ranch style house would suit the block better as it would give us the feeling of a bigger back garden. The more we walked through the Hillside the more I fell in love with it. We worked with Tracy and did our numbers over and over again. The Hillside was for us and we would make the numbers work. 

The display home is a Hillside 35 which wouldn't quite fit on our land.  Although we have a 30m frontage we are required to have 3m either side of the house.  The Hillside35 was 77cm too wide.  Porter Davis were great and modified the plans to allow those with the blocks at Lomandra to fit the Hillside.  They introduced the Hillside34.

Here it is

We have added the option for the 2nd alfresco to the side and the soaker tub to the ensuite.  We have also moved the doors to the main bedroom to create a hallway in the bedroom.  


We were looking at Lomandra estate in Romsey and were umming and arrrring over which lot to purchase.  We decided to wait until Stage 4 and buy one of the 1500m2 blocks.  The lots were being released at midday, April 16 but we received an email bringing the time forward to 10am because of the high demand for the bigger blocks.   There was one particular lot that I had my heart set on and I knew we needed to be there early in order to nab it.  Given we live a couple of hours away we did the unthinkable.  We arrived the night before and slept in the car!!  Hah, and we thought we were too old for that.  It was exciting.  We dropped the kids off with my sister and away we went armed with the laptop, a few dvd’s and a book.

We were the first to arrive but not the only ones sleeping out.  I am so glad we did it because we got the lot we were after.  But I won’t do that again, I prefer a bed to a car.

And here it is…

Looking towards the back garden

                                     Looking towards the front, the road is behind those trees

We have been out a few times now to look at our grass and head across to Macedon.  What better way to finish the day than a visit to the Holgate’s Brewerey!


I thought it was time I attempted my first blog and what better topic to blog about than building our first house in Australia.

It all started earlier in the year with a search for a secondary school that would fit my children's learning style.  After a lot of research we toured Alice Miller in Macedon and knew immediately it was the school for us.  Our application was accepted and big decisions needed to be made.  We live in the Eastern suburbs and the school was in the Macedon Ranges!  At least we don't start year 7 until 2018.  We did look for an established house but we decided to buy land and build our own house.

I am creating this blog to detail the journey and to share with family and friends.  Feel free to follow along and make comments along the way.