Saturday, July 18, 2015

Getting back into it

Well, it's been some time since I updated. That was due to one main thing - money.
When the initial quote came back and then some things happened in our life that ate up some of our savings, we ended up putting our build on the back burner for as long as we could.
The effect that had on me was that I was so disappointed in not being able to dive into the build side of things, I didn't even want to think about designs and colours and furniture. It seemed so far in the future it was almost out of reach again.

Things Change

Our builder sent an email last weekend asking if we were ready to get things started and at first we thought no, but after a lot of talking, doing figures and finding out it will likely still take a number of months of planning before we get started on site, then it turns out we can get started on planning now. Awesome!

We also ended up speaking to the bank this week and got pre-approval. It's one more load off our minds, that's for sure.


We have a meeting with the builder today. I am expecting that we will go over the modified plans and updated quote. Crossing our fingers that the figure is reasonable, however I expect that we will have to go back and make more changes. A few things we asked them to quote on were things on our wishlist that we had no idea on the price.

We may also book in our colour appointment, so the research is on! I am hoping that we will be able to go and visit some of the suppliers to look at the different options in each category before our colour appointment. I want to take lots of photos for comparison so I will be sure to post them here too. The hubby is not too fussed on most of the colour options, so it's mostly on me to get it right. Yikes! :)

Tuesday, March 3, 2015

Initial Quote

So a few months has passed since I last posted and not that much has changed, ha ha.
We did get a draft of the Ruby design before Christmas, changed to better fit on our block of land. I am really liking the changes they made. The pulled the garage and the ensuite bathroom out to the sides of the house, to better utilise the block width.

When we were shown the changes we were really happy but not completely satisfied. The changes to move the rooms to the side had left us with a 2m x 2m study, which would be ok if it was for one person but not big enough for both my husband and I to work in there at the same time.
So we requested that they move the study wall back to make it 3m x 2m instead. That pushed the kitchen and island 1m into the Dining and Living room, but it was a sacrifice we are willing to make. It also had the positive impact of making the Walk in Pantry (WIP) even bigger! Yay!

The other big plus in the shifting of those rooms is that by needing an internal access into the garage, the sales guy moved the Rumpus/Media room further forward and we've ended up with a hallway through from the garage to the middle of the house. We decided to get them to move the Media room wall out a bit more and instead of a hallway, we now will have a Mud Room where we will put in cupboards and a bench, to have room to store shoes, jackets, pet stuff and so on. It's perfect for us.

Extra Storage - is there ever too much?

We also had extra storage added, in the form of a linen cupboard that runs the length of the back hallway. On the original plan there was just a little cupboard at the end of the hallway and I know from lack of storage at our current house (and from the many comments we've had from friends and family every time we tell them about adding storage) - everyone says that you need all the storage you can get! Plus, it seems to be much cheaper to add cupboards and things now than it will be to even buy storage furniture. Of course, it's pretty permanent but I like the idea of storage being built in to keep the feeling of the house a bit less cluttered.

The Initial Quote is in!

We met with the Sales person from Granvue last week and he gave us the Initial Quote. We had to wait a bit for it since there was summer holidays and we had a few committments ourselves and couldn't make it to the display for a while. Eventually he came out to us!

Needless to say, as the quote had included almost everything from our wishlist, it was a little steep. There were also a couple of semi-unexpected aspects, such as a large fee for the difficulty in building in an established area, as well as site cost estimates being a little higher than I was expecting (and that's only the estimate - it could be higher).

Seeing the quote has made us put our thinking caps on again. We went to visit the display (again!) to get a better idea of what some of the items in the quote are and tonight we are sitting down to go through everything one by one. Then the next step is to go back with the changes.

The Future of Small Steps

On another note, since it's taking so long to get plans together and it will be some time before we start building (but that's another story), I'm going to expand the blog to start discussing some ideas that I have for designing and decorating the house as well. I'm working on some ideas now and I'm so excited!

Friday, December 5, 2014

Lexington Belle Q2 vs Ruby 31

I was all ready to have my second post be about the house design we had fallen for, however we've done that thing where we've found a second one that we may even like more than the first.

I've decided to do this post on them both :-)

The Belle

The first house design we really, truly, felt could be our forever house was the 'Lexington Belle Q2' by Henley.

 photo LexingtonBelleQ2.jpg
Henley 'Lexington Belle Q2' Floorplan

We love the layout of having all of the living areas close together. Great for entertaining or keeping an eye on kidlets in the future. It has the four bedrooms we are after, as well as an ensuite with a double size shower and separate toilet. Also has a Butlers Pantry and a pretty big island bench. Swoon!
The only problem we had was that Henley are firm on not making any structural changes beyond the 'options' they have available. This means we can't do little tweaks that we wanted if we go with them... To me, it takes a little bit of the shine off if you can't build your own house the way you want...

But then Henley kind of got kicked to the curb...

The Ruby

It was about a month ago that we went to visit a display at Melton South and being Cup Weekend (which I hadn't even thought about), the display we wanted to see was closed, so we went into the Granvue display for the first time. As soon as we walked into the Ruby we loved it! It's so spacious, with storage galore in the Master bedroom, big shower again, separate toilet, etc.

But it was the kitchen/living/dining room that really made it perfect for us. The Ruby has an extremely long bench as well as a huge walk in pantry area. I could straight away see ourselves entertaining there, cooking dinner after work, or enjoying the alfresco area during warmer months.

 photo GranvueRubyFloorplan.jpg
Granvue 'Ruby' Floorplan
So we put down some money with Granvue in order for them to start working the plan a little to get it to fit onto our block. Once they have come up with a plan that we like, they will price it for us and we will have to start cutting things out so that we can afford it, ha ha. 

I'm really looking forward to seeing what they come up with for us!

Sunday, October 26, 2014


It was nearly 8 months ago that my other half and I, while strolling around a park after my birthday dinner, decided to take a look at some land and display homes and see if building a new house might be an option for us. For the two years up until then, we had been doing up bits and pieces of our 1950's ex-public housing 3 bedroom, 1 bathroom house and it just wasn't cutting it. The phrase 'you can't polish a turd' comes to mind. Excuse the language.
The Living Room in the Box during painting

The Box

I had bought the house in 2007, as a way of getting my foot into the housing market. I had always wanted to keep it for a couple of years, do some improvements and then upgrade to something nicer. Life had other plans though. A failed relationship, redundancy and lots of debt later and I started renting the house out while I moved in with my (then) boyfriend and his mother. Eventually I found a good job, got on top of the debt, got married and my husband (P) and I decided to do some minor renovations and then move into the house ourselves.

Falling in Love

We visited the Point Cook display villages first and absolutely fell in love with the idea of building a house from scratch. The houses are so well laid out now, compared to our rather boxy 50's aluminium clad house. The thought of picking out everything for ourselves and not being left with someone else's mistakes to deal with had great appeal.

Finding the Right Spot

Around this time we also started looking at land. We wanted to stick to our local area, as we like it and there are lots of new estates around here. I was leaning towards a new estate but P wanted something in a well-established area. I suspected this was mainly due to lack of technology available in some of the new estates. We noted that mobile coverage is poor in those estates, and a lot are still waiting on options for Internet and such to be connected. As I work from home quite often and P is in IT and is often tinkering with his server and network stuff, going without Internet is not really an option for us.

It became a pretty much daily activity for either of us to be doing searches for land on - either at home or during our work lunch breaks!
I think it was a rainy Saturday evening in late March that P found a search that didn't make sense. A house that was listed under 'Land' sales? It was a large-ish block at 550m2 and was only a couple of minutes away in an established estate. So we jumped in the car to go check it out.
We realised quickly that the block highlighted on the website's satellite photo was not actually the one for sale. It was actually the one two doors up, which was a bit bigger than listed (it's actually just under 620m2, not 550m2). We also realised pretty quickly why it was being listed as land only.
The house had been absolutely gutted by a fire. From satellite photos we were able to find online, not one room in the house had been left untouched. It must have been pretty devastating.
I'm almost ashamed to say that it made us excited. The location was pretty much perfect. A bus stop across the road, a park with trees and a playground a block down the street, close to my parents and still close to the freeway. It even had a little milk bar only a few houses down! Ok, the milk bar I got a little too excited about but it made me nostalgic - we had one near where I grew up and I still have fond memories of walking there with my little brother and sister and picking out icy-poles during summer.

We made an offer on the block that week and part of the deal was that the vendors arranged and saw through the demolition of the house, so that what we bought was a clear block.
It turned out to be a good thing, because apparently a burned-out house on a block is seen by a bank valuer as higher risk and harder to sell than a clear block. So the initial valuation came in pretty low but the second one (once the demolition was over with) was spot on. Yay!
It was a pretty stressful time, getting through all the paperwork and organising everything for the sale. I was glad to see the end of it. By the end of June we were the proud owners of a plot of dirt to build our dream home - we were also the owners of two mortgages!!
Our new block! This was right after the demo

It was maybe not the smartest thing to do. Buying the land was kind of an impulse decision (even though we'd done sums and talked it out with a family-friend broker and that kind of thing before hand). It just means that we now have to start saving again to be able to build rather than being able to build straight away like we want to. Luckily, being an older area, we are not bound to start building within a set period of time.

Here we Are

So here we are, looking at display houses (and visiting the same one over and over - but more on that in a future post). We go to home expos, watch a lot of design TV shows and we love daydreaming what it will look like and how we will live in our house once it's built.