Tuesday, 18 September 2012

Necessity is the mother of all invention during a live-in reno

I'm not really going to  miss this room.
While living in the middle of a building site for several months sounds like a nightmare to most, to James and I it just makes good sense.  I'd rather be able to afford to have a few more bells and whistles in our fit out than cook cordon bleu for a while!

After a hectic weekend of sorting out, letting the boys watch copious amounts of television and several bouts of takeaway the boxes were all packed and our kitchen was ready to be removed.  I put an ad up on Gumtree a few weeks ago to sell the whole kit and caboodle (cabinetry, stovetop, oven, sink, rangehood) for $350.  Given it was a timber kitchen it really was a steal (10 calls in 12 hours was also a good indication that it was priced well) but I couldn't bear the thought of it going into landfill and we didn't want to have to do any removing ourselves, so the deal was the buyer did all the hard yakka taking it out.  This all happened yesterday without too much drama.  It's fascinating to see the remaining carcass - all this will be demolished.

The main reason that we're able to stay here whilst the renovation takes place is that all the work is happening at the rear of the property and Ross is able to board off the work area leaving us with what is essentially a safe and secure 2 bed apartment.  We've got 2 bedrooms, 2 bathrooms and a large living area at our disposal.

The room will be "boarded off" from where the architrave is (and if anyone wants it let me know)

My solution to make our "apartment" work was for the boys to move into the front bedroom (previously used as a study),  turn the main bathroom (which is pretty big) into a kitchen and for us all to use our ensuite for the duration.  I must say I am pretty pleased with the kitchen.  The pictures speak for themselves:
Ta da! Note the toilet is taped up!
I've got microwave, weber bbq, 2 burner gas top, slow cooker and about 20 pre-cooked meals  and lots of baking in the freezer!
My dining table is sitting over the top of the bath - all my appliances (whizz, sandwich press etc) are sitting underneath.
Yes that is a pantry in the shower!
(note the taps weren't removed until after one small boy decided to see if they still worked...they did)
Check out my sink - sourced on Gumtree for $30.  Simply took the bathroom vanity out and voila!
I must admit I don't think the whole kitchen-bathroom deal would work so well without this fabulous find. 
Two breakfasts, two school lunches and two dinners down and no complaints...yet.
The paper towel holder of champions!! 
'What's for dinner?" - the question on everyone's lips at the end of the day!
So I'm feeling pretty relaxed about the whole live-in arrangement at present. Of course that's before it's all started and I might change my tune fairly quickly.  We're off to South West Rocks for the holidays and the demolition should happen whilst we're away.  No point hanging around asbestos removal; it's so expensive - about $1200 a room - just imagine I could be going 5 star rather than camping under the stars if we didn't have to pay for that!!

Saturday, 15 September 2012

Signed, sealed and to be delivered!

Finished or just starting? It's an interesting conumdrum.  It's felt like a journey getting to the point of having FINAL APPROVED PLANS!

It's been an busy10 days in our household, aside from hosting the flu from hell and dealing with possible a possible job redundancy (avoided..phew!) we've been focused on a paper trail to get those approved plans in our hot little hands.

Our aim has been for the work to start no later than the end of September and there has been a myriad of hurdles to jump before going hat in hand to the bank for final approval of funds, who then take up to 4 weeks us the nod and provide the builder with a "notice to proceed."

We used Les Kirby at Catalyst Building Approvals , he informed us that before he would provide building approval we needed to

1. Builders Registration Insurance is required before the release of the plans for construction. Would you please have your registered builder lodge his insurance fees with the Queensland Building Services Authority and provide a copy of the confirmation number to our office. For additional information contact Building Services Authority www.bsa.qld.gov.au or 32252800

2. Qleave is applicable to building works in excess of $80000. This levy is payable at an Australia Post Office calculated on the total value of works. Additional information regarding this call 1800 803481 or www.qleave.qld.gov.au

But to get these documents we needed a signed builders contract (which we didn't realise, we thought you could get the approval and then shop around with builders - apparently not) .  So we finally made the decision confirmed with Ross Stone, Prestige Building Group and signed a contract.  

Then it was back to the bank with all of the documentation above, plus plenty more to get the final funds.

This all took place about 10 days ago and life has been chaotic since then.  I'm writing this on the couch in the middle of absolute chaos - packing boxes, a temporary kitchen half set up in the bathroom and a huge day of sorting things out tomorrow before our kitchen is removed on Monday!!