Tuesday, 20 November 2012

Check, check again and again and again.

When dollars are tight you can't afford to make any mistakes.  I learnt a valuable lesson today - even when you think something is right get your builder to check it and then check it again.

Just as James clicked the send button to the place the hardwood flooring and decking order I decided to compare the provisional cost indicated in our quotation with the final price received.  As soon as I saw the prices, $4500 vs $5900, I knew something was amiss.  We were getting an exceptionally good price and I had expected it to be way under the provisional cost than over.  In fact some of the other decisions I am making are based on that I am expecting to be under, rather than over budget on the timber used.

As soon as our builder arrived I mentioned this to him.  It was decided that it might be a good idea to re-measure now that the framework is up.  Thank goodness we did as the original measurements, taken off the plan, were incorrect as the laundry and powder room had been included.  They should not have as they will be tiled with nice penny rounds.  It also became apparent that the flooring for the kitchen/living area had not been factored into the original quote as the builder had assumed there would be original flooring that was usable - not too happy about this but need to look on the bright side that it could be a whole lot worse if we weren't getting such a discount.

This certainly gave me a wake-up call.  I've been coasting along assuming that the builder will get it all right.  The fact of the matter is that mistakes do happen and I need to get on top of things to ensure they don't. We've decided to get up early in the morning and do a bit of measuring and checking to make sure that since the frameworks up that all the doors and windows are in the right place!

Guess it pays to be living on site!

Friday, 16 November 2012

As I sit and write this there are three strong, very hot (as in heat not looks) men carrying framework up our narrow side path.   Things have been moving fairly slowly over the last 10 days since the ground work finished but I understand that once the framework goes up its entirely possible that the roof could be going on next Friday

Since the picture below was taken the back part (the old kitchen) has been removed.   Seeing the "footprint" of the space and the deck has been reassuring - we've always been a little concerned that the area wasn't going to be big enough, however we can see now that it will be very functional and the deck is going to be huge - big enough for complete outdoor living - table/chairs and a lounge suite.  I'm very excited about this as I have always loved a lounge outside.  I've been busying googling rattan lounge suites on ebay in a hope to get one and restore it.  The deck area is basically from where you see the gap between the particle board.

Gone are the old cement steps, these will be covered in lovely spotted gum decking, the space under the floor on the right is standing room heigh and we're thinking that this can be used for a tool room and space for messy activities like mosaics - something I love doing but don't always want to have to clean up afterwards.

Unfortunately we have to remove two trees that we were hoping to keep - they were going to be just too close to the roof line.  James says he is never going to remove another tree stump in his life - given that he has been know to walk around wearing t-shirts stating "trees spoil city views" - I'm not quite sure that I believe him!

Tuesday, 6 November 2012

Bored by board width

The amount of bandwidth I've used looking at board widths is concerning.  Why is it that just when you think you've got a decision locked in something throws a spanner in the works?

I've really got no-one else to blame but myself really considering I've got Queensland's God of Timber in the office next to me at work and I left it until today, the day I was supposed to order the floorboards, to casually mention over a glass of champagne at the Melbourne Cup lunch, that I was planning on using 180mm Spotted Gum floorboards.

What I really wanted my floor to look like.
Well I'm not anymore....

Apparently the wider the board the more likely the floor will "cup".  Cupping in solid hardwood means the boards raise slightly at their edges making the hardwood flooring uneven across its width. The cause of cupping is an imbalance of moisture through the timber.  Given our unstable climate - throwing itself between extreme wet and extreme dry - the potential of this occurring concerns me.

Narrow width solid hardwoods are always more stable and less prone to movement than wider width flooring. I've been advised 80mm boards would be the safest to use but I really want wide boards - the existing pine boards in are 150mm, so I think I will have to choose between 130mm and 150mm. 

I guess erring on the side of caution would be sensible - but who says the girl who goes shoe shopping after four glasses of champagne is sensible?

Sunday, 4 November 2012

Hot, cold and sparkling!

I've won a couple of scratchies before, and I even won a crocheted rug in a raffle once but nothing comes event close to the competition I won on Friday!

In a fabulous piece of timing and luck I won a Zip HydroTap.  YAY!!!  For those not in the know this is a beautiful piece of equipment that instantly provides boiling, chilled and sparkling filtered water.  

This is not me - I am allergic to dogs and have milk in my tea. I do have brown hair though.
I went to the HIA Home Show a couple of months ago and entered a competition which required me to state why I would like a Zip HydroTap - my response was:

“Because water is life! And we love life!”

Clearly I am going to start loving my life even more when I've got this tap in my shiny, sparkly new kitchen.  Think of all the time I'm going to save not filling up water bottles, boiling the kettle and going to Coles to buy replacement soda stream canisters!  

James was excited with my win but ever-budget conscious his thoughts immediately turned to how much this would add to the power bill.  Having had a look at the product website it appears not too much - you can set it to only heat at certain times which translates the cost to less than $1.90 a week in power.  

Now all I have to do is work out where to place it my fancy new kitchen - which I am getting for an amazing price.   I'll tell you all about it next time...j

Thursday, 1 November 2012

Progress report

Coming home from work each day at the moment is almost like Christmas morning.  There is something that's exciting and has cost a lot waiting for us every single day!!  We returned from holidays   without too much having been demolished, however a couple of days later John the Digger Man arrived.

And he dug.

And he dug.

And he kept digging until he removed four layers of concrete!  This was considerably more than the initial layer of concrete and a layer of bricks that was expected to be there.  There were layers of tiles, more layers of bricks and more layers of tiles.  And then they hit paydirt - rock! (on the other side of the hill we live on is the old Windsor Quarry so rock was expected - thank god we decided against a pool for the rock reason) Twelve truck loads of fill were removed - so that's the first cost variation!

Following all the excavation we had a few days delay as the timber order for the retaining walls and flooring joists was delayed.  However, it was very exciting when it arrived and a big thank you has to go to Bretts Hardware at Windsor for the great prices they are providing.  

Apparently he was a super duper delivery driver because it was a tricky delivery that he got spot on.  We're on a hill and trying to place large, heavy pallets of timber as far as possible up a steep driveway with a swinging crane is no easy task.  I watched this and then thought of the effort Ross and Shane will have to make carrying it all up the back and blessed my cotton socks for my air-conditioned office.

Plenty more has been done but it's taken me about 2 weeks to finish this post - so it's going up now like it or not!