Sunday, 17 November 2013

Planning, Planning, Planning

Now that the PWC was checked off our list of things to do, we need to start getting organised for our holiday.

We have a 6 week trip to the USA planned.  The main reason for the trip is to visit D's family but also hopefully to get a little bit of relaxation and rest in... We'll see!

So onto the list writing, with two adults and to children to pack for there was definitely a long list- we are also trying to fit everything into just a couple of bags so that we can come back with plenty of shopping.

Not to mention making sure that we had car seats, car rental, travel insurance, transport to and from airports etc.  We are having three different stops- so we needed literally everything.  Bathers for Hawaii and winter coats and boots for snow in Chicago

In the meantime everything was going along smoothly with our land settlement.

We had also advised Boutique that we were heading away and that we would be looking at scheduling our colours and electrical appointment for February.

Thursday, 14 November 2013

PWC Signing

Today we finally signed our PWC.

In fairness to our sales consultant and Boutique Homes we were quiet particular about what we wanted and hence the reason for taking our time signing.

The process went very smoothly, the sales consultant had already emailed us a copy to make sure it was correct- so the version I signed was exactly the same as what I had already seen.  He met 'D' and I at D's office so it was all very convenient.

We also wanted to be close to the settlement date for our land, just for a bit of piece of mind.

Our land is due to settle on the 22nd of November, we are looking forward to that milestone.

In the meantime we are getting ready for a big overseas holiday.......

Tuesday, 12 November 2013

Personalising the House

Now that we had chosen the house we needed to think about the personalisations we would need to make the house a home for us.

This is what we came up with:

  • Double glazing to all window
  • Refrigerative cooling
  • Additional thermostat for heating and cooling to be placed upstairs
  • Double doors to study (to be play room)
  • Make alcove in hallway (opposite laundry) into coat cupboard
  • Open up pantry to create a butlers pantry
  • Wide kitchen window over bench top in lieu of splash back 
  • Extend living area and alfresco by 1 metre
  • Increase width of island bench by 0.5 metres
  • Additional cabinets to rear of island bench
  • Balastrading to stairs to be wrought iron
  • Bamboo floors to ground floor (except laundry and powered room- tiles and study and lounge- carpet)
  • Extend bench top in laundry to go over dryer space
  • Extend rumpus room by 1 metre
  • Add rain water shower head to master ensuite
  • Create walk in linen next to bedroom 3
  • Convert existing wardrobe in bedroom 3 to a walk in
  • Increase ceiling hight and hence door/window heights
  • Extend width of garage by 2 metres
  • Add a colorbond roller to door to the rear of the garage
  • 10,00 L water tank to be plumbed to toilets and laundry (as per land covanent)
  • Exposed aggregate driveway
  • Upgrade to grande facade
We also considered removing the bathroom to bedroom 4 but decided the credit back wasn't really worth it.

So as you can see from our list above we had a lot go over with our PWC but our sales consultant was very accommodating and helped us get to where we needed to be.

Tuesday, 5 November 2013

And the Winner is.....

Boutique Homes!!!

After visiting both displays a number of times we decided that the Montpellier 43 by Boutique Home is the way forward for us.

There are a number of reasons we chose the Montpellier.  Firstly, the layout seemed to work best for us.  Each time we walked into the house is felt right, we could see each room being used for a certain purpose.  The house would work beautifully on the land and our views would be maximised. We also liked the idea that we would be working with a smaller volume builder and figured the experience would be slightly more personal.

This is the Montpellier 43:

As displayed at Williams Landing.

Sunday, 3 November 2013

Finding the Right House

Whilst we were looking for land and negotiating on land we were also looking at display houses.

We wanted to get an idea of what was possible within our budget and I also liked the idea of walking through a house rather than just looking at plans on paper and imagining the design in my head.

One of the things that concerned me was that our children were too young to have stairs in the house, but we also wanted a house the we could grow into.  We also had to remind ourselves that the children would be at least a year older by the time we would move into the house, so their capabilities would change.

We made a list of what we wanted in a home:

  • 4 bedrooms
  • At least two bathrooms, maybe three
  • Separate toy room, with a door to close away the mess
  • Study/office
  • Good size master bedroom
  • Open plan living/kitchen/dining area
  • Large kitchen
  • Lots of storage
We ended up with two designs that we liked.  The first was with Porter Davis.  The Marbella 42, with the master bedroom on the first floor.

Here are the plans:

With this house we liked layout and spacious feel of the house but were unsure of the living area.  We weren't sure about the dinning table being located the the middle of the room and not off the side.  The master bedroom also wasn't as big as we would like.

The second house we liked was with Boutique Homes.  The Montpellier 43.

Here are the plans:

The first thing that stood out with this house is the massive master bedroom, the whole front is windows and we would get amazing bay views.  The stairs were also great because they weren't one long staircase by the front door, there was a landing halfway up that was a full landing without there being actual turns in the staircase.  The kitchen was a generous size and worked well with the living and dinning area.  The only thing that we were't sure on was having so many bathrooms.

Wednesday, 30 October 2013

About Our Land

Once decided on our land, then came the negotiations with the owners via the real estate agent.  This proved to be a little bit drawn out as the couple selling the land where going through a marriage break up, hence the real estate agent was dealing with two individuals that had different expectations.  However, we got there in the end.  The settlement date was scheduled for November 22nd which worked out perfectly for us because we were due to go overseas on the 27th of November.

The block of land we secured is approximately 1600m2, making it big enough to really fit whatever house we chose.  The block is wider at the back and narrower at the front, which means that we will need to keep in mind the width of the frontage when choosing a house.  The views are fantastic, so hopefully we'll be able to build a house that takes advantage of the position.

Monday, 28 October 2013

Searching & Researching

So now came the massive task of finding a block of land.

We found out pretty quickly that each piece of land had its own complications.

Most commonly:

  • Trees (we would need permits to remove trees, therefore additional costs)
  • Shape of block (many of the blocks where either very narrow or very wide limiting what we can/can't build)
  • Slope on block (we found that anything slopping more than three metres was going to require a custom builder and a lot more money)
  • Fire zone (all of the peninsula is considered a fire zone, the level of fire zone would determine how much more $$ it would cost to bring the house to the appropriate standard)
These were just a few things.

I was constantly reading the 'homeone' forum for information and reading blogs to get ideas and opinions.  On top of that I was making list of things that our potential house needed and therefore what kind of block would suit us.

The block we wanted should have all of these things:
  • Size (at least 1000m2)
  • Fairly flat (1-2M slope at most)
  • Close to the beach (preferably walking distance)
  • Closer to D's work (no more than a 20 minute drive)
After searching and researching we found two blocks that we liked.  Both fit our criteria in different ways and each block would require a completely different house.  

When I say different house, I mean that one block would suit a two story house and the other a single story.  This didn't really bother us because we were confident we would be able to find the right house plan to fit the block we chose.

A lot of people prefer to find the land to suit the house they like, but we really felt that the land was the biggest investment and therefore finding a piece of land that would really appreciate was very important to us.

So in the end we chose the biggest block, which also had amazing views of the bay and lucky for us was the cheapest.  It is also in the area I favour for schools the only down side is that it's 5 minutes further away from D's work compared to the other block but still 20ish minutes (not too bad).

Here is our block of land!!!!!

Sunday, 27 October 2013

In the Beginning...

We thought that now would be a good time to start our first blog, not only so other people can read about building our new home but also so we can look back and read about our experiences and hopefully have a laugh!

It all started when we bought our first house (in Australia). It's a great three bedroom house on the Southern Mornington Peninsula.  Its a brick home with lots of potential to be an amazing home- if only we had the time and expertise to put into it.  We had lots of ideas in ways to improve the home but the idea of renovating and living in the house with two small children did not appeal to us.  

The bigger issue at hand is the amount of time D spends travelling to and from work.  He really needs to be closer and the more we look at our lifestyle and think about the future it has become increasing clear that our current location is not the right area for us.

So, we started 'the search'!  We spent a couple of weekends looking at established homes within our price range, it was pretty disheartening to say the least.  Whilst the homes we were looking at were lovely, they weren't really what we had in mind.  The biggest factor for us was that we wanted a house that didn't need any work- especially the kitchen and bathrooms.  Nothing we looked at fit into that criteria.  Ideally we wanted to be close to the beach (within walking distance) and close to good schools.  

I had always been very wary of building, but we decided that we really should look into it. And so we did....