Monday, December 19, 2011

Hi Guys!

Great early Christmas present with the build taking shape, it's so exciting seeing the frame work and envisioning the room that's being built before your eyes. I wish you all a very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year and see you next year with more progress and hopefully a smooth run from now till handover!

Wednesday, October 26, 2011


Sorry for the lack of updates, our land took far longer than we were told to be ready, apparently at the end of next week it will finally be able to go through and settlement is in another two weeks after that. Just glad that Porter Davis has been patient and hasn't hit us with a whopping amount because our start date was late. Will be posting more updates as the build starts!

Sunday, April 24, 2011

Electrical Appointment

You know when you've already blown the budget at the colour and tile appointments and tell yourself that it's okay because you won't be upgrading anything during electrical therefore you can afford to spend a little extra here and there? Yeah that's what we did and we lied to ourselves big time. Well we ended up spending around 5-6k but that's only because the majority of upgrades we chose were only the installed wiring for the things we'd buy ourselves and install later. We had the wiring done for the tv brackets, intercom, fan placement and ducted theatre surround sound/music (my mother really wants Michael Buble all over the house like the display homes have) which is still expensive in itself but does save us some money for things we can do a little bit later. We also realised that we needed a whole heap of extra double power points for table lamps and reinforced pendant light holders for the staircase and dining for future chandeliers. We also put in down lights for the theatre room, a dimmer, front entrance lighting, a pay tv point, extra tv points, another phone point and rear fog lights...we didn't really expect all of that to equate to that much money but unfortunately it does. We just keep telling ourselves that it's best in the long run to have it all done at once.

Thursday, April 7, 2011

Waldorf 48 at William's Landing Display

It was a really rainy gloomy day when we visited the displays at Williams Landing, i didn't really feel like leaving the house but we needed to sort out an issue with our sales consultant in the same location and decided to have a look at the prestige displays while we were there. As soon as we stepped inside we felt overwhelmingly at home and like we never wanted to leave. Buble was playing in the background (i think they have his dvd playing and music ducted in every display home), the fireplace warmed us immediately and an inviting sweeping staircase and check tiled entrance in gorgeous warm colours led out into a large open living area with the most perfect and timeless kitchen i've ever seen. There were cute little knick knacks Porter Davis is always good with adding to their displays and overall we both knew then that we wanted to emulate everything we saw to the best of our abilities (and budget). If you have a similar style aesthetic to me i urge you to make the trip as it's only a fifteen minute drive from Hopetoun at Port Melbourne.

Look at that entrance! The dark wood furnishings and staircase really exudes warmth and character, this is the sort of look i love.

The lounge room is timeless but a little eclectic, i love the lounges and the art deco appeal.

Must find bar stools exactly like this, it feels so open and yet intimate and homely.

We are waiting on a pricing to coat the back of the kitchen in crystal gloss like they have here, it looks beautiful!

Last one of the kitchen, ah love!

Love the curtain colour and the lounge but our rumpus will be slightly darker

These were very obviously taken from the Porter Davis website and there are many more pictures of the Waldorf and other homes on the website link and they even have a 'style finder' option if you're having a hard time finding design inspiration. I also hope this explains my probably boring colour selections, it's so important to have a foundation of colours that can be mixed and matched with a number of different coloured accessories and decor items when you want to refresh the home, after building a few homes already we were really tired of feature walls in very contrasting colours and bright kitchens and the like however tempting a bright red kitchen may be in magazines!

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Colour Appointment

Today was our colour appointment and despite nerves we soon started to enjoy ourselves and knowing the colours we'll be having makes it much easier to imagine the house when it's completed. Our consultant was very nice and thorough but i felt that the standard range for a lot of things weren't very attractive options and we found ourselves upgrading a lot of things especially the bathroom taps and sinks as the standard had a pokey side tap where you have to squash your hands under in a corner of the sink just to get them clean. Luckily due to the promotion we took we already had an upgraded sink and tapware for the powder and ensuite but we upgraded in the main bathroom and added mixer taps to the shower, laundry and bathtub. Also am i the only one who hates those standard showerheads? You know the one that falls down all the time and you're constantly having to retwist in place? Those should be banned! We upgraded to a hand held style in the main with the hand held already included for the ensuite. Other upgrades were the kitchen handles, prestige veggie sprayer tap, patterned sidelights, dead locks, privacy locks, offwhite mortar and crystal gloss to the side of the kitchen counter overlooking the dining just like the Waldorf display at Arndell. In fact everything we have chosen thus far in colour and tile selections have been made to look like the Waldorf display as it's absoloutely perfect and what i am aiming for..i'll show some pictures of the display in the next post so you can see where i'm going with my colours.

Anyway here are the selections we made!
Roof: Macquarie in Ebony
Fascia and Guttering: Colorbond Monument
Brick: Brushwood Category 1 brick with offwhite mortar
Garage: Caprice style in Colorbond Monument
Front Door: Corinthian Homebush Celebration in Deep Indian Red (wanted wood or black but wood upgrade was expensive and black was unavailable due to bubbling in the heat so will replace with mahogany wood at a later date.
Bi-Fold Doors: English Walnut stain

Internal Paint: Wattyl Smoke Pearl with Oriental White architraves
Rumpus room colour: Wattyl Reiki
Alfresco Beams: Colorbond Dune

Counter: Caesar Stone Osprey
Cupboards: Ebony Macassar
Overhead Cupboards: Pumice
Splashback: Cafe Latte tiles

Main Bathroom
Tile: Portifino Bianco Gloss
Counter: Ebony Macassar
Cupboards: Ebony Macassar
Sink: Valentino
Tapware: Raymor Torino Basic Pillar Mixer

Counter: Caesar Stone Osprey
Cupboards: Ebony Macassar
Sink: Raymor Pearl Round
Tapware: Side Handle Basin Mixer

Powder Room
Counter: Caesar Stone Osprey
Sink: Raymor Pearl Round
Tapware:  Cross Handle Taps

Category 1 Belmont Old Leather with Category 3 Supreme underlay

Top is Pumice samples above Cafe Latte tile splashback with Osprey counter and then Ebony Macassar beneath with Majestic tile finishing. To the right is Smoke Pearl internal paint, Crystal gloss Ebony Macassar and another little sample of Osprey. Terrible picture, the Ebony Macassar is much more vivid with caramel/orangey streaks through it to add some character but overall everything ties really well together.

Good news!

I'm pretty sure by now i've painted myself as an overly dramatic worry wart which might not stray too far from the truth....but i have excellent news! So we didn't go the Bianco porcelain as it was just too expensive but we found one called the Majestic at $42 or the MAXFL1540 (code) if anyone has similar decor tastes that ties in beautifully with our colour scheme and is almost identical to the Bianco except with less yellowing to it. I was dreading the tile appointment big time but it went so smoothly and swiftly that i actually found myself enjoying it! We had a choice of the glass or tile splash back but since we decided that we didn't want to upgrade to starfire (a glass splashback without iron and therefore the green tinge) we went with the tile. Here are our selections:

Main floor Tile: Majestic Ivory Polished 600x600

Splashback is in Cafe Latte (i think) 100x300 tiles pictures at end of post.

Bathroom tiles are in the standard range of Portifino Bianco gloss which i think are 400x400, pictures at end of post

Upstairs balcony tiles are in Portifino Low Lands rough finish also 400x400

I hope you can read the names i guess i made the text quite small and sorry for the picture quality i used my Blackberry instead of a camera. The selection may look a little 'boring' but we like these colours, this is going to be our forever home and we want the colours to look fresh now and in ten years time.

Close up of my Majestic sample:
You can see the little browny specks in the tile which will compliment our wood kitchen, dark furnishings and golden brown carpet!

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Bricks + Tiles

I honestly thought that i'd have more trouble choosing bricks, how do you keep to a budget and find a perfect brick? I think almost all of the builders fill in the first three categories with some of the ugliest bricks you'll ever find and then you're already $3,000 out of pocket just upgrading that but luckily we decided that we'll be rendering the front of our house and so PD has agreed to make the front of the house a standard brick and the rest of the walls our chosen 'Brown Terrain' which will bring the cost of upgrading down a bit and should hopefully go well with a biscuit coloured render to match the caramel bits found in there *fingers crossed*

[EDIT] Have since changed to Brushwood Category 1 to save costs.
No my biggest problem has been tiles. After walking into every PD display home in the vicinity i've had my heart set on large glossy tiles that made the space feel bigger and brighter and I especially fell in love with the Bianco style of tile which is in both of my favourite Porter Davis displays: The Waldorf at Williams Landing and The Chadwick at Arndell (both in the west). This magical tile offset the beautiful dark wood furniture and kitchen cupboards, the creamy kitchen counter and splash backs and complimented the carpet wonderfully. I went into a local National Tiles and was somewhat happy to find that the tile was priced at around $38 which was okay and within our budget but when i visited National Tiles for Porter Davis at Port Melbourne the Bianco tile there was priced at $60 which is ridiculous especially considering supposed builder bulk discounts. The worst thing is that we decided in our promotion that we would choose PD to do our carpet and tiling and although i am happy with the carpet, i do not want a Portofino tile, i am so against those small sized Portofino tiles that i've been moping about the house hoping my mother would realise the mental anguish this decision is causing me and would magically magic up a few thousand to cover my expensive tastes. The colours in the Portofino range are admittedly fine but i had my heart set on a large tile to combat all that grouting which i think makes tiles look very gridlike and makes a room look busier and thus smaller. I also thought that if the Portofino tile is $28.95 a sqm i could just pay the difference of upgrading the tile but apparently PD don't really do this which is odd so instead i'll have to be paying the full amount as if i had never taken the promotion in the first place but i can't fathom doing so if i'm getting tiling to this elephant of a home for 'free'. I honestly don't know what to do and i feel incredibly dramatic and miserable about the whole decision and my appointment is only a few days away, does anyone know of any Porter Davis display homes with the Portofino tile?


Our tender appointment went ahead today at Porter Davis HQ in Port Melbourne. It was excruciating waiting for the soil test results and slowly going through the contract reading when all you really want to do is tear to the very last page to check the end figure. In our case we breathed a sigh of relief and everything was okay, no nasty shocks and we even deleted a few things that for some reason made their way in there (brick infill over garage, actually why isn't this standard? The homes we built in NSW had brick infill over the garage as a standard and should really be nation wide). We didn't make many structural changes to the house, just a niche in the main bathroom shower, double doors to the study and theatre and sliding door closets to bedrooms 3 & 4 to maximize the use of space. Oh and we deleted the sliding door in the media room and put a fairly adequate window in there instead as we already had a sliding door in the dining room. Tile, colour and electrical appointments have been made and i don't know how i'll fare with sticking to our budget..

Monday, February 7, 2011

Build Option C!

Here we go! This was our dream design with a base price of $289,900. There is nothing extensive that we would ever want to change about this home save for a couple of doors around the study and rumpus but the house itself, the rooms, the living areas are exactly what we've been looking for! We were so happy to have found the Cremorne 42 and then Porter Davis had a current promotion running that included complete upgrades and full site costs (this was questionable and i'll make a post about the situation soon) that was hard to beat (wooden bi-fold doors, 2740 mm high ceilings) although Carlisle came very close. You can see with the kitchen area the surrounding rooms make it feel really open and inviting.

We love this facade, we felt that it wasn't too modern and would look lovely with a full face render.

Sorry for the squishy size, a PDF from Porter Davis can be found here.

Build Option B

The Carlisle Newington 40 was second on our list due to the great inclusions package 'As displayed sale' that Carlisle was running at the time. Most builders would know that display homes often upgrade many things to make them more appealing but they come at a cost if you wish to add them to your own house but with this we were having some very fancy upgrades that anyone would be proud of. Not to mention that our favourite facade was a mere $750 upgrade instead of the $17,500 that Burbank was asking for for the Forrester!.

This facade was free! Including rendered features

It was really hard to say no to this house but if you'll look at the floorplan you'll notice that it's not very open and creates a boxy feeling when you walk in. Although being 40 squares the back of the house especially felt very unimpressive when you closed down the rumpus room area and had just the meals area displayed. We preferred a more open plan and larger living area towards the back of the home surrounding the kitchen to make it feel light and spacey but Carlisle are quite unwilling to change their floor plans around. Begrudgingly we had to say goodbye to this one as well.

Build Option A

We had three home options in mind and found it hard to decide between the three. This was the first called the Forrester 4300:

It's a large 43 sq home by Burbank for an extremely competitive pricing of $257,800 for the very base price and it was tough to beat but we left this one out because ultimately the facades available were not attractive to us and it felt quite boxy especially with the garage directly within the home rather than expanding out.

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

The Location

Say what you will about the West, and yes i know many have an opinion of it and its people but i've found it to be a great place to live in the two years i've been here. When most people think of the West i'm sure they're thinking 'Deer Park, St Albans and Sunshine' when really it's Caroline Springs, Taylor's Hill, Taylor's Lakes and Cairnlea. Sure the West has it's dodgy sides but that's just like any other suburb out there and with house prices rising, infrastructure and amenities improving and new freeways cutting travel time into the city i can see the West bettering its reputation within the next 10-20 odd years. The land we decided on is within Taylors Hill and the Taylor's Hill Estate which is now in its 31st stage meaning it's an established estate and we've been really happy with the upkeep and maintenance of the previous stages giving us an idea of what ours will look like in a decade from now. Taylor's Hill is nestled between Caroline Springs and Hillside with Taylor's Lakes in the top right corner, it's a great location and safe from busy roads, highways and safely inland (my mother has a thing where she believes Point Cook and all of those other estates closer to the sea will be underwater in the next twenty years due to an sensationalizing article she read in a newspaper.) Titles are due in August-September so we have plenty of breathing space between buying the land and building which is the process we're looking into now!

To start off with..

Hello! My name is Sonia and me and my family are about to start a new building project. We only moved to Melbourne a little over two years ago from a smallish city town in northern New South Wales and have come to see Melbourne as our new home. When we first moved here we decided to rent until we felt ready to make a big decision like building or buying a solid base in Melbourne and we only just made that decision mid 2010 but now that we have we've gotten the ball rolling by buying a block of land. Buying land is incredibly stressful especially in the West where land prices have sky rocketed (ours was a ridiculous 315k!) and availability has been limited due to the state government wanting to stop the rapid rate of urban sprawl for the next 20-30 years so it can keep up with infrastructure. We called every real estate agent within the locality and enquired about upcoming land releases to no avail, we even decided to look at 20 or so built houses in our time as it seemed much easier in the long run but we found nothing that felt like 'home'. Eventually we went back to the Taylors Hill land sales office and found that three blocks had come on the market and we quickly made our decision that night and went back the next day to put a deposit down which was very lucky as three couples were waiting around us for our decision incase we didn't want it! It's also one of the very last 'big' blocks of land available for sale at  670 m², I probably don't have to mention that we felt very lucky to have finally acquired our own land! I hope you'll say tuned as we continue with the process of choosing a builder!