Day 171 – Electrical installation

The electrical installation has been done including all light fittings, power points, switches ducted vents. The garage door has also been installed. The last down pipes are on. The front door has been painted and all internal paint touch ups have been done.  Tiling has been delayed a tad but I’m told will start next week.powerpoint

I’d like to talk about the electrical planning. It was a hard slog to map out the entire electrical plan for the house. Picking hundreds of wiring bits and every single power point was quite difficult.

We were given a $16,000 allowance but we struggled to $6,000 using smart choices and some care. If you love down lights, get ready to enter a world of pain; you pay for each hole in the ceiling, then for each light.  We don’t personally like down lights so we have avoided them altogether. We’ve gone with other lighting sources like pendants, lamps and spot lighting from tracks.

We have also purchased a number of light fittings from other suppliers to give our house a bit more of a personal touch. The M lighting range at the time of our appointment was a little bit limited.

Each room comes with a free double power point. We basically added another power point to each room diagonally opposite the first one. We also added additional power points to the kitchen bench, island bench, and a tonne of them in the pantry where we will have an appliance shelf. We added more to the living rooms and six more to the office.

We tried to walk each room, and we were careful to visualise each light switch and what would be turned on. How do you walk into your house at night? What hall light will help the children find the bathroom? Can two way switches be used?

Added extras:

  •         TV antenna (expensive but includes installation and that is hard when you are a double storey) and comes with a 15 year warranty too!
  •         We also added a water tap to the fridge cavity
  •         A lot of additional double and quad power points
  •         Zoned ducted heating and we added vents to bathrooms (yum!)
  •         Door bell
  •         4 cat 5 data points
  •         Three two-way light switches
  •         Extra phone point
  •         Upgraded meter box
  •         Four outdoor electrical junction boxes
  •         Additional ceiling junction boxes to first floor (in case our lighting needs change)
  •         Additional TV points (just in case)
  •         Additional outdoor PPs just in case
  •         Power point to balcony for Christmas lights
  •         Power point inside bathroom cabinets for electric tooth brushes
  •        Speaker cables in ceiling

A great electrical blog. The prices are still pretty close to current prices

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Day 161 – firebox and final painting

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Meet Mr Firebox.

I was going past the house and managed to catch the eye of our site supervisor who invited me in for a look-see. Big day today as the firebox was installed. It came in a million parts and a big thank you to the firebox expert (who I met this morning) who spent most of the day pop-riveting the flue together and gently guiding it down the six-metre chimney. The firebox has been worth the effort.  The hearth has also been laid. The hearth will be flush with the bamboo floor so it doesn’t become a trip hazard.

The goop is also off the windows upstairs so I could get a sense of the natural light. It was late in the afternoon, but I was thrilled with the feel. The painting has almost been completed as well. I love the colour of the walls. We went with a ¼ clay pipe. It has a very faint grey/pink in it.  We will add some feature walls down the track once we have more of a sense of our home style and taste.

It was a nice clear day so I was also able to walk out on the balcony for the first time. I can tell you the beach looked very lovely.

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How much house is too much?

Did you know houses in Australia are the largest in the world? The good news is that they are shrinking.

Is 50 squares too big? Is 40? Is 30? It is a tough decision to decide the right amount of house. Adding to the decision is that there is not a huge difference in price between a 30 and 35 square house. Strange, but true.

Our new house permeability is 30% of the land. That leaves me with 70% to build a dream edible garden. The new house is actually smaller (ground floor) than the old house. Needless to say we are just using more airspace with a first storey.

For us, the 28-32 square size was about right, but we struggled to find a design we liked.  We’ve landed on 34, which is a large house, no doubt about that. But when I think of the extra cost to get an extra bedroom and an extra living room it was more a case of why not.

It was also about keeping half an eye on the local market and desirability of our suburb.  In our case, good sized family homes with a backyard are almost non-existent. Easy to find a small house, or a large house with no land.  Or a house that shares a block.

I’ve heard all the arguments against large houses – underutilised rooms, energy bills, cleaning demands, self-indulgent consumerism.

We will have a spare bedroom. Can’t deny that. But as for the energy bills (see previous posts) I can assure you that this 6-star home will use far less energy and gas than my previous 1-star home.

Besides, I fully expect the kids will be at home until they are 30 the way house prices are going.  Sure, some of the rooms could do with a nip and a tuck. And is it exactly the way we’d build it. No. But we got 95% of what we wanted. I can live with that.

And you know what, ask me again in a few years. Perhaps the Metricon designers know more than I do. Perhaps the extra large parent’s retreat will become my favourite place when my future teenage daughter are on the rampage…

cartoon house

Day 155 – Scaffolding down

The lady of the street was looking a little bit overweight and porky. Well, I think she’s slimmed down a lot. I can’t believe how much smaller she looks with the scaffolding down.

Well, it still looks big, but a bit smaller.

I can also see the first signs of down pipes as well. Probably not the best idea to make a feature of them. I may look at painting them in the reed bed colour down the track to blend them in. 

Capping has also been put on the brickwork.  Painting may have started downstairs, but it is too hard to tell from the street. 

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Day 150 – Doors, benches, architraves, vanities

Unremarkably we past the fixing stage during the week. What does that mean? Well, it means that the builder has reached the next milestone in terms of items completed. It also means they would like another 25% of the build cost paid into their bank account.

I was really impressed with the QA work that has been done. There are a handful of little pencil marks where the site supervisor is not happy. I have to say, he’s a keen eye. Some of the defects are very marginal. Great to see!

So much has happened. An industrial cleaning team has been through the house as removed any traces of dust (for the painters?). The bricks have been scrubbed clean – even though they were pretty much immaculate.  The painter has finished the externals and has moved into the internals.

The internal benches have been done. The island chunky stone looks great. Very happy with this kitchen paradise. The bathrooms have benches, and vanities.

The doors are all hung. Even the front door. Yay. All the architraves and skirting boards are done. I’m thrilled with the lamb’s tongue upgrade. It gives the modern house a bit of a lift and gives a bit more bling to the floors – which is needed as we went with higher ceilings.

I’m not super sold on the laminates in the bathrooms and powder rooms after touching the amazing kitchen stone benches. But hey, a budget is a budget. We always said the kitchen was the ‘mortgage pain’ zone. The bathrooms were always a distant second.  Mrs E&M reckons it looks amazing, so it might just be me. I’ll know more when we see all the bells and whistles installed.

The painters are in for the next 10 days, the tilers booked after that. Electricals, wet area appliances, and flooring is after that.

We also chose our firebox hearth this week. It was really a case of which black/grey goes best with the unit. I think we looked at 100 black or grey samples until my eyes and mind were torn to shreds. We eventually went with the grey/black/speckle something that looked the best after an hour of staring at them all.

In the meantime, I’ve been on the phone getting the landscapers to come and quote on building a master plan – a plan that we can bite size chunk into smaller projects. I’ve got a terrific guy in mind; lets hope he is able to quote on the job and help me build my edible garden paradise.

I’ve also had a local bagging/render mate on stand-by to come out and quote. As we are doing a first coat rough render (preferred look) the job should be pretty straight forward. I’ll get quotes over the next few weeks. It will be a single coat job with us doing the external paint finish later. We have very clear colours in mind so adding a colour to the mix will not be as accurate as a painting it our colour. We do not like the modern clean line finish render. Interestingly, the render guy says the rough one-coat jobs are coming back in.





Dining room pendant selection

My love affair with lights continues. I have found these lights but I can’t decide which one I like. I’m thinking of something really luxurious over the dining table.

The first is a Regina Andrew design – it is sophisticated and a real piece of hanging art. I’m struggling to find it in Australia and I’m not sure how easy is is to purchase overseas and install locally. I’ll do some more search engine work on that one.


The next is a Jordi Vilardell wind pendant, made from fibreglass resin. It would give the most amazing pattern on the roof when lit.


The next is a Large Dauphine Pendant Light Chandelier Silver Quatrefoil Horchow

light again

This is an ebay special. Pretty nice too! Love da price!

pendant ebay

And how about this beauty? Amazing Amara Stainless Steel Pendant Lamp


The light is on a dimmer switch which i suspect will rule out some of the lovely LED installation type pieces. This might be made a lot harder in that case…

This is another contender.

ebay goldenlight


Or for the understated bling of the lovely Chloe.



Or this bad boy. Complete with full bling from beacon