Day 204 – Flooring in

Happy day 200 to us.  This build has flown. It was just the other day I was celebrating a slab, or 100 days. Here we are at 200 days and we are nearing the finish line.2014-04-30 08.20.01

The builder’s toilet has been removed from the front yard. It is funny the small things you notice. I can now see the size of our front yard a little more now that the site has had a clean as well.

We managed to move the house forward 1 metre more than the old house was and this is the first time I’ve been able to see the front yard area.  It is a neat and tidy space that gives us a front yard of around 5 metres.

The builder has kindly left me 8 pallets of our bricks that will hopefully be useful for all the hard landscaping I have in mind.  Now the only catch –  I need to move them and hand stack them as they are potentially in the way of the landscaping!2014-04-30 07.59.34

Internally the site has been cleaned and all rubble removed. The protective seals are off the windows so daylight now floods in. The frosting is now on all the required windows.

The tapware and all wet areas are finished off; taps, mirrors, baths, showers and screens.

The balcony has been tiled – complete with drains for too much rain and balustrades.

The wardrobe doors and mirrors are in. All robes have hanging racks and shelves. The pantry has its shelves. We are missing some shelves in the pantry that  have got lost in the final paperwork. We have an email trail for them, but we just need to work with M to see if we can buy them and get them installed. If not, we’ll hunt down the provider and install them ourselves later.

And the bamboo floors have been installed!  They are bamboo champagne. We are floorboard people. Floating floors are not to our personal taste. We love the sound a floorboard makes when you stomp, stomp, stomp.  So we started out on hardwood floors but the cost was out there. I think we were getting close to $200 per sqm once you covered laying, materials, sanding, coating.

Also, Metricon don’t offer hardwood floors so we decided that chunky bamboo would be the next best thing. Note: you can do the floor after handover, but that was way too much work for us, and most people for that matter. Also, you then get handed all the skirtings to put up yourself! No thanks!

Bamboo is as tough as nails and durable as all get out- just don’t leave it wet!  It doesn’t like dust and sand which seems to sandpaper it very quickly out of shape. Looks like it will be a shoe free house

Bamboo can also be sanded three or four times during its life. It can also be patched and coated again.  There are also lots of products that can be applied to hide any scratches that may occur. Double win!

Bamboo has come a long way from the weaves of the past. Today, bamboo flooring is made from compressed bamboo. It has tonnes of pressure put on it to create a really strong brick. It feel heavy in the hand and it is around 14mm thick.

2014-04-30 07.59.37

2014-04-30 08.09.57

2014-04-30 08.10.45

2014-04-30 08.04.44


2014-04-30 08.15.14

These are what we call UFOs or Metricon lights. Basically you are buying the light fitting. We will replace all of these with our own lighting fixtures down the track.

2014-04-30 08.00.50


The next steps for finalising the house are carpet upstairs and the all important certificate of occupancy is booked for next week.

It is finally starting to look and feel like a house; a house that has taken four years of dreaming, hoping and working towards. Sure we’ve had our ups and downs but this house of bricks and concrete and glass is no compound or dwelling. It is house that will be loved and will very soon be filled with fun, laughter and memories.


Questions from blog readers and via Google

There are some odd search engine requests that land on this blog. Thankfully most of them are great questions. Allow me to answer some of them. Most of the questions relate to Metricon prices or the building process.


Can you upgrade the skirting boards?

Yes. And we did to a lamb’s tongue. Cost was around $1200.

What are the standard Metricon basins like?

We found they had just upgraded the range to a nicer basin, so we went with them. In the ensuite we deleted two basins and ordered a larger one for $50 fee. Well worth it.

Can you leave your existing clothesline when you knockdown?

I will keep away from the fact that it must be a pretty fancy clothes line, but yes, you can leave things on your block if you can show they will not get in the way of the build crew. We left a lot of trees and a shed on the rear and right hand side of our block. It is a common misconception that you need to clear the block entirely. Not true.

How much of a Metricon build is prefabricated?

I think some of the frame came in pre-fab form, and the base cabinets, but I’m pretty sure everything else was done on site.

How long does a Metricon build take?

Factor in a year, expect 250 – 280 days.

Can you customise your home theatre doors?

We don’t have a home theatre, but yes, there were quite a few door options ranging from swinging to sliding. Full glass panels, to hard wood doors. Knock yourself out!  

How do you prepare for the Metricon colour selection appointment – or better known as studio M.

This might help.

What is the base price of the Salamanca?

Generally speaking, Metricon base prices for a double storey range from $240,000 – $350,000 That gets you in the game. You’ll need to add more to make it habitable. The top end of that range is for something very large like the Nolan and the bottom end for a sub 30 square house.

Is the standard tile range okay?

I think so. Best way is to go into your local Beaumont and look for the little blue stickers (M range). If you do go outside of the standard range, confirm in store they have a lot of them in stock.

What is the standard ceiling height?

I think it is 2550 and 2400 upstairs. We went for added height to the downstairs to 2700 and 2550 upstairs.

Can you change the Metricon floor plan?

Depends on what you want to do. We wanted to add a few metres onto the rear of the house which couldn’t be done, but boy did they try and accommodate us. I have friends who have swapped rooms and done some amazing customisations, so don’t be shy and ask!

Metricon upgrade costs?

I have listed some on this blog. Best place is here:

What is the soil test process?

There is a soil test before the house is demolished to give you a quote on your site fees. A second soil test is done after demolition to ensure there are no other surprises. We found the estimate from the first soil test was just confirmed by the second. Nothing nasty was found after the house land had settled.

Metricon open fires?

Yes. They will do an open fire, but you do need to push for it. This took us a lot of time and negotiating. It ain’t cheap, but we think it is worth it. I’ve been told that M have been asked for so many of them lately that they are softening on their stance and becoming more open to fireplace discussions. I have heard with other heating sources climbing, the humble wood fire is making a small comeback.

Do we like the sublime teak in our kitchen?

My word we do. Love it. Will let you know how much once we move in. I was worried about it at selection, but so far it looks better than I imagined.

Can you upgrade your insulation with Metricon?

Yep. But we didn’t. The house comes with 2 in the walls and 4 in the roof.

How much for tiles to the ceiling?

It cost us $300 per wall. More if you choose more expensive tiles.

Is oyster linea too light?

It is not the darkest thing in the world. It is very subtle. Yes. Perhaps too subtle, depending on what is going on around it.

Top 5 edible plants for your garden

There are so many amazing edible plants for the backyard. Today I would like to talk about five  that are amazing but lesser known. All of them will have feature positions in my new garden.  They win a place in my top five because the space to yield ratio is almost impossible to beat.

1)      Pepino melon

Ever wanted apple-sized honey dew melons all year round? Welcome to the gorgeous and simple to grow pepino from South America. This tiny 30-40cm plant will deliver 20-30 fruit every year. Mark my words, you will get too many. What a delicious problem to have. The fact that they fruit inside 12 months is impossible to argue with.

2004-01-31 00.58.57

2)      Choko vine

Sure they are probably more at home in a pig’s dinner tray than a feature vegetable, but I will defend the humble choko. A single vine can give you 50 chokos. They are a great filler for soups, stews, pasta sauces, adding body and a soft earthiness. I love them because they take on and absorb the flavours of the other foods. Boring to grow, get on board. Oh, and they are great for covering an ugly wall or old shed.

3)      Tamarillo

I can’t fathom why this ripe red fruit – filled with passionfruit red and orange goodness isn’t prized by more. I think it is one of the most tasty fruits you can grow. You can stew it, make sauces out of it, eat them raw. In fact, knock yourself out. Some days I take a large bowl of them to the shade of summer tree and make myself ill with happiness. They fruit in their first year. Gold.



4)      Pineapple guava

Talk about tasty. These little green things pack a powerful perfume flavour. The fact that each small tree gives you about 5kg is an added bonus. They also ripen slowly so you can take your time. My aunt makes a pudding out of them. I eat them from the tree. They also juice up really well. They slip a few spots on the top five because they can take 4-5 years to fruit.


5)      Jerusalem  artichokes

Another veg for the pig family. A staple crop for farmers I’ll defend these nuggets from the earth. They have a glorious truffle flavour and richness that can be an amazing backbone to many recipes. You can make a great soup, or even better, chips out of them. They can be a solid substitute for potatoes. Just a small warning; they can give you a little bit of wind.  Added bonus, the yellow sunflowers these produce when they are getting ready to be dug up are absolutely amazing. Added points.

The other finalists that round up the top 10 : rocoto chilli tree, asparagus, babaco tree, yacon, globe artichoke.


What is your design style?

We can’t fill this new home with all of our old student furniture and hand-me-down junk. So what do we want it to look like?

We have played in Asian, barnyard, Rustic Tuscan, simple modern and back again.

One constant has been our love of wood, stone and the outdoors. Sounds simple when you say it like that.

urban organic example is a great place to start. Here is a general list of styles.

  • Contemporary
  • Eclectic
  • Modern
  • Traditional
  • Asian
  • Beach Style
  • Craftsman
  • Farmhouse
  • Industrial
  • Mediterranean
  • Mid-century
  • Rustic
  • Transitional
  • Tropical

We have hit firmly on modern organic / urban organic / modern organic.

Modern Organic is created around a passion for eco feel/ green feel / earth feel while also having modern conveniences throughout the home. It is focused towards nature inspired elements. Contemporary, polished features combined with soft furnishings that are quite textured and fibrous make for a welcoming design. The outside also creeps in so think lots of indoor plants, greens, coppers, stones etc. old white gloss ceramic pots and green foliage. This also comes out in the bedrooms and bathrooms with earthy stones and soft textured rugs and linens. Bathrooms are muted limestone colours accentuated with white pots and green plants and feature towels in richer colours. Copper or red desert sand, perhaps. Too hard to explain. Let me show you some examples.

And the poster child of the urban organic / modern organic movement is this indoor plant. It is a humble fig – fiddle leaf fig – that has entered the stratosphere as the must have indoor plant for Hollywood A-listers. It has gone from $5 a plant to around $200 these days.  Even so, it does look great.


Some example rooms:

Some head into what I could call more peasant organic, bohemia organic, but you’ll get the gist.


Struggling to find your style?

Metricon have a pretty cool tool called the lookbook.

The following interior quizzes can also help.

Did you find it hard to get your style?

Windows to the world 

I’ve been asked a few times about windows and how much the volume builders will let you customise. The good news is that we were allowed to add as many windows as we wanted. The cost for an extra window was very reasonable, ranging from $300 to $800 for the kitchen splash back.

2014-03-18 17.01.25

  • We added a window to the kitchen as a splash back. Can’t wait for this very popular feature in our own kitchen. We changed a few windows from overlooking a neighbour to the rear of the property  – no frosting required.
  • We added a window to our walk in robe (small) in the chance that we might steal some sea views (we can!)
  • We added three smaller windows to our facade as we felt a large window was too severe and not private enough given that is where you get dressed
  • We swapped out and centred a window with a sliding door for access to our future rear deck.
  • We added a larger widow to the bathroom and aligned the window with the bath so we can watch the moon!
  • We added another widow to the study to capture more north light
  • We looked at double glazing but the cost – in this case – didn’t really have a reasonable pay off for us.  We’ll look at a pergola for the rear and think curtains to keep the heat in during winter.

Day 185 – Tiling and painting all done   

Boy was today fun. Not only was it my birthday – not that exciting – but because I got to visit the house. She’s getting very, very close!  The painting is all done. We chose clay pipe ¼ for the walls. We needed a softer colour to ease the bling of the champagne bamboo floor, which will be very striking.

2014-04-11 08.28.43

The painters have done a great job and the house is starting to look like a house. The tiling is complete. I was a bit nervous about the selections but I can sleep well tonight. The Metricon standard tile range (free with the home)  – via Beaumont are very reasonable we felt, but others have said it is limiting. We found the colours we liked. We chose two floor tiles, saltbush and a grey one. The grey tiles are in the wet areas downstairs and the softer saltbush in the bathrooms. We went white tiles on the walls. We added floor to ceiling tiles in a few spots as it was not much more ($300 per wall).    Your allowance is $30 psm. It is very easy to get carried away and find dream tiles in the $50 -$100 range. I heard one couple hit a $15,000 tile bill. Ouch. All the electrics are in so I went around playing with light switches and fans.  All the circuits and power points are all correct. In fact, I can’t see a single error. Great work team Metricon. I’m a big fan of the double quad boards in the pantry that will become our appliance shelf. No more searching for the blender or juicer or coffee grinder of ice cream machine etc…etc. The quality teams have added a heap of red dots where they are not happy with something small. They have good eyes – red dots are everywhere on paint touch ups, scratches on things. Some are almost microscopic. I’m so happy to have the quality team really pushing the fault identifying. Better now than later. The teams were installing the toilets, sinks and taps today. Shower screen and mirrors next week, along with wardrobes and shelving. Bamboo flooring starts next week, and carpets the week after. Balcony wire to come. But really, we are ALMOST there. You could live in this house now – I’ve lived in worse! Little Pig, little pig, let me in! 2014-04-11 08.11.36   2014-04-11 08.27.29

2014-04-11 08.14.36

2014-04-11 08.13.02

2014-04-11 08.13.34 2014-04-11 08.02.30 2014-04-11 08.00.54


2014-04-11 08.04.06