Dining table reveal

I promise I wasn’t looking for a dining table. I was happy living in my cocoon.

But one evening on ebay I found our dream table.

She seats 10 – 12 and came with 10 recently redone chairs! She is Tassie oak and has a custom made stainless steel frame.

She was purchased 8 years ago for $5,500 in a custom furniture shop.

At $660, I’m happy to take this as a little gift. She isn’t easy to move – and a big thank you to the blokes who helped me move her!

Now off to find some ebay stools!


Landscape plan – one step closer

I have made the mistake before of not having a master plan. The master plan guides all of your future thinking. So today, I launch into my 600 square metre dirt patch with the desire to have a plan. Too many landscapes evolve and look patchy, disjointed and desperate. It is all about the flow – people! (I read that somewhere)

I have long wanted a master plan to drive the vision – and sub projects for when the budget can stretch to each piece.

The plan is all about screening out the world and providing me with an Amazonian garden filled with rich fruits, berries and herbs. Think summer berry festivals of blackberries, raspberries and blueberries.

The house must be enveloped by the garden and the garden must command a feature role in every window. Oh, and did I say everything has to be edible! (haha). Thankfully lots of fruits endear themselves to a garden. Think blueberry clumps, guava hedges, dripping pepinos, artistic tamarillos, feature figs, pears, cherry trees (in blossom. Wow!) Banana palms and babaco palms will add some tropical theming as well.

Then comes the hard part; I have found it really difficult to find a landscape company to make my garden a reality. I have searched far and wide. My search has included award winning designers, local designers, not so famous designers, a few garden fanatics turned designers. The brief is a bit strange – 100% edible. And rooms. And function. And beauty. And flow. Urgh! My head hurts.

Then I was referred to Jason from Genus Landscape Architects. From the second I saw Jason’s designs I was intrigued. He’s a busy guy who does a lot of residential work in Melbourne’s south east, along with a heap of volume builder work and commercial garden work.

Jason came out for a site tour in the mud. The land wasn’t looking its best. But he wasn’t seeing mud; he was seeing rooms, views, and greenery. He took us on a journey of what it could be like. I had a sketch in my back pocket of what I wanted; I’m pleased to say that it won’t be needed! Talk about the amateur versus the professional.

I must say, I’m not a very easy client – I love my garden to bits. I’m also highly opinionated on what I want I don’t want. Poor Jason. Right now he’s quietly working away on my grand plan, so we best not bother him just yet. Hopefully we’ll have something to share very soon.

Oh, and I found a few avocados hanging in the breeze on the bloc. So excited. Welcome home!

And a big poo-poo to the landscape companies that didn’t even bother to return my calls. Or worse, the couple of companies that promised to come out and never showed up. I appreciate you have a lot of work on, but your reputation is only as good as your word.


(and yes, there are possum bite marks on the fruit!)

Bagging the house (render)  

I’ve been chasing a few render quotes for our house bag. It suddenly got complicated. Did we want a clean pattern, did we want a broom pattern, swirls or fans?

Did we want cement and sand mix or did we want an acrylic render?

What type of paint would we use on the surface? A low gloss paint will last longer.

So many things to consider.

The cost of getting bagging/render jobs done through the volume builders can be pretty steep. Do your own research. It sounds nice to get it done as the house is being built,  but I’ve seem some very scary numbers. Big savings for those who are happy to do it later.


Loving the work so far! This was a test wall to see whether we really wanted to play! Yep – green light! Image


No phone line – hello, hello? 

Still waiting for a new telephone line.

Dealing with Telstra is never easy – when you are not a customer – but is even harder when you need a new line.

It now turns out that they need to dig under the road.  I logged the job in early May. The first tech came out on June 2. It is now June 27 and nothing.

I have been told the job is due late July early August? WTF?

Good to see nothing much has changed with the Telstra of old. If I had my time again, I would have become a customer for a single day to get the line, then severed ties with them. Perhaps that would have been quicker than waiting at the back of the queue!  Telstra – you have not changed.  

Crossover dramas

So the local council has given me a call to say that we have four footpath bays that are smashed to pieces and a crossover that need to be replaced. The M contract says the damage to footpath is ours to manage.  It’s a bit of cute contract work that basically means I’m in the drink for around $3,000! I’m currently getting quotes for a concreter to come and quote on the new ones. Thanks Metricon. For anyone else – get this clause removed from your contract!

In the meantime, I’ve been told by council that I have to use their service to remove a tree obstructing the new crossover. That is fine, but the quote is almost 3 times the rate I can find. Why is the local council tree removal cost so much more? Went to council to pay the bill. No record of the job on file. WTF? My rates at work!

And no, I’m not getting the concreter out three times; can we all be sensible and get all the ducks in a row and do the job as one large parcel of works? Sounds too simple to me! Image

Our new home in pictures  

Sorry it has taken so long to get these to you all.  A few images to start the journey.

There is so much to do when you move in – I’m exhausted.

Feature shot of kitchen with hero coffee machine. Yes, that is a pile of champagne glasses. Lots of celebrating going on!

2014-06-14 14.11.06

Shot of firebox, aubergine couch and outdoor area – to come.

2014-06-14 14.10.27

Shot of sliding door to outdoor room to future merbau deck

2014-06-14 14.09.09

Shot of outdoor table that is the new indoor table for now. Neighbours dropped in a house warming gift. What a neighbourhood!  Chairs are horrid. WIll be on ebay soon

2014-06-14 14.08.25

One of the kid’s bedrooms. Best view in the house.

2014-06-14 13.57.34

Master bedroom with balcony. Missing bedside tables and lamps and a proper rug and curtains and heaps of stuff but you’ll get the gist.

2014-06-14 13.53.46

2014-06-14 13.53.33

Kids toy room. Messy – very. Great news. It means all of these toys are no longer in my loungeroom! Hooray. Victory. Parent 1. Kids 0.

2014-06-14 13.56.08


The staircase that I love to climb too many times when I forget something before work. Actually I’m enjoying the fitness!


2014-06-14 13.55.52


Master bathroom – still missing the details but in love already.

2014-06-14 13.54.22

2014-06-14 13.55.12



“Oh Mr Hart – What a Mess!!” – my garden!

Okay, I never really imagined that a build would be garden friendly, but the blokes did a stellar job keeping out of the way of my trees. But a year is a long time!

The Kiwis have become a Kokoda jungle. The possums have snacked on the avocados, the guavas think they are invincible and are eyeing off the new building for plant v building dominance. The weeds are the big winners.  Some new species too, which is a real worry!

The plants I hoped would be okay in large pots are all fried to a crisp. I think the quince is the only survivor. Sadly, these plants were too big to move. I lost a large plum, an apricot, persimmon and perhaps another plum.

On the positive, some celery has self seeded. And a few apple and plum trees have shooted from leftover root ball in the ground. So excited by this. Looks like the blackberry was okay as well. Shock horror to that one!

The in-ground fruit trees look okay. Lost a custard apple (need two to breed!) which is a blow as they are not easy to come by.

A number of silverbeet have also self seeded. I wonder what the builders made of building with beets at their feet.

The ever friendly comfrey has returned too – a great sign. A few carefully hidden artichokes have also survived. Now I need to make sense of the earth and determine what happens next.

My attention turns to the new plantings and features. My frustration now turns to the lack of a definitive list of deciduous and evergreen fruit trees. With my 100% edible garden comes a lot of leaf shedding. But that isn’t the best look over winter. I’ll need some foliage to keep me company.

The house right before the brick ‘bagging’begins.

2002-01-14 22.52.41

The front nature strip that hasn’t been mowed in a year.2002-01-14 22.51.28

The back yard needing some work. You can see my water drums, wood and recycled deck

.2002-01-14 22.54.01

A handful of the 50 odd potted fruit trees from the rental. I think I lost around 15 trees in the round trip – with another 5 on the critical list. Still, not a bad effort.2002-01-14 22.50.20

Moving and livin’  

Apart from my baseball bat night vigils at the house sleeping on the floor (pretty uncomfortable), the family joined me Monday night for the first sleepover. It was great to have their company, and also to have access to proper bedding.  

Our moving company juggled some jobs and let us sneak a move on Monday night – a week early. Thank you Andrew from AJ Transport (Melbourne/Aspendale). We’ve used these guys twice now and I couldn’t be happier.

We dodged rain storm 5 minutes before and 5 minutes after. Very lucky! The boys did a great job and had two trucks running to make the job faster – less precise packing – as they had more room in the trucks.  They are careful, yet work very fast. Entire move was done in around 3.2 hours!

Back to the house: I’ve run in the ducted and I’ve given the firebox two of three burns to wear it in. The ovens have been burnt in as well.  

Telstra has told me that my new phone line is not an easy job – they need to dig under the road. What is it with this house and digging under the road? Gas. Power. Now the phone line. Expect a long delay was the tone of the conversation. 

The temp front fence was removed on Wednesday and I said farewell to the Metricon banner.  The front of the house looks like a mud pit – and very exposed without a front fence.

We are using old mats and cardboard as stepping stones. Yuk-ville.

The house continues to surprise me with its wonderfulness. We are still coming to terms with the house, the space and some elements. More pictures to come later – too many boxes and things to do at the minute.