Lighting: Kitchen Island Bench

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You might remember late last year we started our kitchen planning, and now that we’re close to building commencing, we’ve been trying to finalise our lighting choices to go through with the electrician. One of the key elements of the kitchen is the lighting over our island bench. While the lights in our inspiration picture (below – (image from Marsh and Clark) are from the US, I managed to track down an Australian supplier. Unfortunately, it turns out they are worth $2,500 EACH!! That certainly doesn’t fit our budget, regardless of how much I love them. So instead, I’ve been trying to find some alternatives. I’ve come up with a shortlist of these 6, and I think we’ve just about settled on the first option. They’re online only, so we’re going to have a look at the third option which are in store, they’re similar, but a bit bigger and at a much higher price point – but will give us a good idea of what they’re going to look like. Very excited to have ticked one more thing off the huge to do list!

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We’re at Council!

Hi there! It’s been a while since I’ve posted because quite honestly, it seems like NOTHING has been happening the last few months!

Since October 2016, it’s taken 3 months of back and forward with our builder and the developer to get our developer approval. However, we finally got the stamp of approval a few weeks ago and it was suddenly all systems go! As soon as we had that stamp, it was off to the engineers to do our engineered drawings of the footings and make sure we had a good enough plan in place for the slab. Unfortunately the engineer wanted to upgrade quite a few things, which meant an increase in costs again – but at least it wasn’t the $30k we were expecting and only came out at $6k.

So then it was off to Gold Coast City Council for approval. We’ve heard differing stories as to how long this part can take, but we’re hopeful for a quick turnaround. Our plans went in on Monday 13 February, and we actually heard back from them on Thursday 16 February – can you believe it! Unfortunately it was a rejection because, long story short, our waste water plan didn’t match up with the developers initial DA plan. After consulting with our waste water engineer, he had advised that the developers initial plan was no where near adequate and so we went ahead with our own plans. Council don’t take into consideration the waste water engineers report for some reason, and just saw that it didn’t match up with the initial DA plan and rejected our plans. Fortunately, hubby has been in touch with what seems like a million different people and we’ve found out that a DA amendment has been applied for and will be effective as of Wednesday. This means we don’t have to change anything and our plans will be allowed, we just have to wait for this DA amendment to go through and then reapply. All an unnecessary delay, but hopefully it’s an indication of a quick turnaround and we might have approval in a week.

Once that approval comes through, it’s building time! As per our contract, our site cut will take place within 10 business days of Council Approval, so I like to think that we are only a matter of weeks from commencement! It’s been nearly a year and a half since we paid our deposit, so we are pretty damn excited right now. I thought I’d leave you with some photos of the recent changes in our estate – there are at least 4 houses under construction in our stage and some are nearly ready for the owners to move in, so there is lots happening!

I’ll start posting more regularly now, there are lots of meetings, choices and finalising of plans happening and lots to update on!

Cheers,

L

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Kitchen planning + weekend fun

Well we still haven’t signed a contract for the build, but hopefully we’re very close.

This weekend we decided to start kitchen shopping as we’ve got the option of going with our builder’s cabinet maker or a kitchen company of our choice. I’ve found 4 companies that we wanted to check out, 2 of which are on the Gold Coast (the other 2 in Brisbane) so Saturday morning we jumped in the car and headed for Burleigh Heads. It was great to chat with both sides of the process – one place we spoke to the owner and the actual builder himself, and the other place we chatted with a kitchen designer. We already know fairly certainly what we want, but it was good to know that what we’re looking for is possible to achieve! I won’t go in to details until we have the actual drawings and are further along in the process, but this is our inspiration picture (image from Marsh and Clark).

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After spending 2.5 hours talking kitchens, we were both over it and given it was such a beautiful day we decided to swing by the beachfront and see if we could get a carpark and go somewhere for lunch. Luckily we only did one lap of the esplanade when we found a park and it was right in front of the best beachfront spot at Burleigh!

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We thought we’d push our luck even further and see if we could get a table at Rick Shores, a Pan-Asian restaurant headed by renowned Melbourne chefs, and managed to score the last two spots at the casual bar! Lunch was amazing, the flavours were so fresh and there wasn’t a bite that didn’t taste great. We had:

  • Chicken Popcorn, Meyer Lemon, Spiced Salt
  • Beef Brisket Bao, Smoked Ssam Jang, Cucumber
  • Massaman Curry, Lamb Shank, Potato, Pickled Onion
  • Miso chocolate parfait, with milo, peanut butter and malt.

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The cocktails were pretty amazing too!

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On our way home, we dropped into the estate to see if there was any building progress anywhere. Two lots have their building pads being levelled, so it’s likely we’ll see some construction there in the next few weeks. We had a hilarious story while we were there: we found a little pool in the nature reserve between us and our neighbours. It looks like it could be about a metre deep and it had a fair bit of water in it. We were looking at it and said wouldn’t it be great if there were turtles living in it. We got back in our car and drove around a couple of the other streets and all of a sudden hubby put the breaks on and said “what’s that?”. We got out of the car, and there was a turtle sitting in the middle of the road! It was really hot and the poor thing looked distressed. We’re not sure how it got there, or why it was there – perhaps it crawled up from a nearby creek and got stuck once it climbed down the gutter. I told hubby to pick it up and we would take it back to our little pond. Well, the minute we walked towards it, it ran and hid in the shade under our car! Hubby had to get an umbrella out of the car and he managed to get it to climb into an insulated cooler bag we had. We put it in the car and raced back to our block and managed to get it into our little pool! It was so happy, it swam around, ducking deep into the water and then finding a little ledge to rest on. Who knows if it will stick around, but at least the poor thing didn’t die in the sun!

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We spent a lovely day today celebrating our friends birthdays. Such a great group of girls!

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Did you know that it is only 91 more sleeps til Christmas? Can you believe how fast this year has gone? Have a good week everyone!

Meeting the neighbours + build update

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One of the key things hubby and I were looking for when we started looking for land to build our forever home, was a sense of community.

I grew up in a street where everyone knew each other and we stayed out playing in the street until dark when we’d run home for dinner. There were about 20 kids with a 10 year age range and we all got along. There was a park and a creek at the end of the street and we’d ride our bikes up and down the hill, with an occasional shout of “car!” signalling the scramble to get off the road. I lived in that house my entire childhood, and it was only at the age of 21 that I finally moved out of home – to a house a couple of streets away! At 29 I’m still in contact with many of the children that I grew up with, and many of the parents still live in that same street along with my own parents. Hubby on the other hand, moved around a lot as a child and moved out of home quite young.

While we both come from very different backgrounds when it comes to calling a place home, we both agreed we wanted to achieve a similar life as what I had as a child for our own children. And even for ourselves. I like the idea of getting home on a Friday and cutting through the backyard to go and have a drink over a back fence with a neighbour. Just knowing our neighbours will be a good thing! In today’s society we are becoming more isolated and don’t like to get to know our neighbours. We’re looking for a community, with similar goals and views on life.

We had strong hopes for this sense of community when we purchased our land, but needless to say we were very excited when we heard the initiatives that the developer has in place to help us all meet and get to know each other. The first of which was a ‘Meet The Neighbours’ evening at the estate, where we had nibbles, drinks, games and a bonfire. We met a number of our direct neighbours, and even a few who are a couple of streets over. It was a great introduction to the community and the first of many events they have planned – there was talk of movie nights under the stars and another BBQ type picnic affair.

In terms of where we’re at with the build. Well, we’re learning to be patient! It takes a long time to go back and forth with the builder and we still haven’t signed a contract, but we did receive what is hopefully the final drawings and changes to our plan today (with lots of highlighter colours and mark ups!). We’re hoping to quickly review and send back, so that we can get them to draw up the final contract and get it signed. Then it’s off to the bank for money, the developer for their design approval, and the council for building approval. Fingers crossed, we might be laying the slab in November. I’ll cry if we’re not!!

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We’ve settled! Now to get to contract stage…

So we settled on the land yesterday! After 10 long months we can finally say we actually own the land, yay! But now the hard work starts!

Hubby met with the builder during the week as we try to work towards our final building contract. While we don’t have to make complete final decisions, we do need to have a pretty certain idea of what style we want, so the different trades can quote on it. Hubby has a strong opinion on details such as windows, window frames, skirting boards and cornice, so I’m happy to leave him to make those decisions. But I have the strong opinion when it comes to the kitchen and bathrooms – these are actually my most favourite areas to work on, as there are so many elements to come together. And so the sketching begins!

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Yes, yes, I am by  no means an artist! But at least hubby understands my rough sketches and can do something with it (the toilet looks weird, but it is very specific – I only like completely flat backs that can go against the wall!).

But anyway, I digress. So now we’re at the stage of working out what cabinet style we want, so the cabinet maker can quote on it. What tiles we might want, so the tiler can quote on it. What shower, bath, toilet and vanity we want, so the builder can quote on it. Lots and lots of quotes!! So hubby and I have been trawling through our inspiration pictures and Pinterest, picking out our number 1 pictures that give a strong indicator of the style we want. Here’s a snapshot of our ensuite, laundry and kitchen inspiration (in order).

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Once we’ve put together the more detailed photos and requests, the builder thinks we should be at a point to sign a contract in the next two weeks, which is so exciting! Here’s hoping it all goes to plan!

Have a good weekend!

Project Build: Ready for settlement!

After what seems like forever, the developer is finally ready to hand over the land and we can get on with the process of BUILDING! We received notice the other week that everything is good to go, and thankfully at the same time our finance came through so according to the solicitor and mortgage broker, we are all ready for D-Day!

There’s been a little bit of progress with the site over the past 6 months and I thought I’d share some photos of the changes as they happened little by little. In case you missed it – here is my post on when we purchased the land! Probably the most exciting part was when we got the roads in – that’s when things really got real. Now the construction gates are down and we can come and go as we please which is really exciting.

September 2015

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December 2015

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February 2016

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March 2016

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June 2016

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July 2016

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In other news, we’ve also settled on a builder and are trying to finalise our plans as much as possible before signing the contract. I know a lot of builders are happy to do variations to the contract as the build progresses, but we’re really keen to have everything locked down as much as possible. With hubby being an Engineer he is very detail-oriented, and we have a meeting this week with the builder to raise a number of smaller points that we want finalised. Here’s an updated floor plan to have a look at, although there are still a couple of small changes to come.

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Well hopefully everything goes smoothly this week and we become proud new land owners!

Project Build: designing the floorplan

It’s been a little while since I told you about our building project that we’re embarking on, but since then we’ve been visiting display homes, sorting through design books and scrolling through Pinterest, and we think we’ve finally come up with a basic floorplan for our forever home! Our plan is to make use of a builder and their design service, but figure that we should at least have a reasonable idea of what we want when we go to talk to them. Given the slope of the block (gradual, but it’s there) we won’t be able to go down the path of a project home, and we want something a bit more custom anyway!

High on the priority list were the following:

  • 4 bedrooms – we have family and friends all over the country and the world that we often have to stay with us, so extra bedrooms were a must!
  • A library – hubby works from home at the moment, and we both have a lot of books, so we knew we needed something more than just a regular study. This room will be large enough to have a meeting table in the middle, as well as a desk and be lined with bookshelves.
  • Dressing rooms in the master – I have a lot of clothes and shoes, and we’ve finally just gotten some decent wardrobes in our current home, so I’m not going backwards!! Good storage is a must, with space for natural light and a central display unit for jewellery and bags.
  • Meals corner – I want to have a formal dining room for having nice dinners at, but I also love the idea of something more casual for breakfasts and lunches. A meals corner with booth seating against a window is my dream – I have an entire Pinterest board dedicated to this!!
  • Theatre room – we want to have a theatre room, but we want it to be multipurpose too. Growing up my parent’s house never had the extra space for teenagers and their friends, and I imagine this will be that space in our house. The idea is that the wall between it and the dining room will be bi-fold, so that we can open up both rooms and use them for indoor entertaining if need be.
  • Split level – we want to work with the slope of the block, rather than cutting and having huge retaining walls everywhere. So, we’ve opted for 2 splits which you can see from the steps in the hallway of the drawing.

Now we’ve put our artist’s hat on and done a rough sketch on the computer – rooms aren’t quite in proportion and we’ve already decided to switch around the master so that the ensuite is overlooking the garage and the bed overlooking the outdoor area – but it’s a good start we think. We’ve been and met with a builder (an update on that will come soon) but we’ve been told it’s a great document to have and they can certainly work with this – yahoo!

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