My First Home

My First Home
Santorini 26 by Metricon

Saturday, February 5, 2011

Another Big Adventure

I probably shouldn't have gone into town after work last night but there were a few things I wanted to do. When I decided to leave to come home I had a little bit of difficulty. The city had been hit by flash flooding and every road I tried to get onto to get out of the city was flooded and police were there turning people around. When the radio said that the Monash freeway was closed at Toorak Road and that it was down to one lane at Jacksons Rd I decided to take the Eastern Freeway and join the Monash at East link.

Things seemed to be working out well for me until I got to Thompson's road which is the road my estate is on. The corner was flooded so I turned back, drove through a bit of water and then onto Glasscocks Rd. All seemed well until I got to the roundabout at William Thwaites Blvd and Mountain View Blvd. Water across one side of the road and running fast and deep.

I was anxious to get home so did one of a number of illegal turns I did last night and drove down the opposite side of the Road.

This morning I took a bit of a drive around the estate to see how things were looking and below is what I found. It seems that there is a dam at the Market Gardeners and it burst last night. That is what I was told by my SS who was out taking photos of his builds.

Just a heads up for anyone going down to the estate today to check your house. I picked a number of pieces of wood up off the road that were full of nails. Watch yourself when driving through the water as you don't know what has swept up of the building sites. Also take note of the large rocks on Mountain View Blvd, who knows how many may be in the water.

If walking by foot try to walk on the road or the footpath. The ground is like quick sand in some places and you may sink to your calves like I did.

Above: Driving along Chantenay, the debris across the road are vegetables washed down from the market garden. Very little flooding along this street. May have been different last night. The roundabout it the end is under a little water on the other side.

Below: Water running out from the market garden on to William Thwaites Blvd. Some of the houses along here had silt and vegetables washed up their driveways.

Below: Mountain View Blvd, this is down near Burford Way.

Below: Mountainview Blvd near Evesham corner. Both sides of the boulevard are flooded here. This is what I drove through last night.

Left: Mountainview again

Above: Again this is Mountainview Blvd near Burford again.

Above: William Thwaites Blvd

Below: William Thwaites Blvd. Look at the fencing and you will see where the water came up to last night.

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

8 Weeks In - Progress Report

Well it's now been 8 weeks since I took possession of the house. I would like to say that I am all unpacked and nicely settled but due to illness I have not done as much as I would have liked and still have quite a few boxes left to sort through.

It's not until you move into your new home and start cleaning and looking closer that you find the little things that are wrong. I think I mentioned in an earlier post that there were a few spots of glue on the floor boards which the SS said was no biggie and would just scrape off. Well the few spots of glue ended up being an enormous amount of glue and while I was crawling around on my hands and knees scraping it off I noticed the little splatters of paint also on the floor boards and the odd scratch here and there. I have managed to get most of it off but am still finding more every time I clean. Of course when it comes to the 90 day report these things will be cosmetic and not covered.

My beautiful bi-part doors are also not that beautiful. It seems they have not been kiln dried properly and there is sap seeping out of one of the doors, this will be something for the 90 day report as it is not cosmetic as far as I am concerned. A little word of advice for those about to take possession of their house is to go around and check all the light switches, I have one that is really difficult to switch on. None of these things are huge and when I hear about the traumas others are having I think I got off quite lightly.

There are so many positives about the house however and these will always out weigh the little things I have found wrong. Having the Colourbond roofing meant that the pitch of the house is quite high. This allows the heat to rise high into the roof and the house remains cool even on the hottest of days. I still will be getting a split system but at this time there is no rush.

I've also found with the design of the house I get both great natural light and also wonderful cross breezes. I had been worried about the light as I found each of the display homes I visited a little dark. I now believe it is because they all seem to choose brown, brown brown and more brown for their interiors and this is why the rooms seem dark even on the brightest of days.

My blinds were finally installed a couple of weeks ago. As they were a gift to me by a very good friend I didn't want to go over board and spend too much money so I just kept it simple. I got the Blind Factory to quote and brought the guy down about $1400.00 on what he originally quoted as I had shopped around. I have learnt from working in sales that you should never pay the price you were first quoted and by shopping around I knew what blinds were worth. My advice is that it pays to get several quotes. When I first started shopping I was looking at $14,500. I can tell you that in the end I didn't even pay a quarter of this.

Above are the roller blinds I have in the living room. I also installed the same blinds in the rumpus room, the laundry and over the bi-part doors to the alfresco room. They are block out blinds and supposedly dust, mould and rot proof, we shall wait and see.

I chose White 61mm Shutter Venetians for all the bedrooms, study and bathrooms. Plantation shutters were over my budget so I chose the 61mm as that was the next best thing. I'm not going to compromise on the voids in my family and dining room and will wait until I can afford the shutters for these spots. I have been quoted by another company who's quality and style I really like and will go with them when the time comes.

As for furniture I am yet to buy any new furniture. I was ready to go out and buy a new lounge but have decided that I want to live in the house for a while and get the a feel for it before I decide on a what type I want and where I want to put it. I'm the type of person that doesn't like to rush into things so my old couch and chairs will do for a while.

Sunrise from my alfresco room, just beautiful!
Will be a lovely spot for breakfast when I finally get my outdoor setting.

There are so many projects I need to get started on however my first has been the garden. Last weekend with the help of my Brother-in-law, my sister and another friend we top soiled, weed matted and planted out my front garden. I'm really happy with the result and no longer feel like I have the worst front yard on the street.



Its a garden full of Gardenias, succulents, a few cordylines and as per the estate covenant one tree. I had to put two of the Gardenias in pots as there is a mix of concrete and gravel in front of the windows and I was afraid that there may have been other poisons in the soil. There are 9 Gardenias in total so my next summer my garden should smell heavenly. I chose one of the Japanese Maple varieties and was assured by the guy at the nursery that if I pruned it every so often I would be able to keep it at 2 metres in height. I had a Japanese Maple at my old house which was around 60 years old. It had not grown any more than 2 metres so I am hoping this one will be the same.

Plants for the Garden

I still have my back yard to do. I have a lovely lawn growing but need to get out and poison some of the weeds that are coming up. At the moment I'm not putting an outdoor setting in the alfresco room as I am still having problems with one of the neighbours with regards to erecting the fence so am hesitant about putting anything outside that could grow legs and walk away.

Will keep you updated as things progress. The kitchen should be finished shortly so I will upload some photos soon.

Monday, December 13, 2010

The House of Never Ending Dramas

I must apologise for the lack of blog updates in the last couple of weeks, I have been one very busy person and have not had the time.

I took possession of the house on 30 November which just happened to be my 43rd birthday (no smart remarks about the age thank you). I could not have asked for a better birthday present and I started moving in that night.

I had a mad three days of moving into the new house while cleaning the old house ready for hand over to the new owners, my thanks to June, Mark and Leanne for all their help with the move, I would not have been able to do it without you.

While the new house had been professionally cleaned it needed another one as dust had settled everywhere. I have since discovered that when living in a new estate with trucks going up and down each day it's hard to keep the place clean however it's funny how you love house work when it's a new house.

I had a blind company come out during the week to measure and quote on blinds. While plantation shutters are a little out of budget at the moment I have ordered Shutter blinds for all of the bedrooms and the bathrooms and roller blinds for all the other windows and doors. I don't expect to have them until after Christmas so am living with sheets at the moment.

So what about these dramas that I speak of, well where to begin?

As some of you who have been reading my blog will know I was installing my Kitchen appliances myself however the builder was installing the microwave. I was quite happy to live on frozen meals for a week or so. The first Saturday of the move it was 9:00pm, I was dead tired and had not eaten since the bag of jelly beans I had the night before. I take a frozen meal from the freezer, place it in the microwave press 'start' and nothing, not a thing! Call customer care on Monday morning and they say they will have to get a technician out, first day free is Wednesday. Technician comes out and says 'It's dead' we will have to replace it. Can't do that until the following Thursday so it looks like toasted sandwiches and salads for a week.

Sunday, after finding my TV cables I hook up the TV to the antenna only to get a mass of snow on the screen. So it's a call to my SS Monday morning and another one to the Antenna company who have installed the antenna but not hooked it up. It seems the antenna was installed before the star system and no-one connected the two.

Monday the Foxtel guy comes to install my satellite dish. I put some carpet off cuts down on the floor where he is going to work so it does not get scratched. Low and behold he still manages to scratch it. He offers to pay for it but I'm thinking I can polish them out. He is kind enough to give me a digi path for my trouble.

Tuesday morning I open my beautiful Bi-part doors to the alfresco area and one of the doors falls out of it's track. I catch it in time, put it back in place but cannot slide it. I call the SS and he is there within 30 minutes to fix it himself. Seems that the painters took the door off to paint and put the guides back in the wrong place.

Wednesday the guys come to install the oven only to find that the cavity is 5mm too small, yes the oven fits in but the door cannot be opened, another call to the SS who is yet to rectify this problem. The electricians remove the top trim so that I can have an oven and all is well.

The dishwasher is also installed on Wednesday but alas there's a leak, the gas fitter who installs my cook top fixes this and I am happy.

Thursday my phone is to be installed, I get to 4:00pm and still no technician so I call Telstra only to find that they installed my telephone (and the new number I gave to all my friends) to another house in the estate. I'm not happy as it was such an easy number to remember. They re-schedule for the next day, give me a new number and true to their word the technician is there at 10:00am to install it (takes less than 5 minutes)

Lastly Saturday morning I decide to do some washing. My friends husband kindly hooked up my washing machine for me when I moved. A lot of people warned me not to be surprised if after moving the washing machine I go to do a load of washing and the thing wont start. I put a load on start her up and it goes, I breath a sigh of relief and go off to continue unpacking. Twenty minutes later I think that the washing machine has been a little quiet. I go to check it and sure enough, not going, pumps gone. So it's off to buy a new washing machine, something I did not budget for but thanks to 'The Good Guys' I got a good deal.

So to sum up. While it has been a drama filled week I would expect nothing less. All new houses have teething problems and mine have not been anything major, just a number of them one after the other. I love my house and will love it even more when the 100 odd boxes are unpack, I have some more money to visit ikea and get my scrapbook room set up and my brother-in-law pays a visit and helps me get my garden set up. Once I have a couple of months to put my stamp on things it will start to feel like home.

Will update with photos once it starts to feel like home.

Sunday, November 28, 2010

In a Whirlwind (Final Inspection)

Well it is almost time for handover and the last few day have been complete craziness!

In between preparing for a Garage Sale (which was advertised to start 8:00am Saturday morning but in fact in the eyes of the professional dealers started Wednesday morning) and packing I had my final walk through and inspection on Friday.

I was most impressed. Everything that I had been worried about when I walked through the house a couple of weeks ago had been taken care of without me having to point them out to my SS. Both the windows have been fixed. I took a friend along as an extra pair of eyes and with the companies inspection, the independent inspection and mine I am pretty happy.

My SS advised me that the feature wall in the rumpus room had been re-painted again due to damage made by the carpet installers and that they had also repainted the two walls in the dining as there had been a scratch in the plaster work and some dirty marks.

The only disappointment for me is the splash back in the kitchen. Although the colour ordered was 'stone' it does not seem to be the colour that I had picked out and taken a photo of all those months ago. Instead of a green tinge it seems to be more of a latte colour.

I could kick up a fuss and have it replaced but this would hold up the hand over for another four weeks! Do I want to do this? No! I know some people will say do not compromise but I am in a corner at the moment with having no where to live after this week, I just want to get into my home and if a green tinge on a splash back is all that's holding things up than it is not worth it. I have been told by several people who have spoken to sales people that the colour can vary from the show room once installed so maybe this is the case. Never mind, I will get used to it.

There were no other problems, just a few splashes of paint on the brickwork that will be removed in the final clean. I have even been given left over paint in case I needed to do touch ups after I move in (there can always be the odd accident even if you are so careful).

So - Where are we at? After much drama with my bank about getting the valuation and cheque (I am still waiting to be told when I can pick up the said cheque but have been guaranteed I will have it by Tuesday) We are set for hand over on the 30th of November! Could not be a better day as this is my Birthday and I could not ask for a better Birthday present. (Well maybe George Clooney wearing nothing but a bow tie but I won't let bore you with my fantasies).

The hot water service will be put in that morning, no appliances to go in as I am doing that myself, cleaning will be later that morning and I will have the keys that afternoon. Look out for the lovely curtains (aka sheets) in the windows that night.

As I have a hundred and one things to do between now and then this will be my last post until I move in. Look out for some photos next week.

Oh and one final thing. I had the pleasure of meeting two of my new neighbours who are also building the Santorini just a couple of doors up. Unfortunately because I am old and have the memory of a gold fish I have forgotten their names but they are a really lovely couple which makes me feel even more content that I have made the right decision in where I have chosen to live.

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Waiting is the Hardest Part

For the last week my SS has been very quiet, rather than him calling me to tell me what is going on I have had to call him. Twice now he has said he would get back to me that afternoon with answers and twice he has not called back. Is there something going on I should know about?

The house has been finished now for a week. I received the Certificate of Occupancy over a week ago and was told that I should be getting the keys 19 November. When I spoke with him on Monday his Manager was going through to check things out at the time, yesterday it was QA so hopefully tomorrow it will be my turn. I need to get my Inspector in to have a look through, however they won't even give me a date that I can do that. I need to allow for the fact that my guy is probably going to find mistakes that need to be rectified so I guess I am looking at another week again.

So close and yet so far. Wish me luck!

Monday, November 8, 2010

November 19th

Yes that's right, November 19 is set as the date for handover!

Had a call from my SS today to advise that the Certificate of Occupancy has been approved, he has the painters coming in tomorrow to fix the facade and touch up around the house. His Manager will go through with him probably Wednesday and then Quality Assurance. He will then walk me through the house and my Inspector will go through on Monday.

It's now happening so fast. I have so much to do and so much more to pack. I am surrounded by 'to do' lists and have not crossed anything off. It's time to get organised!

Will keep you updated.

Saturday, November 6, 2010

Photo Update

Had to go down to the house this morning to put my number on the window for the Gas connection so I took a few photos.

The facade has been fixed, didn't take much at all by the looks of things. It is yet to be painted however that will happen when the touch ups are done. There are a few more red stickers here and there but not as many as I want to see (I know no one wants to see red stickers but I know there should be a lot more).

The drive has been poured however it is yet to be finished as it needs to dry before they seal it.

There was a lot of work being done at the estate today with trucks coming in with loads of dirt. The end of the street was being rolled so it looks like they are getting ready to finish the road (this should make you happy Janine). I took a drive around the estate and noticed that there are four Metricon homes going up in Maplewood court, I'd love to know which ones are being built.

There has also been more tree planting along the boulevard and one of the side streets. I am just hoping that we get the same trees in our street as they provide wonderful shade and a shady street means $$$$ to the house.

Now I have to start thinking about the garden and what I am going to do there. I have three months from hand over to get it complete however I want to get on to it as soon as possible. I'm open to suggestions, I want something that is going to take care of itself but I'm not into natives. It looks like a visit to the nursery is in order. Does anyone know a good one.

Anyway, here are some photos, possibly the last before handover as there is very little left to be done now. I'm sorry if the quality is not too good, they were taken through windows once again.