Our House

"Life has knocked me down several times, it has shown me things I never wanted to see. I have experienced sadness and failures. But one thing is for sure, I ALWAYS GET BACK UP."

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Insert as many quotes about fighting back as you like but for me the journey of owning the property and house I have always wanted has been a series of highs and lows throughout my life.

Im the bloke that due to bad circumstances has bought at the wrong time and sold at the wrong time. Im the bloke that has made bad choices in life and in turn has caused a series of failures and lows. 

But one thing is for sure, as the quote above says, I always get back up. Today the 22/6/2018 we took the final steps to start building our new home in a location and setting that will suit us perfectly. 

This page will document the build of our new home, I will update it as time and progress happens.

“Character consists of what you do on the third and fourth tries.”

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We wanted to explore the option of building a new home. We had built in the past. Way back in 1992'ish we bought a house and land package in NSW when we were first married, but of course being young and being our first home there were a lot of compromises. 
This time we wanted to do it in a way that would be perfect for us, no compromises or at least minimal.

The first step was to find some land and the plan was to own it outright before starting the house build, which couldn't happen until our youngest left high school in our current area in December 2018.
 So the criteria was as follows. Must be close to town but must have a rural outlook and feel to it with no immediate neighbours.  Obviously it had to be within our budget, and at the time wasn't great so it was a big ask. 

But I spent 12-18 months keeping a very close eye on vacant land sales trying to find the right place to come up. 


So now we are at November 2015 and this Ad kept showing up in my searches.



It met every criteria except it was a very undeveloped block. It was steep, rocky, had no where to fit a house and to be honest the first time we looked at it we just kept on driving, it was just too unappealing and it was obvious to us why it had been for sale for a while and no one was buying it even though it was ridiculously cheap for its size and location.

The Advertisement sounded great like they all do but we just thought the expense required to build on this site would be too much.
Here is a photo we took back in 2015 of the only real place you might be able to fit a house, albeit a very small one!


Our search for the ideal block continued but the reality was that our budget wasn't going to find a block of land that fitted our criteria.  So I made several more visits back to this site and started to wonder 'what if'...............
I had a vision that this nasty block of land that no one seemingly wanted could be a real opportunity to build something special if I could afford to get it to a point where we could build a house on it.

So the first step was to see if there was a builder willing to take the project on and if so what would the costs be over a normal build on a normal flat block of land.
Secondly I needed to know what I would have to do in regards to excavation to meet engineering requirements and what costs would be involved in that.

Our neighbours house shown below was built on an even steeper part of the same 'doctors hill' so this gave me inspiration that perhaps it was possible. But we also wanted a large garage and a decent size back yard so we had a lot of work do if we were to end up with a minimum of a 1000sm flat area on the side of this hill.


My first call was to a building company. I chose a large national company as I felt they would be the most experienced at this type of thing.....they went and had a look and they were a flat out NO we dont build houses on blocks like that!

So my second call was to a smaller local builder and his reaction was a definite YES, we build on blocks like this all the time. So for the first time we had hope.

I then started to get a few quotes to cut in a minimum of 1000sm flat area into the side of the hill and to also clear all the dead wood and generally tidy the block up.  The block had well over 100 tonne of logs laying on the ground that would need to be removed and was really over grown.
The first quote was open ended, the company said it would be somewhere between 20k and 40k or so to do the work!! Dream shattered.........

The second quote was a lot better, the guy was happy to do the excavation and take some of the rocks and we managed to do a 'deal' which was well within our budget. We had some hope back again..........

In the meantime we managed to get a hold of recent soil test and engineering report on the property so all the unknowns were starting to be known.

So now we knew what were up against and felt we could turn a vision into reality, so we decided to put in an offer on the property.

It took 6 months of negotiation to come to an agreement on price and finally get it settled!! Yes I am a tight arse and yes I stuck to my guns because even though the price was very cheap, it was cheap because of the massive amount of work required to turn it into something decent.

So on June 2016 we took over ownership. In fact we had already moved the excavator in before official hand over but we didnt start digging until it was official ;)


The first excavator guy did a pretty good job for the money he charged. He got it close to where we wanted to be but his equipment was unable to move the last of the larger rocks.

There were a massive amount of large rocks.




However he took away a large amount of rocks and even though he didnt really complete the job to a point where he said he would he got us started.



Ironically when he was loading his equipment up to leave, his truck rolled down the steep road and nearly knocked down our neighbours house! That would have been a nice introduction to their new neighbours......


As it was he tore down their fence, but to his credit I believe he did replace it.

This image shows how steep the road is and how close it was to damaging the neighbours house.


In the meantime we started to cut up and take away some of the wood that was laying around.



We even spent the odd night on the property in the camper!


And here is an arial view of the house pad and how it looks on the 4 acres at that time.


So now we fast forward to November 2017 and we have our second crack at getting those rocks and the 100 tonne of wood removed.

I managed to find a gent that was able to do the work and use the wood as part payment as well as deliver us some wood to get us through our final winter with a wood heater at our current house.

And so the process starts again....lets play move those rocks.......


Even though ultimately he also failed to move the larger rocks (although he did get a couple more out), what he was good at was processing and taking all the wood.


And to his word he even cut and split a large load for us.


He was also good at clearing all the land and battering down the excavation works that the previous excavator bloke didn't do.



And he removed a large tree stump at the top of the property which was a lot harder than it may seem.


Here is a before (June 2016) and after (Dec 2017) of the house site.

Approximately a 1200sm - 1500sm flat area but would you believe even at that size we are a couple of metres short in width to fit the house and garage how we want them!


It is now June 2018 and we have done more soil testing and engineering reports, we have finalised our house plans, paid our deposits and signed off on the contracts.


 


So today June the 22nd 2018 the builder officially started building our house.

The first step is again, you guessed it, remove those bloody rocks!!

Obviously our first two attempts failed so now it is up to another company who has given a fixed quote and guarantee of a result. They are also building a large spoon drain along the top boundary as it was an engineering requirement. Photos to come as they develop.

Externally it is a brick and render finish with custom orb colourbond roofing and tinted windows.

The bricks are Austral Metalix graphite with a light grey mortar.

The roof and windows are colourbond Monument and the render at the front, gutters, facias, eaves and house garage door are Shale Grey. The front door is a double strength Shale grey so a little darker.
The 'shed' or my man cave is all monument but with shale grey doors like the house.


Entry door is like this but without the side door panel.


All internal doors.


Entry linen, hallway linen are using this white glass sliders.
Bedrooms are using mirrored sliders.


Door furniture is Lane hardware.



Internal colours are all shades of grey or white. Boring for some perhaps but we prefer to use artwork etc for splashes of colour because it is easy to change!

Our flooring for most of the house is basic click floors using Godfrey Hirst Vista Timeless Grey.



The bedrooms and hallway use Pasha Kent carpet. Pics are a bit odd as it looks different in each but its grey ;)


The bathroom, ensuite, toilets and laundry are tiled using these tiles with a grey grout. The bathroom and ensuite have these tiles in the shower areas and skirting also. The laundry uses these as the splash back. The bathrooms have a large mirror above the vanities instead of a splash back.


Just some of our colour samples in a group. Kitchen benchtops, gloss white createc kitchen cupboards with a polytec textured darker top cupboard finish. White subway tiles using a darker grey grout.


Kitchen and study Benchtops. Polytec Navona Stone Matera finish. Using gloss white createc cupboards and or drawers.



Kitchen top cupoboards. Polytec Legato Maroso Milan.


Brushed stainless handles.


Westinghouse appliances but we used a different brand rangehood because we liked the style.

Dishwasher


900 Electric oven with gas cooktop.




Emilia Rangehood.


Laundry, bathroom and ensuite cabinet tops are Marble. Gloss in the Bathrooms and matt in the laundry.


Bathroom and ensuite vanitys are polytec black woodmatt finish with black handles.


Laundry uses createc gloss white cupboards and hamper. 

Laundry tap and sink.



Freestanding Bath


Vanity sink in bathroom and ensuite.


Bathroom and ensuite Taps, mixers and bath spout.

Bathroom shower head.

Ensuite shower head.


Shower drains.


Toilets.


Kitchen sink and tap.


Internal walls, architraves, skirting and internal doors are all painted dulux white on white.

50ltr Thermann Hot water unit.


Blinds are sunshade and block out all custom made.


Probably a fair bit of stuff I have missed!

Ill upload the 3d renders of the cabinetry work when they are emailed to us.

TBC........

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March 2019

Sooooo its been a while but here are the renders of the cabinetry from our joiner. 

Kitchen Breakfast bar


Main Kitchen


Walk in pantry



Hallway Linen Closet


Entry linen closet
Bathroom and Ensuite vanities



Walk in robe main bedroom


All other bedroom builtins


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Last time I posted about our build I said we were about to have a lot more rocks removed and a large spoon drain installed by a company who gave us guarantees and a fixed price quote............

Well to cut a long story short that ended up with me having to take them to court as they went to the property and quickly discovered they were well over their heads doing the job, broke their machine and left without actually doing the job. But they tried to charge us anyway!! 
It went to court and we managed to pay them what we thought the work they did was worth, not the amount they were trying to rip us off for.

I wont mention names but here is the broken down excavator and the half built drain they put in.


What a disappointing and stressful saga it turned out to be. Not to mention a waste of money and time. They set us back a few thousand dollars and at least 4 months.


We had to go through the whole re-quoting process and employ another company to remove the rocks. 

This time I will mention the company because they did a great job, very competent and got the job done. It was Paul Hawkins at H & A Contracting. Look him up if you need any big work done in Tassie. He will price it and stick to the price and he wont leave until he has completed the work to your satisfaction. 

Heres some pics of him in action.


I dont know how many 100's of tonnes of rocks he broke and moved but it was an epic job.


So we finally go the ground to where we could fit our house and shed. Or so we thought!!

We spent quite a bit of time plotting the house site with the builder and tossing up ideas of how to make it all work and we settled on a location that allowed us to make us of the massive drop off and give our house or outside deck the feeling of being up in the tree's.

Here we are marking the final location, everything fits and we have the 4 mtr gap between the house and shed that we wanted. 


We even did the 3D model of the area to make double sure everything works as we asked.


But then we went to council, had everything approved but the engineer decided at the 11th hour that he wouldn't sign off on the house being so far out on the massive fill site without an epic amount of pier work done before hand. The costs involved in that extra pier work were more than we were willing to spend so the compromise was to move the house over 3mtrs which only left us a 1mtr gap between the house and the shed!

It wasnt ideal as we also had to move the house back so one fo the bedrooms still had light coming in through the window which in turn removed some of the back yard.



We eventually got over it....well i doubt we ever will but thats life. And to be honest everytime we go out and see the house grow that one thing still annoys us.

Oh and also to meet the BAL fire rating we were also told we had to build a massive 23mtr long x 2.4mtr high colorbond fence up on the hill above the house in the worst possible location.
I asked 8 different fencing companies to quote it and not one of them wanted to do it. 

The only person willing to do the job quoted $15100....yes you read that right.

Just as I was thinking id have to work out a way to do it myself I came across a Facebook post about a small private fencing bloke that was recommended.......he quoted it reluctantly and got the job done.....$6400. Still a cost we had not budgeted but had to be done. Trust me a rang anyone and everyone trying to get out of it.

Here it is by the way.......we hate it but we will plant some tree's in front of it at some stage. I wouldn't mind meeting the boffin who said that we 'had' to have it.



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But around the end of January the build started.

Electrical and Plumbing rough in


Slab formwork


Slab Poured


Shed started


Shed built (wrong colour roller door, they will change it later) and frame started


Frame mostly complete


Roofers done and house wrapped


Windows in and brick work started


We then had our electrical placement meeting on site. This was the first time we had actually been inside the compound and therefore inside the house since they started.

It was really rushed which we later regretted but none the less we got some inside pics of the framing.

One conciliation was that even though the house was moved over 3mtrs we havent lost that suspended up in the tree's feel.



And not too much time later the brick work went up and from what we can see the plaster etc is going on inside. 




They have also brought in a lot of top soil and spread it out on the lower level. I think it is for the treatment plant waste water run off.


And here is the house today. End of March. No render on the front yet but it is well and truly going up.

The next step is for us to have another meeting on site with the tiler. So the next blog post will most likely be when it is finished or very close.


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