Saturday, 20 October 2012


Just a fun one our land 1 month ago. Wife on the mound of dirt.

Our land as of yesterday wife and friends walking around on it.
Both taken from same location - Facing the pedestrian crossing.
The pedestrian crossing will be outside our bedroom windows.

 Thats the driveway crossover on the Right of picture

Electrical plans

As for electrical the pictures pretty much speak for themselves. If you have any questions please feel free to ask. We kept the electrical easy and low cost but left provisions for work to be done later on in time after we move in and see what we need and/or want to change.

As for the water tank that is shown in the wrong location as we decided to move it to the blind side of the house towards the hot water service. Also we'll be installing our own slimline tank, not the standard Porter Davis supplied tank. We found that the standard tank was wildly overpriced, excessively large, and looked pretty hideous to be honest.

At the electrical appointment we chose to install 2 extra gas points that aren't shown on these plans - one on the wall outside the kitchen opposite stove and the other in the roof of the alfresco too for future heating like the OZglow HE40 hanging patio heater. In doing so we also upgraded the pipework for the gas to stop any freeze up conditions. We also had the light fittings over the kitchen island reinforced to suit pendant lighting which we'll have installed after hand-over.

Electrical layout:

We put in a few extra powerpoints and lights, such as through the hallway and in the kitchen/dining/living area, so that the future owners would have more flexibility with the space.

Nbn and sound to outside

At the moment it's just the basic nbn fibre package as you can upgrade cabinet and will have conduit roughed in to feed extra data and others into rooms when we feel like doing so and I can upgrade to cat6 in my free time.

Saturday, 13 October 2012

Our Colour Selections

The next major milestone in our build after choosing tiles was our colour selection appointment. This is going back a while now so I'll just cover the main points that I remember (I knew we should have started this blog earlier!). If anyone reading has any specific questions just ask and I'd be happy answer :)

I don't know how people design houses without the aid of Pinterest. Seriously! I almost had a pinboard for every decision we had to make. One for kitchen, one for floors, one for kitchen floors...

The hardest decision I think for us was actually our kitchen splashback. As I mentioned in the last post, we are trying to design this house with the idea of selling in approx 5 years time, so any colour decisions had to appeal to a broad market but still work for us for the next 5 years. This meant that we couldn't be too crazy with the kitchen's glass splashback since it is such a huge piece in the living area. Going with something like bright red may look great now, but it would alienate a lot of buyers, and would it still be stylish in 5 years time? We decided after a lot of research that blue is a colour that works well in kitchens and tends not to date. Knowing our luck though in 2017 they'll decide blue is 'out' and we'll be stuck with an 'ugly' kitchen ;)

Rhys went to a glass manufacturer nearby and picked up a few samples of starfire glass (treated to eliminate a tint) and regular glass (which has a blue/green tint), then we bought a few sample pots of different blues and whites from Bunnings and went a bit crazy painting the glass to see how the glass tint would affect the colour. In doing this we found that the colour Lexicon Half by Dulux (a shade of white) when used on the regular glass gave a light blue result - perfect for our kitchen!

Once we had worked out what colour the splashback would be, the rest pretty much fell into place. White cabinets to maintain neutrality, Caesar Stone Night Sky benchtops to contrast against the pale blue and white, and spotted gum timber floorboards. I felt very strongly about hardwood floors rather than tiles and finally won Rhys over through inspiration photos like this:

I think that for the family home feel that we're going for, tiles in the living areas when put with our black and white colours made the living areas look very modern and maybe too modern for our overall scheme. The floorboards warmed up the caesarstone benchtops and stainless steel so that it looked more 'cosy' than 'clinical'! Having said that, we will still be putting tiles through the entryway, but I think this will flow nicely with the bathroom and toilet and be lifted by the light carpets in the adjoining rooms (as you'll see below).

Externally, we decided on Jarrah bricks, Woodland Grey for the posts, meter box, downpipes, windows and gutters, Ebony roof tiles, Dune for the garage door, front door and render and Bluestone for the driveway. in the first photo below you can see how the colour Dune looks almost like a different colour when used as regular paint for external fixtures compared to when used as a render. It also shows the Woodland Grey as it would look on a door compared to on guttering etc.

 Jarrah Bricks:
 How it all looks put together:

We're having carpet in the bedrooms, the theatre room and the study (iHub). We chose "Belmont Old Leather 8575" in all rooms, again because it's neutral and goes with our general black/white/grey blue accents colour scheme. We went lighter instead of darker to brighten up the rooms, feeling that a dark carpet with grey walls would shrink the smaller rooms.
We chose the spotted gum because it's a lighter wood, and we loved the variations in the planks. I thought it was one of the flooring choices that had more 'character'. Here are our gorgeous floorboards with the carpet:

Well, I think that's about it for colour selections thank God! I'll let Rhys do our electrical choices lowdown because to be honest my participation in that appointment consisted of one question really - "And how much does that cost?" ;)

Cheers everyone, see you later!

Tuesday, 25 September 2012

Tiles ahoy!

Once we had signed up officially, paid all of our deposits, chosen our block* and had a glass of champagne, the first appointment we had as far as personalising the house was our tile selection appointment with National Tiles.

*A note on choosing our block: We had actually signed up and done all of the drawings based on a block in Stage 8 of our estate. By the time we got over to the land sales office to pay our deposit the block had been sold (no less than half an hour earlier) to another builder. Needless to say Porter Davis were not happy with the mix-up! The only other block that suited our house design was one that land sales had not yet allocated to a builder, but as we had been stuffed around a bit they told us it was ours if we wanted it. The block is across the road from the running track with no house in front of it, true north facing alfresco, and slightly bigger than the original block - Heck yes we wanted it!! The only downside was that it was Stage 9 which is why we're still waiting for titles until December, despite having signed up back in May. Had our original block not been sold we'd be in the early stages of the build by now! So there you go, that's the story of how we ended up being one of the first people to build a house in Stage 9.

Back to the tile appointment.

I had done hours of research and gathered many many inspiration pictures. Thank God for Pinterest is all I can say! The main picture we ended up going with for inspiration was this one:

We wanted something fairly neutral but modern, something we could add our own colours to through towels, vases etc that would work well for the people living there after us. I liked the large black tiles contrasted with the smaller white subway tiles on the wall, also the difference in textures between the black matt and glossy white. However once we were in our tile appointment and had chosen the basic black and whites and the trimming, I was feeling very under-whelmed. We were trying to stick to a budget so I couldn't do anything crazy, but I thought it would be good to add something that would make it just a little bit different to any other stock standard bathroom, so we chose a beautiful feature tile which will go between the sink and the mirror in the bathroom and ensuite. I'm so glad we did that, it's one of the things I'm now most looking forward to about the house! Here are some pictures of our tile selections:

My gorgeous feature strip:

All of the tiles together:

The larger photo also shows our wall colour throughout the house (Flokati by Wattyl), our caesarstone benchtop sample and the whites of our cabinets. The grey wall colour looks a lot darker in this picture than it does in real life. We chose it based on the Montague display home in Taylor's Hill because it's actually a very subtle grey. We're thinking we might do a feature wall in the master bedroom after we move in but that's something we'll decide once we've been living there a while and see how we feel.

The large black floor tile will also be used down the hallway and in the laundry. The white subway tiles will be on the laundry wall as well but without the feature strip.

So there we go, tile selections done! Feel free to ask me any questions regarding pricing or anything, but unless someone is specifically interested I'm not going to dig up those receipts. They're hidden somewhere within that great big folder (if you're building as well, you know what I mean!).

Cheers :)

Saturday, 22 September 2012

A bit about us

Welcome to our blog! My name is Courtnee. My husband Rhys and I have signed our lives away by entering into a contract with Porter Davis to build our first home and we thought it would be a good idea to document the process so that our friends and family can keep track of the build, and so that at the end of all of this we can look back and remember what we've gone through and hopefully be proud of what we achieved!

How we got here:

Rhys and I met when we were 14/15 at our local blue light disco. Rhys had just moved to Australia from New Zealand, I on the other hand had been attending said disco every month for about 2 years, so I noticed the fresh meat lurking about on the sidelines straight away! After a bit of stalking and 'accidentally' adding him to my MSN chat list, we were talking every night and have been together ever since! We married in October 2011.

For about a year before the wedding up until now we have been living with our housemate Iain in a two bedroom apartment in St Kilda. We love it here, St Kilda is fantastic, but we always knew we wanted a proper house with a yard where we could have pets and start a family, and for a couple of newlyweds in their early twenties Melbourne is a hard property market to crack into. We never stopped thinking about it though, reading the weekly property guides and auction results religiously, attending open house inspections for properties we knew we couldn't afford, buying lottery tickets just in case...

Cue our friends Dee and Sol. I'd grown up with Dee and when we left high school she moved straight to Geelong for uni. I have been visiting her pretty much monthly since then, and since she met Sol 5 years ago Rhys has been coming as well for fishing trips and general male bonding. When they told us they were building a house in Leopold, lightbulbs flashed for us and we knew it was something we should look into, so we began doing our research!

Fast forward to April 2012 and we'd signed a contract with Porter Davis to build the Montague 21 with the living and ihub, kitchen and grand alfresco options.

We thought that this was a great home for us to live in for the next 5 years while we plan the start of our family and we could see it being a flexible family home for some other lucky people in the future, therefore a wise investment for us.

Our land doesn't title until December this year so for now we're just sitting around twiddling our thumbs waiting for things to get moving, but the estate is taking shape so we visit every month or so just to check on the progress and get to know our future community.

I'll be sure to write some posts in the near future detailing our choices as far as colour and electricals, layout etc. For now hopefully you've enjoyed getting to know us (or for those who do know us, refamiliarising yourselves), and I'll check in again soon. Don't expect to hear much from Rhys on here. While he's very active in the whole 'setting up the blog' and giving me ideas for what to write about, he's quite happy to sit on the couch and watch me type!

Until next time :)