WE are almost through the pre-signing stage. Here’s where we’re at:

  1. Colour scheme: We’ve had our colour appointment. This was quite arduous and at times overwhelming. We did make it through with the help of our excellent colour consultant. She really kept us on track and had some good ideas. I think she got a sense of our taste and made suggestions accordingly. This was part of the whole reason we went with these builders as they have a good selection of choices at their fingertips. If there is anything else that we want they are open to seeking out prices. We are still refining our final choices and have targeted the end of this week to have our changes to them.
  2. Flooring: We actually found that hard wood floors are within our budget as we’ve had them quoted for the ground floor. We are going to ask them for a price for the entire house aprt from wet areas.
  3. Contract: We still have not had a meeting with the builder to go over the contract which is quite disconcerting. For reasons (I won’t go into in this forum) I expect that this will not affect the final price and hope to sign next week subject to the availability of all involved.
  4. Finance: We obtained finance approval about 6 weeks ago, and our current lender is dragging their feet about changing over. They are bloody hopeless and I am looking forward to leaving them behind. If they would just send the discharge paperwork over we can finalise the finance.
  5. Demolition: We’ve had second quote from a demolisher who’s sign I saw in the local neighbourhood. They were very professional and prompt in providing a written quote. So we probably go with them. I also want to get another quote, but so far both quotes have been “there-abouts” in our budget.
  6. Set backs: The builder has told us we need to apply to side set back on the south side. We also want to have the front set back as far forward as possible. Currently the house can be sited at 8.5m without need to apply for report and consent. We want to have 7.5m. I have spoken to both neighbours and gave in principle support so I hope they will sign a letter of support as well. I have also found other houses in the street at nearly 6m so hopefully that will add to our case. (I’m happy to privately talk with anyone needing advice on applying for set back so just send me an e-mail.)




AFTER some time off over Christmas we are back to building. We’ve spent a lot of time thinking about the colours and have our colour selection appointment this Saturday. I have not been entirely happy with the level of customer service we have had so far.

BEGIN RANT:A few weeks before Christmas we went to the display village for another look and it was closed. It’s a half hour drive and with three kids in the back it was very disappointing to turn around. Our customer service person rang to make some appointments and we said that we did not think that we would be ready by then and we would need to set other times. He did not return my phone calls or e-mail, so when I followed up I found out that he had resigned. No one had contacted us to let us know. I’m still waiting to be reassigned a new customer service person. I went in to get some samples on a Sunday as they said they were open every day and we were welcome to come in. When I got there the receptionist said, “Oh no you can’t do that!” and went off to check and someone else asked me if I had an appointment to which I said “No! I was told I could come in any time and get samples!” Well I was finally let in but it seems as though we have to argue evey little thing with them. Geez! END RANT. Ahhh that’s better.

 We are fairly confident that we are ready for the colour selection on Saturday. We have still got to apply for the front and side backs. I’ve had a brickie come over to quote on the front fence and am still waiting for his price – that was about six weeks ago. Once we’ve made our colour selection I’ll post the palettes. I’d love to hear from anyone with comments so feel free to leave some.


Colour tour and more

YESTERDAY we had our colour tour. They explained some of the upgrades and had a limited number of examples. It was pretty overwhelming also since we took the kids it wa hard to concentrate. (They behaved for most of the time, except Master Two who really cracked it at the end). I’m going to spend the next few weeks digesting the options, doing more research and coming up with some ideas. My initial thoughts are to pick an overall pallet of three colours and make selections from there. I would also like some rooms to have a distinct feel, like the study, the sitting room, the ensuite, kids bathroom and powder room. I was fairly happy with the standard options and am looking forward to bring it all together.

 For the next steps I think we should break it down to each room, and pick from the options available (which may just be the standard options anyway).

 I think we are close to deciding the bricks and floor tiles (in addition to the wet areas we are tiling hallway, kitchen and dining room).

 On Saturday we went to tile place A and had a look around. Of course there were loads of options, but I am confident that we will be able to make a decent selection from the standard category. I feel realy inspired by the tile selection process and want to take advantage of this creative opportunity.

 Today we had a phone call from our new customer service person from the builder. He’s got the results of the soil test and wants to go over our costs to determine our preliminary contract. It will be a challenge for us both to be there at the same time, but I’m sure we can work it out.


Did someone say bricks?

ON Sunday we visited one of the brick places listed as a supplier for the builder. Let’s just call them Z.

 My initial thoughts were for clinker brick, natural mortar and an ironed joint. Currently we have the same, although now I’m starting to think that there is also a red brick mix in there too.

 So we talked to the Z guys. One of them was very helpful and the other not so – I find that amazing as our builders have two suppliers listed, so I would have thought that they all would have been very keen to look after us in order to get the business.

 Their suggestions were worth considering. They suggested that some people do a mix of Clinker with Red Trevallyn to as the Clinker on its own can look a bit dark. I like that idea, and I also like their Burwood Blue, and thought about a mix with Weathered Red.

 We definitely do not like the wire cut bricks.

 We also talked to Z about roof tiles. My preference is for flat a style, and I quite like the ones scored with vertical lines.

 I would also like to talk to the builder about the possibility of colourbond.

 Here’s some pictures of the bricks we like:

Clinker               Red Travellyn

Clinker          Red Trevallyn

Burwood Blue      Weathered Red

         Burwood Blue          weathered-red.jpg          


Kingston facade

This is the facade we are going for. It will have red clinker bricks, the light coloured weatherboard-style cladding for the second storey and a concrete tile roof.

Next steps

WE’VE gone to the next steps with the builder. We’ve had another consultation and refined the price estimate and have made a colour selection appointment. So now we need to go through all the brick and tile suppliers brochures and also (more importantly) go and see them and go through the colour selection. With the exterior we’re thinking clinker brick (no render) and dark tiles. They said that we could start building in 22 weeks, which would take us up to the first week of April for the start of construction (on a clear block).

 We have also spoken to a landscape gardener who has made some suggestions. I have to work on the exact pricing, and I don’t think we can do exactly what we want. He’s suggested lots of paving and retaining walls. Next door there is a huge river red gum tree. It’s beautiful… and… with the way the roots have grown and due to slope of the block, we’re going to need to have a retaining wall to ensure that we look after the root system otherwise the landscape gardener says that the tree could die! I know that once the landscaping is finished that it will look beautiful, however I wasn’t looking to cater for the needs of next door. We have been here for ten years, so the tree is no surprise to us. Once we have more information on the landscape gardening I’ll post the more info.

 Today (19-Nov) we had the soil testers come out and last Friday (16-Nov) the site survey people came out. 

 After out little chat with the builder I need to get clear on the set back. After my rough estimate I think that both our neighbours have eight metre set backs and ours is currently nine metres. All of these are my estimates. My priority is to get as much as possible and the builder suggested we apply for an consideration of an exemption (aka report and consent) with council. So I’d be interested in anyone else’s experienced with council report and consent, but I think we’ll put in an application for another metre, bringing us to seven metres. That would be two more metres from what we have now, which would be fantastic. Unfortunately our one of our neighbours have going away for a four weeks, so we won’t be able to get them to sign a letter supporting our application until they get back. The builder was really unclear as to when they needed the final set back, so I need to talk to them to determine that time frame.

 Tomorrow I’m off to the bank to arrange finance. I expect that everything should be ok, as we’ve had the bank valuation and was more than enough to secure finance.

First post

THIS is our blog to document the construction of our new home.

 First, a little about us. We are a family of five living in the eastern suburbs of Melbourne. There’s me (Dad), Mum, and OS (6), CC (4) and CR (2). We live in a 3BR 14 square 1930’s brick clinker on a 600 square metre block which is just fine. All it needs is a much larger kitchen, more light, another bedroom, a study, kids area, separate lounge room and it would be fine. We currently have a double garage in the back (which I love) which takes up too much room if we were to renovate. In order to have a back yard we’d need to move the garage to the front which sounds very expensive. So we decided that we would knock down our home of ten years and build on the same block. We started seriously looking for new homes with commercial builders a few months ago.

 We had a look at Inform – beautiful architecturally designed homes from a commercial builder. The price for the finished house with a bare slab was above our total construction budget. So on to the next one…

 Next up we talked to Porter Davis who unfortunately said that we lived too far out of their zone. Oh well – their loss!

 After that we looked at M and were pleasantly surprised. Their starting price looked affordable and their build quality excellent. We went out to their display homes all over town and we impressed by their consistency (at least in the display homes) and the sheer range of layouts.

 We also looked at another and were not impressed by what was on offer.

 So far we have settled with M with the Liberty. We gave them a $1000 deposit on the last day of the Platinium promotion. This promotion’s headline was $30000 worth of value for $5000. If you dig deeper you will see that they include the standard items already in the $30000 (I think they we $9k in value), so really it’s $21k in value for $5k. Ok, I’m still interested.

 We’ve got so much to do and we don’t want to rush – we just want to ensure that we have enough information at the time a decision needs to be made. We’ve really been enjoying the forum on www.homeone.com.au which has inspired us to start this blog. Lots of great tips which I will need to document and action!

 We would really value your comments and look forward to sharing this journey with you.


The Liberty - Derrimut display