Blog #31:

We are in!

3 weeks since my last blog and completion perhaps a week or 2 later than I had predicted. I was naive however, after we witnessed the volume of work completed in that space of time. We are therefore grateful for the efforts of our builders and trades to get it done as quickly as they have.

Nevertheless, we were dying to get in.

Cost and time are nearly always underestimated in the building industry. I quoted in blog #1:

A) it will cost more than expected, and

B) it will take longer than expected.

I have still been guilty of underestimating, and we can certainly tick both of those boxes, perhaps the first one more than the second…

The costs crept up on us and was death by 1000 cuts. We could have managed this better but got swept up in the fun of it all. No regrets, money is cheap now, and if we had of realized the result may have been slightly diminished. That is not to say that you cannot achieve a stunning result on a tighter budget, you just need to be more diligent and exercise greater restraint.

More time can be spent prior to signing a contract, specifying absolutely everything to get an accurate contract price, and once under way, getting prices on any variations before pulling the trigger.

We are not completely finished with just some painting, footpaths, and minor details to tick off, but the inside is done, and we delighted with the results. All the thought, research, and deliberations have paid dividends as we finally see all the elements together as one.

Some of the elements were selected a long while ago and have been out of sight and out of mind. Seeing them again is like catching up with an old friend. A smile comes across your face and it was like you were never apart. Luckily, these old friends have not got any fatter or balder….

First up after Easter we had the final measure of our stone bench tops by CR Stone. The install followed on Thursday and was exciting to see the finish. A big, beautiful slab of stone for our island bench (3.2m x 1.2m, the largest available) and matching bench tops throughout the kitchen and pantry. We took a while to decide on our kitchen splashback and are now pleased with our choice to go with stone. Also really like the black under mount sinks with the stone.

To finish off the kitchen benches we have Vic Ash timber slats which match our portico ceiling. The builders fitted these after the stone was installed.

Carpet from Kerang Carpet Court was laid by Kelly Carpet Laying straight after Easter, and I’m told this is a important milestone as it signifies to the trades that the end is near. Dark Triexa carpet which we think fits nicely with the theme of the house.

The carpet finished the bedrooms, so we were able to clean them and start moving clothes and linen into the robes. We were keen to move furniture in too, however our builder would not allow until we got the certificate of occupancy after the final inspection.

We could not resist moving our new table and chairs in early and snuck them in last Sunday after my nephew Ben delivered our custom made 3m x 1.2m recycled timber table on Saturday. Ben and his mate have done a great job and the table was worthy of being the first piece of furniture in the house. We enjoyed our first meals around it, Nanna’s homemade pasties, after the crack team of 70-year-olds were called back in to help clean. By the way, Ben is a carpenter who is making furniture on the side, message me if you are interested.

The AC system was finished by Berry Refrigeration, however had to wait for the electrical to be complete before firing it up. This was not smooth sailing as our wiz bang WiFi controller was faulty and caused Mat Coates Electrical some grief. A new part is being sent so we are running with the standard controller for now which does not have the zoning options.

Electrical Mat and Plumbing Matt both went hammer and tongs and powered through their fit off. And my word what a difference it made.

Mat Coates Electrical came in first and worked through Friday and Saturday to break the back of the electrical fit off. By the following Wednesday, the power was on which was another significant milestone.

I was not prepared for the impact of the lighting. With the days shortening the lights were a welcome addition, however they provide much more than the ability to see. They add another dimension and an ambience that was absent previously.

I was like a kid in a candy store the night after the power come on, running from room to room, and switching every light on multiple times. The dimmers had us confused and required some instruction from Mat.

Our 2 main lights, our kitchen and meals pendants took some time to settle on. We knew what we wanted for our kitchen but found it hard to find, whilst we really had no idea about our meals. We knew what we didn’t want, and I guess that is a start. Tina from Conidi’s Tiles and Lighting came through with the goods on both fronts and we think we have kicked a goal.

We still were not convinced when we ordered the meals pendants, and it was not until we saw them up that we knew they were right.

Matt Wilkinson Plumbing came in and rolled most of their fit off in one day. I caught up with him early that morning and confirmed the basin and tap locations for our vanities. Not a productive morning for me as it was the second trip to the site after I had met Kristian there early to confirm timber slat set out on our kitchen bench.

I was prepared for the impact of the plumbing fixtures, however they still impressed. The interior was looking very white, so needed some contrast which has been delivered with our plumbing fittings and lighting, as well the added texture of our timber and stone features. I thought we would also need more colour and texture with our furniture, wall art and styling, however it feels as though there is already enough going on. I think we will add some furniture, sitting and sleeping on the floor is not ideal, however we do want minimalism and spaces that are not cluttered. Moving in should therefore be relatively pain free and we already have the main items in.

Anyhow, back to the plumbing fixtures. More than content with these, most of which were brought through Dahlsens in Swan hill, with some mixers from Reece in Swan Hill. We found the hardest fixture to pick was our sink mixers in our kitchen, pantry, and laundry. Jess spent a lot of time on these and still was not sure, but now we wonder what the fuss was about as they look right at home in their new environment.

The septic system was also installed by Matt. It is a Ozzi-kleen treatment system supplied by Gary Napier Plumbing. The tank went in a couple of blogs ago, but the disposal trenches were only completed last week by Matt and then commissioned by Gary at the start of this week.

The downpipes have been a saga, apparently Vestis Aluminum downpipes are rare. They are hard to fold because the material is light, so Metal Cladding Systems provided a sample, and we are now waiting on prices. Matt has installed PVC downpipes, which look fine against our white walls, and can be painted to match the walls more. We want the black downpipes in Vestis, as they cannot be matched with Colorbond or painted PVC, however if we had our time again would not have bothered with the white Vestis downpipes. Unfortunately, we have wasted some time and money there.

McKnight Concreting are booked to come back and do the front footpaths and driveway apron. They are under the pump ATM, coping with the rush we had as designers prior to Christmas. We have ha d Rob Farrer back in to lay crushed rock so we can drive into our garage, and he will be back once the footpaths are down to finish the driveway and level the front yard ready for lawn.

The builders have been running around crossing off small items of their list. This list is normally written on a scrap bit of building material and left on site, which I often find to check where we are at. Amazing the attention to detail and I know that if I notice something, I need not worry, as Kristian already has and is all over it.

The builder, and his wife trying to avoid a photo.

Andre Brown had a little holiday just after Easter (how dare he😉) but has been back at it. He sweetened the deal by leaving some homemade cider in our beer fridge. The garage, front door, Alfresco area ceiling, and eaves are still to go, however the rest is done. Big house for one guy, but excellent quality control and we are getting A1 quality. The doors were the last task he competed this week, and the builders re-hung these just on time before the final inspection.

We have had some deliveries from Visual Appeal and Betta Electrical Kerang. The fridge was installed (plumbed) by the plumbers and TVs put up by the electrician.

Dale from Kerang Custom Joinery has been floating around finishing off the joinery and installing a shelf and hanging rail in our laundry. All trades were onsite Thursday running around getting everything ready for the Friday. The blind installer from Kerang Carpet Court was also there, and we have our roll down blinds just in time!

The big day rolled around, and I bounced out of bed. In stark contrast to the days previous as I was sick of the anticipation and just wanted the day to arrive. It was a nervous wait Friday morning, waiting for the call to say we could move it. This was not a forgone conclusion as the builder inspector could have found something that needed to be completed before we moved in. The builder also had to have all the certificates from all the trades and council health inspector (for the septic system) so there was a bit that had to fall into place.

I got the call at 12:27pm with the green light to move in. I knocked off work and met Jess to start the task of moving in. We started in the main area and have the main items in. Beer time crept up on us and we had some family around for a drink. Afterwards I attempted to cook a meal in the new kitchen, but failed miserably, trying to find things and work our new appliances: take away would have been a good option. The kids slept on mattresses and we are in a bit of a shambles, but we are in, and we look forward to a new life here at Wilson Court.

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