Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Facade change of heart: From Kingston (Contemporary) to Chateau!

So, we were revising some things on Sunday night, and realised that although we've put many hours into internal options, we sort of just picked the Kingston facade at the first initial appointment with Ainslee. The interesting thing is, in my Metricon big book of plans - I think they put the wrong picture of the facade in. And on their website, the "Kingston" isn't even pictured - but the "Contemporary" is, and it looks the same.

All too confusing? Here's a pic for you;

The lower image is the Kingston (or what is probably now called Contemporary). Remember that the displayed image in the brochures is almost never what you'll actually get - all rendering is OPTIONAL. So, you'd have a brick facade, brick balcony, brick garage. Though in the promotion we've opted for, a feature front render is included which means the balcony projection is rendered.

However, we've decided to change to the Chateau facade pictured on top. It features a weatherboard cladding feature to the facade 1st floor, brick ground and rest of house, and a rendered balcony - so our house should look almost exactly as displayed in the picture!

Of course, all facades incur a cost, and the Chateau base price in 41 squares is $285,200. The Kingston was $283,000, so it's a relatively small $2,200 increase - but gives a much better street view! And for comparison, the cheapest facade is the Traditional at $274,700 - but it looks pretty bland and unattractive.

Ainslee also sent us the Chateau floorplan (the master is slightly larger due to the central projection, which is nice to know) and internally (apart from that) it's virtually identical to the Kingston. The only further change I think I'll bring up with Tina is maybe an additional door to the powder room.

Stay tuned - in the next update I hope to upload a pic of the basic floorplan, then after a bit of photoshopping, mark up all the internal changes we're planning to include!

Sunday, June 28, 2009

Metricon - Deposit paid!

Went back to Marriot Waters today for a walkthrough of their Nolan 45. Of course, this house has about $200,000 in options above the standard price - how else would it look this good!

Most of the walkthrough we spent in the kitchen, trying to figure out options here - huge island bench with 100mm stone edges? Tower cabinets? Gloss doors or not? Anyway, over the last month or so we've tied down the major changes to be made.

So, after the walkthrough we got a revised quote - I guess the real unpleasantness was the fact that since we're redeveloping a site, we'll probably have a "P" classification, which in house building terms means "most expensive, Probably". Without more information from the site itself, a basic estimate of $30,000 for site costs is what we're bracing for - wow!

Anyway, paid the $1000 deposit to get the soil samples and site survey done, then went to Metricon's display in Berwick to check out some more display homes to see what standard looks like. They actually had a few standard options on show - the normal L-shape bench is actually pretty good in the kitchen, so we might save ourselves $8500 by not going for the larger island bench! The real hard part is sorting out what colours to put in, so Tina snuck out her camera to snap everything in sight.

Tomorrow we're off to the Home Building & Reno show in the city, to maybe get some ideas.

Oh yeah - Friday night we painted the master room in the old house - wow, it's almost livable now!

Sunday, June 21, 2009

A busy Sunday - Studio M and a professional builder's opinion

Busy, busy day - again! I don't reckon we'll get a weekend to ourselves for another year at least!

Went to Studio M today on a tour. I thought it'd be bigger... they did have a selection of bricks, tiles, kitchens etc, but not a fully comprehensive selection. For example, to see all the tiles available you have to go to Beaumont Tiles in Oakleigh. Or look up a full range of kitchen sinks from the manufacturer's website.

Anyway, we spent about an hour and a half on the tour and browsing. Quite a bit from the standard selection was acceptable, though I can see us pretty much upgrading a lot of things. Bigger/better cornices, skirting, architraves, powerpoints, roofs, bricks etc etc.

After that, went to Bourke St Camberwell for a bit of window shopping and overpriced coffee and chocolate based drinks ($10.50 for a mocha and hot chocolate anyone?) before meeting my uncle for an opinion on things so far. My uncle is a custom builder around Melbourne, but generally only high-end projects. He just moved into his own house a couple of weeks ago, 60squares! Got blown away by some of the details - 5 times as much carpet as the average townhouse, four times as much timber, 130 (one hundred and thirty!) truckloads of excavated soil (for the four car underground garage of course), anyway it goes on and on. Got some great advice regarding the Metricon standard quote, inclusions and options. For example, pine is better than hardwood for the frame, eaves are great (as is a Colourbond roof) and other little details too - much appreciated!

Anyway, so far so good for this weekend. Didn't move in as planned, but that's because the house is still unlivable. We've picked up about 7 pots of mismatched paint from our parents, which we'll use to pretty up at least the main bedroom during this week before maybe moving our little bar fridge in next weekend.

Saturday, June 20, 2009

Busy day - first Saturday of ownership!

So what we have done so far?

  • Vacuumed the place - for about the first time ever, judging from the dirt the Dyson brings up!
  • Ripped up the carpet from the main bedroom. Left the underlay and nail boards in place for now, as we'll paint the walls and then remove the underlay (it's our drop sheet for now)
  • Brought over a few basics for living - bed frame, mattress, TV, couple of tables and chairs, washing machine. Will bring over either our big fridge or a bar fridge. I think the sooner we start on the new house, the better!
Tomorrow we're visiting Studio M to have a look at the colour range, so that should be quite fun. I've also got to call my uncle to see if he can have a quick look over the plans and give us an opinion on build, quality and prices.

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Utilities connected!

Had the electricity and gas connected up today, so we went by the house after work to have a look. Smells a lot better after having the windows open for a day, I must say - and it looks like we're going to rip up all the carpet, after painting a few of the walls first! Nice solid hardwood floors. Hopefully will be able to get the house removed; I must remember to try calling a few places soon!

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Settlement today!

Well, I got a call from my lawyer at 1:45, everything went through smoothly! Picked up the keys from the agent and drove down in my lunch hour to have a look - Tina had a quiet afternoon so she came by as well.

Phew, this place kinda smells... and looks like the original 50 year old carpets worn to the floor as well! Left all the windows open to get some fresh air in, and will buy every cleaning product and anti-smelly-spray known to man to spray it tomorrow. Gas and electricity are due to be connected tomorrow too.

Here's a preliminary pic of the place...

Approx 15.3m frontage allows us to squeeze the Nolan 41 on, and providing we build the garage right up to the boundary, we're 19cm away from the easement - just!

And by the way - this house is for sale - price, ZERO dollars! You can have the house for free providing the block is totally cleared and levelled after removal. Contact me for details!

Also got a call from Metricon's finance person, and will be seeing him after our walkthrough in a few weeks. Funnily enough we haven't even spoken to anyone about borrowing some money for this new house... erm, probably should do that pretty soon! Will organise a few other calls to brokers and banks too I guess.

This Sunday as well, managed to get a tour of the Metricon Studio M, their name for the place to choose all your colours... yup, all of them - from bricks & mortar, to tiles & toilets, roofs and rails. Apparently it takes a whole day, so we're going to have an early sneek peek to see what it's like and suss out what the standard selections are like, and what we're going to have to pay more for...

Monday, June 15, 2009

Update: Received quote on house with options!

Well, I'm rather surprised at Ainslee's efficiency so far - Ainslee is the sales rep from Lyndhurst we spoke to the other day.

As promised, she emailed up a 6 page PDF file with the major options and changes that we've requested from Sunday - not bad after seeing her just 1 day ago!

Most of the options listed are relatively easy to interpret and understand. The quote was quite comprehensive and also included tiles to downstairs ($8500), carpets to upstairs ($8500), evaporative cooling ($5000) and a few other things which we will probably do after completion. In summary, from a base price of $284k, the estimate quote is about $350k. Again, this is just for the house, no site costs or external things like driveways or decking.

Other options we're unsure of - the $600 wine rack above the fridge, the $5500 modification to ensuite, and $2500 "KDHW" upgrade to the stairs. We'll take a day or two to review things and get back to Ainslee about that. Tina isn't sure of the larger ceilings downstairs and upstairs, but I'm 100% insistent on getting them - high ceilings win bigtime! The cost to add about 15cm to the ground and first floor is about $3000, and for taller doors another $2000 or so. Still, this is definitely one thing you must do during construction - pretty difficult to add higher ceilings after completion!

I did decide to eliminate the $1300 riser for the home theatre room though - I think I can knock it up myself with about $100 of particleboard and some tools which Tina's dad has. The plan is to further customise the HT room after handover, with suede effect paint, sparkly lighty things and floor lights, motorised curtain and .... well, I can dream, right? :)

One big thing I have an issue with is with the large island bench. The standard layout is an "L-shape" bench, with a promo upgrade to stone tops. How can the large island be $8500 more?? Sure, it's a little larger, but not all that much larger...

Anyway, today at lunch, went to the bank to draw up a couple of bank cheques - one huge one and one small one. Tina's job tomorrow is to drop them off at the lawyers in the morning and settlement is due to occur at 1:30. I've booked off 2-3pm so I can go to the agents to pick up the keys - how exciting!

Will try to update tomorrow with post-settlement pics of the ol' house, though it'll be dark and electricity isn't due to be connected until Wednesday.


Sunday, June 14, 2009

Welcome to the first post!

Welcome to Tim and Tina's Project Home blog!

This blog is to document the process of redeveloping our property in Melbourne's eastern suburbs, Victoria Australia. To cut a long story short, we had a property in Mitcham between August 2005 to May 2009. A lovely house about 40 years old, but quite compact (small!) and located on a very busy road, next to a petrol station.

After receiving an offer from medical professionals wanting to redevelop the property, we had to decide whether to buy an established property - and then renovate it, or redevelop with a new house on the old site. Alternatively, whether to buy a block of land (probably further out, as there's very few reasonably priced vacant land lots in the eastern suburbs) and build there.

We decided not to build in a new estate, primarily due to distance from work, friends and family. While buying in the eastern suburbs certainly isn't a cheap excercise, given that we would be unlikely to move from this house for the forseeable future, it would be an investment in our lifestyle to live in the area we want to live in.

After looking through a few of our favoured areas (from Bulleen and Balwyn North to Doncaster East and everywhere in-between) we did make one offer on a house in Lower Templestowe, but the house had sold just prior the same day.

Finally, my partner (Tina) had decided that the Whitehorse region was her preferred area, and I had to agree. Much cheaper to buy into than Mont Albert North and Balwyn North, and closer in to the city (slightly) than Doncaster East/Mitcham. Balwyn North had an attraction for me, as it had the well regarded Balwyn High School in the area - however, was the school well regarded for its good teachers, or for the naturally gifted students who are attracted to the school with a good reputation? Chicken and egg... we don't have any kids yet, but certainly a factor to consider.

After checking out pretty much every property between Station St and Springvale Road, we
bought our property at auction on May 16, with settlement to occur on June 16 (hey - only two days away!). It's in a fantastic location, close to many shops, primary and secondary schools, a few minutes drive to the Eastern Freeway, Box Hill Central and Doncaster Shoppingtown. On a quiet street, with several very new prestigious properties as our neighbours.

I'm fairly sure we bought just about the worst house on the street (we're the third owners since it was built around 50 years ago). It's a weather 3 bedroom house, with what used to be an outdoors toilet - someone put up more weatherboard to box it in, so it's technically indoors now! Big double garage/shed, full of asbestos. Approximately 600 square metres with about 15.5m frontage and 39m depth - some potential issue with a 1.8m (6') drainage easement along the west border.

Anyway, after we settle on the 16th we're planning to move some basic necessities in the following weekend - just bed, fridge and some clothes - while we try to lock in what house to build on the block. After about 3 months of looking at new home designs, it looks likely at this stage we'll be building the Metricon Nolan 41, which will hopefully just squeeze onto the land size available! Just today we talked to a sales consultant in Lyndhurst who will hopefully be a bit more communicative than the first agent we spoke to, who promised to get in touch with us (but never did...)


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