Thursday, December 6, 2007

In the system

The report for consent (for the extension of the party wall) has been submitted to council. They probably won't get to it before Christmas, but at least its in the system. So hopefully early next year we will hear back.

Friday, November 30, 2007

First supplier visits

So we had some 'homework' from our architect: go and see the concrete floor people and go see the wooden floor people.
Both of which we did today.
Concrete floors. What a myriad of colours, what a myriad of stone mixes that can go into the concrete. Not to mention levels of polish. What a choice.
Wooden floors... well how many species of trees are there? What level of quality in each species (less details to full character). And how wide would you like the boards to be: 80mm, 108mm, 130mm???
Decisions, decisions. And this isn't even the nitty gritty details as yet (ie. what sort of door handles would we prefer?).
Ye gads!

Thursday, November 29, 2007

Meeting 5

Wow. The preliminary report with the surveyor came up with a few issues, so we sat down and worked through them: mainly overlooking and privacy issues. Fingers crossed that we have done enough for it to pass through council as smoothly as possible.

Monday, November 26, 2007

Meeting 4

Preliminary construction drawings have begun, as our report for consent has been prepared to go to council, in relation to extending the party wall more than is usually accepted. This could be our first hurdle, particularly if our neighbour is not happy with the proposal.
Other than that, things are moving along.
Our next big hurdle is the Christmas break: will council even get to go over our report for consent before the holidays? Not likely.
So then the shit may hit the fan next year... we shall see...

Saturday, November 3, 2007


We sprung a small leak in the lounge room ceiling!

Thursday, November 1, 2007

The Garden

So our architect organised a landscape architect to pop 'round to see our garden.
What do we want?
Something low-maintenance, drought resistant, dog-friendly and inviting.
Not a cottage garden (as neither of us have a green thumb). We will concentrate on the back as that is the place that is going to have the most work done, and it will need to marry well with the new renovation/extension. The front can be a work in progress. Plus we're not 100% sure about the crossover and whether that will happen or not. A driveway will impact a lot on the design of the front so we thought it best that we prioritise the rear.
They'll get back to us with a rough sketch of ideas, seeing as we had no clear vision ourselves (except that I don't want any water features).

Friday, October 12, 2007

Evolution 3

This meeting, we got closer to finalising the layout. We have begun discussing materials and climate control. Now that we have been in the house for a bit, we can better understand the climate variations in the house in regards to our wonderful northern aspect. Next meeting we will be seeing a colour palette and some quotes for heating/cooling, as well as some wood samples. We are liking what we are seeing. I guess when it comes down to the nitty gritties is when we'll have to make some more obvious decisions. Ie. double fridge? sliding doors in the pantry or folding? top loader or front loader? Where is the doggy door going?
The back end of the house has evolved a bit with the addition of a rear deck, which I'm much preferring. Although we will still have full length windows to take advantage of the Moreton Bay Fig. The past few nights I've started to hear the fruit bats feeding on the fruit in that tree. Marlee seems ambivalent to them, which is good.
The architect says that after plans have been through council and approved, the building process should take no more than 6 months (with a few weeks contingency). So I guess we're looking at Christmas 2008.

Monday, September 24, 2007

Our Achilles heel

So the plumber came. We had to go next door to check the drains that run along the house. Seeing as we don't have another side to the house per se, it is in the nieghbour's property. So we knock on his door to get permission to see if there was nay over flow on his side.
Well the greeting we got from him was not positive at all. He started gesticulating and talking about solicitors to get access etc etc. He thought the plumber was Craig and we had come to hassle him. He was not a happy camper.
Until I said that this WAS the plumber and we just wanted to make sure he wasn't having any problems. Oh then he changed his tune and was ever so nice. Turns out it's not the combined sewer that was the problem and was just our pipes.
But sheesh. What a reception he gave us. This is only the 2nd time I've met him and for him to give me such a stern tirade. Oh boy, are we expecting the worse from him once the plans are up to public scrutiny and demolition/building begins. Not looking forward to it.

Sunday, September 23, 2007

As a plumber, I make a good graphic designer

So the drains in the bathroom were not draining freely. So a little bit of Draino and the sink is fixed.
The shower was not so co-operative.
A bit of googling, and apart from one of those machines that you stick one end into the drain and it agitates the blockage away, I decided that the plunger shoud help dislodge whatever gunk was down there.
Well, plunging away for a bit seemed to bring up some globules of hair and lord knows what else. But it still wasn't draining. Then the bathtub started to react to my efforts in the shower. Aha, so they're connected. Maybe a bit of Draino down the bathtub drain might help.
Ok, so I'll try plunging that and see what I can remove.
Well, after a good hour or so. To no avail.
Craig has a shower and now the shower AND the bathtub are not draining at all.
It took over night for the water to drain from both.
So, on a Sunday. A plumber is coming with his whatchamie to stick down the drain, to agitate whatever it is blocking the drains. At weekend rates of course. Sheesh.
So much for D.I.Y.
Should have called the professionals in the first place.

Saturday, September 15, 2007

Plan 2

Yesterday we met with the architect again. The design for the rear extension has evolved from a curved glass form, to something more formal. With angled roof forms and a glass slot gutter system. Its looking fabulous and I really like what he's coming up with.
After the meeting we went to a handover of a small workers cottage/terrace house that had just been completed. So we could meet one of the builders and see the kind of finish we can expect; and a happy client also. It was a small cosy 2 bedroom place for a single guy, and was quite nice, if teeny weeny. And that job took 12 months to complete, but they have 2 party walls to contend with. Anyway, alls well thus far.

Monday, September 10, 2007

What a day

We've finally moved in. After a hard day with the movers, we've managed to get 97% of our things to the new address. Now the unpacking... but most things will remain in their boxes. Then again, some may find themselves relieved of their duties and removed from our posession!

Friday, September 7, 2007

Packing, packing, packing

Oh how I dislike packing. But we are getting there! The big move is Monday when all the furniture is transported.
We have sooooo many books. So many books that are heavy and difficult to pack efficiently. The bummer thing is that most things will remain in boxes as we'll move out again when they start building. Sheesh.

Thursday, August 30, 2007

Clean start

Well the house was cleaned today in preparation for us moving in. A few boxes have already made it there, so it begins.

Friday, August 24, 2007

Initial plans

We met with the architect this afternoon and he showed us an initial floorplan...
Which we loved! I am very excited, and Craig is well pleased as well (after voicing to me the prospect of maybe we won't like what he had come up with, yesterday). So we are happy clients, with a few tweaks here and there. Not bad for a first go at it. He sketched out some initial ideas about roof structure, but he will keep working on it; first get the floor plan right.
Apparently our neighbour that shares the wall boundary, was not very co-operative with the surveyors who wanted to measure up that side of the property. I don't think he wants to relinquish any land that he is not entitled to, but has claimed since. We will see if contesting it is worthwhile, just for the principle. But of course there is a cost involved with this. We will think about it...

Thursday, August 23, 2007


We've been busy trying to get ready for the big move in September (looks like earlier in the month than later). We have organised cleaners, utilities (inc cable tv and broadband) and a post office box too (as we'll be moving again once renovations begin), thrown out and given away some things. The doggy door has been bought and will be installed on the weekend.
Tomorrow we're meeting up with the architect at 4pm to see what he has come up with thus far. We're looking forward to seeing his vision.

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

Looks like we'll be moving

Checked the heat and cooking situation at the house, and all seems to be in working order. So we'll probably move in late September. Joy. Time to throw some things out and downsize. I dislike moving...

Soil report

Elwood was a swamp! - just like Bayswater was.
The soil report came back as 'poor'. I feel like my child came home with a bad report card! It just means they'll need to dig deeper foundations basically. There are all these recommendations with codes that I have no clue what they mean, except that they'll need to do more than the standard for footings and foundations. Which probably equates to more expense. Great.
Oh the power is finally on. So we'll go down to the house and make sure everything's working: oven, dishwasher, heaters etc.
But I think we'll move in. How bad could it be?

Saturday, August 11, 2007


We haven't had neighbours in a very long time. We have never had to worry about neighbours. Now we have to. We've met the ones on the left side, and they seem nice enough. They're always there though. And he has 8 kids that come and go. The other day I could hear AC/DC playing from one of the bedrooms; which doesn't worry me at all - hope they won't mind my choice in music!
But we won't have complete privacy like we kind of do at our current rented place. So that's something we'll have to get used to. No more naturalist tendencies allowed! Hehe.

Friday, August 10, 2007

To move or not to move...

The utilities have been organised; power will be activated on Monday (something to do with a fuse).
So now we have to decide if and when we move in. We want to make sure there is adequate heating, that the stove works, what condition the dishwasher is, yes - our fridge will fit in the gap, how good is the shower. Once we establish those things, and that they are in good working order, and we can live comfortably, then we'll move in late September.
We will decide next week.

Land survey

Well they arrived and luckily I'm not required to be there, so I left them to it. They'll be there for a few hours. I'm sure they'll have fun with trying to survey the east side of the house that is a shared boundary with next door.

8am: soil survey

Met the soil guys at the house this morning (yawn) and they dug a couple of holes. Apparently Elwood was established on a swampy bed (not unlike Bayswater) so hence the soil analysis. But it's looking good on our patch of swamp! In fact no swamp at all for quite a depth; nice amount of topsoil (about 700mm), then some orange clay stuff, then it gets slightly sandy in the clay. All in all, a great result.
I'd climb back into bed but next up is the land surveyor...

Thursday, August 9, 2007

Architect's view

Its quite interesting when someone else looks at the house with their knowledge base. He asid he thought that it was originally a weatherboard, and they added the bricks and the 60's style tiled wall detail. He also found there was a discrepency in ceiling heights, leading him to believe that the lounge has a lower false ceiling. He also discovered that there is no roof insulation at all. No wonder the previous owners said that it was cold in the house! And now we know why there are so many heaters in almost every room. Well the main thing is that the roof is in good condition. Not the same can be said about the floor. When we had a little carpet picnic in the "dining" room, Marlee's weight (all 5.8kgs of her) would make the floor bounce as she ran around. So looks like there may have to be subfloor replacement.
Tomorrow the soil surveyor and the land surveyor are coming to do their thing, 8am and 9am respectively. Be alright if we were living there, but looks like I'll be getting up very early to be there to meet them. *sigh*

Wednesday, August 8, 2007

Architect's first look

We met our architect at the house today for his first look through. I think I heard him say that it was "more of a knock down job than he thought" - yikes! But as the day progressed, he felt his creative juices starting to flow. We may look to keep half the boundary walls leaving an L shape, with the shared wall remaining to avoid any contentious issues with the neighbour who has claimed 1 foot of our property (been like that for over 40 years!).
But today was just a measure up of the house and property, as well as the neighbours' window positions so as to consider them when designing our renovation. Its going to be major, no doubt about it, just hope its going to be affordable!!


We've just got the keys to our house. We haven't even started to pay our mortgage, and now interest rates are going up 0.25%.
Just what we need...

Monday, August 6, 2007

Settlement Day!

We have the keys to our house, now the fun begins with the architect!

Tuesday, July 31, 2007

6 sleeps to go...

til we get the keys!

Tuesday, July 17, 2007

Soil survey

booked and to be confirmed in early August.

Friday, July 13, 2007

We have an architect

Today we met up with an architect for the second time, and we decided to engage his services. Let the fun and games begin.
We will endeavour to have an inspection prior to possession so he can do a measure up, and we'll get a soil survey done as well; possible issues with the soil quality close to the canal.
We take possession on the 6th August.

Thursday, July 12, 2007

Welcome to Making Base Camp

Since we bought a house and we're going to renovate it to an inch of its existing life, I thought I might start a blog to document the process.
I always hear that embarking on such a project can be arduous and full of joys and pitfalls. So... we will see how things pan out for us and our house, which we hope to make into our home, our base in Melbourne.
So I will post on here regularly the progress of "making base camp" and our thoughts on the process. Should be interesting I guess.
So for this first entry, I will say that tomorrow we will meet up with an architect for the second time to go through the contract with a fine tooth comb; just so we're on the same page. Its a big commitment, time and money-wise. We're looking at 18 months before we complete the house and move in.
At this stage, we plan to move in and camp there for 6 to 8 months or so, until the plans have been finalised, and its been okayed by council, and before the first sledge hammer strikes. Then we'll move out (again) and rent somewhere close by while construction is in progress.
That's the plan anyway...