Building our dream home

I thought it would be a good idea to keep a record of the stress, joy.. stress and wonder of building our new home.  Hopefully to look back and realise the nervous apprehension and effort I feel daily is worth it for our dream home.   

I get sad when making decisions, as this is something I would of loved to of shared with my Dad.  He would of been shaking his head saying why are you putting that wall there, or great decision about the pool outside the window.. and wow.. NORTH facing, you finally are learning dear child.   

We are mixed between wanting to spend the cash on big cash items or being sensible and smart.   
Its a bit of a nightmare.  I keep thinking.. bloody hell Dad.  Cause I know he would be choosing top of the line for the lot. 

Here is the history so far.. from July 2018 when I saw an sign for land on a golf course, this was something we had been looking for and waiting for, for over 3yrs.   

Next came the priority number system to get the chance to buy land.  Mid August saw us sitting at a friends house to use her fast internet and magically getting my favourite number 3.

This was a bit of a joke, as we also went to the course a few days prior to the priority number draw, and David hit off the first tee using a Gledswood Green's labelled ball.. number 3!

The day of the land purchase was exciting, we got to meet some of our new neighbours.  The developer put on food and drinks (but nerves prevented us from eating to be honest)
They certainly put some effort into advertising and making things feel like our home and move will have a touch of luxury.

We looked at the lots and based our decision on the price vs the land size.  We didn't put much thought into our aspect from the front of the house during this process.  We put some thought into where on earth will cars go.  As it turned out, we changed our mind on the land last second getting a bigger block with an outlook that was a little bit more special, Golf course at the back and bush reserve across the road, only two neighbours (which is what we have now in the Blue Mountains minus a golf course).
This view from the front of our house, was decided on with a coin toss.
The view of bush reserve was a big factor but also parking for the cars across the road if needed.

Next was the display home saga, did you know that they all start to look the same and even more scarily.. did you know that building a house is stupid expensive.  Especially if you want to have walls and a roof!    In September, David did some serious investigating into builders and we decided to go Private/Independent build and we havent regretted it.  The only negative of this is not being able to stand in a display home and imagine that it fits us.  We have drawn up, moved walls, moved stairs, changed doors, raised ceilings, lowered them again due to cost, added windows, removed things and then added them again all on paper and what we think is going to work.    It looks great on paper!

We soon had meetings with Mark from Inspired Residential.  Mark listened, smiled, nodded and took it all in, looking at our drawings, suggesting things, and playing with designs.  His quiet approach had me worried, but for no need.   He wasn't trying to sell us our dream home, he was listening to what we wanted to make our dream home a reality.

Now some things to this point that we have learnt and had never heard of before 
Cut and Fill
Roof Pitch matters!

What you see in display homes is not what you get, check out a 2yr old Display home if you ever get the chance and at the finishes.   Makes you shake your head at some of the work (or lack of)

Investigate builders and question them.   One of the tenders we got in a double story house DIDNT include a cost for a staircase.  Surprisingly,  I was upset about having to learn to levitate or pay $15,000 for stairs.

For those new to the game - It is ok to walk into a display home and say,  Im just looking.  I dare you to watch the relief on the sales rep faces as they realise they dont have to speak to another "person just looking".   Walk in, smile be polite and walk out.   While trying not to trip over small children running their hands down perfectly cleaned glass balustrades. 

Now for some serious negativity - The loan process has been the most stressful experience, we are up to 3 months of anxiety, forms, payslips, frustration, approval, oh wait... conditional, valuation so low that we laughed, approval again, delay and then finally papers in our hand with a typo on them.   This little tid bit of frustration was the point where I nearly lost my shit.  Im not sure what a nervous breakdown feels like but im sure getting a loan sits high on the list of "triggers".

Meanwhile we keep thinking its all going to be worth it, and David is regularly saying "sorry" to me.  No need for him to do that, we are in this together.  However it is his dream to live on the course, not mine.  Which is why he feels the need.  The sorry may be due to the stress... but it will be worth it.

November and December also saw us looking at pool designs, pool builders and pool ideas.  We always knew we wanted a pool directly outside the huge dining room window, cost was discussed but so was the heat of summer.   We were going to get a little plunge pool 2.5m by 4m in size but we decided to get a square pool that fits perfectly outside the dining room.  A pool with a water feature, glass fencing directly outside the window, then the golf course over the fence.   We can picture it, but we hope the reality is even better than whats in our head.   We spoke to a few pool suppliers, but ended up going with Coral Reef pools, as a friend had just built with Luke (Coral Reef) and we valued her opinion on the process and the end product at the end of her build.

In December 2018, our land settled and things started moving a little more quickly.  We had more to complain about in the world of first world problems that don't really matter.
Take note of the ugly white fence in this photo above... that was my major whinge point for some time.   Ive now moved on with dreams of falling into the fence with a can of black paint or a chainsaw :).   It really bugs David there isnt a gate in that ugly white fence, giving us immediate access to the course.

January and February, David and I finally found some time to go and pick tiles, meet the electrician and the Air conditioning team and the kitchen designer,  as well as adding in a huge trip across the city to Commercial Harvey Norman.   We have chosen our oven, taps, toilets, showers and sinks etc.  You wouldn't think thats all hard work would you.  But if we could do that day over, we wouldn't of made every decision in one day.  By the time we got to the carpet shop, I was saying yes to the cheapest carpet despite hating it.   Thankfully the sales lady suggested we come back on another day.

The lesson from above is, cost comes to play.  We started making decisions because we were worried about "how much will this cost".  Things like deleting mirror splash backs and replacing with tiles,  nearly saying yes to the cheap carpet, David NOT choosing the oven he actually wants for example.   Now that we have had some time, the mirror is back in the plan and the kitchen we decided on has changed colour and we are yet to choose carpet.

We have taken photos as we went along, some for inspiration and some to remind us of things we have chosen.   Georgia tagged along to a few display homes,  I think she would of happily moved in to some of them.



 We also got interviewed by the Daily Telegraph for the Real Estate section about living in new developments.  I suppose the question would be "why would you move away from the Blue Mountains" into what will be quite a populated area.   The answer is, its time to move back into civilisation.  We want to be closer to shops, restaurants, friends, and despite us moving into what we have always considered to be "lego land" we have chosen land which has a beautiful aspect and enough privacy (we hope) to ensure we don't feel closed in.   Traffic is going to be a bit of a bug bear to deal with.   Im very used to two sets of traffic lights , free flowing roads and short cuts.  Im going to have to learn some new tricks.

February and March see's us still waiting for the loan, while our builder keeps on planning and plugging away and then suprising us by starting slab prep, piers,  fencing the place up and popping the signs up and just for fun putting drone shots up on facebook.  We had no idea he was starting.  
Add some rain into the mix and he achieved a lot.

The drone shots really make this real, seeing the start of our block preparation with the course behind it.   We have put a window upstairs at the top of our staircase.  Imagine coming up the stairs and looking straight out a window to the course.  A few feet to the right of this window is a balcony window.   The drone helps me to picture what "home" is going to feel like.

Three days after a rainy weekend and Mark from Inspired has formed up and the piers are dug ready for concrete.  And of course in true "abnormal" weather style it rains!

But lets see the positives.  This photo is looking from the rear of the house to the front.   The bush reserve is our view from the front of the house.   The view will be seen from the master bedroom.  Much thought went into where to place the master bedroom.   We went back and forth from having a golf course view as we woke up.  But anyone that knows me, will know.  I open my eyes, get up and go and find coffee.   It is much more likely I would sit on a balcony or in a lounge room taking in a golf course view that sit/wake in bed looking at it.  So we chose to wake up, look at the bush outlook option.

Our builder has yet to capture a photo of the dam behind our land.   This beauty is about 100m away.. Im going to call it "our dam" despite other homes also backing onto this view and "our dam".

March 24th saw us heading out to check out whats happening at the block, its so much easier to picture the cut and fill, retaining situation now.  And apparently my garage is super huge (maybe I can have some confidence that I wont drive into the garage walls.

We popped into the Sports club for lunch, it was quite busy for lunch.   Im happy to say the food was great too.  Its under renovation at the moment, but its going to be nice to have a place to go for dinner up the road (650m up the road - yes we measured the distance!)    

A bit of a laugh today... 25/3 where a loan document was in our letter box... sent slow post from last week.  All excited that the documents may be correct with the right street listed but Alas.. apparently we are still mortgaging someone else's home.. just as well we are honest!   Apparently the documents have been corrected and will be on their way to me AGAIN tomorrow.    I may start charging a fee for the comedy show that our loan application has become.

The builder has popped another photo up of the progression (we saw this yesterday but in our excitement we forgot to take a photo.   A close up of our mega garage :/.

Holy Crap balls batman its the 26th March and we have a new copy of the loan docs in our hot little hands with "wait for it" the correct address listed as security.   3months and 10days after starting the loan process for the build.    The documents are sent off tomorrow and in 4 days (assuming the odds are forever in our favour) the loan will settle.  David and I are both in agreement that we never want to go through a loan process again.  Utter madness.

So another week, another slight hiccup but more positive than negatives.  
With the positive being WE HAVE  A SLAB!   How awesome is that, I nearly could skate over that, meanwhile my sister messages me and say's she would love to draw in this... Imagine my lovely slab with my sister making in mark in my lovely fresh concrete.

David and I are close to having a loan.. so so close, I think one signature awaits and we are settled.. thank goodness for that.

We had another day of decisions this friday with kitchen decisions, media room purchases and a little less stress, ending with a birthday dinner at the inlaws for David's dad.  

The kitchen decisions were tiresome but we think we have made a decision.   Stone benches (man made) in a matte concrete finish, white cabinets in the kitchen and butlers and white with black in the bathrooms.    A stark contrast to our original plan of black on black.   The lady at the stone warehouse was great, pointing out that we were trying to match our stone to the appliances.. vs having our black appliances and fittings pop.   

We went to Digital Cinema at Auburn and made a pretty quick decision on our purchase.   Deposit paid for a WOW of a system, I'll need earplugs if David decides to amp up the volume.  Have to say it, that decision was easy!  Slowly and surely it seems like things are coming together.   We have got permission for the Cinema people to do a preinstall for wiring and that will save us some $.. not many but every $ counts right.   We got some advise on the paint colour and carpet etc.   So we get our BLACK room after all, paint, carpet, lounge etc.    Not sure what our plan is going to be for the door in this room.  We have sound proofed the walls and ceiling but we havent discussed the door.  Also need to think about the door colour and how it looks from inside the room.   First world problem again.

So its April fools day 2019 so take from this what you will.... 
"We have just been advised that the loan will be settling on Wednesday 3rd April."
of course we anticipate that its not an April fools joke but after 4 months nothing will surprise us at this point.    Its not that we aren't excited but until I have that loan info, banking info and that first payment made, Im not celebrating.   

We have been looking at our stone samples all weekend and we think we got it right, Matte Concrete it is!    We need to speak to the builder about a black sink though vs the stainless one we chose with the initial plan.  

I have next week off work, while David is yet again off playing golf with his buddies.  Ill try and go and check out pavers and make the choice between Brahman Granite.  
 and Silver Sands

Our house is quite dark and we need to try and blend from our choices in colours to the Mandatory Glenelg for the streetscape. 

The colours we have in place still make me happy, however I've spent many weeks worrying about choosing a Monument roof and then looking at this realise I am getting basalt not monument.. Monument will be our windows and frames though.   

HOLY CRAP - its official.  A day I was starting to think wouldn't happen
"We are pleased to confirm that the settlement of your loan" in an official letter... dated, and signed.     Im so tired today its hard to feel excited, I am.. maybe now the reality of OH.. IM EXCITED to be in DEBT thought is preventing happy dances!

Some more photos of the land and slab were posted by the builder and to his credit.. he included the dam in the background :).  What a shame we are going to have to look at houses across the course.  This photo makes it look too close, maybe my happiness in having two dead tree's to look at needs to be thought out with a desire for two full green tree's between our house and the dam.  Not sure if its a good of a bad thing having those mountains in the background... (what we currently call home)

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Its been a few weeks since I updated mostly as I was totally annoyed with nothing positive to report in relation to Australia's so called banking system.  I have sent so many emails and made many frustrated calls all the while chanting.. its just time and its just money.  I have found some coping stratagies lately that I didn't even know I needed.
So.. loan settled 3rd, our slab payment was due and we wait.. we wait and we wait.   We get told things are underway for slab payment on the 16th and we wait some more.  After more frustration our builder was finally paid on the 26th April.   NEARLY 5 months of unnecessary stress and frustration in what should be an exciting process.

Again positives to report and credit to where it is due.  Our builder, we can not rave about his processes enough.  Honestly I don't think others would of done what he has.  So while waiting for our frustrating bank drama to be solved he just keeps working.  He is very trusting! (we must have honest faces).

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A few others things have happened, something quite positive for us but not so much for the person that made the mistake.  We just couldnt find a carpet we loved through the builders supplier.  (Well we did find one but were were told its not available.. Grrr)
So we went to a different place and played with and touched carpets.  I got a quick education on m2 vs lineal metre prices and became confused when looked at a stunning carpet with a price that was too good to believe.  Well it turns out the carpet was incorrectly labelled and we got it at carpet price and the install and underlay will be free (so to speak) We saved $2500 due to this error.  BUT the final price was $2500 more than what the builder allowed in the tender.  So win/lose/win situation.  The carpet is not a compromise at all, its a luxury, beautiful soft carpet, I can't wait to see it in the house.  The photo doesn't do it justice, its called Nordic Mist and its a mix of light, dark and black threads vs a flat colour.   It changes colour with the light, so Im not sure what the final outcome will be in the house especially with the light flowing through from the upstairs void window.   Downstairs the only place with carpet is the media room.  We got a black carpet for in this room for that little bit of WOW.
Dreamweaver Epic II Flooring Carpet - Nordic Mist

So... its the 8th of June now and I realised that I have been lazy on updating the story so far. 

We have been really busy with work and things weren't as stressful with the house due to the loan finally getting approved.

We got to relax a little last week (finally) with a 4 night cruise to Moreton island (nice to get away from work, relax and catch up with friends)

And meanwhile the builder is working his magic, with lots being done since I last posted an update.

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David gets to go past the house quite a lot and was able to go and check out the view from upstairs, even with the scaffolding in place its impressive.

While the house is underway we made the decision to sell an investment property, cause lets face it, building a house wasn't enough stress right!   The market is crappy, however the time was right for us.   Then add in the fact that we decided to accept an offer to go to Japan with friends on a cruise and a few nights in Tokyo.   Some other friends asked us to Phuket and Singapore and instinctually we wanted to say "why not both" but the adult mind kicked in and we went with Japan.  David has wanted me to see Japan with him, the cruise will let us see some parts but I'm sure we will go back for those cherry blossoms at some point.  Fingers crossed we get to see Mt Fuji!.

We are off to pick light fittings for the void area at the front door tomorrow, we think we have found the perfect shop.. fingers crossed.    The next big thing to decide on is landscaping.   Im not sure quite sure how we are going to step up to the house.. at the moment the levels are huge, maybe a trampoline?

Towards the end of the month we have to be onsite when the pool is installed, it will be covered with a hard cover until handover, I really am looking forward to seeing the end product from the dining window.

No news from our neighbours yet, other than one was submitting to council and the other made contact saying they were heading to council.    Its going to be nice having neighbours but its sort of nice watching out build without others going up beside us.   The Hermitage team caught us one weekend when we were at the site, and they were taking drone photo's.  They were promoting the Greens "first build" and there was a bit of a right up on their newsletter link.

We have had a few appointments with landscapers who apparently must have too much work on their hands, as they just don't get back to us with the numbers $$.  We know its going to be painful as the blocks aren't retained.      Since the cruise, we leveled the backyard and put in a pool,  and then had to get rid of a mammoth amount of fill (rooky error).   

And our DREAM window went in to the house.  


We have a bit of an issue with the pool, with the filter box being in a crappy spot, limiting our position of the fencing (we wanted it level with the wall so it would disappear - visually).  The "error" may work in our advantage but still gives me the shits.
July photos have me smiling!

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The staircase went in, it will be black with timber stringers.

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And our solar went up too - I just don't have photo's.

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