Tuesday, 28 June 2011

Counters on

I had to travel near the house today for work so on the way back home popped in to check if anything has happened. Well, the tiles are there at last! The counters are in and they look nice in real life. Apologies for the quality of the photos - I didn't plan to go past the house so didn't have my camera - I took these with my iPhone and the light was fading fast. So the counters are good. BUT. I saw that they had screeded the bathroom shower floors and this is one of my bugbears. I don't care if I have to stand on a ski slope or I am old one day and slip and break my hip. I absolutely hate flat shower floors. I don't just dislike them, I hate them with a passion - you know the ones where the water slowly meanders down towards the drain? I specifically told the builder that I don't care if my ankles and feet are at 60 degrees to the horizontal, please slope the shower floors. He promised he would get the tiler to call me before he screeded which of course he didn't. I shall be making a call tomorrow. We can send men to the moon and build Bugatti Veyrons, can't we build shower floors that drain properly??? !!!

PS: there is a pile of stone blocks in my lounge (see below) that I cannot, for the life of me, work out what they could be for? Any ideas?

The hob will go in there.

The sink.

The sink window - not so much a window as a feature like a painting. Will have water running down on the outside with a flowering creeper for colour.

The island is the most expensive traveller I know - I'm not kidding. To move it 200mm to the right cost us $280!

View across the Dining room which will overlook the blue ponds.

What are these? Made out of a light stone? Not as heavy as our counter tops though- weird?

One of those blasted shower floors!!! Look how flat it is! Seriously what is wrong with these people? Yes I am quite finished now. Thank you.

Sunday, 26 June 2011

Painting begins

The painting began this week as progress moves at an agonisingly slow pace! We are ready to move in now and get on with our lives! C'mon Mr Painter, plumber and sparkie! We leave next week for a visit to SA so will try and get some shots next Saturday before we leave and then will be a few weeks before we will post any updates again. Maybe it is a good thing - the tiling will definitely be done by then and the bathrooms in. Anyway, here are some shots. Some of the rooms that you see here are going to be painted another colour before we move in. It was just too complicated and confusing to try and get the painter to do it for us so I told him I would do it myself. Let's leave it at that. Deep breath. Till next week. Cheers!

From the front door down the passage. The house is starting to look almost liveable with some paint on the walls. The front door will be the same colour as the garage door - monument so still has to be painted obviously.

The garage. At the bottom where you see the unpainted raw cement, I am going to extend the grey epoxy floor coating up to the height of the white skirting as it is more resistant to scuff marks than the normal house paint.

Carmen's study - this paint will change completely to Apple Green Suede - a textured light green paint with white plantation shutters and have a glass and steel desk, polished white low filing cabinet below a painting behind her and cream carpets for a modern, light, uncluttered feel. She has a 27 "Mac, with the white and aluminium wireless keyboard and mouse so the aluminium backing of the screen will fit nicely.There will be no wires visible. Period.

Looking down the passage to the front door. The passage is long and dark, though if you click on the picture to blow it up, you will see it is not that narrow. Once building is done, we are putting in 3 skylights to lighten it up and break up the 'tunnel' effect. I have already seen a long narrow hall table that will also break the space.

Looking towards the dinning room - again that wall will be painted a textured buckskin sued colour to offset the dark plantation shutters in the 3 windows. If you look through them, you should see the deep blue of the ponds out back. It is also the only place in the house that doesn't have downlighters - 3 hanging lights above the table.
Towards the lounge. Am not 100 percent decided on colour here - difficulty is that we have dark leather furniture and coffee table. Am thinking about putting in white shutters against darker feature wall. We''ll see.

Saturday, 25 June 2011

The Hermitage Mittagong

Around an hour and a half from Sydney is a small town called Mittagong. ( Visiting these little rural New South Wales towns seems to be becoming a habit for me.) I am here for a Youth Ministry leadership weekend run by the Diocese of Wollongong and it is being held at the Marist Brothers' farm out here called The Hermitage. It is a place where anybody looking for a time out can stay - there are private cottages etc. and it is great for retreats or just a quiet getaway. The photos below just don't do it justice, it is so pretty out here. You can visit it online at:
http://www.thehermitage.org.au/ Here are some shots:

As you drive in to the entrance - I love these trees - don't know why but they remind me of the film, Gladiator.

Another shot of them looking down the road.

Standing amongst them shooting across the paddock - they line most of the entrance road - ok I'll stop photographing them now! Just such clean and neat trees. :-)

There is a stream running through the farm with a large duckpond.
Looking down from the top of the hill.

There is the pond on the right. The field I walked up as you can see is not manicured lawn but 'mowed' by the cows. Uneven and with large dung piles. When was the last time you walked through a field on a farm? Made me wish I had a pair of dungarees, a straw hat while chewing on a piece of hay. And then the city slicker came out in me as I started speculating what cool state of the art features and gadgets today's modern tractors must have and if they have ipod docks? I never captured it, but I saw 2 of the religious brothers who work the farm, fly by on their quad bikes .

Just space everywhere. The house where we had our meals and sessions.

Looks like one of those country living adverts.

This Crucifix used to live in a church but was moved outside in 2008. Great view from there and so peaceful on a hill in amongst the trees. One of the Brothers who lives here, Brother Andrew said that there used to be 17 congregations of religious orders that lived in the area at one time. This farm used to be a dairy farm, but with the decline in their numbers, it is now a cattle farm - apart from the retreat / guesthouse business of course.

Cheers for now.

Friday, 17 June 2011

Kitchen in

We had to meet the guys on site today for the measurement of the blinds so took some shots. The kitchen cupboards are in. The sink is at the stonemasons for them to get the measurements exact to fit into the stone tops. And tiling is next. That will be it for this week. We need to move the island a little closer to the sink by the window as it is a really large gap so will see if we can do so. You may not be able to see from the pics but the front of the island pointing away from the kitchen has no handles - the doors are push release because I thought handles would clutter the look. Our stone tops will be white. One issue is the kitchen window which you can see looks onto a fence unfortunately. I know it looks odd at the moment, but that fence will be stained dark and we will be running stainless steel wire along it with a flowering creeper to give lots of colour through the window and additionally are running a row of water solenoids on the outside of the window to turn it into a water feature so that as the water runs down the width of the window it will create a kaleidoscope of moving green and colours from the creeper. Again another chance we are taking and it could look kitsch, but given the space restriction, there were few alternatives especially given that we want to grab as much light as we can. Also not visible are the four integrated LED light sets that are recessed into the cupboards. They are wafer thin and don't protrude into the cupboards. I am debating putting dark blue LED sets in them to create a warmth to the lighting, but again will have to see about the fine line between striking and kitsch! Cheers for now!

Monday, 13 June 2011


Well nothing further happened with our house this week :-(. The guys I think are waiting for the tiles to arrive so I am really hoping the kitchen and tiling will be done this week - bar the appliances of course. Apparently patience is a virtue...

Today, June 13, we celebrated the Queens birthday in New South Wales so it is a public holiday. It is kind of strange being in a country where, for example, at Mass yesterday we prayed for the queen as head of state - nice to still have the connection to the old empire! :-) Since we were off from work, we took a drive down to a picturesque little town called Berry, about 153 km from Sydney in the Cambewarra mountains which we have passed through before but have never had time to stop. We had lunch at a pub and walked to the main street - it has restaurants everywhere. Carmen and I had huge ice creams at a local ice-creamery - chocolate ripple and then we stopped off at arguably Berry's most well-known icon: The Famous Berry Donut Van. I had been told by a colleague that if we ever pass thru again, we had to stop. So we did. You have to wait for them as they don't stock any donuts but make them fresh while you wait. They were awesome - even though I am not a fan of cinnamon on donuts and prefer the old fashioned plain ones, I will concede that it hardly mattered here. It was a chilly, wet day and they were hot and luxuriant in your mouth, the soft dough wrapping itself around your tongue until it simply... melted away. Hmmmmm. Here are some shots of our visit, but as I have admitted before, my photography is a bit dodge. Go to http://berry.org.au/ for better pics. Cheers!

The main road of Berry.

Down one of the many little alleyways sprinkled with coffee-shops and bookshops.

Kerry my sister in law and my niece Abi in one of the sweet shops - Abi has not discovered sugar yet.

The pub where we had lunch - the face brick building. It was a little embarrassing - you're in a pub in rural Australia -not the Outback bush pub, I grant you but still, its rural Aus. And my fellow city slickers order Chai Lattes with their pub lunch! Seriously people....

A small town staple - one of the antique shops.

Same shop closer - apologies for the poor photography - I don't know if you can see how far back it goes - not small.

The Berry Museum - across the way from the pub where we had lunch - Abi and her dad heading over.

Another pedestrian area with shops all around - lots of these alcoves to discover and bric-a-bac shops to explore.

Abi meets a sheep - (a model for sale in a shop) and found him hilarious for some reason? I don't understand toddler humour yet! :-)

The Famous Berry Donut Van. Great Donuts! 3 Billion calories! Though it is well-known, if it was that famous surely you wouldn't have to state it in the name?

Down the main street - again you can see the hills in the background - one time when I wish I was a better photographer! Just to communicate visually how the town nestles amongst the mountains.

4pm on a public holiday and bumper to bumper traffic on the way to Sydney after the long weekend. We were soon to join them.

This is one street away from the main road in the photo before. Imagine this is your house: Home from work, kick off your shoes, glass of red wine, a comfy chair in front of the fireplace.

Sunday, 5 June 2011

Finishing starts slowly

After the dramatic change inside by Thursday, a lot of finishing happened. From here on out, it will go less dramatically so may not make for much material for photos -also difficult to get good interior shots. Here are some from earlier today.

Garage door is only major difference.

In Carmen's study - went for door and a half to open it up a bit. Bright sun-filled room.

In main bedroom looking towards door. Cavity sliding door on right to walk-in closet.

Towards kitchen area -that is the next step - installation of kitchen. The electrical wire sticking out of the ground is because we are having power to the island. We decided against a salad sink in favour of an uninterrupted counter top working space. The main sink will be like 2 feet away in any case. We didn't put a scullery in as we never leave dishes in the sink anyway, so for those who may wonder about it looking cluttered, our dishes get rinsed immediately and always go straight into dishwasher.

Cornices finished ready for lights. Just a note on that. We are having 50 downlights throughout the house. The sparkies (electricians) here charge $100 each for them! It cost us $5k additional just for downlighters! It is insane, but that is Aus -some things are expensive without any real reason.

Alfresco ceiling is in.
C u next week!

Thursday, 2 June 2011

PS: Oven

If money was no object ... this is surely Oven. Not an oven but the picture that should be next to Oven in the dictionary: all ovens dream of looking like this one. There may be more expensive ones, but more beautiful? (they retail for about $4k - so not monstrously expensive but pricey enough on top of everything else - and you need two if you need a double oven like this picture.)


Progress pictures courtesy of Carmen :-)

Our front door - green is the colour of the primer - still to be painted.

Carmen's Study

Main bedroom

My study

Lounge looking towards study

Fireplace - gas powered.

Towards kitchen
Towards front door - the gap in the wall is for the cavity slider door to the study.

Garage door hung! The place looks like a tip!

Tomorrow the carpenters hang doors. Next stage is installation of kitchen and then tiling.
'bye for now.