Saturday, December 24, 2011

Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!!!


From our family to yours ... a very Merry Christmas to all and a safe, blessed, and prosperous New Year ahead of us ...

May you always have walls for the winds, a roof for the rain, tea beside the fire, laughter to cheer you, those you love near you, and all your heart might desire.

... and if you're building, too ...
May the sun shine, all day long, everything go right, and nothing wrong ...

Hope to see you all and more :) back here next year as we continue on and share our build journey with you all.
'Til then, have a good break, safe travels, and a brighter outlook ahead.

Monday, December 19, 2011

Day 150: We've completed Lock-Up, yay!!! but ...

Lock-Up Stage Complete - 12/12/2011

You know that Metricon has completed a stage when you receive the invoice from them ... 3 ways:
1- via SMS;
2- via email as an attachment; and
3- the original invoice in the mail

Hmmmm ... should we only request the bank for the drawdown once we receive the original invoice via Aus Post or should we print the email attachment now?

We received the good news from Metricon via SMS and email last Monday that they have completed the lock-up stage.  They have been delayed for more than 3 weeks and this was sort of the news that we're anticipating to receive prior to Christmas (and their 3-week Christmas work shutdown).  We kinda not like the idea of going thru the Christmas break with the lock-up not completed.  It's a good thing that my new Site Manager have persevered in getting the outstanding roofings (outdoor room, dining and garage) to be done and the rear external cladding to be completed and get thru their Pre-Plaster Quality Inspection.  We've arranged to meet Friday as we were hoping that they would also have started plastering late last week, as been planned previously.

So what's the going rate for a kilogram of copper (scientific name Cuprum or Cupremianticia, scientific symbol is Cu) these days?

When we met our Site Manager last Friday, he did confirm that they have completed the "Lock-Up" stage as of Monday, but they haven't started plastering. Why not? Apparently, the previous day or night, some low lives (my description, not the SS, pardon me) have broken in the site and have ripped and cut the electrical cables and took them away?!?!  The plasterers apparently came that morning to commence hanging the plasterboards, but with the electrical cabling either gone or cut, they can't do anything.  OM*, I heard about copper tubings (plumbing) being taken, and train electrical cablings, but domestic electrical wires?!?!?  How much would they get? $60? $100? $1000? I just hope that this is covered by the builder's insurance, and I'm hoping that we're not going to cop the cost, or do we?

Anyways, to cut this story short,  I guess, we just had our first experience of a construction site burglary or theft.  Though, I heard it's a common occurrence amongst new homes being built, we do hope and pray this is also the last one.  Just can't afford any more delays and inconvenience.  We do also hope that the electrical cablings that these people have taken away have provided them the much needed Christmas cheer that they seek.

Have a wonderful Christmas everyone and a blessed and prosperous New Year ahead of us.


Friday, December 9, 2011

Day 141: Are we there, yet?

It's been a while since my last update. I so was hoping that "lock up" completion will be by the end of the month, and that was November (last month).  I got a call from someone from Metricon telling me that my SS has been away for personal reasons for more than 2 weeks.  He's not sure if our SS is going to come back or if he will, will get this assignment back.  The new guy who called me sounds very affable, and very experienced.  Here he was introducing himself as our new SS (whilst our former SS is on leave).  He'll be looking after our build and the first thing he'll be doing  is do a site cleanup and get our build back on track ... at least to Lock Up completion.  This was 3 weeks ago today.

Today, I finally got to meet our new SS, in person, at the site.  Since the last time I posted some pictures on the site, there were only some minor improvements.  But I was being assured that we'll get into lock up by the end of this month (December) and well into fixing stage by mid- January in the new year.

We're keeping all our finger's crossed.

Watch this space ...

Friday, November 25, 2011

24th November: Happy Thanksgiving to all our US Family and Friends


And commiserations to all the poor, hapless turkeys who never had the chance ...

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Day 118: Getting Close to Lock-Up?

Passed by earlier this afternoon to see how our dream home is going.  According to MyMetricon, we're scheduled for "Lock-Up Completion" by the 14th of November.  Hmmmm.  That was 2 days ago.

Scaffolds have been taken down, though.  Woo hoo!!!  But ...

Still got no garage roofing.  The external cladding has been painted so did the eave linings.  But ... I went at the back of the house and there was still no roofing for the outdoor room and the dining room is still topless.  The external cladding at the rear has not been put, yet, too.  Maybe it will all be done in the next few days, or weeks.  We're just hoping we get in to Lock-Up completion by the end of this month.  That would be nice.

We'll see how things will progress in the next couple of weeks, ey?

Saturday, November 5, 2011

Day 107: We Got Cladding and Eaves Lining

After coming from two children's parties, and with the little one fast asleep, very tired, and slumped in her seat at the back of the car, we decided to pass by the new house being constructed on our way home.

And what a sight ... we got external cladding already done.  The eaves lining have been put up, as well.  It does really look we're getting close to lock-up.

Our SS has told us that he's going to get the painters to paint the external cladding and eaves lining next week while the scaffolding are still in place. He's also going to get the bricks cleaned and the windows washed, as well.  With the scaffold still up, he can't get the garage roof completed and that of the outdoor and dining room roof at the back of the house.  Hopefully, it can all be done in 2 weeks.  Once all the roofing have been done, and all the external doors installed ... "Lock-Up".  Yessss!!!

Here's a closer look of the eaves and external cladding ...

The external cladding is at the front, with a couple or more meters on the side and at the rear of the house, first floor only.
The external cladding will be painted Dulux Time Capsule.
The eaves lining will be painted with Dulux Beige Royal Quarter.

For a view of our colour selection, specifically our external paint colours, have a closer look here.  

Have a good day all.

One Hundred+ Days Since Site Start!!!

Day 0

Day 100+
It's just been over one hundred days, yes, 100+ days (3 1/2 months, or 15 weeks ) since site start and what a sight to behold!!!

We haven't quite reached the completion of the "Lock-Up" Stage, though, yet, but we've been assured we're getting close.  Hopefully, in a fortnight, worst case - before Christmas.  I'm excited!

So what's expected to be done at the completion of the "Lock-Up" Stage?

According to the "My Metricon" website ...

"At lock-up stage, your home's bricks, external wall cladding, roof coverings and front and rear doors are installed."

Based on that statement, I'm hoping that the side doors (Laundry and Garage internal access doors) are installed, as well.

So after 100 days, what's been done, so far?

  • Slab
  • Wall Frame and Roof Trusses
  • Windows and Door Frames
  • Roof covering (including fascia and guttering), except for the roof coverings on the ground floor (garage, outdoor room and dining room at the rear).
  • Insulation (roof and wall insulation), except outdoor room and dining room (no roof covering, yet).
  • Brickwork is almost done.  Facade, balcony and garage brickwork are still pending.
  • Electrical wiring
  • Plumbing
  • and ... I had two independent building inspections done (Frame and Pre-Plaster).

I went nuts again taking photos.  I'm posting a few more photos here.

This is Day 100+ in Jon and Ron's Building a Home journey.


Sunday, October 23, 2011

Day 93: Of slackers, noggings, valleys and jack studs

Sorry, I wasn't referring to the subbies working on our build project.  In fact, they are really quite good.  Can't complain.  I was actually referring to myself, moi, estoy, for being such a slacker.  Can't imagine that it's been almost a month since I posted anything significant about the house we're building.

We've had our report back from our first independent building inspection.  There were no surprises there.  Just a few bits and pieces that were missing here and there.  Nothing major.  Reading the report, I kinda have to understand the stuff they were talking about.  Mind you, though, ever since we started building, I got to learn and understand most of the terms that I read and hear like studs, noggings, girders, trusses, etc.  And who do I turn to if I'm in a quandary like this ... who else but my friend G. O'gle.  Man, the stuff G knows, epic ...

Sorry I digressed, so back to our independent inspector's report ... I was given a "Schedule of Building Defects" and here's a few of these defects (Metricon's fixing them all, just making it clear) ...

Thursday, October 6, 2011

Vale Steve Jobs (1955 - 2011), RIP

Just pausing for a moment from our home building blog and share something from someone who just recently passed away.  Everyone would probably remember him as the "face" of Apple, but I just read something today that I probably would remember Steve Jobs with for quite a while.  It's a transcript of a speech he made in front of Stanford University graduating students on June 12, 2005.  It's kinda like his life story, and I quote a paragraph which sums up what he did, of which he gave as an advice to those who cared to listen ...

"Your time is limited, so don't waste it living someone else's life. Don't be trapped by dogma — which is living with the results of other people's thinking. Don't let the noise of others' opinions drown out your own inner voice. And most important, have the courage to follow your heart and intuition. They somehow already know what you truly want to become. Everything else is secondary."

I'm posting the whole transcript here, just in case the original link is taken down, for some reason.

Friday, September 23, 2011

Day 64: Roof's on and so do the bricks

We got the roof tiles on!!! And some brickworks, too!!!

Had our regular meeting this morning with our SS, and had to wait a bit as more sand has just been delivered for the brickies to use.  Wow, it's progressing quite well, I would say.  I was only expecting to see the roof tiles and didn't expect to see bricks being laid already.  Our SS didn't allow us to go in and have a sticky-beak.  Best that we stay out for now, we're told,  as he's got 8 bricklayers (yes, 8; not 2, not 4, but 8 brickies) currently working on the site.  Apparently, he would need to get them to stop working if non-tradespeople have to have a look-see.  Work Safe.  Better just let them keep on working.  Maybe next time, we'll time our site visits/status meeting during their break period.  At the moment, I'm happy just to take photos from the outside.  Besides, not much more to see inside from the last time we visited, so my SS told me.  The roof structure in the Dining and Outdoor rooms (rear of the house) are still not up.  They'll have that done once the scaffolding are down.  Nevertheless, we're still very happy to see the roof tiles are up, and brickworks are well underway. Yay!!!

And here's how our house is shaping up so far.  This is Day 64 (from Site Start) ...

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Status Update #3

What's been happening so far?  Thought I might just give a quick status update:

So, we're currently in the middle of the so called Construction Stages.  The construction stages, to put things in context, consists of about five (5) build stages: base, frame, lock-up, fixing and home completion.  These stages, as you know, or will find out, also correspond to the the Payment Schedule: (Deposit - 5%), Base (20%), Frame (20%), Lock-Up (25%), Fixing (20%), Home Completion (10% + variations).

Base Stage is completed, hence invoice has been issued by the builder and we had 7 days to notify our bank and pay the contracted 20% of the build price. All done!

Saturday, September 17, 2011

Day 57: Windows, Doors and Frames

So they did announce Windows 8, or shall we say, Windows 8 Developer Preview. The pre-beta release version of the much anticipated Windows 8.  That's cool.

But, I was anticipating more another Windows. The type that is a transparent or translucent opening in a wall or door that allows the passage of light and, if not closed or sealed, air and sound. The ones that are usually glazed or covered in some other transparent or translucent material like float glass. Those things that are held in place by frames, which prevent them from collapsing in. Many of these glazed objects may be opened, to allow ventilation, or closed, to exclude inclement weather.

Yep.  The Southern Star Windows.
These are the ones that we've been anticipating.
And they have arrived.
They have been installed.

And yes, I'm happy with them.

I had my regular meeting with my SS this morning.  Also had the privilege of meeting for the first time our CM (Construction Manager).  He came over to meet me.  Why?  Maybe, just making sure that his customers are happy and well looked after by the SS.  There are other reasons.  But all I can say is, it pays to know what's in your contract and construction plans by heart.

But hey, I got more photos of our place.  Windows, doors and more windows.  Just click on the link below to expand this page.  Enjoy!  And have another good weekend ahead!!!

Monday, September 12, 2011

Electrical Plans

We've done the Colours, now we thought we'll share our Electrical Plans, as well.

Click on the page tabs above (Electricals) or have a look and see here.

Enjoy the week ahead.

Saturday, September 10, 2011

Day 50: Nothing to report, but ...

We're meant to meet with our SS today.  He canceled on us.  He's trying to get his tradies to finish another job somewhere in preparation for handover.  As far as I can tell, there was no movement in our building site since the last time I posted some pictures.  The build started with guns ablazing. Suddenly, it stalled.  We'll meet with our SS same time next week.  Hopefully, there would be more progress to report, then.

But, hey !!! We were finally able to post our Colour Selections.  Have a look and see here.

Have a good weekend all.

Monday, September 5, 2011

Day 46: Frames, frames and more frames ...

Had our second meeting with our new SS today. This guy's got his work ethics right. He was right on time for our 4pm meeting.  The carpenters must have gone for the day, too. The site's all clear, no one on site, just me and our SS.

So what's been done so far?  Most of the roof frames are up on the first floor.  They haven't put up the fascia headers and fascia boards, though, yet.  In the next few days, my SS assured me.  They also haven't put up the roof frames for the dining and the outdoor room at the ground floor level, too.  There are some scaffolding that are on the way for putting up the roof frame on the ground floor.  Once, they've put up the fascia headers, eaves framing and fascia boards on the upper level, then they'll complete the roof frame structure for the ground floor.

I guess plumbing and roof tiling will come after this.  And they need to put up all the window frames, as well.  I haven't seen any roof tiles or window frames on the ground. These haven't been delivered, yet. I did see the front door frames and the tri-sliding door frames on the ground. I guess they have to come up next, too. Wouldn't want them to be lying precariously on the ground (they've got window glazing on).

So much of the monologue from me. I'll let the following pictures do the talking this time.  Just a warning, though. I WENT NUTS TAKING PHOTOS!!! See for yourselves ...

Friday, September 2, 2011

Day 43: Some Roof Framing are up

Okay, so I'm meant to meet our Site Manager today for our regular weekly catchup. He's canceled on me as they have an important meeting back in the office. New head honcho or chief, apparently. So I thought I might just still drop by to take some photos.  No one on site, though, this morning. Gate's still chained lock. Subbies must have taken a day off.  So, I have to take some photos from outside the gate. Wouldn't risk getting in without permission from my SS (or is it SM).

And we got some roof framing!!! Isn't that exciting?

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Day 40: More Frames - First Floor

Does anyone love Mondays? Just when I thought I should be able to get home early that I then find out that I have a few things to do before I call it a day.  Well, 3 hours later, after almost everyone has left the office, I was still there. Aaargh ...

Anyway, just as I always do after work, I thought I might just pass by the building site and, lo and behold ... frames gone up on the second level of the house.  Wow! Only last Friday I had my first IN-SITE visit with my Site Manager, and it was all just the ground floor frames up then.  Now we got some of the first floor (in some countries, they call it the second floor, just to let you know) frames up, too.

Unfortunately, it was already late. Wouldn't like to alert the neighbours with me taking flash photos while driving past.  I'll have some photos posted later on the week, on our next regular weekly meeting with our Site Manager.  Promise.  Just so excited to let you all know.

Friday, August 26, 2011

Day 37: More Frames - Ground Floor

Had my first meeting with our new Site Supervisor (SS) this morning. Chris. Top bloke, surfie dude, chippy by trade. Introduced himself and showed me around the site. First time I've been inside the construction site since they poured the slab. Crushed rocks on the ground, making sure it's an "all-weather" site.  The slab came out perfectly finished, by the looks of it. It looks level, no cracks, and Chris assured me it's up to quality standard. No bumps, no lumps, it's all leveled. Brilliant!

Took the chance to take some photos again, and here they are.  Refer to the previously posted construction drawings, specifically the ground floor plan, then let your imagination paint the picture.

Monday, August 22, 2011

Online Security: Am I Over-Sharing?

This could potentially be "old news" to most people. Well, it wasn't to me until my friend and colleague (Thanks, Ed) asked me and told me about GeoTagging.

Wow! That's some awesome stuff.  What this means is I don't have to remember the places where I took the photo from as it's all stored in the picture itself (in terms of longitude and latitude coordinates), right? Well, you have to have the proper gear for it like a Nikon D3X with a GP-1 GPS Unit attachment, for example.

Or ... how about an iPhone 4.  Everyone (well, almost everyone, or maybe most) has got that!

Cool! Now I can take all the photos that I want, all the places I've been to, take photos of my kids, at the playground, at home, take photos of my Audi S7, my house, my beach house, etc.

Ah, it would be nice to share these photos to my friends and relatives and post them in my "Dropbox" and "Skydrive" and my "Picasa Web Album". And, don't forget my photography blog. I'm sure everyone who's following my blogs would love to see the pictures I've taken. 

Day 32: We got FRAME

We went to the Home Show today thinking that we would be able to get some ideas for our fencing, backyard, etc., once the house is done.  Bit disappointed, really. Thought it would be better than the Home and Ideas show a few months back. It was the same stalls, same displays, same products, even the same people demonstrating some of the kitchen gadgets.

We drove home empty handed with not much in our show bag, but just a few brochures on blinds, home automation and gas log fire heating.  We thought we'll pass by the construction site (as you do) and see how things are progressing. Thought it would be slow as just last Friday I was talking to our Site Supervisor (Scott, top bloke) to get some status update... Oh yeah, everything is fine, slab's done and hopefully the carpenters will be coming in Monday to put up the frame, etc, and guess what - he's not our Site Supervisor anymore!!! He said he's been promoted to Construction Manager and another guy (hopefully, another top bloke) will be looking after us.  Well, good on him and congratulations. We're just hoping his replacement is as good or even better than him.  We'll see.

But anyway, yes, from the Home Show on our way home, we thought we'll just drive by the construction site and lo and behold ...

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Day 29: We have a SLAB

(Photo courtesy of Carlton United Breweries)

For people like me who only knows that a slab is a carton of beer or a box of 24 stubbies or cans, I have to consult my two friends - G and W (Google and Wikipedia) for the true meaning of a slab or concrete slab in building terms.

So, according to Wikipedia ...

"A concrete slab is a common structural element of modern buildings. Horizontal slabs of steel reinforced concrete, typically between 10 and 50 centimetres thick, are most often used to construct floors and ceilings, while thinner slabs are also used for exterior paving. In many domestic and industrial buildings a thick concrete slab, supported on foundations or directly on the subsoil, is used to construct the ground floor of a building."

For our case, we were recommended a "waffle raft slab" (or a waffle footing system) suitable to an "H" site reactivity (385mm overall depth ... 300mm boxes + 85mm slab).

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Metricon Open Home - Liberty 42 ... 27th August 2011

Nope, we are not advertising our place for viewing. Wish we could, but it's not completed, yet.

When we decided to go for the Liberty there are no display homes found in Victoria.  Did we ever mention that we even drove up to New South Wales for one weekend just to have a look at the Liberty 42 on display?  My wife wanted to see what we are going to build. We were not disappointed.

On the 27th of August 2011, there'll be another chance for us to have a look inside the Liberty 42. This time in Victoria. In Glen Iris, actually. And this is for a limited time only.  We'll see you all there, yeh?

(Source: emailed to us by Metricon Homes)

Day 1: Site Start - 21.07.2011

As soon as M3tric0n got the news that the property has been cleared, they wasted no time in ordering a second site survey and soil test.  My site classification still came back as Class "P", unfortunately.

Why? They cited a number of reasons:
  1. Site classified "P" due to the depth of filling material encountered.
  2. Site classified "P" to account for abnormal moisture conditions caused by trees on this and the adjacent sites and road reserve and recent demolition of existing dwelling from this site.
Fair enough.

Now let's get started with the construction phase of this project, shall we?

Going ... going .... going ... GONE!!!


We forgot to mention from our previous post that the demolition company actually requires at least 15 days before they can start the demolition.  The demolition company applied for the demolition permit from our local council which also required a signed consent (within 15 days) from our neighbour who was directly affected (common (garage) wall).

Be good to your neighbours and you will reap the rewards.

And here's some photos (Warning: unfortunately, I didn't have the chance to take photos when they were actually demolishing the property down, with cranes or bulldozers, etc.) ...

Let's get started ...

You've seen in our previous posts (way back when) Our Old House.  We've chosen the Liberty 42 to be our new home. And M3tric0n is going to build it.  Now we need our old house demolished.

A few things need to be done, we never thought it would be this difficult and tedious.

Firstly, choosing a demolition company...

This was late February 2011. After a number of calls here, look at some websites there, exchange a few emails here and there, get the best price, we finally chose a demolition company.  They were not necessarily the cheapest, but we liked what we saw in the quote they sent us:

Sunday, August 14, 2011

Status Update #2


My apologies, but we've been remiss in updating our blog for more than a month now. Been very busy work-wise. But here's some quick Status Update ...

Monday, July 4, 2011

The Liberty

As we were "Googling", we found a number of very useful blogs related to building with Metricon.  Some of the more prominent and more relevant ones we have included in our "Blogs We Follow". Such was the usefulness and relevance of these blogs that we found the Liberty.

We never came across the Liberty in our many travels to home display centres.  In fact, there was currently no display of the Liberty anywhere in Victoria. Apparently it was an older design, albeit an award winning one, so I read from some publication somewhere, I can't remember. There are displays in New South Wales and Queensland, but not here in Victoria, unfortunately.

So, based on the blogs (and M's website, of course) we got acquainted with the Liberty - our dream home.

Talk about leap of faith. Many, many thanks to all the detailed information that blogger-couples have provided in their building blogs, we decided we love it and called Mark, our sales consultant, straight away and asked him to change our home design from Whittaker 45 to Liberty 42. Bang! Presto! Done!

And so begins our building journey with the Metricon Liberty 42 - Chateau.

The Liberty Chateau (Source:

The Demise of the Whittaker 45 Dream

Oh we so much love the Whittaker 45.  For what we want in a house, it was just perfect.  But when we looked at our budget, reality kicks in.  For the upgrades and options we wanted, we so cannot afford it.  Not with the budget we religiously want to stick to.

You know when you really wanted something, but just can't really get it? You start nitpicking. Seriously. The Whittaker 45 has got flaws that wasn't really that obvious before. We are now sour-graping.

We didn't like the stairs. The stairs just goes straight up with no intermediate landing in-between.  Hmmmm, that could be bad with kids. Safety hazard. Actually, it's an L-shaped stair with two flights. Beautiful stairs. But ...

Sunday, July 3, 2011

It's all about the Budget


We have a budget, well, pending bank's approval. But we did set ourselves a budget to spend for our home build. And we'd like to stick to it as much as we could. Well, we should, really.

After looking at all the displayed options list, plugging it in to our spreadsheet to track what we'll be spending, we come to realise ... this is much more than what we really want to spend.

Saturday, July 2, 2011

Displayed Option List

Someone who have gone thru the building process will always advice people to get the Displayed Option List. We're doing the same.

So, what is the Displayed Option List?

For every display home you go to, regardless of the builder, the sales people have a list, a book, or maybe a spreadsheet or some snazzy software that enumerates the options or upgrades or non-standard items and their corresponding prices that are in the display home that you are admiring. It's what makes the difference between the "base price" and the "as displayed price".  The Whittaker could be worth $324,000 base price, but as displayed in Arena Estate - $650,000 (this a sample figure only, for illustrative purposes). One of the blogs that we follow make quite a good explanation of the Displayed Option List.

On our first meeting with Mark from M, the first thing he asked us was if we have been to see the other displays or M's home designs other than the Whittaker. What it is is that if we liked something from another home design, for example, the Nolan's staircase or kitchen fittings, or the Imperial's master ensuite fittings and tiling or that big picture window from the Laguna display, more than likely, M can add it as an option/upgrade to our Whittaker. For a price, of course. And that's where the Displayed Option List comes in.  So as not to waste Mark's time for us mulling over all the options available, he gave us, instead, a copy of the Displayed Option List, for each of the display homes we were interested in, to take home and think about what we want.

Oh boy, and wasn't that quite an interesting bedtime reading.

Have you heard about the couple whose total upgrade/options cost was much greater than the base price of the house?

Inspirations - M's Designer Promotion

Part of the come-on that volume builder's do to attract your business is the "luxury upgrade pack". So for an additional $4950, we are promised, I mean, we are "inspired with up to $75,200 of luxury upgrades".  Wow, that's a bargain, right? Someone with some basic math skills can tell you if it adds up or not.

For us, just looking at what it offers, we thought, what the h3ck, let's do it. These are something we would like to add anyway. So what are we getting for an additional $4950?
  • Choice of timber stained stacker or bi-part door
  • Higher internal doors to ground floor (2340mm)
  • Floor tiles to entry, kitchen, family and dining
  • Quality carpet throughout with premium carpet underlay
  • CaesarStone benchtop to kitchen
  • Premium glass splashback to kitchen
  • Choice of Baumatic dishwasher (stainless steel or integrated)
  • Baumatic stainless steel microwave and trim kit
  • CaesarStone benchtop to ensuite
  • CaesarStone benchtop to laundry
  • Choice of Caroma semi-recessed, above counter or recessed basins
  • Seamless tiled showerbases throughout
  • Upgrade to 25 degree roof pitch (from standard 22.5 degree roof pitch)
  • Remote-controlled garage door
  • Designer front entry door - WINWS6G
  • Designer front entry door furniture
The list look impressive, isn't it? Sure did. But is it really worth $75,200?  It wasn't obvious when we were looking. But looking at their current promotions now, M have explained the breakdown value (someone must have complained)...

M's Designer Value Pack Promotion (Source:
 We reckon it was a good deal.  Besides, we got another 50% promotion discount when we upgraded our flooring option from floor tiles to timber flooring (not timber-look flooring).

The Whittaker 45

And so we so wanted the Whittaker. It ticks all the boxes in our home search criteria. At last, we found what we want for a home.

The Whittaker - Chateau Facade (Source:
We chose the Chateau facade. Funny how I just realise now that this Whittaker with the Chateau facade looks exactly the same as the Nolan in my previous postings. We did love the floor plan, as well, as when we were walking thru the house, we liked how it was all laid out.  See for yourself.

Sunday, June 26, 2011

Coming close to what we want

So after going thru a pile of brochures, house floor plans, design and architecture magazines, price lists (most important!) and more visits to display home centres far and wide and revisiting the same home display again and again, are we getting close to what we want to build?

We both agreed on the Nolan 45. We liked it.  We'll lose the rumpus room, and maybe go for the smaller version - the Nolan 41.  Have you seen the Butler's Pantry?!? Wow!!! We'll take that.  Double car garage workshop extension? Oh, yes, please.  Look at the staircase. That's what we call a staircase. How much is the base price again, I'm sorry? Not bad, but ... it's probably higher than what we're willing to go for.  Now we're wondering if there's a house design we missed that really is just the perfect fit for what we want.

Then the salesperson muttered ... "Have you been to our Arena Estate Display Centre?"

Arena where? "In Officer" ...

The House that M Built

After trawling thru most of the display home centres that we can humanly go to, we have short-listed 2 house designs that we liked - the Nolan and the Laguna.  Both from M.

These home displays ticked all the boxes from our home criteria list.  See them for yourselves.  Especially the Nolan, almost all double-storey houses that we see being built by M is the Nolan.  Our favourite blog, the source of most of the insights and information about building with M, the one that kinda egged me on to start our own blog, built a Nolan.

See them for yourselves ...

Sold !!! Another Metricon house sold at auction.

As part of searching for that dream house design (and in our case at the moment, waiting for site start), we looked at already built houses and go for open day inspections, if possible.  Why is it that once you decided on something, in our case, build a house, you start noticing other houses being built and being sold. Isn't it amazing, that considering we live on an established suburb, we have more than 5 new M houses being built within a 5 kilometer radius from us.

Yesterday, a Metricon-built house was sold at auction.  Here's the agent's spiel about the property (I've changed identifiable landmarks to protect the innocent):

Friday, June 24, 2011

Status Update #1

When we first created this blog (14th June 2011), our old property have just been demolished. At this point in time, we're just waiting for M to do another site survey and second soil test.  But we would like you to come and go thru this journey with us from that "one day" we started to make the dream real. We're hoping that we'll be able to post most, if not all, of our building notes, in logical and chronological sequence, before the actual "Site Start".  Before then, we're posting some "Status Updates" from time to time just to let you all know where we are really currently at at this stage of our "building our home" journey.

 "Approvals and Permits" should actually be yellow or "Complete". It's just that my CSC has forgotten to mark the "Tree Removal" bit as "Completed".

Sunday, June 19, 2011

Search continues ...

PD's Santana was one of my top choice. Everything was just perfectly in place. It's got the right width and length that will suit our block, too. But as we go up and down the stairs, we realise, this type of staircase is not really that suitable for a family with active little ones! It's also the very first thing you'll see as you enter the house from the front door.  Not that there's anything wrong with that, but you have to have a darn good-looking staircase as this becomes a centrepiece of your house.  And it's not cheap.

We'll park the PD Cremorne for now.  Maybe we can have the design varied to remove the rumpus room and maybe replace with an extended outdoor room.  We did say we didn't want to have a rumpus room before, right?

Focus on what you want for your house.

And the search continues ...

Let's try M, their display homes look quite contemporary and classy.

Searching for the "perfect house" ...

And so we looked "far and wide" for "the house" that we would like to build.

We originally started just looking at PD's display houses first. They came quite highly recommended, too, by friends in the know. I even downloaded their iPhone App just so I can look at the floor plans while on the train on my way to work. A number of the designs quite stood out better than the others, and we looked at two designs much more intently - the Cremorne and the Santana.

Saturday, June 18, 2011

Which Home Design

Now that we have kinda limited ourselves to only two volume builders, we can now concentrate on just looking at the display homes they offer, locally.

Picking a Home Design is not as easy as what we thought it would be.  Most especially if you're really in the process of building your own home.  We used to go to display home centres before this, just to dream. We just look, admire, wish and dream, and that's it, you go home after, throw those brochures away, and just forget about it.  "No strings attached".  If you're planning on building, there seems to be that thought - "what if there is something else better out there ...".

Which Builder - PD, M or GV?

We did have a look at several builders' display houses, some are good, and some are really good. But there's just so many. And we didn't have the luxury of time to go thru each and every one of them, unfortunately.

We thought we'll limit ourselves to a couple of builders - M and PD. It may just make it easier to choose the house we want.  Why M and PD?  No scientific formula here.  Sometimes it just comes down to an emotional feeling (gut feel, some say), or word-of-mouth, or friends' recommendations, or simply just first impressions.  But aside from just liking what you see, there's also that valuable first-hand experience, an insight, of others who've been there, done that, and who may or may not do it again. But which builder will actually provide some references and give it out freely without infringing ones privacy? That's where "Google" (or Bing, if you're a Microsoft tragic) really becomes your friend.

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Display Homes ... near and far, but always far

You know you have been to enough display homes when your child says "not another display home, daddy; I'm tired looking at display homes".

We have been to see so many display homes, that we had, at least, at one time, a 2-foot pile of brochures, plans, and price lists on my bedside.

We've been to Cranbourne, Keysborough, Lyndhurst, Officer, Point Cook, Craigieburn, Lalor, Mernda, Doreen, South Morang, Balwyn, Glen Iris, Kellyville Ridge, Carnes Hill, Epping, Geelong, Torquay, etc.

And we've looked at the following display homes - Brooklyn, Cayman, Chadwick, Cremorne, Marina, Santana, Sandarah, Waldorf, Wembley, Hudson, Imperial, Laguna, Liberty, Lindrum, Monarch, Nelson, Nolan, Promenade, Riva, Stanton, Sycamore, Tribeca, Whittaker, Mornington, Bellmore, Fernhill, Albion, etc.

And from the following builders - Glenvill, Porter Davis, Metricon, Carlisle, Clarendon, Symonds, to name a few.

We didn't have to look at all builders and all display homes from each of the locations we've been to.  We skipped the single-storeys and some lesser known builders.

For a chosen few, we did have to visit or look for the same display home, albeit a different facade, from different locations. And spend more time looking at it.

Just so many choices, so little time, and not to mention, with a toddler in tow.

We have to make a choice on the builder and narrow our display home choices.

It's not easy.

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

To Build or Not To Build

Should we build or should we renovate? That was an easy question for us to answer.

We want to build. We want to build a double-storey home, with at least 3 double bedrooms, with ensuite on masters bedroom, walk-in robes, additional toilet/bathroom, a powder room downstairs, a big kitchen, with a sizeable pantry and enough cupboard space to store all the stuff, pots, pans, gadgets, etc, a family room, open plan, maybe a guest bedroom/study, a double lockup garage with internal access, an entertainment area at the back, maybe with some decking, some backyard space, to put a cubby house, play area, and so forth and so on. Yes, we want to build.

Our Old House

This is the original house. A 1960's brick-veneer house. It originally has 3 bedrooms, 1 bathroom, a small kitchen and living room with an open fireplace. I built the picket fence, together with my brother-in-law. My wife and I painted it. It took us at least 3 months (weekends only) to build this fence. I may not be able to make it then as a fence contractor.

The original house didn't have a garage. This detached single lock-up garage was built by the previous owner. It's got a workshop at the back, too.

Got this cubby house together with the house when we bought it. It's got a sandbox underneath. My nephew and niece never got to use it much or not at all as its been dilapidated and rickety.  There's a swing set, as well. All backyard features. Never had the chance to have it repaired. Bad landlord!!! :-).
The original house was extended by the previous owner to have a big family room and dining, extra bedroom, and a huge laundry with a second toilet and bathroom.  With polished floor boards, too.  Sad to say, large cracks were beginning to show throughout the house, with the ceiling showing signs of caving in. House looks to be structurally unsound after so many years. Would cost more to have it re-stumped, under-pinned, and re-wired. Thought will just have it demolished, instead, unfortunately.

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Welcome! It all starts here ...

Our journey (or dream of building a new home) actually begins quite a while back when we decided to buy an investment property out in the eastern suburbs of Melbourne.

This was no ordinary investment property as we have decided to build our home here one day, hopefully, with a couple of our kids running around, a couple of cars on the driveway, a bit of a backyard where the dog can run around and the kids, with their friends, having some fun time together.

We did say "One day...", right? Yes, that was ages ago. But before that "One Day" comes, we thought, we'll leave the newly bought house as is and rent it out. To our family. They just arrived from overseas then and our current house - a 3-bedroom unit, two in a block, was not big enough to accommodate us all.

Our family rented and looked after the house like their own. Everyone is happy. Days turned to weeks, weeks turned to months and months turned to years, our nephew and niece grew up, they went to school, my sister-in-law finally got her licence. Happy days.

And then one day, we decided to be more than a couple.  And years later we had the little one. A little one who's more than happy to sleep and play in her own room. The little one's happy "planking" in her own cot. Days turned to weeks, weeks turned to months ... from tummy to crawling, from crawling to walking, from dada to daddy, from mother's group to child care ... and the little one has grown ... running around ... talking a lot ... climbing furnitures ... asking a lot of questions - "Can I have a dog?"; "My friend has got a cubby house, can you build me one, too, daddy?"; "Can I get my friends to play with me in the backyard?" ... uh, what, sorry, whose backyard?

And that "One Day" came.