Thursday, 21 April 2011

Update on the build - 21st April 2011

This week has been very exciting.  We have signed the contract with the builder earlier this week.  They were very helpful and patient.  We then received formal approval from the Bank.  Fantastic.  All systems are now Go.

The builder gave us our selections books which has been a rather overwhelming process to realise ALL of the things we need to make decisions on, although the guys at ModernView have been more than helpful.  We are going through the book and making decisions and will have a meeting with them in the next week or so to discuss what we have chosen.

We went to a lighting shop the other day just to get some ideas.  It was a new one on Sunnyholt Road Blacktown, Sunnyholt Lighting Warehouse (Phone 02 8678 4353) and the lady who helped us (Naomi although spelt differently to this) was very helpful.  (Incidentally some of the lights that we saw here were almost half the price of the same lights in other stores that we have seen in and around Castle Hill.  Check them out.)
 We really like this light for over the kitchen island bench.  Possibly 3 - 4 to give a bit of a feature to it.  The white obviously - but the red to pick up the red from the red gum floors.
 We REALLy like this light for over the stairs.  It looks stunning and is within our budget.  Still thinking about this but we are definitely interested.

We also went to the World of Tiles today to get some ideas for our tile selections.  Wow - on a number of levels.  There was such a great choice of tiles and we had superior customer service from both Maria (our style guru) and Joe.

We explained to Maria the kind of look we were after and what we wanted and she guided us in the right direction - even after Phil came up with a 'great idea' that Maria and Bel had been discussing and had agreed upon.  It was very funny.

So our choices - although these haven't been totally agreed upon yet, we are confident and very happy with our choices.
 This will be feature tile for the bathrooms.  It will be laid horizontally around the baths and at the back of the bath and shower niches.  In the downstairs toilet and shower, it will also be the splash back above the vanity (this was Phil's good idea that Maria and I had already discussed and agreed upon).

 This floor tile (which in reality is actually a charcoal colour) will be the floor tile for all of our wet areas.  That is the bathrooms, toilets and laundry.  It looks really nice and is within budget.  Even better.

This tile really blew us away for our kitchen splashback.  It really does look better than this picture indicates.  This tile is 600 x 600 mm so we would just have one tile height as our splashback behind the stove and along the benches.  Phil loved this at first sight, whilst it took me a little longer to like it.  I think it will look stunning with the Caesarstone benchtop and the high gloss white cupboards.  Very impressive.  (It is a glazed porcelain tile although it looks metallic).

This tile (not the stones they were part of a design feature) will be the tiles for our balcony.  Effective but simple.

The service that we received and the helpfulness that all of the staff displayed were excellent.  If you are looking for tiles, we would highly recommend that they are worth a visit.

A little further along our fantastic journey and it's all starting to become real for us.... finally.

Friday, 15 April 2011

Kitchen and Bathroom Ideas

We went looking for ideas / inspiration for our kitchen and bathrooms.  These are the top contenders...although nothing is decided upon yet.

We like these feature tiles for the kitchen with the light cupboards and white benchtop.  This would be instead of a glass splashback.  Still not sure which way to go yet.  We also liked the idea of having the feature tiles just behind the cooktop.  Our timber floors are planned to be Red Gum so the black / white theme will be predominant especially downstairs.

We like the dark tiles on the floor with a bit of a feature tile around the baths (both bathrooms upstairs have a bath).  We would then repeat these tiles in the niches for the showers.  The tiles on the wall would then be a classic white.

 We like the vanities with the dark benchtop and the white cupboards.  We have planned to have Caesarstone benchtops in all the bathrooms.

This will be the door to the pantry in our kitchen.  We like the white door with the reddish timber floor. We only have 1 door into the pantry.  Eventually we would like to replace all the doors for the media room and the entry into the living area at the back... which for now, due to costs, are all standard doors.
We like the benchtop and the sink - I can't remember what this is called... but I like it.

Still thinking and deciding.

Thursday, 14 April 2011

Plans approved by Council

Our plans have been approved by Council and collected by us yesterday.  We should be signing the building contract either late this week or early next and are crossing our fingers that we can start building by the end of May.

Our neighbours on one side have their concrete slab down, along with their neighbours on the other side.  There seems to be a lot of development in our section of The Ponds with the rain gardens having lots of work getting done.  This is in addition to the bridge happening for Riverbank Drive.

It's all so exciting.

Colour Selections

Brickwork: PGH Blue Steel Flash

Timber Posts for balcony / Front Door: Jarrah

Garage Door/ Cladding: Shale Grey

Roof tile: Monier Horizon Kava with A-line ridging

Fascia Colour / gutters / downpipe over cladding: Dune

Window Colour and Aluminium doors: Pearl White

Wednesday, 13 April 2011

Tuesday, 12 April 2011


We are hoping to work out how to upload images onto the blog... stay tuned for more  :)

The story so far......

Our journey to build in The Ponds began over 12 months ago.  My husband and I were having a lovely morning out (without children in April 2010) at Stanhope Gardens and decided to go for a drive to find out what all the fuss was about over The Ponds.

We arrived at the Sales Centre and I was totally blown away.  What an amazing suburb.  A wonderful community right at our back door (we lived then, at Quakers Hill).  We walked into the Sales Centre and Michelle happened to mention that a very good block had come back onto the market in Waterfall 6.  We ummed and aahed about whether to leave the deposit, but decided that it wasn't the right time for us.

We looked into it more along with doing some research (specifically with our Bank and also The Ponds website).  We both decided that this was where we wanted to live.  It wasn't such a big move for us, so all our local friends would still be local as well as having minimal impact on schools.

So, we put our house at Quakers Hill on the market.  We then waited for the next land release.  Hubby and I had pored over the Masterplan and had spent hours deciding which areas would be right for us.  We ended up deciding Waterfall 9 was the place for us, due to its location - close to shops, playgrounds and a priority for us - near the sports fields without being too close to worry about all the additional traffic on a weekend / weeknight.  4 teenage boys.  Need I say more?

We hedged our bets and went down the next Tuesday morning - no sales going on that day.  I returned to work disappointingly.  The next Tuesday my husband (who was so excited he could hardly sleep) got down there early.  He was the first one there.  He waited impatiently for the office to open at 10am (and got to know the other people who were there with the same idea) and when Michelle opened the door, his persistence paid off.

Michelle indicated that land was going on sale that day and it would be Waterfall 9.  Phil was ecstatic along with the realisation that the two of us weren't going to have to camp there until Saturday.  We were the lucky ones who were the first group to get priority numbering.  We really were cheering now.  Phil was the first person and so he had first pick of the lots at 4pm.  He stayed there the whole day, researching, looking, checking out the contours and picked the lot.

4pm arrived and Phil was called in to choose the block and put the red sticker on it to indicate it had a deposit on it.  It was kind of ours :).  We were so excited.  We had also sold our house (it sold within 3 weeks) and we were also trying to find a place to rent - which was proving more difficult than we could imagine.  Two adults, 4 boys and two dogs - almost impossible in fact.

Now we began the search for a house to build (and we did find a house to rent with 2 weeks to spare in Parklea - local again and it has been wonderful).  We went to all of the project home builders at The Ponds and at Kellyville.  We also made the journey down to Oran Park and liked a lot of the home we saw.  We were impressed by the Big M, however they didn't have a design that would fit our family (5 bedrooms and a reasonable study due to my work).  Most of the builders were quite happy to talk to us about making changes.... however that costs money... big money.   Some of the builders - even at The Ponds - weren't interested in our business at all.

We had lots of great ideas and started to get tenders in from the project homes.  We were flabbergasted at the price. Obviously with the amount of changes we were making - it had a huge increase in the price it was going to cost.

What were we going to do?  The cost to build with all the changes was immense particularly given the allowances for the extras was fairly minimal.  We were then driving around The Ponds one day, as we are prone to doing, and we saw an advertisement for a custom designed home.  I started thinking that maybe we needed to go down that avenue.  I planted a seed.... and sure enough it blossomed and Phil decided that maybe we should go down the custom design route.

Consequently we sat down with some of those companies and started talking about what we wanted, the ins and the outs.  We also saw our mortgage broker (am happy to pm anyone that would like his details - he is fantastic) and he suggested a customer who is a builder.  So we also had him to give us a quote.

In the end, we decided to get our own plans drawn up as then we owned them and could take them to any builder that we wanted.  Our architect - Brendan who is fantastic -again PM me for contact details) then sat down with us and went through our wish list.  We were able to tell him the things we liked and wanted and what we didn't like as well.

He presented us with concept plans shortly after this and we were then able to show them to builders to get quotes.  After talking to a few builders and getting some prices - making some adjustments to the plans (dreams do cost money after all - unfortunately) we narrowed down our choices to two builders.  One that we had seen in the paper - a new upcoming group of builders and a more established builder.

It came down to who we thought would give us the best value for money and we decided to jump on board with Modern View.  We have been so impressed with their service and their inclusions.  Our land had registered and we were all eager to get going.

Meanwhile - the Bank was giving us some grief due to the fact that the valuer thought that we were overcapitalising in the The Ponds.  Also, there hadn't been any sales on the Western side of the creek so therefore, valuation became an issue.  Working with our builder and the broker, we were finally able to meet in the middle and the loan went through.

One thing that we did do and I would certainly recommend doing to anyone else in a situation such as ours, is that we put all our plans into the The Ponds Design Council and then, when they were approved, into Blacktown Council.

So now, our plans will be good to go within the next week or two.  We then just need to finish tidying up some things with the Bank and then we'll be good to go when the builder can start.  So, it has been a rollercoaster of a journey so far and we're sure that it will continue to be.... however, we can now see the light at the end of our tunnel..... our beautiful dream home at The Ponds.