Sunday, 23 June 2013

Ducted vacuum and update on the bamboo

Outlets installed during the building process
When we were building Bel really wanted to have a ducted vacuum cleaner within the home, however it was just too much money.  At that point, after doing some research, we decided to put the piping in place as we could afford that component, but then wait to get the actual unit when we could afford it.  Phil wasn't sure that we would actually use it, however as the task of keeping the house clean with a small ineffective vacuum became more difficult, we started to look at other alternatives. 

We had bought a cheap vacuum to get us through, however both Phil and I were having problems with our backs after we had vacuumed.  Phil started to look at buying a decent vacuum and realised that it was serious money.  He contacted the company that installed the pipes to get a quote to install the motor and the associated accessories and it was a significant sum.  Phil then started researching second hand machines with the view that he might do it himself.

During this research Phil came upon Michael at Ducted Vacuum and Air Supplies and was blown away by his customer service and price.  It also helped that Michael was local and been in business for over 15 years.  Phil negotiated a deal with a second hand machine and new accessories for the house.  The hose for the house has a covering (officially known as a 'sock') which covers the house and protects the walls from the hose.  Phil was also talking with Michael about the garage outlet - as we didn't want to use the home hose in the garage for the cars and keeping the garage clean.  Michael was able to get us a reasonably priced second hand hose that we keep for the garage to do the cars. 
Vacusweep in the kitchen.

Machine in the garage

Our home is so clean.  We totally love it.  If you are thinking about installing a ducted vacuum, then we would highly recommend it.  We have also installed a 'vacusweep' in the kitchen, which is essentially an outlet that was on the same level of the floor, so when you sweep up in the kitchen, you open this flap and it sucks all the dust in that is nearby (see picture above).

He also suggested that we get a horsehair attachment for the vacuum for the timber floors and it has been amazing.  We use the vacusweep for the nightly clean ups and the horsehair attachment for the weekly cleans.  We are very happy with it.

Bamboo with tall stalks really showing the height that it will get to.
Another shot on a wet Sydney day.
If you are interested, give Michael a call and let him know that you saw his details here.  He uses quality machines that are made in Australia, therefore using good quality Aussie products at a reasonable price.  Although we opted for a second hand machine, his new machines are very competitively priced.

On another note, the bamboo has been growing quickly.  If you look at the photos you can see how high it is growing and imagine how it will eventually look. 

Sunday, 14 April 2013

Our landscaping and the new POOL!!!!!!!!

Well it has been a while since we updated our blog and it used to bug me no end when people wouldn't update theirs.  Guilty as charged.  :)

View from across the road
We have been quite busy.  We initially finished the landscaping.  After much debate (on Phil's side) we decided to go with an Asian theme.  We have Japanese Buxus hedge along the front footpath, camellia's (alternating pink and white) on both side borders and our feature trees are two red weeping Japanese maples (with green foliage in spring and summer) and 1 purple Japanese maple (with amazing red foliage in spring and summer).  On the other side of the driveway is our weeping cherry blossom.  Can't have an Asian theme without a cherry blossom after all.  It's in a half wine barrel due to it covering a sewer manhole cover, so it can be moved if it has to be and it completely camouflages the manhole cover too.  In the amazing Asian style pots are some buxus plants that we are hoping to train into a topiary shape in a year or two.  We have also put in our dry creek bed with some feature stones.  We were lucky enough to find the big rocks on Gumtree in our neighbourhood from someone who was keen to get rid of them.  A big win for both of us.  They were REALLY cheap and the other guy got them out of his way.   We did buy some of the smaller stones and our next door neighbour also donated some to us (as he had too many when he finished his landscaping - thanks Kam and Jen).  We got all of our plants (except the bamboo) from Sydney Plant Market.  Contact details are on the sidebar.
From the driveway so you can see the dry creek bed
Pink Camellias in bloom
Front view

From the other side
Closer view of our amazing trees and pots

Since the addition of the letterbox and concrete footpath some of the buxus plants around the driveway have been looking the worse for wear.  We are hoping that they come good and we are nurturing them to the best of our ability although we suspect that they have root rot due to the water being

captured under them and not able to drain away quickly enough.  Time will tell.

We also bit the bullet and decided to get a pool.  Naturally, our first port of call re building was the boys at Modernview Homes.  They don't do pools by themselves, but will do them as part of a build.  Because our build hadn't long been completed they agreed to do it.  As usual, their standards were high, their allowances generous and their customer service second to none.  As with the build, everything went very smoothly.  They honoured their time commitments, Dean (site supervisor) picked up any issues quickly and efficiently and Jason was also more than helpful at the end of the phone.  They did an amazing job and the pool looks fabulous.  We have spent so much more time out there this summer and have really enjoyed entertaining on our new deck.  Whilst we were finishing off the backyard we also organised our deck through Modernview Homes.  They had some top quality carpenters lay the deck and it has been amazing.  Whilst they were there we had them deck the front porch as well.

The Gracilis (Slender Weavers) bamboo that we planted in May has been growing at a phenomenal rate with several strands already taller than the neighbours fence.  The bamboo does add to the maintenance of the pool (as it does drop it's leaves) but we wanted it for the privacy that it will give us in the years to come.  We bought it wholesale from Bamboos Wholesale in Queensland and had it sent down.  This was still heaps cheaper than buying it from anywhere in Sydney.  Their website is Bamboos Wholesale.   Jason and Laura are more than helpful.  Let them know that you heard about them from our blog.

Bamboo when we planted it May 2012- prior to the pool starting.
2 crazy boys in the pool at night.  We love the blue lights.
View from our back door recently looking out to the pool through the fence. March 2013

Phil also sourced our own fencing as we wanted glass for a section of the pool - the part that you could see sitting in the alfresco and from the house.  Phil searched around and found Big Jim Fencing.  Jim was really helpful and his was the best price that we could find in Sydney.  Jim can help organise installers however, Phil decided to put it in himself.  Dean also came over to help.  We also sourced our own travertine for around the pool.  We got 600 x 400 mm tiles and it looks fabulous.  We got it from the Stone Wholesalers at Seven Hills.  These were also one of the cheapest in Sydney for a good quality tile.
From the corner of the pool looking across to the alfresco

Our waterline tiles were chosen from our local Amber store and covered in the cost of the pool build.  We had the pool built for solar heating, with all the necessary pipework and electricals, and now just need to save up some money to put on solar heating.  Everything is ready to go when we are ready.

Once again, Modernview Homes delivered on time and to a very high standard.  They are currently building a display home at the New Homeworld at Kellyville.  It should be open soon.

We have been very happy living in our wonderful house at The Ponds, as The Ponds continues to flourish.

The bamboo as at today with the pool.