The 92.36% completed flooring

We started on the flooring right after the handover. Based on the dates on the pictures, we took about 3 months to get most of the flooring done. 8 months on, it still isn’t quite done because the scotia isn’t finished on some areas of the house XD

Got side-tracked. A LOT.

 Anyway, here’s how it progressed with the flooring:

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L-R: Living area, living area, pantry, scotia

The biggest challenge was the stairs. Couldn’t quite work out how to perfectly fit each plank in with perfectly cut edges without the scotia to hide ugly bits, and also had trouble hiding the grooved edges to get the perfect lines. But we did it. Took a brand new blade to do them all.

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I know the scotia isn’t quite done around the house, but I think I will cross out “3. Laminate flooring in the house” just so I feel like something’s been achieved in the past 8 months XD

 

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The move

I was about to apologise for not updating in the last 6 months, and then I realised that it is becoming a trend for me to keep apologising in my posts for not updating regularly. Yikes. I’m not really sure who I am apologising to anyway, but to whoever’s still out there scanning through my posts – I’m sorry, again!

6 months is a pretty long time to be missing, I guess I had better have some good excuses for that. In the past 6 months:
I’ve had friends and family visiting.
I adopted 1 dog, then another.
I adopted 2 chooks.
I’ve been on a few trips.
The flooring is almost finished.
The curtains are up.
Paving in alfresco done.
I got a bathtub!

But I still owe the blog a description of what happened during the week we moved. So, here it goes!

2nd week after handover

By the end of the 1st week, I was really getting quite sick of doing/watching the floorboards. Mostly because I wasn’t too good at it, and also partly because I find it hard to not measure/cut the floorboards accurately. In the end, I found myself spending most of my time trying to coordinate tradies and getting things happening to the house quickly.

A lot of things happened during that week that it’s pretty much a blur to me now (and also because it’s been about 4 months since it happened haha). Here’s sort of what I remembered:

  • Air conditioning
    I organised for the air conditioner to be installed as quickly as I could, because we were all freezing our asses off in winter. I’ve always loved big open areas with high ceilings, but the one time I would curse that is when it’s winter and when I’ve only got little blow heaters trying to keep us warm.
  • Fencing
    The wrecked retaining wall post was fixed (they had to dig out the concrete base and re-pour it!) at the expense of the builder, and they were certainly not very happy about it. As for me, I’m glad they didn’t go back on their word and was happy that I got to arrange for the fencing to be installed in the same week.
  • Driveway
    I must say, the driveway is the greatest disaster in my entire house building “career”. I organised for the driveway to be concreted right after I knew when my house was going to be handed over to me, because I wanted to be able to utilise the driveway to move things during the muddy winter season.
    It worked out fine at first, in fact, it looked gorgeous.IMG_20150724_152327
    Coloured concrete driveway. I picked charcoal, to match the colour scheme of the house! I even paid more just to get that colour. However, after it was done, the contractor told me he had to rip it all up again because there was something wrong with the mix, and he wanted to re-do the driveway because he wanted to do a good job of it.I could hear my heart being ripped out when he said that. Oh well, I thought, I’d give him a chance to do it right. He spent a great deal of time cutting up the driveway by himself, removing the concrete pieces, etc. In the end, due to our tight schedule, he couldn’t get it done before we moved in. Bummer.

    However, that’s not it. The driveway has been re-done, the colour looked right for the 1st week or so. And then it faded. Faded so much, I swear it is nothing like charcoal. It was so muddy and wet then that he couldn’t connect the drains up. He said he would come back, but I haven’t seen him for months. It’s a bit heart-breaking when you’ve paid so much money for a driveway but get nothing like what you’ve paid for. 😦 I’m not going to put up a photo of the current state. Still makes me sad thinking about it.

  • 20160404_180312Skylight
    The supervisor did not know that our skylight is supposed to be a window. Honestly, a week after the handover and he realised it is an actual window, that was yet to be put in. They had problems fitting the window, scratching the paint in the process, and had trouble getting a painter in to tidy it up. It wasn’t 2 weeks after the handover that it was finally finished. Here’s the sort of effect with the skylight. Pardon the ugly quilt and pillow cases.
  • The move
    I must say, what we did that week was quite impressive. Moving every single thing from the rental place and cleaning it up before returning the keys, while trying to organise the tradies and also getting as much of the flooring done as possible. If I were to ever lose my job, I think I will take up event planning haha. I deliberately took pictures of the mess so my excitable mum wouldn’t think about crashing in when I was so highly strung. Check out the mess:

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I made my brother paint his bed frame black because I wanted more black in the house, even though he’s the one who has been sleeping on the bed lol.

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And, we lived happily ever after.

Not yet, because us smart-asses took on some really big projects in the backyard.

Post-handover

The 2 weeks post-handover was unbelievably intense. It’s unbelievable because I simply just cannot believe I made the choices and end up doing what I did in those 2 weeks.

Our lease was ending 2 weeks after handover. Here’s the list of things we had to achieve in 2 weeks:

1. Install floorboards in all the bedrooms first so that we can move in
2. Complete aircon installation
3. Fencing installation
4. The actual moving
5. Cleaning of rental property

To be reaaaaally clear, those were all done in 2 week-nights, because, well, we work during the day.

What we did in the 1st week after handover

So, the day after handover, I went to pick up my floorboards with the help of a couple of friends. We spent pretty much every single night for over a week, just to try and lay the floorboards in BR 1, 2, 3, Entry and Living.

Just to refresh your memory (again), this is what the floor plan looks like:

Floor plan

Floor plan

We tried to make the floorboards continuous throughout the top level of the house because it looks nicer that way, that’s why we had to lay the boards in the Entry too. For the before and after effect, have a look at the empty house first with the bare concrete floor. Here’re a few pictures coming up:

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Coco oak

This is the floorboard I picked from Power Dekor. I am really happy that I had finally found the colour and grain that is closest to what I was looking for, without that hefty price tag.

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The guys laying boards in BR 2. 

It’s a really messy business laying floorboards, trying to get the measurements right, doing the right cuts on the boards, covering ourselves in sawdust. Thankful to have the 3 of them helping me out. 1 is most utilised for his incredible strength, 1 is remarkably good at the Math, and 1 is the mastermind of it all with his amazing tools. I mostly look on and sweep sawdust off the floor lol.

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BR 2 completed, and used to put the equipment in.

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Living room, where my bro is living in right now.

The living room is in fact, the first room we worked on because it is the smallest “bedroom” in the house, and we thought we should “experiment” with laying floorboards in there first. Haha.

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Entry

We laid lots of cardboard down because it was still winter then and lots of mud around the house. There were lots of tradies coming into the house to complete the aircon installation and fixing the skylight into BR 3.

At that time, I was told that the range hood and stove cannot be delivered until we were living in the house, for fear of those items being stolen. It was quite a bit of a drama, because I was trying to put the fencing in as quickly as possible, so that the house will be more secure. However, the fencing couldn’t happen because the installer needed to weld the fence to a post on the retaining wall, which so happened to be the wrecked post that I was waiting for the builder to fix. To add to stress, we realised that we need to have the flooring done in the kitchen area so that the stove could sit on it. So we had to start working on the kitchen quickly.

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I’m glad they knew how to have fun amidst the stresses lol

My friend is an engineer, and he’s got 2 sets of hi-vis outfits that we had on when we were laying the boards. What’s with the hi-vis outfit, you say? Pick an answer from below:

1. We were trying to protect our clothes from sawdust.
2. We secretly wanted to be minions.

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Kitchen done just enough to put the stove in.

It all worked out in the end, and I was so excited the day the stove was delivered.

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I panicked when I saw that it was a white stove! Then I realised it was only a protective covering for delivery haha. I have been spoilt, spending the past 4 years in a rental property using a stove with 5 burners, so I can’t go back to 4 burners now!

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Pantry

I probably could have hired someone to do the laying and not agonise over it every day about finishing it quickly, but every cent I save could go to my brother’s education, a new Breville BES920BS coffee machine, furniture in the house, curtains, blahblahblah. The conclusion is, one can never have enough money. Be cheapo frugal where you can.

More #throwback updates next post! I’m sorry the info is so backdated… You guys will understand as you read on. xx

#throwback on pre-handover

24th July 2015
The date of handover.
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If I were a normal person, I would have said that it was such a significant day and I would remember it for the rest of my life. Truth be told, if not for Google calendar, I wouldn’t have been able to put the date down on the blog. It was memorable alright, but life isn’t always quite how I imagined it to be.

Just a few weeks before the handover, I got a letter from the builder, trying to schedule me in for a pre-handover inspection a week before the official date. My first reactions were not of ecstasy or relief after almost 2 years of what I had set out to do. In fact, my first words were…

“Oh sh**”.

I recall ringing my brother relating the news in a state of panic. I knew there were lots to be done, and it felt overwhelming to try and get everything happening quickly. I guess it was because all these while I didn’t have to physically do anything apart from making complaints if anything went wrong, but with the handover, I’d have to do everything else myself from then on.  So, I whipped out my calendar and started putting dates to everything. Here’s what went on:

2 weeks before handover
1) Get quotes for fencing and driveway
I found that when I am trying to do something that I have absolutely no knowledge about, asking for dozens of opinion is the way to go. Each person quotes a bit differently, and it was useful to see what is different and research about it. That gives me a lot more insight into picking the best at the most affordable price.
2) Sourcing for rainwater tanks
It isn’t too hard finding rainwater tanks, but I haven’t seen many places selling water detention tanks at affordable prices. So I have decided to pick up a friend’s rainwater tank with a little leak. After all, that’s what detention tanks are meant to do – slowly release rainwater into the sewage system.
3) Notifying my landlord of end of lease
I’ve lived in the rental property for 4.5 years! That house has seen many of my milestones in life, and it does get a bit difficult telling the landlord about us leaving. I picked the end of lease date to be 2 weeks after handover. It’s crazy, I know. But when you have a mortgage to pay, and supporting brother in uni as an international student yet can’t claim any dependent tax for, you do all sorts of crazy things just to get by.
4) Pre-handover inspection
So, so close to getting those keys! There were a few issues here and there regarding bank inspections and bank cheques which resulted in me marching down to the bank and giving them a piece of my mind… Well let’s not go there. What you need to know is, I was in such a bad mood with all the lack of communication and responsiveness that even my boss was avoiding me.

1 week before handover
1) Concreting driveway
It was still winter, and it was muddy everywhere. I decided that if we were going to move that soon, then I should at least get the driveway in so we have something decent to walk on. So, I sent of the request to the council and builder if they were agreeable to me getting that happening before the handover. I managed to get concreting started on the day of handover.
2) Gas meter installation
Honestly, I think having been a city kid two-thirds of my life, I was too privileged having everything done and mapped out for me with elaborate step-by-step instructions. So it turns out I had to arrange for the gas meter to be installed. Actually, that wasn’t too bad. Wait till you hear about my home phone and ADSL relocation.
3) Packing up
I remember half a year ago, I was grumbling away as I packed up most of my stuff into boxes so that I would have space in my room to share with my brother. It turns out I didn’t have to put too much effort into packing up, because everything was already in boxes!
4) Organise address changes
I’m really glad I live just 7 minutes from my old rental place because somehow I still have mail going there, and I can always drop by to pick it up!
5) HANDOVER
Well, even a couple of nespresso pods could get my heart racing more than that day. To refresh your memory, the keys came like this. In fact, the house wasn’t even finished! The builder forgot about wrecking my retaining wall and how they promised they would fix it. The skylight wasn’t in yet, which caused a whole lot more issues. The range hood and oven wasn’t delivered because they didn’t want it stolen if we weren’t living in it yet.

Now you know why I haven’t been blogging those past few months. More stories about post-handover in the next post!

Happy Labour Day, South Australia!

Today, is the 5th of October, Monday, and a public holiday too. This is probably the first day since handover that I am actually chilling out at home and not racing with time to get something done urgently. It’s Labour Day today, and I think I’m going to reward myself for all the labour in the past few months by not labouring. Lol. I’m sitting here thinking to myself, I could get used to living here. Haha.

I guess you would say
– Duh of course you would! You designed it yourself!
– It’s your first home! It’s impossible for you to not want to live there!
– You’ve just moved in, there’s no way you’re sick of it already.

I guess that’s all correct, but it is also true that many times during the entire process, I was getting sick and tired of it, ready to give up and just build a crap house, forfeit my deposit with the builder and just keep the land till I’m more ready for it, etc. I wish I could say the entire process was extremely pleasant, but the truth is, it wasn’t for me. Truth is, it was quite nightmarish, and I was convinced that I wasn’t going to complete this project.

But today, as I pottered around the house doing laundry, buying a long garden hose, cleaning out the rabbits’ new and bigger hutch, watering the gazanias, picking out caterpillars from my kale shrubs, it dawned on me that this is where I’m going to be for quite a long time. So, at the end of all the stresses and anxieties, I am starting to find that sweet aftertaste in having my own house.