Saturday, 17 May 2014

Reno - Week 40

OK, so I've finally managed to find some time to complete this on-line journal of our renovation. My baby that used to sleep a lot of the time has now grown into a very demanding two year old, so it's fair to say that as a mum of four small boys, spare time is definitely not something I have much of these days.

At Week 40, the house was finally completed - well almost. The builder is working through the defect list but that's pretty much about it as far as construction goes. Initially 40 weeks seemed like an eternity to wait for the house to be built, but looking back on it now, it all seemed to happen rather quickly.

A short stay in hospital at around this time put a halt on the unpacking and my ability to carry on with some much needed faffing around the house, but we are slowly, slowly making the house a home. From past experience I would say that it takes a good six months until you fully settle into a new house.

The old Kitchen

Now a WIR in the Master Bedroom
Don't judge me - but until just the other week, our WIR was still full of boxes. I can now comfortably get to my clothes.

Some of our existing furniture didn't suit or fit into the new house so we sold it before moving in. Most of our new furniture/homewares were selected and/or purchased during construction, but there were a few big ticket items (e.g. the sofa) that had to wait. In fact we still don't have a sofa in our living room or furniture for the front verandah, but all in good time.

Dining Table from Original Finish

After a recent cold snap we lashed out and bought a new rug for the Sitting Room
It's actually been about three months since we moved into the West End Cottage and we've definitely settled into our new home now. All in all it's turned out wonderfully - beyond our expectations in fact. I was planning on doing a post on the things I really love about the renovation and things I would consider doing differently next time (if there is a next time that is.) If you have any questions about our renovation or renovating in general I am happy to answer these for you - so feel free to ask away.

Our fireplace on the terrace has been getting a bit of a workout of late
As far as the construction went, we did go a little over time (and budget). So here's a few tips about money and renovations. If you're planning a renovation, definitely factor extra costs into the equation - there are ALWAYS going to be unexpected costs so put away approximately 5-10% of the total renovation budget as you will need it. For example, halfway through construction I changed the bathroom tapware selection which cost us an extra $4,000 alone. In total, we outlaid an additional $30K on variations to the contract.

Additional funds were also required for landscaping - after the final site clear the only vegetation remaining was one heavily damaged frangipani tree (unfortunately it lost a number of major limbs) and two old camellias along the side boundary. I sketched-up a general landscape plan so it was just a case of sourcing the plants/materials and dedicating some time to put it all together. We spent approximately $20K on landscaping (some of which we did ourselves) that included site preparation/machinery hire, fencing and garden edges, turf, plants and mulch.

To date we have planted 13 trees and 130 shrubs and ground covers. I'm hoping that by next Summer, the gardens will be looking a little more mature than they do at present. The tropical birch trees that we planted along the fence line (for shade and privacy reasons) have already grown at least a foot since planting them.

I have also made several attempts at growing a kitchen garden in our old concrete laundry tub located in the backyard but the possums around here are a force to be reckoned with! I've found a spot out the front of the house where they don't seem to go, and I've planted a small range of herbs and vegetables (e.g. carrots, chillis, tomatoes and lettuce and of course, parsley, sage, rosemary and thyme to name but a few) into some self-watering garden boxes that we constructed after finding some instructions via Google. So far the plants seem to be doing well. We should have our first crop of tomatoes on the table soon.