Brooks Reach Building adventure

Come with us now on a tale of the mighty house building.

Kitchen Spec

Our kitchen meeting was part of our first Clarendon Create appointment but I felt it needed it’s own post as it’s such an important part of our home.
The kitchen has always been my focus during the house hunting and now building process. Thankfully I have an incredible husband that has supported my kitchen-crush during this whole time. A promise of never ending brownies may have also helped!

Our kitchen will have 3m long stone benchtops with a breakfast bar extension making the island bench even wider. We will have a 900mm gas cooktop, canopy ducted rangehood and 600mm electric oven. We will eventually have a side-by-side fridge/freezer with a filtered water point. WE HAVE A HUGE WALK IN PANTRY! We haven’t picked out tiles yet as our builder is making us wait until construction is under way (who knows why!) but they’ll be a light colour like this:ZIRVE BEIGE (MARBLE) - Tile Sample from QQ

We describe the feel of our future kitchen as open and earthy with the green and brown tones. One of the best upgrades we made was our kitchen sink to be a double bowl sink. Best $15 upgrade I think! Of course we had to source specific models and ask for a price on all the items we wanted, but that wasn’t too much work. We also upgraded our oven to a newer model too for a small fee.
Branden’s Grandma & Poppop gave me some money towards my KitchenAid that I’ll purchase as a house warming gift to myself when we move in. I’m thinking green apple KitchenAid Green Apple Artisan or possibly Cobalt Blue (B’s fave colour is blue) Cobalt Blue KitchenAid. The hubby will probably spend his gift money on electronics or something for the theatre room. Boys and their toys!

The original quote for upgrades came to a total of $12,970!!!!!! *wide eyes*. We just couldn’t believe the cost for some of the items. We didn’t get a quote for the tepanyaki built in cooktop with wok, I think that would have been neat but very expensive. We would have loved to have SMEG appliances too but agreed we could upgrade to those later once we settle in and save for those kind of things.

Below are the items we had quoted (with approximate figures):

  • Craftwood bulkheads above cabinets (between ceiling and cabinets) $420 Did not get this upgrade (Essentially it’s a fake wall so you don’t have to dust above your cabinets. How silly)
  • Provide matching door colour above canopy rangehood $192 Did not get this upgrade
  • Matching door colour bottoms to matching side of wall cabinets either side of rangehood $190 Did not get this upgrade
  • 300mm depth extra overhang to breakfast bar $400
  • 20mm thick stone benchtop, pencil round edge $4000
  • Laminex crystal gloss melamine doors/panels (Espresso) $2100 Did not go with this upgrade
  • Brushed aluminium laminated kickboards $420 Did not get this upgrade
  • Lamanix metaline splashback (including behind rangehood), Champagne Perle $2600
  • 1 x bank of 2x pot drawers righthand side of underbench oven $220
  • Soft closing drawers – $820 Did not go with this upgrade
  • Soft closing door hinges – $384 Did not go with this upgrade

*Microwave provision removed
*Aware that our fridge door will not extend fully due to wall cavity.

Our total for upgrades/changes etc came to around $6000

This is our beautiful kitchen plan

Kitchen drawing

Splashback: Laminex Metaline Champagne Perle champagne_perle splashback You can’t tell from the picture but it is a soft green colour that hs a subtle gold fleck through it. So pretty.

Benchtop: Quantum Quartz New Diamond white New Diamond White stone benchtop

Kitchen cabinets: Wilsonart Chocolate O547 Morro Zephyr 4846

Cooktop: westinghouse ghr95s – 5 burners baby! GHR95S-14700
Oven: POR667S POR667S-14158

Sink: R175 MK II double bowl sink R175 MK II double bowl sink

rangehood: WRF900CS-6286 – Canopy Rangehood WRF900CS-6286 - Canopy Rangehood

The colours will end up looking something like the below design sample (The design is different though)

Envisage Kitchen design

Up next: Clarendon Create pt2 (internal colours, alarms, bathrooms and other not so exciting things)…


Colour appointment (& Contract signing)

A month after the initial tender presentation it was time for our formal contract signing and part one of our Clarendon Create appointment on 6th January 2012. Again we had to take a day off work and head up to Baulkham Hills.

The contract signing was first on the agenda. Most of actual structural items were the same as they were in the initial tender. The only new inclusions to note were:

  • Granite termite protection
  • structural changes to ensuite to accommodate a break in the run of the straight wall
  • Privacy locks x 4  $100
  • Cold water point in fridge space for refrigerator with filtered water  $160
  • Two sliding doors to theatre room $480
  • Removal of melamine shelving in bedroom wardrobes -$125
  • Separation of WC and exhaust fan $690
  • Removal of landscape concept plan -$550

The signing of the contract was fairly straightforward. Our Tender was valid for 270 days from 6.12.12 and expired on September 12th 2012. The contract states a variance of penalties that may or may not be applied to us should that tender period expire. To my understanding this is for clients that don’t stay on top of their paperwork or have issues with the bank etc. With our particular lot both builder and developer were under the impression our lot would have been registered a lot sooner. Thus far Clarendon haven’t said anything to us (so we have been living in fear just waiting for this large fee to be demanded from us!) But who knows, maybe they have given us an extension without telling us. Other important things to note about the contract is the legality for Clarendon to complete the house by 26weeks, and then we are paid a measly fee each day thereafter – from memory it’s something like $15! But those 26weeks does not include the 4week Christmas break, days with a greater rainfall of 2mm (should the roof not be completed.)

Clarendon Create appointment (Pt 1)
The companies we saw on the day after we signed our contracts were:
Your Home Kitchens (YHK) – Kitchen/bathroom/laundry cabinetry – design & modification.
Your Home Air-Conditioning – Air-conditioning requirements
Clarendon external colours – Here we chose our external brick work, facade, window frame colours, roof colour and type, downpipes, fascia, garage door colour, driveway – Pretty much everything related to the external look of the outside of our house.

After construction of the house has started we will meet with “Your Home Consulting” and “Beaumont Tiles” for our electrical and tiling configurations.

I will split the kitchen details into a separate post following this one so I have lots of room to go into details (and upload pictures!)

Your Home Air-conditioning
As mentioned earlier we dropped air con from our tender as it is much cheaper to have a local business put in ducted air conditioning for us. We still met with Shane on the day though as he wanted to pursued us to stick with Clarendon for our air con. We had to email him the following day to confirm we would not be having his company install the air con.

We knew what we wanted for the most part so there wasn’t a lot of time wasted in trying to decide then and there if we wanted a particular product or not. We had already done a bit of research and were confident we would be dropping the carpet/tiles (except for wet area tiles), air con, blinds, letterbox and driveway from the tender and having a local company do those for us. Unfortunately third parties are not allowed on site during construction so we will have all that work completed after handover. Though there was more effort on our part to source the local contractors, the quality and savings in the end far outweigh the convenience of having Clarendon’s people do it.

Before we attended our appointment we had already spent some time out at Austral bricks in Albion Park. The staff there are really great and they even arranged to give us some brick samples to take with us to the meeting (and keep!) We discussed the advantages of flush vs. raked joints, the brick colour we liked and how it matched to the facia, gutter and downpipe colour. We were also able to compare our roof tile colour and pattern right alongside the brick with the fascia; it was slightly breathtaking to see it pieced together like that. We are building our own first home together! *Squee!* You can see how excited we are from these pictures:

Brick: Austral Brick “Engage” from the Everyday life collection

Brick sampleBricks - Everyday life engage

Mortar joint type: Ironed. Mortar Joint Colour: Off White

Roof tile: Boral Macquarie concrete tile. Colour: Ebony (close to Colorbond monument)

 Roof Tile

Gutter: Monument
Window frames: Matt Black
Fascia/Downpipe/Watertank: Sandbank
Front door: Corinthian Door PSC 15. Colour: Bushland

Front door style (Not this colour though)

Front door style (Not this colour though)

Garage door: Gliderol Panel Glide, Hampton. Colour: Sandbank

Garage door (No glass panels. Not this colour)

Garage door (No glass panels. Not this colour)

Fencing: Woodland Grey

Other external things to note:
Roof vents: 2
Sarking: Yes
Eaves: Taubmans Vintage Lace

Ceiling Insulation:R.3.0
Wall Insulation:R.1.5
Bed 2/Bathroom Wall:R 1.5 High Density acoustic
Bed 4/Bathroom Wall:R 1.5 High Density acoustic

And below is a sample design with our colours; the design of our house is different.

External design sample

Next post will be dedicated to the Kitchen appointment! Woo!


Stop, Tender time!

December 7th 2011
What an ordeal that Tender meeting was! Unfortunately for us most builders have their main business in the Sydney area so we had nearly a 4hr round trip to Clarendon Homes at Baulkham Hills. (Thankfully I have been to many Hillsong conferences/events over the years so I had a general idea as to where we were heading as Clarendon’s office is right near Hillsong Church!)

We had arranged my uncle to meet us there for the tender meeting as this is our first home buying/building experience and he has an engineering background so we thought it might help. Hubby & I are considered quite young to be building a new home too so we wanted an older presence in the room .. and boy are we glad he was there! We waited about 20 minutes past our scheduled appointment time before heading into Mr T’s office (for privacy’s sake that’s what we’ll call him). It was quite a lavish office with lots of tribal pieces that kinda freaked me out, so that didn’t help me feel at ease. The other thing that got us offside was he continued to state that he’d rather be playing golf or be anywhere than with us in that meeting.

The meeting got off to a bad start with Mr T saying they had lost our file so he didn’t have it with him. He left the room to go and search and another 20 minutes later he returned and exclaimed how great it was that he had found the file. The next 15 minutes or so was spent with him reading over our file and reading through the Tender document someone had put together for him to deliver to us.

One of the first questions my uncle asked was ‘how much overhead do you get?’ and all our jaws dropped when Mr T mumbled ‘at least 25% on each product/service’ etc. Firstly, that is a huge amount! It was good to know that as we got down to the gritty details. Before our Tender appointment we studied our developer’s guidelines and read up on council requirements in our area and tried to arm ourselves with as much knowledge as possible. One of the first things we discussed was our floor plan. We had to point out to him that the design as it currently stands does not meet our developers guidelines as there needs to be a break in a wall if it has a run of more than 12m (ours runs about 15m). Mr T tried to question us as if we didn’t know what we were on about. We advised that Deb was aware of these guidelines too as she was the first one to hand them to us! Mr T then made one of several phone calls he’d make during our time there and left the phone awkwardly on speaker phone. Mr T left the room with the plans and returned 15 minutes later saying he had been in with draftsman and that they had solved the problem by extending our ensuite by 200mm, giving us the break in the long wall. He said that due to the changes and what they have to do with the roof it would be an additional $3300 – we were instantly devastated to say the least. Before we could speak my uncle piped up and reminded Mr T that this is Clarendon’s fault, not ours. We signed initial paperwork and paid a deposit based on different information. Hubs & I also pointed out to Mr T that we had signed documentation stating that our house package would be compliant to the Developer’s guidelines. Ahah! We had him, or so we thought. He obviously had to agree that we were not at fault and not responsible to pay, but in the next breath he said they wouldn’t be doing any of our turf for us. It was apparently only a verbal agreement when we signed on with Clarendon that they would turf our front lawn for us. Mr T confirmed via phone call (again on speaker phone, speaking badly of us while we were in the room) that out in Brooks Reach there was an agreement in place for turf. But as we didn’t have it in writing Mr T said they are not going to turf our lawn. It is interesting that future home designs & packages from Clarendon out in Brooks reach all mention that Clarendon will turf their lawn. We’re better off not paying for the plan change though and dealing with the turf when we arrange the rest of our landscaping.

We added a few things on to our tender – like locks for the bathroom door; why they don’t come standard I have no idea! We also moved the toilet from the main bathroom and made it separate. We also had to pay for an exhaust fan in the room as it does not have a window. In total around $600 for that small change, but we definitely wanted the toilet separate. Another change we made was to put a door on our ensuite. YES A DOOR! Apparently a trend in the house designs at the time we chose ours was to have an open ensuite (and not just from our builder, most builders were doing it). I think it is just another way of getting money out of people. So we argued with him as to why we wanted a toilet door, though you think it’d be obvious as to why .. even though we’re married we need privacy sometimes, ya know?! He then tried to suggest we need a door on our walk in closet! I nearly laughed in his face. He said we need a place to hide Christmas presents when we have kids, and it looks better with a door. We continued to decline his reasons for us needing one until he moved on. We also added two sliding doors to our theatre room and made the wall in that room a complete wall rather with arty holes in it.

Most of the things included in our tender were pretty standard overall. He advised us that we could easily remove items from the tender/contract as we need to but there would be a $2200 admin fee for each major structural change after contracts were signed. We didn’t really have the opportunity during the tender meeting to ask for a free dishwasher or things like that. Our tender presenter was not really a people person and we didn’t get on well with him at all; we were worried if we asked for any inclusions he’d take more things away from us!

Provisions included in our Tender(things that might not be needed, but an average price to give us an idea as to what we could be paying):

  • $8000 for BAL 12.5 bushfire requirements
  • $1500 for stone bench top upgrades (This was one of the worst miss-quoted items. Our benchtops ended up costing around $4000)
  • $7500 for rock excavation, additional piering, import of fill/export of soil as required
  • $2000 allowance for stormwater to hydraulics engineers details as required by council

Items in our Tender we would later drop:

  • $1210 for a brick letterbox
  • $10500 Brivis 6.5HP ducted air con
  • $7335 driveway pavers
  • $8210 Builders range of quarry tiles
  • $2940 Builders bronze range of carpet
  • $550 landscape concept plan

We had 7 days to sign the tender but signed it on the spot at the conclusion of the day as we were content with what had been presented and we were happy to proceed with Clarendon. We also paid an additional $4000 to secure the tender. We left the meeting with a copy of our signed tender (expiation date of September 2012) a sample copy of the formal contract and our ‘Clarendon Create’ folder.

Next Step: Contract signing and part 1 of our Clarendon Create appointment on 6th January 2012