Thursday, 10 October 2013

DA Check begins

Feels so good to be a this stage! No more PCV's to sign and no more internal selections to make! Final plans will apparently take upto 3 weeks to come through. Will be nice to have 3 weeks off while we wait and not really have to think about house stuff. Everything else is pretty much done. All we need to do is check off the plans and then we can say good bye to admin for ever!

Friday, 4 October 2013

Electrical Selections - HSI

This appointment was pretty straight forward. Id spent a few hours with dad at the display home going through each of the rooms deciding on what power-points we needed. I knew straight up down lights would be way over budget so we didn't consider these. Dad is a retired electrician so can do a lot of the power points for us which is good.

The costs soon add up approx $75 per extra baton and $80 for each double power point before we knew it we were looking at a $3000 quote. So we cut back on some 2 way and 3 way switches, and removed the provisions they charged us for a wall hung TV in 3 rooms which was $165 each.

We also removed the provisions for future ceiling fans too which was $75 for a piece of wood and the extra wiring needed for the fan.

The final outcome looks like this.  Pretty cool seeing how their program works, its very efficient and i love how it did add up things as we went along so you left knowing exactly what you spent - no waiting around for a week while the quote was completed.

Now here's the thing that jacked me off about HSI. I asked if we had a choice in powerpoints. They said no the ones that are standard are the clipsal Eclipse - Something like this.

Anything else was an "upgrade". so we left it at these ones as who wants to spend extra on powerpoints! Defiantley not top of my list as upgrades you need to do to a house unless you have pockets of cash.

 Following the appointment dad suggested we just get the stock standard powerpoints so that wehn he does alot of the after handover points they will be cheaper to buy, a quick call to Middys and they confirmed the 2000series was $4.62 and the Eclipse was $7.92.

I then rung HSI to ask if we could just have the stock standard ones, they are cheaper, you would think they would cost them less. But no they wanted us to pay $80 for the "upgrade" pfft! im not paying $80 for these when they are worth nearly 50% less than the ones we are getting. 

They raved on about buying power and all that jazz, and i get that! no one wants cheapy power-points if they can get nice ones. But really who cares! they aren't something i work into someone else's house and say "woah that's an ugly power-point"  Anyways...........i told HSI that i didn't want to pay for the upgrade can they help me out and waive the $80 fee - response "no its $80", i asked again - pleaded my case, and still no budging. My blood pressure was going up, stress levels were high. A company of this size making a set income monthly due to being linked up  with HOG can not even go that extra mile to help out a customer  They have the attitude that its a given business, they don't need to try and impress us, what can we do about it! Nothing! I was so mad! It was $80 friggin dollars! So if they weren't going to help us out i wasn't giving them anymore business that i had too. 

So i removed the antenna, ill get our antenna guy to install it. Someone who was willing to help us out with our current antenna, and someone i know will go the extra mile to HELP a customer. Someone that you want to recommend to friends! not a company that sits on top of a perch all high and mighty thinking they don't have to please a customer. He quoted us $550 which was cheaper than HSI $635 anyway!

We also took out a few more power points and dad will be able to put them in for us! And what ever he cant do ill HAPPILY pay an electrician to do it over HSI anyday! 

$80!!! seriously HSI! not like im ever going to recommend you to anyone!!  its a competitive industry out there. Its a shame that HSI don't want to please a customer. I get more discounts buying a washing machine in harvey norman then i do form these guys or ANYONE at HOG - maybe that's another post i can write about, without going off on a tangent! the lack of discounts you get through the whole process is A JOKE!

They are worse than the Big 4 Banks trying to get as much cash as possible from us and charging us for upgrades that are 3 times more expensive than RRP. So disappointing!

Thursday, 3 October 2013

Bathroom Selections (Cook's Plumbing and DiLorenzo)

Bathroom was covered by "Cook's" Plumbing for all our tapware and basins and the DiLorenzo for the tiles. 

Cook's Plumbing Services
We first saw cook's at our HOG appointment. Peta was lovely. So helpful and nothing was ever a bother. I lost count of how many times i asked her to quote on something for me, whether it be the kitchen sink mixer, an oven or the ensuite tapware it was never an issue.

There was never any threat to "Hurry Up" and finalise the variation. and never a mention that the constant changes and asking for quotes would cost admin fees (not like KC but more on that one later)

After many quotes and emails i had finally reached a decision. It was fairly easy in the end. I just stuck to my budget for the tapware and didn't really choose anything that was overly expensive, so i could make my little changes for minimal costs. It was nice to have upgrades only cost $20 and $7 rather than the $$$$$ that KC and HSI charge for the smallest of upgrades.

Here are the final selections:-

Main Bathroom

part of the luxury upgrade package was the Irwell YUKON tapware range. This range was through out the house but we kept it for the main bathroom only.

We then changed the basins from the large above counter square ones for something as small as posisble. Our vanity was only going to be 750mm, which is tiny, so i wanted the smallest basin i could get, and it was this one, the "Cara Diablo" which measures 41cm across. Because its square i didn't mind matching it with the Yukon tapware range.

Featured in the HOG showroom

We also added another single towel rail to the range. The rails that were included in our package were the DORF ENIX range - these were included in both ensuite and the main bathroom.

The vanity (Designed through KC) will be standard, 2 cupboards. The draws were about $300 to upgrade so we didn't bother. We did upgrade to the Essastone benchtop and the colour chosen is "New Crystal Salt". The vanity doors will be in Mushroom Linea


Our standard house plans included a double basin vanity in the ensuite. We have decided to remove one of the basins so we can have a long bench with plenty of space. We removed the included above counter square basin for a round basin, and something not quite as large. We chose the Caroma Orbis Inset Basin.

Featured in the HOG showroom

I also wanted some different tapware in the ensuite, and something round to suit the shape of the basin. I decided on the Novelli Dynasty basin mixer and shower mixer. The total upgrade was around $30

The vanity was once again done through KC. We did upgrade to stone aswell, and chose "Crstal Chalk" for this. the Laminex colour is Noccturine Oak. 

The hardest thing i found with cooks was when i wanted to change the basin to a single one in the ensuite you then have to check with KC to make sure it wont effect costs to the vanity, and also speak to EBH about the refund on the basin. So you end up sending 3 times as many emails to try and get the right answer from teh right person. A little frustrating at times as the most simple of questions could take a few days to confirm.

No complaints what so ever dealing with Peta. The selctions on the day did take longer than expected there are a lot of taps on display and then you can pretty choose from any tapware range in any catalogue from numerous brands, so the choices are endless. Emails were answered promptly and changes were never a problem, by far the best asset that HOG have going for them and the other companies could learn alot from cook's and how they operate.

DiLorenzo Tiles

The tile selections took a couple of hours. I thought that we would get a little bit more guidence from our consultant about what colours go with what. I found the whole tile experience really frustrating. Most of the tiles are stuck to the wall and if you choose a tile from one end of the showroom to go with a tile up the other end you cant see them together unless they happen to have a spare one floating around. On some tiles they did and others they didn't. How can someone be expected to choose the tiles for their house if they cant see the full story together to make sure the colours ompliment each other. And without much guidence from our consultant we had no idea if the colours we were choosing were correct.

DiLorenzo seem to pride themselves on the porcelain tiles. 3/4 of the showroom is expensive porcelain. Im talking $110+sqm plus the extra laying costs. a porcelain upgrade to tile our house would of cost in excess of $9000. The ceramic tile range is small. They class the 40x40cm tiles as standard floor tiles and the 20x20cm floor tiles for the bathroom as standard. Everything else is an upgrade and you pay for it too! lucky the bathroom and the ensuite are small enough that choosing an upgrade tile in the end was only about $200-$400 for each of the rooms.

I ended up visitng DiL atleast 6-7 times to double check my selections, and in the beginning i struggled to even find any tiles that i really liked. But as our colour selections came together i found some tiles that i liked and now im really happy with our selections and cant wait to see them in the bathrooms.

I had some ideas that i wanted to follow from photos id found off the internet on how i would like my tiling to look

We will have the mirror that extends over the bath too. and the tiles to be at vanity height the whole way around for a streamlined look

I loved the colours of this bathroom

Main Bathroom

First we chose a large 40x40cm floor tile and a 20x60cm wall tile but then after thinking about it for a week we thought that our main bathroom might be too small for such a large tile. so we went back the following weekend and re-selected our tiles and chose a 30x30cm floor tile and a 20x40cm satin finish wall tile

First choice....

Floor Tile 40x40cm - White Internal
Wall Tile 20x60cm - Grey ORGGY26
Feature Strip 15cm - Ash FLO043
Essastone - Crystal Salt
Vanity - Mushroom Linea

Final Choice....

Floor Tile 30x30cm - "Canapy"
Wall Tile 20x40cm Satin Finish "Bone"
Feature - Ash 

I love the look of the satin wall tile over the gloss. It looks so natural and earthy. Its something totally new and not really seen before - well ive never seen a wall tile that isn't a gloss. But this matches the sheen of the floor tile. and i CAN NOT wait to see this in the bathroom.  I was going to change to the darker vanity colour like the ensuite but decided to leave it as the mushroom linea. I was able to view the mushroom linea in the laminex showroom in prospect and its a nice colour. Not to light and not to dark i hope it will compliment the tiles nicely.

My bathroom colours with paint colours and carpet (even though carpet wont be close to this room)

Bathroom colours against the flooring

We selected our ensuite range from the upgrade tower at HOG. Standard tiles but they were larger in size so we had to pay the extra fee for the underlay - maybe just an excuse to get more $$$ :P

Not to sure on the names of this range but floor tile 30x30cm and the wall tile is a whooping 30x60cm. We will have the plain "walnut" glass feature strip similar to the main bathroom. These photos dont show the colours properly, but the floor tile is brown tones where as the photo makes it look grey.

Toilet - Will be the same as the bathroom floor tiles

Laundry - we chose a 40x40cm tile from the standard range for the floor called Smooth and the splashback tile was just a standard tile called smoke. We will be getting a laundry fitout done after handover so wasn't to concerned abotu the splashback tile.

Kitchen Splashback - We chose a 20x60cm tile called "Trio Flax" its a grey tone to it and should compliment the sarsen grey laminex colours nicely. Gone for fairly neutral tones and hopefully in years to come wont be regreeting that i have gone with a grey over something like an off white colour. The bench top is very neutral so i think the splashback will add some constrast and give it a lift.

This photo shows the kitchen tile (top) and the main bathroom tile. Its slightly darker but not that much.

Showing the splashback tile, kitchen cupboard Sarsen Grey and the 2 bench options i had which was "New Crystal Salt" and "Crystal Chalk" We have stuck with the crystal chalk i think it suits the other options better as its a similar tone and  a bit warmer in colour than the crystal salt.

Ignore the striped tiles on the left, but the one next to it is another shot of the splashback with kitchen cupboard colour next to it.

Finally Have the cost of our house

After 4 months of researching and going back and forth to EBH we finally know the cost of our house. Strange to think that you lock yourself into a contract not really knowing what you will end up with. A house that is standard, or something that has the upgrades you want to turn it into a home.

The whole process is very tiring and extremely time consuming - well for a perfectionist like me it is anyway. Ive reached a point in the project where im not spending hours each night on the internet trolling through blogs and forums trying to find out costs of things, and upgrades that i should be considering.

In the end there were a few things that i would of liked but budget just didn't allow for it. Ive re-adjusted all our upgrades and im really happy with the final result. A few last minute panic attacks wondering if I had chosen the right colours, but im sure it will all come together nicely in the end.

We are now in the final stages of signing off all our PCV"s. We started our selections early August, its pretty much been 2 months of solid emails between HOG and Eden Brae. We hope to have final PCV's signed off next week and move into DA check. 

I love the feeling of having my first weekend where i dont have to race around looking at things or dragging the kids to display homes looking for ideas.

Time for a well deserved break from it all.