Wednesday, 24 December 2014

Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!!

Christmas Eve, Wednesday 24 December 2014

It's our first Christmas in our lovely new McDonald Jones Home and we're just so happy with the way everything has worked out.

We've had a frantic week moving-in during the week before Christmas.  It's been going gangbusters.

Last Wednesday, 17 December, Pete's brother, Mark, kindly drove down from the Central Coast in his Ute to help us move the larger items (that we decided to keep from the rental property) into the new home.  Enroute, Mark, kindly diverted to the nursery at Empire Bay and collected our 13 Grevillea 'Dorothy Gordons' for us.  They're just wonderful!  I can't wait to see them grow (quickly I hope).

On Wednesday 17 December, the lovely SMEG underbench oven, gas cooktop, microve oven and dishwasher were delivered.  Our Dux Sunpro gas-boosted Solar Hot Water tank was also delivered.  They stood standing in their crates in the middle of the open plan dining room and family room until they were installed the following day.  Pete and the kids and I slept on the floor on an inflatable mattress that night.  That was our first night in our lovely new home.

Early on Thursday morning, the plumbers arrived and spent a few hours connecting the SMEG kitchen appliances and the hot water tank.  Shortly afterwards, the electricians arrived and completed the work they needed to do with those installations.

We just love, love, love, love the SMEG appliances!  The SMEG dishwasher is fabulous.  It's so silent you don't even realise it's running.  It cleans everything magnificently and we're very happy with it.

On Friday morning, 19 December, our new furniture was delivered (the new leather sofas and reclining lounges) and dining suite.

At 6:00 a.m. on Saturday 20 December, our new pillow-topped mattresses were delivered.  We decided to keep our old/previous bed frames and just updated and upgraded the mattresses.  We've had perfect nights' sleep ever since!

We spent the weekend unpacking our belongings and setting-up the new furniture.  Within hours, the place was looking great and starting to feel really homely.  The Douglas 10M is a compact home but it doesn't feel small and pokey particularly with the raised ceilings, which create the feeling and illusion of spacious living areas.  We just love our new home.  For us, our problem was that we were restricted to building on a narrow site (it's only 12 metres wide but some 49.5 metres deep).  The Douglas 10M is just perfect for our block of land.  The home is perfectly suited for us and our lifestyle and we couldn't be happier!  McDonald Jones Homes have really built us a lovely, quality new home with plenty of WOW factors to live in and we're so grateful for that.

On Monday 22 December, Tony from Renocrete and his helper arrived at 7:00 a.m. to apply the slip-resistant coloured paintwork and stencilling to our driveway, paved areas and to the front steps, entry/patio area, and the Alfresco Cabana area at the rear.  It was a stinking hot day and they were here for most of the day completing the job.  They did a fantastic job and we're really happy with it.  The work is guaranteed for 7 years.  We were able to walk on the completed work within 2 hours but we cannot drive onto the driveway for a minimum period of 7 days - so the car stays out on the street blocking access to our driveway for now.  At some stage during demolition or construction, a section of the Council's cross over section of the driveway was damaged.  Roy will come back in the New Year for us to tear-up the damaged section and lay a simple concrete slab to replace the damaged section.  It's notable to mention that Holroyd City Council specifically probits us from colouring and stencilling any part of the driveway that extends across their cross over section.

Pete and I have often commented to each other about just how delightful, friendly, polite and professional all the tradesmen and delivery drivers have been.

We're now planning to host Christmas Day lunch in our new home tomorrow.  My mother, now 84, has been in hospital since 10 November and we're hoping she'll be well enough to be discharged on 29 December 2014.  My brothers will pick her up from hospital on Christmas Day and they will be joining Pete and I for a traditional Christmas lunch cooked to perfection in our new SMEG underbench oven (if I can finish reading the instruction manual in time!).

Pete and Buddy and Taz and I would like to wish you all a very Merry Christmas and a very Happy New Year!  Peace on Earth and Goodwill to all.  Cheers!

Here's some latest photos that we've taken over the past few days.

(Click on photos to view enlarged images)

Our finished driveway and paved areas

Our many sincere thanks to Roy and Tony at Renocrete for doing such a fabulous job on laying our new concrete driveway for us!  They've done an excellent job and they're very friendly and obliging guys.  The spray-on colour finish that we selected for painting all the concrete/paved areas is 'Blue Stone'.  We still have all the landscaping work to get stuck into, on the other side of Christmas now.

Front Entry area

St. Francis of Assisi, the Patron Saint of our new home

 Bedroom 2 (front of house)


Some of the new furniture deliveries

Our new kitchen

Above:  900mm SMEG electric underbench oven, 900mm gas cooktop & 900mm rangehood.

Below:  SMEG 900mm stainless steel gas (5 burner) cooktop. 

Merry Christmas!







Sunday, 14 December 2014

Lattice work completed

Sunday 14 December 2014

In compliance with the conditions of our Development Application (DA) Approval, we've now finished erecting the Lattice Privacy Screen along our eastern boundary fenceline.  The lattice work was completed today.

Here's some photos that show the completed lattice work.

(Click on photos to view enlarged images)


The kids' second visit to the new house

Sunday 14 December 2014

We took the kids, Buddy and Taz, up to the new house yesterday (Saturday).  They're getting old now and will be 13 years old (in human years) in March 2015.  Buddy and Taz are English Staffordshire Bull Terriers and they're the biggest, affectionate sooks with nothing vicious at all about their nature or temperament.  They're brother and sister (from the same litter) and they're perfect little companions.  We keep forgetting they're not human.  They seem to be getting used to the new place and Taz has discovered her latest favourite spot - the plush new floor rug in the Home Theatre Room (she likes her comfort that girl).

Here's some photos of Buddy and Taz that were taken yesterday.

(Click on photos to view enlarged images)




Friday, 12 December 2014

Shopping - floor rug for the Home Theatre Room

Thursday 11 December 2014

We had a really rainy day on Thursday and were unable to get any landscaping or other outside work done.  We've had almost 12 consecutive days of heavy rain and thunderstorms which is not helping us right now.  The ground is very soggy and will need to dry out before we can try to get a hydraulic rotary hoe and bobcat on site.  It's very easy to get bogged.  It's also a race against time because of the approaching Christmas and New Year Holiday Period.  It's going to be hard to get the turf, trees, shrubs and top soils etc. delivered before the Christmas shutdown period and we can't get any of that delivered until we've scraped-back the front and back yards and have laid all the necessary top soils.

We've been moving car loads of boxes and cartons into the new home from our current rental home all week.

The Real Estate Agent wants to have an 'open house' for inspections this coming Saturday afternoon so that the landlord can try to get new tenants in the rental place ASAP before Christmas.

We've notified McDonald Jones Homes that we'll be ready to occupy the new home on Wednesday 17 December or Thursday 18 December 2014.

McDonald Jones Homes has confirmed that our SMEG kitchen appliances, hot water system, Crimsafe Screen Doors and fly screens etc. will be installed on Thursday 18 December 2014 (just before the industry-wide Christmas shutdown period).

Pete and I and the kids, Buddy and Taz, are due to vacate our nearby rental home by no later than Friday 19 December 2014.

We're now in our final week before we move into our lovely new home.

We hit the shops today and bought some new mattresses for the beds for the new home.  The new mattresses will be delivered to the new home on Saturday 13 December.  We also got a great, bold, contemporary-looking floor rug for our Home Theatre Room.  Here's a photo of the floor rug.




A friend of Dorothy

Thursday 11 December 2014

A few weeks back I was revising our landscape design plan.  I really wanted to have a row of mass plantings of flowering Australian Native Plants as a privacy screen along our western boundary/perimeter fenceline in the backyard.  I spent ages trying to find something that I really liked.  I decided that a dense row of Grevilleas would do the trick.

Grevilleas are a diverse genus of about 360 species of evergreen flowering plants in the protea family Proteaceae.  They’re native to rainforest and more open habitats in Australia, Papua New Guinea, New Caledonia, Indonesia and Sulawesi.  Grevilleas range from prostrate shrubs of less than 50cm (20 inches), to tall trees of some 35 metres (115 ft) tall.

After weeks of avid Internet searching I came across a stunning brand new Grevillea that was only released onto the market on 26 April 2014.  It’s a beautiful new hybrid that just happened by chance.  It’s called a Grevillea ‘Dorothy Gordon’ and it originates from interstate at the Myall Park Botanical Gardens near Glenmorgan in Queensland, Australia.  As soon as I saw it I knew it was going to turn into a “must have”.  Quite co-incidentally, 26 April 2002 was the day when I first got the keys to the old home that previously stood on our block of land (which was demolished back in March this year to make way for our Douglas 10M with a Chase façade).  That was always an easy date to remember, being the day after ANZAC Day.  I was on a mission – I’d become a “friend of Dorothy” (in more ways than I had ever envisaged)! 

Given the right conditions, the Grevillea ‘Dorothy Gordon’ should grow to a mature height of about 3 metres tall and 2 metres wide.  Dorothy Gordon has stunning, nectar-filled flowers which bloom pretty much right throughout the year, which will attract our local native parrots and honey-eaters (like the brightly-coloured Rosellas and Lorikeets).  Dorothy Gordon will also provide a regular supply of stunning cut flowers for St. Francis and for inside the new home.  I think the colour of this hybrid’s flowers will complement the deep Burgundy/Maroon-coloured glass splashback in our new Kitchen.      

Typically for me, all of the nurseries in Sydney that are the approved distributors of the Dorothy Gordon had no stock available and they’re only taking advance orders until more stock becomes available sometime in the New Year (2015).  Drat!  I didn’t give up.  Bingo!  I found a new supply of Dorothy Gordons at a nursery at Empire Bay on the New South Wales Central Coast (about 100km North-East of us).  They were only delivered to the nursery this week.  I was able to get 13 Dorothy Gordons.  I’ve transferred the payment into the nursery’s bank account.  Pete’s brother, Mark, who lives on the Central Coast, has kindly offered to collect them for us and we really appreciate his help with that. 

Unfortunately, the only plant size available is a 140mm pot size, so my Dorothy Gordons are only going to be small.  We’ll just have to be patient and hope they reach a suitable screening height ASAP.  Grevilleas apparently don’t like much in the way of fertilisers and they cannot tolerate any Phosphorus.

Here’s some pictures that depict more advanced and mature Grevillea Dorothy Gordons.  I hope you like them.

(Click on pictures to view enlarged images)


Tuesday, 9 December 2014

We've got a driveway now!

Tuesday 9 December 2014

Roy, our concreter, and his helpers were onsite this morning at 7:00 a.m. laying the steel re-inforcement and preparing for the cement mixer truck to arrive.  By about midday they had finished pouring and laying our new concrete driveway and the paved area that extends around to, and just behind, our 4,500 litre rainwater tank.  Roy did a marvellous job with the concrete and we're really happy with it.

Holroyd City Council refused to give us permission to do anything to the "cross over" section of the driveway, which crosses over the Council's footpath.  The Council considers that part of the driveway to be their "asset" and they will not let us colour, paint or stencil that part of the new driveway.  The Council will only permit us to repair any damage to the "cross over" section of the driveway that might have occurred during demolition or construction.  There appears to have been a small area that has been damaged.  Roy will come back to cut, remove and repair that damaged section of the "cross over" at a later date for us.

In about 3 weeks' time, Renocrete will return to lay the painted stencil finish to the new concrete driveway (excluding the Council's "asset").  They will also paint and finish the concreted front steps and patio/entrance area, and they'll paint and stencil the concrete in the Alfresco Cabana area at the rear of the house.

For the past 8 days we've had really bad thunderstorms and heavy torrential rain.  It was overcast here all day today, but, luckily, no thunderstorms or rain today.

Here's some photos that show our new concrete driveway and paved area that extends around to the rainwater tank.

(Click on photos to view enlarged images)

 Above:  Photo taken from inside the garage looking down the new driveway.

Internal Plantation Shutters installed on Saturday 6 December 2014

Tuesday 9 December 2014

On Saturday 6 December 2014, our internal Plantation Shutters were installed on all windows and large sliding glass doors except for the glass windows in the Laundry.  There's something timeless about Plantation Shutters, they just never date and they always look great.  Chris and Paul from I-Shutters did a fantastic job installing the shutters.  They arrived just before 10:00 a.m., kept everything clean and tidy, and finished installing the shutters just after 3:00 p.m. on the same day.  We are extremely pleased with the quality and the prompt and friendly service.  Chris and Paul kept commenting how great their shutters look in our new home and we have to agree.  The Plantation Shutters have just added another WOW factor to the new home for us.  Neither of us really like curtains and blinds.  Shutters with a broader-sized louvre are quick and easy to clean over occasionally with just a damp cloth.


You can get an instant online quote from I-Shutters.  Just follow the link to their website.  Be ready to enter the specific dimensions for all your various window sizes and the website will give you an instant quote.  Final onsite measurements are conducted by an installer from I-Shutters after a deposit is paid.  The delivery and installation is usually about 6 weeks later.  I did a lot of research and got heaps of quotes before selecting I-Shutters and we're really impressed with our long awaited Plantation Shutters.  Here's the link to the I-Shutters website: 

I-Shutters services the following areas in New South Wales:

  • the Sydney Metropolitan area;
  • the Australian Capital Territory (ACT) - Canberra;
  • Newcastle;
  • the New South Wales Central Coast; and
  • Wollongong.    

Here's some photos of the Plantation Shutters.

(Click on photos to view enlarged images)

Bedroom 2, at the front of the house (Hinged Plantation Shutters)

Those windows and Plantation Shutters in Bedroom 2 are a really tall 2.34 metres tall.

The front entry area looking towards the far windows in the Master Bedroom Suite

Home Theatre Room (4 x Hinged Plantation Shutters)

Master Bedroom Suite (Hinged and Bi-fold Shutters)

Below:  Master Suite's Bi-fold Shutters taken from Alfresco Cabana (outside rear)

Master Bedroom Ensuite Bathroom (Hinged Plantation Shutters)

Open Plan Dining and Family/Lounge Rooms (Hinged and Bi-fold Shutters)

Bathroom (Hinged Plantation Shutters)

Bedroom 3 (Hinged Plantation Shutters)

Floor Plan for the Douglas 10M