We're now 2 weeks out from handover! Our filthy staircase which was covered in paint and plaster drips has been sanded, polished, buffed and painted and now looks good as new!
The big news this week is the carpet. In one day the place went from a building site to a new house, all thanks to the carpet. We chose a very thick pile nylon - we didn't want wool, because our area has wool-eating moths that would have ruined it fairly quickly. It's so soft and the silver-grey sheen and colour shows up footprints and general texture, which is a look that we like.
I'm typing this with blisters on my hands - this weekend we bought and installed IKEA wardrobes for our walk-in wardrobe. We didn't like the options from the low-cost wardrobe fitting people, and the cabinet maker's custom options were too expensive. So - it was IKEA, some friends, music, and a flat-pack pizza party. We had to put these in during the build, because the cabinet maker is coming back to install two decorative end gable panels to make it all look a bit more upmarket.
The total cost of the wardrobes was about $2K, including interior fittings and lighting. Not bad at all, but it did take 44 gay man hours to put it together. I had to cut some of them down so they fit perfectly in our room - which is not for beginner IKEA-ers. Luckily I'm an IKEAxpert.
I've said this before but it's amazing how transformative a coat of paint is. Out the back the pool pergola got a coat of fresh white, but it's still waiting on the concrete columns to wrap the steel posts. The side staircase has also had a coat of paint - and the front fence is finished and resplendent in grey & white.
It's really getting down to the wire now! Every day is is slowly starting to feel like the small jobs are being ticked off the list. This week the splashback tile was installed and grouted, air-conditioning vents were installed and built-in wardrobes were fitted out with shelves & drawers,
Outside the front fence was finished, but we are still waiting on the big sliding car gate. This is specially made so it's coming from another contractor to match the rest of the fence. The major carpentry work this week was on the backs steps, which are all but finished.
There was a tiny bit of progress on the pool - with the mosaic tiles installed to highlight the edge of each step. The pool is now ready to be rendered. Above the pool however is another story - the pergola is up, and is just waiting on the decorative concrete columns to finish it off.
The hot water system is in - so we could take a nice hot shower (if only Origin could get organised and get our gas meter installed). The rest of the driveway was poured and stamped, and so now the only concreting left is the small bridge piece over the front gutter. We made our driveway wider, so this had to be extended.
Some more fitting happened inside this week - some of the air-conditioning vents were installed, along with our doorbell intercom. We had originally wanted just a plain old ding-dong doorbell, but we could only find ugly surface mounted plastic ones, so we ended up buying a video intercom online fairly inexpensively and it does the trick.
Back outside and our fence posts were installed. They are huge - we didn't really notice but they were marked down as 150mm posts, and when they arrived we were a bit surprised. They look nice and solid though, so we're not complaining. They got the same notch and taper top that other timber posts in our house have to add some architectural interest.
I gave a design to the carpenter for the rafter tails that we added underneath the bay window, and also around the carport beam. These will be painted white to blend in, and I think add a layer of authenticity to the carport. The idea is to make it look like it was built with the house in the 1930s. I hadn't anticipated that the beam around the carport would be so tall, so I adapted on the fly and had the fascia board painted to match the guttering to reduce the beam visually - I think it turned out pretty well. The decorative end design of these timber blocks we took from a 1930s planter box that was on the front of the house.
On Saturday some of the concrete was poured and stamped. It turns out that stamped concrete is really a dying art, and we were not able to find someone to do the deep impression stamps that my parents had done 18 years ago. Apparently everyone wants exposed aggregate - which looks lovely for 2 years but because of the surface texture, it gets really dirty with road grime. It's also sharp underfoot, which we don't like. The next best thing is a rubber stamped pattern which leaves a shallower pattern in the surface of the concrete. It's such a shame - the deep stamped concrete is so durable - it has endless grip for car tyres and shoes and we tinted the concrete mix, so that darker grey colour can never wear off. We are still happy with how the rubber stamping turned out - it's much more durable than a spray-coat pattern and is more interesting and forgiving than plain concrete or exposed aggregate.
They need to come back and finish off the driveway to the street - it's going to be a lot of concrete surface are, so we will really need to soften it with lots of plants around the edges.
Our doorway to nowhere now has a landing - and steps! Previously the door off our deck just opened onto a 5 metre plunge, but this last piece of major construction work is coming together. The back steps allow us to get from the upstairs deck down to the pool without having to go through the house.
Some more exterior painting happened, the posts and rails on our balustrade was painted 'ironstone' to match our gutters and other trims. Down in the backyard the pool fence went in - we did a simple aluminium design and had it specially powder coated in our house trim colour. Everyone was trying to convince us to do glass, but we just look down on the fence, rather than looking through it, so I think not doing glass was money well saved.