We have lift off – Airlie 38; Boutique Homes Victoria

I’m so excited to share that we have lift off – our beautiful new home, the Airlie, has begun.  Pop open the champagne!!!!  I still find it hard to believe that it is happening, and I’m trying to contain my excitement as there is still a long road ahead (it is a massive house!!! – Applications for cleaning are now open. lol)

So the first thing to happen was the arrival of the porta-loo – seriously, who knew that that would be so exciting.  Some of my friends, I won’t name names, said that I should not have posted a pic of the loo on instagram – but I was excited.  I joked back that I put a vase of fresh flowers in there for the workmen. ha ha.  But most were excited for us – lets face it, my closest pals have shared my frustration and often tears over this long drawn out process.  I’m pretty certain they will be happier than me when it’s finished as I won’t be talking about it anymore… Hmmmm, what will I talk about it???  Maybe i’ll get back into sewing and using this blog for it’s original purpose…???

OMG - a porta-loo

OMG – a porta-loo

So the loo arrived on July 21st, 2015 (Tuesday) – a day earlier than expected – Yeah!!!

The temporary fence followed the next day. Wednesday July 22, 2015

Thursday July 23rd, 2015 saw soil delivered and the site cut.  It was quite amazing to see this – the photos don’t really justify just how high the house will be.  In case you weren’t aware we are in a “Site subject to Inundation” (flood zone) so our house has to be built up.  I have a pretty good ability to imagine things but I have always struggled to really imagine how the new house will look on our actual site.

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It’s quite hard to get good pictures as I’m always looking into the sun.


On Thursday July 30, 2015 I noticed a rock delivery and some movement of soil and the start of the retaining wall.

By Friday July 31, 2015 the retaining wall was finished and there was a power pole.  Saturday August 1, 2015 saw the arrival of plumbers and by the end of the day were pipes spray painted pink sticking out of the ground.

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My husband has started calling me a stalker – but in my defence, I drive past daily as we are renting literally around the corner, and I’ve never stopped while the workers are there. YET!!! lol.  I’m just so excited – well I’m in a bubble of contained excitement, I don’t want to get carried away with my day dreaming.

So as we head into WEEK 3 tomorrow I am expecting to see slab preparations and maybe even a slab pour?  But the weather is only expected to reach a maximum of 11 degrees tomorrow.  The joys of living in Melbourne.

How often is too often to visit your build site?




We are going to site… Airlie 38 Boutique Homes Victoria

It is with much excitement that our file was finally moved to the Construction Department – Yeah!!!  It moved yesterday – Wednesday July 15th 2015, and we were notified today (Thursday July 16th) that we will go to site next Thursday!!!  So in ONE WEEK!!!  I’m so excited, and thrilled that this happened quickly with Boutique.  So now I’m just praying for a smooth build, and that the weather God’s are on our side.  I went for a walk this morning around the river, and felt myself daydreaming about the beautiful Airlie – I really can’t wait to see something happen.  I’m also mindful not to get over excited, as we are about to start building in the middle of winter, so I’m sure there will be delays – so please, cold, wet, Melbourne weather, go away until our house is at lock up.

Get ready for progress updates… I’ve never been so excited at the thought of seeing a portaloo!!! lol.


Two Steps Forward, One Step Back…

So the previous post talked about a delay with something on the plans being incorrect – well that was sorted very quickly with Boutique, and I was totally wrong in thinking that we needed another site survey – we didn’t!!!  So with moving forward I had no doubt that something would happen that would set us back… and I was correct in that.

So the latest problem and hold up is to do with the bank and paying for this dream home!!!  I’m writing this post as I think it may help others who head down this knock-down re-build (or just build) path.  Our finance was in order, and everything was approved and ready. The problem is that when we had to change our slab, the cost of the build went up, and therefore we need more money.  With the stress of all that was going on, we didn’t even think we would need to get another letter from the bank (or whatever you need to provide the builder – my husband is the CFO in this relationship)  So just as we thought we were about to move to the construction department, we yet again get held up.  My husband has spoken to the bank and it’s fine to get the extra $$$, we just have to go through their process.  (again)  So if like us, the cost of your build goes up, be sure to check your finance so you don’t hit another delay.

So with everything crossed we should move to the next phase on Wednesday – and then we should at least get a start date….  I’m not sure I will know what to do…  But one thing is for sure, when that crazy expensive slab is down I will be cracking open a bottle of champers.

My favourite drop - Moet Ice will be my drink of choice for our slab party!!!

My favourite drop – Moet Ice will be my drink of choice for our slab party!!!

In other news, council is changing our “Land Subject to Inundation Overlay” – they are increasing it… which means they think more of our property will flood in the 1 in 100 year flood.  I honestly believe this is due to the work that was done across the road from us… Previously the vacant land across the road took most of the water.  That land has since been developed into a housing estate.  They have built all the land up so it won’t flood – but in turn, in my opinion, will just push the water to us and our neighbours!!!  We were also told by council and Melbourne Water than we can’t have a brick fence, it needs to be open in style to allow for the natural flow of the water, yet across the road they have built brick retaining walls at the front of the property… Doesn’t seem fair to me!!!  Another example of developers being able to do whatever they want as they have the $$$

Dollar Sign

So stay tuned – I’m hoping my next house related post will be about a start date!!!!

Another Delay… Our Airlie 38 by Boutique Homes Victoria

Sadly we have hit another delay – and to be honest, I don’t actually even know what it is for.  Something about a line on the plans that is wrong???  Who actually knows?  I’m just letting my husband deal with it now,  as I’m struggling to cope with the stress of it all. It does involve another site survey though – I think that makes 5??? Gosh I hope I’m wrong with that.  I think I might just go back to dreaming about furnishing the house.  Only problem is, with all of these delays our budget is blown so I’m not sure there will be any shopping spree.

On a positive note, our landlord put in a split system – so finally the living area isn’t like an ice box at night!  It is gorgeous on a sunny day, the sun beams through the windows.  I would say it was architecturally designed back in it’s hey day.  I really should post some pictures…  But I’m having a few blog image loading issues.  (add it to my list of things that go wrong lately)  Hopefully, that is all sorted soon!!!

So while nothing is happening on the build front – I’m trying my best to stay positive, and putting my trust in the staff at Boutique.  Fingers crossed this latest issue is resolved soon.  Positive thoughts positive thoughts…

Boutique Homes Victoria Building Permit = TICK

We have a building permit!!!!  Two steps forward in a week – and so far, none back!!!  Hopefully now that we are out of council (for the time being) the house might actually start.  It’s been so long coming that it’s hard to believe it might actually happen.  Somebody pinch me – actually wait, pinch me when that soil turns, or scrapes, or gee – when we get a port-a-loo delivered to the site!!!!

Positive feelings are coming back – hopefully in a year the stress and heartache will just be a distant memory, and i’ll be dancing nude in my giant walk-in-robe thinking about what to wear!!!

Finally – Approval from Council: Airlie 38 Boutique Homes Victoria

FINALLY – we have approval from council!!!  So the latest delay has finally been sorted, with approval for our setback being granted on Friday (19th of June 2015).  I don’t think our neighbour signed, so council made the decision.  Yeah!!!

Hopefully this is the last hurdle, and now we can actually start building the beautiful Airlie 38.  I’m really trying not to get over excited for fear of further delays or disappointment.  Let’s face it – it has happened far too many times on this building journey!!!  We had to sort out some tile issues with Boutique and re-sign some forms that have gone missing, so with any luck our file will move to the construction department on the 1st July. I believe we will then be assigned another person to assist us with the construction phase, where we will be given a start date!!!  I’m still so disheartened that it’s hard to believe anything will actually happen, but then I catch myself daydreaming about my kitchen, and decorating the kids bedrooms!!!

So still no idea on a start date…

Tile problem:  Boutique now do a hob on showers – which is essentially a little step into the shower.  So of course my beautiful tiles I choose for the master ensuite will look terrible going over a hob, and then the cut lines pushing the water to the drain.  So I have decided to just use plain charcoal tiles on the hob and the base of the shower.  The patterned tile will remain on the floor of the rest of the bathroom.

The tiles and pattern for the floor

The tiles and pattern for the floor

I still love these tiles even though we chose them 12 months ago…  Hopefully I still love them by the time the house actually gets built.  (and everything else we picked!!!)

For those of you that have built with Boutique – how long did it take to get to site from the date your file was moved to construction?



Still waiting… Knock-down re-build nightmare

It absolutely angers me that I have to write this post.  I’m pretty much broken in regard to this knock-down re-build.  The dreams of actually living in a new home are so far gone.  Problem after problem, and the actual build hasn’t even started.  There have been more dramas than I can even mention, but the latest is becoming very frustrating.  I don’t even know who to blame – the builders, council or maybe even ourselves…

Without going on and on, and to be honest I’m totally confused – we are waiting on “Sign & Consent” from our neighbours.  One neighbour signed straight away, but the other is playing games… the frustrating part is his house is not even occupied, and hasn’t been for around 14 years!!!  AND,  until recently even had a squatter.  It has been under renovation for the 10 plus years we have owned our house.  It’s a complete eye saw and brings the whole street down, but to council that appears to be ‘ok’!

So basically the way I understand it is that we needed our neighbours to sign and consent  to the setback we want.  Our setback is within council legislation, but is slightly further forward than the original house.  The part I don’t understand is that 8 of our neighbours were sent our plans whilst applying for the Planning Permit, and we had a Public Notice Sign up for two weeks.  Nobody objected so we thought all was good…  But we weren’t informed that we needed the neighbours (only the ones directly next door) to actually sign and consent to the setback.  I don’t understand why nobody at council informed us of this, and why the builder didn’t know – surely we aren’t the first people to encounter this???  Maybe we should have done more “homework” but there has been so much to get out heads around and understand.  We aren’t builders or developers!  So to cut a long story short, Boutique sent the unoccupied neighbour the forms to sign.  We took the forms to the neighbour we know, who signed straight away.  Technically the neighbour has two weeks to respond, but Boutique gave him three… he didn’t respond!  So the application was sent to Council, where they have now contacted him, giving him around another 3 weeks to respond!!!  If he doesn’t respond, Council will review the application and make a decision, and lets face it – nothing happens over night with Council (only your rate increases)  So yet again we are in the holding bay, with no control over anything.

Another part that saddens me is we signed on April 7, 2014.  That’s over a year ago… I really thought we would have been close to moving in by now – I even said by Christmas this year, thinking that we would well and truly be in.  However, now we won’t even make Christmas this year!!!  Apparently, it’s never taken this long to get to site before – not the award I wanted to win.

We are also now paying rent, as living with my Mother In-Law had run it’s course… It’s great having our own space again, but I am now saying goodbye to buying anything new for the house.  (But at this rate, the children will be  applying for university and we will be looking to downsize!!!)  To this point, the whole experience has been frustrating and I’m completely at a loss.  I knew it would be stressful, but I really think it’s getting beyond a joke…  Here’s hoping for some positive news in the coming weeks…


Demolition – Knock Down Re-Build

So finally something has happened… My last post was in September… and sadly nothing of excitement has happened.  We have still been dealing with council – I will go into detail on that once everything is good and the house actually starts (or even finishes) It’s been a massive process to get to this point, so much harder than I imagined.

The timing of our demolition wasn’t exactly great, we tried to sell a few things – which we did, but we could have sold so much more if we had more time.  Trying to do things over the Christmas period was a little hard.  Our kitchen was relatively new, and I was a bit sad to see it smashed to the ground, but what can you do.

I sold most things on gum tree – but by the end, we were away on holidays and it was too hard to sell things when you aren’t around. The empty house also got broken into a few times and I felt uneasy about going there with two children in tow to meet people.  We had been living in another house and were moving out of that (and in with my Mother in Law) so at the same time I was packing and putting our whole life into storage.  There just wasn’t enough hours in the day to manage both and a family (and Christmas) etc etc.

We did manage to sell – the oven, the dishwasher (it was only a few months old), all free standing wardrobes, some retro sliding doors, and the air conditioner.  A friend took the kitchen overhead cupboards.  I had offers for the vanity and the front door but couldn’t organise the time to actually meet people.  (such a shame, but once the new house comes I won’t think about it.)  I wanted to keep the back door and the house number, but sadly missed my opportunity and there was no place to store the door – our storage unit was packed to the rafters)

So here are some pictures – it was a little sad to see a solid house, without a single crack in the wall go to rubble, but the new house will be amazing (I hope)








Some things to consider for demolition:

1.  Get a few quotes – they vary so much in price.

2.  Speak with your neighbours – it can be very stressful for them too

3.  Organise temporary fencing – some builders only supply it for the actual build, NOT demolition (and again get a few quotes)

4.  If you have time – sell off everything… There was so much more I could have sold. All sales help in the end… unless you are flush with cash.

5.  Our demo guys were so great – they were so lovely to my neighbour who was quite stressed out by the process.  They even moved some pavers of ours into her yard so she could use them.

So, again we are in the holding bay just waiting and waiting.  It’s been such a long wait – hopefully the new house will be worth all of this pain (because at this point I’m not feeling it)

Does anybody else have some good tips for demolition?

Bathroom Tiles : Inspiration from Daz and Dee – The Block

I’m a huge fan of the block… I have loved it since it started, and this year I am in LOVE with Daz and Dee.  I am a huge fan of the “Hamptons” styling, but I love modern too.  Daz and Dee are putting the two together perfectly.  When I saw their main bathroom, ‘it was love at first sight!!!’  (Yes, I’m a Kylie fan too. lol)

Anyway, I loved it so much we are going to ‘copy’ it.  Well the floors anyway.  I have a built in bath, insert sob here… really wanted the free standing… but the money tree stopped growing.  Anyway, the walls are all big white rectangle tiles and then the amazing feature tile on the floor.

Daz and Dee's Bathroom


Picture from The Block – Channel 9

We were going to go with a hexagon feature on the walls, but when I saw Daz and Dee’s design I knew that was more “me”.



This picture was taken from the Bunnings catalogue 


These were the colours we had chosen, with our floor tile on the left.

So the amazing floor tile is called ‘Milan’ from the Artisan range by Southern Cross Tiles.  We are going with ‘Charcoal’ for the colour, but there are 9 other colours to choose from. (Mist, Ash, Black, Black Dark, Clay, Chocolate, Forest, Sky and Denim)  They are non-slip with a P4 rating (I don’t know what that actually means. lol) and don’t require sealing, again ????, but it certainly sounds good!!!  The size is 200x200x7mm.  Another great selling point, they are Australian made and owned!!!

Our cabinets are white, and the bench top is also white.  I think I will have to look out for a nice pendant like this one in the photo.  I just want to go shopping and start buying stuff, but I will hold off until the house actually starts… and well I have no idea when that will actually be!

On a positive note – we submitted the plans to council today for the planning permit!  This has taken a long time to prepare, and I’m crossing everything that it is perfect and we will get approved without too much hassle.  (one must have hope)  We require planning permits as we are in an inundation zone and also had a design and development overlay as our property is close to a river.

The tile below is a feature tile we are having in the ensuite shower to bedroom 4.  We couldn’t decide whether to go the circles or the lines… we ended up going with the circles.



This tile is by Everstone and is called Durastone Porcelain – 3D Ispring.  I really love this tile.  Initially it was going in our bathroom, but then we went with the hexagon, and now the Milan, lol.  I still loved it, so we put in the spare ensuite (which will eventually be daughter’s room – we she is old enough to clean it herself)

IMG_1713Above is the feature tile in the shower of the main bathroom (kids bathroom).  One wall will have this, but in the turquoise and charcoal colour shown below. (bottom right) The floor tile is the dark timber look (a CAT 2 tile), and the large white rectangle (also a CAT 2 option)
I’m really excited to have something “different” and can’t wait to see them in my home… whenever that might be.

Has anyone used these tiles or gone with your own ‘something different’?  I would love to see your pictures.

And to those who have built the Airlie or going to build – did you have the built in bath, or the free standing???

  You can check out the Artisan range here:

And don’t forget to watch The Block on channel 9 – I’m obsessed… can’t wait to see what Daz and Dee do with their kitchen…


Colour Selection Boutique Homes

So we had our colour appointment and electrical appointment during the week.  I thought it would be stressful, but it actually was rather enjoyable.  We got through it all much quicker than expected, and I think that was due to the fact that I went in prepared.  I had been to visit the showroom twice, so was well aware of what was available.  We also had most of the extras we wanted included in our quote prior to the colour appointment.  The main area that caught me off guard was  the staircase stain.  Nothing matched our Spotted Gum floor…  We really didn’t know what to do…  We ended up going a really dark stain (think chocolate brown) so it’s a total contrast.  We have dark tiles in the wet areas so I’m thinking it will tie in with this, and blend with some of the dark parts in the wood floor???  I guess time will tell….

Bricks and Roof

Bricks and Roof

These bricks are from Category 3.  We have taken the front render off so went a nicer brick.  The tin roof is by Colorcote and the Off White is similar to Colourbonds Surfmist.  We (well maybe 1) wanted a light coloured exterior to the home.


The render around the front door, and the feature over the window will be in Limed White Quarter.  The cladding/weather board look will be in Lexicon.  Windows are in White, and gutters etc in Off White.


The garage door is in Surfmist.  I’m very excited for the front facade – very happy with our choices.  It’s funny how all the colours start to look the same when you stare at them for so long.

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The front door lock was an upgrade. But we went with the above handle.


Carpet – The middle colour – Ocean.  Again an upgrade.  This is the same carpet as the display in Wollert which we loved!!!


Tiles in all bathrooms and the laundry.  Cat 2.  We went with very dark grout…  Hope it looks good!!!


Laundry – Floor tile, Polar white cabinets (above and below bench), counter top in Moose. Which is a greyish colour.  This is laminate, not stone.  If we change to a front loader down the track we will replace with stone and extend to run the length of the room.


The downstairs powder room and children’s bathroom has the same polar white cabinets but with a stone bench top in Urban stone. (grey)


Our daughter is after a pink room, so we went for a pale pink – Wisp Pink (second from the top)  She had a pink room at one stage in Sydney and she is after it again.


The long pull down sink mixer will go in the pantry, and we opted for the standard on the island bench.  We will replace that one with a black mixer after handover.  Boutique don’t offer the black tap range.  Urbanedge do, and they look amazing!!!


This is the selection of stone… we went with Frosty Carrina (4th from the left, bottom row) (Cat 3) for the kitchen counter tops.  Polar white cabinets.

The electrical part went well, it is kind of crazy how quickly it adds up though. We focused on getting downstairs right as that will be hard to change later.  We weren’t as concerned with upstairs.  Our electrical and colour consultant were fantastic, they were very easy to deal with and have kept communication going which is great.

So that’s the bulk of our colour choices.  Now the waiting begins again…

Boutique’s showroom is very small when compared to Urbanedge and Metricon.  Metricon have a massive space – it really is huge!!!  Everything is on display.  Boutique pretty much have a choice of two items.  More are available but you have to ask prior to your appointment and then go and check items out yourself. (if you want to see them in person)  There are no doors on display, only small samples of stone, brick, toilets and sinks etc.  On a positive there was no “up-selling” but at times I thought it would have been really nice to see the options available.  As an example:  with our staircase, we could choose round or square as the finish on each step.  There wasn’t an example or even a picture to show us the difference of how each style would look.  No bath or, staircase options on display either.  It probably saved us money though!!!  :)

If you are building, did you find it easy to pick your colours?  Or did you fight with your partner?  Did you find it easy to stay within your budget, or did you want every up-grade available???