I shall be the Queen of Monaco...

July 24, 2010

...Carlisle Monaco that is.

We officially cancelled our PD contract during the week and today paid our initial deposit with Carlisle to begin the process (again!).  Hans, the Sales Manager, assures us that the land will title in December so the developer avoids paying a big whack of land tax, but just to be sure we've booked a February site start.

I'm pretty impressed with Carlisle.  I know it's early days, but in comparision to the PD experience, we certainly feel more informed.  Could be that we recently went through a similar process, but they seem to take more time explaining what is and isn't included as well as trying to upsell at every opportunity.  Some may not like this approach, but I actually prefer to know everything we could have, and then make informed decisions.

After another walk through today, I'm even more impressed with the design and the way it will sit on our block.  And we found out that the corner sliding doors in the kitchen / meals close onto each other so there's no need for an internal pillar.  This means we can open up the whole back corner straight onto the alfresco! Niiiiice.

Next step:  Facade selection and structural variations.

Lock it in Eddy

July 18, 2010

The planets must have aligned this week because we have MADE A DECISION.

1st - are we restricted to a PD house on our block?  Short answer = no.  But for some reason, land sales aren't impressed and want us to ring them for a chat.  Interesting.  How about you ring us and tell us the land is going to be delayed by 4 months?

2nd - shortlist our top 3 x 35ish square two storey homes.  Compare the quotes.  Check the room dimensions, promotions, building standards and our gut reaction too.  Result = they are all a compromise, all cost more than we really want to spend, and all would be hot in summer and cold in winter.  Decision = two storey homes are off the list completely.

3rd - find single storey homes that take advantage of our great block, meet our criteria (which I found reviewing an old blog post - how handy was it to have captured that moment's thinking and be able to refer back to it?), and fall within an amount we're prepared to pay.

The revised shortlist looked something like this;
Big M Chelsea 37
PD Jasper
Carlisle Pagoda
Carlisle Monaco
Carlisle Montrose

Big M seem to oeprate in a similar way to PD.  Pretty much everything is an upgrade and they are cagey about the real costs.  Although the house was great, we were unable to get a clear indication of what it would cost, so ruled it off the list

Jasper is a good plan, but with a north facing side boundary, having the solid wall of the rumpus (home theatre) blocking all the light is less than ideal.  There was a lot of good in this design, but not enough to save it from the red texta.

Carlisle.  When we first started this "journey" it began as a hunt for ideas to put into a renovation of our current home.  We looked through some Carlisle homes at that time and liked their designs, but weren't in the larket for a home then.  Now we've re-visited armed with a fair bit of knowledge of what we do and don't like, plus the way the building industry seems to work, and they certainly seem to have the right idea on pricing, inclusions and customer service.

Pagoda - love the minor bedroom wing, the master, infact almost everything except the family room that is really just a big hall way.  I don't know how we would use this space, but we love it enough to leave it with a question mark.

Montrose - Ticks all the boxes and even has one extra room that we don't have an immediate need for.  But, the outdoor flow is more to the side that the rear.  But we love this one too, so it stays on the list with 2 question marks.

Monaco - Don't like the facade, but love love love the wide entry, the minor bedroom wing without having too many windows to the front (coz some people who live with us are messy!), bathroom seems wider than most and very spacious.  Master bedroom - ding dong!  Put sliding doors on there and you've got a north facing courtyard.  Ensuite - hello Christmas! A spa under the window (standard), double vanity with those cute little pigeon holes for towel storage, massive double shower with a rail shower head and dumper (standard), plus a door on the loo (I know you're nodding - that's a good thing, right?).  We'd turn the lounge into a home theatre by adding double doors, move a few walls around in the living area out the back to combine the meals and rumpus, narrow off the family room and turn it into a library.  And then there's the kitchen.  It opens directly onto the alfresco, has the feature window behind the sink (which would be north facing for us), a massive island bench with the cooktop and underbench oven in it (so I can actually face people and cook).  It's just perfect.  And we're not loking at any more houses.

This is the one.  Yes it's my final answer.  Lock it in Eddy!

Shut down by PD

July 13, 2010

If you've read some of our earlier posts, you'll know we're looking to change our plan, even though we're signed contracts (and know there will be some kind of financial penalty to do so).

So we have Fairhaven and Big M doing up detailed quotes on the 2 non-PD homes we like for comparison.

Today I received a call from the lovely Rod at Fairhaven, and Linda from The Avenue at Casey sales office has refused to provide him with the plan of sub-division because our stage is a PD only zone.

Now I don't remember seeing anything in the contract that locked us in to a particular builder, and believe that it's pretty common practice to pilfer a block from one builder, lose your deposit, and build with whoever you want.  It'll be a night long marathon to get through the contract, but I'm now a little more determined than I was before that phone call to change builders.

Spiteful I know!!!!

2 new contenders...

July 10, 2010

We had a lovely morning showing the display of our newly chosen replacement home to my Mum and Nan (how lucky am I that I still have her around to share major journeys like this?).  They both really liked Wembley and got that same homely feel we did when we first went through it.  Mum has always been a fan of display homes, building twice herself, so we extended the trip a little and walked through a couple of Big M displays...where we came across Riva.  37 lovely squares of open planned, light filled, dragging you outside, beautifully decorated home.

Oh dear.  We have another contender.

So just to add to the experience (read - confusion), we thought we would call past the one display village in all of Melbourne that we hadn't yet visited.  Arena at Officer.

Now I remembered reading a thread on H1, Vanilla tree's Fairhaven Glenaire.  It sounded lovely on her thread so we went looking and were incredibly surprised. A strong inside-out focus, 4 beds, 2 storey and my my my.  Loved downstairs.  No wasted space, great flow, brilliant kitchen with a window and this room they call a Lanai.  WOW.  Basically an alfresco thats enclosed by bi-folds with a gas wood fire in the middle.  Brilliant!  Upstairs and I'm still not disappointed.  The minor bedrooms were a great size with WIR's, tonnes of extra storage, large bathroom and a seperate powder room outside the loo.  Mum calls me through to the master suite telling me "you're going to LOVE this".  And she was spot on the money!  Double WOW!  Massive robe behind the bed with 2 rows of hanging rails and fitted drawer units, a timber door out to the balcony, and then the ensuite.  Triple WOW!  The shower would have been six feet long and wide too, with a shower head at each end.  The vanity was one of the biggest I've ever seen.  2 double cupboards and a huge drawer unit with a window above.   I could REALLY see myself living here.  No consessions, compromises or things left off the wishlist.  It was tick, tick, tick.

So we'll get a detailed quote for the Big M Riva and Fairhaven Glenaire, compare apples with apples with apples, and hopefully come out of it all with a home that we're so happy with we'll never want to leave!

And the winner is...

July 8, 2010

Porter Davis Wembley 35

here's the link

Tell us what you think!!!

And the nominees for best floorplan with a north/west aspect are....

July 5, 2010

  • PD Wembley  (double storey)
  • PD Atrium
  • Big M Chelsea 
  • PD Jasper
  • PD Ivanhoe
  • Big M Grandview
  • DFH Hartley
I'll just open the envelope.  And the winner is....

And now for something completely different...

July 2, 2010

...as in it's time to pick a completely new house plan.

It's like this.  When we began this process, we had all bedrooms of our little house full with others knocking on the door as young adults do.  Six months down the track and we find ourselves in an almost empty house again with the added complication of a block of land thats due to title some time in the next 4 years (sarcasm - should title later this year).

The fact that it hasn't titled is actually a blessing right now as it is giving us a chance to re-assess our build in its entirety.   Our original house of choice was PD's Marina 42.  Five bedrooms.  Semi-ensuites.  Lots of communal and private space.  Beautiful.  But now that we're almost empty nesters again, do we actually NEED to build such a big house?  Our current home is only about 12 squares, so the Marina would give us both 21 squares each to rattle around in.

We'd (read I) had been feeling a bit unsure about the build for a couple of months, but we still LOVED the floor plan, and pushed ahead with colour selections, tender and contracts.  So now everything is selected and ready waiting for the land to title, we've had a chance to catch our breath and re-assess.

I have to say, PD have been fantastic about the possibility of us changing to another lifestyle plan, changing to a plan in another range or even withdrawing from the build altogether.  We're meeting our original sales consultant on the weekend, who will run through some options, detail the financial penalties involved, and work with us to try to find a plan that meets our current and future anticipated needs while making the most of our sensational block of land.

Ideally it will;
  • open to the garage side (north) and rear of the block
  • be single storey
  • have a home theatre and seperate lounge (library)
  • be flooded with light
  • include a kitchen to die for with an island bench, undermount sink and one of those groovy industrial type taps
  • retain its warmth or be easy to heat
  • have an entry off the garage directly into a mud room
  • flow really well from front door to the back yard
  • have a bit of wow factor
  • feel like home
Wish us luck - should make for an interesting weekend!
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