Site visit

We hadn’t been out to the house much last week, but compensated on Friday with a very thorough scheduled site visit for a full walk through the house. It’s only the second time I’ve actually been into the upper section of the house since we left and it was a bizarre feeling – super excited about all the changes, but just a teeny (and only a teeny!) bit sad that we’re pulling it to bits.

Pacific Jarrah front deck - Queenslander
Checking out our brand new Pacific Jarrah front deck

The house is coming on really well, and the best bit about last week was that our new Pacific Jarrah decking finally went down across the front of the house. I’d been worried about the colour as I’d thought it’d be too red, but it looked great. We went with Pacific Jarrah on Matt (our builder)’s suggestion because it doesn’t bleed. Given that the front decking will be over the driveway and a paved patio area outside the two downstairs bedrooms, the last thing we need is blotchy Merbau/Kwila or Spotted Gum tannin stains after a big storm. We’ve gone with Kwila/Merbau out the back though (it hasn’t been laid yet) as it seemed more chocolatey. There are no issues with bleed out the back, but in hindsight Pacific Jarrah probably would’ve been fine there colour-wise. It definitely wasn’t the brash, harsh red I’d been envisaging. 

Under the largest section of front deck, in front of what will be the double garage - Queenslander renovation
Under the largest section of front deck, in front of what will be the double garage

It was awesome being able to stand in our living room and kitchen for the first time. Those spaces were both smaller than I’d imagined. It’s not a big deal though – the living room should feel bigger as it will have bifolds on to the front deck, and I’m actually really pleased the kitchen felt smaller than I’d thought it would. I’d been worried that the kitchen (which is 5.5m x 6m) would seem ridiculously cavernous, but once the cabinetry is in I don’t think it’ll feel weird (well, I hope not anyway!).

Upstairs framing - living room and kitchen - Queenslander renovation
Upstairs framing – the section to the left is our kitchen and the section to the right is our living room. One section of the living room will have a raking ceiling which is why the northern wall is a bit shorter
Fronto patio outside the two downstairs bedrooms - Queenslander renovation
Fronto patio outside the two downstairs bedrooms

There are a LOT of decisions to be made in a very short space of time at the moment – and given my indecisiveness, it’s a struggle! Here’s what we need to be ordering/confirming in the next week or two:

1. External wall cladding: We have chamferboard in the contract, which is what the house is currently built out of, but Matt suggested Scyon as an alternative given literally every wall in our house is being rebuilt. It’s a man-made fibre cement product which is incredibly durable, looks convincingly like weatherboard, and is brilliant at holding paint (doesn’t flake etc). I was pretty much sold on the idea, but we’ve decided today that it’s a no-go. We are changing so much about our house that to completely rethink the style of cladding doesn’t seem like the right thing to do. We didn’t have such an issue with the synthetic material (though it didn’t sit totally easily with us), but it was more that ripping off the chamferboard and replacing with with a weatherboard lookalike (chamferboard and weatherboard are similar but noticeably different), would be really changing the character. Anyway, the good thing is, we’ve actually reached a decision about this! Box ticked.

2. Sinks: We’ve decided to go with Villeroy and Boch undermount sinks in the bathrooms but I still haven’t picked my kitchen sink. I do know that I want a Butler’s/Farmer’s style white fireclay sink, but many brands have mixed reviews. This sink will be all about aesthetics, which is stupid in a kitchen – I know. I’ve read a lot about how impractical they are because it’s so easy to smash your glassware in them, but I really don’t want stainless steel.

3. Paint: This one’s a biggie and one we really don’t want to mess up. While we don’t actually need to have paint colours finalised just yet, we do need to decide on gutters – and you can’t really do that without being sure on the overall external colour scheme. We had a Dulux colour consultant appointment on Friday and now have the colours pretty well nailed…I think. We’re going with a pure pale grey for the main externals, and lexicon quarter (a white) for the trims. We’ve also thrown darker charcoal in to the mix and will be considering that for the front door and verandah/stair handrails. 

So many greys, so hard to choose!  Queenslander renovation
So many greys, so hard to choose! The family with our Dulux Colour Consultant
Greys....what I think will be the final selection
Greys….and what I think will be the final selection

4. Solar: This one’s tough as there are so many cowboy operators out there. I’ve spent many evenings researching and I think I’ve narrowed it down to Origin Energy and Solarwide. I really don’t know what size system to go for – we’re considering 10KW given we want to get a battery in a couple of years’ time, but 10KW really is huge…

5. Skylights: Skylights are ugly and I don’t like them – but I think in our house they’re going to be a godsend. Despite all the doors and windows, our house orientation means there will be a number of dark pockets – even during the day. We went to see Brisbane Skylights on Saturday, but Redcliffe Skylights is only open Mon-Fri, and they close at 3pm on Fridays. Brisbane Skylights is coming in over budget though so I think a trip to Redcliffe next Friday morning will be in order.


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