We’re In :)

So we’re in and it’s wonderful.  But you’re not here to read – it’s all about the photos given the questions, texts and pleas I’ve had over the last week – so here they are the final build photos! Enjoy 🙂

Kitchen, dining, front deck005-Sarah-Whyte-Photography006-Sarah-Whyte-Photography008-Sarah-Whyte-Photography007-Sarah-Whyte-Photography

Butlers Panty (sans Butler)001-Sarah-Whyte-Photography002-Sarah-Whyte-Photography

Living Room, back deck, dining room & future cellar space003-Sarah-Whyte-Photography004-Sarah-Whyte-Photography010-Sarah-Whyte-Photography

Photography Studio Space033-Sarah-Whyte-Photography032-Sarah-Whyte-Photography

Guest Bedroom035-Sarah-Whyte-Photography034-Sarah-Whyte-Photography

Laundry & Linen027-Sarah-Whyte-Photography028-Sarah-Whyte-Photography026-Sarah-Whyte-Photography

Main Bathroom013-Sarah-Whyte-Photography011-Sarah-Whyte-Photography012-Sarah-Whyte-Photography

Powder Room017-Sarah-Whyte-Photography018-Sarah-Whyte-Photography019-Sarah-Whyte-Photography

Back Hallway to the Master Wing 🙂031-Sarah-Whyte-Photography030-Sarah-Whyte-Photography029-Sarah-Whyte-Photography037-Sarah-Whyte-Photography036-Sarah-Whyte-Photography038-Sarah-Whyte-Photography024-Sarah-Whyte-Photography025-Sarah-Whyte-Photography023-Sarah-Whyte-Photography022-Sarah-Whyte-Photography020-Sarah-Whyte-Photography021-Sarah-Whyte-Photography039-Sarah-Whyte-Photography040-Sarah-Whyte-Photography045-Sarah-Whyte-Photography044-Sarah-Whyte-Photography043-Sarah-Whyte-Photography041-Sarah-Whyte-Photography042-Sarah-Whyte-Photography

Aerial shots courtesy of the artful Joel and his fabulous flying machine Artefact Film House.



Time Flies – the catch up post

So…Wordpress tells me it’s 17 days since my last blog post and progress on the house has gone into overdrive.

So, what have we been up to?

First of all Chris & I (with a bit of help from our mate Mick) landscaped the back slope turning it from a pile of rubble into a mostly usable garden.  This involved building planter boxes, digging in plants and shifting 10m3 of hoop pine mulch and spreading it across the 40 of the 45 metre length of the back slop (we ran out of puff in the end…and mulch).


Then there was the installation of the stone bath & basins…


And the dry run… love that he took his boots off 🙂

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The polishing of the floors…


And the clearing of the rubble around the house and battering of the slope in preparation for turning it into a yard

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And then there was the great stackstone debate and my dodgy photoshopping – huge thanks to everyone on the Facebooks for their contributions 🙂


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And finally…whilst I was away last week photographing the stunning Lady Elliot Island above and below water, my wonderful husband & his mate Ben laid 265m2 of turf.



So on Monday, I visited a mostly completed house…but those photos are in the NEXT installment 🙂


Hector the Erector and the Stone Bath

That title is bound to get some attention #clickbait 🙂

The Apaiser stone bath and basins arrived today (Courtesy of  the super gentle but very strong delivery driver (that stone bath weighs 170kg without the box).

I was there for the big reveal (thanks Brett). After 2 months of delays with shipping, hold up in customs and a moment where the bath was lost enroute to Brisbane – they arrived; intact and unblemished.


But now, we ALL wait.  Even me.  Our car is stuck at the mechanics (Alternator this time apparently) so we couldn’t get out tonight to turn the taps on,  I am also away for the next 3 days – so there’s no installation photos until next week!

Let there be light…and power

This week is another major milestone in the build, with finishing trades taking over installing lights, fixtures and fittings.  Monday was a massive day – so much happened!

First, their was the electricians on site connecting the power and fitting switches, lights and fans and other appliances.

The wallpaper was installed in the bathroom and powder room, and looks exactly how I pictured it would!

The tilers continued to work their magic in bringing beautiful straight lines to the bathrooms

Oh and whilst I wasn’t looking, the bathroom ware was delivered,  the mechanical ventilation went in for the the power room and the gas plumber came and finished the installation for the gas!

I was out on site for some of the morning watching this all unfold, and at the end of the day, our reward was to drive back out and turn on the lights (best feeling ever…well, so far).

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There’s even power in the shed, making our camping even simpler!  Now…if only there was a fairy who could come and magically move the 10m3 of mulch that’s the task for our weekend ahead…


Sometimes there is hiccups

Not everything that goes on in a build goes smoothly – everyone knows someone who has a drama or two, or unfortunately for some, a nightmare tale to tell.

We’ve had a hiccup or few along the way – like the fact that the basins and bathtub are still enroute despite being ordered 5 months ago.  In good news – apparently they’re all in the country in Brisbane and are scheduled to finally be delivered Monday!

Timings don’t always go to plan either – deliveries come late, or there’s other unforseen circumstances…like Energex.

The plumber was due to come in and do the fixings yesterday (Tuesday), however Energex had other plans this week, taking the power offline for the day whilst they did some work in the street.  Fortunately we noticed the notice in the mailbox.  As a result the plumber has had to be postponed till next Monday, which turned out to be a good thing in the end given the bath and basins only just surfaced in Brisbane yesterday!

When the cabinetry was installed, in their enthusiasm to get it in –  the installers managed to put a hole in the wall in our bedroom and also damage the flooring in the kitchen – so badly that 6 of the planks had to be replaced.  The worst part is that it seems they didn’t let anyone know about the damage, which meant we were the ones to find it first.


Then there was the square hole – round vent debacle – let’s not forget that either.

These are the the kind of thing that must drive builders up. the. wall.

What is very apparent in a build is that the devil really is in the details. If you ask the right questions (preferably at the right time) you might just catch things and be in a position to address them.  Like when we realised that the wall for the fireplace legally had to be a certain width and ours was 400mm short – right about the time the walls were supposed to go up. 🙂

There’s also the things we missed due to poor timing on our part – like the plumber being on site in early March to connect all of the down pipes from the house, and us not realising and missing the opportunity to get the shed drains connected at the same time. And my terrible timing having arranged the check measure for the walk in wardrobe and us all realising only a day later that they should have also done the check measure for the second bedroom and linen storage as well, resulting in them having to come back out again (from the Gold Coast).

Making sure you and your builder are on the same page is super critical – there are stages where you do have the influence to make decisions and finesse things and times where if you were to make a change it is complex and possibly even expensive. It is also really important that you get on.

When I first rang John, one of the first things he said is building is a really personal experience, and you need to have a good rapport and connection with your builder, otherwise it will be highly stressful.

When you are looking for a builder, make sure you connect and they share your enthusiasm and passion for your ideas. Trust your instincts too – if you don’t have a good feeling about a builder from the get-go, how do you move forward with a positive outlook?

It’s stressful regardless, but having trust in John and his team to work with us to build the vision of our home has made this a largely positive experience.  Things go wrong, but hey, there is generally a path to a viable solution.

We’re in the fixing stage now and the time (#5weekstogo) whilst dragging in some ways, is flying by.  It’s also one of the most rewarding parts of the build – seeing all of the finishing trades coming in and the swatches and samples come together in the right way.

This week we got to turn on the lights – next week, it’s the taps 🙂


Week 16 ~ things get hectic

12 days since my last blog post? I can’t believe I haven’t been heckled yet :).  In the week leading up to Easter nothing happened in terms of the build other than the tiles being delivered.  Over the long weekend though we went out and camped…well, glamped more like it – in the tent in the shed, with easy access to water and power and our neighbours waeco fridge. 🙂

This past week however – LOTS happened!

Firstly – Bill, the tiler made a start.  Bill was actually due to start a couple of weeks ago, but he was held up on another job, so he’s only just made it to our place this week.  Carrie tells me Bill is a perfectionist and works slowly and methodically, so it’s worth the wait.  In looking at what he’s done so far, we’d have to agree.

Main bathroom  and powder room tiling is underway, and the laundry is pretty much finished bar the grouting.


We’ve opted to go with a 300×600 tile – Riviera Chalk Lappato for the floors in all 3 areas and that same tile is being used in the shower in the main bathroom to keep the room clean and simple. In the laundry the splashback is Gloss Stone.

The Hebel Power Panel (think aerated concrete) lining for the cellar was also installed this week. It’s now very quiet and pretty cool in the cellar, exactly what we need it to be! The builders are finishing off the ceiling, around the windows and door with flashing and the floor will have concrete tiles and a skirting of the same.


The intent was always to just go with the raw concrete finish in the cellar as is – keep in mind there’s going to be a bunch of racks covering the back and side wall, so it won’t look so much like… a padded room 🙂  We’re thinking that we just need to seal it with some sort of clear finish just to limit the dust settling into the concrete and to minimise damp.

Most of the deck has also been laid and it is great to see the connection from outdoors to indoors with this – it’s made us realise how nice it will also be to have a small deck out the back extending from the other stacker doors – something to add to the longer term to do list!009-Sarah-Whyte-Photography

But wait, there’s more!

The Kitchen benchtops were also installed and I adore them! The stone has just brought a really nice amount of colour and detail into the kitchen – it’s magnificent seeing all of the little tiny swatches of colour coming together exactly how we imagined!


This week, Bill continues his work on the tiling, the deck and little studio deck will be finished and we have check measures for mirrors and minor cabinetry adjustments.

Next week is a big one with the Electrical, Gas, Plumbing and Air Conditioning Fit offs all happening. Our house will have most of its fittings in next week!

Oh and did I mention…less than 6 weeks till handover!



Kitchen and Bathrooms

Last week the cabinetry for the Kitchen, Bathrooms and Laundry was installed.  It’s really given some perspective to the rooms and adds yet another piece of the jigsaw that brings the house together.

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The stone benchtops for the kitchen go in next Friday, and the oven and rangehood will be installed in early April.  We’ve deliberated long and hard about the splashback that will sit behind the cooker – we don’t want anything busy – particularly with the servery window sitting beside it and the fact that the benchtop is really the feature itself – we’ve chosen a Caesarstone in a finish called Taj Royale.

Taj Royale

Image Source

We’re now thinking smoky mirror might sit well and not add anything new in terms of colours and textures  (and are hoping it’s not going to be an horrendous expense!)

The other thing that was installed last week was our retractible screen for the stacker doors in the living area.  It is fabulous – it really keeps the space open as there is only the join of the 2 screens in the centre limiting the break in the view.  The tracks for the screen are also flush with the floor.  The decking outside (Merbau) will be installed in mid April and will only sit slightly lower than the floors inside, making it really easy to move in and out of the house without the trip hazard.

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The laundry is functional – we’ve elected to have our linen and storage cupboard space in here also with a bank of cupboards opposite the bench, so we’ve kept it pretty simple. Over time, if we find the need, we may look to install overhead cupboards and some hanging space – I’ve seen it recently in friends builds and renovations and I really do like it – we’ve just had to keep the budget in check. 🙂

Something I’m excited about? Having a laundry sink that we can wash the dogs in! (and laundry) We’ve not had a laundry sink for nearly 7 years.#simplethings  We’re also putting in a tap with an extended hose so it will be much easier to wash the dogs.


With our ensuite, my clever husband designed the cabinet!  We’ve chosen basins for the bathrooms and power room that sit on top of the benches, but plumbing still needs to go somewhere and whilst I really loved the idea of open shelving running the length, common sense prevailed in the design – and we’ve also been able to maximise the space so that we have reasonable closed storage for all of the crap that one gathers in a bathroom.

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The powerpoints in the ensuite will be inside the shelving, enabling me to keep hairdryers and straightening irons etc tidily tucked away – another design consideration that Carrie suggested to make life simpler.


It’s hard to look at the bathrooms at the moment and get a sense of what the end result will be – I’m looking forward to sharing the final result as I think the elements will come together beautifully.  If you’re super curious – I’ve created Moodboards for each of the rooms that will give you a pretty good sense – you can check them out here: Ensuite, Main Bathroom and Powder Room.

The wet areas have also been waterproofed in preparation for the tiler, who starts Tuesday after Easter.


Nothing much happening this week with the build, but next week is a busy one – we’ve got the check measure for the walk in robe, the tiler starting, the panelling being installed for the cellar and the kitchen bench tops going in!






Square holes and round things…

Over the past couple of weeks we’ve had a couple of hiccups.  They’re not really dramas, if I’m honest – this one could even be classified a #firstworldproblem, but we’re building our house and we do want it to be (close to) perfect.

In amongst the craziness of the day we were working through the detailing of the revised lighting plan and electrical cut out – the air con guy came  in, cut out the holes for the vents for the ducted air-conditioning and left.  Problem? He cut square holes where we were installing round vents.

The thing is – this is one of the very few things I’d loudly proclaimed when we were going through the quotation stage with John and we were looking at ducted air for the house. That we could only get ducted if the vents were round, as we really didn’t like square vents. The square vents I’ve seen installed in homes have all had lots of fins on them, they gather visible dust very quickly and essentially aren’t very subtle.  They also remind me of commercial buildings, which is unsurprising given that square vents are often what are installed in offices – they are square in our workplace.

Chris and I were pretty disappointed with this when we realised this as we know that round things don’t look so good in square holes.  We were walking through the house with John and Carrie at the time when we spotted this – and John said he’d look into it and get back to us.

Turns out there’s no logical reason that the holes cut were square – the order for the airconditioning stated round, it’s standard in single story houses to have round vents, but in the end the guy cut them square.

Here are the standard options for ducted air vents these days. In reading across building forums etc, the round ones are preferred because they’re architecturally more appealing.  I like them also because they’re easier to clean.

John provided us with the above square vent options which both Chris and I hated (I know harsh word for a #firstworldproblem) and also shared the option for installing a round vent, but advised we’d likely see the patch job. It wasn’t something he would recommend or would be happy with doing.

One most obvious option would have been to replace the ceiling sheeting and cut round holes – problem solved, right?  However when you look at the output involved, that would meant having; the carpenters back to replace the sheeting, the plasterer back out to replaster and cornice, the painter back to repaint and the electricians back to redo the electrical cut out, and of course that guy who cut the holes in the first place would need to come back too.  Given there are 4 vents in the the master end of the wing, that pretty much would have meant redoing the entire ceiling which in my mind was far too drastic and is not going to make anyone happy.

Now I’m certain this is one of the (hopefully very few) things that’s caused our builder some frustration when dealing with me, but we’re in a situation through no fault of ours, nor the builders, were we were simply not happy with the options.

John, to his credit explored looking at larger round vents (that would hide the hole), and in the end I said if he could find a square version of the round vent, I thought it would solve the problem.  I’d done a bit of searching myself – the only square looking vents that I’d come across were for extractor fans and we were installing one of these in our powder room, so whilst I was hopeful, I wasn’t convinced they existed…until last Friday, when John found us the perfect square option and resolved the problem. 🙂Square.png


Are you reading that title like a big tree is about to come crashing down? 🙂

Last week saw the installation of the wooden flooring through the central living area and down the hallways and we just love, love love it! 🙂

We’ve laid a 130mm wide plank spotted gum in standard grade timber.  Early on we were looking at engineered flooring as we’d assumed from pricing timber previously that tongue & groove timber flooring was waaay beyond our budget. Chris and I had trudged around a number of stores and the home show looking at options, and had all but resigned ourselves to the engineered option when Carrie mentioned that she’d had a drop in from their timber floor supplier and should we just quote what we wanted to see how it compared.

I’m not quite sure whether engineered wood flooring has been over-engineered which has caused a substantial price rise, or whether timber flooring has become more competitively priced, but in the end, the difference in the quotes was a touch under $3,000. Now costs all add up and quickly –  (I know, I have a very detailed spreadsheet) but the longer term benefit of having solid timber flooring far outweighed the additional cost to put it down instead of an engineered floor and I’m so happy we did.

Standard grade is one of the cheaper grade options (it might even be the cheapest, I can’t quite recall) – the higher the grade, the more uniform the wood selected for the floor.  The thing that I have always loved about spotted gum is the fact that it’s not uniform and in looking at what’s been laid, we’re so pleased with the result. I love all of the knots and differences in the grain through the flooring – for us it keeps it interesting.

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The floor gets sanded and polished in mid April and we won’t be able to access the house for a week afterwards to allow the polish to cure. (note to self, clean a window so we can ogle)  If anyone is curious – we’ve opted for a satin finish.

One of the best things?  Those of you who’ve been reading the blog from early on, might remember that the Jux team had the slab rebated to ensure the floors throughout the house are flush. They’d also rebated the frames for the doors that open out onto the deck don’t have a lip for the door frame, which can be a toe stubbing, tripping hazard (the level of injury sustained is usually in line with the volume of alcohol consumed). The outcome can be seen below – the floors are flush with the stacker door frames and it just looks amazing!

A lick of paint

Last week the painters came in and did the first coat both inside and out.

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I’d anticipated that the change was going to be a little jarring, and it was.  We’d gotten quite used to the dark colour of the cladding – we felt it complemented the zincalume beautifully. Ironically if we’d never seen the house until it was painted, I’d think we would have liked it straight off, but it has taken a bit to get used to the difference.

The challenge of course, with making a call about the paint colour, is that the outside is not actually finished. We’ve still got the stackstone feature wall to go up, and decking to be laid.  If anything the western side of the house currently looks well…very cream and rather boring – but this is the location of the future secret garden.  When you take the whole end result into consideration, I’m pretty comfortable we’ve made the right choice, but I think others might debate that point. 🙂

There is also the issue of compliance with 6 star efficiency ratings, which can be impacted when choosing darker paint colours.  I guess that’s the best thing about paint – down the track if we decide to, we can always change the colour. 🙂

Inside the house the painters have done the plaster pre-paint, which is basically a quick first coat. The plasterers then come back and check for flaws in the plaster finish before the painters come back and do two more coats.

Inside we’ve gone with Natural White on the walls. Has anyone ever had to go and choose white paint?  There was at least 30 different shades of white to choose from (who knew?)

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We really like the colour – it’s got just a hint of warmth and I’m looking forward to seeing this with the floors down also.

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The painting was all done with spray guns, so the finish is really nice and even.  The doors and the skirtings have also been painted ready to be installed after the wooden floors get finished this week.

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Our adventure of buying land and building our forever house