Monday, November 29, 2010

29 November 2010

Our DA was submitted to Lake Macquarie Council in early October and we are still waiting for approval. The plans have been referred to the Rural Fire Service which is standard for a bush fire prone property. Apparently we might need to get an aborist to do a report on the effect the development will have on the neighbours gum tree (i.e. will it die if we hack a few major branches off).

The other exciting news is that we moved into the house this week, somehow managing to cull enough stuff to squeeze in! It feels like a holiday every day which is great. Don't really feel all that motivated to go to work though :( The kids drove us absolutely crazy with the move and spend most of their waking hours asking where things are now located etc etc. I guess things will settle down over the coming weeks.

It looks like we might have found our builder, who we met with tonight. He can start in early February - that is if we have the all clear from Council by then! Here's hoping his referees back him up..

After a brief battle of wills with Mike, I hired a landscape designer [Cliff] a couple of months ago as I really don't know what I'm doing with this block of sand. I'm used to clay soil back in Adamstown. True to form Cliff is taking forever to come up with something. The architects took 5 weeks to create a house but the landscape designer is up to about 9 weeks and produced zero. Oh well. Have worked with him before and he is worth waiting for.

Also have our former interior designer staff member [Mel] on the job. She visited the house again on Friday and will be helping decide all sorts of stuff. This is the design brief I gave Mel:

Retaining wall to backyard – material and colour
External existing house colour/material if bricks removed / extension colorbond cladding colour / windows/doors to extension and existing/roof/guttering
Fencing material/colour [have asked Cliff to look at this but will run past you]
Front porch railing/flooring (stairs to be removed and come out from door – think Cliff was doing something a bit interesting so not coming straight out but will run past you when I finally hear from him!]
Front path/driveway materials/colours [have asked Cliff to look at this but will run past you]

Flooring – polished concrete colour/aggregate etc / timber flooring
Paint colours
Kitchen cabinetry etc
Bathrooms – kids/ensuite/powder
Laundry tiles/cabinetry/floor
WIR cabinetry
Feature lighting (most will be downlights)
Built in cabinetry for TV / ecosmart fire

Anyway, keeping a few people busy!

Sunday, October 24, 2010

The finishing touches to the plans...

Over the course of the following weeks the look and feel was further developed and to my great relief was looking just as sensational as Mel said it would...

June's what the architects came up with...

I have been more than a little slack in updating over the course of the past very busy few months. The architects came up with their grand plans about 5 weeks after we gave them the brief. It seemed like ages so I was thrilled to hear from them when they wanted to get together to show us what they had come up with.

I must admit when the architects presented us with their concept I was a little shell-shocked. This is the initial imagery:

While Mike loved the general concept I felt like it looked too much like a hospital or commercial building and a lot heavier structure than what I had anticipated based on the relatively light weight concept pics we'd provided as inspiration. This image was without all the materials added and looked more clinical I guess. My staff interior designer assured me that with appropriate warmer tones and cladding it would look sensational. I still had my doubts but should have trusted her insight as she really does have great visualisation skills...

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

The Architects brief

Surprisingly for us, Mike and I actually agreed on a couple of things. One was to get an architect involved in the revamp. Secondly, which architect. Maybe we've grown up?

So I got in touch with Shane Blue from Bourne + Blue Architecture ( whose work we've admired for some time. He specialises in eco friendly homes, with lots of timber, louvre windows and northern orientation featuring in most of his designs. Right up our alley.

We decided to rent the Redhead place out for 6 months to allow time to complete the finishing touches to our current house (prior to selling it) and get the plans through Lake Macquarie City Council. Apparently the LMCC phase could take a while.

First up Shane said don't wait until the house purchase settles - he and a surveyor should both get in there asap to take all the necessary measurements and photos for the concept and DA.

Not long after the house settled we had our first face to face meeting with Shane, and we also met Claire, one of the project architects working for him. At this meeting we handed over a combined wishlist with mandatory and preferred items. Basically Shane needed a packed lunch to get through it. This is what it looked like:

Key targets

Strong connection with the outdoors
Warmth, light, privacy
Solar passive design - northern orientation, eaves, cross ventilation etc
Cohesian between existing house and additions
Low maintenance

Things we love:

Clever design
Creative use of inexpensive materials
Polished concrete
Asian style/way of living (see pics attached)
Window highlights
High ceilings
Louvre windows (with flyscreens)
Large sliding doors preferred over bifolds to outdoor area (like boomerang house)
Recycled timber accents
Ply eaves/ ceiling / wall panels
Fibre cement / weathertex / corrugated iron cladding


4 bedrooms incl. master
Open plan living/dining/kitchen
Master with ensuite incl. bath
Bathroom close to kids rooms
Multi-purpose room to accommodate desk/book storage / tv / sofa bed
Fans throughout
Covered outdoor entertaining area
Outdoor shower


Skullery/pantry area and separate laundry off kitchen
Plenty of light in master bedroom, WIR, shower separate to bath in ensuite
Ensuite with outdoor outlook (maybe can open to outdoors somehow)
Skylights in areas where don’t need blockout - laundry/skullery/bathrooms
Separate loo near main living area
Kids rooms not visible to visitors entering
Kids bathroom to have separate WC
No need for air conditioning (in extension)
Concealed clothesline
Big laundry
Lots of storage
2 car garaging
Outdoor area adjacent to living area
Few as possible levels

Storage considerations:

Kitchen - primarily for entertaining and cooking
Some cooking ingredients eg sauces/herbs
Appliances etc - sink/stove/oven/fridge/coffee machine/kettle
Good storage for waste & recycling - concealed sliding bins
Plasticware, serving platters, cutlery, glassware, bakingware
Freestanding bench with room for 3 barstools

Skullery/pantry - primarily for storage and preparation 

Most cooking ingredients and bulk food
Small appliances eg toaster, griller, breadmaker, dishwasher
Good crockery & cutlery
Wine storage
Storage for paperwork - file drawers, corkboard
Cleaning equipment, drawers for medical, sewing, giftwrap etc
Linen eg tablecloths napkins, tea towels

Don't like:
Stacked stone/aubergine/curved roves
Too many different roof lines
Houses that show off - complicated design for sake of it
Big/lots of rooms that don’t get used
Low ceilings

And we also handed over a collage of inspirational images, including our favourite from Shane's prior projects. Here it is:

Modern asian street appeal

environmentally friendly aspect / connection with outdoors

lots of timber accents

warm industrial aesthetic
Outdoor shower a must!

Saturday, July 10, 2010

The good, the bad and the ugly

The good...

The bad...

And the seriously ugly...

2 June 2010

The house settled today - naturally we had to crack a bubbly with friends to celebrate. Today is the first time the kids have seen the inside. Not impressed with the size of their bedrooms in particular and the house in general. They've got used to the idea of moving now and love the idea of being close to the beach. For now anyway! Tom's too busy playing footy in his new backyard to take part in the obligatory shot with the sold sign:)

27 April 2010

We'd been looking for a place in Redhead for ages - a beach suburb just south of Newcastle. We first started looking about 10 years ago, couldn't find the right thing and put it off until a couple of years ago when the search began again.

After a tip off from an agent that a place was coming up on Redhead bluff, we quickly snapped it up before the auction sign went up. The children looked at us in stunned disbelief. It was actually happening. We really were going to leave behind everything our children knew: our home of 13 years, our neighbours who had become close friends and even the height measurements of the kids on the architrave in the bedroom. What were we thinking of?

She's definitely an ugly duckling. But hopefully our architect can turn her into a swan. Please??