Saturday, 31 December 2011

How are you spending your New Years Eve????

Well, guess what we're doing for New Years Eve.  Were up early this morning, did a 45 minute walk around our new neighbourhood and it was soooo quiet and peaceful.  Then got into the real work for the day.
Our two Ornamental Pear trees have been waiting patiently for us to plant them in.  Decided that it was a job we could not put off any longer.  So in they went.
Ben did some final work on the front deck, washed it off and we started the staining of the timber.  It's been a while since we finished the deck and leaving it for a while ensured that the wood leached a bit which is what was advised by a few experts on decking.  Used an "Intergrain" wood stain in the merbau colour.

So what's planned for tonight.  Well a nice quiet BBQ at home with the family.  Will be finding a comfortable spot in front of the tele with a glass of wine in hand to see in the New Year.


Thursday, 22 December 2011

Our First Xmas @ the ponds.

We're so excited to be in our own home for this Xmas.  Our tree went up at the end of November.  Yes, we were early I know, but we just couldn't wait to see our tree up. 

On the 3 December we went to the The Ponds Christmas Party.  It was a very popular event with over 300 people attending.  We were served a nice Xmas dinner and of course, Santa made his grand entrance.  The kids seemed to love it.  It was really nice to meet other residents of the estate as well.

Last Sunday was the Carols at The Ponds.  Wow, what a big turnout of people on a not so warm night.  It was all really well organised with food stalls, rides for the kids and we were thoroughly impressed by the lovely fireworks display at the end.

So good to see all the houses decorated for Xmas and we spend our evening walks enjoying the Xmas lights as we walk by the neighbours homes.

Just loving our new neighbourhood.


Wednesday, 21 December 2011

13 Week Maintenance Inspection

Wow, how time flies!  Last week we had our 13 week maintenance inspection with Tim from the contracted maintenance company who came over to check the list of defects we had noted.  7 was the magic number of listed faults we found.  They were all quite minor really eg. a missing cover to the light switch in our laundry, a faulty front door handle and a slight crack to the bulkhead in the kitchen.

We were pleasantly surprised to have the maintenance company ring us that very same afternoon to schedule in the work that was required to fix the issues.  We really didn't think that we would hear back from them until the new year.  We now have confirmed dates for trades people to come in next year to fix the defects.

Needless to say, we were very impressed.   We're also really happy to note that we are yet to find any major problems with the house so far.  Well done Eden Brae.


Thursday, 1 December 2011

Decisions, decisions...

Who knew choosing turf was going to be such a confusing job?  There are quite a few varieties of turf to choose from:

Buffalo - (Sir Walter, Sapphire, Matilda etc.) is drought tolerant. Low mainenance, maintains it's colour in Winter. Less invasive into gardens than Kikuyu or Couch therefore less maintenance.Less mowing than Kikuyu (approx. 50% in Summer). Requires less water.

Couch- has a fine leaf and texture.  It has a rich green colour but in frost prone areas it will become brown over winter.

Kikuyu-Needs full sun, easy to grow due to the runners it sends, fast growing so needs mowing at least once a week during summer.  As it sends out runners, it does invade garden beds.

So after much research we decided we go for a soft leaf Buffalo called Sapphire.  It is a fine and smaller leafed buffalo variety.

We used 7 ton of 80/20 turf underlay to level the front area before the turf could be laid.  Was totally back breaking work which we did mostly in the evenings as it was so much cooler to work when the sun was down.

80 sqm of turf

Also planted a row of Japanese box hedges along the front wall  and Society Garlic along the  front of the deck.

We were lucky that it rained almost every day the first week after the turf was laid.  It's been almost two weeks now and it seems to have survived and looks to be growing well. It might even need to be mowed soon.

Sunday, 30 October 2011

The front wall

We started on the front garden this week.  We decided on creating a formal garden and  wanted a low wall to complement the look. Tossed up between doing a rendered brick wall or the dry stack wall.   I decided that the dry stack wall system in Ebony (more like dark grey) would be best for the front boundary. It was also a lot cheaper.  This should look really nice with the box hedges that we're going to plant along the back of the wall as well.
Trench dug
Ben's invention for lifting the blocks
Blocks laid on road base

All done

Now we can organise to get our garden beds done and turf laid.  

Tuesday, 25 October 2011

Finishing touches

Picked up my shadow boxes from Impressions in Castle Hill.  Ben offered to put them up for me.  What an effort that turned out to be.  They're pretty heavy and a sign at the back of them said that it would be best to use the services of a professional picture mounter.  Well Ben did a very professional job in my opinion.  He had to make special brackets to attach them to the wall.  Didn't want to take a chance that they would fall and get ruined.  It took him hours to hang them but it all worked out well at the end.

Picture alcoves at front entrance

Hall Table

Sunday, 23 October 2011

Work in Progress

After many quotes from landscapers, we finally decided to go it alone and do most of the work ourselves. Ben just could not believe how much of a mark up the landscapers were putting on the many quotes we received.  He's a pretty good handyman himself so I suppose we will be able to save heaps of money by doing things ourselves but it will be slow going for a while.
We made a start two weekends ago, before the rain came pelting down.  The weather has been a major drawback.  What happened to Spring?
Since we're putting down stepping stones and pebbles on both sides of the house, we laid down road base, levelled and compacted the base in preparation. This weekend we cemented in the stepping stones on a brick base and then laid Geotech fabric over the road base to stop the weeds from growing through.  Then spread out 4 ton of Nepean pebbles.

Pavers laid on brick base

Geotech fabric rolled out

Nepean pebbles
 We are quite happy with the end result.  Just need to add some potted plants.  The deck goes in behind the pebbled area, but that project is for another day.  It was really back breaking work and very hot as well.  Very sunburnt and sore at the moment.  Next weekend we have so much more work to look forward to.
View of the setting sun from our Alfresco area

Friday, 21 October 2011

We're shuttered!

My shutters were finally installed and we totally love the look of them.  They allow us to adjust the amount of light we want in the room.  I chose white hinged shutters which allows for the windows to be opened easily.  Ben says they make the house look very American with the dark wooden floors. I'm just glad to get rid of the sheets and butcher paper we used as a temporary fix.
Ready for installation

Family room

Media Room

Master Bedroom
Jay and his mate from Bosetti Blinds took about 4 hours to put them up.  I didn't realize that there was quite a bit of work involved in installing them.  Very happy with the product and service from Bosetti Blinds.  I can highly recommend using them in the future. 

Monday, 17 October 2011

Fenced in!

Finally, we have fences, part of it anyway.  We managed to get an approval from two of our neighbours to have the Ezyclip fencing installed.  Ezyclip consists of colourbond posts and caps with wooden paling inserts. It's neighbour friendly as both sides look the same.  Very neat and tidy as well.
Still not able to get in touch with the neighbour on the left for an approval.  Then noticed that there is a "For Sale" sign on the block today, so that explains why they weren't too keen on paying for the fences.  We decided to just go ahead and do two boundaries, which is the right and rear fences.  We decided to have one row of sleepers under the fence and this cost us a little more.

We had accepted a quote from another supplier almost a month ago but they never turned up to do the job.  When we called to ask what the delay was, we were told that they had actually lost our quote.  Well, by then we had lost our faith in them.   I called Mike from Ezyclip who came and quoted the job for us and once I accepted the quote he booked in our fences for the very next day.  Now that's what I call service.  The two sides were complete in a day.

Rear of the house

Now our dog Alex can run around freely in our back yard.

Thursday, 13 October 2011

What's going on at "Waterfall" The Ponds?

There's been so much of working happening at "Waterfall" @ The Ponds over the few months.  The rain gardens are taking shape and you can really start to see what we have to look forward to when it's all done.  Will be a great place for an afternoon stroll and a place to relax.  Two pedestrian bridges have been built over Second Ponds Creek to link us to The Ponds Boulevard.  We've heard that Landcom are spending million of dollars developing the rain gardens and kids playground.

The major part of all this work has been the construction of the bridge over Second Ponds Creek which will link Riverbank drive to The Ponds Boulevard.  The bridge looks almost complete and should be opened soon.  It should cut down on our travel time to The Rouse Hill Town Centre by about 5 minutes.

The Bridge under construction

The Bridge almost complete
Here are some other images of our little piece of The Ponds:

Early evening at "Waterfall"

Wednesday, 21 September 2011

It's getting HOT in here....

Our fireplace was installed yesterday.  Was meant to go in on the 9/09 but the rain spoilt our plans.  It was way too muddy outside for the guys to cut into the wall.  Yesterday was too windy, ended up with a whole lot of dust in the house.  It was installed flush into the wall with a stainless steel frame around the glass front.  The guys from Impressions did a good job installing it as well.  Love the modern look and ambience it creates.

Ben hung up our huge mirror as well.  He had to make special hooks cause it's quite heavy.  Fits perfectly in the hallway alcove.

Also bought some lovely shadow box pictures for the two alcoves at the front door, from Santha at Impressions.  They have some really nice decorator items.  Just need to get Ben to hang the pictures up for me now.  Pictures will follow.

Thursday, 15 September 2011

Ben, the chippie

We reviewed what we wanted for our landscaping and decided it had to be done in stages.  Our boundary fences are a big stumbling block at the moment as we cannot get our neighbours to commit to choosing a fence supplier or paying for their half of the fence.  In fact, we can't get in touch with one of our neighbours despite sending them letters and quotations for the fences.  So, this is really delaying the start of any landscaping.  I have now posted them the official "notice to fence" form by registered mail.  Once again we are waiting for a response.

In the meantime, we've decided to start on the front deck.  This deck will extend from our front door and over our existing patio.  After much research, Ben has decided to use Ironbark wood as opposed to Merbau.  During the research process he found that Merbau leaches quite a bit of the colour over time.  Ironbark also has the highest strength rating, S1. He's using treated Pine for the posts.  Bunnings has been our favourite place for the last few weeks.  We've spent so much of money there that I think we should consider buying some shares in the company.
Day 1 

Day 2

All Done!

So proud of Ben,  he worked for a whole week all by himself constructing this deck.  I only really helped to screw in the timber slats and broke a few drill bits in the process.  He's never built a deck before and I think he did a pretty good for a first timer.  Now for the back deck.  

Thursday, 8 September 2011

Windows covered

Jay from Bosetti Blinds called yesterday to say that the roller blinds were ready for installation.  He came over this afternoon to install the roller blinds to the bedrooms, bathrooms and over our stacker doors.  The bedrooms all have black (raven) roller blinds in light filtering fabric. 

Main Bathroom Windows

Translucent fabric chosen for stacker doors.

Very happy with the quality and look of the blinds.  I can highly recommend Jay as he is always punctual and true to his word.  Shutters will be arriving in about two weeks for the master bedroom, media and family room windows.

Wednesday, 31 August 2011

Settling In

It seems like all I've been doing since moving into this new home, is clean.  The builders clean was pretty bad.  The installation of the wooden floors didn't help as it created a whole lot of dust.  I have been wiping down skirting boards and window frames.  Thankfully, we don't have window coverings as yet as it would have been a major job to clean those.
We had more furniture delivered this week.  Our square dining table and 8 chairs were delivered.

My son's new queen size bed together with new mattresses for him and Princess A were delivered as well.  The inside of the house is slowly taking shape and starting to look a lot neater as the wardrobes and fit out of my walk in robe were finally done today.  I say finally, as the supplier we decided to use moved the installation dates on us twice.  They called yesterday to move it again to this Friday.  Ben demanded they keep their scheduled booking for today.  So Perfect Wardrobes from Smithfield were far from perfect when it came to turning up to do the job.  The guy they sent had a major attitude problem as well.  You'd think he was paying us for the installation of the cupboards.  Well at least they're done now.
Princess S's cupboards with mirror
Last Saturday we had my son's mates Richie, Bazza and Lloyd  come over to excavate around the house.  He levelled the yard so that we can start the landscaping.  Dug up the clay soil so we can add good soil for the base of the lawn and organic mix for the garden beds.  Thanks guys for a great job.

Our little nephew Blake wanted to help

The next step is the concrete pathway to my washing line and the concrete slab for the air con unit and Ben's shed.  The concreter started with the form work on Monday and he should be pouring the concrete on Saturday.  So heaps happening through the week and heaps of money spent as well.  More spending to come I'm sure.