Sunday, August 28, 2011

Plans - Bathroom

Aerial view

Rear view

Right view

Front view

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Saturday, August 20, 2011

Plans - Kitchen

Aerial view.

Rear view of kitchen island.

Front view of kitchen island.

Rear view of kitchen.

Right view of kitchen.

Left view of kitchen.

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Final Plans Have Arrived!

We have plans!
Just a quick note for today, we have finally received our final plans! Well near final, there was one thing that did not end up working out how we wanted.

The plans took four weeks to draw, as opposed to the standard two week lead time. I am not too worried about this. We made a lot of changes, so I think it is fair enough.

I will be posting individual parts of the plan over the coming days. There is a lot to go through, but overall we are pleased with how it has turned out.

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Selection - Kitchen Sink

When building a house, one does not usually spend a lot of time choosing a kitchen sink. Builders will generally provide you with two options: inset or bottom-mount. If you are building a house of the appropriate style, they may provide the option of a butler/farmhouse sink.

If you want something other than what is included in your builder’s standard range, an entire world of sink options awaits you.

Even when deviating from the standard range, most people I know will still choose a stainless-steel sink. There are numerous brands and styles (square, round, one drainer, two drainer, etc.) and configurations (1 bowl, 1 + ¾ bowl, etc.) which range in price from only a few hundred dollars to well over one thousand.

When you start looking at the upper bracket of stainless steel sinks, it may be worth looking past the brand name, such as Oliveri and Franke, and considering the materials used to construct the sink.

Geo black composite sink from Sink Warehouse
Sinks come in a wide variety of materials including copper, ceramic, granite, as well as granite/quartz composites. There are various pros and cons for each material. I do recommend that you do your research, and if possible talk to people, in person or online, who have the same style of sink that you are considering.

For example, a friend of mine has a stone butler/farmhouse sink. Whilst she loves the look of it, she hates the fact that her washing up water is always cold, because the cold stone has taken the heat out of it.

Our current kitchen has a stainless steel sink. I have no doubt that it is a cheap sink, but for such a young sink (approx. 2 years old), I would not have expected it have more scratches than mum’s twenty year old sink!

This experience has put us off buying a stainless steel sinks, especially when the options that suited our décor were in the upper price bracket. It was purely by accident that I discovered the world of composite kitchen sinks.

Whilst searching for a freestanding bath, I wandered into the Sink Warehouse in Osborne Park. Their bath selections were on the small side; however, I was pleased to see that they had some non-standard kitchen sink options on display, namely ceramic and composite.

White and Beige Korona composite sinks
from Sink Warehouse 
 For those of us who like something a little bit different, composite sinks provide a refreshing change, because they come in a wide variety of colours including white, beige, chocolate, grey, and black.

There are number of companies who sell composite sinks. These include, but are not limited to, Franke (Mythos, Kubus), Astracast (Geo, Korona), Abey (Schock). If you look around boutique stores such as The Stone Super Store, you may find that they import a range of composite sinks that would not otherwise be available through the larger chains.

Although composite sinks are becoming more popular, you may have trouble viewing them, so it pays to do your research online and contact retailers in your area to see if they have one on display.

As discussed in a previous post, you will not always be able to find a retailer who has the item you are looking for on display. We chose a !black Schock sink by Abey. Even though we are able to purchase this sink through a number of large retail chains, none of the outlets in our area had one on display, or were able to tell us who would.

Thankfully, the Abey showroom is in our area and we were able to see the sink. It is stunning. I think this is going to look absolutely smashing with our colour scheme!

Those who have a composite sink, please leave a comment and let me know what you think of it

Friday, August 12, 2011

Selection - Freestanding Bath

Ever since I was a little girl, I always said to myself: "When I build a house, I want a staircase, a chandelier, and a freestanding bath." Oh the naivety of youth. I may not be getting the staircase or the chandelier, but I am getting a freestanding bath!

Freestanding baths come in a wide variety of sizes, shapes and materials (and prices!). The permutations are seemingly endless: there are big, small and medium baths; round, oval, rectangular and “egg” shaped baths; metal, stone, acrylic and composite baths. They all feel different!

The most common baths are medium sized acrylic, in either an oval or a square shape. Personally, I prefer the oval acrylic baths, it suits my narrow shoulders and are not to slippery.

A beautiful, affordable "egg" shaped bath from The Bathroom Outlet.

Selection of rectangle and oval free standing baths offered by Marbletrend

A lovely stone bath from Bathroom Décor and Tiles

Choosing the correct bath is no mean feat. I strongly recommend sitting in the bath before you buy it. Time and time again, I fell in love with the way a bath looked only to find it as comfortable as one I had tried previously :(

Occasionally, a bath would tick all the boxes for look, feel and price, but be too big for the spot we had planned for it *sob*. Alas, no Luminous for me.

Me sitting in a Marbletrend Merge at my local Tradelink

After jumping in and out of at least 30 baths in Osborne Park, I settled on the Kado Lure Oval Bath from Reece. As far as acrylic baths go, it is not cheap, however, its seamless design is a winner, and for a 168 cm "midget" it was very comfortable.

Kado, Lure Oval Bath

Monday, August 8, 2011

Selection - Toilet Suite

Builder's standard:  
Caroma Profile 4 Connector Suite
The WC/Powder Room is one of the most important rooms in the house (you would be lost without it). Unfortunately, it appears to have the least amount of attention and budget allocated to it. I am guilty of this. One thing I did remember to do was upgrade the toilet suite.

The toilet suite that comes as standard with the Rendezvous is not terrible, but it is beautiful either. When you have paid so much attention to the fixtures and fittings in the other rooms, I felt that the standard toilet suite was disappointing.

Besides the look of the "hump" at the rear of the toilet, connector and close-coupled toilet suites have one major drawback: cleaning. When cleaning, this “hump” is easily forgotten, especially when you are in a rush.

The "hump" at the rear of the toilet is
easily forgotten when cleaning
 For these reasons, we decided to install a wall faced toilet suites in the WC and Powder room.

Whilst touring Perth’s bathroom stores, I was amazed at the wide selection of toilet suites. The humble loo can look quite attractive these days. Prices vary considerably, so it is worth shopping around. It is important to remember that even though the majority of toilets have 4 star water ratings, make sure you double check, especially with some of the cheaper models.

We nearly purchased an Axa Uno Close Coupled Toilet Suite from Reece. It is an attractive, water efficient toilet suite. However, having to go to Reece for spare parts was a negative, as was the price tag and additional cost to install a non-standard item.

Axa Uno Close Coupled Toilet Suite

In the end, we settled upon a Caroma Metro Wall Faced Toilet Suite. Style wise, the Metro is not as attractive as the Axa Uno. However, the cost to upgrade from a Caroma Profile 4 connector suite to the Metro wall faced suite was very reasonable. I could not have purchased and installed the toilet suites any cheaper than the price offered by Ventura.

Yet again, another WC/Powder room has had its budget slashed :/

Thursday, August 4, 2011

Selection - Where To Start Looking

Thankfully, our builder has allowed us to supply a number of items in lieu of their standard range. Not all builders will do this, and those who do, will not necessarily do it all of the time. So, if you have seen a gorgeous kitchen sink, basin, taps, etc. make sure that the option to supply your own items is included in your contract. It is important to remember that items you do supply will not be covered by the builder's insurance, so if something breaks, is stolen, is defective, etc., you will be liable.

If, like us, you wish to depart from your builder’s standard inclusions, where do you start looking?

When we started looking for basins and tapware, we went to our local specialty stores. What we quickly realised was that each store only stocks a certain subset of a given range. For example, when we went looking for freestanding baths, we had to go to three different outlets from the same retail chain in order to view the more common options. For obscure items, we would have had to order unseen and potentially pay a restocking fee if it did not look as good as it did in the catalogue.

Another thing you notice is that each retail chain aligns themselves with certain manufacturers. This means that if you want to view items from different manufacturers, you would need to visit numerous retail chains, in addition to visiting a number of their outlets.

If I had my time again, I would start with the Internet. A quick search will provide you with a list of companies who manufacture the item that you are looking at. Take your time to look at the pictures on their websites and then make a list of what you like and what you love.

When you find something you like, contact the manufacturer and ask whether they have a showroom in your area. Manufacturer's showrooms are your friend. In some cases this may be the only way to look at their more obscure or expensive items.

Showrooms are generally located adjacent to reception area. Staff will encourage you to look and touch their products. Feel free to ask questions, ask for technical drawings, and if you find something you like, ask for a list of stockists in your area.

This method, however does not necessarily work for lesser-known brands; those created specifically for a given retail chain; or, those imported directly by that store, for example some of the European and Chinese products. For these items, you will need to do the run around or order sight unseen from a catalogue.

Good Luck!

P.S If you have come across any amazing websites, show rooms, or anything else to make this process easier, I would love to hear about it in the comments section.
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