Friday, October 28, 2011

Selection - Ensute Shower Head

My partner chose the main ensuite showerhead. His one requirement was that when he takes a shower he wants to be wet rather than sprinkled on. Thankfully, he is not one for taking long showers (< 10 minutes), so having lower star showerhead is not going to make too big of a dent when the water bill comes in.

I must admit, my partner often, and rightly so, calls me a water scrooge. A running tap when shaving or brushing teeth drives me insane. What can I say; I do not like wasted water.

Anyway, the showerhead of choice is a WaterTile Rain Shower Panel by Kohler. Compared to other overhead showers it very reasonable for what it is. The WaterTile has a set of four 54-nozzle, fully adjustable spray heads. The internals are solid brass and the outside is polished chrome. What I like most is the low profile design and the fact that it is part of the ceiling, rather than it hanging down from a post, which is great for tall people!

Below is a promotional YouTube video showing the WaterTile in action.

As far as I can see, there is only one downfall to having a showerhead of this style. If you have long hair that you do not want to get wet every morning, you are going to need a shower hat. Alternatively, if you are like me, install a rail shower as well.

WaterTile Rain Shower Panel by Kohler
Close up of one of the 54 nozzle spray heads

Monday, October 24, 2011

Retail Outlets To Remember - POD Interiors

Replica Isamu Noguchi Coffee Table
I have no idea what this is
but I like it.
Fortunately/unfortunately there has not been a lot happening on the house front lately. I have decided to take a bit of a break and fanaticise about buying new furniture, light fittings and other accessories.

After making the final payment on our appliances, I decided to wander about the various stores in Osbourne Park. I will be sharing these over the next few weeks. If you have any recommendations on stores to visit, please let me know.

The first store I visited was POD Interiors, on Hutton Street. Despite looking, this is the only store where I have been able to find well priced replica designer furniture. They have all of the essentials, such as the "Le Corbusier Petit Confort" single and three seat sofas, "Isamu Noguchi" coffee tables, "John Brauer Illusion" side tables as well as some other pieces that I am not familiar with.

I must admit, whilst I love the “Le Corbusier Petit Confort" sofas and "Isamu Noguchi" coffee tables I cannot help but feel that they have become that item that everyone buys when they are looking to create a modern/contemporary space. These coffee tables and sofas have been done to death, which is a shame, because I really do like them, yet the part of me that loves to do something different screens NOOOO!

Besides coffee tables and sofas, POD Interiors has an excellent selection of bar stools. We will definitely be stopping by when it comes time to buy stools for our kitchen island bench. The only things missing, was replica designer light fittings and artwork. Does anyone know a good place for abstract/modern artwork?

Unfortunately, POD Interiors does not have a website. If you find yourself in Osbourne Park looking for something out of the ordinary, it is worth stopping in and taking a look.

P.S. Does anyone know where to buy the wall lights pictured below? I fell in love with these at the store, but unfortunately they were not for sale.

Stunning wall lights that were unfortunately not for sale.

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Selection - Kitchen Appliances

Omega rangehood with blue
feature lighting
Electrolux EHGC97BS glass gas
Electrolux ERCG9030AS glass
I must have changed my mind three or four times trying to decide whether to keep the “European styled stainless steel hotplate, oven & canopy rangehood” supplied by the builder or purchase our own.

For those who are curious, the supplied oven and cook top were Blanco BOSE902X and BCG95X respectively. The rangehood was a Blanco BWCE9X.

One thing was clear - I did not like the supplied Blanco rangehood. There is something about triangular shaped range hoods that strike me as clunky. Perhaps this style of rangehood would look ok if it was sandwiched between two overhead cupboards, but our kitchen does not have any cabinetry on the rangehood wall. This means that the rangehood itself becomes a feature and this is why it is definitely going to be replaced.

There are some absolutely stunning rangehoods available, for example Omega has a model with blue LED feature lighting.

I was torn when it came to the question of whether or not to keep the supplied oven and gas cooktop. Whilst these items are not terrible they just do not grab me. Is it worth spending an extra couple of thousand to buy a better looking oven and gas cooktop?

Our apartment has a black glass electric cooktop, which despite the extra cleaning required, looks lovely (especially on a black granite bench top). I really do love the look of black glass cooktops. Not only are they modern, but timeless. I do not think black glass is going to be going out of fashion anytime soon!

One of the main factors I considered when making my decision was how much time, effort and money it would cost to replace it a few years down the track. Because we have stone bench tops, replacing a cooktop requires not only an electrician/plumber, but also a stone mason to cut a hole for the new cooktop. There would also be the problem of finding a cooktop that is larger than the existing one, so that there would be no visible gaps.

The above argument also rings true for replacing the oven. A friend of mine recently replaced her oven. In doing so, she also needed to replace some of her cabinetry, because her new oven was larger than her old one.

I spent a lot of time asking myself whether I was being too greedy. I weighed up the pros and cons of replacing the appliances versus keeping the ones supplied. In the end, it was a 25% off closing down sale that sealed the deal. We purchased an Omega oven (OO912XN) and an Electrolux rangehood (ERCG9030AS) and gas cooktop (EHGC97BS).

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Selection - Exhaust Fan And Light Combo

Standard electrical plan, showing the
separate exhaust fan and light.

Vent Air Levin 200 exhaust
fan and light combo.

It is rare to see separate heating units and light fixtures in bathrooms today. The days of the ceramic heater attached to the wall are gone. These separate units were replaced with a single space saving appliance that combines the heating and light elements (and in most cases, an exhaust fan is included to replace the traditional ceiling vents).

Bathroom ceiling space does not come at a premium, yet for aesthetic reasons, the before mentioned components were combined. I wonder why this does not carry through to WC and powder room design.

WC and powder rooms have significantly less ceiling space than bathrooms, yet we continue to install separate light fittings and exhaust fans.
Surely, the price to install an exhaust fan and light combo must be comparable to the cost of installing separate cabling and switching required for the each component.

Irrespective of cost, I believe an all-in-one-unit looks better than having a separate exhaust fan and a separate light. From the small amount of research I have done, there appears to be three companies that make a unit suitable for installation into a WC and/or powder room: Hellar, Martec and Vent Air.

We have decided to install a square silver unit by Vent Air. Fingers crossed, having a silver unit on the ceiling will not be too overpowering for such a small room, and the light will be sufficient.

Do you have an all-in-one-unit like this? If so, was the amount light sufficient? Which unit did you buy?

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Selection - Floor Wastes

Bounty Bermuda floor grate from
Bounty Brassware as seen in a
Ventura display home.
Floor wastes are another one of those items that are commonly overlooked when making your selections. I am surprised that builders do not offer an upgrade when you do your Pre-Start meeting.

I remember a friend telling me that when he was building his house the tiler suggested that he go to Bunnings to purchase some metal floor wastes to replace the standard white plastic ones that his builder was supplying.

Tip: It is worth making a point to check with your builder whether they are supplying metal floor wastes. Plastic floor wastes may discolour or crack over time. For $5-10 extra it will cost to purchase metal ones, I think it is worthwhile.

As mentioned in a previous post, we decided to buy some fancy floor tiles. I do not know about you, but I am not a fan of floor wastes. I would rather not see my drainpipes and the associated fluff and hair that stick to the grate.

To overcome the negatives of slotted floor wastes, we have selected tile insert grates. I love the seamless look that these create. We will be installing these in the WC, Powder Room, bathroom and laundry.

Friday, October 7, 2011

So Close, Yet So Far - Chasing Paperwork (Part 2)

Just when you think everything is back on track, something stupid happens. On the 28th of September, I received what should have been our updated site classification report. Would you believe that they had spelled my partner’s name wrong?
If it were a case of spelling his surname incorrectly, I could understand. However, how do you write the wrong name?

Oh well. Perhaps someone was having a bad day. We notified them of the mistake and new reports should be in the mail.

Thankfully, we have some time up our sleeve. We are still waiting for our retaining wall detail and letter from Ventura. Fingers crossed that the retaining wall detail has the correct name written on it!

I hope that we do not have to wait too much longer. It would be great to get the site works started sooner rather than later, especially as the contractor does not have many jobs scheduled for the next few weeks.

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

So Close, Yet So Far – Chasing Paperwork (Part 1)

Our block, ready and waiting.
(Marked by the blue and white
Ventura Homes sign.)
So close, yet so far. If there were one saying to define the home building process, this would be it. We are close to starting site works, so close, but still so far because of the windy road and unexpected pitfalls.

Thankfully, these pitfalls are not insurmountable, just annoying. Today’s essay, covers the joys of applying for building permits.

Knowing that any visit to the council is never straightforward, I called ahead to ask for confirmation on the supplementary paperwork/certificates required in addition to the application. Coincidently, the Contracts Administrator from Ventura Home did this also. Both she and I had come to the same conclusion. Things were looking good.

On the 20th September, I visited the Wanneroo Council offices to submit our application. Low and behold, our application was rejected - at the front counter! The certificates I had attached had the wrong name, and two were missing. Arrghh!

Apparently, a site classification report carried out by the builder may not be submitted to council as part of your site works application. This sounds a little bit odd, because the contents would be the same despite the client name written on it.

In order to satisfy council we had to have the site classification report transferred into our name. Who would have thought that changing a name on a report would incur a $55 administration cost?

Tip: If you require a change of name on your site classification report, the builder i.e. the original client of the report must arrange this.

I can understand the above restrictions, however annoying they are. What I struggle to understand is the reason why we need to supply the additional report – a retaining wall detail. I would have though that whether or not a garage wall sitting on top of an existing retaining wall is structurally sound would be part of the construction application, not a site works application!

The final thing missing was a letter from Ventura Homes outlining the extend of our involvement in the building of our home. This, I understand perfectly. What I do not understand is why no one told Ventura or us about this!

Today is the 4th of October, we find ourselves waiting for our updated site classification report, retaining wall detail and letter from Ventura. I am hoping that we will be able to submit our application to council next week.
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