Saturday, April 28, 2007

Tile Selections

This week, we did our bathroom tile selections and sorted out some issues with the paint colours. Hannah from Di Lorenzo tiles looked after us and we ended up picking the same tiles for each bathroom with only the accent tiles different.

The tiles we chose are shown here:
The wall tiles are the light colour, and the floor tile is small tile in the centre of the larger tile in the bottom right corner. The accent tile in the ensuite is the green tile in the top left corner.

Here is the accent tile for the main bathroom:

and together with the rest of the tiles:

We visited Bristol Paints today because we really liked some paint colours from Wattyl (Exterior) and Dulux (Internal feature wall). We were told they could supply the tints we wanted so now it is up to Eden Brae to see whether these colours will be accepted.

Tuesday, April 24, 2007

Colour selections

Yesterday was our colour selection day. We met with our colour consultant and proceeded to agonise over the external colour selection for about an hour. We really liked the external colours of this house:

We ended up choosing PGH Spinifex Poa bricks, Colorbond Jasper fascia, Colorbond Dune guttering and White Birch aluminium windows.

Colorbond colours are now available as a standard paint so we decided to match our front door to the fascia much like the picture above. With timber doors, darker colours can cause buckling, so it's important to only use darker colours on external doors that are shaded (like our front door - see the facade in the first blog post). The remainder of our external doors will be painted in Colorbond Dune (matching the gutters) because they are not as well protected from the sun.

We also went for a Steel-line Decro DC-40 slimline garage door. This door has a timber-look but is actually aluminium, meaning the cost is much lower and there are no issues with timber drying out, warping or rotting.

With the internal colours, a workmate with two young children recommended Taubmans Living Proof Silk. Our standard paint is Taubmans Living Proof washable so we'll be checking to see what the price difference is to go to the Silk (Teflon) paint.

We ended up choosing Taubmans Hazel Snow for most of the internal walls, with the trim in Taubmans Promised Land. We also selected a number of feature walls, one in Taubman's Cabbage Cove (family room), one in Taubman's Green Tea (Main bedroom) and one in a red still to be selected. Here is a photo of a display home showing Cabbage Cove around the fireplace with Hazel Snow on the walls and a Promised Land trim (the colour is actually nicer in real life):

Here is an image from Eden Brae's website showing a very similar colour to Green Tea on the feature wall:

The service again was excellent, even though we went over time.

Which block was it again?

A slight slip-up had occurred when our HIA insurance certificate arrived in the mail. When we checked the insurance certificate, we noticed the insurance was for the wrong block! In fact, the block insured was 3 blocks away from ours.

We're pretty sure the insurer (Vero) made the mistake because all of Eden Brae's documentation states the correct block. The strange thing is that the insurer will not insure the correct block until we return the original insurance certificate they sent us. So much for Vero's customer service. Eden Brae were quite good about the whole thing and apologised profusely for the stuff-up.

BASIX compliance

In Sydney, our State Government has introduced BASIX compliance for all new buildings (at least residential anyway). BASIX standards for building and sustainability index and supposedly helps to make sure new buildings produce fewer greenhouse gases and consume less water.

We ran into an issue with our BASIX compliance. The BASIX consultant wanted us to install energy-efficient lighting in our bedrooms and install an outside clothes line. The thing to remember with BASIX is that whatever you agree to do, you must do in order to receive an occupation certificate (so you can sell your home in future).

Most compact flourescent fixtures are expensive at the moment and the dimming ability is either limited or non-existant. Fortunately, we were able to trade the energy-efficient lighting requirement for an indoor drying line we were already planning on.

Kitchen modifications

The kitchen contractor is very busy so we met with Natalie from Hettich. Hettich supply a lot of the kitchen hardware and Natalie is one of their Kitchen designers. Overall, the service has been excellent and Natalie provides 3-D mock-ups of the proposed kitchen. Here is one of several early mock-ups Natalie did for us:

We made a number of changes:
  • Shrunk our pantry (which was huge) to make room for a wall oven and microwave and extra cupboards and drawers.
  • Added a wine rack above the fridge.
  • Specified melamine shelving and an additional appliance shelf in the pantry.
  • Replaced our benchtops with Essa Stone Crystal Salt 40mm benchtops with a waterfall edge at the end of the bench.
  • Added additional overhead cupboards.
We're also specifying our own appliances and deleting the Eden Brae-supplied appliances. Here are a couple of images (courtesy of Visio) of the proposed changes in the kitchen:

Our laundry was modified to:

  • Add a laminated broom cupboard
  • Add overhead cupboards above where the washing machine and dryer are located
  • Add a drying line spanning from the side of the overhead cupboards to the side wall.
  • Replace the Clark laundry basin thing with a laminated cupboard, sink and mixer with pull-out spray. The pull-out spray mixer allows us to wash our dog in the basin.
Here are a couple of images showing the proposed modifications to the laundry:

Our bathrooms were modified to:
  • Replace laminated benchtops with 20mm Essa Stone benchtops.
  • Replace the basins with above-counter basins (ensuite) and inset basins (main bathroom)
One thing to keep in mind when changing basins is to make sure the taps selected fit the basin selected.


We had a hiccup with the electrical pricing but that was sorted out exceptionally well with Sara at Eden Brae. The next hiccup we had was when we wanted to use a specialist automation company for our security, automation and lighting control. One of us had used Automated Lifestyles in the past when building with Gremmo Homes (if you can afford to build with these guys, do it) and their work and service was exemplary.

Eden Brae themselves did not appear to have a problem with this scenario, but the electrical contractor kicked up a minor stink. Eden Brae's electrical contractor sub-contracts their home automation stuff to another company but we prefer Automated Lifestyles. Automated Lifestyles are only a stone's throw away should any issues come up and we know what to expect when we deal with them. We can deal direct with the company principal rather than going through the builder, the electrician and then finally their sub-contractor. Eden Brae's electrician is also located 2 hours drive from our home.

At the end of the day, the contract specifies that our contractor can do the automation and Sara at Eden Brae didn't think there would be any issues.

Tender and Contract experience

The tender experience was a bit up-and-down. While Eden Brae we're probably doing their best to come to grips with the number of modifications, there were quite a number of mistakes. We went through a lot of iterations to make sure every variation was listed on the final tender. Going back and forth was very frustrating and eventually we went to the Salespeople we originally dealt with and they (Bede and Glenn at the Kellyville display homes) managed to sort everything out.

Once the contract was drawn up, there were a couple of minor issues. A pricelist for electrical variations we were given at tender stage was extremely out-of-date according to the electrical contractor. However, to Eden Brae's credit, they agreed to honour the original pricelist they gave us.

There were some small issues with a door being out of position on the plans, one of the cement render locations being incorrect and that was basically it. We think the contract stage was pretty well-handled.


Welcome to our home building blog. We're building in Sydney with Eden Brae. We're building a Memphis 31 MkII. The Memphis is a one-storey design and the basic design is available here. We've made quite a few modifications and Eden Brae have given us a guaranteed 23-week completion schedule once construction commences.

Porter Davis Homes and Eden Brae Homes have some sort of relationship and share a number of their designs. The reason we mentioned this relationship is because we've chosen a Hotham facade. Apparently not too many people in Sydney choose this facade but the facade is quite popular with Porter Davis Homes customers in Melbourne.

According to Eden Brae, most people play it safe and pick the facades of the display homes or something they've seen in person from a previous customer. We decided to go for an unusual facade because (a) we wanted something a bit different and (b) a number of Eden Brae homes are being built in the streets around us.

The basic look of the facade is shown in this image:

This image comes from the Hamilton 34 on display at Craigieburn in Victoria, and displayed on Porter Davis' website.