I thought I would start documenting our new home and the building process so far because it has been an absolute whirlwind, but in such a great way. With all the grants currently available for new home builders, my hope is that others might find this post useful or insightful (especially in regards to pre construction.) Firstly, I just want to clarify that none of our home or selections are sponsored/commissioned. When I mention brands, suppliers, trades and consultants below in this entry- it purely comes from a place of gratitude. I’ll start from the beginning and back date a bit, so I can shed some light on the timeline and how everything has progressed smoothly through the pre construction stage.
We put down a deposit on a titled block of land in January and settled on that in Feb (meaning we had formal approval from the bank and all the paperwork was signed.) The block isn’t overly big but we liked that it is in a private estate, close to where Chet goes to school, that there are local shops established and a large park being built one street away. The fact that it was already titled was appealing too, because we knew there would be no council hold ups once we found a builder/ home design. We started looking at display homes gathering ideas of what we liked and disliked, in regards to layout, finishes, inclusions etc… All we really knew is that our frontage was 15m and we didn’t want to spend a mammoth amount either. We just wanted a comfortable, classic home that looks great, without the boutique price tag.
To avoid disappointment, one of the best things you can do when visiting a display home is ask the sales rep for an ‘As Displayed Price.’ This will give you an idea of what the builder’s base price is in comparison to what they have upgraded in the display home. Some of the display homes we looked at, had upgrades of over $200K more than the base price, so in reality an average family would never be able to achieve the look being shown.
After searching for weeks and weeks we signed up to build with Homebuyers Centre and started customising the floor plan to suit our wants and needs. We felt comfortable and have confidence in the HBC team because I built my last home through them 10 years ago and only sold it only 6 months ago. I had no issues with the property… and that says a lot about their precision because at the time WA was in a huge construction boom. I also am the interior decorator for HBC so I know the brand really well and have always been astounded by the site managers attention to detail. I know I can trust them to build us another home we’ll love.
Our sales rep Jess was an absolute superstar- she was friendly, efficient, helpful and so patient with our requests. We decided we wanted a single story build with 4 bedrooms, 2 bathrooms, a larger garage (acting as a store room,) key drop, study area, theatre, living, dining, games room/ activity, kitchen, laundry, large alfresco etc… Jess liaised with the drafting team who did an amazing job making changes and we are beyond happy with the working drawings. When we settled on the floorplan, elevations and overall design we signed the Preliminary Works Contract and Contract Plans, then our broker started the home loan process. Regardless of who you sign up to build with, some upgrades you might want to consider adding into your PWC if they are not already included are:
- Raised, recessed, raked or skillion ceilings
- Internal painting
- Full height tiling
- Extra cabinetry or wardrobe fitouts
- Oversized island bench (Stone should already be included these days.)
- Ducted reverse cycle air con
- Solar Panels
- Stone benchtops to wet areas (laundry, bathroom, ensuite.)
We didn’t have to pay any extra for the bottom three points because they were already included as a promotion, as well as 30c ceilings. One thing I took out of the contract was window coverings. I can get this done when we move in and get a feel for the space. Before removing your own to receive a credit on your contract, take into consideration that window coverings are definitely not cheap- especially if you want quality sheer curtains or plantation shutters.Lots of smaller upgrades like handles, undermount sinks, extra GPO points, additional down lights etc will generally be done at Prestart. I can’t speak on behalf of all builders but you can ask your sales rep if you are allowed to put a provisional sum in your contract to go towards Prestart. This means it will be financed in your home loan.
To be honest, the finance part took slightly longer than I thought it would (understandably) because we applied for a home loan with a major bank in April which was during a global pandemic. In saying that, our broker (Peak Finance) made the whole process really straightforward. They communicated directly with the bank and builder on our behalf and kept us in the loop the whole time.
In hindsight, it was a blessing to have a little more time up our sleeve! While waiting for formal approval, we needed to start the selection phase which meant visiting the tile supplier (Crosby Tiles) and flooring supplier (Trevors,) both in Osborne Park. Ebony and Antoni from Crosby Tiles were innnnncredible! They were so, so patient and accommodating- Who would have thought doing my own interior selections would be 100 times harder than doing my clients? Nonetheless, I finally decided on tiles that are simple and classic. I know I’ll love them for a long time and that they won’t date badly either.
Then onto flooring- We chose a textured loop, wool carpet in a mid grey colour for the theatre and bedrooms. I did like the light coloured carpet in my last home but it was not practical for a young family with inside pets. For the rest of the home, we chose luxury vinyl plank flooring in a washed blackbutt tone. I also visited the Polytec and Hafele showroom to look at colours of hardware and laminates. I went there purely to view larger samples of the laminates to get a better grasp on the grain in a larger format. Another helpful tool was navigating around the Polytec website and looking at the ‘projects and gallery’ links.Now that our flooring and tile selection forms were complete, we were ready for Prestart!! Homebuyers sent us a link to our own personal portal where we could choose some of our selections online ahead of the meeting. I thought that was great because it gave Paul and I a chance to discuss upgrades and pricing together, rather than in front of another person. We pre-filled a fair bit and then met with Althea on Thursday this week for the scheduled prestart meeting- what an absolute saint this woman is! Things we upgraded were tapware, cabinetry handles, mixers, sinks, internal doors and door handles, extra GPO points, extra lighting, changed some doors to drawers in the kitchen, a third TV Data Point, wall mounted all our tv’s and a few other things specifically related to our floorplan.
My go-to light (warm) grey internal paint colour is Taubmans Barely Beige 1/4 strength and a nice light (cooler) grey is Solver Cape Horn in full or 1/2 strength. Internal doors, door frames and ceilings are always painted in Wattyl White.
Pictured above is Solver Cape Horn Full StrengthI feel like a huge weight is lifted off my shoulders now that prestart is complete, our building permit has been approved and all the paperwork is signed. Our site manager Mike is an absolute legend- I’ve worked alongside him on a display home in Southern River and he’s already expressed his excitement about the project. We can’t wait to watch the construction phase of our new home take shape over the coming months. Bring on the slab. YAY!
I won’t really be posting our selections online until the end but for anyone who is new to building and wanting some inspiration- I have put a few basic ‘concepts’ together below. *Please note* Many of these might not be classified as ‘builders standard’ ranges- they’re purely an array of selections I have accumulated as possibilities for our home or displays. Remember ‘the look’ can always be achieved for less as long as the colours and tones stay cohesive. If you have any questions about our building process so far please feel free to comment here or contact me directly.
Have a fab week!
Finger tile (feature)- Haifu White Gloss Mosaic- Crosby Tiles
Grey tile (pressed edge floor tile)- Jakarta White- Crosby Tiles
White matt tile- (pressed edge wall tile)- Matt White 201x403mm- Crosby Tiles
Stone benchtop- Pure White- Caesarstone
Cupboard 1- Polar White Matt- Polytec
Cupboard 2- Natural Oak Matt- (also available in other textures)- Polytec
Carpet- Foss ‘Dorset’- Cavalier Bremworth
Top feature paint- Deep Sleep- Wattyl
Bottom feature paint- Westerly- Wattyl
My personal preference in hardware/tapware for this scheme would be either stainless, nickel or chrome. The pressed edge can be changed out to something similar in a rectified tile, however I wanted to show something budget friendly that still looks beautiful. The whites featured above are on the cooler, brighter side.Terrazzo look tile (feature floor tile)- Stacatto Mist- Crosby Tiles
White subway- 300x100mm- Crosby Tiles
Stone bench tops- Cloudburst Concrete- Caesarstone
Cupboard 1- Bespoke Woodmatt- Polytec
Cupboard 2- Polar White Matt- Polytec
Carpet- Green square ‘740 Winter Solstice’- Godfrey Hirst
Warm Grey tile (outdoor/indoor)- Prime Stone Silver- Tile Boutique
The 400x80mm Stacatto tile would look really lovely laid in a herringbone pattern on the floor as a feature. There are square and rectangle formats available too, but it is rectified so you will need to consult your builder first to see if these can be laid. The greys featured above have a warm undertone so brushed brass hardware/ tapware would work really well with these selections.Floor tile (feature)- Oxford Black 200x200mm- Crosby Tiles
Grey wall tile (pressed edge)- Jakarta White- Crosby Tiles
Stone bench tops- Intense White- Caesarstone
Cupboard 1- Prime oak woodmatt- Polytec
Cupboard 2- Black woodmatt- Polytec
Basins- Ivory concrete- Nood Co
Carpet- Salisbury ‘Monument’- Feltex
This concept has a more contrasting palette with an urban design. The feature tile would create an impact on either the floor or shower wall if using black cabinetry to tie in a vast area of dark tiling. Brushed gunmetal or matt black tapware/ hardware would look great against the lighter grey walls.Mini herringbone (feature)- White Edge Mosaic- Crosby Tiles
Floor tile- Portofino White Rectified 300x600mm- Crosby Tiles
Stone bench tops- Snow- Caesarstone
Cupboard 1- Classic White Matt- Polytec
Cupboard 2- Casentino Beech Woodmatt- Polytec
Handles- Recessed Leather Pulls ‘Classic Grey’- Made Measure
Carpet- Foss ‘High Cross’- Cavalier Bremworth
All of the white selections in this scheme are on the creamier side which will work beautifully with a warmer palette. Rose gold or brass tapware/hardware would be my personal preference to keep a cohesive tone throughout the home.