My first entry for 2021! We have officially moved into our new home and are currently in Covid lockdown for the next 5 days!! What better way to get ontop of organising and unpacking?! Our construction journey went really smoothly and Homebuyers Centre did an outstanding job of sticking to the handover date and providing us with keys the week before Christmas. We had organised for our aggregate to be poured later that week but Paul and I made the decision to postpone it until the new year because it was too hot (and risky) to lay the driveway in 40deg heat. All of that seems a distant memory now that we have been settling into our new home for just over 2 weeks.
With the construction of our new home complete, it’s time to inject some of our own personality into the place with small additions to enhance the overall look and feel of the interior. Since neither of us are handy in the slightest, I organised quotes during the build that allowed us to budget and schedule trades in once key handover took place. In this post I’ll touch base on the areas we have tackled since receiving the keys and how they have created such a visual difference already.
Cabinetry and storage
When working with my design manager on the layout and floorplan of our home, we designed certain areas with bespoke cabinetry in mind. For example, I knew I wanted a custom built office space so we pushed the window down the wall a bit to allow enough depth for cupboards and a desk etc. We also included two nib walls, dividing the study and key drop which allows me (structurally) to have a floating console with drawers between the two walls. This also helps define the two rooms, even though they are flowing on from each other. Then in the games room we pushed the sliding door down again, to allow enough depth for built in storage. I worked on some design sketches throughout the build and took them to my trusty cabinet maker Anthony from Midtown Project. He does all the custom cabinetry for my private clients and he is excellent at what he does. Our study comes off the entry so we had a beautiful 6.3m span of cabinetry built into this area with full height storage cupboards, a two person work zone with two banks of drawers, two curved-edge shelves and a key drop floating unit installed. This study fit out will be used every single day since I work from home, so I can’t wait to enjoy my spacious new workplace.
In the games room we had 4 full height cupboards, two floating shelves and a benchtop installed. This area has already been used SOO much in the two weeks we have lived here and it is home to all of Chet’s lego, cars, craft, toys, games, school work etc. Best investment ever in my eyes! The Archive handles are from Kethy Australia and have been stained (by the cabinet maker) to match Polytec Prime Oak which is slightly darker and less saturated than the original colouring. I made the decision to use smaller storage tubs because they are easier and lighter for Chet to lift in and out by himself. The 10L storage tubs below are from Bunnings and four of these fit perfectly on each shelf. The front opening tubs are kitchen organisers from Kmart. Two of them fit perfectly next to each other on one shelf and are great if you don’t want to take the whole box out. Now I just need to arrange some of those neat, little labels to go on each tub!
Ikea PAX wardrobe
In our contract we had a provisional sum allowance for a custom built wardrobe but when we looked into the Ikea PAX we were happy with the reviews and preferred to put those funds towards other upgrades at Prestart. I designed a simple wardrobe system to fit our space using Ikea’s ‘Pax Planner.’ It consists of 4 half hanging and 1 full hanging area. 10 drawers, 3 larger/deeper drawers and 8 open shelves. Both Paul and I are tall, so this design works for us but it might not be practical for shorter people because the top rail is sitting really high. In our favour, we have enough hanging height now to add a shoe shelf on each side. We organised the installation through Ikea and someone came out on a SUNDAY (super convenient) and built the whole thing/secured it to the walls for $200.00. In comparison to the provisional sum allowance and the total cost of the PAX we saved $3,000 and so far we’re really impressed.
We had Rob from Perth Bespoke Carpentry install VJ panels to our master and guest bedroom feature walls. We used a groove profile on some of our kitchen cabinetry, so I wanted to continue the repetition of line through to the bedrooms as well. There are new, trending styles of lining boards and cladding on the market, but I lived with VJ panels in my last house for over 5 years and never got bored of it so I felt that this was a safe and classic choice for the new home also. Rob was able to cut the sheets perfectly to size, allowing for the GPO points then he got stuck into the skirting boards. The profile we used is a 92mm half splayed skirting board, painted in Aquanamel Lexicon Quarter with a semi gloss finish. The quality and workmanship of the skirting board installation is absolutely beautiful and this small addition has completely transformed our new home.
In our Prestart meeting we removed some of the bathroom accessories like towel rails, to have these installed at a later date. The reason I did this is because our guest bathroom is quite narrow and I preferred to have a few towel hooks installed at a height of my choice, after handover. By having the hooks up higher it made the space feel more usable at waist/hip level. Below are some my favourite towel/robe hooks on the market- Feel free to shop the look.
During the build Chet and I started looking into feature wall options for his new bedroom. I was deciding between a feature paint colour or a wallpaper, but Chet was quick to ask for wallpaper. There is something so fun about a great wallpaper in a child’s bedroom, so I was in absolute agreeance. My next task was to find a traditional (not self adhesive) wallpaper that is age appropriate now, but also versatile enough for him to grow with throughout his primary and high school years. I narrowed the selection down to 6 wallpapers from Scandinavian Wallpaper, then got Chet to select his favourite. He actually chose the most perfect wallpaper- Not my #1 but better than the one I had in mind and it suits him to a tee. It’s busy and bold but it also has a sense of softness too (just like his personality- WILD but sensitive.) The lovely ladies (Lollo and Diane) at Scandinavian wallpaper helped me out hugely with customisation of the pattern size/scale etc, then I ordered enough to wrap two walls of Chet’s bedroom. Once it arrived Matthew from MWD Interiors installed the wallpaper to perfection, like he always does. I use both Scandinavian Wallpaper and MWD interiors for feature wallpaper in the Homebuyers Centre display homes so I know that they’re both quality suppliers/trades.
Feature wall painting
We had a painter come out to patch, fill, gap and paint the new VJ panels. I chose a beautiful muted eucalyptus tone from Wattyl called Westerley for the guest bedroom feature, and in our master bedroom we used the same as all of the other internal walls. We are also going to engage Robin to paint the limestone retaining blocks we have on our boundary (below the fence) once our landscaping brickwork is complete. If you’re keen to read up and view some inspirational rooms painted in my favourite subdued green tones, stay tuned in the coming weeks. Or sign up to receive my newsletter when it goes live (it’s next on my ‘to write’ list.)
I know furniture and upholstery can overlap into styling but I thought it was worth mentioning here too. Especially when custom pieces can enhance the overall look and cohesion of your home drastically. We had both of our main lounges upholstered to fit the space because the living and theatre room are both quite long. We also had some ottomans upholstered to fit under cabinetry or coffee tables, in fabrics that will compliment the artwork and colour palette we are wanting to achieve. To weigh up the pros and cons of bespoke upholstery, here are a few pointers to compare.
- Usually locally made.
- Extended or lifetime warranties depending on the brand.
- Thousands of fabric or leather options.
- Ability to shorten, lengthen, deepen, make narrower, fit to a specific measurement.
- Choice of leg designs.
- More choice of filling- foam, dacron, feather, a mixture of two etc..
- Choice of stitching- piped, flanged, standard, twin needle.
- Usually the seat and back cushions are able to be taken off/washed, instead of being sewn onto the frame (depending on the sofa design you choose.)
- Incurs a lead time.
- Price usually reflects a quality product.
- If selecting a different fabric than the displayed model, you might not be able to see an image or demo of how your chosen design will look ahead of purchasing.
- If selecting a different filling than the displayed model, you might not be able to test out the comfort of how your chosen design will feel ahead of purchasing.
- Some companies might not ship interstate, or will incur a premium freight charge.
- Make sure you check access for any (one piece) extra long sofas or headboards. Narrow hallways or low ceilings might prevent the product from easily being delivered in one piece.
- If you live in an apartment check the lift clearance before ordering something that won’t fit.
We subtracted the driveway and alfresco off of our contract to organise this after handover. My client’s family own Total Concrete so we engaged them to do both our front and back aggregate. We went with a bold choice for the driveway and front path, using a black exposed mix. We absolutely adore the finished product and it works really well with our facade being majority white, grey and timber. Out the back we used a white mix with grey and greenish stones throughout and I love that it doesn’t throw any cream or beige tones. They’re both Limecrete mixes- Black Pepper (dark,) Travertine (light,) poured by Total Concrete.
Next on our list
At the moment I’m not overly worried about ‘finishing our home’ or styling each room. These little additions are helping add our own personality and style to the beautiful shell it already was and it’s great to see my visions slowly taking shape. On the top of my interior shopping list are feature lighting and rugs, but this week is all about the exterior with our landscaping commencing (pending Covid lockdown restrictions.) Our reclaimed bricks were delivered last week and the concrete footings were poured for the front and back planter boxes, as well as the letterbox. You can read about our landscaping plans below along with some other entries focusing on our building process with Homebuyers Centre.
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If you have any questions regarding the additions I’ve mentioned here in this entry, please feel free to comment below and I’ll reply with an answer. Have a lovely week ahead and for everyone in Western Australia, stay safe and positive!
Homebuyers Centre WA has kindly sponsored this blog entry, based on my experience as their decorator and our own building journey. All thoughts, design work, styling and written content are my own.