Montague 21

19 December 2016

Electrical appointment

Reading different blogs and scouring the forums it seems to be the consensus that you do not do anything with electrical upgrades that you can do post hand-over. I am fairly certain that I could find a slightly better and cheaper deal than the one Porter Davis gave us, but seeing as we are building a single story access home the profit will not justify the headache. And so we decided to do all the electrical upgrades with Porter Davis except the light pendants as their choice of fixtures is very small and we would like a couple of statement piece light pendants. Our major expenditure was ceiling fans which are absolutely perfect for sleeping during the hot summer nights if A/C is too much for you.
I do not have the exact pricing for anything because we did not receive it with our paperwork but each ceiling fan for the bedroom with a light fixture on it cost approx 350$. We added another very nice ceiling fan to the living area and the grand alfresco each at a cost of approx 500$. I am sure they will prove to be a smart investment.  
Some of the other main additions:
We added a few flood lights to the outside with motion sensors which will hopefully scare off any wrongdoer coming towards our house.
we added a total of 14 power points because they are only about 50$ each and because no one ever regretted not installing a power-point.
We also added 11 LED lights.
And two noggins for where we would put our future pendant lighting- one above the dinning table and one above the Kitchen island.

Two other things we didn't get are a door bell because A- people can knock and B- you can definitely get much cheaper (also battery powered) door bells elsewhere. And the second thing is an alarm system, there are much cheaper options and all of them include installation so especially with a one story home I do not see the point of getting one.

All in all we ended up paying $5,080

This concludes our World of Style visit,
Hope you've found it helpful and informative.
Let me know in the comments if you have any questions :)

Bathroom selection

We went with the standard tiling for the bathroom in Simplicity Dark Grey for the walls and the floors for a seamless look. When choosing the tiles having a matte finish helps with disguising hair and dirt. When choosing a color, if it is too light or too dark you'll have an issue with seeing every spec of dust so we went for something in the middle, once we build the house I'll be able to let you know if my masses of dark hair finally met their match! We are also taking the shower tiles all the way to the ceiling, I'm having second thoughts about this part as it might look odd to take it all the way up and not do an entire wall. Did anyone reading this do a similar thing? Care to share?
We also have some feature tiling under the mirrors in both bathrooms and around the bathtub in the main bathroom in Bricklane Cemento. We also decided to indulge ourselves with a nicer shower rail for the ensuit and move the promotion shower rail to the main bathroom. Cupboard and benchtop same wooden laminate design called Domain.

List of upgrades:

Extending tiles to ceiling in both bathrooms- $210
Bricklane Cemento feature tiles- $200
Lexi Square twin rail shower- $293
Moving promotion shower rail to main bathroom- $35 (can't believe they charge you for this)
Kado Cirque Rd basin- $74 each= $148 (only upgraded in ensuit)
2 Toilets- $40
Toilet roll holder- $70

same tile as the one on top just with how it should be if it weren't for the bad photo light

 That's it for now! electrical selection coming up next~


After the exterior design part of Wos in which it was mainly "standard is fine, thank you" we went to the Kitchen selection in which it was UPGRADE EVERYTHING!!! well... maybe not everything, we kept the appliances (sort of) but seeing as the kitchen is the most important part of the house (imo anyway) it should be met with a strong budget. How did I come up with the $20k budget? I actually contacted some kitchen manufacturers and asked them for an approximation on building a new kitchen so I'll know how much it would cost me to change the kitchen post handover and so $20k seemed like a reasonable figure. It is outrageous to think about the mark-up and the fact that it's just upgrades and not a whole kitchen from scratch but I made my peace with it before hand so I can enjoy the process.

Our style of kitchen is classic.
our upgrades:
Colonial square profile and silk finish- $5k upgrade
Category 4 Silestone benchtop to island - $830
Category 1 Silestone benchtop to ext kitchen option- $1k (apparently if you choose a non standard house then the extended kitchen is not covered by the promotions, though floors are, no idea how they make these rules)
1 bank of 2 drawers - $150
1 bank of 3 drawers - $213
fancy shmancy bin drawer - $539
upgraded handles - $300
Sink - $509
back-splash tiles just a small area (make sure you're sitting down for this) - $2k (Australian made and custom made per order, I had too, was the only one I liked, don't judge me 😨)
Integral dishwasher- tons of money! tbc.. still negotiating this. for now it stands at around $2600

With the expensive dishwasher (which I will try and justify in a minute) we are looking at around $13.5k.
The deal with the dishwasher- I am spending so much money on this classic kitchen and the standard free dishwasher is stainless steel and is in a central location of the kitchen. I thought about moving it to the island but then the sink needs to move too and I love how you can see the outside from the sink and it's the perfect prep area so the only choice I have is to have an integrated dishwasher. The board from Kitchen culture is priced at around 800$ and the dishwasher at 1800$, I'm trying to see if there is a cheaper dishwasher option as they quoted me for a blanco and not for the Technika which should be cheaper, pray it's a lot cheaper.

Island - Gunmetal and Lagoon for benchtop
Base kitchen and overheads - White
Tiles - Infinity Brighton - Mineral

Tiles, will be in a slightly light blue color

our stove

beautiful tap!

great sink

base kitchen and below island

color inspiration

Post tender update: we decided not to have a dishwasher so we were refunded $500 for the promotional tecnika one and we will simply get a white dishwasher post-build that will blend better with the kitchen.

Exterior and floors

As we already went to World of Style (WoS) during the weekend we knew what we wanted to get which made the whole process exciting rather than stressful. But alas we started the day off with a major disappointment! We were told by our sales consultant that we have colorbond roof included (which is much better than a cement tile roof for durability, maintenance and quality of water if we add a water tank, google it). But Wos told us that colorbond roof is not in our contract and is a 3k upgrade!! (say what?!) it kind of ruin the first hour of the experience for me.
Update: A day later and Wos got back to us saying we can have the colorbond for free because they confirmed it with our sales consultant! omg! what a win!! we were almost ready to say yes and spend $3k, good thing he remembered :)

First part of the WoS day is choosing the exterior. We upgraded the brick to Cat2 Access Parchment bricks for $672 because the lightest standard brick color was a bit orangey and we are going for a classic design. Also I want a rose garden at the front that would pop against a light brick. Our roof, colomns and door are the same blue grayish dark color. I think the color scheme is lovely and the red (roses), white (brick) and blue (roof&door) will make for a nice house on Australia day :)
Brick upgrade option

standard option
The floor and carpet are both standard. The carpet is Cat1 Rivendell in Latte colour and the flooring is Cat1 Manhattan (laminate) in Spotted Gum

The wonderful designers at world of style know their stuff and they nailed our design preferences and made sure colors don't clash. I love it that when we wanted a color that clashed with our other colors they weren't afraid to say so.

Next post I'll write about the kitchen~

BIG TIP: in Wos you can only see a small section of the bricks and floors and roof etc. so it's hard to know how it would look on a whole house. after your Wos visit (not appointment!!) make notes of the various things you liked and google their name and try to find whole house images for them, you can also go to the forum:  and use the search box and you might find even more images to help you make your decision :)

18 December 2016

World of Style- how to do it right and what is it good for?

Wos (World of Style) has it's positives and its negatives. as longs as you focus on the positives then you'll have a good experience.

1. You get everything done at the same place, for some homes on the same day.
2. You get interior designers to help you choose everything as opposed to doing it yourself, some shops hire sales people regardless of their design experience and they wont be able to advice you about color schemes.
3. Everything you choose comes with installation, you don't need to run around asking for quotes and finding a professional for every little thing.
4. Everything you choose goes into the final quotation and eventually your home loan, so even the blinds and light fixtures are taken into consideration. Whereas if you choose to do it post build then you might have to find the whole sum for these things right away.
5. Everything PD puts in your home is covered by them, one place to go to if things goes wrong/break.

1. The most obvious negative is the price mark up. If you consider the installation cost then it might be fair but you're still paying a little percentage to Porter Davis. The mark up can become very big and you might want to opt into installing many things yourself post handover if you are building a huge double story home then you should probably do the extra electrical yourself, the flooring yourself etc.
2. The blinds and the outside- are sooooo expansive that you really should do it post handover (most of the places that sales blinds and driveways provide installation anyway)
3. What you see is what you can choose from. You want a different color? you want something special in your kitchen? some of those things, if they don't have it then you can't get it.
4. For small homes you only get one day that is super rushed and if there are changes you want to make you either do it by emails or at tender.

Tips! Go to Wos before your color selection appointment! this is crucial! Even though we went to Wos before our appointment, things were rushed and we were so lucky to have picked most of the products already. Go on the weekend and come in as early as you can. You'll have the same interior designers to help you choose almost everything. In most cases they wont be able to tell you the price but they'll ball park it for you if you ask nicely. You can also do some research at home before your appointment and come prepared. For example, we wanted fans in the bedrooms and a few downlights throughout the house, so we went to Wos and took note of their products and what it would cost us to install the same things post handover and it wasn't a big deal for our one story home so on our appointment we weren't surprised about the price for the electrical that we ended up getting and we weren't second guessing ourselves.
I can't stress enough how much of a good experience it is when you are aware of how much you are going to spend. make a budget. I decided to spend as much as 20k on the kitchen so spending around 15k eventually was a nice thing. up tp 6k on electrical- ended up spending 5.5k. Decide what NOT to spend money on- door bell is easy to do after hand over, alarm system- all the companies I've seen offer installation at a cheaper cost. You want to upgrade taps? floors in the bathroom? do you spend that much time in the bathroom? it adds up, make sure you think about it before going to your appointment, it's easy to say "yes, upgrade" for things when you're there because it's pretty but you don't actually need it. Practice saying "standard is fine".

Next post is the color selection appointment with most prices..


30 October 2016

The Montague 21 ~

On a rare sunny day in Melbourne I packed up my husband and his parents to see some display homes. Boy oh boy the first houses were sooooo exciting and shiny and amazing and this is so much fun!!! and about five display homes in and this is melting my brain, I can't see another display home, I think I'll just pitch a tent on our land and call it a day.
Looking at the quality of the Porter Davis display homes we decided we are probably going to go with them, so I opened my phone (Praise to the gods of smart phones who enables us to see display homes with a few clicks) and saw the layout of the Montague 21 and had a great feeling that this is the house we've been looking for. After convincing my husband that the real deal is waiting for us in a display village about an hour and a half away we went to our very last display home. As we went into the Ibiza display of the Montague 21 (with the 4th bedroom, living, extended kitchen and grand alfresco options) my husband and I looked at each other and said "this is it". The greatness of the Montague is that it is efficiently and beautifully built. I love the big window in the kitchen and how you can see the whole back yard from the living areas. In my opinion it is the best configuration of open concept living. As we were indulging in the excitement of our new treasure we received a call from our Porter Davis sales consultant (coincidence? more like FATE!) who was excited to hear we found the house of our dreams and proceeded to crush it by telling us how much the site costs will be- a whooping 43k dollars!!!!!! 😬

Just what we need!

The sales consultant was an amazing person to deal with, is extremely friendly and understanding and took his time to explain in details the pricing. It's not about the fact that we need to pay 43k for the build but the surprise that we need to. Every big spend we have as long as we are aware that it's going to be big then we go to it with a smile.
After we received our land we revisited him and signed the contract, by that time the prices went up but there were pretty good special offers. The access range (our precious Montague) in that time made itself unavailable to our zone but because our lot is just on the edge of the zone and we already discussed building that house he allowed us to go with the Montague at no extra charge- did I say how amazing he is already? well, he is!
Honestly, my experience with Porter Davis thus far has been nothing but pleasant.

Plain on the outside, extraordinary on the inside!

08 October 2016

How to choose your house and construction company.

The process of building a house is very confusing and can get stressful. Financially, it is very difficult to gauge how much it will actually cost you. What is included in the price of the standard house? what about hidden costs of electricity? blinds? furniture? fence? OMG! can we afford this? No way I am getting a laminate bench-top, how expensive is the stone upgrade? a simple google search will reveal upgrade lists of what other buyers paid for. Thank god for the kind people who prepared me to the approximately 13k dollars I ended up paying for the kitchen upgrades in WOS. If it weren't for them I would have had a heart attack instead of a good time picking my dream kitchen.
The other decision which is one of the hardest is with what building company to go with. Going through display homes with their designer furniture and top of the range finishes , you can't stop yourself from thinking, I can live here! But don't be blinded by the billions of LED light-fixtures that make the houses seem to sparkle, look at the floors- do they look even? do they squeak? look at the corners, is the craftsmanship good? are there any weird edges to the house? look at the roof at the bricks, look at the actual house, this is what you're mainly paying for. google the building company that you like their display home, read reviews carefully. I find that some people write bad reviews because a sales person didn't get back to them soon enough, even though it is annoying, it is not a legitimate reason to go for a different builder. legitimate reasons are problems with the structure of the house, the slab, the craftsmanship.
twinkle twinkle LED light

After talking to some friends who built with Porter Davis we decided to put them at the top of our list together with Carlisle Homes and Burbank.
And off we went to the glamorous world of display villages...
One story or two stories? standard range home or luxury range?
It's easy to get distracted by amazing grand houses but we had to remember that we don't need or want (or afford really) a grand house with so much to clean, with the money we are saving we can afford to decorate the hell out of our new home and get all the upgrades we want. Also, if you think about it, it takes just 1 iRobot to clean a single story home :) and honestly, I am sooooo lazy, I detest staircases. Even though two story homes provide more yard space they require me to do unwanted activities. No thank you.

10 September 2016

The story of our land

That fence needs to go
A few months ago our rental apartment in Coburg got broken into (as many apartments do in Coburg). As we were considering where to move next we've decided to buy a house instead of wasting money on rent. We looked into buying in Altona North as Yarraville is no longer anywhere near our price range, honestly, the price spike this year also made Altona North out of our price range but any further than that and I'd have to camp outside my work place in the extremely expansive suburb of Hawthorn to get to work on time. As I was browsing through the I stumbled upon a piece of land in Altona North well within our price range!! (suspicious!) we swooped in, made an offer and got our piece of land, in a close proximity to the oil refinery... oh well... can't have it all and hopefully it closes down one day.
Our glorious land
The pic shows the land as 550 but is actually 557m2 WIN!!

Now on to finding the right house at the right price.... exciting times!!!