Yesterday (Wednesday 10/2/16) we went and sat down with the builder and he drew some features with us in realtime.
Some minor changes to the plan (I don't have any screenshots to post as I don't have a copy of the model - I'll see if I can get it for future stages!) from my originals.
First, the rear wall from the living area to the bedroom and laundry/bathroom all line up now - this means the bathroom has grown as as the laundry, but more importantly the roof design is easier.
Eaves are 450mm because that's the sheet width normally used. I'd done a sun study on the North Windows/Doors and ideally we need a 600mm eave there to stop the sun hitting the floor inside these doors in summer - we will try and come up with a solution further down the track, as doing a 600mm eave on the whole house adds a bunch of cost and complexity that's a bit uncalled for (you'd need to batten it out every 450mm and cut the sheets into 600mm lengths around the whole house!!)
The front entryway roof looks better to us as a hip roof and a standard eave all around, instead of the sloped up roof and parapet wall. It also reduces the risk factor that adding an internal gutter would have added which was eating at me, so ultimately happy to see this and that it looks so good! It also means we can pick some sort of feature render for pillars here.
Children's bedrooms have built in robes now - this is because the walk in robes were too small to comfortably stand in with shelving; going to built in robes gives the same space for storage; but opens the rooms up by 200mm in one direction as well!
They've run with double awning sash windows which are quite wide (three sashes - a fixed glass pane in the middle). They also put an awning sash window in the east side of the living area between the two north facing doors. The entertainer door is a 6 section door which opens from the center but should give good flow through. We decided against bi-folds as they don't seal as well and I have a few sets at work that are only a year old and already giving grief with opening/closing and chewing out seals.
Laundry we plan to run an in bench basin, under bench washer and space for a future (condenser) dryer, we also specified a full height broom/mop/vacuum/ironing board closet and overhead cupboards.
The seperate toilet has remained and dimensions stay the same, we had to get the provision for basin re-added in as they'd re-jigged the pantry area. The pantry intially was too small by their observation, so they have deleted the display area opposite the theatre. This isn't the end of the world - it actually means an ideal location for a massive hanging artwork, something we will have to make sure we do soon after building otherwise it'll probably never happen!
They suggested we convert the pantry to a butlers pantry - adding a sink only costs $250 for the sink, plumbing etc!! There is a little cost to adding a cabinet and overheads compared to basic shelving; however I compromised by putting shelving to one wall and cupboards to the other (when you open the door to the pantry, you will see the cupboards, the shelving will be visible once you actually walk in). The shelving is going to be fully adjustable so we can adapt it to suit our appliances.
Because the wall for the laundry and bathroom has grown, the splashback window area in the kitchen shrunk/moved rearwards. To help free up space in the kitchen for the pantry, and to assist with allowing the splashback window to be centered in its space, we moved the fridge around to the rear wall. We're leaving a 1000 space even though our current fridge fits in an 820mm space - mainly to allow us to open the door wide enough to remove the shelves; and also to allow us to upgrade to a larger fridge if required in the future.
We've opted for no handles on the overheads (just a lip underneath to open), and also to have a custom window made for the splashback, running from the benchtop all the way to the underside of the overhead cupboards. This adds some complexity, but should give the best look. There's about 500mm each side of the splashback window to locate powerpoints and coffee machine etc. We'll need to pick a tile for these areas as you can't really use glass because it will return onto the window frame and tiles will work better for that purpose.
The island bench will house the sink and the dishwasher, we will put the microwave in the pantry cupboards as we rarely use it. The oven will be centered under the splashback and the rangehood will be concealed in the overheads. We're not yet sure if we're going to cover the kitchen area with a 2400mm ceiling bulkhead or just run a bulkhead to the top of the overheads - we don't want a dust catcher on top of the cupboards though (our current rental and the one before had that!!!)
We're also positioning the overheads higher than normal to match the rangehood's required height. This means the window gets bigger; but also that I'm much less likely to hit my head - which is a big win!
The island had been drawn as 900mm with no waterfall edges. The builder feels waterfall edges have run their course; we partially agree - especially as I read an article the other day that pointed out that it means nobody can comfortably stand or work at the ends. Sarah wants a 1200mm island and the builder agreed that a decent island bench can just about sell a house on its own. We want caesarstone tops here and the builder showed us one with 700mm edges that looked amazing so we will probably do that. To support the tops and allow stools to fit underneath, we are going with an additional half depth set of cupboards on the dining room side. We'll certainly have plenty of storage!
The living room end of the island lines up with the fridge cavity and hence the "edge" of the kitchen. This end does not have a waterfall end on it but does have a powerpoint for appliances to be used on the island. The other end facing the entertainer door will have a waterfall end. The sink will be at this end.
The shelving in the walk-through robe is split which means more room to move around - we should still have very good storage and space there. The builder has added a window to the WC and also we discussed a window for the ensuite - initially he suggested many people would go a big window here so you can see out while in the bath however we prefer a tall slim window for our privacy. Because this faces east we should still get plenty of natural light in there in the mornings.
We also discussed concealing the door to the Walk Through Robe (I think I'll just write WTR now!) by designing a feature wall using craftwood rectangles of varying heights - the builder thinks this will be reasonably easy to do (we saw this in a display home and felt it was really cool).
We didn't discuss doing a concealed door for the pantry, which I've just thought of now - I'll bring that up next time we meet; it's hardly a deal breaker and will depend on the finishes we choose - if we go for a feature wall there it might work. The pantry door will be opposite the island to ensure you can still access it if someone has the fridge open - the space where the fridge was may be replaced by a large blackboard or potentially a feature wall.
Hopefully when we get further down the track I'll be able to grab a copy of the sketchup model to play with finishes/apply our colours and do some renders; that would be nice.
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