Renovation Rookie Update for March


A process of discovery

It’s about time I give you a bit of an update to let you know where we’re at – talk about a slow process… or a process of discovery.

I am at the point where I’m really happy with the floor plan but I’m really, really struggling with what the front of the house looks like.

I brought in an architect who has solved some of the problems with getting the height right, and making sure when I get out of my car I don’t get wet, because there’s a carport and a balcony in the western side… but the house just doesn’t sing to me, and it’s funny I’m just being tortured by the fact that I got this beautiful Pinterest board that says I want this beachy Hamptons, lovely house and he’s come back with something that is not that.

I found myself going, ‘oh, I think I can work with it…’ or ‘well, maybe that’s what it has to look like,’ and I’m a bit tortured by that. So I’ve decided that I need to really sell this and have it designed with details to give the house that lovely cottage-y feel, and if he can’t do that then he’s obviously not the right guy… and that’s a conversation that is always gonna be really tough for me to have as I’m not one of those telling people the way it is, so let’s see what happens there.

I will have a meeting with my landscape architect, the amazing Myles Baldwin, and will let you know how it goes.

Meeting with the architect and the landscape artist

The thing that I’ve really discovered about this whole thing is that it’s such a process.

Trying to get the DA in is really the first stage, and it’s quite of a crude stage in terms of design. For me, I sort of got a picture of what my house is supposed to look like, and when I see what Richard – the architect – has done, I look at the house and it’s not singing to me.

I was like, ‘Ok, what do we do to make it really the house I want it to be?’ so in years to come, when I drive down and look at it I can go, ‘It’s gorgeous, and pretty, and looks lovely at night!’ For me to reach that stage and know now, in the DA stage, whether that’s gonna happen or not is being really challenging for me because I can’t see it (yet).

So today was about getting Richard down with what he’s designed at the side of the house, and bring in Myles Baldwin, a fantastic landscaper who I used on my old place, to soften the front of the house with landscaping and really make it softer and prettier. That was today, and it was great.

We’ve looked at all the plans, and I feel it now, when Myles comes back with his new drawings and Richard just sorts a couple of things on his side for their work together… Fingers crossed.

Close to finding a builder

So, I met with a couple of builders.

What I’ve done is I’ve spoken to really good friends of mine who have been through this building/renovating process numerous times about who they trust. I’ve spoken to three builders now who are all highly recommended, and I trust my friends to say these guys are great. So it’s good. I’ve had initial meetings. I really like two of them, and they gave me a bit of a ballpark and it’s quite a difference in price. I think what I’m gonna be looking at, essentially, is the fact that I want them to just give me a figure on just the build – like kitchen, bathrooms, and walls – and I separately will price out all the joinery and different things like that that I know I’ll be needing as time progresses.

It’s good. I don’t know what it will come down to. It’s good to initially get that first meeting down, and to get an understanding of asking things like, ‘are they on the tools?’ I want a builder who’s basically on the job – I don’t want a site manager, I want a builder who’s on the job. I wanna know how many projects are they working on at once. I wanna know when the holidays are so I know when they’re around, when they’re not gonna be here. Things like builder’s warranty insurance, all their tradees… Do they have their insurance? Are they up to date? What does a contract look? Is it a hybrid contract or is it a standing contract?

That aside, we’ve got the Undercover Architect who’s very clever. I’ve been reading a lot of her information, so I ask a lot of those questions to these builders which really gave me a good picture about who it is I’m working with.

We have to lock it down when it comes down to price, but I really feel good about the people I’ve spoken to. I also think the less I talk to, maybe the less confused I’ll get, because to be honest with you I get a bit swayed… Every time I speak to someone I get a bit “Oh that’s a good idea!” So I’ve got to just be really, really certain about what I want to achieve at this house and stick to my guns because it’s a lot of information that’s coming towards me.


renovation road map, undercover architect, renovation rookie
Helping homeowners like you get it right – simply and with confidence – when planning your future reno or new home project.

Deborah Hutton

Deborah Hutton is the publisher of Balance by Deborah Hutton. She is passionate about helping woman to define their own recipe for balance

1 Comment

  1. Peter Bowen

    March 9, 2017 at 11:44 am

    So pleased it’s coming together?

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