It’s the little things

We’ve been granted the world’s longest mortgage to extend and renovate Harry’s Money Pit! Huzzah. Now there’s a whole lotta money in the bank burning the world’s biggest hole in my pocket while we plan our big renovations. In the meantime, we’re getting a few “little things” done around the house to make our lives just that little bit easier.

Firstly: I’ve ordered a new automated garage tilt door and automated gate opener. These are from Doors Direct, and we’ve ordered a timber-batten version like the image below, because we’ve decided we can’t afford, nor really need, to build under the house:

garage door timber-battens-1200x900

Once painted it will look a treat, although I haven’t yet received the quote (but they were totally on it! Might only take a week to make and install, given their speed of service thus far). For the last 5 years we’ve been getting out of our cars, opening the front gate and garage door by hand, driving in or reversing out of the garage, then doing it all again. Time to save a bit of time. We live on a busy street and need privacy, security and dog protection, hence the fence and gate and garage door ballet that is our life (sometimes we just park our car round the corner because doing this 3 times a day gets old fast).

The other thing we’re doing right now is ordering plantation shutters for the bedroom and front room. I’m not a fan of curtains in our hot, humid climate, where material smells/fades/gets mouldy. And this is a thing we’d promised ourselves once I’d finished painting the bedroom. Well, I haven’t finished painting the bedroom, but this sure as hell will put the boot in my butt to get this done! They’re coming over next week, and it’ll be fun working out how many we’ll need, as we have banks of windows in each room. Are these counted as singular or grouped?

plantation shutters the blind space

We’re also getting quotes on the house painting of the exterior: the guys doing the job next door (who are doing a BEAUTIFUL job), are coming over tomorrow to chat. Of course, they can’t do much until we get the various outside bits done that need doing.

OH! And we’re ordering air-con for the bedroom and studio. I’ve had it with humid summers. And I don’t think I can get through another summer without some kind of night-time drying system. (I’ve found out that instead of using the “cool” setting, if I use the “dry” setting on the air con, the temperature setting can be higher and still feel just as cool as the “cool” setting, saving us moolah.) So of course we’re putting in solar. What with these dry winters and hotter-than-average-temperature summers, it makes sense to take pressure off the grid, and reduce our bills at the same time, while still enjoying some cool inside air.

And maybe, just maybe, I’ll order some new ceiling fans and inset ceiling lights for the bedrooms and lounge. Maybe.

It’s the little things…

The architect is coming! The architect is coming!

This is it. Today is the day when I get to see all the plans finally laid out on paper. I’ll let you know how I get on.

When I spoke to my mum who’s a long-time renovator and savvy house planner we agreed the costs will be about 30% over what the bank has lent us to do minor renovations. To build the studio and renovate the front of the house, I think will cost about $120,000. She agrees. We were only extended about $80,000, which has to include architect’s fees. I can probably scrape together some more money but it’s fighting for supremacy with overseas travel plans, one remaining credit card bill (DH loves me but forgets that I have to pay the bill from his gifts to me) and the last remaining school fee mega hit (huzzah, and fees are halved after July).

So near and yet, so far. I guess the alternative would be to do the West Wing first, plus update the house front (giving us our 4 bedrooms and 2 bathrooms), then go to the bank and ask for more to complete the remainder.

This is probably the BEST and most cost-effective solution but it still doesn’t get us the extra studio space. Yet. However, when I did some sums on what we could feasibly borrow if our house was worth $900,000, we would have nearly enough for the whole remaining shebang. It depends, of course, on the builder’s costings. Our guy is not cheap, but he is thorough, and as far as I know provides an accurate cost appraisal. And if we don’t change too many things on the run our costs should remain consistent. Problem is, as soon as you add 10% overruns, 10% GST, architect and contractor’s fees, plus council fees, it cuts everything up. So the initial $80,000 becomes about $55,000. Not a lot of money left for building stuff.

But it MIGHT be enough to fix up the West Wing, do the electrics and plumbing, add 2 new bathrooms and renovate the facade, buy a new stove and fridge, plus change a wall in the main house and add built in bookcases. Ah, compromises. At least we still have walls and a mostly working roof.

(Small Edit: I’ve not put a careful figure on our renovations but I believe it’s in the vicinity of about $3000 per square metre. I think this is too much, and when I put $2000 per square metre against the renovations it all becomes much more reasonable, also given that our house is a simple wooden cottage it’s not too expensive to change it.)

renovation compromise