Thursday, 28 June 2012

Our First Visit to Studio M

Before our Tender appointment, my Mrs and I wanted to be fully prepared, so that we could get Metricon to include prices of not only items that are structural variations, but also others (eg. tiles, splashbacks). This way, we hope to not worry much about paying a significant amount of money through our savings on post contractual variations. With that in mind, we made a trip to Studio M – Metricon’s Selection Centre at Baulkham Hills, Sydney.

From what I have read, they have a range of specification and colour options to choose from – all under one roof, although I noticed the display options are not as wide as the ones you see in the video - see below (I guess the Studio M that is on the video is at Melbourne?). 

I am glad we do not have to worry about brick selections, as Metricon is offering Hebel as part of its promotion. We had been to Metricon’s Camden Hills display house to check out the Hebel and we are happy with it.

We also visited on the same day Di Lorenzo (as we prefer tiles over laminate flooring in the living areas of ground floor) and shortlisted the floor tiles in living areas. I am sure we will make more trips to Di Lorenzo before our actual appointment to shortlist tiles for other areas.

Next, we want to visit Carpet Call to check out laminate and carpet options, as we generally prefer laminate flooring over carpet upstairs. 

Monday, 25 June 2012

Bank Approval-1

Our Lender has formally approved our loan application to purchase the block of land at Brooks Reach. I was anxious on the valuation; however, came at the same price as the purchase price minus the rebate Stockland is offering to support BAL 12.5 rating to our house (costs to address bushfire concerns). Fortunately, the rebate is only $5K; so, we decided to fund that amount from our savings.

Exciting to hear that Stage 1 at Brooks Reach has been registered and we (part of Stage 2) are soon to follow (by end of July).

Tuesday, 12 June 2012

Near Map

Aerial view of Brooks Reach and our Lot

The NearMap mapping tool that provides aerial views is awesome. Check out the development that is happening at Brooks Reach estate and our block of land (see the pointer) as of last month.

Tuesday, 5 June 2012

Our Story So Far...

Dining and Outdoor Room Additions  that we will have to the Standard Floor Plan (see below)

We are a family of four: V & V and our two children, M & M (our girl, 6 and our baby boy, 4 months). This blog documents our journey of building our home at Brooks Reach, Horsley, NSW. We have been pursuing to build our dream home a little over a year on a sloping block of land we owned; however, for various reasons, did not move forward. We therefore changed to Plan B: Listed the sloping block of land on the market; Planned to purchase a flat block of land at Brooks Reach, Horsley; and Build a house using a project builder well known for its designs – METRICON. Initially, we liked the Liberty design, as it has a guest bedroom with ensuite downstairs; however, we also want to have a small multipurpose room downstairs, plus an easily accessible bed room immediately next to the Master bedroom upstairs.

In late-May 2012, my Mrs and I met a Sales Consultant (SC) – RH – who listened to our specific needs and suggested that we look at the Phoenix display home (instead of making changes to Liberty at a significant cost). We stepped into Phoenix (two display houses away from Liberty at Freemans Ridge (Carnes Hill / Horningsea Park) and instantly knew that Phoenix was the one! After discussing potential changes to the design, we decided to put our $1000 deposit on the same day. We collected information on display home variation prices, standard inclusions and Imagine Promotion (over 100 items at no additional cost) and did home work for a week before meeting RH a week later. Our leisurely meeting with RH lasted for over 2 hours and we considered various structural variations. We made further changes to the design weeks after this meeting; RH was accommodative. Following is a summary of major variations:

Downstairs, Sitting is converted to a Guest bedroom; Powder room is redesigned to include a shower (and may be an ensuite); Study converted to a multi-purpose room with double cavity sliding doors; separate Dining and Outdoor rooms added – see picture above – just like the display home (instead of squishing dining space between Family and Kitchen); and Pantry & Laundry entry and exit doors redesigned to suit our specific needs. 

Upstairs, we retained the design of all bedrooms; however, we realised the Leisure space could be used more pragmatically and decided to convert one of the BIWs in an adjacent bedroom into WIW and use the remainder of space to include a Walk-in-Line closet; of course, this would reduce the Leisure area and make it appear like a child retreat, which we are OK with. We also requested to include a hand basin in the WC area upstairs, so that the bathroom and WC that would now look like a Powder room can provide more utility value. 

Throw in the Plantation fa├žade with the balcony upstairs and portico downstairs – see the picture where our Blog title appears – and we are looking at 44 squares compared to the standard Phoenix 38. The orientation and look is the same as the one in the picture however with Hebel render throughout (instead of tiles on pillars). Our modified Phoenix will thus have 6 bedrooms, two with ensuites; 1 study; 1 bathroom; 1 WC with hand basin; family; dining and outdoor rooms; and kitchen, pantry and laundry.

Using Metricon's GeoSite 3D software, we chose an orientation of the home that complemented the land (read: maximise natural light and reduce energy costs) (although this orientation meant that our drive way would be longer and thus a bit expensive). The software also helped us to visualise how the sunlight enters our home at different times of the day in both winter and summer as well as how the home will look from every angle. Brilliant. For those new to this feature, see

Our land of 734 square metres (15 m Wide and 40 m long on one side and 54 m long on another side) at Brooks Reach, Horsley is expected to be registered in a couple of weeks, after which Metricon plans to send an engineer to undertake preliminary site investigation to determine site costs more accurately. Meanwhile, our SC generated an estimate based on our requirements and planned to send them to the head office in preparation for the Tender presentation, scheduled on 20 July. We have also forwarded to Metricon many of the documents provided by the developer (Stockland) including detailed bushfire assessments and geo tech reports.

We are glad to be building in a new subdivision of land at Horsley. When completed, Brooks Reach will include 630 home sites and will feature desirable aspects such as parks, cycle ways and open spaces. The Dapto mall is only a 4-minutes drive from our block of land and the Shellharbour mall that has recently been revamped is 15 mins away. I also have a greater level of trust with Stockland that has fixed its prices for sale (non-negotiable), so all owners have an opportunity to get a fair valuation of their land for the purposes of obtaining bank loans. Likewise, our SC (RH) has been outstanding so far; she plans to be regularly available at the soon-to-be constructed two Metricon display houses (Mantra and Kalarney), about 400 metres from our future Metricon home at Brooks Reach estate.

Here is a link to Brooks Reach Estate web site:

Brooks Reach estate also has a community web site with loads of information. I am yet to connect with any of the land owners, but I am hoping it is not far away. 

Here is the link to the community web site:

I will post specific variations in another post.