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Showing posts from February, 2011

Buying blinds online: is it worth the risk?

Our first online blind buying experience is now complete.

Following from our earlier posts, we ordered our blinds from Blinds Online on 31st December, when they were closed for Christmas.  They sent us a tax invoice/receipt when they re-opened on 4th January.  It was only this week that they called to advise that our order was ready to be picked up, after I emailed checking on progress.

I had earlier emailed in late January and received an email that their factory had only returned the week before.

We felt let down about this because there was no mention of the factory staying closed for so long on their website, or when the order was taken.  They only communicated with us after we contacted them. The online ordering system simply tells you that your order is "in production" - it doesn't add any value by giving estimated completion dates.

And they had a substantial sum of our money from 4th January too.

Having said that the staff, via email, telephone and in-person, hav…

Wall decals - a little bit of colour

During the week, my favourite online deals site, Zazz, offered wall decals and we bought one to put along a wall beside our stairs. I ordered it Wednesday, it arrived Friday, and with some little helpers I applied it today.

We have a few others already, in the children's rooms, that we've bought when heavily discounted via outlets at Moorabbin Airport DFO.

This $18 Zazz deal was for a wall decal that incorporates a clock.  It only took about 20 minutes to apply the decals and a trip to Bunnings to find a suitable adhesive hook to hang the clock from.

We chose this one because it could easily be applied up the steps, drawing your eye upwards.  I wish we had more of the flowers so we could have continued it further around the corner within the stairs - if only I'd though of buying two sets, and just leaving the second clock out.

As it is the clock is positioned well.  We can see it when walking along the hallway towards the front door, as well as when coming down the stairs. …

Dual hot water heaters: why it is worth doing?

In the extension we paid extra for a second instant gas hot water heater to be fitted to the kitchen wall.

Our primary reason was that we were concerned about the distance from our existing gas storage heater to our upstairs shower.  When we moved into the house in 2006 and had the new hot water heater installed, the only place that met regulations with respect to how far it had to be from a window was the end wall of the house.

With the new kitchen as far from the heater as it could be, and the ensuite upstairs, we opted for two features:

a small instant hot water heater on the outside wall of the new kitchen, at the opposite end of the houseplumbing the upstairs ensuite from both hot water heaters, with a tap in the roof enabling us to switch between them.Our thinking was that we'd save water by getting hot water more quickly from the tap in the kitchen if the hot water heater was right outside.  Running two heaters would increase our green house gas emissions though.  We also th…

Finishing up

During the week, our builder, Matt, followed up on the previous weeks defects inspection.   Once living in our house, small issues become apparent and Matt promptly arranged for them to be fixed.  They were items like a door not quite sliding correctly, a gap above a door (arising because we had changed the door), an extra coat of paint, etc.  There was also a few electrical adjustments, such as a sensor light having its sensitivity increased, extra dimmer switches, outside GPOs and sensor lights, etc.

We still need to the renderer to come back to fix a scratch in the render that another trade accidentally made, as well as the painters.  Matt has locked in dates.

Our project has also been featured on Matt's website and Facebook page, using the photos taken by the professional photographer.

Time to make the final payment.

How much air conditioning do you need?

Back in August last year I looked in to extending our ducted heating and evaporative cooling in to our extension.  As I posted about then we calculated our heated and cooling needs and worked out how to extend our ducting.

Since then I have seen this blog post by MG Owen that describes his experience with using the Fairair online calculator, which I had not been aware of.  Fairair is run by the Australian Institute of Refrigeration, Air Conditioning and Heating Inc. There are three calculators on the Fairair site, relating to energy use, noise and size of the the unit.  It does not provide guidance on sizing of the ducting.

We have not quite got ours right.  We are getting too much air flow into the bedrooms and not nearly enough into the extended living area.  I will need to install some baffles to reduce the flow into the bedrooms so that more is pushed through to the living area.

Walk-in pantry: advice for designing yours

Now we've been in our renovated home for a week, we've picked up on some minor issues that anyone considering a walk-in pantry or butlers pantry may want to consider. I think we got ours right, and the minor issues are ones we'll correct ourselves, shortly, at low cost.

 Our pantry is exactly that on most days - a pantry. There's no sink, no oven or hot plates, and no exhaust fan. It does have a microwave and a milkshake maker, storage for irregularly used appliances, and a bench top that can be worked on. We could fit plumbing for a sink later, but can't see a need right now.

Big cost savings can be made with a walk-in pantry. By having a separate room and door, there's absolutely no need for cupboards and cabinet doors within the pantry. Think of the pantry as a cupboard!  Bench tops can be practical and not showy - you don't need Corian or Caeserstone surfaces. A walk-in pantry is a separate room, so soft-close drawers to keep noise down aren't …