Building with the Drents: Part 15
Kiwi actor Ido Drent, best known for his role on Shortland Street, shares his journey as he and his wife Mandy build a new house in Auckland and wrangle a toddler and newborn baby.
There's a feeling of anticipation and excitement as more and more jobs get finished this week. You know, kind of like just before the party is about to start and you're determined to get everything just right because the guests will soon arrive.
There's always so much to do in those last little moments. And that's pretty much the vibe on site.
While there's only a couple of people in the house at the moment - the GIB stopper finishing up downstairs and the painter about to start upstairs - each time they are there, there's a massive visual change.
* Welcome to Homed
* Meet the Homed team
* The Drents - part 14
* The Drents - part 13
And it's those progressions that make us really feel like we're getting to the finish line. It's crazy to think that not too long ago, we were literally beginning by digging a hole, but now that we've got to the interior detail of the build, there's a complete transformation happening almost daily.
While Mandy and I have faith in the choices we've made and in our vision, there's still that anticipation that comes as each detail of the house is finished, wondering if and how its all going to work together. Is what we think we want actually going to look good?
It still feels a little bit surreal and the responsibility that comes with that is really full on!
Speaking of the responsibility of big decisions, we've finally settled on the right white. Who knew choosing white could be so difficult? Let's be honest, after a while they all kind of look the same, but you've got all these choices so you want to make sure you get the right one. But in exploring whites, it's amazing the varying feelings and response each white evokes.
We really wanted a bright, uplifting white. Something that was crisp, but not cold. Something that was light, but not boring.
The advice from the team at Resene was really good because with the A4 swatches, you're able to get a slightly better idea of how the colour will work with the light in your house. It's so hard with those little thumb-size samples to get a true idea.
Our favourites were definitely Alabaster, Black White and the outside favourite, Sea Fog. Funnily enough, they're all of the same family of white with varying degrees of umber tints - so the man at Resene tells me.
Alabaster is quite close to a pure white, Black White is a slightly dirtier looking white, and then Sea Fog is darker than both. For us, the Alabaster was close, as it's very lively and vibrant, but it was quite close to a pure white. So that's where the 'doubles', 'halves', 'quarters' and 'eighths' come in - slight variations of the main event.
In the end, we went with a Resene suggestion and are using the colour "Double Alabaster". It's still really crisp and light, but slightly warmer than the Alabaster. And we've decided to go with quite a modern look of having the same colour on both walls and ceilings.
Then to add a little bit off fun to the mix, as we mentioned last week, we're pretty close to pushing go on a jungle-themed wallpaper in the kids' room and a colour called Sakura for the feature wall in our master bedroom. Now, Sakura is a soft pink, and I'll be honest, I'm a little nervous about this one. But Mandy's really keen on it and I am keen to take some risks… So, yeah. Wow, a pink room - who would've thought?
In the carpet department, we spent some more time at Carpet Court this week trying to find carpet for the rooms. The rest of the house will have engineered flooring, but all the rooms will have carpet, along with a large carpet square in the rumpus room on top of the engineered wood.
Mandy and I both like a slightly longer haired carpet, but we're not heading into the shaggy carpet territory. We had some samples on site and we're currently tossing up 3 options - Ingenious flair, Calhoun and Simonton Beach. All in grey tones. We may wait until the paint is up to make a call on this, but in the meantime have asked to have all 3 quoted.
Another decision that we made this week is around our engineered timber flooring. We wanted an oak with a natural finish to it. There are a couple of options with that - you can go for a natural oil, which is great because if the floor gets scratched, you can buff it out with a little oil and you're good. Where oil is no good is with food spills. As the oil doesn't 'seal' the timber, it does stain quite easily.
Then you've got a UV oil, which gives a slight seal but also acts largely as the natural oil does. Then you have a polyurethane cover that seals the wood completely, so it's great for preventing stains, but not great if you scratch it, as its quite hard to repair with out sanding back and recoating.
So we've gone for a polyurthane finish oak from Vienna woods as we thought with the kids, spills are probably more of a concern for us. We've also gone for a pre-finished option - meaning they just install and no finishing required on site - as it ended up being about $50/m2 cheaper than finishing it on site. A cost-effective option, I thought, without compromising quality.
We've also had the digger working outside and I've been helping shift a bit of dirt in order to get ready for the retaining wall to be constructed. We're raising the level of the back yard to 100mm below finished floor level.
There's another good reason why I've got to put the pedal to the metal and make the final decisions on flooring and finishings. I've just landed a job where I'll be travelling around New Zealand for the next two weeks, filming with Tourism NZ.
This means I'm in full project-planning mode, as I've got to make sure everyone on site is ready for the next few weeks. It's about looking back on my schedule to see what we've got planned and what we've got booked coming up.
That's why this week, I feel like I've been running around finalising flooring, colours and all of the finishing stuff. It's been a little crazy!
And given that the kids haven't been sleeping well, Mandy and I can't wait for the moment when we've moved into the house and can finally have a decent rest.
It's that thought that will keep us going over the coming weeks.
1. I now know there is no such thing as true white. There are many shades, tones, variables and varieties - and trying to choose one for your whole house is an exercise in total patience. That's why I reckon it's a good idea to get some advice from a specialist.
2. Planning is everything. With a (very good) spanner thrown in the works in terms of filming, it means I'll be off-site for the next two weeks and so it's back to the spreadsheets to make sure everything is accounted for.
3. When it comes to flooring, the pre-finished engineered has been a great option for us - it allows us to get the look we want and still stick to our budget.