I finally gave in and agreed with Chantelle that it was time to spruce up the look and feel of our home here in Country Mews – in other words it needed a new coat of paint and definitely some new varnish on the window frames!
Chantelle managed to make contact with the guy who recently painted the house across the road from us (Oom Boeta), and after accepting his initial quote we were all set to go! Picking a colour turned out to be a lot easier than normal thanks to both Chantelle and I keen on the same idea, and in the end we sourced a wonderful colour named “Cyclone” from Builder’s Warehouse’s house brand Fired Earth’s Severe Weather range. Coming in at R460 for a 20 litre can meant that it wasn’t too horrible in terms of price, which was just as well because by the time the boys had finished, we had used up 60 litres of paint on the house!
There were a few problems with Oom Boeta and his boys, and eventually we did end up forking over more money that what was initially agreed upon, but we did get a lot extra thrown in, like the painting of the gate, the re-waterproofing of the roof’s spine as well as the painting of the braai chimney and the fixing of a minor hole in the roof!
The job did take a couple of days longer than originally planned for, but this was mainly due to weather – in other words Gordon’s Bay’s famous wind (as well as a little rain) decided to come and play.
We did come up a little short by virtue of the fact that we were unable to source paint of the same batch number (in the end we had to settle for three different batch numbers, never a good thing if you ask any building painter), the end result being that we do have some discolouration where Boeta unfortunately chose to do touch up work, and to be honest, the end result of the work in general isn’t quite up to our perfectionist standard – BUT, and it is a big but, given the price we paid and the people we used, we can’t actually complain (for labour we only paid R2,750!) and quite frankly – the house DOES looks pretty damn good now, especially at dusk where the colour really brings out the green of the garden!
To compare, here’s the old colour:
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Versus the new colour:
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It would seem that my “at last” purchase of the television for the previously unused entertainment/dining/braai room and Jessica’s FAST approaching big birthday bash has sparked off a fierce new round of home improvement, resulting in Chantelle spending far too much time in Mr Price Home than what I, or our bank accounts, are comfortable with.
That said, the place is starting to look good – real good! :)
So far, we’ve purchased two brown suede and one black leather Ottomans for the main lounge, to act as additional seating/movable coffee tables/eye candy in place of the old central coffee table (which now sits in the entertainment room as our improvised television stand). Chantelle picked out a nice large print for the back wall above the main couch, and we’re pretty certain we going to be putting up some photo frames on the opposite television wall.
Oh, and Chantelle brought some nice fashionable cushions to bring some more colour into the room.
The major purchases have however been for the new entertainment section, with the main addition being three full length brown tabbed curtains for the previously unadorned, frosted sliding doors. In the corner next to the new television, we’ve bought a small fold-out table to act as a decorative stand for an old lamp we saved, with a brand new lampshade thrown on to make it look a little more modern. Above this will be our old black and yellow African woman print hailing from Nagua Bay, which we’ve pulled out of storage and dusted off for its new role.
On the opposite wall above the couch will go up some floating shelves, though we haven’t gotten around to purchasing these just yet, and next to that a long horizontal mirror (which we have actually bought). Finally, Chantelle bought another, smaller print to act as a cover for the exposed circuit board that exists in the room, which actually turns out to be a pretty neat solution to what was an unsightly problem!
So now just a matter of installing some of the pieces (i.e. the prints and mirror) and doing a little reorganization of the room, and the house will AT LAST be in a fully completed state. Only took us a year or so to get around to it all!
P.S. Forgot to mention that somehow she managed to slip a new quilt for the bedroom in as well. I really, really don’t like Mr. Price Home right now! :P
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Having just dropped my car off at Hyundai Somerset West Service Centre for its 45,000 km service (sigh, don’t remind me how fast I’m burning through this car!) and then lamenting the fact that we really haven’t achieved much or done much other than raise Jessie this year, it popped into my head that we somehow missed the first year anniversary of having lived here in Country Mews!
Can you believe it, an entire year has already passed! O.o
I’m still very, very pleased with the complex, it is quiet, the people living here are all well behaved, friendly and courteous, things run smoothly and everything is managed well (including municipal services) – in other words there is absolutely no regret of having bought here into this little community. And other than the minor incidents of having our backyard shed broken into and now our black bin stolen (both by vagrants no doubt), it really does feel nice and secure, and I’m pleased to be able to bring up Jessica here.
As for our little home, if I sit and examine what we’ve achieved over the last year, I guess I have to hang my head in shame just a little, because of all the things I wanted to do and am still going to do, I really didn’t get through very much after all!
So let’s review shall we?
In terms of the property, we did repair the damage done to the grass by the previous owners’ dog, removed their hideous spiky reed things from against the wall, planted our shed at the back, settled ficus into its new spot, replaced the lavendar in the front, set up a permanent stand for the outside braai, cleaned up and made pretty the front main flower bed, and changed the driveway configuration numerous times (still in process with the latest change mind you! So, so much of cement slab laying and then picking up again!)
Still to do? Well, there is a lot of weeding that needs our attention, something the bi-weekly lawn-cutting services does little more than hide, I need to finish the rounding off of the new driveway pattern, purchase and install big pots for the corner by the sliding door, put in wooden stake edging for the long garden bed at the back of the property, properly clean out the back garden bed, and install some sort of pot and creeper next to the shed.
As for the exterior of the house, there is still the back gutters which I need to bring someone in to re-fasten to the house, not to mention the sanding down and varnishing of all the window frames and doors. Oh, and I need to set up a doorbell by the wall. That’s turned out to be quite important actually.
On the inside, we did a really good job of redecorating both bathrooms, the study, Jessica’s room, and our bedroom. The lounge is still in need of a few finishing touches to call it complete, while in terms of the kitchen, we did install some extra lights, but are now in plans to change the one cupboard configuration in order to install a dishwasher next to our washing machine.
Sadly, the one room which we didn’t get to for an entire year, is the one room I was looking forward to doing – namely Jessica and my playroom, aka. the dining room/second entertainment room/braai room. We’ve got big plans for this room, but those plans were already laid when we first moved in, which makes it rather embarrassing when one has to return the television stand one borrowed from his brother and which then subsequently stood unused for a year with gardening implements standing on it, next to a cat’s big scratching post and a ladder! (Never mind the sofa sitting in the room which hasn’t been sat on for a full twelve months!)
But despite all that, number 5 Country Mews really is a fantastic home for our little Lotter family, and I am happy here. It feels good to have had a year of free reign to do whatever I want to with my house, and quite frankly, I’m pretty eager to do more!
So here’s to hoping that the second year in our house runs just as smoothly! :)
Little Jessica is quickly getting used to the routine here at home.
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Admittedly I haven’t been around here on these pages (or those of www.codeunit.co.za for that matter) all that much as of late – never mind my poor neglected www.houseofc.co.za of course! I could of course say that one of the reasons for this is the time and effort I’m putting into generating my portfolio site (ruggedrockstudio.codeunit.co.za) on the side, but that would be a lie as most of you would have guessed by now – I’ve pretty much been spending all my time, money and energy on getting our new home up and running and in ship shape before the big furniture/appliance move arrives on the 25th of this month.
So far a huge majority of all our household contents have been shifted across to our new home and neatly packed away in their respective places. In the process we’ve discovered that the kitchen holds surprisingly more things than what we ever could have hoped for, the bedroom cupboard space is more generous that what I had at the flat and the dining room table looks pretty damn awesome and is even more functional than ever before in the braai room.
Oh, and don’t let me get started on just how awesome the office space is.
On top of all that, we’ve made the first baby purchase, having bought a nice second hand white cot for Jessica, Chantelle and the rest of the Montgomery tribe have been hard at work cleaning the carpets and the fittings, and I’ve being having a field day outside, happily landscaping and discovering my green fingers (which I’m enjoying tremendously).
So in other words, so far everything is on track – though I have just learned that Chantelle now has a bee in her bonnet and wants to paint two of the rooms, namely the bedroom and the bathroom.
In other words, the sleeves remain rolled up high.
This weekend is the last weekend before the big furniture and appliances roll in, so I need to tackle moving Ficus, rip out some plants, tidy up even more cement slabs, move my computer equipment and then handle some paint brushes.
I won’t lie, I’m loving every second of all this. Now, who would ever have thought it? ;)
So on Tuesday 31 August 2010, Chantelle and Craig officially stepped into their new home.
5 Country Mews is now ours – well technically this month it still belongs to its previous owners and then after it belongs to the bank, but in essence it belongs to us – the fulfilment of a lifelong dream of mine to one day own my own property.
Sure she’s compact and maybe a little on the small side, but she’s the perfect size for our little family. She’s in great shape and already looks pretty damn good on the inside – perfect in other words for a man not widely known for his sterling DIY skills.
So as you have obviously by now figured out, in the end I decided to take up the occupational rent offer after learning that the current owners had accepted a position up in Johannesburg and thus would be moving up pronto, and so although I’m technically paying double rent this month, this does now give me four weeks to move in at my leisure, a process I’m going to enjoy as I happily shuttle along the five minute trip from our current flat to the new home carrying all my little bits and bobs.
As for the 25th of this month, we’ve hired a moving company to take care of all the big stuff, and seeing as the owner is a client of Chantelle’s at the guest house, we’re not even paying an arm and a leg for this one either! Nice.
The property doesn’t appear to have too much work that needs to be done, based on our quick look around of the now empty house on Tuesday evening. The front door needs a bit of sanding and varnishing to fix up all the dog scratches, I need to tidy up the concrete slabs under the car port and maybe throw down some stones to fancy it up, replace some plugs that were removed from some of the extra electrical box installations in order to pass the inspection, remove the outdated TV wall mount unit in the bedroom and finally get the satellite dish reattached to the house as for some or other reason the Pottages had it removed. Something about saving on the electricity or something like that…
Oh, and I need to remember to buy electricity for the prepaid meter now that I think about it.
The alarm on the place is still active so it is going to be fun and games trying to get used to that, but overall this is one challenge that I can’t wait to tackle.
Seriously, I can’t begin to explain just how awesome it feels to open that door and walk into your very first home that you bought and will now be looking after and paying off with your own blood, sweat and tears.
This is it. Just the kid to come in January and then everything that makes life good will be well within my grasp! Happy.
:) <– big, big smile. Bigger than I can indicate by means of a smiley.
We finally got the keys to our new house – which of course meant champagne time! :)
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Andy’s flat in the Nagua Bay complex was our rented home for a couple of years, and more importantly, the first place where Chantelle and I lived together under one roof, meaning that it will always have a special place in our hearts.
These photos were taken on a walkabout the complex, after making the decision that we were going to buy our first house and thus move out of what really was a fabulous little home.
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So by now many of you might have heard through the grapevine (in other words Chantelle’s FaceBook profile) that we have purchased our very first house.
And you would be correct.
We have indeed bought a fantastic starter home in the heart of Gordon’s Bay, in a security complex named Country Mews. Our offer was accepted, the deposit paid, the bond was approved, the various requirements are being met as we speak, and the champagne has already been cracked open! ;)
Our house hunt began a few weeks earlier when something just clicked inside me and I answered Chantelle after one of her standard, “Ooh, look at this place” comments that she makes on a weekly basis after browsing the local newspaper too much (she has way too much time on her hands at work! :P), that she should set up a viewing appointment.
So she did. And on that first Saturday we viewed about six or seven places. But it didn’t stop there. The next week Chantelle viewed seven more places in one day and by the end of the week, we had already found a house we both liked enough to put an offer in on – which was subsequently rejected.
Having realised now that our original limit that we wanted to spend on a house was going to get us either a) nothing or b) something we would have to spend both a lot of money and time on in order to get it up to scratch, we pushed up our limit and started the search anew – though the re-energised search didn’t last all that long!
A chance call to the second estate agent we had originally dealt with all the way back on that first day of house hunting revealed that the one house that Chantelle and I had both liked initially, had in fact got an offer in on it in the meantime, and to be honest, hearing this forced us into action as we scrambled in a last minute viewing and placed in a bid of our own, going high enough as to hopefully beat the other buyer but low enough that we were still comfortable with it!
And it worked.
A short tense wait over the weekend (we submitted the offer to purchase late Saturday evening!), and come the next week the good news rolled in – the people currently living there (a quadriplegic man and his partner) had accepted our offer and as such, the ball was back in our court. The next step was the submission of all the necessary documentation so that the bond originator (in our case Mortgage Explorer) could get to work on finding a bank that might like us, and come Monday we got the news that ABSA weighed in with the best interest rate offer and so we’ve taken our bond out with them.
Now just the long wait while the lawyers (Strauss Daly in case you are wondering) sort everything out, but if everything goes according to plan then on the 30th of September 2010, Chantelle and I will step into our very first home, fulfilling my long time dream of owning my own property at last! :)
Of course, at this point I really must thank Len Wilmot from Homelink for his professionalism and mannerism as an estate agent – too many estate agents that we dealt with tried so hard to be our friends that they forgot they are also trying to deliver a service to us, a service for which we eventually pay a lot of money for in the form of the commission! Len was fantastic and in the end we gave him our business, and so far haven’t looked back – so we’ll certainly recommend him to anyone else looking for property here in Gordon’s Bay!
So what did our R770,000 (about R25,000 less than what the sellers originally wanted for their property) get us in the end then?
Well for starters, I’ll go on record and say it is a rather small property in terms of plot size. Only 250 square meters or so, and as such we don’t really have much of a garden. However, it is situated in a nice security complex, one of the better ones in Gordon’s Bay. Our free-standing house is completely open plan, featuring three bedrooms, one full bathroom (and one en-suite to the main bedroom), all looking out on a nice-sized living room with a functional kitchen dividing itself from the room by means of a nice, broader than usual counter.
Finally, because the previous owner didn’t need the garage, that too has been converted into a spacious dining room/braai area, featuring a great indoor braai and a beautiful frosted glass sliding door that opens up to the outside car port. Note, one of the bedrooms is currently fully furnished as an office space, with gorgeous wall to wall cupboards and desk space, all of which stays put for when we take over!
As I mentioned already, there is a small carport outside, and access to the property is through a electronic sliding gate. Oh, and there is a nice fountain ball thingie in the front as well.
The house is therefore perfect for our growing needs, perfect as a starting home for my family and the perfect way to get my foot into the property market as far as I’m concerned! According the to paperwork, transfer should happen on the 30th of September, meaning that after I convince my friends to help us move, one heck of a house-warming party will be in order! :)
Now for the pictures, probably what you have been waiting for all this time. We snapped these quick pics when we were conducting our final inspection before putting our offer to purchase in. Unfortunately, as with all indoor photos, the lack of context makes the house seem much smaller than what it is, and so probably aren’t the best representation of the house after all – however, I am pretty excited, so thought I would share these with you guy after all!
As for the rest of the bunch, you can view them all in the gallery over at: http://photos.codeunit.co.za/v/20100724-Buying-Our-First-House/