On Tuesday 15th Nov, we were put up at the Mantra Legends hotel for the night, so we didn’t have to travel down there on Wednesday.

Our appointments were booked in for Wednesday 16th Nov:

Studio M – 9 am (3 hours)
Stratus electrical – 1 pm (3 hours)
Tile studio – 4 pm (2 hours)

I knew that time was going to be tight – I’d read some forum posts about people being rushed through appointments – so I wanted to be prepared. After we had signed the Expression of Interest contracts, I had gone through the Home Solutions guide we were given and googled and sniffed out a vast majority of the options we had and saved them into the file. When we did our studio M tour, we got brochures galore. So Husband and I sat down on Sunday 13th Nov and shortlisted “stuff”.

Our Studio M consultant (K) did a fantastic job with us. We pulled out our copy of the Home Solutions guide (complete with PDF markup and highlighting), and she knew we were organised. We started talking external selections first and were able to tell her exactly what brick, roof tile and colour, gutter cut and colour, garage door and colour. I think the biggest thing that affected our selection appointment was when K started talking to us about an upgrade option on the roof tiles. We stopped her and explained, politely, that our budget was already really strained (I had read positive and negative things on forums about being offered upgrade options at the selection appointments), and that set the tone for the rest of our appointment. She discussed upgrades but she knew what she was working with, with us. She didn’t tell us about upgrades for really unnecessary things (bench tops, for example).

The upgrade options we were took were:

  • roof tile upgrades (Elabama to Atura – and the benefits, and a ballpark cost of $682)
  • sarking (upgrade cost $300)
  • security screens were one thing we were definitely going to include, and we got a doggy door for our fur-baby (quoted by Bradnam’s separately of about $6,500)
  • venting the range hood outside (instead of into the roof) (cost unknown)
  • tap ware was our decision from the get-go (cost below)
  • acrylic edge to the bathroom bench tops $30 each
  • pop-up waste (plugs) – we both wanted these! I think we were quoted about $30 each
  • paint upgrade to Wash-n-wear (OH DEFINITELY. Kids are in our future, with any luck, upgrade costs unknown)

We had chosen our laminate flooring in our Studio M tour, so choosing the bench tops, cabinetry and paint colour was based on that. I had shown Husband what I had shortlisted for bench tops on Sunday, but after looking at the laminex options, he pointed one out that I hadn’t considered.He certainly has an eye for colour!

By 10 am, we had chosen almost everything. We had to wait for the flooring guy to arrive, and K had to type up the document for us to sign, so we went for coffee for half an hour. Our meeting with the CarpetCall representative took about ten minutes – we laid the laminate flooring down, and chose the type of carpet we wanted and he laid out some colours for us. Bang! Done!

We signed all the paperwork then trotted off to Stratus, across the road (Katie managed to bump our appointment up to 12 instead of 1 pm).

Our consultant (M) from Stratus was also fantastic. And I believe pleasantly surprised when we pulled out two floor plans showing where we wanted lights and power points, and the codes for the products we thought we wanted. 45 min into our 3 hour appointment, we were sent on another break while Melissa sorted out the paperwork, then signed it and we were left to our own devices until our tile appointment.

We got into our tile appointment earlier as well, around 2:40 pm. Again, we were well-organised. Husband had walked around the tile studio on our Saturday tour, pointed to a tile and said “That one!”So we had our wet areas tile sorted. We had left our shower recess (for the ensuite), outdoor tile and kitchen splash backs to choose. After 15 minutes we had them, and waited for half an hour while our consultant did up the paperwork.

Details and photos:

For our externals:
Brick: Boral Springbrook with ironed joints
Roof tiles: Atura Barramundi
Gutter/fascia/downpipes: quad cut, ColorBond shale grey
Garage door: Slimline profile in shale grey
Window frames: Bradnam’s monument (matt)
Driveway: exposed aggregate in midnight colour
Front door: Carinthian PSC15
Photos for externals: brick, driveway, door, roof tile, then the samples together (from selection day)

Flooring: Laminate flooring oak grey brushed
Bench tops: Laminex grigio grafite (diamondgloss for bathrooms)
Cabinetry: Laminex sarsen grey
Wall colours: Dulux casper white half (upgraded to wash-n-wear, cost unknown)
Carpet: Cruiser range Deck colour
Wet area tile: Como black 300 x 300 mm
Shower recess for ensuite: Como charcoal
Outdoor tile: Simplicity sand 400 x 400 mm
Splash back: light cream gloss 250 x 400 mm
See captions for details on photos.

Tap ware and electrical:
Tap ware: Caroma saracom (upgrade cost unknown, price on Caroma site totals $1,105)
Shower head: Dorf villa shower rail (upgrade cost unknown, price on web $235 each)
Bathroom/ensuite lighting: heater/light/exhaust (upgraded at $183 each)
Light switches: Impress SC2000 (upgrade $26 each x 15)
Lighting for beds 2-4, and outdoor area: Brushed aluminum ceiling fan with LED light (upgrade $434 each)
Lighting for rest of internals: LEDLux infinity brushed chrome downlight in warm white (upgrade $117 each)
Total # of additional double power points: 5 ($63 each)
External floodlights x 3 (total $400)
Additional TV point: $80
Ceiling fans for Bed 1 and living room: $263 each


I’ve done some calculations, and I think we’ve gone over our $10,000 credit with Studio M slightly. For our electrical selections, we had a $2,500 credit due to our internals upgrade package and were pleasantly surprised when total came to less than $5,000 after the credit is applied.


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