Tag Archives: Research

Hey you! Make me an offer I can’t refuse ;}


You know what I really like? Haggling. Yep. Haggling. The thrill of the chase, the sweaty angst of getting a bargain and the sense of accomplishment when I’ve managed to knock $50 off the overinflated price thankyouverymuch. You know what I really don’t like? When retailers at an “outlet” store don’t let me haggle. Point blank REFUSE to haggle with me. Although the fact that it’s a retail store never stops me as I’ll usually try to haggle on things like appliances or furniture but that’s beside the point. But this was an “outlet” store which implies that the goods should firstly be at a reduced price compared to a normal retail store and secondly be willing to bloody well haggle. This outlet store complex is not known for it’s bustling crowds of frantic purchasers with fistfuls of cash so I would have thought that they’d be at least willing to come to the party and do the discount disco.

But noooooo! I’ve been on the hunt for a particular type of arm chair for a while (yes yes I’m picky) and I’ve been able to find it in a couple of other shops but not in the colour I want or haven’t been able to order it in the colour I want. So the other weekend (in the shop with the wishbone chair!) I found it, in black, just as I’ve been searching for. Sat in it, it was as comfy as I’d thought. Looked at the price tag, nearly dropped dead of a cardiac, $700!!! for a chair!! in an outlet shop!! So I politely asked if that was the best price they could do on the chair and was met with a terse “we don’t feel the need to discount our items” to which I was utterly gobsmacked and actually lost for words (a rarity for me). She tried to placate me by stating they did offer Lay-by but I told her that the money wasn’t an issue as I could pay her in full now but I just wasn’t prepared to pay $700 for a chair. As lovely and enticing as it was.

Even after this exchange (to which I’d wanted to reply “well bugger off then you hoity toity bish”) she tried to aggressively sell me the chair as I browsed other items in the shop, trying to gracefully exit and barely restraining my intense need to dramatically storm out of the shop swearing never to return. “We do have lay-by…” she’d sing-song at me, “it’ll fit in the truck”… far out lady. If you don’t come to my party and I walk away, take a hint and realise that I’m not coming to yours.

I can’t say I’ve ever had a point blank refusal to even discuss a discount when I’ve tried to haggle and I wasn’t quite sure how to handle it. At least my brain/mouth filter kicked in and I wasn’t escorted from the shop by burly security guards. But really, am I that wrong to expect at least a little discount discussion? A little price wrangling in exchange for my desired and most lusted after goods? Even the outlet centre’s website promises “great stores, great brands, great discounts”. Pffft no discounts here mate. I’m not sure if you’ve ever seen Kath & Kim and seen the skits with Prue and Trude in their “premier homewares store” but that’s what this lady was like (and there was a Trude standing behind the counter too). YouTube it as there are a few skits there if you haven’t seen it.

And the thing that pisses me off the most? The fact that that is the ONLY FARKING STORE that I’ve seen my chair in… even my beloved eBay hasn’t proffered the goods. And I’ve been looking for a good six bloody months. Apart from being bamboozled by her response I wanted to chuck a full on screaming and kicking tanty on the floor and scream “but WHHHHHHYYYYYYYYYYYYY!!” :). I believe in second chances so I’m going to go back and give them one last chance to take my money. But I’ll be walking away with my discounted chair or drowning my sorrows and scouring eBay for the gazillionth time *shakes fist at eBay*.



So I took a lil daytrip to Ikea on Monday and woah $500 bucks later…. So much for my list of things that only totalled $150… But I did buy 5 ceiling pendant lights for the house and saved myself about $300 on the ones that I was considering before. 3 to go over the kitchen island and 2 to go over the dining table (or bedroom lights if I don’t like them over the dining table). Bought a bunch of other things in the house so most of it is going straight to storage, don’t even get to play with my goodies 😦 (well apart from the gorgeous doona cover and purple glass water bottle heheh).

I also found the kitchen I want! Even down to the handles I like so looks like it’s an Ikea kitchen for me. I’ve used the SmartPak kitchens from Magnet Mart before so even if I have to put the kitchen together myself, that’s fine with me. The benchtop I’m getting from a family friend and it’s the same as what I had in my other renovated kitchen. It’s a white caesarstone type bench with little mirrored chips in it. Of course I can’t find any good pics of it so you’ll just have to go here and have a look http://www.caesarstone.com.au/Colours/Colour-Detail.aspx?Collection=3142-White%20Shimmer%E2%84%A2 to get an idea of what I mean (and those pics aren’t the greatest either, doesn’t really show off the mirror chips).

The last two kitchens I’ve build have been all white and I’ve been longing for a black kitchen since I saw a budget kitchen makeover done by Better Homes and Gardens, and of course I can’t find a bunch of pics from the episode but swiped this from Tara Dennis’ Facebook (sorry Tara!).

black kitchen

I also found this episode video for it so take a squizz:  http://au.lifestyle.yahoo.com/better-homes-gardens/renovation/photos/p/17095661/kitchens-we-love/16989827/

I love the dark dramatic look but my kitchen won’t have the big bulky top cabinets like the reno as I’ll have my walk in pantry to store most of my appliances and stuff and the cabinets will have DRAWERS (Strictly NO cupboards, I fkn hate cupboards…. Irritating lil bastards) for crockery, glasses & pots etc. I think it will also lessen the “heaviness” of having a black kitchen if the top is light and airy (although I do like those glass fronted cabinets below… maybe just one or two of them :0 ) The below is basically the kitchen I want but obviously white counter top, different handles and white polished concrete floors. The lights that are over the island bench are even the ones that I bought. I don’t mind the white subway tiles but I saw some in stainless steel which look amazing. Not sure if it’s overkill though so I’ll have to do a bit of photoshopping so I can get an idea of how it will all look together. It’s even the same style sink that I want. Not sure bout their tap though, it’s nice but not quite what I’m after.

black ikea kitchen

(clickyclicky the image to make it bigger)

The alternative idea would be the same cabinets but in white and to have a black counter top sort of like the below

kitchen bw

But I think I do have my heart set on the black kitchen. I keep looking at pics (research mhmm) and getting swayed both ways. Below is an idea with the stainless steel tiles (from last season’s House Rules – all kitchen pics here: http://au.tv.yahoo.com/house-rules/galleries/photo/-/17153152/amy-and-ebseans-kitchen-transformation/17153195/)

stainless steel tiles

All opinions welcome if you care to weigh in 🙂

Build a bridge….


Well things have been manic at work and there really hasn’t been anything to look at lately hence the lack of postage again. I went and had a look at the place on Jinglemoney Lane (still love that name) but it’s just a bit too far away for my liking. I noticed the other day that they’ve dropped the price by $20k so I guess they’re keen to sell. If only it wasn’t so far away. Getting back to that dream piece of land I mentioned in my last. I procrastinated a whole bunch about talking to the council about building approval because I didn’t want a yes and didn’t want a no and I understand now what the agent was talking about with it being tricky. I pulled my finger out of my ass and spoke to the council who told me I’d have to get permission from the owner to view their Development Advice form which they had submitted and paid for and also to be able to view their building file at council. So I spoke to the agent who organised that and actually sent me a copy of the Development Advice form which states that yes development approval is possible…


It basically all hinges on the river crossing. As far as the council is concerned that river crossing has never been approved and hasn’t been structurally assessed. It doesn’t comply with their regulations in terms of signage and barriers etc. Vehicular access is something that they consider with all development applications. I did a bit of research and found out that the next door neighbour had a development application to have the boundary amended by a couple of meters refused because of the river crossing! So I would assume that any building application on “my” land would also be refused.

BUT I’m not going to give up. I’m still going to talk to council and view the file and I’m actually going to see how much it would cost to build a bridge. I had a quick look online and there’s actually some prefab concrete bridge builders so that may be an option. I can only assume that the other 12 or so properties on “my” side of the river are also unapproved because of the river crossing so I could approach them for a contribution to the bridge fund if they wanted to. I could probably put a sizeable contribution towards it or fund the whole thing depending on the cost… that’s how much I want to be able to build on this land! The bridge would still have to go through council approval to be built but considering we would be addressing their existing concerns (the paper said it was noted as far back as 1998) with a proper solution according to their standards surely it would get approval.  I’m an optimist can you tell?

I just chuckle at the irony of the amount of times I’ve told someone to “build a bridge and get over it” and now I’m the one that could actually be building a bridge. They better name the bloody thing after me if it happens ;} I’ll keep ya posted!

hmmmmmm…. a concrete house?


I was talking to one of the guys at work about the new house I want to build once I find my bit of land and up until now I’ve been thinking strawbale house but he suggested ICF (Insulated Concrete Form) blocks such as these:


It’s funny because originally when I first started dreaming about all of this I wanted to build a concrete house. There was a company in QLD called Chameleon Concrete who were doing prefab homes and claimed that they could put them up in a couple of days. After that there was just the fitting out of internals etc to do and hey presto – Instahouse. But since I was looking at it last year their website has gone poof so I’m not sure if they’re still in business or not. So I started looking at straw bale houses as it’s another great alternative. I hadn’t heard of ICF before and I like the idea too. I think it would come down to price as to which one I choose as they both offer similar insulation and fireproof qualities that I’m after in the new house.  I’m going to have to start contacting builders to see what the average cost is but it’s definitely in the running now.  Have a look at their Media and Portfolio section for pics of houses. I’m gonna have to start posting my ideas up here so you can see what I have in mind.

Also came across another neat idea I hadn’t thought about (from a lunchtime blog read) – Solar tube lights. Another great zero energy way to get light into the house (I plan to be off grid). I think it’s something that I’ll consider after the house has been constructed as it may adequately lit during the day. Something like this:   http://solatube.com.au/

Have a great weekend!

The Hobbit House


Just thought I’d share this link with you:


Click on the Shelter menu and go to The Hobbit House. (and browse the rest of the site too!)

hobbit house

(photo from their website)

I LOVE this idea, to build a little hobbit house tucked away in a hill. Although for me I’d build one kinda as a “summer house” to play in not as a full time dwelling because I want to build my straw bale “modern” home and I’m not sure if I could build a hobbit house big enough for the ideas I have in my head. But I’d really like to try and build one of these as well. Maybe as a guest cottage or office or something. LOVE the reciprocal roof, so beautiful.

I got an offer!


Got my first offer on the house yesterday! But… too low 🙂 I’m pretty impressed considering it was exactly one week from being listed so I’m pretty confident that I’ll get my magic number. And hell if the place hasn’t sold in 2 months I’m happy to revisit if the offer is still there. But was just a lil chuffed that I actually got an offer in the first week. The last property I sold took 3 months to get an offer but circumstances are different this time and I think that the “I can’t wait to sell this place” energy helps. While I was painting last week I nearly went insane with the neighbours dog barking ALL DAY. And I don’t just mean on and off but ALL DAMN DAY!  By 3pm I had to put my headphones in because I was gonna go positively bonkers.

Just reinforces why I’m doing this really. Was doing some more lunchtime reading on straw bale houses because I was thinking of doing a building workshop and came across these people who suggest hosting a workshop on your property to help build your place:    http://glassford.com.au/main/click-for-workshop-menu/custom-workshops-examples/  what a great idea! That would certainly help with the labour costs. And part of their conditions for hosting is that you do one of their workshops so that works out well for me! I’m gonna have to start dreaming up a floorplan and all that fun stuff soon.

Anyway back to the ole grind…



something for the wishlist


Haha you can chalk today’s listing to the wishlist…. Saw the first listing on allhomes and then googled it to try and find out where it was and found the second listing that has more detailed photos of the inside and the price….. think I’m gonna be a bit short on this one… If anyone has $2.85 million spare and wants to give it to me I won’t say no!


Still it ticks two of the three boxes, close to work and lots of good water ;} Not a lot of bushland and the price… hmmmmm oh well!

More reading of that straw bale house blog and looking into Waffle pods (mmmm wafffffles) and again I’ve learned something helpful. http://www.wafflepod.com/engineer/ Bloody good idea! Better insulated concrete slab, minimal environmental impact although dunno bout the cost so I’ll have to find out. I really need to get in touch with these bloggers to see how they’re doing and how their systems are holding up. 🙂

More water works…. including poop!


Today’s trawlings only revealed one nice option but I can’t find it on google maps… I cannot tell you how IRRITATED that makes me when I want to scope something out… but I have a feeling its too far away as they say its 17kms from Goulburn so its probably not on my side of Goulburn because the Tarlo River certainly isn’t. The listing for your perusal: http://www.allhomes.com.au/ah/nsw/sale-residential/370-rhyanna-rd-goulburn-southern-tablelands/1316859262511

More research today considering the slim pickins real estate wise… looking at blackwater treatment today… as in the stuff wot comes out of the toilet 🙂 There’s a couple of different options to consider and I actually found a pretty neat blog while I was looking into things and learned that there is a worm based sewerage system! And something called Biolytix which the blog lady doesn’t recommend for customer service reasons but I’ll have to check that out too so as not to be biased.

The blog is http://ourstrawbalehouse.blogspot.com.au which chronicles a family’s journey in building their straw bale house and I’ve already learned some lessons from their experiences. She also gave me another great idea in terms of the kitchen in that she got hers from my beloved eBay.  I hadn’t thought of looking there for kitchens as I was planning on getting a flat pack kitchen to save costs but its not a bad idea if I can pick up a second hand one that suits my needs.

So back to poop – considering that the block that I want to purchase isn’t connected to the sewerage mains (and I’m talking about the property I’ve been calling Number 2 har har no pun intended) I’m going to need an onsite processing method. The property already has septic installed but the leech field for it is uphill from the big lake dam so I’m not overly keen on that idea. Also where I want to plant the orchard is within that area so I think I’m going to have to do a bit more research on septic to further my understanding on how it works and the impact it has on fruit trees and water sources etc before I feel 100% comfortable with that option. I realise it’s been in place with the previous owners so I’ll have to check out the current effects if any. So if it has no real negative impacts, other than the potential yearly tank pumping/cleaning, then it would be a good low cost option as it’s already in place. (maybe flushed with recycled grey water from yesterday’s post?)

Another option is a composting toilet aka “humanure”. I have a friend who has this system in place and its very low cost and low maintenance (and no smell) and yields excellent compost for the trees and shrubs. Another blog that I follow has detailed their humanure system so you can check it out here (http://milkwood.net/tag/humanure/  and you’ll have to scroll a bit for the detailed poo posts) or google it if you wanna know more about it. All I’d really need to invest in is a chipper to make sawdust/chips for the um… deposit coverings.


The actual loo itself isn’t very sleek and sexy (looks something like a box with a toilet seat on it which I can make myself – Image also from Milkwood.net ) so I’ll have to think of a way for sexying it up a bit so it’s not so ugly and rustic cuz that’s just not my style. Best part about it is that there’s no water involved so that’s another big plus.

And the new idea from today is the worm smart eco septic system from http://www.wormsmart.com.au/. I’ve never heard of this type of system so I might actually contact her to see how it’s going. And Biolytix which looks similar, basically a worm powered septic system. The fact that the original Australian side of the company went bust and was bought out by the NZ side is a bit worrying in regards to long term support but I’ll do some more reading to work out what the best poop recycling system is going to be the best for my property. The easiest seems to be the humanure option really. Its basically no cost as there is plenty of timber on the property to make sawdust and the results go back into fertilizing the plants (although they say not to put it on veggie patches which makes sense).

And I’m open to other suggestions if anyone has any that I haven’t covered above. Speaking of poop, I’d better get back to work 🙂

Lunchtime greywater research


Well today’s trawlings didn’t yield any suitable candidates but I did have a really interesting conversation with one of the girls in the office about greywater of all things. I was actually looking at truck ads (gonna need a truck if I’m going to be a proper bumkin – I want a Hilux) and she was telling me about her place that she’d just built and the greywater reuse system that they’d installed. It’s basically a diversion system that takes all the bathroom water (shower & hand basin) and laundry water and diverts it via a subsurface irrigation system to her orchard trees and flower beds. Not very expensive to put in unless you get the pump version so I’m adding that to my house plans as its best to install it when the house plumbing is being installed.

At my current house I collect my shower water and kitchen runoff (cuz my hot water takes forever to reach the kitchen for some reason) and put it on my veggies and garden. I’ll still continue to do my kitchen runoff (not washing up water cuz of the fats) in my new place but having the greywater diverted from the bathroom automatically would be pretty great. Apparently you can get greywater treatment systems to reuse the greywater for your toilet and washing machine so I’ll have to investigate them and see what the costs are like. Because I’ll most likely be on tank water I’m going to make sure I don’t waste my water or at least get 2 uses out of it! If only there was a subsidy for greywater systems! Was pretty pissed off to find out that both the solar electricity installation and waster tank rebates have recently been scrapped! Couldn’t they have waited for me to build my house?? Geeez 🙂 anyway… Back to work slacker!