Studio M – Final Selections

After weeks of painstaking back and forth between us, Metricon and the design consultant from Castlewood Kitchens, I’m so relieved that what has turned into a royal debacle is now officially over.

What a saga!!!

It only took 2 long months for Metricon to come back to us with a quote that we can live with and to be honest I’m not 100% convinced that they got it right. But at this late in the game, we decided to put our blinkers on and sign off on the kitchen albeit begrudgingly just so we can finally move forward. The saving grace in this schmozzle is that we are absolutely thrilled with our custom kitchen and butler’s pantry. I can’t wait to see the 3D plans from Castlewood.

Kitchen and Butler’s Pantry

  • Benchtop and Island including waterfall edge: 40mm Caesarstone Organic White
  • Overhead Cupboards: Laminex White Natural Finish
  • Base Cupboards, Microwave/Oven Tower and Island Cabinetry: Smokey Sapelle Crystal Gloss
  • Splashback: Colombia Clear Tough Glass
our Hudson Kitchen and Butler's Pantry

our Hudson Kitchen and Butler’s Pantry by Castlewood Kitchens


With some creative budgeting not to mention a whopping $8k credit for the revised stormwater plans (thank you Ryde Council), we managed to keep as many of the Studio M upgrades as possible. YAY!


  • Ground Floor: 1-strip, 14.5mm Spotted Gum engineered timber floor (we paid extra for no scotia beading)
  • First Floor:  Lasting Impressions ‘Cloud’ carpet

1-Strip Spotted Gum 14.5mm timber floors  and Lasting Impressions 'Cloud' carpetFront Door

  • Hume Savoy XS26 – 2340mm x 1200mm with translucent glass
  • Lanes 316 Round “T” Handle in Stainless Steel – 900mm back to back

    Hume Savoy XS26

    Powder Room 1

Powder Room 2 and Bathroom


And the piece de resistance in our luxe Ensuite…cue drum roll…here is our beautiful stone bath in light grey.

Picasso Stone Bath

Picasso Stone Bath

I’m stoked that we fought to have this uber limestone bath, the Picasso from the Natural Stone Bathroom.  I have to say that I’m very disappointed in the way Metricon handled the situation with the bath. To cut a long story short, we requested to swap the Kado Lure bath we have in the contract to the Picasso. As expected Metricon said no to us supplying the stone bath. Rather than try to come to a compromise that was agreeable to both parties, Metricon made it virtually impossible to change the bath after handover by refusing to provide plumbing provisions for the water and waste points. WTF!

After the fiasco with the kitchen the last thing I wanted was another drawn-out saga over the bath but I’ll be damned if we took this lying down. So, with a lot of negotiation and a firm ‘will not take no for an answer’ stance, hubby single-handedly turned a hell no around and came up with a solution that let us have the bath. Go hubby!

Studio M Stalemate

Nearly three weeks since colour appointment, the kitchen saga remains unresolved and continues to drive me insane! We are still negotiating with Metricon over the ridiculously inflated quote.

It’s so annoying that Metricon only provide a total ‘in lieu of standard’ price so there’s no transparency and we are left in the dark as to how they came up with that figure.

Even with the 25% builders margin, the quote is still over $3,000 more than what we anticipated the variations would cost. Now you may wonder if it’s possible we may have under-estimated the cost of the upgrades. Anything is possible I guess. However Metricon provides a very handy list of upgrades that you normally see in their display homes. This list aka ‘DOL’ or displayed options list shows all the non-standard items and their prices. It is the DOL that we based our budget on so we are confident that our estimate is on the money.

At this stage of the game when every dollar counts, we can’t afford to throw away that kind of money especially when it’s clearly highway robbery! So, with frustration mounting at every email and telephone call, I’ve had to call in reinforcement. DH is now in charge of negotiation. Let’s hope he manages to talk some sense into Metricon so we can move forward and sign off on this final piece of paperwork.

Kitchen – heart of the home

As cliche as it sounds, the kitchen is most definitely the heart of our home.

It’s where we spend a lot of time together as a family. It’s the place where we love to lounge and have a quick bowl of muesli before starting our separate days. It’s where the girls like to chat and share stories about their day while enjoying an after-school snack. It’s the place where we go to de-stress and unwind after a long day in the office. And of course it’s where delicious hearty meals and calorie-laden but oh-so-scrumptious treats are made with love!

My darling husband also fancies himself as a bit of a chef. He loves to cook up a storm and unceremoniously leave a disaster zone in his wake. For some reason he feels the need to use every pot, bowl, utensils in the kitchen whenever he cooks! We have a rule in the house that he likes to enforce – “the cook doesn’t clean”. Funnily this rule seems to get overlooked when I cook!

In our last house, the kitchen was a no-frills U-shaped design with an average working triangle. It lacked serious bench space and storage. If Shaynna Blaze was judging that kitchen, you can bet your bottom dollar she’d be screaming blue murder about the lack of storage. It also only had two sets of double power points – not an ideal setup to keep all the kitchen gizmos – the trusty toaster and kettle, Nespresso, cold pressed juicer, high speed blender and the like conveniently plugged in 24/7.

So, when we decided to build our dream house, we had a wish list for our dream kitchen.

1. Open plan with an efficient and functional working triangle
2. Good size island with breakfast bar seating for five
3. Fully equipped kitchen with a double oven and a rangehood ducted externally to keep the bad smell out

Dream Island with breakfast bar

Dream Island with breakfast bar

4. Butler’s pantry with pull-out cupboard systems and built-in wine rack

Perfect Butler's Pantry

Perfect Butler’s Pantry

5. Ample bench space for easy and enjoyable food preparation
6. Plenty of storage to house all our kitchen stuff

The standard Hudson kitchen needed a bit of tweaking to turn it into our dream kitchen. We worked with Metricon’s kitchen consultant to transform our ideas on paper and this is what we came up with.


Our dream kitchen and butler’s pantry

As I mentioned in this post, we were less than impressed and disappointed when we found out what our custom kitchen and butler’s pantry may cost especially when we made it very clear what our budget was. What annoyed me the most is that we had repeatedly requested the pricing ahead of our colour appointment to avoid any surprises. Murphy’s law!

So, where are we at nearly 3 weeks after our Studio M appointment? Well, the good news is that most of the other upgraded items we’d asked for have come in under budget. This means that we have a bit more in the kitty to spend on the kitchen/pantry and it’s now a matter of doing the ‘back-and-forth’ dance of revising the design to get the price down to within budget. We are so close to the magic number and I’m finding it so hard to keep my impatience and frustration at bay.

Colour Selections – Round One

I’m still recovering from the marathon that was our colour and electrical selections appointment. What a day!

I’d read enough blogs and Homeone forum threads to know that for a successful, straight forward, stress-free colour appointment preparation was key! With 6 months lead time and plenty of idle time, I had a plan to be as organised and prepared for the day as possible.

  • I visited Studio M many times to window shop Metricon’s range so I had a fairly good idea of the items we’d be upgrading.
  •  I requested a few Display Option List (DOL) to get an idea of costs of the non-standard items you see in the display homes. Based on the prices, I worked out an estimate and set aside a provisional allowance to spend at Studio M.
  •  We had an appointment with the builder’s external kitchen consultant to re-design the kitchen to our personal taste.
  •  I hired an interior designer to help pre-select colour schemes for the house.

So, I felt confident that I had things under control. Well suffice to say the appointment didn’t exactly go as planned. Perhaps I shouldn’t really be surprised given every stage of this admin phase has thrown a curve ball!

The plan came unstuck when selections started on the kitchen and butler’s pantry. As we customised the space, Metricon was provided a supply and install quote by the external kitchen supplier. When we met with the kitchen consultant, we had given him the budget we allocated for the redesign. He assured us that the changes he made would fit within that budget. Imagine our shock when Metricon gave us a lump sum price of roughly $16,000 for our non-standard kitchen and butlers pantry. We were hoping to have the dream kitchen for $10,000 😢

To give some context, here are the elevation drawings of the offending rooms…


Standard Metricon Hudson Kitchen and Pantry


Customised Kitchen and Butler’s Pantry

I don’t think we went overboard with the changes to the main kitchen. I expected the variation to the pantry was going to be the bulk of the extra cost and worked out a guesstimate of the redesign based on Metricon’s DOL.

  • Increased the island from 2696mm x 1020mm to 3000mm x 1200mm – $1,000
  • Increased the caesarstone edge to island only from 20mm to 40mm. The main kitchen bench top to remain standard 20mm. –  $1,000
  • Added a microwave/oven tower – $1,590
  • Added 2 banks of drawers – $1,620
  • Deleted 3 base cupboards Elevation D of the island – (expect a credit)
  • Deleted standard pantry shelves and replaced with a customised butler’s pantry layout including caesarstone bench top and base cupboards – $5,000

I’m well aware of builder’s margin but the price discrepancy seems unreasonable and for the life of me I can’t do the maths! I guess I have to wait for the itemised breakdown from Metricon to work out the extra charges. It’s fair to say, we left the appointment frustrated and disheartened. We now have a huge task of trying to cull the upgrades to get within budget! *Sigh*

Colour Pre-Selections



Happy Spring everyone!

I’m so excited by the change of seasons and the onset of spring seems to have set the wheels back in motion. While the development application awaits its turn in the council queue, we now shift our focus on the enormous task of selecting all the internal finishes for the house.

As I mentioned in this post, the multitude of choices has left us a tad overwhelmed with indecision! Although Nick and I have similar tastes, it’s no surprise that there are some colour conundrums that we struggle to agree on. To preempt the inevitable squabbles we decided to hire an interior designer to help us perfect our colour schemes and make sure the choices we make not only look stunning but also complement our lifestyle.

So, off we went on a 3-hour colour therapy with our interior designer extraordinaire Jenny. The plan was to meet at the Di Lorenzo showroom to pick tiles for the wet areas then head off to Studio M to choose the benchtop and vanity materials to finish off the colour schemes.  Under Jenny’s expert guidance, we nailed the colour selections for all bathrooms, kitchen and laundry, and chose the interior paint colour for the walls, ceiling, cornices, architraves and skirting boards. No doubt it would have taken us far more time and effort on our own. It should now make next week’s colour appointment with Metricon a breeze!

Apologies for the poor quality photos. The lighting in the showroom was not ideal. Anyhow with these bathroom ideas in mind, here are the colours we decided on.

Benchtop: Caesarstone Organic White
Overhead Cupboards: Laminex White Natural Finish
Underbench Drawers: Laminex Smoky Sapelle Silk Finish

Kitchen Colour Scheme

Kitchen Colour Scheme

Benchtop: Caesarstone Walnut
Vanity: Laminex White Silk Finish

Powder Room Colour

Downstairs Powder Room Colour Scheme

Benchtop: Caesarstone Wild Rice
Vanity: Laminex Avignon Walnut Silk Finish

Ensuite Colour

Ensuite Colour Scheme

Benchtop: Caesarstone Linen
Vanity: Laminex Milano Walnut Natural Finish

Kids Bathroom Colour

Kids Bathroom/Upstairs Powder Room Colour Scheme

We are very pleased with our selections and can’t wait to see them come to life!