Wednesday, 22 April 2015

Architect's Drawings

On Monday we received an email with the final architects drawings taking all our changes and requests in to account.

They managed to design the master bedroom as we wanted and to put in the double doors in the living room without a pillar in the middle.  The swapping of the utility room and guest bathroom downstairs was also no problem so we are very happy with the outcome.  We signed the final plans and sent them back yesterday so now we are waiting for all the documents to be sent to us that we need to submit to Tiefenbronn council for planning permission.

Another step in the right direction.

Saturday, 18 April 2015

Small Steps

We received a letter from the office of the mayor of Tiefenbronn (the town Lehningen is part of). All excited we opened it thinking it would be a "Welcome to Lehningen" type of letter outlining local services, etc. Opening it we talking about what a nice gesture it was and isn't it great to be moving somewhere the mayor's office welcome new residents.  However, the letter simply said that the town of Tiefenbronn is giving up its right of first choice to buy the land and that they will allow us to do so.  Oh, and for sending the letter we have to pay them €16!

Oh well, we shouldn't have expected anything else I suppose.

We also received an email today from our Allkauf sales person who has contacted the other families building an Allkauf house in Lehningen to see if we would all like to use the same groundworkers to dig the hole for all our cellars, thus getting a group discount.  It sounds like  good idea to us so we will definitely contact them to try to arrange this.  Great service from Allkauf again, we can't fault them at all.

Nothing much else has happened this past week.  We received an invoice from the notary and are waiting for the German tax office to send us the bill for the land tax, which we need to pay before the bank will issue payment to the people we bought the land from.  Considering we owe the tax office money I imagine this will happen fairly soon although we have to have paid by Thursday next week so in 5 days. We'll chase them on Monday I think.

Saturday, 11 April 2015

Official Land Owners

We had our notary appointment yesterday where we met the seller and exchanged contracts so we now officially own the land!

All went smoothly and the seller even promised to send us some aerial photos of the development of the new build area as it progresses, she also gave us a bottle of champaign and some chocolates which was a nice thought.

By signing the contract we are also now tied in to the Allkauf contract to build the house so from this point there is no going back.

Meeting the Architect

Up until Thursday it was a quiet few weeks on the build, which was perfect timing as our daughter was born on 16th March so we had time to get to know her and set up a routine.

The new site in Lehningen is now officially ready to be built on and we have already seen a couple of foundations and cellars going in earlier this week when we were there, so things are moving quickly.  We certainly won't be the first house to get built there.

Our architect visited on Thursday afternoon, he planned in four hours to gather the information required to draw up the final blueprint for the house and to review our requirements and plans for the layout.  He is contracted by Allkauf but doesn't work for them which mean he can work with us and advise us independently.

For the ground floor we asked to change around the utility room and guest bathroom as the garage would need to be placed against the wall of the bathroom meaning we couldn't have a window without changing it.  By moving the utility room and bathroom we can have a window in both.  This was no problem and will be in the final plans.  We also removed some doors replacing them with windows and added a door in the kitchen to easily get to the garden without having to go through the living room.

Upstairs we made some big changes to the master bedroom as we would really like to incorporate the whole of the large alcove in to the master bedroom but that means moving a supporting wall.  The architect is not sure if this is possible and will need to check with Allkauf.  Even if there has to be a supporting pillar in the bedroom we would still like to do this if possible so we are keeping our fingers crossed.  Other changes we made upstairs is to move the windows further away from the walls in the bedrooms so a wardrobe would be able to butt up to the wall and the windows still open properly, we also took out the French balcony doors and put in normal windows.

When it came to roof colour the architect jokingly said "grey right?" (as it seems everyone wants to build grey and white houses at the moment) and he was a bit surprised (we think pleasantly) that we wanted to have a red roof, white walls and brown windows with exposed wood under the rafters.  I can imagine once all the houses are built that ours will stand out as being a bit different, and I am sure we will be pleased we didn't follow the latest trend in a few years when grey is out of fashion again.

After running over some of the other aspects like house position (there is only one possibility due to the tight building restrictions in Lehningen), placement of the garage, and discussing what each of the different builders is responsible for, we were done.

We were happy with the meeting and he provided us lots of good tips and helpful check-lists to ensure we don't forget anything later on.  There is a lot to do and remember, particularly once the groundworkers start digging the cellar.

Our ground floor plan:

Our first floor plan: