Thursday, August 6, 2015

HOUSE UPDATE: Omani Plumbing, Greedy Neighbor, and trips to China for windows since the style has been changed {again}

Building on our land has been going well. Alhamdulilah ***mashaAllah*** thus nothing on the construction side has gone wrong. Our engineer has been more than up to making any changes and actually bettering the design wherever possible (adding a door for me, changing the floorplan windows over and over and over again). The ground floor is done cement block construction phase and electrical wiring for lighting etc.. begins soon so we are finalizing that.
All doors through-out are a classic six-panel with round door knobs (excepting villa #1's choice in aluminum bathroom doors.. and some Ventian-style mirror-finished doors in villa #2 which I may still switch out since I think they are too breakable)
Ceramics for two villas... the fake parquet one is way less orange in real-life however, it perfectly matches the wood colour on the super-pricessey white and gold bedroom set finishing on villa #2 and some of villa #3... the other is meant for a more 'American' laid back but classic style living room for villa #1.

 Now, for bedroom sets, villa #1 saved a lot. Villa #3 didn't buy anything---everything will be custom made in Oman because alhamdulilah this villa still has its Arabic influences (I got to choose the lighting and some of the flooring for this project in China)---and villa #2 spent what would be spent in Oman for a similarially gaudy bedroom set. Why is this one tolerable to me? well----it is solid hand-carved wood and hand-painted and hand-gilt. I am all good with that and having made is custom from th manufacturer, I switched out the lavender fabric for a gold damask... I have plans to add some masculine into this highly feminine bedroom to balance, so stay-tuned.
Fabric change for the stool and headboard in bedroom set for villa #2
Did I tell you the other villas' owners changed the design again? If no, well European it is. Which was so sad to me, since I had everything Arabian-design sourced, priced, and budgeted. Alas, this involved a quick trip to China, since European-style furniture, lighting, and windows, are much much much more expensive in the MiddleEast than they should be, and would cause both villas to wind up overbudget otherwise. A third villa got added to that trip, which means three days in China was not enough to buy for three villas for me! I was running around like a nutcase in the lighting and furniture districts, and didn't get enough of a discount on bathtubs and sinks as I should have been able to, if it wasn't one day for lighting and bathrooms (everything but ceramics). Craziness, pure and simple.
Living room chandeliers---two ordered. Room to be painted Ralph Lauren "colegiate yellow" and have gyps trim on the ceiling borders in a dental mouldings, with an electric fireplace, and french window, and built-in library shelves trimmed in white paint (colour yet to be determined). Still need to get all lighting for the rest of the house but I went for the most expensive items in China.
Of course, one of the crazy things about this is particular project is temporary electricity.... our neighbors (most of them) are jerks. So, they try to charge us exhorbitant ammounts for electricity (buy your own generator and don't get stuck in the mess we were in---a generator later can be used to power your acs [two rooms], a kitchen fridge etc... in emergencies---which happen a lot in Muscat for no apparent reason). The last neighbor, was supplying us water and electricity (he told on the last neighbor [who was nice and charged just what water and electricity were worth] who gave us water and electrcity so that neighbor had to stop since this isn't really allowed but building in Oman isn't organized enough to have good options for this). He was charging a fortune already, and wanted to charge more for the water, thankfully our Muscat municipalities water finally got hooked up before we had to agree to his cutthroat deal. BUT... he decided to tell us that our electricity use had shorted his house and caused all his ACs to blow up... which his own electrician said was not the truth---he said the man's cheap wiring in his own house (not anything to do with us) caused ONE not ALL his ACS to be ruined. So we switched to yet another neighbor for electricity. Apparently this neighbor? The old power-supplier neighbor/liar about his ACS neighbor, got sued by him, for going to bug his wife when he knew this neighbor was out of town, and thus, he won't tell on him. So for now, all is well.

...and my other neighbor, while he doesn't seem to be a jerk, is one of those people who my husband would define as nosy, although maybe he's a nice guy, I am a nosy person too, so I don't know. My husband doesn't seem to like anyone in the neighborhood that much beyond the goat that lives next door. We let our daughter visit him.

The first floor is almost done walls-wise, and plumbing changes (I told them I do not want, anywhere in the house but in sink and bathtub/shower drains---an unlevel floor with floortraps for plumbing.) I had to sign a paper with the engineering consultancy and construction company to say this is my request not something I can sue them for forgetting later. Only my laundry room has a floor drain/trap and a sloped floor for drainage. I do not throw mounds or buckets of water on my floors and I mop of up any water on the bathroom floors with towels and bathmats... I cannot stand ever-wet bathroom floors! That is one of the banes of living in Oman my own house has to be without!
Showroom example of the cabintery design I purchased.
Colour I selected for purchase order of kitchen cabinetry
I also ordered the kitchen cabinetry and appliances, which is very exciting, and now I also have some beautiful doorknobs from Canada (how I miss Home Depot) and the description of wooden stair-railing prices made me cry (just joking). I wanted these doorknobs because nothing sucks more than running around a house and getting your abaya/jablabiyia sleeve stuck on the door handle (which happens a lot here). Plus Schlage is a brand I trust.
I have to buy kitchen stuff still, like this floor tile for 3 omr per sqm---and under it, beautiful faux-brick walltile, about 10-11 omr per sqm:
And build some open shelving, order the granite for counters, do an iron pot rack up from the metal workshops, etc.. to get my whole inspiration look together for the kitchen, which is probably the most expensive room in the whole house... But it is not for that (three months yet?). As this particular villa has no proper majlis... the kitchen will be used as the majlis al hareem (women's majlis) if that is ever required.
ABOVE: Beautiful pot racks...
BELOW: Inspiration pallettes
I found this light in China, I really loved it for the kitchen, but I forgot to buy it, and ran out of time... so looking for something simlar in Oman or UAE [pottery barn does have one I LOVE LOVE LOVE for like 200x the price of the thing I saw in China I guess]:
 As far as things we have decided, we want the living room in villa #2 to be yellow and cream-cooured in villa#1 (still need to purchase couches, ottoman, side tables, get window treatment made and built-ins+one picture light).
  Villa # 3 is a pale blue colour in the majlis al hareem, and both the men's maglis and the living room are white with wood touches, and reds---like the diawaan club sitting area room I said I liked before.


Also, I am toying with the idea of doing the bedroom in villa #2 with a kind of white and gold (almost medieval simple repative floral print) wallpaper, with clad panelling painted white on the lower walls only. Lighting either has to be chandeliers (budget is zero for this so let's see what I can do) or something fabulously unexpected like big brass Georgian babies (more masculine---probably just as expensive).
I should end this post... my head gets too busy when I a thinking about hwo to make things work to match and then crunching the numbers and looking for the most affordable (amatching) combos.... goodnight Oman;)

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