Mechanical Giraffes

Silhouettes of the cranes in the distance: a tower of giraffes gathered by the water, some drinking, amidst the strata of red dust on the Serengeti, in the setting sun.

Anyway, Melbourne is beautiful.

Port Melbourne, with Williamstown in the background behind the giraffe-like cranes

Sunset view looking across Yarra River on to Port Melbourne

What were the giraffes doing earlier?

View across Yarra River on to Port Melbourne and Williamstown


Foggy Melbourne

Most mornings Melbourne is spectacular, but the mornings in the past couple of days were a different kind of wonderful. I took some photos before and after the city was engulfed in a fog on the first day. I thought I would share them with you.


Sleepy Melbourne, May 17, 2017. Fog looming on the horizon

Melbourne morning, May 17, 2017. Fog rolling in.


Melbourne city skyline in the fog - May 17, 2017.

Melbourne Etihad Stadium lost in the fog - May 17, 2017

Melbourne city skyline devoured by the fog - May 17, 2017.


Apartment Living _3

So, here I am, sitting at the desk in a hotel room instead of my apartment, because the developer of my apartment building is fixing self-generated cracks inside my apartment to ensure my safety living there. As I pointed out in previous posts, the downside to living in a brand new apartment building is like beta-apartment living.

There are many, many good points about the apartment. We like the open view, the layout/flow of the apartment, the convenience of having a covered depot at the front door for free trams, the serene feel of the district, and its surprising mere 10 minute walkable proximity to the CBD.

However, we don't like the hard-to-clean textured wall and floor tiles, the lack of broom cupboard to keep cleaning equipment, the non-ducted air system with one single air outlet in the lounge for an entire 2-bedroom apartment, the humor-you size of the dining area, the stiff impossible-for-fine-adjustment tapware, the contortionist-only toilet roll location, the flawed showerscreen-over-drain combined design that doesn't keep water from running out at the bottom to flood the bathroom, and most of all the still-settling building generating cracks on walls and ceilings.

Property development is a business. It is understandable that they maximize their profit by squeezing as many apartments into the floor area of the building as they can. It is a marvel that they actually managed it without compromising the functionality of the apartments too much in my apartment building. It is when they minimize their cost by skimming on the quality of fittings that may be trouble brewing. For example, when you inspect an apartment, does the door closer mechanism fixed to the top of the door allows for a quick yet soft closing? If it slams, you can expect a lot of door slamming from your potential neighbours too. That is what happens to us. Little things you gloss over as no big deal at inspection time can accumulate over time to become a real nuisance.

So, now gathered from my personal experience, I have compiled a list of potential concerns below for anyone hunting for an apartment. Of course, not everything holds the same level of importance to everyone. It would be down to the individual.

Apartment layout - Is it well appointed? Does it have a nice logical flow? Is the toilet open out onto the kitchen or dining area? Are the individual areas actually large enough to house your furniture?

Apartment aspect - Do you like morning or afternoon sun, or do you get any sun? Does the apartment face the direction winter blasts usually come from? What kind of view does it have? Your home is your sanctuary, a peaceful outlook helps one relax after a hard day's work.

Air Conditioning - Is it ducted? Where is the potentially noise and hot unit? We have a split system with the outdoor unit intalled on the balcony of a bedroom and the indoor air outlet unit in the lounge, but the bedroom is the furtherest room from air outlet with the bedroom balcony door the only opening to fresh air. When the system is on, the bedroom balcony door has to be closed, making the room the hot in summer and cold in winter.

Storage - Besides closet space for clothes and pantry space for the kitchen, is there a broom cupboard for cleaning equipment? Do you need extra storage space for luggage?

Fittings - Are the cupboard shelves, doors and handle materials durable and suitable for their duty? If the kitchen has soft-closing drawer but not soft-closing doors, would that irk you?

Kitchen - Are there task lights? Is there enough cupboard space? Are the positions of the whiteware practical for you? Are the relative positions of the cupboard for different things practical? Think of your workflow making a meal or cleaning up dishes.

Laundry - In addition to space, are there enough power outlets for both washer and dryer? Where can you do your ironing? If there are building corporate rules against hanging laundry on the balcony or near windows, is there space inside the apartment for it?

Bathroom - Do you require a bathtub as well as a shower? Where are the towel rails? Do you need heated towel rails? Where is the toilet roll holder? Is there enough surface for all your toiletries? Is there a medicine cupboard or any cupboard? Is there a linen cupboard inside or nearby the bathroom?

Water Pressure - You don't want to stand in a pathetic dribble that makes a wipe down with flannel the comparative faster, cleaner option.

Tapware - Rainshower has been all the rage for quite a number of years, but having used it I am not a fan. Do you like the provided style of showerhead? Can it be easily changed? Are the mixers throughout the apartment smooth and easy to do fine adjustment?

Is the garbage chute or garbage collection point on your floor too close or too far away from your apartment?

Balcony / Deck surfaces - Is there good drainage? Do the tiles require special cleaning equipment? We discovered the tiles on our balconies require regular high pressure water blasting, which is impossible to carry out for this apartment.

Apartment door with door closer mechanism - Does it soft-close or slam your door? All your potential neighbours will have the same mechanism installed. Imagine they come home late when you are sleeping.

Inter-apartment walls - are they soundproofed?

Are there enough elevators to service the number of apartments for the number of floors in the building at rush hour?

Garage - Security? Lighting? Tight space? Tight to maneuver?
Hope this helps. Best of luck for all the apartment hunters!