Tuesday, January 17, 2012

six weeks on ..... the good and the not so good

On the one hand I can't believe where the past six weeks have gone - probably something to do with the denial that comes from having to go back to work tomorrow - and on the other hand it feels as if we have been back in the old girl forever and this is just the way she always was. We are making a list of little things that we need our builder to come and finish off now that we have lived in the house for a few weeks and know a bit more how we are going to use the house. Compiling the list made me reflect on what things have worked well and what I would do differently - being such a novice to this whole thing.

We love the height of our kitchen bench tops. The standard is 900 mm and we had to convince our builder that we wanted ours at 950 mm. We are both tall and wanted to build a kitchen for us rather than for someone who might buy the house. It's the only thing we (politely) disagreed with our builder on - but I am glad we did.

I have had these antique scales for ages and love
having them on the bench

We have a rumpus area downstairs - I wanted polished concrete rather than tiles, and while it ended up being more expensive (doesn't everything end up being more expensive than planned) I love it: easy to clean, cool in summer, and looks great.

We have lots of storage space which is fantastic - especially for a Queenslander as they are notorious for not having convenient places to store all the day to day "stuff". It's much easier to keep everything looking neat when surfaces are clear.

The laundry chute still makes me smile every time I gleefully throw something down it (though boy of the house likes to throw "surprises" down there for me - the favourite this week was the toothpaste tube. Luckily it didn't make it into the washing machine....)

We maximised air flow and cross ventilation, and our longest stretch of verandah is along the whole north eastern aspect of the house. I never used to pay much attention to this sort of thing, and remember mercilessly teasing a friend of mine who used to turn up at open houses with his compass to check the orientation of the house. He has had the last laugh now though..... we enjoy lovely breezes and are relatively protected from the western sun.

this shot was taken just before we moved in. We leave the
little windows above the bi-fold doors open most of
the time to catch the breezes.

The timber features in the house are what I think makes it beautiful - I have previously posted about this - I am glad we included all of these features but wish we had more of them.

Some of the things I would do differently......

I think if there was ever a next time, I would pay a lot more attention to detail. We had a few issues along the way and if I had looked more closely at measurements they could have been avoided before we reached the building stage. Our main bathroom has ended up lovely, but it's a bit more cosy than I envisaged, and we almost couldn't fit a normal sized bath in there.

the bath is almost touching the shower screen

Our gas stovetop has been fitted to be very close to the splash back - it means that it is hard to fit a larger pan or Le Creuset on the back burners without it coming into contact with the tiles:

the space is about 2 cm. We didn't notice this until a few days
after moving in when we started to cook. It works but is
irritating when you are using a larger pot.

I had so much on my mind about the completion of the renovation and the move back in that I completely forgot about curtains/blinds/window coverings. We have been sleeping in the bedrooms with sheets or doona covers taped to the walls and window frames with blue masking tape. Not the homely look I was aiming for! The man of the house has an office downstairs - we wanted to save some money by getting ready made blinds for that room, anticipating we would get custom made ones in due course for the bedrooms. To our dismay we realised that the windows down there, along with the rest of the house, are a non - standard size. I love our windows, they are all timber and were made especially for us - but I hadn't realised or asked about standard sizes.....so we will have to get all of our blinds especially made. Another lesson learned.

our bedroom with window covering aka spare mattress
trying to block the morning sun - adds a certain "je ne sais quoi".
Large double hung windows are lovely but not
at 5:19 am with no blinds when the sun rises :(

We have frameless glass shower screens in all the bathrooms - they look fantastic but how can you keep them clean - other than cleaning them after every shower? Our builder recommended this product:

this is what they use to keep car windscreens so clean and
shiny in the car dealers. I am sure it would do the job but my little
inner greenie voice tells me that the chemicals can't
be good for you when you are exposed to them every day
in your shower. Maybe Shannon Lush has some tips?

Saturday, January 7, 2012

decorating dilemma

It's funny, when you first move, you focus so much on unpacking the essentials with lots of enthusiasm. As time goes by there are a few remaining boxes and I almost can't bring myself to open them as I am over unpacking - but still have so many things I need to find. Like the iron.... I have been looking distinctly crumpled these past few weeks.

There is also an ever increasing list of little things to do - one of which is curtains/blinds (kind of urgent but $$$ so I am putting it off for a while) and the other is to get some light fittings for a small stretch of hall and the stairway. The stairway is my dilemma - it is quite a high space/void and is also quite narrow. I think a pendant would look great - but what style?

Previously in the old girl, we had quite old fashioned lights:

these were lovely back in the day.
I need to get organised and list these
on eBay. We have three of them. I'll add eBay
to my list of jobs.....

I have been keen to move away from this traditional style, but obviously don't want to go modern either. The internal stairs lead from the hall just beside the kitchen to the rumpus/family area downstairs. This area downstairs has a polished concrete floor and I am trying to give that area a functional but kind of industrial feeling.

this is the hallway at the top of the stairs -
the stairs are on the right

view up the stairs

view down the stairs to the

void above stairs

it is quite a high space - and
quite soulless at the moment

One of the lights/pendants I have been looking at for a long time is the Iron Orb Chandelier from here - there are lots of other beautiful lights in A-M's beautiful store, but I can't find a home for them. The only problem I can see with the orb is that changing the bulbs would be very tricky given it would be hanging over a steep staircase.

Another pendant that caught my eye was this one - but it may be too modern/industrial, and also doesn't actually look that well made.

I love these - so funky.

Any suggestions are welcomed!

We have had a busy week this week. Boy of the house turned 7 - we celebrated quietly but will be having a small pool party next week - I have limited the boys to 6 in total as otherwise all the testosterone will overwhelm me and I'll have to have a lie down. We had lunch on the day at one of our favourite local haunts

Have a good week!

Sunday, January 1, 2012

Happy New Year

January 1st. Inevitably a day of contemplation about the year ahead, resolutions
made and new beginnings. For me, I have vowed this year to
actually see more of my friends, rather than blaming work and home
for being "too busy" to catch up. We'll see how that goes......

In the meantime I have started some of my jobs around the house.
I posted a while ago about the Casala Casalino chairs that I found at my
beloved WAC:

I found five of these at the WAC and was
very happy last week to find another one here to bring
it up to a nice round number

I have read a lot online and in magazines about how to get these beauties looking
good again. They had already been painted so I couldn't follow the instructions
at Fun and VJs posted here. I have also read about getting them re-sprayed like
2Pak at a panel beaters - but it was going to be too expensive. I had even chosen a
lovely Resene Red for the job, but reality hit when I worked out how
much it would cost to get them professionally done.

I am not usually particularly good at this sort of thing, and confided my dilemma to the
lovely people at addVintage. They gave me some advice which involved sanding them
a little and then spraying them myself with this product:

Off to SuperCheapAuto I dutifully went
and bought about 20 cans of this. I knew I would
need a lot as my chairs are such a
dark colour to start with.

So here is the finished result on one of the chairs in our covered outdoor
area downstairs:

I have finished two of the chairs now. It's a steep learning
curve and I think the ones I do at the
end will be much better than the first two - they have a
fewtoo many paint drips from over enthusiastic spraying.

I bought some lovely fabric from etsy to make some
cushions - the chairs are very comfortable but it's nice to
have a bit more padding, and also I think the cushions will hide some
of my mistakes! I think I prefer the green but would
be interested in what you think....

Happy New Year everyone, and may 2012 bring you many
good things