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?


  1. Great tips although frustrating for you. We had the same sort of issues with detail when we renovated our bathroom. ;-)

  2. Your house looks absolutely wonderful - congratulations! I've just discovered your blog...in the nick of time, it seems! We're going to embark on a very similar renovation and all of your posts, particularly this one, are very informative and enlightening. I look forward to seeing and learning more about your house in the posts to come and using your helpful advice when planning my reno.

  3. Thanks I-R and good luck with your renovation!

  4. Love your verandahs! I don't miss sweeping mine though.

    Any success in finding something to clean with? I can't believe how quickly it builds up on the screen. Brand new bathrooms, trying to keep them looking that way, but it's so hard.

    TDM xx

  5. TDM I think ultimately I will opt for an Enjo cloth for the shower screens, but at the moment I am diligently using one of those wipers - similar to what you use to clean your windscreen - while it is still very wet. I have scared my husband a few times by jumping at the shower screen, wiper in hand, as he is towelling off. It seems to be working well. I think the key is to tackle it straight away before it has the chance to build up. All well and good now when it's all a novelty, but who knows if I'll still be so keen in a few months. (well actually I do know, and I won't be so keen). So I'll keep you posted on the Enjo options. Have been offline for a while and just read some of your recent posts - hope the allergy side of things is settling down xx