Staying home with the Rona

The Rona has been playing havoc with our lives, at least for everyone who isn’t me. As a work from home self-employed academic and author, it makes little to no difference to my day, and it has been quite nice not to go out at night – and I usually have to force myself to go to the shops in normal climes. So here I am, trying to think of ways to keep busy now that my teaching has finished for the semester and I’m at home with the doggoes.

2018 and 19 was pretty good for us, renovation-wise. We installed a new front porch and gorgeous yellow door with pretty side lights, we installed an automatic garage door and gate, and did some painting on the exterior – just the face to the side fences. As you can see, Harry’s home looks so cute now! With all the original gables intact it looks a lot like a modern Hamptons-style house. It’s not: it’s a classic Ashgrovian Queenslander, built about 100 years ago, with the entryway originally at the side (still there). The gable on the right we estimate was added in the 50s, and thank goodness the gable design was continued because there are lots of similar extensions we’ve seen with a flat or gently sloping roof, and they don’t provide enough head height to be legal bedrooms.

The fence we installed 8 years ago is starting to lean and we’re thinking of replacing it with a more sturdy stone and aluminium style. The stone will sit along the base of the fence (in truth it will probably be bessa brick – cinderblock – with a stone face) and the aluminium pickets and posts will look pretty much like what’s already on the fence but without the need to paint it every three years. I really like the look of this new home and fence that is near our place:

Our entryway is sweet but it has a rather ugly concrete plinth that I’d like to cover in square grey cobblestones – we have lots of garden planning to do even though I said a few years ago the front is done. It is not, but we’re waiting either for fortunes to change or to finish our long-awaited extension.

Inside we’ve done a lot of work, although it doesn’t really seem like much now that 2 years has passed. We installed an upstairs laundry – given our laundry was under the house, all dusty and horrible, this has been an absolute blessing. Hubby has taken over the washing, I think because he just enjoys doing it so much that it’s all mostly dirt free! I added a touch of colourful tile bling for fun, and I feel like this can do double duty as a drinks section. It’s an open laundry that leads to the bathroom and 4th bedroom, so I wanted it to look swanky. And yes, it always looks this clean as there are only 2 of us. 😉

We switched around the bathroom and a bedroom, and we now have a fully working 4-bedroom, 2-bathroom home. Our family bathroom – in a country Art Deco style – is the cutest thing ever (I swear I had better staged photos than these):

This bathroom is lovely and light filled (not that my phone can cope with all the light – it tends to underexpose the natural light in this room!). There are a couple of things I would have changed if the products had been available: I would have put in a different vanity, and stained the shelves a lighter colour. The vanity I bought was the only one at the time available with a wooden top, and I’m not in love with the heaviness of it. Last year, long after we had installed this piece, I found a different supplier of vanities that had a brand that would have looked much nicer, but I don’t care enough to swap it out (plus, it’s expensive to do this and those tiles are in short supply!).

The last room to be completed was the small guest bedroom (it easily fits a double bed but not much storage) and I swear I’ll hang the last painting over the bed very soon:

Unfortunately this room gets SUPER hot in summer. I’m not quite ready to install the side shades due to the wishing and hoping renovations, as I want a striped navy/white electric retractable awning series covering all windows on the western side, and this area is not yet at the Definitely Done stage to do that.

In all the other spaces we’ve just been painting or finishing off some long overdue maintenance:

My study desk is not affixed to anything, so that we can repurpose the room into a bedroom down the track for selling purposes. It’s not ideal as the desk is a little too high: it rests on the bookcases which sit just above the ideal height for a short-legged-person’s desk. And with all of those screens (yes, I use them ALL) I can’t get a standing desk just yet. Another thing that needs some work.

In the new entryway we swapped out a cute vintage 30s yellow glass shade for a bright white 20s vintage shade: it works better with all the bright white and colours, and that sweet abstract painting and the chair are now in my home office – I’ve put plants where the chair used to be. I have a thing for aqua and teal right now, and my study is a riot of blues and whites and wood. I dare not show you the “storage” area behind the photo as it’s a bit of a disaster! There are 2 bookcases and a cello and a covered keyboard and lots of books and supplies for work; they all need proper storage. I have dreams of building in a decent storage and shelving unit but we keep putting it off, due to the aforementioned wishing and hoping renovations.

The spare bedroom has of March this year become quite an important study for hubby – he, like most of the world, has had to work from home. Luckily, his industry enabled him to do that (we’re both academics). I’ve based the styling around the Gillie and Mark painting we bought a few years ago – these colours are very “in” right now, and they’re nice and masculine, perfect for hubby’s home office.

That rather scrummy leather chair from West Elm was never intended to be sat in 8 hours a day! It’s not very comfortable for long haul work weeks, but it looks good!

The master suite looks the same as it ever did: the ceiling needs a paint but other than that there’s not much to report, except I’ve gone mad for deep blues and soft greens in this room: warm dark blues in winter, and their lighter companions in summer. I’m not yet ready to abandon these colours and I’m not overly fond of the new terracottas and pinks and peaches that have flooded my instagram of late: when you live in terrible heat and humidity 80% of the year, you need some cooling vibes to bathe in at night!

The lounge room has had a bit of a makeover – we bought some vintage mid century chairs in a bright orange and they just look fabulous. Our red room is now a jewel of rich colours:

We’ve changed out the gorgeous Nellie Marks painting over the couch for a commissioned Bromley: Nellie has taken pride of place in the entry, except of course now I have to rethink the rug colour: SIGH.

And our kitchen is the same as it ever was: people seem to like its slightly industrial Melbourne vibe but I’m just getting really annoyed with it now: the oven cavity traps the heat, there’s no extractor fan so all the open shelves and their contents get greasy, there’s no natural light and it’s a tiny, tiny space to try and work in. But we recently replaced the old ceiling light with these new industrial/country lamps and it all seems to work really well! You can see how much stuff we have to store on the shelves: there’s no storage in this house!

As you can see from the photos: I’m no minimalist. I wish I knew how to pare my world back just a bit, but every time I do, my eye gets distressed and I have to decorate more richly than my hubby or even I would prefer. The worst part of being a maximalist is the dusting, of course….;)

So why has it taken me two years to post? Well, I’d begun a heap of posts, but somehow I just got sidetracked with work. I’ve taken lots of photos of the renovations as they happened but once they’re finished it’s a bit of a chore to upload “in the moment” shots long after the fact. Also, I’m writing this on my computer rather than my phone, for what I hope are obvious reasons, and I’d forgotten my log in and password, and then I have to SEND my phone photos to myself and… and… and… you get the drift. Also at about the same time I discovered Instagram. And suddenly the blog seemed all a bit too hard.

But I’ve done myself a solid, found my password and username, and here I am. Because, in truth, I really want one of two things: either we sell Harry’s Money Pit and move to a house that’s already completed, one that’s a bit better organised, with 4 bedrooms, 2 baths, a workshop, a landscaped garden and pool, or we try and complete the renovations here. I’ve already talked about how I’d like a new family room and kitchen and back deck, but in order to make this house a viable selling proposition down the track, I need to think about adding a bedroom, rumpus, bathroom and workshop downstairs, to make this house a truly 5-bedroom home. And even though it’s June here right now and nice and cool, I really would love a lap pool for when it gets hot here, which is September to April. It might just be better to sell and buy fresh. We have a healthy savings balance now, and the bank would probably lend us quite a bit of money, but I can’t imagine how much all of that would cost, and I’m scared to ask!

So now that I’ve no more excuses, I’ll be posting more regularly in the blog, so that you can see my world and how we live in it, and I’ll update you on my house plans as they happen.

Cheerio!

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