WE’RE MOVING!

Finally I am delighted to announce that: yes, we’re moving! Our house sold well (considering the impact of COVID-19 on house prices in our area) and we’re moving to a new part of town for us, one that I suspect I may never leave!

Here’s our new home:

Cute, huh! BTW, this is a screen shot of the house that I took from the real estate web site we found it on. I cannot wait to change those colours to something a little less drab. The paint job is in very good condition though so it might stay for a couple of years.

Here’s the floorplan. On the left is the downstairs (in QLD houses are often built under, so living quarters and the kitchen are on the top floor), and the right is the main living area and bedrooms:

I know there are four bedrooms when there are only 2 of us. But I use my study every day, and hubby needs a study too. So we’re making the first 2 upstairs bedrooms our studies, and the fourth bedroom downstairs is definitely our dumping room for the time being as we sort through our outdoor stuff. In our old house we had a great breezeway under the house, all 140sqm of it, in which we stored all the gardening equipment and spare items. In this house we don’t have that so we are making plans for a garden shed and workshop, to sit at the bottom of the driveway. It’s currently a turn-out for the under-house parking but, you guessed it, we’re not parking under the house! (except perhaps during hailstorms…)

We’d like to renovate this house (well der!) and the section under the deck and master bedroom is perfect for a new rumpus room (hubby calls it the pool room but I think he means the room with the grand piano ;)). We’ll take apart the old deck eventually and put in a new kitchen and deck that extends to the end of the master bedroom, and underneath we’ll lay some new concrete and enclose the space. We’re on 810sqm of land which is great for this part of town, and I don’t want to impact on the generous yard with more house, so we’re keeping our ideas modest (and in truth we won’t be able to afford much more than what we’re planning). We’ll upgrade the bathrooms and give the master bedroom an ensuite and walk-in-robe, by moving the kitchen to the new construction, and making it a galley kitchen, as seen below:

Soz about my terrible drawing – I did it on my computer that doubles as a tablet and my drawing is super shaky. We’ll add a small family bathroom upstairs where the kitchen currently sits.

So I’m a little concerned about the generally poor placement of the laundry – at the moment the downstairs bathroom is connected to the bedroom and I don’t love this – if we want to add a family room area I don’t want to add yet another bathroom. I think what I’ll do over time is to reduce the size of the bathroom to make it a family bathroom (not an ensuite), and then put a door in the ensuing corridor to the outside. At the moment the laundry door faces the hall to the rumpus and I don’t love the position, and I think if we rethink the laundry layout then we might get better flow. I’m loving playing with these ideas – it will be two years before we can pay for most of the new stuff so we will live with what we have in the meantime, and just do small things. I think the current rumpus will make a great 5th bedroom if we decide to add a downstairs family room at the rear, which will add great resale value to the home.

Do you have some great ideas to make this house even more amazing? I’d love to hear.

In the meantime, here are some interior shots of before. That is: before we moved in! 🙂

Vaguebooking and green lounge room ideas

So I can’t really say anything about selling our house at the moment, nor can I say anything about any other purchases we may have made, because it’s not over until it’s unconditional, but I’ve been having a lovely time curating my “Green Room” lounge room, for the future. I’ve posted ideas previously to my Insta site @brisvegashome about this, and thought I’d share a larger post.

So we own this beautiful, delicate etching by renowned Australian artist Charles Blackman:

I love the colours in the work. This was not hugely expensive: there are 89 more just like it! Look at the gorgeous greens – I can see three or four in the work, and it’s so close to being a banana leaf/tropical style that I thought this would make a grand statement in the room and provide the basis for our new lounge room colourway.

So imagine this room, if you will, as being the raw canvas for the new green design.

It’s a lovely room with plenty of sweet character already.

Now imagine this floorplan which includes the dining room. 5 by 5.2 metres (16ft by 17ft) is a lovely size, large but not enormous, and well large enough for the two of us + friends. In this plan, featuring white walls and honey-wood floors there might be 2 large lounges – 2.5 metre oatmeal coloured casual Hamptons-inspired ones, with feather and down cushions etc sitting opposite each other such as this rather scrummy Monterey version from Plush:

There might be a large neutral rug:

Then imagine a couple of easy chairs in green such as these beauties:

I prefer a solid colour block for all my large furnishings – I don’t love chintz style or heavily floral furniture. Soft furnishings such as cushions etc are a different story though:

Match these with a beautiful throw rug and some gorgeous lamps and we’re set!

It’s then just a matter of fitting our old furniture around the new, including our glass coffee table, some mid-century side tables and some antique brown furniture that I can’t seem to get rid of (ok, ok, I like these pieces!). I don’t know about you, but I really hate a curated room with all new furniture. One challenge with a green room is to not go overboard on the one colour. It’s important to layer colour and texture, and play with different shades of green, but also keep it real with some colours across the colour wheel such as yellows, blues or peaches and pinks. I have a bunch of lovely old plates and some plants that will go in this room and the dining room, including my gorgeous majolica plates:

And of course we have a bunch of fabulous artwork that will adorn some walls in addition to the Blackman. I think I’ll keep the curtains very light and bright: just some sweet cream curtains from IKEA or something:

These are actually expensive Belgian Linen Curtains from Pottery Barn but you get my drift…

Maybe an ottoman or two:

And perhaps to keep it real maybe this side table with some of the things on it:

We have many of these tables, and there is plenty of space to put them in the mythical room you saw.

Put all these images together and you get this:

Here are some other great green inspo ideas I completely nicked from other sources that I can’t name because I did it all in a frenzy – I was so excited!

I really like the bronze and brushed gold of the above image, plus the pretty peach counterpoints – see how mixing up the colours loosens the green? And there are many different types of green here too: from lime and grass green to forest green to aqua. It all works beautifully. Also, the bottom image is the closest to what I imagine our green room to be. Just take away the gorgeous wall paper and add a beige carpet and this is a lovely casual spot to hang out in. Notice that I’ve excluded the TV from all the discussions about furniture? That’s because I don’t want it in the main lounge room. If you’re like me and you rarely watch TV for anything more than noise value, renovation shows or movies, then moving the TV to another room in the house – perhaps a games room, or rumpus – takes its inclusion down a notch.

Oh! And if anyone is wondering how I will fit all the things in the room, take a look at my totally for reals pretend placement image that I’ve totally measured and everything (NOT!):

I’ve flung some pretend furniture against the walls but in truth I can’t imagine at this point what will go where. Maybe a bookcase or two (we have 9 free standing ones that all need homes), and lots of side tables. I even have an old round side table which would work well in this space:

And with some more decor this room could look fabulous. Not too overdone, mind…!

I can’t wait to get started….

Time to sell Harry’s Money Pit?

We may or may not have just signed a contract with our real estate agents to sell our home. Not sure what we’ll get for her, but the photos are looking pretty awesome and I’ve finally painted most of the woodwork. It took me FOREVER to do and my poor dodgy upper back is really feeling the pinch.

We had some professional shots taken and I’m pretty pleased with most of them, although there were a few in which seriously some of the crap could have been moved out of shot. I’ve seriously been feeling rather overwhelmed this week and the house cleaners didn’t do a very thorough job, so I was left trying to complete all the cleaning and clearing. Not very happy Jan.

Here are the new images of the house; I hope you enjoy them! And no, we’ve not bought another house yet…

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!

It’s the little things

We’ve been granted the world’s longest mortgage to extend and renovate Harry’s Money Pit! Huzzah. Now there’s a whole lotta money in the bank burning the world’s biggest hole in my pocket while we plan our big renovations. In the meantime, we’re getting a few “little things” done around the house to make our lives just that little bit easier.

Firstly: I’ve ordered a new automated garage tilt door and automated gate opener. These are from Doors Direct, and we’ve ordered a timber-batten version like the image below, because we’ve decided we can’t afford, nor really need, to build under the house:

garage door timber-battens-1200x900

Once painted it will look a treat, although I haven’t yet received the quote (but they were totally on it! Might only take a week to make and install, given their speed of service thus far). For the last 5 years we’ve been getting out of our cars, opening the front gate and garage door by hand, driving in or reversing out of the garage, then doing it all again. Time to save a bit of time. We live on a busy street and need privacy, security and dog protection, hence the fence and gate and garage door ballet that is our life (sometimes we just park our car round the corner because doing this 3 times a day gets old fast).

The other thing we’re doing right now is ordering plantation shutters for the bedroom and front room. I’m not a fan of curtains in our hot, humid climate, where material smells/fades/gets mouldy. And this is a thing we’d promised ourselves once I’d finished painting the bedroom. Well, I haven’t finished painting the bedroom, but this sure as hell will put the boot in my butt to get this done! They’re coming over next week, and it’ll be fun working out how many we’ll need, as we have banks of windows in each room. Are these counted as singular or grouped?

plantation shutters the blind space

We’re also getting quotes on the house painting of the exterior: the guys doing the job next door (who are doing a BEAUTIFUL job), are coming over tomorrow to chat. Of course, they can’t do much until we get the various outside bits done that need doing.

OH! And we’re ordering air-con for the bedroom and studio. I’ve had it with humid summers. And I don’t think I can get through another summer without some kind of night-time drying system. (I’ve found out that instead of using the “cool” setting, if I use the “dry” setting on the air con, the temperature setting can be higher and still feel just as cool as the “cool” setting, saving us moolah.) So of course we’re putting in solar. What with these dry winters and hotter-than-average-temperature summers, it makes sense to take pressure off the grid, and reduce our bills at the same time, while still enjoying some cool inside air.

And maybe, just maybe, I’ll order some new ceiling fans and inset ceiling lights for the bedrooms and lounge. Maybe.

It’s the little things…

OMG. The bank just gave us some renovation money.

After 6 years, a mini renovation and more trips to Bunnings than I can count, it is done. We have been lent the funds to renovate our house.

Aaaaahhhh$#(%*&)@(#%&9ut18u6[0iqkmv0986i5$$$$#@&%$#$#*%# !

(That, if you will, is an image of me running about the house with my shirt over my head)

We have yet to determine how much, and Mr Bank Man is working out the details, but he has offered us enough money for us to definitely add the new kitchen, living and deck extension. With a squeeze we might be able to manage the garage and a poured concrete slab behind the garage for an extra room, laundry and half-bath downstairs. I’m keeping my fingers crossed.

Of course, it also all depends on whether Mr Bank Man thinks we can pay off the loan, too. Not a problem. We got this.

Ooh, I can’t hardly wait!

 

Other June Activities

Hubby went overseas for a time in June, and I spent his absence doing some things. The back yard has remained mostly tidy after our mammoth demolition day, although it now resembles a mud pit due to the stupid amounts of rain we received this week.

In the meantime, we had also cleaned out all the rubbish crap under the house and now we’re left with just the crap from our former lives. Now that I’ve finally sent off my taxes (I know, I know, 3 years late), I’m going to get stuck into the various Jesus rooms, and rid ourselves of all the stuff that can be sold on Gumtree. (Australian eBay, it’s a kind of garage sale for those who sell stuff from time to time.) Hubby and I were both married before, and I have lots of stuff during my time as a single parent that I need to organise, while we each have heaps of old paperwork in massive plastic boxes to clear out.

However, I’ve actually done a few little things to make our lives easier. Firstly, I bought that Wagner paint sprayer, and while it’s not at all perfect, it certainly made my life painting the ceilings a lot easier. I’ve painted the spare room ceiling, which means the room is now nearly entirely finished bar a beautiful Indigenous art work and a couple of round mirrors I left in Melbourne:

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2017-06-12 16.29.18

I painted the bookcase you see there a fresh white gloss enamel and covered the back in a rather divine, if rather floral, wallpaper I bought from Bunnings. Mind you I used PVA glue to attach it because I was too impatient to return to the shop to buy the forgotten wallpaper glue so there’s seriously no going back!

I also (you may have espied), COLOUR CODED the books. Yes. I hang my head in shame. I can see why it works so well in these spaces. I apologise to all who I have previously dissed in the past.

I also did some furniture restoration. This was great fun, and I learned a bunch of new skills too. I re-upholstered a drop-in seat with some beautiful blue cloth, and repaired and painted the small chest below. It was in pretty terrible condition, but after some repairs to the back and a new leg, some sanding, paint, and new drawer pulls, I’m very happy with the end result, even though the bottom drawer doesn’t open (because NOTHING was square)!

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2017-06-03 12.56.04

I painted the ceiling in the hall, not that one can tell as there is zero lighting in the hall. And I have finished painting the lounge room and entryway. Huzzah! Our lounge room now looks bright and clean, and the ceiling is a whole lot cleaner now that it has had a full coat of bright white paint:

2017-06-03 14.32.20

I love Australian Indigenous art, and the wall painting is “My Country” by Nellie Marks Nakamurra. Our rather dilapidated 17-year old couch is from Freedom (originally cost me $3000 back in 2000, now a new one costs: $3000. If that.). It needs a good oil and spruce but the leather is finally starting to split in parts, and I’m SO looking forward to saving up for a new one! The cushions on the left next to the vintage lamp are from West Elm, the old tapestry one on the right from Laura Ashley and the fishy one from C.A.M.

It’s now August and rather warm, and I’ve not yet talked about July yet, so I’ll publish another post very soon.

To those in the Northern Hemisphere, I hope you’re enjoying the last of summer! And to my southern hemisphere friends, I hope the winter has been mild and wet, because I feel an El Nino coming on!

 

In which I report on things I’ve done in the garden

June has been a productive month. Yep. Done some things. If I can ever get my phone to upload the thousands of photos I’ve taken of the many fabulous things I’ve done, then I’ll show you.

In the meantime, let me begin with a recounting of the weekend hubby and I spent cutting down weed trees. On a Saturday before hubby had to head overseas, I took it upon myself to insist we clean up the back yard. Hubby was not too happy about this, saying that I often make a proclamation about cleaning up the yard which he then goes and does while I sit around inside. It’s actually true. But it’s because he just goes and does it and forgets to inform me.  And it’s usually terribly hot. So this particular weekend I took it upon myself to change our behaviour*.        *my behaviour

We hired a ute (which I drove because I intend to get me a ute eventually, Mazda BT-50 King Cab with tray, midnight blue, thanks for asking), and I bought a chainsaw. Which I now know how to manage, including how to tighten the chain, how to clean and fill the thing, and that I can’t start it from cold: I don’t have explosive arm power, even though I’m probably stronger than hubby. Cut down a bunch of trees and took a bunch of stuff to the tip, which has a recycling section as well as plant material sections.

Hubby then mowed the lawn (because I have to give him a little task to do every now and again). Our backyard looks all of a sudden quite clean and tidy. 2017-05-29 15.16.34

Of course, it’s been raining and horrible this week (quite unlike SE Queensland in Winter, which is normally dry season and gorgeous) so no more garden work has been done, but can you see the delightful (not) prison wall has now been transformed into a sexy aubergine-coloured wall? Bought that Wagner paint sprayer I mentioned and painted the wall. Took 20 litres of paint. I did it myself, and hubby held the ladder.

Here’s a pic before, and after:

I’m going to plant two climbers on this full-sun purple wall: Orange trumpet creeper, and of course a passionfruit vine:

orange trumpet closeupOLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERApassion-fruit-vinepassionfruit

Can you imagine that orange creeper against the purple wall? Gorgeous!

Now that we’ve painted and cleared away most of the back wall area, there’s no real excuse not to start planting out the rear of the garden. We’ve got to poison and remove some weed plants including invasive Chinese Elm, and that yellow New Zealand tree, and the camphor laurel on the left which has decided to pop up again. Then we’ll hire a guy with a bob cat to churn up the earth near the wall, and plant a bunch of things.