More to come…

Our little housie is about to get a nice big new plan for an update, and hopefully the bank will give us lots of money to do it!

Since we bought our house in July 2020 (yes I know, in the middle of a pandemic, but no time like the present, hey!), Australian house prices have literally gone bonkers, and our house is now worth 20% more on the real estate market (possibly more because we live on a fantastic street) than a year ago. Not that we want to sell, OH NO.

So last post – was it three months ago? Feels like forever – I was talking about extending our bathroom and kitchen just a soupçon and squeezing in a bit more space for a better bathroom and maybe a better wardrobe. Truth be told, my fave builder of all time Rachael said adding only a few metres’ space was a big cost for minimal benefit. So I said “well let’s go big, then”. What we want to do is update our house with a new lockable garage, she-shed, brand new WIR and ensuite in the main bedroom, new family bathroom and new kitchen, new back deck and new lower deck. Go hard or go home, I say.

This house needs a lockable garage, particularly for when there are hailstone storms – more common than you think, here in SE Qld. Our rather exxie car needs to be protected from the weather; the possum poop; bird poop, and bat poop. I had a subsequent brilliant plan to build a new ensuite and WIR on top of the garage, thus protecting us from our neighbours’ noisy entertainment deck in the summer, and adding vital real estate to the main bedroom. My builder loved it, because she gets to build new and there are minimal changes inside the house that need addressing, new wet zones notwithstanding.

We can then incorporate the toilet into the renovated family bathroom, and crib more space for the kitchen, which will be fully gutted and replaced. YAS KWEEN. We will also tear off the old back deck and add a brand new deck that extends all the way to the end of the main bedroom. It won’t have an external set of stairs as there’s already stairs inside the house, which means it will be a tad more secure. The deck will be super simple, 5 metres by 9 metres with a gable pitched roof and lots of insulation so that we can enjoy it all year round and entertain out there. The main bedroom will have French doors onto the deck. My idea of heaven!

Downstairs the fun continues in a cunning way recommended by my landscape gardener. She suggested constructing a deck over all the higgledy-piggledy concrete (concrete that’s beautifully formed, though – it’s not old, just a series of odd design decisions). Magic. The deck will be about 5 metres deep and the width of the house, with a step-down each side to the new garage and the north-facing garden. In front of the deck there will be an under-deck garden of ferns and plants that need only filtered sunlight, which will also provide an extra layer of privacy for the downstairs area. This means that for minimal invasion into the main house, we get a lot more utility value out of the house and greater liveability overall, and we add square footage without going overboard with the bedroom numbers.

Things we probably CAN’T do right now: update the downstairs bathroom and laundry. That will be a job for another time, maybe in 5 years – they’ll do for now and there’s lots of storage in the ugly-but-serviceable laundry. There are a few other upgrades that may have to wait until the next round of funds (or big tax returns), which may or may not include ducted air upstairs, painting the exterior (we got quotes for this and wept), a built-in book case in my study and some other things. Other additions: lockable storage under the front of the house, which involves extending the batten design down to the ground and adding lockable gates at each end – a pretty simple job. Unfortunately chippies are in high demand and the cost of supplies is also high. The amazing builder who lives over the road could add the storage in a day (you should see how quickly he has constructed his garage!) but he’s way too busy for us as well. In the meantime, though, we ARE doing the back garden (won’t be impacted by the building works) and making the area more beautiful. The job starts hopefully this week. Given the rain and general crap weather though, they may start next week instead. Who knows?

Fingers crossed that by the time we approach our bank, cap in hand, we will be able to borrow lots more money to do the upgrades we need. There are lending caps, mostly to do with the value of the house and the borrowing ratio available to us, so it’s about getting maximum valuation for the home as it stands so that we don’t have to borrow more than 80% of the value of the house, thereby avoiding lender’s mortgage insurance (LMI). It’s NOT about our ability to repay, btw. That’s not an issue. Darn it.

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!

In which I confess my Pinterest obsession. Again.

I’ve been having some seriously green moments of late. I’ve been scrolling through Pinterest with the fervour of a demented person, and I’ll have to take a break just to claim my sanity back.

I’ve been loving window seats and banquettes. This may have something to do with the brain wave I had about our planned kitchen/family room addition (sadly on the never-never plan, but a gal can dream). On the bottom right of the plan is the kitchen, which sits along the east boundary. The whole addition is 5 metres x 7.3 metres, which when added to the current room more than doubles the space. The butler’s pantry will be about 1.5 metres wide. The free-standing island bench will be about 3 metres long and about 1.2 metres deep. The kitchen wall will stretch the length of the space, giving us about 5 metres. Once the fridges and appliances are accounted for, there will be about 2 metres of inexplicable room at the end. What to do, what to do?

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My cunning plan is to put in a corner window seat. How ’bout that?! The architect and I had planned for doors to open onto a narrow deck on the south-east corner, but I have a better idea. We will move the doors (yet another repurposed set of French doors to the south west corner. Once again repurposing the kitchen windows (which are beautiful and original to the house), we will place them on the south-east corner and put a window seat underneath, to which I will add a recently purchased 1870 mahogany breakfast tilt-table. I think it will end up being the most popular spot in the house, and certainly the sunniest in the mornings. Huzzah!

This is what I think it might look like:

window seat

Yass.

window seat 4window seat 3window seat 2

This is a version of the table I recently purchased:

Mahogany breakfast table

Tilt tables became popular with the rise of the middle class throughout England and America in the 1700s, and were used for conversation spaces where breakfast and afternoon tea were served. I envisage this table will evoke exactly the same feels. At least, it will make a lovely study space and Sunday-morning-paper-reading space.

It’s no surprise that the images I’ve shown also indicate the type of kitchen I want. As our house is nearly 100 years old, it has a country farm style, and I want to carry that through the kitchen, with Shaker cupboard faces, slightly retro fittings and finishes, and a wee touch of marble (NOT on the counters, because marble stains horribly. Perhaps marble subway tiles in a herringbone pattern on the backsplash).

In the meantime, though, I’m planning the studio addition to the house, which DH and I are hoping may be possible to add sometime next year. This will add valuable capital to the house, allow us to paint the exterior and move the entryway to the front. We will also add another family bathroom at this time. I had a great deal of success with our ensuite, and I know exactly the types of fittings and fixtures I want, as well as the tiles and general design. I’ll stick to the same basic palette of concrete-style floor tiles and extra large white tiles laid in a subway pattern I used in the ensuite, but I’m thinking about a pale blue Spanish tile as the feature:

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I’ll order the same light fittings, but I’ll choose a slightly different mirror. As for the vanity: well, it might be an off-the-rack job, depending on the size. I’ve also decided to add a bath under the shower. It might reduce the size of the room but my children will appreciate it!

 

Australia Day and paint

   

 Just a few more days and we can declare the new ensuite and WIR finished!

The final days are for the electrician who has to return for the extractor fan install, plus a couple of little touch up jobs. I’m sueing the painter. Nah. But I need to patch and dress some final paint patches, which I will do after the fan is installed.

It’s been a long and sometimes frustrating process, making sure the vision we have is accurately reflected in the building works. Drawings and Pinterest boards aren’t always enough. Builders will make design decisions on your behalf, often without consultation at all. This is unacceptable but understandable given their desire to do a quick job. Even placement of lights and features need constant supervision.

There are elements of our renovation I would change if I had my time over, but they are small things. In general I’m happy with the final result.

Above are 2 images of the bathroom, which represent the conclusion of my design concepts. It’s come together really well. 

 

Arty, crafty, glassy.

There be photos of the new shower screen. Never knew you have to wait 3 days before touching or bumping it. Apparently it could explode. I ask, what takes 3 days to cure that a piece of glass might explode if you touch it?

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Not hugely in love with the piece of aluminium on the floor but I wasn’t actually given any choice. I love how builders make design choices for you (not). Anyway, it’s pretty unobtrusive and given that I hate water flowing throughout the bathroom from shower run-off I’m happy to see it there. My folks did a similar thing with a rounded piece of aluminium in their bathroom but it wasn’t high enough and water still flows over it. The only other alternative would have been to put a drain at the entrance but I hate the long ones – they’re swimming pools for cockroaches in our house.

I love the big, clear screen and that you can still see through to the picture window. It feels as if there is no glass at all! And the bathroom still feels spacious and well designed. So happy.

On Monday the boys come back to do the last of the work – the final siliconing of the glass, some extra electrical stuff, a louvre window, some tiling, and finally the silicone for the bathroom. Am I impatient to start using our bathroom? Not really. We’ve lived with the crappy bathroom for so long that a month seems short.

Of course, now I’m seriously regretting not having tackled the trim and door painting before the lads arrive. I might have a go with the oil paint tomorrow, just to get started.

In the meantime, DH bought a new Makita petrol line trimmer with a Bunnings gift voucher and I bought some herbs again. I love home grown herbs but I’m terrible at keeping the water up to them, and in Queensland summer sun you need to water every day – yes – even woody herbs such as Rosemary.

I’ve repurposed an old wire flower shelf back to its original use. I WAS going to de-rust and paint the thing but I couldn’t be fagged. I potted all the herbs, watered them and arranged them on the shelf and now I’ve created an artful Instagram picture (which I don’t use because Instagram).

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I’m pretty happy with the composition of this picture, actually. And yes, it has been edited a bit using Snapseed- our paintwork isn’t quite as bad as this!

Now DH is hard at work learning how to use a petrol line trimmer. There may be teething problems.

Finishing off the interiors

It’s still a little way off before we can declare the renovations fully finished but there are signs that it’s close. John the builder wasn’t here on Monday, which gave me the opportunity to do some filling, sanding, undercoating and topcoats. The East Wing is now a pristine white, and it only needs some window painting for it to be complete. Even the woodwork and architraves are mostly done! I’m a little worried about the gorgeous but messy French doors. They need a proper strip-back and clean, and they’ve already been hung, so it’s unlikely this will be done properly. I’ll be scraping back paint off windows and sanding them back for months yet.

The WIR needs its louvre windows (we’re having half clear, half etched and the etched ones aren’t finished yet – or maybe the factory lost them), and then a couple of patching jobs and some architrave. The ensuite just got its window frame finished on the outside, and the vanity finished off. There are some repairs needing doing to some broken tiles (apparently it’s normal for tiles to be broken when fitting ceiling beading – the staccato pounding of the nail gun breaks them), and then some finishing off with silicon. I need to sand back and paint the beading, then the whole ceiling gets a topcoat or 2 (even though it already has one) and then I get to tackle the wood trim, the door and the windows. UGH.

The lads have taken off while we wait for the shower glass to be ready, so it’s painting time for me.

Dulux Vivid White on the walls is great for the outside rooms because it is so bright and clean, and considered a “pure” colour. However, I’m choosing a warmer colour in the interior rooms, as they don’t get all that much natural light, maybe Antique White or Lexicon. I’ve chosen Dulux Natural White in oil for all the woodwork. It covers amazingly well, once the woodwork is undercoated with Dulux 3-in-1 Primer, Sealer and Undercoat in Vivid White. Mostly it just needs one coat on the new wood.

I’m feeling a little trepidation regarding the front windows. We have a small problem. Some of them are old and crusty, and need a lot of preparation before painting. They are also rather delicate, so I can’t use too much force on them. One even has a cracked window pane that I can’t really replace because the glass is so old and delicate it’s not readily available. Therefore ALL the panes will then need replacing. On ALL the windows in that room. Laminated. Not cheap.

In truth, I’m dreading the precision work. I have a lovely little brush for the woodwork but it’s really hard to get a clean line without brush strokes mucking up the vertical and horizontal joins, and getting paint on the glass (which I think is pretty awful, unlike the former occupants of the house, because there is so much crusted paint on ALL of the window panes that it will take until hell freezes over for me to do them all. Even DH has offered to help). So I’m kinda putting it off until I gather up the nerve!

So, for now, it’s back to Bunnings for more Dulux paint. But while you wait, here’s a little picture of the near-finished vanity. All it needs now is the mirror and some bath utensils. We even have the towels! For soft furnishings: Freedom Furniture for the patterned towels and baskets. Adairs for the white and charcoal towels. They are so new I haven’t even removed the store labels.

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I’m off to Pillow Talk for the bathroom accessories. We decided that the gorgeous amber/brown bottles of Aesop work perfectly on the vanity but I can’t bear the cost of replacing Aesop products (SO expensive), so we found these instead:

muse bathroom accessories

So lovely! And of course I found my white orchid is, of course, alive and well. It goes in too. Finally, we need to choose a toilet brush holder (tried my cream and black Victoriana one, doesn’t work at all, too busy) and a bin. For the bin I’m thinking a natural woven grass with white base. For the toilet brush: ugh. Probably a charcoal or dark one for contrast. Not yet decided. Too much white will kill the look.

So why finish off this room? Because I want just ONE room in the house completely renovated and finished. Once the accessories are in, I don’t want to touch this room for a VERY LONG TIME. Also, it means DH and I have a great bedroom retreat (not that the bathroom is somewhere to retreat to, but you get my drift). I have to finish the painting in the bedroom (a whole ‘nother story), but once that’s done, hey presto. Only some plantation shutters to install and we’re done.

Also, it means that the East Wing is completely done as well. Then, only 6 rooms to go. SIGH.

 

 

 

It’s the little things.

We’re getting ever closer to a finished result in our first ever set of renovations. Today the lads are off again, but John promises me he will be back at lunch time because the glass is here!

Which means that some time in the next two weeks we will be completely finished. Bar the shouting. And the painting.

The window frames are all in. The door is hung. The beading is nearly complete bar some teeny-tiny bits in the WIR.

I bought some drawer furniture from Paddington Hardware on La Trobe Terrace, Paddington. The 4 shell handles (RRP $7 ea) will go on the drawers and the single crystal door knob (RRP $12) on the cupboard drawer in the centre of the vanity. These will be installed soon, once the vanity has been fitted into place.

This morning I shall spend a few hours filling and sanding the beading that went in yesterday. I don’t want to get entirely paint encrusted, but I can certainly do a few things before John arrives. (I don’t actually believe he will come back today because builders always underestimate the length of time it will take to complete something.)

When John arrives we shall have a little conversation about how to fill some of the gaps in the window frames – will it be spak filler or timber nail filler? I’m thinking spak filler because the joins are too large for a little timber filler.

The following day…

I was right: John the builder wasn’t about when I left the house, BUT! He had been back to put in some glass. Now the ensuite is completely weather-proof and on Monday the louvre windows will be installed in the WIR.

I also bought our white LED downlights from Ideal Electrical Suppliers in Woolloongabba on Wednesday. They have a gimble because of the raked ceiling, so can be pointed in any direction. Now our house is nearly entirely LED fitted. The LED downlights also have a dimmer capability, and are not heat emitting, huzzah. They look fantastic in the bright white ceiling and I’m thinking of putting them in other rooms around the house too. Next year’s job, along with new ceiling fans!

Friday…

I waited and waited for the electrician to show, but I had to go and locate an expensive extractor fan called a Minivent M1 series from Allvent at Milton Lighting at RRP $145 (why does everything for this room have to be top of the line and cost so much? Huh?), so when I finally got back the electrician had been and gone. Sadly, I didn’t have the extractor fan, and my builder had wilfully ignored my specific instructions (with picture evidence of preferred face plates sent via text message) to put in shiny chrome electrical face plates, instead putting in crappy looking brushed aluminum ones that stand out like dog’s balls. Of course, the electrician not informing me as to WHEN he was going to be there I didn’t get the chance to show him where the transformer was for the WIR light, nor to remind him that I want dimmer switches because the lights I bought all have dimmer capability.

So he’ll have to come back AGAIN. Which is annoying for all of us but the last little bit should only take 15 minutes to fix, and he can install the hugely expensive but very low-key-looking extractor fan then too.

However, John the builder has now installed all the glass in the East Wing, and only needs to now put on the window furniture – very simple spur catch handles (RRP $12.95) for the casement windows in bright chrome from Finlayson’s Hardware in Woolloongabba. Chrome spur catch

Today is Saturday. Friday was spent being relieved about an impending tax return that looks very promising and should pay the builder nearly to the end. Phew. Have to admit the fee was looking a little worrying just now. But this means we shouldn’t have to hit the credit cards and should still have enough cash for Xmas.

Friday was also spent buying a new “Looking Glass” style mirror (RRP $350) for the ensuite from Reflect Mirrors in Lutwyche Road, Bowen Hills:

Mirror round

This dull bronze frame (it is actually a solid metal frame and really well built) looks fantastic against our warm grey tiles and chrome and milk-glaze white wall lamps. It’s 90cm diameter. We need some round things to offset the severe angles in the room. The tiles are squares and rectangles, the vanity is square, the windows are rectangular, the shower frame is too. So there are some round touches for balance. The oval vanity bowl and softly curved toilet cistern and bowl; the shower heads; the lights; the mirror; the shell shaped vanity handles. I’ve used 3 different tiles (warm grey, white and warm concrete look) and 3 different grout colours to contrast. There’s lots of grey and white, with the gorgeous vanity blackbutt top providing a focus, offset really well now by the wall lights and mirror. I’ve got a mostly surviving flowering orchid to plonk in the ensuite and I’ll be buying some simple woven baskets for under the vanity (Freedom Furniture), which will hide stuff but also provide another warm and natural look.

Saturday…

Today I went to Bunnings and finally decided on my trim paint and colour. As the walls and ceilings are Dulux Vivid White, I need a very gentle contrast for the wood trims. So I’ve bought 4 litres of oil paint in High gloss Natural White. Yes. I’ll have to be VERY careful not to crap this one up, being high gloss (there was no plain gloss, and semi-gloss won’t cut it). Lots of prep for the new windows and trim, and some very judicious sanding and filling for the old windows. Luckily the boys have framed up the old windows with new wood, so I only have to worry about sanding the old windows and NOT the old, tired frames as well. I KNEW it was a good idea to leave these alone 4 years ago!

I also bought LED lights for the wall lights in the bathroom and yet more painting products, including that Selley’s spakfiller and gap filler I was thinking about.

And now: to work I go.

 

I can’t even.

So tired. SO, SO tired. I spent the weekend filling holes and sanding in preparation for painting the East Wing. Yesterday I gave the East Wing its first undercoat. I’m so wrung out I can’t even think, let alone walk around. I removed the huge sofa so that I could roll the ceilings and walls, put down my drop sheets, and went hard for 6 hours. Now, this doesn’t sound like much, does it? Except I’m an oldish, slightly unfit lady who has to smoosh paint into the VJ grooves with nothing more than brute strength and a tricky roller position. I’m all done in. And of course the muscles around my right shoulder have decided to cark it!

I’m about ready to kill the owner of the house for wanting VJ mdf sheets. The painter now has to fill every single little black triangle left by the groove with acrylic filler, which is a horrible job the painter has NO skill in. Given that the painter and the owner are one and the same, I’m shitty at myself for giving myself more work to do. Gah.  However, the owner thinks the VJ looks amazing. The painter reluctantly agrees, nursing her tennis elbow and cursing.

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Yesterday I completed the second round of cutting in with the undercoat and cleaned up some patchy areas, and now it’s only the acrylic filling and top coats to do in the East Wing. Then I have to decide on paint for the wood trims and architraves. Do I go with proper oil paint, or do I go with aqua oil paint (which is a big furphy, it’s just water based paint, and in no way looks or feels like oil paint)?

The lads are busy at it today putting in the windows. It’s starting to take shape but I don’t really like to work with them around. Mainly because I think they’re quietly laughing at my povvo attempts to cut in, but also because I’m concerned I’m getting in the way. They work fast and consistently, and are out of the house at about 3pm, so it’s best if I stay well out of harm’s way.

The weekend is looking a little dicey – we have family functions to manage, so I’m not sure if I’ll get to paint. However, I am all set up and nail filling, sanding or cutting in is certainly something I can manage if nothing else! And it’s a good opportunity to prepare a couple of areas I’ve pretended don’t exist, such as the new proper wooden VJs in our bedroom.

Like every building job ever, it’s the little things that remain unfinished. An architrave here, a window there. In every room being worked on. There is nothing that is fully finished! I’m keen to get the painting finished in the ensuite, WIR and the East Wing, because this gets a lot of clothing out of the way, and a lot of crap in cupboards. It means DH and I get to use our new bathroom (huzzah!), and there will be at least 2 places without dust everywhere.

However, this is the dragging time. The moment when you think “when will this ever end?” And we’ve only been going about 4 weeks. I should be patient!