Robert-the-Scotsman left today after doing the second coat of our old deck and it has come up rather well. He’ll finish off the internal side of the front fence next week and then he’s off on a Grey Nomad trip of a lifetime with his beloved. I’m very pleased with how our deck has come up – it needs replacing in the next few years but for now the wood is still mostly solid. Robert acknowledges he’s not the neatest painter, but he’s done all right for a fella in his 70s. I’m hiring someone else from next week, who I think will be neater and cleaner, but you know, I don’t mind helping a fellow out from time to time. Robert is fast, at least!
As I’ve said elsewhere on this blog, we’re not changing the main house colour just now – super exxie. And it’s still in good condition. But we can change the trim and accent colours. We used Dulux Klavier on the deck floor – it’s a lovely warm black with notes of purple and brown (should be called eggplant IMHO), and Dulux Natural White on all the woodwork. I can’t wait for the rest of the house to be trimmed out in these colours! We’re painting the front door a crazy pinky-lilac for shits and giggles. I think we’ll stop there – the Klavier already looks good against the Celery colour of the house and I cannot WAIT for the beige trim to begone (you can see it on the underside of the deck roof – so very meh). It’s fine on Arts and Crafts houses in, say, England or the US, but this house needs a lighter, brighter touch. We’ll get the silver paint onto the old window hoods too. I’m also rethinking my need to cover the ENTIRE front porch with plants…it looks so nice all bare. Gah! What am I thinking?! My hubby must never know that sometimes I like minimalist moments… 😉 In truth, it’s the best spot for herbs right there, with the most glorious afternoon sun.
Talking colour again. The pretty Taubmans Sweet Clover I selected for the exterior trim DOES NOT WORK. Sure, it’s currently sitting next to depressing kill-me-now dark green but it’s just too muted for me and there’s not enough point of difference. Thank goodness I only bought a sample pot! I’m trying the Klavier as trim and it’s working ok, but it’s not popping the way I had hoped (once again, the beige trim is doing us all no favours). I’m waiting until the white on the walkway and guardrail is done and then we’ll see whether it will look good against the Natural White, and then I might just go a bit wild and try teal or something. Because I cannot live with the depressing nothingness of our exterior! Linseed was not the right colour either – I’ve found a couple of very similar colours in both the Taubman and Dulux colour charts and cannot believe that something so pretty could look so dessicated on our house. Natural White is perfect against the horrible base colour – it’s just getting the trim colour to pop a little more. The two colours at the bottom are Taubmans Sachet Pink and Green Cottage. The green is lovely in theory, but in practice dreary. The bottom aqua is called Hummingbird – a bright pop of aqua that is complementary according to Taubman. I may yet go there.
Here’s a new series of colours that we’re trying. See what I mean about the Celery Green? On its own it’s pretty and bright. On our house it looks dull and tired. Dulux have a lot to answer for for their poop colour of the year, Brave Ground. It’s hard enough to get our house to look excited about anything, then add a poop colour and we may as well give up trying to look even semi interested in life.
…Not my hair, which has been going grey for years already, but on the house. I know, completely boring, amirite?! But in truth it looks so crisp against the greenery of our subtropical garden that I can’t really go past it. I’m very taken by this colour from the Dulux colour palette:
Or this one:
Or even Lexicon:
If I put Lexicon against Lexicon Quarter I get a really nice subtle difference but it might be too subtle in the bright sun:
So if I put Lexicon half against purple-based Pensive Quarter it looks lovely:
But I prefer it against the Highgate, which is a more subtle colour too – more true grey, which I like. I team it against a lovely bright navy trim for a bit of pop and a cheerful front door, and we’re set. I COULD go dark grey for the trim and that would be fine but it’s just a bit boring – we’re already grey enough! Passionate Blue is gorgeous and gives off just enough of those Greek colour vibes that I really like:
But this would also work well and sits more along the grey spectrum:
Blue trim is a difficult one to decide as it’s only a small pop of colour and can simultaneously look too dark or bright. Normally everything looks lighter outside and darker inside but with trim it can actually be the reverse, as there’s not enough colour to provide much detail. It also has to not clash with our walkway colour, which will be a dark grey.
Our front door has this crazy lilac glass inset that we may as well highlight because CUTE, but the colour changes dramatically depending on the light. I took these 3 images within 2 minutes of each other. the first is the interior view and the 2 following are exterior at different angles and light sources:
We could go a cute mint green, or lilac such as these pretty shades below:
Any of these would look fabulous against the grey siding, white timber trim and navy highlights. The painter I’m using (we’ve employed them before and they’re Dulux specialists and very good) has also recommended painting the window hoods silver, which would be good as they would then match the corrugated tin roof, and finally painting the front porch and gantry decking a neutral dark grey (we could replace the decking but it’s much cheaper to paint):
You can see that while a lovely combination, this blue would look too similar against the grey:
Here’s some houses taken from the web that I thought were lovely inspirations for our paint job:
You can see what a difference a well chosen coat of paint makes:
I really am going for the palest of pale greys though:
So there you have it: my colour ideas for our house! Hopefully this can be achieved this year!
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…
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.
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.
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:
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.
A few months ago I was complaining to you about the overwhelming number of tasks required to get our house and garden into ship-shape order.
Well, I’m actually looking forward to the next six months. My inside jobs are tedious but I’ve made a little decision about the painting work: I’m buying a spray gun contraption. Yep, I’ve spat the dummy where our ceilings are concerned and I’m going to spend some of my birthday money on a paint spray gun. Yay!! Of course, this means I’ll be painting ALL the things, including our kitchen/dining room, entryway, the Jesus bathroom, and internal storage rooms.
Before I do this however, I need to finish cleaning the Jesus room. I’m nearly there: I’ve offloaded my old desk to my daughter; I’m most of the way through my tax and I’m about to have a massive clean-out of old, unnecessary paperwork. Then it will get a furniture re-arrange, and possibly some new window guards to block that hideous summer sun that essentially blows the heat in our house up from a reasonable 26 degrees centigrade to a hideous 34.
Tomorrow I have an old mate coming round to quote me on some outdoor projects, including a fox-proof chicken run. The chooks are looking like they were attacked by foxes last night. No deaths yet, thank goodness, because I haven’t cut their wings recently and I don’t shut them up. Hence they were able to escape. But there are feathers everywhere, including in the nesting box, and one of the girls is looking very odd and scruffy, while another has lost some of her tail feathers. They’re a bit jumpy today. The visit by old mate has actually been planned for a while, so I hope my girls don’t cark it before they have a chance to live in safety!
We’re planning build a coop that will be affixed to our huge concrete wall. This means I will have to PAINT said wall prior to the affixing. Hence, Paint Spray Gun. That wall is BIG, y’all!
The chickens are going to get the REAL Taj Mahal of chicken runs. We will build a structure on the back wall to the right which will start at nearly 3m high, and drop to about 2m. The width of the run will be 3 metres, and the length about 4 metres. That’s a proper room size. A small bedroom for humans. A dog house, even. The roof will be classic tin, with hardwood timber posts concreted into a shallow channel that runs all the way round the coop, possibly on a small brick base. I want the chooks to have natural dirt beneath their feet, especially if we’re away for several days and they need to stay locked up. The whole construction will be a simple tin and wood one, with sturdy steel mesh that’s better than the crap stuff currently stapled into their balsa-wood coop. A locking door at the front, and their original coop secreted inside, with enough space inside the run for me to clean it, and I think we’re done here!
I’m rather tempted to paint the run and make it pretty like this one here…! And perhaps I’ll get me a lovely treadle feeder that will be sturdier than the last one I bought, which was, sad to say, a complete failure.
I’m loving a newly renovated wooden cottage round the corner from home this week, which has been painted the most delightful shade of sea green. Colours are hard for human eyes to reproduce away from the original, so the best I could come up with is this Benjamin Moore Sea Green:
(It’s a bit more grey.) With complementary white trim, and grey window shades and corrugated iron, it looks spectacular, dramatic and clean and a world away from the ubiquitous grey and white that has Australian homes in a stranglehold. I used to love grey and white. Now I think I prefer something else.
I’m not sure this colour will suit our house. I don’t want to be too conservative, but house colours can last for up to 30 years on the house, so one has to be prepared for a long-haul colour that won’t date too fast.
I’m liking the blue/green/grey combos such as Benjamin Moore Lucite Green:
Matched with white trim, this colour is great. But without some depth, it can look wishy/washy. One of my favourite renovation shows is Masters of Flip, which shows in Australia on 9MSN. The colours chosen by the host are often fantastic, and I think this show is single-handedly responsible for my new-found love of rich exterior colours, such as this one below:
Can you see this in a sea-green with white trim, grey and white window shade, and white valance? I’m excited about the possibilities.