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.

First glimpse of the new house paint…

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.

We’re going grey!

…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!

The new Snug

Right. I’m definitely putting off doing any work at the moment by posting another blog, this time about our lovely new snug. In truth it’s not that different from when the furniture was in our old house, but it’s no longer a thoroughfare and we have built in bookcases! I’ve had a ball dressing them and making the room look as lush and warm as possible. The couch is from Freedom; the lounge chairs from Camp Hill Antique Centre (one of the vendors there who specialises in Mid century Modern styles) and the cushions mostly from West Elm; the Noguchi style Coffee table is from Matt Blatt; the TV is an LED Sony 55″. The TV console is from Vast (no longer trading). We have Apple TV for all our streaming options which includes STAN (an Australian streaming service), Netflix and Amazon Prime. I’m not ready to book Disney – maybe never, and Binge (Foxtel lite) is on my radar but we don’t watch enough TV to make it worth the extra cost. In total our streaming services cost less than $AU40 which is pretty good, and I have a free subscription to Apple Music for the year bundled with my phone service. We bought a fantastic Bose Soundbar and I think I’ll buy one for upstairs too; they’re terrific. We didn’t need the subwoofer as we just don’t watch TV that loud, nor am I interested in loud music.

The artwork was nearly all sourced in Australia, including Constantine Popov and indigenous artists Nellie Marks Nakamarra, Gloria Petyarre and Evelyn Pultara. There’s also a 500 year old music manuscript on vellum from a Spanish monastery and a lovely little Cossack image – red and black – by a local Brisbane artist (lost her details, sorry!) All trinkets were sourced from around the world. One of the things we used to do before COVID-19 hit (BC to you!), was travel. We would buy simple little sketches or woodcuts or etchings of the cities and places we visited, and I would also buy some pottery/ ceramics or craftwork from artists who live there. Some ceramics and art works would have long standing origins in that region, or the artist would be a permanent resident. I love ceramics and art, and these, after my family and animals, are some of my favourite things. Most other trinkets were bought from Waverley Antiques in Melbourne, Empire Revival in Paddington (Brisbane) or CHAC in Camp Hill. So no more talk: here are some photos of the space!

So much to say, so many photos to upload!

I didn’t realise it has been 6 weeks since my last blog post (this sounds like a Catholic confession ;)) and the last thing I posted had me all excited about fabrics. Well, good folks of the interwebs, I’ve gone and spent a small fortune buying lovely things for the new home and I can happily say it’s been totally worth it!

To start with, we’ve upgraded all the electricals. We’re not yet finished but we’re replacing all the metal, rusting ceiling fans, and adding power points, and sensor lights for outside, and changing out almost all of the old, not very attractive pendant lights. We’re halfway there. We’re adding 2 new split air conditioners and I’ve decided we’re going Solar. Finally! We also upgraded the locks and added keyed locks to all the accessible windows, and we’re doing some landscaping and general maintenance. We’re not ready to paint the exterior even though the colours are super drab (greige and dark green, y’all. SO tired), and there’s plenty more to keep us busy. But I guess you want to know about the cutest new room in the house, right?

Lemme get right to it. No, it’s not the snug: even though it’s our very favourite evening room and so cool and lovely to be in at night. Drum roll…. it’s our new green room! And here we are:

Remember my mood board? Lots of pretty greens and palm trees etc. Well, it’s now done. We still have one or two more pieces of furniture to add – nothing big; just a couple of ottomans/ footstools and a side table or two, maybe one more artwork, but essentially we are finito bar the shouting. Pick your favourite image from the MANY MANY ones below:

I love everything about this room except that the cream carpet needed ANOTHER carpet over it to protect it from the dogs. Pesky dirty animals. Speaking of which: introducing Poppy (black) and Dougal (blonde).

I’m not sold on the placement of any of the objects on the little table: they’re just place holders for a better arrangement. Maybe a flower arrangement even. I’m also trying to pull some of the colours out of the lovely little Davida Allen painting above. I love her work but many do not. This one’s a sweet little serene number called Floating in the Mangroves. I’ve got some of my Majolica ware on the wall now and we recently bought a few new art works to complement the room. There’s a lovely little Australia Hermannsberg one next to the mirror, and I’m not quite finished dressing one of the walls. Most of the other walls are complete, but I might even add an antique mirror to the mix.

So there’s not much else to say except to name and shame the vendors. Carpet, couches and curtains by Pottery Barn. 1 of 2 coffee tables and the dark green lamp by West Elm. Palm cushions and parrot cushion by Rice Furniture. Olive cushions by Bed Bath n Table. Olive and white cushions by Coastal Cushion Company. Pale green lamp from One World Interiors. Antiques and vintage items from various vendors in Brisbane and elsewhere and my mum. Ormolu side table from Jubilee Antiques. Knick knacks all thrifted, many (most?!) from Camp Hill Antique Centre. Artwork from Lethbridge Gallery and David Bromley. Plants from a bunch of places around Brissie such as Ross Evans etc.

Next blog I promise I’ll show you the snug.

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…

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…

That Tiny Home Thing.

Free-to-air TV programs on the lifestyle channel have been extolling the benefits of going tiny. In all honesty it seems like many of the clients are those down on their luck, who are downsizing because of money woes.

That being said. I kinda have a desire to get me an old bus, (all those windows, all that light!) and create my own travelling wagon. One that I could plonk on my own bit of dirt, and survey my kingdom. And the views. Don’t get me wrong, I have no desire to leave civilisation behind and take up off-grid living. I would just like to live in a wee little home on weekends, preferably near the water, with my hubby and the dog. It’s a getaway thing.

Given that my home is rather visually colourful, my ideal tiny home would be Scandi-minimal. Besides, I really like clean design when it’s well-thought out. There’s an Australian company that creates tiny homes called The Tiny House Company (no surprises there!) and while their houses aren’t cheap, they are very beautiful. I want one:

tiny-home-1

This is an awesome tiny home, with tons of storage and very light-filled. It comes with a deck, too.

It’s like a weekend writing and reading nook with a bed, kitchen and bathroom attached! Want want want.