The pantry is go

DH and I finally got to the pesky West Wing and now the Oh Jesus Room is a little better: my desk at least is clean and I’ve dusted and we are using the cupboard spaces for good, not evil. DH refitted the blinds, I reorganised the space, and apart from the corner of painting equipment I’m dreading putting away – because it means I’ll never bring it up again if I do and there’s still a heap of painting to do – it’s basically done. I COULD spend some time reorganising the bookshelves because all the books are out of order (fiction in with my non-fiction, that sort of OCD hell) but I have to do my tax first. Priorities, people.

Onto the pantry. It has long been a bugbear. It’s a small room of about 1800x2400mm. Perfect for a bathroom or small storage room, it’s a walk-through space to the West Wing, so it has to have a clear passageway. Now that the West Wing is (partially) done our gaze yesterday turned to this horror space. We had used black Ikea Kallax shelves donated by my adult child to store our food, and two old yellow cupboards repurposed from the original kitchen to store linen, towels and other stuff. It was dark, messy and we couldn’t find anything. The shelves were too deep and dark, and the old cupboards hard to access. So horrible I haven’t even taken a photo.

Yesterday we took the unprecedented step of repurposing two chrome wire wardrobes we had recently bought from Bunnings into one storage shelf. It worked a treat. So much so we decided then and there to buy 2 new storage shelves in the same design for the back wall. At $59 each, 750W x 300D x 1800H they didn’t break the bank and it’s amazing how much better one feels when one’s living spaces are organised. I put them together in about 20 minutes – super easy to construct and the designers need some sort of prize for simplicity and ease of design.

I then stacked the shelves and noticed a small problem – the wire shelves weren’t secure enough for smaller jars and tall bottles to rest on without wobbling. We MacGyvered it. For those who don’t know, MacGyver is a TV character well known for his seemingly endless ability to make stuff within a time-sensitive emergency event out of bits of found objects such as duct tape, wire and paper. MacGyver

(Photo courtesy Oh My Geek)

Under the house in the breeezeway, I noticed some melamine shelves stored between the floor joists. We had saved them from an IKEA cupboard that had literally fallen apart because it didn’t have secure bracing at the back (yes, they used CARDBOARD AND PINS). I don’t know why we had saved them, but I quickly realised we could cut out the corners with a jigsaw and they would literally be a perfect fit with the new shelves. Serendipity! They are now supporting the cans, jars, bottles and pantry stuffs, and it looks clean and bright in the room, so much so I may even have to vacuum and wash the floors. This house is coming together, y’all!

We never throw anything out. We thought we had an old working coffee maker downstairs gathering dust, but when we went to find it there was nothing there. This is a tragedy because our brilliant expensive cherry-coloured Breville coffee machine finally died yesterday and started shorting out the electrical circuits. It had been the victim of a power surge about 18 months ago and I think the temperature gauge had blown, so it was overheating and ruining the on-board computer. We limped along with imperfect coffee but were unable to get it fixed because it was just out of warranty and the cost to repair is usually greater than the cost to replace. Anyway, no espresso coffee for us any more. Cherry finally blew up. However, us never throwing anything out has proven to be a blessing in the storage department.

It’s a great day when your storage room starts to feel like a proper storage room!

On the other side of the room (where that little bit of pine shelf is visible) are two bookcases. Don’t say we can’t squeeze every last centimetre out of our storage areas!

 

A blessed break

Christmas has come and gone and I’ve taken the opportunity to have a blessed break from painting. There is nothing fun about house painting except the end. And even then you start cursing the little bits of dust and grime that so quickly build up on the horizontal surfaces. Get away, you spiders! 

We’ve had to wait for a shower screen, but all should be finished by the middle of January. It’s a good time to rest, reflect and plan the next painting foray. I want to finish off the master bedroom now. Yesterday we saw some paint on special at Bunnings and we bought 20 litres of Dulux low sheen acrylic Antique White USA at 60% off! I was kind of dreading the cost of repainting the interiors because 15 litres of quality paint in Australia costs $209. We saved ourselves $130! I still need to buy the ceiling paint but we’re going with a Vivid White semi gloss because of the VJs so I can’t buy the special sale ceiling paint which was practically free. The amount bought should see the entire interior painted with at least one coat each room. I’m using brushes, not a roller, so the coverage is better. 

As a reward for savvy shopping we bought some house plants and ceramic pots for the bathroom. The picture window is giving me ever so slight conniptions but there’s an excuse for house plants if ever I saw one:

  
They will provide an extra touch of privacy, and they will get plenty of water as they’re in the shower bay. I’m pretty chuffed. Now to keep them alive. 

And here’s a reminder of why I love this house:

  
It was Boxing Day (maybe Xmas arvo) and our dining room was suffused with the most beautiful light. Recently I removed the ghastly privacy curtains to clean up the space and it has really made a difference to the lines of the room. The photos don’t do it justice but our little room looked like a golden jewellery box. I made my husband get up off the bed and take a look too, and it was a wonderful reminder of why I fell in love with the house. It’s the light in the afternoon. 

  
I hope your Christmas was as light filled as ours.

Happy New Year and I’ll see you after I tackle the Oh Jesus Room.

The WIR is go!

This week we moved our clothes into the WIR. Tada!

I finally finished the topcoat in the WIR and now I just have to do the architraves and door. I’m leaving these for a bit because I’ve moved on and we have to wait for the final building fixup.

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Yes, I know the window is not yet in, and there will be yet more painting and sanding and nail banging before the final finish. But the sad truth is all our clothes are a bit dusty anyway, from the building dust getting into all parts of the house. I’m loving the distressed concrete look of the tiles I chose. So cool.

The great thing about our WIR is that compared to other WIRs we’ve seen recently (did I mention we like looking at houses for sale on their open house days?), ours seems really large. It’s not, but it has a wide walkway of 1.1metres, 2.6m of hanging space on one side and a metre on the other. This makes it feel really spacious. I must admit however that my shoes are STILL fighting for space, and I’ll be using the large pullout drawer under the bed for all my rare spares. I’m one of those sad puppies who keeps her shoes in their cardboard shoe boxes where possible because of dust and humidity. This takes up room but protects the shoes.

I must say, looking at my clothes it appears as if I wear all black, white, red, and tan. I don’t, of course. I keep lots of my clothes in clothing bags which happen to be black. Again, this protects the clothes from fading, dust and pests. Eventually we’ll put plantation shutters on our bedroom and WIR window but for now it’s storage bags.

I’m now painting what is intended to be our front porch entrance (but without actually doing it because funds), and I’m painting it a fresh Dulux Vivid White acrylic with Natural White architraves in oil. It’s hiding the colour I originally painted these outside rooms when we bought the house, which was a cool grey that ended up looking rather purple in a certain light. I’ve now changed my interior design look over the last few years and going with whites, for cleanliness and brightness and sanity. The grey was great but it was designed to cover flaws in the old walls. I’m putting off what I really should do right away – gap filling – because it’s a boring boring boring job and I have to do this and then wait for it to dry before giving the room its penultimate topcoat. There’s lots of gap filling as we have installed VJs:

And the dust. Oh, boy. Yes, well, ok. I’m off to do it then.

 

 

Procrastination 

So close and yet so far. I’m putting off the inevitable by lying here writing a blog post about putting off the inevitable. Sad, I know. I need to finish our WIR and ensuite. I need to finish painting them. When this is done we can put our clothes in the WIR and turn the Oh Jesus Room back into a proper working space. 

I know this. But I can’t bring myself to get up yet and do it. Probably because painting is boring boring boring and I’ve discovered my work with gap filler in the WIR leaves a lot to be desired! I need to sand back some of my bodgy work and do a topcoat. Then I can paint the woodwork. There’s really very little to do!

Oh, ok. Here I go. In the meantime here’s a picture of the guest room I dressed yesterday. 

  
I’m hating the pine furniture. My mum made it and if I paint it it might look crappy. I’m tempted though; the white oil paint I bought is a perfect colour and I could change the pine handles to something else more on trend. The sofa bed is hardly on trend and it has faded badly in the West Wing in the 2 years we’ve owned it. But it’s useful, so it stays. I need to wash the cushion covers and hang some art work and get some curtains/ blinds on the windows. Then we’re done! (Well, ok, I need to finish off oil painting the windows and French doors but there’s a whole lotta prep stuff I need to do before I can, so it’s on the “to do in a million years” list.)

DH and I already love this room so much it’s becoming a multi-purpose space. My stepson is quite neat and tidy and he is unlikely to create much personality in the room, so when he’s not here it may well become a sitting room for us. And it will definitely do double duty as a guest room. It’s so bright and friendly. My old teaching studio. Vale, teaching studio. You were useful once! 

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!

 

 

 

Filling and sanding. Oh joy.

Today was my prep day for the ensuite and WIR. In the past I’ve underprepared my paint surfaces because temporary. This time it has to look good because permanent. So I’ve gone the whole hog.

I bought ground sheets. I bought timber filler. I bought an all purpose filler for MDF and plasterboard. I bought an acrylic filler for the movable bits – wood and joins. I bought a cheap and cheerful 270mm paint roller and pan. I bought a sanding grip and a sanding grip for an extension pole. I bought a good quality glass scraper. I bought a roll of 240 fine grit paint sandpaper and a roll of 140 fine grit wood sandpaper. I bought 15 litres of Dulux Vivid White 3-in-1 primer, sealer and undercoat, and 15 litres of Dulux Wash and Wear Vivid White low sheen acrylic paint. I also bought 4 litres of Dulux bathroom and kitchen Wash and Wear in a semi-gloss, because I think this will be good for the bathroom.

I already own several good quality brushes and other painting accoutrements (and bloody oath doesn’t one accumulate this stuff over the years!) and I think I got it right this time.

So yesterday and today I laid the ground sheets, hung some plastic to cover the tiles (because I’m NOT scraping them back in 3 years time) and began filling the nail holes.

Surprisingly, the work is quick, although I’m taking inordinately long breaks. Had I been a little faster I would have done the undercoat today. But no. However, all nail holes are filled and sanded (what a difference good quality tools makes), door and window frames are done too. Tomorrow I’ll be rolling for a while, then I’ll be grabbing the paint brush and doing the rest by hand, because VJ MDF sheeting has grooves in it that can’t be covered using the roller. I’ve brushed first in the past but I’m thinking that rolling first will give me the best coverage, and fast, and I can finish off a little slower. I have been putting on the brakes with the painting because once you start you kinda have to finish it off. Paint quickly goes hard in the Brisbane heat, so planning my painting days is really important. I hate the clean up at the end of the day because I just so often seem to get it wrong. Brushes dry up on me, I inadvertently leave paint tins open: I just don’t finish well. I’m usually in a hurry to do something else.

Wednesday the lads come back to finish hanging more MDF, finish the beading, frame up some more door and window frames, fit some windows, and fling in a vanity unit. They may even fit the WIR.  Note to self: ring Reece about the bathroom stuff. And then there will be another longish wait for the shower glass, so I will finish off the topcoat painting in that time.

I’m thinking vivid white.

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Seeing this warm grey wall, I’m happy to go Dulux “Vivid White” on the walls. Beige, Dulux “Sand Dune” or “Hog Bristle” bring out too much brown, shown by the unpainted VJs at the top. I want to emphasize the grey. We’re going chrome fittings for everything, and warmth will be provided by the Blackbutt topped vanity unit. The grey tiles will have white grout, the white tiles will have a pale grey and the floor tiles dark grey. (Poor tiler – he had seen a bit of The Block on the TV and the floor tiles were the same – except they used it on the wall and used dark grout. He thought this was good somehow, and instead of listening to me saying repeatedly “pale grey grout for the white tiles, white grout for the grey tiles, dark grout for the floor tiles”, decided he wanted to add his own sartorial choices to the plan. I had to put him straight. Dear fellow.)

I’m a fond user of Dulux products. I use their 3-in-1 primer, sealer and undercoat, which has great coverage. One coat on already primed walls is usually enough, two coats on untreated wood. I’ve done a check on what I need and there’s plenty! I’ve just bought 4 litres of Dulux bathroom and kitchen semi gloss in Vivid White. This paint apparently resists mould and humidity, which will be important in this bathroom, as the view will be to the West and quite hot in the afternoon.

* (later this afternoon)

Having a look at the wall below, I’m particularly thrilled with the white grout. The grey really pops. It’s stronger and darker than I expected. I think the pale grey grout will look great with the white tile and it won’t be long until the whole room is basically done and I can get started on the painting. Best to do it before the fittings go in!

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