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:

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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…

Yet. More. Painting.

DH (darling hubby) is away for the week so I’m taking the opportunity to paint some of the rooms long overdue for a new paint job. I’m doing the master bedroom, lounge room and step daughter’s room this week. 

In the lounge room, we replaced an ill-placed set of French doors with a new wooden wall which until yesterday was completely raw. (Don’t worry, we’re repurposing the doors.)

I undercoated the new wall with Dulux 3-in-1 prepcoat and today gave the whole room its first topcoat in acrylic low sheen Dulux Antique White. It’s brighter than the Dulux Sand Dune half strength coat that was here when we moved in, but still works a treat with our brown furniture, and looks chic and sort of French. 

I’ll confess I’m a lazy painter. The original wall paint is only 5 years old and aside from a brief dust down I didn’t bother washing the walls. Naughty, I know. My experience tells me washing VJs is a huge waste of time. They are so crusty and wonky from previous shonky paintwork that it looks fine with a fresh coat of paint. In fact, because I fix the gaps it usually looks better. 

I’m also painting my stepdaughter’s room, as she shares the VJ wall, which is single skin. Her room is still bright and fresh with Dulux Vivid White. A morning spent gapping her room with various timber bog and selleys no more gaps and her first coat of topcoat goes on in the am. 

However, I’m kinda doing this arse about. I’ve bought a Dulux semigloss acrylic in Vivid White for the ceiling, but I’m putting off doing the ceilings. Because it’s a shitty job. Also, I have to sand the lounge room ceiling a bit because the last painter was even lazier than me and didn’t remove the flaking paint. I also have to gap the bedroom ceiling because that too had a set of French doors removed, and the architraves were pulled back from the wall to fit the new wooden VJs. 

So today I gapped one wall and painted another. I’m a bit slow. Tomorrow I need to give the lounge its final coat, then do the first coat in the bedrooms. A long day, but I only have until Friday to do the 3 rooms plus the woodwork. Ugh. 

Photos to follow. 

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!

 

 

 

Quiet

Today a moment of quiet as the boys head off to do a “quick job” elsewhere before coming back in the afternoon to finish off the final bits and pieces. John the builder popped in to let me know, bless him. The tiler never arrives before 8.30am. Bliss.

The builders are nearly done. Except of course the windows. It’s always the windows. There are a few more pieces of VJ to install, a few more beadings to hide the joins, and then it’s my turn to prepare the WIR for painting prior to the installation of the robe carcasses. As John said to me yesterday, laughing, “you know the story, don’t you? The painters will fix that!” I replied, sadly knowing this to be true, “yes, but as I’m the not-very-good painter, you had better do a really good job!” Preparation is key. My understanding (from when I dated a house painter) is that for new walls (not plasterboard) and new wood a quick undercoat is applied first. Then the patching and sanding happens. Nail holes are filled, joins are sealed, then everything needing sanding is sanded. Another undercoat for the tricky areas such as ceilings of bathrooms, and 2 coats of the top coat are applied. I’ll be painting until Xmas, cursing every crusty old french door and window I insisted on keeping. I’ll be painting them all white but the last paint job they had was pretty terrible (oil paint in a beige colour, messy and just painted right over old crusty surfaces), so I’ll be working my butt off to make them look even partly respectable.

We have yet to decide on the topcoat paint colour, but I recently painted my stepdaughter’s room bright white, and it looks lovely and not at all stark. I’m tempted to follow suit for the rest of the house. In truth the whole house needs another paint because the ceilings are starting to look dull and the wall colour has lost its appeal. Dark rooms look darker, and light rooms look tired. Painting VJ is a bitch though and takes forever. There are 6 rooms definitely needing new paint including our bedroom, and it’s looking more and more like I’ll need to do it all. DH is too busy at work, besides, he’s not much chop as a painter.

The tiler will be finished by tomorrow (should he ever appear) and apparently we’re deciding on grout colours today.  Next week the bathroom fittings will arrive and soon enough the trades will be back to install and finish our new ensuite. And now: finding the rest of the money to pay for all this stuff.

Painting the house interior

Our money pit was already part painted when we bought it, in quite pleasant colours that suit our eclectic furniture. While I am grateful for the time saved on painting all 8 rooms (incl bathrooms and hallways), I’m a bit grumpy the painters spent no time preparing the surfaces. Already I can see where they painted over peeling surfaces and grimy areas, with our bathroom ceiling already peeling off in parts. At least sand and sugar soap, people!

Before we could move in I was determined to paint the two untouched enclosed verandahs and the toilet area. I needed to get these spaces ready so that I could teach my students in safety, comfort and with a professional look.

I chose a deep grey acrylic for the walls, bright white acrylic for the ceiling, and china white gloss enamel for the woodwork. The walls and ceiling are a buckling, unattractive masonry board and the window surrounds are an equally unattractive mish mash of poorly milled and installed 10mmx20mm timber. These areas will eventually be gutted, re-wired, insulated, replastered, and will have new windows installed, so I didn’t need to do much more than a wipe down and scrape to make them look respectable.

While I’m pretty happy with the grey, it can look a little purple in a cool light. I chose it from a Dulux sample in Bunnings, and didn’t check it in different lights. Nevertheless, it’s a cool yet warm colour and goes well with either blue or red tones, so I’m happy for now.

Here’s what the rooms looked like before, in delightful apricot (not):

Studio

Amazing what a quick paint can do, considering these look so awful.

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Beautiful. Huh.

Anyway, after painting the walls and stuff, the rooms looked like this:

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As you can see, the poor excuse for a skirting board hasn’t been done. And it’s still not done in parts, even though I gave parts of them an undercoat last night when I had a spare moment (the things we do just before it gets dark!). The lovely looking windows at the end are a mess of flaky, poorly applied paint, poor skirting, fluffy wood grain and lots of work required. So I’ve left them for the time being, to be tackled sometime later this year. And I’ve not yet painted the French doors because I want to lavish time and attention on them, rather than do what was done to the rest of the French doors, which is a crime of bad painting and no preparation.

So now, the rooms look more like this:

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Except we now have heaps of stuff in them, including an oversupply of pillows. I wish we had the type of house where a clear expanse of verandah was possible, but no. We need all the space we can get. Darn it.