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 soupรงon 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.

Drumroll….wait for it…KITCHEN AND BATHROOM UPDATE!!!

On the weekend hubby and I took stock of our lovely Queenslander home in SE Qld and decided enough was enough. The never never plan will probably NEVER happen because it will no doubt cost a million bucks of money we don’t have and will literally be 10 years off, by which time we’ll either have moved or died ๐Ÿ˜‰ . So we’re renovating our upstairs bathroom and kitchen! My old mate who did our last set of brilliant renovations has said she thinks she might be able to squeeze in this job, so off to the bank we go to see if they’ll chuck us another bit of $$.

I’ve not shown images of these areas online because it is just too traumatic – the kitchen is a mostly useful space but the bathroom is terribly inefficient in the use of space and needs a complete gut job – the last time it was renovated would be easily 25 years ago and while it was probably good at the time, it’s not a happy place for me or the hubby. So I’ve sent a bunch of images and footage to my mate, to see what she can come up with. I know her style and it’s perfect for the house, so I might even leave it up to her to design me something. I know, WHAT AM I THINKING. But I think her knowledge is so much better than mine these days and she has a great way with choosing cheaper cabinets and benches and making them look amazing. The only thing I will really really want to discuss is the stove and oven – I love the space they are in at the moment, but she might have other ideas. Also, I want a Falcon brand stove/oven. One that has both electric and gas hobs, because I’m no longer a great fan of gas, due to its earth-killing properties, and also because the gas stove we own is awful: doesn’t work properly. The oven door doesn’t close all the way and the handle is missing. This free-standing stove from Falcon is GORGEOUS – 110cm wide with a ceramic hob alongside the gas hobs, 2 ovens, a grill and a warming tray. But there are other fab styles too. Of course, this one is the EXPENSIVE model. SIGH.

Here’s a picture of our current crappy bathroom, which even the real estate agent didn’t really want to show, and our kitchen which has issues:

The toilet, located in its own WC next to the bathroom, has no sink, so its separateness is moot. The entryway to this bathroom is appalling – you have to sidle in sideways if you don’t want to bump into the shower door AND you can see right into the bathroom from the street because that is where the door was cunningly placed. The shower door is etched with limescale that cannot be removed – I’ve tried the magical CLR and it did nothing – and the bath, which we just don’t use, takes up all the space. I want to remove the bath, replace the awful vanity and sink with a LONG single-sink vanity (we don’t need 2 sinks – we need 2 prep areas!) and reorganise the space so that the toilet sits within the bathroom. There’s at least 4.5 square metres of wasted space in these 2 teeny rooms. There HAS to be a great solution.

The kitchen, constructed about 25 years ago, doesn’t even have space for a microwave oven – on the bench it goes, along with our kettle, toaster and coffee maker and bang bang and coffee grinder and compost bin and regular bin and letter holder and everything else I squeeze on there. The pantry door opens the wrong way. There are 2 corner cupboards and I can’t access the rear contents. The sink is misaligned with the window (due to the dishwasher position, no doubt), and has no stacking space for dirty dishes. The stove is nearly dead, and the dishwasher only likes the top drawer, not the bottom, so we have to rinse everything, wasting even more water. UGH.

If my mate can come up with a great design that’s reasonably priced I will be beside myself with excitement. I bet you’re asking now – where do we prepare food if the kitchen’s out of action? Well, we have a good sized laundry with a great sink, and a portable electric stove that we can use downstairs, which means we will actually USE downstairs…, and of course there is a working downstairs bathroom for our abluting needs…

Come to think of it, the kitchen and bathroom upstairs sit ever so slightly proud of the house – we might be able to extend this area a bit more if it still sits under the eaves…hmmm.

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… ๐Ÿ˜‰ In truth, it’s the best spot for herbs right there, with the most glorious afternoon sun.

WE’RE MOVING!

Finally I am delighted to announce that: yes, we’re moving! Our house sold well (considering the impact of COVID-19 on house prices in our area) and we’re moving to a new part of town for us, one that I suspect I may never leave!

Here’s our new home:

Cute, huh! BTW, this is a screen shot of the house that I took from the real estate web site we found it on. I cannot wait to change those colours to something a little less drab. The paint job is in very good condition though so it might stay for a couple of years.

Here’s the floorplan. On the left is the downstairs (in QLD houses are often built under, so living quarters and the kitchen are on the top floor), and the right is the main living area and bedrooms:

I know there are four bedrooms when there are only 2 of us. But I use my study every day, and hubby needs a study too. So we’re making the first 2 upstairs bedrooms our studies, and the fourth bedroom downstairs is definitely our dumping room for the time being as we sort through our outdoor stuff. In our old house we had a great breezeway under the house, all 140sqm of it, in which we stored all the gardening equipment and spare items. In this house we don’t have that so we are making plans for a garden shed and workshop, to sit at the bottom of the driveway. It’s currently a turn-out for the under-house parking but, you guessed it, we’re not parking under the house! (except perhaps during hailstorms…)

We’d like to renovate this house (well der!) and the section under the deck and master bedroom is perfect for a new rumpus room (hubby calls it the pool room but I think he means the room with the grand piano ;)). We’ll take apart the old deck eventually and put in a new kitchen and deck that extends to the end of the master bedroom, and underneath we’ll lay some new concrete and enclose the space. We’re on 810sqm of land which is great for this part of town, and I don’t want to impact on the generous yard with more house, so we’re keeping our ideas modest (and in truth we won’t be able to afford much more than what we’re planning). We’ll upgrade the bathrooms and give the master bedroom an ensuite and walk-in-robe, by moving the kitchen to the new construction, and making it a galley kitchen, as seen below:

Soz about my terrible drawing – I did it on my computer that doubles as a tablet and my drawing is super shaky. We’ll add a small family bathroom upstairs where the kitchen currently sits.

So I’m a little concerned about the generally poor placement of the laundry – at the moment the downstairs bathroom is connected to the bedroom and I don’t love this – if we want to add a family room area I don’t want to add yet another bathroom. I think what I’ll do over time is to reduce the size of the bathroom to make it a family bathroom (not an ensuite), and then put a door in the ensuing corridor to the outside. At the moment the laundry door faces the hall to the rumpus and I don’t love the position, and I think if we rethink the laundry layout then we might get better flow. I’m loving playing with these ideas – it will be two years before we can pay for most of the new stuff so we will live with what we have in the meantime, and just do small things. I think the current rumpus will make a great 5th bedroom if we decide to add a downstairs family room at the rear, which will add great resale value to the home.

Do you have some great ideas to make this house even more amazing? I’d love to hear.

In the meantime, here are some interior shots of before. That is: before we moved in! ๐Ÿ™‚

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…

Well, hello!

Oh my word, has it really been 2 months between blog posts? Well, sometimes life gets in the way.

It’s been 2 months since I fell off the ladder and I finally figured out why: the ladder is a bit crap, and the floor is uneven at just the spot that I fell down. When painting the second coat I discovered this and got my daughter to hold the ladder for the 2 minutes it took to paint that section. Then I got the hella off of that ladder. There are jobs I gave up attempting: I’ve given up trying to paint the ceiling. It’s nearly 11 foot high and I just can’t manage it without buying some serious scaffolding equipment. I’ll hire a professional painter. I’ve also (for the time being) given up trying to paint the windows and architraves. Not that I can’t: it’s just a messy business, what with sanding and filling and gapping and all that stuff and I just can’t bring myself to be bothered right now.

One needs a break from hard yakka.

On the fun side: I’ve been slowly upgrading our bedroom furnishings. Our bedroom is SO much more inviting now, and it still has 2 chairs, 2 bedside tables and 2 large chests-of-drawers in it, plus a queen-sized bed. I’ve added a Chinoiserie stool similar to this:

china stool

I bought that lovely dove-grey Belgium linen doona set I was coveting:

belgian linen doona

I paired it with a beautiful set of duck egg blue Sheridan sheets in 700-thread count Egyptian cotton (on sale, of course!). The picture below is actually of white sheets, but it’s appears about the right shade with a cursory glance.

sheets

The blue and grey complement each other very well. The grey could be paired with just about any colour as it is quite a neutral stone, but a blue themed bedroom (SO restful) is my preferred look.

IMG_3455

These photos were taken before purchase of new blue sheets.

In the next few posts I’ll show you some photos of my newly painted lounge-room, and the adventures I’ve been having with French-polishing. Adios for now!

 

 

 

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.

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.

 

 

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.