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.

 

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.

The trials and tribulations of tiling

This week sees the joy of tiling the ensuite and WIR. We’re going for a 600×600 concrete-look floor tile with enough warmth in it to match the feature grey Spanish wall tiles (rustic subway design, as shown below). The feature tiles will go on the vanity wall, with the 300×600 glossy white tiles fitted in a brick pattern over the remaining. We’re tiling all the way up to 2400mm, and VJs on the top. Our tiler, Roj, is a man clearly fond of a good meal. He works to a gentle pace, although I must say he’s picked up since the contractor has appeared on site! He has been laying the floor tiles this week, and he’s nearly finished in the ensuite and will move onto the WIR in no time. I bet. BTW, we’re not having marble on the vanity: we’re going with a blackbutt wood. It’s a beautiful wood predominant in pinks and browns, and we’re having a top-sitting basin. Should look good with the slightly old-style chrome tap fittings we’ve chosen.

IMG_2236

The lads are about in force again today as they are now doing the East Wing (which I think they had completely forgotten about). On Sunday afternoon DH and I cleared out the room and now it’s ready for them to rip the guts out and start work. It’s a simple job in there: they’re putting in some French doors (which will eventually open onto the verandah but for now open onto a small enclosed vestibule), replacing some louvre windows at the front with casement windows, and replacing one bank of louvre windows on the east side with wall. I said to DH, it’s never going to be used as a verandah so why should it be lit like one? It’s too hot and bright in there most of the year. The room will be insulated, relined, and have new powerpoints and a light. A simple job and one they should have done in a couple of days depending on the availability of the windows.