Feb 27, 2011

The joys of carpet removing and spack filling... Pt 1

Apologies for another significant break in posts, I think I am being creatively drained at the moment, so by the time I even think about blogging- I'm usually about to go to sleep or waking up to face another day at school. Anyway- I thought I probably should just get stuck into our house reno's- seeing as I have been shying away from posting anything constructive. This has probably something to do with the fact I have been feeling extremely lazy and exhausted, and the prospect of writing a long post on a part of the renovation process we've been through, isn't that enticing. However, as like all things in life- it has to be done at some point or other, so here goes.

When we first got the keys to our first and only house- we were kinda pumped. We'd had an extremely short settlement period of 28 days and I'd had a million ideas bubbling up inside my head. The timing of our 'exchange' however was unfortunate- as I had just been on holidays for 3 weeks and Mr. A had been on two. The day we got the keys was the first day back to school for the term. Talk about bad timing. However, as we were living with my parentals and had been doing so for six months- we were a 'little' bit excited to get out of their house.  We were realistic about the hard work that was coming- and every day after school I would drive straight to the house (after my daily trip to Bunnings) and work frenetically from 4-8:30pm. Mr. A would get to the house around 6pm, and when we were too exhausted to go on- we'd stumble back to the parentals, shove some food into our faces and pass out in bed. This went on for 4 weeks, and probably would have been quicker had we not had a wedding in Byron Bay over a long weekend which wiped out 4 solid days of hard slog.

So this is how it went down- first of all we ripped up the carpets. These were throughout the house and pretty skanky. And by skanky I mean they smelt distinctly of piss. So they got ripped up and piled high in a few of the rooms. This pic is from the spare room, and the ripping up of the carpets actually signalled a problem with a section of the floor- mainly wood rot. But more on that later.

After we had ripped up the carpets, it was time to start spack fillings. Having painted walls and spack filled before I thought I was pretty knowledgeable- however I made two rookie mistakes. 1. I used an interior/exterior grade spack filler which dries HARD... and I mean REAL hard. 2. I was optimistic and thought I could hand sand the walls back. Big mistake. I did one and a half walls using a sanding block and some sand paper and realised that I had neither the energy nor the strength to do a 3 bedroom house this way. So off I went to Bunnings and bought myself an electric sander. What a revelation...! This was a dirty job. I would come home with so much dust in my hair it would stand up by itself. But with the help of Mr. A we go through it. We decided early on to leave the windows because 1. they had YEARS of enamel paint built up on them and 2. we just had too much other stuff to do.

Around this time we started to discover some interesting facts about our place- the smallest room in the house, which is now the study- had a painted floor of dark brown. This was actually the colour we were going to stain the hallway/kitchen/lounge.

Another strange thing- this is our bedroom and underneath the carpet was this fantastic example of lino. Needless to say it went pretty quickly.

Next the painting began. Here I am, up a ladder painting. We quickly realised we weren't going to have enough time to paint all our ceilings (remember each one is COMPLETELY different!). So after painting the study ceiling- we only touched the hall ceiling (and even then it was Mr. A's mum who did it. She actually sustained a ladder accident in the name of that ceiling)

Maybe we were stupid- but we painted BEFORE our floors were sanded and stained WALNUT brown. This meant we actually ended up doing 4-5 coats in the lounge. We used Dulux Whisper White throughout the house. Luckily- both our families pitched in to help with the mammoth task of painting. I originally looked into using a spray gun to paint because the thought of painting SO many walls within such a small amount of time was frightening. However- in the end it worked out well and we got the painting done.

Here is Mr. A getting into some roller action. I should premise this by saying he hates painting. Me- well I love the idea of it (remember I am an art teacher), but half-way through its like a part of me dies and I just want to give up. But I am always pleased at the end.

So I guess I will leave it there for now. Next time I will fill you in on the flooring (I still have a laugh to myself when I think back to all our friends and family who said we should just move in first and do the floors after... yeah right.)

Till next time.

Feb 21, 2011

Bedroom Inspiration

Long time, no post. It's been slightly crazy at work, but I really need to get into the habit of posting something every second day or so. Anyway- on the home front, we've been deciding what to do with our lacklustre bedroom which is one of the rooms which is seriously lacking in anything. We are finally getting built-ins in the next few weeks, and they really can't come quick enough. Our current Ikea Malm draw system sucks and clothes and shoes end up strewn everywhere. We are going for a heritage look, with sliding doors in a white finish.

In terms of other decorative features, we are thinking of painting a deep navy blue feature wall behind our bed (the same as the kitchen) or even looking into wallpapering the wall. I think we'll pop up to Porters Paints over the weekend to check out their stock. It'll have to be something we're 100% happy with, because wallpaper is slightly more permanent and labour intensive than paint.

The other issue is our bed. We have a walnut Malm bed (like the one below) and I hate it. We have mismatched bedside tables and this kills me. When Mr A bought the bed his sharehouse room was so small he could only fit one bedside table, and Ikea stopped making the damn thing- so thats the end of that one. So we now need to decide if we get down with some Ikea Hacking or invest in an official adult bed like some of the ones featured below. So enjoy browsing through some inspiring bedrooms...

Feb 12, 2011

For the love of navy.

This is an ode to navy blue. I would say this is one of my favourite colours, alongside red. One of the first design decisions I made in our house was the choice of curtains. I knew I wanted something sheer to let light through, but allow for privacy, but I also wanted something dark to block out the light and keep the rooms cool in summer and warm in winter. After pricing a few different options (I even considered venetians, but realised they wouldn't suit the style of our place), I decided to go with Merete in Navy Blue from Ikea. At the time these were $69.95 for each set- and with nine windows to furnish, it wasn't going to be cheap. In addition to the Merete, we decided on the Vivan for the white sheer curtain to sit behind. It's definitely one decision that I am still pleased with, and navy has now influenced many choices within our house.

Here are some inspirational pics showcasing my love affair with the colour navy. Enjoy.

This is one of my all time favourite pics- I think its the use of primary colours- red, yellow and blue. I also have a thing for union jack pillows...drool

This is from the TV show The Block- one of my favourite rooms. We used this colour on our kitchen feature wall. 

Once our bedroom wardrobes are finally installed I think I will be seriously considering a navy feature wall in our bedroom. Not to mention some ikea-malm-bed-hacking and some makeover bedside tables (which I still need to find). I've often heard that main bedrooms are always the last to get done- and yet we spend so much time in there! Albeit with our eyes closed!

Feb 11, 2011

Kitchens I Love

To end an exhausting week at school I thought I would show you some crush-worthy houses. I have about 450 photos in my 'Interior Pics' folder- and stupidly haven't noted where I found any of them. I started house stalking when I first discovered blogs (which was in June of last year. totally missed that boat). When I first started blog stalking I would egarly await  for Design Sponge's weekly Sneak Peeks feature and save each and every photo I loved. Now that my folder has fattened up quite a bit, I don't rush to save every photo I see. I'll try and stick to a theme each week- so today we'll take a peek at kitchens. These range in styles and by no means represent my whole collection! Enjoy.

Feb 7, 2011

Our extremely humble abode...

I thought I would start off with a simple introduction to our humble abode which Mr. A and I bought in April of last year. We endured a 6 month search for a house and actually bidded on/put offers on six other houses before we finally landed this one. It was a crazy long process, which involved many tears and tantrums and one I don't want to go through again anytime soon.

One of the aspects I really hated was trying not to fall in love with a place, whilst at the same time trying to decide if you could actually see yourself living there for a long time. It's interesting to assess in retrospect whether those other properties would have suited our needs. One house in particular - which coincidently is one street away from our house now- was built in 1905 and I fell absolutely in love with it. It had original pressed ceilings, beautiful sandstone and an amazing original fireplace. It needed quite a bit of work however- including a new kitchen (the existing one was teeny tiny!), the sunroom out the back needed to be made more permanent and the layout wasn't ideal. In retrospect I am so glad we didn't win the property at auction. We made the first time bidders mistake of going over our original agreed budget, and had we bagged the house there wouldn't have been any cash-ola left to do any renovations.

Now- enough real estate talk, lets get down to the nitty gritty. The house we actually purchased had been owned by the Department of Housing for the last ten years and the lady who lived in it was ancient. They carted her off to the nursing home and put the place on the market. I think the Department of Housing was going through a phase of selling up its old fibro shacks and moving into the townhouse market. Some of the other House-o properties being sold were in absolute shambles, with broken windows, holes punched in the gyprock, revolting bathrooms and awful layouts. Compared to these, our place was an absolute dream!

The first thing I fell in love with in our place was the ceilings. In EVERY room there is a different cornice. And not just slightly different, as in they ran out of cornices. Every room is completely different and extremely unique. This is my favourite feature. It makes the house feel like it has  a personality. This is an example- including complimentary cobwebs.

Another feature I really like is the fact that we have a hallway. This may seem a little strange, but we saw so many houses with rooms that just fed off each other. In our place the hallway has the bedrooms and bathroom coming off it, the living room comes off it with a double doorway wide entry and it leads to our kitchen and then outside.

Anyway- lets finally kick things into gear... a tour of our house PRE- renovations. Be warned these may make you feel nauseous.

 This is our entry way, on the side of the house. The porch is tiled with a pink and white geometric patten... wow that sounds cool. Yeah if there wasn't huge chucks missing and water didn't get under the tiles when it rained.

 Scoping out the house after we exchanged contracts. My grandparents were out from the UK and checked it out. Who knows what the hell they thought! That huge tree there- its gone now. Mr. A's stepdad hacked it to death with a chainsaw. yiew.
The front room or smallest bedroom. This is now my incredibly messy office. Note blinds and light fixture- GONE.

Our bedroom...note trees in front of window. GONE.

Our skank-a-licious bathroom. Had to shower in the bath with an amazing contraption we set up until the bathroom reno in June of last year. YUCK.

Our spare bedroom. Note awesomely hot ceilings...

Part of the kitchen. Note excellent lino floor- GONE.

Other bit of kitchen. It's TINY!

The back room which was formally the balcony which the original owners turned into a sunroom. Please relish in the amazing CLOWN wallpaper, decorative metal feature which leads to the back door. This is the room we had to use to access the backyard. Talk about awkward.

So thats the inside. Scary huh? Tomorrow if I'm up to it I will fill you in on the outside of the house including our amazing outdoor dunny. Gotta love old houses hey?

Feb 4, 2011

Just for laughs... Harry's Balls

Just had to pass on this little audio gem I heard on 702 this afternoon. A story of a man called Harry who sits on a plastic chair whenever he showers, however one day the situation goes 'balls up'. If you have a spare few seconds it is definitely worth the listen. It had me howling on the way home from school and ended up being the perfect antidote to my first week back with the kids.

My Famous Puppy

 Just wanted to fill you in on Ringo the Manchester Terrier's first foray into the world wide web and celebrity stardom. I entered him into Desire to Inspire's Monday Pets on Furniture and obviously due to his insanely good looks and my beautifully upholstered chair...he made it on the website. Here's the photo...

And here is the super cute close up...

Mr. A and I think he's going through a last minute growth spurt because his ear has popped up and wont go back down. This orignally happened when we first got him around 4 months old and it eventually folded over. He'll be one years old in April. We're hoping by then the madness of him being a puppy will be over. Hoping... We are constantly reminded by his terrier heritage with his crazy antics.

Just for fun and because it's my blog- here are two pics of Ringo as a puppy...

I'm slowly trying to convince Mr. A to adopt a retired greyhound sometime this year. They are one of the most placid and ironically lazy breeds around. They are fantastic with small children, sleep up to 95%+ a day and don't eat much. I think Ringo could do with some company whilst we are at work and I just love dogs. I could happily be a crazy dog lady with 20 dogs but our small backyard may (fortunately) prevent this.

I'll let you know how the convincing goes...