Friday, 19 July 2013

Buon Viaggio!

Whoa, I can't believe it's been almost 2 months since I wrote a post! There's been a lot happening, just not really on the renovation! Today we take off for a six week European trip and its fair to say that between planning that and managing all the other things life has been throwing us there just hasn't been time for renovations!

I did have some spare time to re-vamp this cute side table that was gifted to me by my sister in law (thanks Chelle!) and it's looking great in its new home in our lounge room.

Stick with me though, there will be no excuses when we return from our trip so there will be plenty of reno love to share! In the meantime I'll be sharing plenty of pics of our trip on Instagram so if you're not already following me (@erin_od) please come along for the trip!


Sunday, 26 May 2013

Slowly but surely

Sometimes the speed of this whole renovating business is so painstakingly slow, especially when a number of things are on hold waiting for a big piece of work. While things are definitely not moving as fast as either of us would like, sometimes you need to stop and look at the things that have been done. So that's what I'm going to do and when I stand back and look at it, we've actually done some stuff!

I'm sure it won't surprise anyone that there's been a tweak to the floor plan! I had an "a-ha" moment a couple of weeks ago (at about 11.30pm and then had difficult sleeping) which will see the front of the house stay predominantly the same and return the facade to what it was originally. It's very important to us to try and restore/retain the original features of the house where we can and then the re-building of the back will be more contemporary.

I've been inspired to get back into planning and I've realised that there are so many decisions to be made that don't have to wait.  In fact, it will be go, go, go once we start and I'm sure we won't have the time then, so it makes a lot of sense.

The first decision on our list was picking paint colours- exciting! I have a serious home magazine addiction and I've been paying lots of attention to paint colours. I decided a while ago that white was the way to go and after some gentle convincing Paul has finally come around to my way of thinking (yay!).

Dulux Antique White USA was definitely the front runner for me but because there are so many shades of white (mind blowing!) and they can look different in different light we headed off earlier in the week to get some samples. We came hole with two colours- Antique White USA and Natural White. I was really happy with how they look on our walls and there was no trace of yellow tones. Although there's not a huge amount of difference, we both agree that Antique White USA is the perfect colour for us.

We also had another win this weekend with the cement in front of the garage finally being completed. The shed was finished at least a year ago (there was an old single car asbestos ridden garage there before) but we've been waiting for the gap to be filled between the end of the driveway and the new garage.  It's looking good and it's really nice for Paul to have it finished. We can also finally put the cars in there!

Paul has built the frame for the side gate. Of course it's an electric one (we don't have keys for our doors, we have remote controls!) and now we just have to make a decision about what material we're going to use for the gate and the front fence. Once that's done it can be finished and the old gate can be pulled down (the demolition part of everything is going to be fun!). We won't talk about the fact that the position of the new gate covers where the laundry door was going to go!

I'm also in the middle of a couple of furniture painting projects which of course I'll share when I'm finished.

Erin xx

Thursday, 25 April 2013

Weekend project: Paint dipped stool

It's been a busy few weeks around here, but not with renovating! We've been confirming our itinerary and booking accommodation for our July Europe trip.  I'm getting really excited about it but I have to say that I find the whole planning caper exhausting and frustrating! However it's mostly done now and now I can relax a bit.

Amongst all the planning, I managed to squeeze in a trip to the op shop where I came across this little stool for $5! Did I actually need a stool you ask? Well, no but come on it was $5 and it had project written all over it!  With my little stool (which in my head was lovingly handmade by a local Nonno for his grandchildren!) secured in the boot, I headed off to Bunnings to buy some new paint.

After much deliberation over the colours, I decided that I would paint dip the bottom of the legs in Taubmans Painted Parrot (Turquoise) and the rest in Taubmans Summer Splash (Yellow) so I got a sample pot of each of the colours.

 I gave the stool a clean and a really light sand and then got painting.  I started on the Summer Splash first (I just realised that it's actually someones job to  make up these paint names!), and then with some help from painters tape taped up the legs at the height I wanted the Painted Parrot to start.

It was a bit tricky to get the tape straight on the round legs, but I did ok.  If I was a patient person (hmmmm!) I probably would have painted the whole thing yellow, waited for it to dry completely and then tape it at the right height and paint the dipped part.

But I'm not patient and it was the first time I've ever done anything like this and I guess it's all about trial and error. So I did it the hard way and had to do some detailed paint work where there was some gaps between the two paint colours (you can see the gap in the picture (left)- I had to re-tape it at the yellow level).

That being said, it ended up coming out quite well and after three coats of each of the colours I finished it off with two coats of clear lacquer.

Here it is inside- it still doesn't have a proper home yet, but it's in our bedroom until the next furniture shuffle!

As usual, I got a bit excited about the paint and also decided to paint these little planter pots that I picked up from Aldi for $10! That's including the 3 pots, the tray, little chalk board tags, dirt and seeds- bargain! The paint just went straight on and again, I did three coats of colour and finished off with a coat of the clear lacquer.

Happy ANZAC day to all the Aussies and Kiwis- I hope you've had a lovely day off today and took some time to stop and think about all those who have fought for us.  I'm sure the smart ones are also taking tomorrow off, but not me! Although, I can't really complain too much about going back for a day then off again for the weekend!

Erin xx

Sunday, 7 April 2013

Weekend project: Paper bunting

After visiting the The Finders Keepers market yesterday and seeing lots of cute things, I realised that I have no bunting in my house!

On a mission to fix that (and figuring that it can't be too difficult even for a non-crafter like me!) I googled it to get some clues on what to do.  I came across a blog called Daily Suze, where you can download 4 templates to make bunting. What a perfect way to get started!

It was as easy as this- I printed off the templates cut them out, glued them together, threaded them on string and hey presto....bunting!

I've hung it up in my study and it looks really good. Not only that, it only took me about an hour from printing to hanging- talk about quick, cheap and easy decoration!

As you can see from the picture of the template (top left), there are also tiny little flags which Daily Suze recommends attaching to toothpicks as decoration for cupcakes, however you can see in the bottom right photo I've used them for wrapping baby presents. They look super cute and I'm pretty impressed with myself for coming up with that idea!

Now that I've got a feel for what I'm doing, I'm going to use some wrapping paper that I've got to make more and gradually get adventurous with the size and maybe even shapes.

This is not a usual post for me, but it was so easy that I wanted to share.  If I can do it, anyone can!

Monday, 1 April 2013

Ding dong, the chimney's gone!

Happy Easter everyone, I hope that you've had a lovely long weekend whatever you've been doing!

It's been a while between posts but it's been a busy month in our little household. We've both had a bit going on in our work worlds, I applied and was successful for a volunteering position that I will start next month, we've had some exciting baby news in the family (not us!) and....we installed a new toilet! The addition of a new toilet doesn't really compare to the other news, but hey we're pretty damn excited! When you're living in a renovators delight and with a toilet from the 70's, you tend to celebrate the small stuff. Our spiffy new toilet flushes so well (the first time!), is water saving AND it has a soft closing lid- fancy huh?!

As a side note it's lovely to know that despite no new posts there has continued to be a steady stream of people coming to have a look- thank you all so much for taking the time out of your busy lives to read my little blog!

I'm not going to miss this ugly brown thing!
So, to get to the point of the post...we've removed our chimney!  Paul started on the roof, removing all the bricks up there and then patching the hole where it was with some second hand tin from our favourite junk yard in Coburg (is it even a thing to have a fave junk yard?!).

Last Saturday morning we removed the small stuff from the room and then covered the larger furniture with sheets and tarp. We donned the dust masks and got into demolition mode removing the lath and plaster and then Paul removed the cement sheeting that had been used for the lovely brown facade (it was previously covered with fake bricks before I attacked them one night!). I can't tell you how satisfying it was to take that ugly thing out!

There was a brick fireplace under there!
 Underneath the facade we did find a fireplace (uh-oh!) but it wasn't beautiful (I think it's probably been damaged over the years) and besides we were too committed to change our minds now!
Next project; to use the bricks
With dust flying around everywhere we removed the bricks and threw them out the window.  There was a frame in place above the fireplace which looked as though it had a support beam for the ceiling, so we paid a visit to Bunnings for some structural pine and the plasterboard for our temporary wall.

Check out the mess!
I'd love to be able to explain exactly what he did next, but basically he rigged it up so that the ceiling didn't cave in and then put in some temporary flooring where there were gaps. 

We (Paul especially because lets face it, I'm no builder) were pretty tired after all that so left the next steps until Thursday night and the start of the Easter long weekend.  Thursday night was the big clean- and what fun it was(n't!). Even though the couch and the TV had been covered, the layer of dust was incredible.  Dust had also made its way into the study nook which basically caused me to have a dust induced breakdown.  I have never seen such dust, especially because it required about a five stage removal before it even looked like I'd tried to get it off! Wash down, wipe, wash down, wipe and keep on wiping! I still think that I'm probably getting dust all over me just by sitting here typing- yes it's that bad.

The temporary walls and floor
On Friday the plasterboard went up, last night some timber as a finish between the old and new plaster wall and floor and today the gaps have been filled with expanding foam.

It's not exactly beautiful but it's sealed, it's neat and when it comes time to do the rest of the room one fiddly and time consuming task is done!

It was a happy day when I was able to move the furniture back in- my favourite part! It's amazing how removing a seemingly small thing in a room can create such a different feeling of space. I've rearranged the furniture in a way that I think makes much more sense and creates a nicer flow in the room (not perfect, but working with what we've got). 

Lovely ceramic stool
The side table and bargain rug
The whitewashed table from my previous furniture makeover is now in the hallway (I liked the look of it there when I temporarily moved it there so it's staying for now), and I've replaced it with a side table from the spare room.  I also purchased this little ceramic stool from The Reject Shop for $40 and picked up a cheap rug from K-Mart today for $29 to cover the uneven floor! You've got to love a bargain or two!

Maddie and Millie enjoying the better flowing lounge room!

The best part of all is that I really feel like we're doing this! It's also been an excellent eye opener as to how much dust we're going to be dealing with when we pull out all the old plaster in the front half of the house.  At least when we're doing that, the furniture will be all out of the area so the cleaning will be focused on the room itself (which will be bad enough!).

It's also reinforced for me that if we're going to survive this renovation we need to communicate better (I'm still trying to get Paul across the line on this one!)! It's become clear that I like a bit of structure (lets call it a "strategic" plan) when it comes to these things, whereas he's more of a "give it a crack and deal with whatever happens later" kind of guy! It also doesn't help that I've never done this stuff before and I think he gets a bit tired of the constant "why are you doing it that way?" questions- when all I'm trying to do is understand what's going on! It's definitely going to be interesting (as those of you who know us really understand!), but I'm hoping that we can work on that during the planning phases and get better at it before the big stuff happens!

I'm feeling really positive that we've started and there's a lot of planning taking place. We're currently cooking up another "interim project" to utilise the bricks from the chimney so I'll keep you posted!

Wednesday, 6 March 2013

Study makeover

I've been working on a little project for a few weeks now and it's finally ready to share with you.  Since Paul made me the desk out of reclaimed timber I've been giving our little study nook a makeover!

For those of you who are familiar with the style of a Californian Bungalow house, you will know that often what was previously the front porch gets built in to use as inside floor space.

In our house, this little nook has been used as a study off our lounge room.  I haven't spent much time or energy on this room, as eventually it will be reopened up to become the front porch again. But with my beautiful new desk and increasing time spent on the computer, I decided that I wanted to make it easier on the eye as well as more practical.

You can see from the before picture that it was pretty boring uninspiring, with some bare necessities and a second hand (not to mention ill fitting) desk.

Look how lovely it looks now! A desk which fits perfectly in place, less clutter and some pretty accessories. 

The prints on the wall were wedding gifts from our friends Jess and Lach.
I decided on a blue and green colour palette with pops of yellow (and some of Paul's things in red). I love the calm of blue and green and it reminds me of being by the sea- the different blues and greens of the water and the blue of the sky.
To increase the amount of storage in the study, I've used two 2x2 Expedit shelving units as storage (behind the desk) and they couldn't fit better if they were made to measure! I already had one in the spare room so only had to get a second one to sit beside it.

Now we've got plenty of storage including a place where we can keep the printer so it doesn't take up space on the desk.  We also finally a have a practical filing system (including in and out trays) and I think that it looks good too!
I tried without success to find a new home for the Ducati models (top left).
Adaptability of the items that I used in the study was a key factor given nothing is permanent right now! Everything that I've used will also go well in the renovated house, either in a study or reused in other rooms. I did a lot of shopping around to find things that I liked and cost was also a consideration, given the temporary nature of the space.
I love having pretty, personal things around me and it's definitely the many small pieces that make a room homely and inviting to me.
This gorgeous print is a custom order made by my talented friend Nat at Little Puddles.  She has lots of other gorgeous prints as well as jewellery and if you like this one, you should head to her page and take a look.

The blue Tempo fan is from Bunnings (only $8.00!), the clock (which you can't see in this pic, but can see above) is from Typo and the notepaper holder was part of (another bargain) clearance stationery set from Kmart.

It's fair to say that I'm currently obsessed with glass and all things upcycled.  The pen holder is an upcycled jar wrapped in brown paper and twine that I used at Christmas as a vase, but now has another new life!

On the left side of the desk are a set of black and white Ikea canisters (that I've had for some time), and the turquoise and yellow bowls are an op shop find from last weekend. The frame I got for my birthday contains the chorus of our wedding song (I downloaded a handwritten font I loved and made it myself on the computer- easy and cheap art!) and you can also see an origami mobile that was a gift from my friend Rach.

The milk bottles are by Morgan and Finch from The Works Hawthorn (who strangely don't appear to have a website).  If you're into homewares this place is massive and worth a trip to check out. The milk bottles are holding drawing pins and clips also in blues and greens.

So there you have it, my new study! It's been a little while coming, but I think it's been worth the wait. I'm so happy with how it's come up and it's now somewhere that I love to be and work.

Sunday, 24 February 2013

Lack of renovation = frustration

This last week has been a bit weird...not bad, just weird! I had a few unexpected (but positive, actually even exciting) things happen in my work world.  It really got me thinking that great things happen when you least expect them, which is something nice for me to keep in mind as I'm usually two steps ahead when it comes to expectations! On Thursday I got some sort of virus that messed with my perception (I was at work typing and my hands weren't were they were supposed to be, like they weren't my hands or something!) and that knocked me out for the rest of the week.

I've had a really quiet weekend. Paul went off to the Ballarat swap meet yesterday where he picked up a few goodies including an old Singer sewing machine that he's cleaning up for me to put in the house (he's very proud of himself for that one!) and today we paid an uneventful (disappointing) visit to the Coburg Trash and Treasure market.

The thrill of this afternoon was cleaning out the pantry after the discovery of little white worms which are apparently pantry moth larvae (ick!).  It seems that all the money I've spent on Tupperware over the years paid off as there was very little food they had actually gotten into so not a lot that we had to throw out. It did however mean taking everything out, vacuuming and cleaning the cupboard and washing all of the containers as a number of the little buggers were in the creases of the lids (but on the outside). I've put bay leaves in there which they apparently hate and fingers crossed that we got them all. For the first time ever, I was grateful for the little cupboard that is currently our pantry because the thought of having to clean out the pantry I plan to have in our renovated kitchen almost sends me over the edge. On the positive side, our pantry if beautifully organised- we'll see how long that lasts!

I came so close to posting a picture of the pantry on here (not a bad thing if my pantry was amazing, but it's not) and it made me realise that I'm in need of a real project! It seems that things on the renovation front have ground to a bit of a halt. Our recent decision to work with the footprint of our current house has had time to settle and we're really happy with the plans we have so far. Don't get me wrong, there's plenty of thinking, prepping and researching going on, just not a lot of action and it's really starting to frustrate me.

Everything that we plan to do all rests on (pardon the pun) restumping the front half of the house which we won't be doing until we return from Europe in September.  I don't mean to sound ungrateful (and I know, no sympathy!), because we are so lucky to be going but it means that we have to compromise (again, not my strongest quality) and wait to get the restumping done when we come back. I know it's so important to get it done and to do it properly, but when I think about all that money going on something no one (me!) can see it makes me want to cry!

Everything we come up with that needs to be done seems to require the restumping to be done first, so I've set Paul a challenge to come up with some projects that we don't have to wait for. So far I've come up with knocking down the chimney, which needs to be done to accommodate the new floor plan. Don't worry I'm not destroying a beautiful old fireplace, it's just a chimney behind an ugly false wall which used to be covered in fake 70's brick! One night last year I got so excited and pulled off all the "bricks" and pushed a hole through the wall hoping to uncover a brick fireplace that I could restore and all I found was a boring brick chimney. The devastation!

In the meantime, the study makeover is coming along nicely (just a couple of finishing touches to go) and I'm getting my interiors fix through my home magazines, blogs, Pinterest and of course The Block!

Wednesday, 13 February 2013

Weekend Project: Reclaimed timber desk

On Australia Day weekend we went on a mission to find some reclaimed/recycled timber so that Paul could make me a table top for our study.

I've been wanting a timber top on trestle legs ever since I saw a one in a magazine about a year ago. I decided I would wait until we did the reno, so that I knew the space that I was working with and to be honest the study has been more of the boys domain (I'm an iPad on the couch kind of gal!). But now that I'm doing more writing, I decided that I deserved a nice desk to work on as well as one that actually fits the space!

I found a great picture on Pinterest which was very similar to what I wanted, and it lead me to a great blog called Creature Comforts which has all of the DIY instructions. Seriously, I know I've said this before but what did we do before the internet? There are so many creative and talented people sharing amazing things!

So, back to the timber! We found a beautiful piece of wood and after measuring it out to make sure it was the right size for what we wanted, Paul cut it into three pieces so we could bring it home.

Apart from providing instructions and direction throughout this process, I really had nothing to do with the construction and it's probably better that way! I took photos along the way, but if you're looking for more detailed instructions, I'd definitely recommend the Creature Comforts blog. We essentially followed instructions and made some minor alterations along the way.

The three pieces of wood in the clamps after Paul planed the edges to make them even and then glued them together. The glue was left to dry overnight.

After being sanded back and adding the three support beams (old floorboards!) underneath to hold it firmly together.

This one thing I did do, finishing the the desk top with a clear lacquer. Don't you just love the wood grain?!
And here's the finished product complete with the Ikea trestle legs!

...and here's Millie doing her final inspection!
How clever is my husband? I'm so happy with the finished product and I love the fact that we've used reclaimed timber. Paul thinks that it probably comes from inside the roof of an old house and I'm so glad we've given it a new life, where it can be seen and appreciated! 

The materials cost us;
  • Reclaimed timber and floorboards- $55
  • 2x Ikea Vika Lerberg Trestle legs- $15 each
  • Bunnings flat top screws- $6 per pack
  • Clear lacquer- a tin that I already had at home
Total cost- $91.00

Can you believe that?! Freedom sells a Trestle desk for $399 and maybe I'm biased but I think ours looks better! This project actually spread over a couple of weekends because we've had a lot on, but it could be done over a long weekend allowing for overnight drying time for the glue and then another night in between the coats of lacquer.

The desk fits perfectly in the study and I'm taking this opportunity to give the whole area a makeover (yay!). The computer has been set up, and I've started pulling the area it all together, but there's more work to be done.  You guessed it... keep your eye out here for pics and details of the makeover when I'm done!

Monday, 4 February 2013

Looking on the bright side

We had a real estate agent come over on Friday night to value our house. The news could have been worse, but it certainly wasn't what we were hoping for.

Essentially our house is worth about the the same as it was when we purchased it 2 1/2 years ago, despite the fact that we have done a number of things to add value (hello, the 4 car garage!). However, considering the current state of the real estate market, it is a positive that the house hasn't lost value so I'm trying to focus on the positives!

What this means, realistically is that we need to re-think our plans- AGAIN! I wrote a couple of weeks ago about our dilemma over whether or not to go upstairs or just work with the footprint that we have.

With this new information meaning that we have no additional equity in our house, we don't feel that re-financing is the best idea and therefore doing the second story in the way we want to isn't going to happen right now.

So amongst our disappointment I did the only thing I know how and we started trying to come up with a new plan for making it work! The new plans are still coming together but from what we've come up with so far, they're actually pretty good (if I do say so myself!).

It will require more floor plan changes in the front of the house than we initially planned but we can do most of the work ourselves with (hopefully) minimal disruption. It will mean the addition of an ensuite at the front of the house and the moving of walls to create a new entrance and hallway!

Stay tuned as our plans continue to evolve...

Monday, 28 January 2013

My Australia Day weekend

Happy Australia Day long weekend everyone! We've had a house focused weekend which has been great and very productive.

They say a picture is worth a thousand words, and given how much has happened this weekend I think it's the best way to tell you all about it...

The weekend started off brilliantly when my much awaited copy of How to Decorate arrived in the mail- I think it may have set the scene...

Saturday started at this junk yard in Reservoir (I can't even tell you what it's called, because I don't think it actually has a name!) where we were on the hunt for some timber to make a desk (more about that later).

We came away with this beautiful timber (left) and 2 vintage ladders which I had been looking for, for ages! All for a grand total of $75- bargain!
While Paul started work on the desk I planted some rocket and baby cos (in a pot on the deck so the possum/s hopefully won't eat it!) in this half wine barrel we picked up from Bunnings...
...and some more tomato plants in the herb garden where there was some space.
On Sunday we went for Bunch with friends at our favourite place Cheshire.  If you're in the Northern suburbs of Melbourne and are looking for great brekky food, I highly recommend it! The others all went for a motorbike ride in the afternoon so I had the opportunity to kick back with a peppermint tea, and my new book! I was kept company by our babies; Maddie (left) and Millie (right).
After a clean and some repair work, one of the ladders was ready to come inside.  I've put it in the spare room with some of my treasures on it.  See the Elephant and Bunnies? My Mum painted them for me back in the 90's when ceramics was the thing to do- pretty cute!
Monday morning I made us brekky in bed.  We lazed around for a bit before mustering up the courage to face Ikea where we going to pick up the trestle legs for the desk.
After Ikea, we took a well earned break on the rooftop deck at Naked for Satan in Brunswick St...
...and admired the view on this amazing Melbourne day.
On the way home, I picked up these beautiful flowers and now it's time to start getting ready to face the week- urgh!
Paul's still outside transforming that beautiful wood into a desktop.  Not only will we have a new desk, but I'm taking the opportunity to makeover our study, which I'm super excited about! I will be sharing what we did with you as soon as it's done, so keep your eye out here!

Wednesday, 23 January 2013

Upstairs, downstairs?

The last week has seen some serious reno discussions regarding the back half of our house.

Our current floor plan
When we first moved in, our plan was to work with the footprint that we had and make minimal changes to the layout. But it's so true what they say about living in a house for 2 years before making any major decisions/changes- our plans have changed significantly since then.

Our thoughts late last year were that we were going to pull down the 70's "lean-to" at the back of the house and rebuild it with a second floor. In addition to this there would be some internal changes to the layout of the front of the house. We certainly hadn't locked in the details, but we definitely had lots of ideas and were pretty close to engaging a draftsman.

We also had some discussions with our brother in law (who is a builder) about some possible options and the best way to do it without moving out (what are we thinking?!). He had some really good suggestions and thought our best options would be for three stages of building starting with re-stumping (boring, but necessary) and the front bathroom, back half and upstairs (we live in the front) and then front half (we live in the back).

We thought that we were on track until Boxing Day when we were having a casual lunch of leftovers with my Mum and Aunty outside and I realised how far I was carrying the food from the kitchen to the back deck. I had planned to keep the kitchen in its current position, flowing into an open plan dining and living room with bi-fold doors leading onto the deck. But with the kitchen in its current spot, it just doesn't quite work with the image I have of all the amazing alfresco dining we're going to be doing! I definitely want the lounge area opening onto the deck so that it has an indoor/outdoor feel so moving the kitchen in that spot wasn't really an option for me. After much thinking and staring at the space (people think I'm weird, I'm not sure why!) I thought I'd found the place for it. The dining room could go where the kitchen currently is, the kitchen where the laundry and bathroom are (including an amazing pantry) and the lounge stays where it was always going to be. Great so we're pretty much sorted then right? Hmmm wrong!

I think reality started sinking in over the weekend and I had a bit of a panic about the cost, time, upheaval, 2nd floor, overcapitalising etc etc and so I put the "working with what we've got" option back on the table including lifting the height of the roof in the back half. Paul has been pretty good (after the initial "are you serious?" reaction) and so we've been tossing around ideas. We're in the process of running through a bit of a pros and cons list for each of the options. I have a feeling I know which option we both prefer (bigger is better, right?!) but it is important that we consider all the options in the hope that we make the right decision for what is going to be a pretty major change either way.

So that's where we're at right now, but I would love your thoughts...should we go upstairs? Or just stick with downstairs?

Wednesday, 16 January 2013

Vintage...or not to vintage

While the ideas, "what if's" and general renovation chatter continues to pick up pace in our house, I am very excited that I have purchased our first post-reno light fittings!

My love for vintage industrial light fittings started when Sophie and Dale and Brad and Lara used them in their kitchen's on The Block 2012.

Since then I have been keeping my eye out for some (I mentioned in my post last week about the amazing story of the vintage pendants from Department of History in Thornbury) but I have to say that I was finding the price of $250-300 per pendant a little hard to swallow.

Then, late last year I came across the Hektar Pendant lamps when I was at Ikea and I was impressed. As you can see below, the are black with white inside, exactly what I was looking for and in the last place that I expected to see them! Unfortunately it seemed I wasn't the only one who thought this, and there was only one of the small pendants in stock.  So I took the one that was there but I decided I needed two of the large pendants and two more of the small pendants.  I'm planning on using them above the island bench in the kitchen and above the dining table. I will figure out the specifics of which pendants go where when the time comes and I can physically see the space.
On the weekend I discovered that there were some in stock at my 'local' store in Richmond.  I was down there in a flash!  I have to admit that the large pendants were much larger than I expected and it probably would have been helpful to either have an extra pair of hands or a trolley, but I struggled through! After the nightmare that is the Ikea pick up zone (and one stubbed toe later!) I had my full set of pendant lights home.

So, why did I decide "not to vintage" on this occasion? I have to admit that I sometimes get sick of things quickly and I actually can't guarantee that I will love these pendant lamps forever (not to mention that when/if we sell the house I can't take them with me).  I'd rather invest in the long term and big ticket items such as the kitchen and bathroom fittings and appliances and also on the furniture that I know I will have forever. I agree that the Ikea pendants don't contain quite the same character or story as the real deal vintage ones do, but considering it cost me $300 for all 5 of the pendants compared to that price for one, it's a compromise that I'm willing to make.

It's my house, my style and I have to go with what I love- and I do love them.  I don't feel like I'm missing out on anything and it makes me really excited about the day when I can finally hang those pendants in my new kitchen and dining room.  Here's hoping I still love them by then...

Tuesday, 8 January 2013

Weekend Project: Furniture makeover

After a busy December, it was a welcome relief to realise we had nothing planned for last weekend. After a wonderfully relaxed Saturday morning of brunch and wandering around our local second hand stores (and hearing all the history of some amazing vintage light shades from Spencer Street station at one of them) I decided that I was going to tackle a little project in the afternoon.

I have a hall table that was once my Nanna's. I've been using it as a bedside table in the spare room and thinking about giving it a makeover for a while.  I have previously had a lot of dark furniture but I'm slowly making the transition to lighter wood or white as I think it looks really fresh.  I'm loving the rustic look of whitewashing and decided that was what I wanted to do with this table. So I did some research on trusty Google (what did we do before the internet?!) and found some really great instructions.

This is what the table looked like before I started (right). The website I used, contains detailed instructions but I will run through what I did.

I started off by sanding the table back to remove the varnish.  You need to remove the shine of the varnish but it's not important to get it even all over, in fact an uneven finish is probably better as it helps add to the rustic look of the whitewashing. I used two electric sanders; a larger sander for the larger, flat surfaces and a smaller sander for the legs and any more detailed parts.
It took me about an hour to sand the table and here's what it looked like when I was finished (left). You can see there are some areas particularly on the top where I have sanded back further than others to create a rustic/worn look. Once I was finished the sanding I wiped the table down with a damp cloth to remove the dust.

I then made the whitewash mix by mixing 50% of a white water-based paint (any water based interior paint from Bunnings should be fine) and 50% water.  I then got a rag (an old cotton singlet) and used the rag to apply the paint to the table.

By using a rag instead of a paint brush I believe that I achieved a better result. Because the paint is thinned with the water, it dries fairly quickly.  I ended up doing about 2/3 coats and stopped when I felt that I had achieved the look that I wanted.

This is what it looked like (right) when I finished the whitewashing and then I put it in the sun for a couple of hours to dry. I have to say that whitewash is really forgiving and I don't think you can possibly do it wrong!

Once it was dry I applied a clear lacquer with a paintbrush to seal it.  I then had to wait for the lacquer to dry but it didn't actually take that long until it was dry to touch and it was ready to go!

I was really happy with the finished product and couldn't wait to get it inside and do the fun part, the styling!

Here's the finished product set up in my lounge room displaying some of my favourite things!  I love the fresh whites with a touch of black and pink which ties in with the colour scheme of my lounge room.

The makeover of this table meant that I removed two other tables from the lounge room, one of them replaced this table as a bedside in the spare room and I also moved some of my smaller pieces around from room to room. One of the things that has kept me (partially!) sane is doing lots of little things to make the house look nice with the layout we have and I like to move them around to keep things interesting.

I also had a wander around the house looking for other things to whitewash (typical me, once I get started I like to go overboard!) and also started on another little cupboard.  The whitewash has come up great but needs some other work on it, so that there's a little project for me for another weekend!

Wednesday, 2 January 2013

Getting started...

So...after much hesitation here I am writing my first post on my brand new blog! I've been thinking about starting this for a while now and I guess I'm probably not alone in picking the New Year as the "perfect" time to finally dive in!

In my preparation (although probably more accurately described as procrastination!) for starting the blog I read a lot about what to do, what not to do and I have to admit it was all getting a bit overwhelming. I really have to thank one of my good friends who just today gave me the encouragement I needed to get started.  
Our conversation over lunch went something like this- 
Me: I'm thinking about starting a blog about our house reno's...
Her: Cool! 
Me: I'm not sure though
Her: Why not? Just do it! (She's great like that, thanks KV!) 

So here I am "just doing it" and trying to get into the flow of writing my first post. I'm really hoping to be able to share some interesting things about our journey over the next...well who knows how long! The more my husband and I discuss things, the longer time goes on, the more ideas I have...I'm starting to realise it's going to be a much longer timeframe that what I first imagined! See, I'm a first time home owner, first time renovator and I'm also pretty impatient- a recipe for disaster right?! In my delusional mind I actually thought that we'd be finished by now! Ha, we've hardly even started! My husband has done this type of thing before and luckily he's pretty handy but the poor thing has a hard time managing me and my expectations- let's just call that another work in progress!

Between us, I know that we're going to make a beautiful home, but there will definitely be a lot of bumps along the way! If nothing else, this blog will be a great way to record the progress that we make but I also look forward to sharing our experiences and also learning from others along the way!
Alright, now I better go and explain to my husband what I'm doing, starting with exactly what a blog is....