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...