Monday, 27 August 2012

When you change a washer....

Our bathroom is old, original and is on our list to redo one day.

This bathroom was probably really flash in it's day, back in the 60's. It is covered with green laminate stuff all over the walls with metal joining strips. Green tub and a green pedestal sink, a brown and cream mosaic floor is the icing on the cake.

It still functions quite well. The bath is deep and quick to fill, the sink does the job too. There is no shower in here, so I will show you pics one day of what we did to rectify that too.

The kids like the big tub, but this bathroom is a massive comedown from my much more modern 1999 era bathroom we left in our previous house. It has taken some getting used to. And I am trying to figure out how I will fit a tub, separate shower, a toilet and a vanity unit in this space when we do it.

I have big plans for this room when we do it, and my husband keeps wanting to just fix things up temporarily.

The taps leak and really needed replacing, because our water pump cuts on and off and it isn't good for it to be doing that. He hated the pedestal sink, I don't like them either as there is no storage. I like the idea of them, but they aren't practical.

So I researched on the net for a pretty vanity unit that I could fit into my bathroom, and that would do the job until we gutted and redid the whole thing properly.

I have got to tell you, most vanity units are extremely ugly and I hate them all! I found some nicer ones at Recollections, but the ones I liked weren't the right size. And some had open shelves so I lost storage space.


I like this one, but it lacks shelving.

I think this one has a nice shape, but I hate semi-recessed sinks. So it is a no from me.

I like how this one is flush with the floor, I really don't want to be cleaning under a vanity, so that is a plus! I would prefer a shaker style profile on the doors instead of French Provincial. Better, but not quite what I am looking for.

Nice, but glass doors so people can see my mess under my sink. Another no from me.

I do like this one, but it is not flush with the floor and it is $2300. This is the pick of them, but I am not sure how I am going to configure my bathroom.

I will probably have to get one custom built, so it will cost about the same (or more) than this one.

Getting to the point of my story, I was looking and showing my husband what my dream bathroom would look like and it looks like this...

My dream...... from Pinterest

I love this pic, I have loads more dream bathrooms for my inspiration on my Pinterest page.

I want a marble vanity with basket weave mosaics on the floor, lots of light, grey and white.

Anyway, I promise I will get to the point now!

Husband decided that he would replace the washers in the taps - the quick fix!  In order to do this, he was going to remove the tub taps and take them to the hardware shop and he would buy a couple of new taps for the sink. As the old ones were completely stuffed.

I warned him that the taps might be hard to remove, and we should just leave it all alone until we do the bathroom. He couldn't leave it alone, so out came the Stilsons.

How ugly is this bathroom? I have no idea why the wood is screwed onto the tub.

He removed the bath taps and proceeded to take the sink taps off. One came off well, but the other was really tight and he broke the sink!

Broken corner of sink

No, it can't be glued on again!

After a few "Damn it's" and "Bloody hell's". We were looking at it in stunned silence like "Crap! That wasn't supposed to happen".

I said, "I am not fixing this thing up until we do it properly". As I do know it will never get done if it functions.

Well, husband went in to town to the hardware shop, and I told him to get the cheapest, nastiest, most gross looking vanity in the shop and then I will sell it (or hoick it to the tip if I can't). Then I will buy a nicer vanity down the track to do the room properly.

Beautiful looking pedestal with louvred windows. So rank!

The sink has gone to the tip. The taps are hanging on there until the plumber comes.

The moral of the story is....... Don't touch old bathrooms or you will end up doing more than you expected.

We were lucky this time, you should see what happened when we moved the position of a shower head and taps in our laundry. It was supposed to be a quick fix job also! Will do a post on that incident one day.

Plumber is coming tomorrow to install the ugly vanity for me. I will post pics of the functional, but not beautiful unit when he does.

Weekend stuff

We started our weekend off with a bit of reading in bed on our Saturday morning, before playing soccer in town. I madly did some cleaning when I got home and the boys went to see some senior Rugby in town too.

I bought a few books from our Book Fair for my boys this week. I tend to be buying lots of books for H as he is an avid reader. And by avid I mean he can read a chapter book in a couple of days if it is long. I am trying to keep up with his habit, so the book fair came in handy.

These books look like comics, and one is a graphic novel (I thought F would like it). The other ones I bought are Shakespeare in comic form. This makes it a bit easier to "get" their head around the story before they get into the language too. There was a Greek Myth one too, they love their books.

F ended up with a yucky book about germs. I am hoping to instill a tiny bit of OCD tendencies in them, so they wash their hands whenever they come inside the house after touching the puppy.

On Sunday we packed the kids into the car and drove 2 hours away for a Rugby carnival. The boys last game of the season (whoo hoo!).

Two hours away is fairly ridiculous for children to play a few games of footy, but that is what you do when you live in the country.

We are the Rams. The yellow is Scone. Scone is a very well-drilled team. I think most of the dads and coaches are ex Wallabies. And they grow them big in those horsey towns, they look like giants against our little boys!

Ha, check out my cropping skills!

I cropped other people's children out with picmonkey. Really easy to do!

The boys were exhausted afterwards. All done and dusted for another year!

I will be putting the boys to bed early tonight for some extra catch-up sleep after a very full weekend.


Tuesday, 21 August 2012

Williams Sonoma in Australia

I just discovered this news article about Williams Sonoma coming to Australia.

The article:

If you don't click the link, here is the lowdown....

Williams Sonoma is setting up shop in Bondi Junction. Williams-Sonoma - with its four brands, Williams Sonoma, Pottery Barn, Pottery Barn Kids and West Elm will occupy the entire ground floor of the Exchange building, opposite Westfield Bondi Junction. They will open the 2040sq m Bondi Junction store early in 2013.

Yay to the max!

 I die!

So happy, because I spend way too much time on their websites drooling and wishing we could get it all in Australia without insane shipping costs.

I hope that the markup isn't going to be double what the US pays, as they seem to be great value online from what I have seen.

Here are some pics of stuff I covet on their site....

I love this bedding so much and it has MONOGRAMS!

I have had my eye on their bedding for ages as it is absolutely beautiful.

I love their lighting.

The lighting is to die for! I think I will be outfitting my whole house in Pottery Barn and Williams Sonoma for sure!

La Cornue Stoves

I love this stove! It comes in many awesomely spectacular colours and at around $13000 it is very exy, but stunning all the same!

I am in love with this vanity!

This vanity is the type I am looking for when I eventually do my bathroom. I have seen them at Schots, but they are much more expensive than these PB ones.

Great furniture at reasonable prices.

So there you go.....

I have never been so excited about the opening of a store! I could never understand those people who line up when a new Apple store opened. Now I understand a bit! I will be queueing up before dawn with my little sleeping bag when this one opens at "The Junger". I have spent many and hour and many a dollar at Westfield Bondi Junction, and I will be parting with some hard earned once again!

Hopefully Restoration Hardware will see the light too!

Monday, 20 August 2012

The hedge

I love hedges!

I have filed plenty of inspirational pictures to my pinterest, and I just can't go past a good green hedge.

Yes, very inspirational....

I love how a hedge can create some order and symmetry to a garden.

I know, I know, they are super high maintenance!

I decided that I would start a small hedge and see how it goes. Our hot summers are going to be the litmus test for my aspirational hedge. Unfortunately, a hedge is fairly expensive to establish, especially if you use larger plants. Japanese box is the only type of hedge that will have a chance of survival where I am, and it is really, really slow to get going.

This is good in a way, as the hedge isn't going to be sprouting off every week and it will be easier to clip. But the downside is that it can take years to grow a great hedge that is a nice shape and dense too.

I bought a few plants (12) and as I had not measured the space, I had no idea how many I would need.

I planted 6 on each side and I saw that this would not be adequate. So I went back and bought the rest that were in the nursery. I am going to need more, but the others there were a lot smaller than mine.

My new Japanese Box hedge

The plan is to have a hedge running the length of my paved area, and then take the hedge in an L shape to the pool gateway. Please ignore the weeds and the old rosebushes that desperately need a prune! I tend to ignore weeds and get excited about planting new plants instead.

I had a helper today. He loves watering the plants for me. My other helpers like putting the sugar cane mulch out.

Where I put the sugar cane is the plants I planted first. I just put the rest in this afternoon and I must go and mulch them too.

I really should be painting my pergola instead of planting hedges. I am also ignoring the house painting that I should be getting on with too!

At the same time as I bought the hedge I found these beauties in the nursery. They were only $15 each and are the most massive plants I have ever seen!

They are "Queen Mum" Agapanthus. They are supposed to be purple and white when flowering. It was a bargain, as some of the other aggies for sale were a third of the size for the same price.

I think they will do well now, because they were really pot-bound. I had to cut one of the pots off as the pots were so jam-packed with roots.

Queen Mum Agapanthus

Hopefully they go well and I will grow some baby aggies too. I want a mass planting of aggies with my roses bordered with my hedge.

And then.....

Once I finish painting the pergola I will plant a wisteria on it.


Let me introduce you.....

Let me introduce you to my boys.....

I have been wrestling with the decision to include my boys on the blog as I am a pretty private person.

I don't want them to feel like they are being exploited when they are older. So I have been in two minds about sharing their cute faces with everyone! The limitations on what I will post are always changing with how I feel about the Internet and what it means in the future. I am a worrier, and I will always try to protect their privacy first. But at the same time, my boys are the biggest part of my life, so it wouldn't be honest if I didn't include them here sometimes.

So here we go!

This is Harry.

Harry is always sensible and well-behaved. Always reading books or anything he can get his hands on. Great sense of humour in a dry sort of way. Ever the big brother who explains life to his younger brothers. Sometimes he tries to parent them with his words of wisdom. Always a joy to have around!

This is Fred.

Fred is a free spirit who is an enigma to me. I still haven't figured out what makes him tick. He can be wild and funny, but at the same time sensitive and kind. He changes like the wind. I call him my wild rabbit.

And this is Neil.

Neil is our bonus baby. I wanted a third, but I was in two minds about it and he made the decision for me. He is just the cuddliest, easiest little grub I have ever seen. He does get spoilt by his big brothers too as they are a bit older than him. I am enjoying watching his personality grow every day.

They are funny little people.

So there you have it...... My boys in a few sentences!

I spend my time chasing them, feeding them and running them to sport usually. They have a pretty good time and they love running about on our farm. I feel lucky that they will have the same childhood as I did. Free to do whatever and run wherever they like.

This is some of the stuff they got up to on the weekend.

Built roads for their cars in the dirt. We have been placing dirt in all the low areas and holes in the garden after all the electrical work. I have been levelling it all out with the shovel, and there was a bit left over that the boys have been using as a play spot for their cars. They can spend hours building roads and homes in the dirt.

They climb trees too. Fred is camouflaged in this tree.

They have a great time doing whatever they like.

Our weekends like this are precious, as we are usually doing sport that takes us all over the place. It is nice just to hang around and let the boys be little boys while they can. I am not a massive fan of going places every weekend, I am a bit of a homebody.

Do you ever want to stop your kids in time or rewind moments like me?

Wednesday, 15 August 2012

Pretty flowers

I bought these cyclamens on the Mother's Day weekend. Only $12!

I love how they are still going strong months later!

The colours just kill me.

I am a sucker for flowers in any shape or form, but these ones have been so rewarding!

I haven't tried growing Cyclamens before so this will be a test to see if they survive until next winter. Apparently, once they have finished flowering you put them on their side (in the pot) under a shady tree for summer and they flower again. I will test this theory out to see if they survive a hot dry summer here.

There were so many colours I found it hard to pick one!

This one is a winner for me as it it similar to a magnolia flower and I absolutely love magnolias. We can't grow magnolias here as it is way too hot, so this is compensation in a way.

Feeling very spring-like today and I can tell it about to get warm quickly so I really need to get stuck into the painting before it is stinking hot in a couple of months.

I have been fiddling with my blog title and header. I think it looks so much better now. I am learning as I go along so if anything looks silly, I am open to lots of feedback.

Spring is definitely in the air!

Tuesday, 14 August 2012

The big house reno's part 2

Continuing on from yesterday............

This is my western sun room. The dining room is to the left and the office is that tiny blue room straight ahead. The pinboard is useful, but a tiny bit ugly being in my sun room. The box to the left is actually a woodbox. You stick your wood in there, and get it out for the fireplace through the built in cupboards in the lounge room. I love it!

The windows were put in as an afterthought, I have no idea what sort of windows were there before. They are pretty windows that were reclaimed along with a door. The problem is, the door and windows were put in terribly. So the door doesn't close properly and there is a large gap. Also, we realised that the windows aren't straight. When we put a spirit level up to see why it looked strange, it is completely out of alignment.

I don't think we will be ripping them all out to straighten them up. But when I put curtains there, it will look strange as the rods will look like they are lopsided.

Can you see how weird the curtain rod looks with the window?

This is during the ceiling re plastering.

Just a cornice to go.

Most of the house walls are Masonite too, so there is all this timber quad covering up all the joins everywhere. It looks a bit random, but the budget dictates that we can't rip it all out, so it is there to stay.

I prefer a wall without joins everywhere, but I guess it is the character of the house. And it reminds me of the era it was built in.

This western sun room is beautiful on a winter's afternoon, but horrendous in summertime. The heat it generates is just like a furnace. I need to plant something on the pergola outside to cool it down. An awning wouldn't go astray too!

This is the southern verandah.

It is massive and lovely when it is hotter, not so nice in winter though! keeps the lounge room (on the left) really cool.

The front door goes on to the hallway, on the far back left. No one in the country uses a front door. Everyone uses the back entrance near my kitchen all the time anyway.

We sometimes sit out here on a hot night to eat dinner when we can catch a breeze.

Massive hole in floorboards

This hole bugged me for ages.

I was worried that snakes would come up through the boards and into the house. The very first thing I wanted done before we moved in was to patch the holes up in the floor. Any snake size holes had to be patched, as it would be my worst nightmare come true to find a big brown snake inside my house.

Another view of my verandah in the process of a new ceiling.

And of course I forgot to take pictures of second son's room and the eastern verandah before the change. Or I probably can't find the pics! If I do, I will post them.

Will show you some more in another post. Just so many to wade though in one hit!

Monday, 13 August 2012

The big renovation

Once we did the roof and gutters we had to get to work inside the house.

We were lucky that we were living somewhere else while the works were done. It was an extremely messy job, and I don't think I could of coped with it all while the plastering was done.

We had to do every ceiling in the house apart from the office and the laundry, so it was a massive job. The plasterers camped in the house while they did it as our closest plasterers live 2 hours away. They loved to go out hunting and looking for pigs when they knocked off work, so it worked out well.

Here are some befores and progress pics.

The kitchen and sunroom on the north

The kitchen was in good order as it is only about 12 years old. It is a million times better than my old kitchen as it has a dishwasher in it!

Can you believe that I haven't had a dishwasher until now? No, I can't believe that I didn't either. It was a bone of contention for many, many years. 11 years in fact.

Our old kitchen was so fifties that a dishwasher would not fit properly at the sink under the bench. So we never put one in, as it would of meant re-doing the whole kitchen properly. Yes, I am still bitter that I put up with washing up by hand for a family of five for so long!

Anyway, the new kitchen is great compared to what I had. The bench tops are a bit worn and it could do with an update of hardware and tiling, but it is going to wait for now.

We had to renew this ceiling as the water damage was rotting it. You can see near the fan there is a bit of damage. (above picture)

There is a rotten floorboard in there which we ripped out and replaced. It looks a bit mismatched now, but we haven't done anything to the floors yet. Down the track we will re polish the floor boards eventually.

Here is a pic of the (during) stage. There is stuff everywhere and instead of pulling the ceilings out with 60 years of dirt and dust through the house, the ceilings were battened over the top of the old ones. We had insulation put in the roof which makes a massive amount of difference in summer. I wish the walls had some too!

Yeah, not fun to live in this trying to keep dust out of our belongings. I feel lucky that we didn't live through it all.

Check out the dining room. It was painted a pale green/beigey colour and had the hot pink feature wall. Very cool in the early 2000's. I think this room used to be the kitchen due to the cupboards on one side of the wall. 

Here is the hallway. I swore I took pics of the damage in here on the ceiling and now I can't find it. What you can't see in this pic is the ceiling with a bow in it ready to cave in. Most of the bedrooms lead off this hall and as far as old houses go, this is quite a good design. The house is much bigger than my old one.

A bit of hall progress, also a good spot to stack plasterboard. That is my linen cupboard. It has a little hatch that goes through to the bathroom so if you wanted shampoo or soaps you could get them without leaving the bathroom. Cute!

This is the lounge room. The wood heater is about 10 years old and it has a fan, so it pumps the hot air out. This is our only heating in the place at the moment so it is pretty chilly in other parts of the house. I love the built in bookcases flanking the fireplace. That plastic bowl on the ground is full of mouse poison. We are still blocking holes as we find them as the little mice are still getting in. Vomit.

Progress of the lounge room ceiling and cornices. The kids train was found by my father-in-law and it literally fell off the back of a truck somewhere in Ultimo. He found pieces of it randomly in the streets and he fixed it up for the boys to play with.

More new ceiling.

Here is my bedroom. It is massive but it has terrible storage. There aren't enough built ins and I have already given 70% of my wardrobe to charity. Under the bulkhead there was a fair bit of damage to it and we got it replaced too, along with the ceiling, and one wall was re plastered too.

Bad damage to ceiling and wall.

My bedroom in progress. Who knows what sort of nest is up in that wall cavity, birds nest? rats nest? I have no idea.

This is first son's bedroom. His wall was damaged along with the ceiling. It has the least amount of storage space. That cupboard is the only one in his room, so he really needs some storage. We haven't rectified it yet, so it is added to the millions of jobs we need to do when we have the $$.

Lots of ceiling and wall damage right there. And a really tasty looking light which has been removed now.

Third son's bedroom. It is the nursery which is beside our main bedroom. it has a few more cupboards than the other rooms so it is ok. There was a peeling Winnie the Pooh wallpaper border around the room and there was only a tiny bit left that was stuck fast. The french doors lead onto a gauzed in verandah which is great in summer. You leave all the doors open day and night to try to catch a breeze. All the bedrooms lead onto the verandah.

Since this is a looooong post, I am going to do another one with the remainder of the rooms on it. It feels like all this stuff was a million years ago, when it was only this time last year that the plasterwork was completed. We still don't have a lot of furniture yet and it feels quite minimalistic.

More rooms next post!