Thursday, 31 May 2012


The West End State School Fiesta is on again this Sunday 3rd of June. It will feature live music, multicultural food (courtesy of the families whose children attend the school - including myself!) and heaps of rides. There's also a recycled treasures and book stall too.

This is a very worthy cause as every cent raised goes back to the school. So put this in your diary, if you haven't already, and I hope to see you down there!

Tuesday, 29 May 2012

Moving right along

Now that the schematic design is underway, it's time to enlist the services of an engineer to conduct a Structural Conditions Survey. This basically consists of a dilapidation audit of the existing structure and a structural condition report. The cottage is pre-1946 or pre-war, so it's around 70 years old. The house is currently sitting on a mixture of concrete, steel and original timber posts. I haven't had a good look at it since we first bought it, so fingers crossed the white ants haven't moved in. Let's hope it comes back with a 'clean bill of health'.

Sunday, 27 May 2012

Too cute . . .

Just pondering how much I miss my family - they're Mexcian's (that is, they all live south of the border) and I don't get to see them as often as I like. As you could imagine, it's very hard travelling with 4 kids, plus all the accessories you need to take with you - port-a-cots, prams, car seats, etc, etc.

Here is my beautiful niece Stephanie and her brand new "fur kid" Valentine.

Hope to see you soon lovely!

Friday, 25 May 2012


Very excited today, as we've finally decided upon the floor plan layout.  Let me walk you through...

But first, this is the how the existing house looks. As you walk through the front door, there are bedrooms on either side of the corridor. Further along the corridor there is a living room on the left and kitchen on the right. The bathroom is in the lean-to addition at the back of the kitchen. That's it!

Existing Floor Plan

And this is what is proposed.

Proposed Floor Plan

When you enter the house, you will get this great "gun barrel" effect as you will have views straight through to the backyard via the glazing right at the end of the corridor in the new addition. The existing house will incorporate the public spaces - that is, dining room, living areas and kitchen. I'm actually glad that these spaces are located in the original building - firstly because they're on the northern side, but secondly I get to enjoy the character and charm of the vjs, timber floors and 3 metre ceilings. The kitchen, my "control room" will incorporate a scullery and will have access and views out to the front and rear of the house; great for supervising the kids. From the kitchen, you will step down onto a terrace and then down to the yard.

As you walk through towards the back of the house you will arrive in the children's wing - a row of bedrooms flanked either side by a corridor. At the end of the main corridor, you come to a staircase which will either lead you outside to the backyard, or upstairs to the master bedroom. The corridor on the other side of the bedrooms (what I call the service corridor), adjoins the bathroom, WC, and laundry. Although the kid's bedrooms are small, they do have wide openings on either sides which will allow them to "borrow" space, particularly from the main corridor which will include a long window seat - nice spot to play or read a book.

This house is all about function, and to keep the addition as small as possible, we've designed the house to have multi-purpose rooms, rather than multiple rooms. We can change rooms around as our needs change. It's more about the quality of space, rather than quantity, the rooms will seem bigger, borrowing and sharing both within the house and from the gardens.

Tuesday, 22 May 2012

Design meeting

Met with the architects this morning to go over the floor plans - we've just about got it finalised now. Hoping to have the final schematic design drawings completed shortly. Then for the fun stuff; all the detailed drawings which include the bathroom and kitchen designs and selecting the fixtures and fittings. As I've gone through this process before, I have a pretty good idea about what I want - so hopefully we will save a bit of time here. Would love to be able to get this project started before the year's out - we'll have to wait and see...

Sunday, 20 May 2012

Eumundi dreaming

We spent the day up at the Sunshine Coast hinterland - what a beautiful part of the world. Stopped in at our favourite cafe in Eumundi to grab a coffee and a bite to eat while the kids played in the park.

Our dream is to one day buy some acreage up there to use as a weekend getaway. One day . . . .

Dropped by Yandina Station to view their conference facilities and accommodation, as Mark is organising a corporate event later in the year. This working cattle property consisting of over 200 acres is simply breathtaking. These guys have done a superb job restoring this old station, which dates back to the 1800's, into what is arguably one of the finest luxury country estates in the area. They specialise in weddings and corporate functions and their facilities are second to none. Just check out what is on offer:

If you are looking for a perfect rural setting for your next event, give Neil and Sally a call. They are the loveliest couple you will ever meet - and their experience in the hospitality industry is evident in what they have created. Simply outstanding!

Tuesday, 15 May 2012

Boy oh boy oh boy oh boy . . .

Being the mother of four boys, our house is always noisy and chaotic. Some days I actually wish that I was profoundly deaf.  This is amplified by the fact we live in an apartment - and the news is, our house renovation is unlikely to commence before January 2013, so it looks like we're here for at least another year. 

Monday, 14 May 2012

Kids Bedrooms

We've decided that each boy will have their own bedroom. We seem to be having our fair share of bedtime antics of late, so it's best that they are separated. I never imagined that I would need a five bedroom house! Anyway, the plan is that the extension will incorporate a children's wing - 4 bedrooms and an amenities block. At the end of this wing, there will be direct access to the backyard, so the kids don't need to run through the house to play outside in the yard. I'm hoping to contain the noise and mess to one part of the house. Oh, let me dream!

As the overall idea was to keep the house as small as practicable (we are on a small lot) the rooms won't be large, so a lot of thought will go into efficient storage solutions. Hoping to have the final floorplans available soon.


Sunday, 13 May 2012

Happy Mother's Day

My eldest boy made a card for me at school. Don't you just love kids - they are so thoughtful...

Have a Happy Mother's Day! xxx

Saturday, 5 May 2012

Life is too short to drink bad coffee

How I miss my butterfly.

La Scala Butterfly

We are currently renting an apartment that is fitted out with an expensive european built-in coffee machine. If you are considering buying one of these, think very carefully before parting with your money. After doing heaps of research, we ended up purchasing the above machine; a La Scala Butterfly, which I thoroughly recommend.  It is made in Italy and is basically a commercial grade machine that makes THE best coffee. We've had ours for about 2 years, and it hasn't skipped a beat.

Although the integrated unit in our apartment looks nice and tidy sitting there in the cabinetry, it just doesn't compare with the Butterfly, and quite frankly, it is a pain in the butt. If we had more bench space, I would get ours out of storage.

Anthony Gill Architects

I was flipping through a recent edition of Houses magazine the other day and found a Butterfly in a kitchen of a couple who own a number of cafes and restaurants around inner Sydney. Surely they must know a thing or two about good coffee.

More info on this machine is available here.

Friday, 4 May 2012

What the . . .

I have always admired this Queenslander which is located just around the corner from us.  It sits proudly on an elevated block.

It has lovely park and river views.

It's traditional fixtures are still intact: picture rails, silky oak panelling and rich timber floors.  This house has not been compromised by time; it is beautifully preserved.

This house would have been perfect for us and the kids:  good sized block, close to the park, close to public transport, lovely views. Yes, this house ticks all the boxes. I've often thought about what I would do to it if it were mine.  Certainly not this  . . .

Thursday, 3 May 2012


to Owen and Vokes for being nominated as finalists in the 2012 Houses Awards for their entry "four-room cottage" in Kelvin Grove.

Great example of a small alt + add. I would never have considered a black kitchen until I saw the one in this house. Love it!