Saturday, 31 August 2013


"A portrait of my children, once a week, every week in 2013." via Che and Fidel

All: Every. Single. Time. I go to the toilet at least one of you follow me in there. For once, just once could I have a minute to myself?

Thursday, 29 August 2013

Reno - Week 12

This week saw the remainder of the framing completed and now the old cottage and extension have merged together as one. I'm so, so excited at how this project has unfolded so far.

Here is the threshold between old and new:

During the week I posted a photo on Instagram which I thought I should explain as it's not really obvious unless you are well acquainted with the plans. This is the outlook from what will be the new kitchen/scullery. A high level opening has been designed to draw the eye upwards.

When complete, this opening will frame the trees and distant sky like a picture:

Perhaps this model will depict it more clearly:
I'm really getting a kick out of seeing all these little details come to life.

The roof trusses were delivered just as the framing was done, so they are now promptly being fitted into position. As soon as they're up, the old green roof sheets will be removed and a brand new roof (of the non-leaking variety) will be installed. And hopefully the possum that is currently residing up in the roof cavity will leave to find a new home.

Wednesday, 28 August 2013

Follow me on Instagram

I have finally made it onto Instagram.

You can follow along over here, or check out the latest candid photos of the renovation (plus more) on the right-hand sidebar.

Monday, 26 August 2013

Linen Bedding

I finally got around to buying some 100% linen bedding to replace the one and only set I own which is at least six years old and well overdue for replacement. So what do I think of it? To say I love it would be an understatement. No more cotton sheets for me!

(I bought the pink cushions from Ikea - Linen blend cover with feather cushion insert for $21 each!)
After doing a bit of on-line research, it quickly became apparent that linen bedding is not exactly cheap, but if you look around you can get your hands on some at a reasonable price. Here is a quick comparison of what a King Size Duvet cover will cost you:

Society $655
Bedouin $469
Bemboka $395
Home Republic $229

I ended up purchasing the set from Home Republic which just happened to be on sale at the time - how convenient. I just couldn't justify spending the extra money on the more expensive brands, particularly as our funds are needed for another little project we have going at the moment (erm....that would be the reno.)

Home Republic's 100% linen bedding comes in four colours - white, natural, coal and duck egg blue. I chose the natural linen duvet cover and white sheet set.

I also bought some saffron-coloured linen pillow cases (as I'm having a bit of a love affair with yellow at the moment.)

Do you own linen bedding? What do you think of the crinkled look - love it or hate it? Personally I don't mind it which is a good thing as I don't iron - EVER.

Sunday, 25 August 2013


"A portrait of my children, once a week, every week in 2013." via Che and Fidel

On the Move
All: Running to win, running to play, running away.

Friday, 23 August 2013

Reno - Week 11

This week has been dedicated to constructing the wall frames which are now 80% complete. The boys' bedrooms, bathroom and laundry are done:

This square opening will eventually house a casement window in the laundry - now if I can just convince my neighbours to trim that hedge, I might just get a glimpse of the river:

Now - SW corner

After - Aaron is still trying to convince me to paint the addition black

Now - Corridor leading towards the kids' bedrooms
After - ignore the black stain, we'll be oiling the blackbutt timber floor
Steve and his team also managed to make a start on some minor changes inside the cottage. There was once a door in the middle of this wall which led into the former kitchen (now an ensuite/WIR):

Door - gonski
And when the trim around the old door was removed, it revealed yet another house secret - the internal colour scheme was also green:

The old kitchen cabinets sat along this wall (this is now the floor of the WIR.) As you can see there are many holes left from the plumbing, so we are now sourcing some old hoop pine flooring to replace the damaged boards:

Next week the roof trusses arrive and the old leaky green tin roof will be removed to make way for a brand new one.

Thursday, 22 August 2013

Follow along on Instagram


I know, I know -  I'm a bit slow getting onto Instagram but until then, you can follow this project designed by Owen and Vokes and Peters (along with many others) at

Sunday, 18 August 2013


"A portrait of my children, once a week, every week in 2013." via Che and Fidel

All: It is a complete myth that women talk more than men. On our drive down to the beach, all four of you did not shut up for one minute. Most of it was jibberish - I'm sure you just like to hear the sound of your own voice(s). Thank goodness the day spent on the beach wore you out and the drive home was somewhat more peaceful.

Saturday, 17 August 2013

Reno - Week 10

Thanks to some mighty fine sunny weather we had this week, there's been more good progress on the house. All the steel posts for the extension have now been fixed into position and the substrate flooring was nailed down which means I can finally walk around the new part of the house:

Eventually 130mm blackbutt timber floorboards will be laid over the top, however we are using a narrower timber profile in the corridors.

The builder has also made a start on framing up the boys' bedrooms and the built-to-boundary wall. The photo below shows the view across the terrace from the main house and gives you an indication of (what will be) soaring ceilings in the boys' bedrooms:

Corridor link between the cottage and the new extension
The above elevation will eventually look something like this after the bricklayers return to complete their part of the job:

The fireplace and chimney will make quite a statement

Our neighbour's view of the adjacent unit block (a view they have enjoyed for the past 40 years) is slowly disappearing, and once the roof and weatherboard cladding goes up they will forget it was ever built:

And speaking of views, this will be my view from the kitchen (which is centrally located across the site) out to the back fence. I will also be able to look across in the opposite direction out towards the street, providing a long line of sight and increasing the feeling of space.

Most windows on small lot housing generally face directly across to the neighbouring house, which can be located only metres away, so this is a far, far better outcome.

Saturday, 10 August 2013


"A portrait of my children, once a week, every week in 2013." via Che and Fidel

Oscar: You've managed to successfully climb out of your cot on two occasions, but thankfully you have stopped this new found skill.
Charlie: Eating an ice cream on our neighbour's wonky timber stairs. She spoils you boys every time.
Harry: You've broken your hospital admission record - twice in one week! The crazy mirror in the doctor's office couldn't even put a smile on your face.
Jack: Posing in front of a hedge of Murraya paniculata, which we will soon be planting along our back fence.

Friday, 9 August 2013

Reno - Week 9

A lot of people don't associate masonry construction with traditional timber and tin "Queenlanders" but a quick walk around the inner suburbs will have you thinking otherwise:

Masonry front steps on a Worker's Cottage
As the terrace (our outdoor room) and back stairs are open to the elements, masonry was the preferred choice of construction material because it is:
  • Strong and durable - it won't fade, warp, rot or decay.
  • Low maintenance - easy to clean and no need to sand or repaint.
  • Acoustic performance - no sound of little feet running into and out of the house, and
  • Appearance - clay bricks have a classic, timeless quality and our architects have also included a number of decorative elements into the design such as vertical stretcher courses and corbelling. And as the house is raised, it will help "ground" the house to the site and is a lovely way of engaging the house with the garden.

Concreting the back stairs

Formwork removed. Bricks will be laid over the terrace and stairs at a later stage.
The wide set of stairs will also become permanent garden furniture and double-up as seating. It will be the perfect spot to perch in the shade with an icy cold beer and watch the kids play outside.

So with the concreting now complete, our builder Steve and his team of carpenters got busy constructing the sub-floor of the addition. For a relatively small extension, it actually looks quite massive:

Notice the changes in floor levels

A set of four steps will connect the original cottage (master bedroom and main living areas) to the extension (kids' bedrooms and utility area.) This row of elevated joists will eventually form the kids' bedrooms:

The boys are still arguing as to who will be sharing with who. I just hope that the separation between their bedrooms and mine will stop all the night time visits.

So once the timber and steel posts are concreted into position we move onto the next stage: Framing.