Friday, 11 April 2014

Reno - Week 39

I know these last few posts have been written way after the fact, but I am determined to finish documenting the construction which took around 40 weeks to complete - the same time as a pregnancy in fact!

By Week 39 the house was all but complete - just lots of little jobs left to tick off the list. One of them was installing privacy screens on the all the windows that faced windows on neighbouring properties (this happens to be a requirement of the small lot code.) Towards the end of construction we found out about a local company (Thurlow Blinds) that both refurbish and manufacture external chain blinds. The same type of blinds were attached to some of the windows on the old cottage, but were thrown out during demolition, so it was good to discover that we could get identical ones made.

The service from Thulow Blinds was excellent - they do a free measure and quote and the cost includes painting and installation. We chose to have them painted the same colour as the weatherboards. They fit neatly into the window hoods and are fully adjustable.

I wanted to wait until the blinds were fitted before I chose window coverings (which to date I have done nothing about.) I don't think they are particularly necessary except for perhaps the main bedroom.

Here's what they look like from inside the house
Another job included installing a hanging rail in the laundry - I use it ALL the time and don't know how I lived without one before. I'd like to say I use it for hanging up the ironing, but in fact I've been using it to hang up clothes to dry on those days when rain seemed imminent (and on other days when I couldn't be bothered to go outside and hang them on the line.)

Other jobs consisted of fitting toilet roll holders and towel rails, etc. We chose a brass Futagami handtowel rail for the main bathroom to match the brass edging on the mirrored cabinet.

I had some cushion covers made up for the daybed in the sitting room and they also arrived at about this time. I already had the feather inserts which I bought from Ikea months ago:

Here is a photo of the same room prior to the renovation - just a modest-sized room with no storage in sight (it was used as a bedroom):

An opening in one wall was created to allow views from the front of the site right through to the rear enhancing the sense of light and space:

OVP signature utility rack in the kitchen
The good thing about the cushions on the daybed is that they are actually made from an outdoor fabric which means that I can take them outside too:

Unpacking still continues (even to this day) as a short stint in hospital has hindered my ability to lift anything too heavy. However we did manage to find some artwork in amongst our things to add a bit of colour to our very white walls. Here's another before/after - this time it's the main bedroom which again consisted of a basic room with zero storage:

We knocked two openings into the neighbouring room (that was once a kitchen) to create an ensuite and WIR, added some built-in joinery and hey presto:

I am just loving this Autumn weather we are having - the sun is already sitting much lower in the sky creating a sunroom on the front verandah which until recently has been cool and shady. Still need to find some furniture/chairs - any suggestions:

Tuesday, 1 April 2014

Reno - Week 38

"Green door, what's that secret you're keepin?" That old Shakin' Stevens number used to play in my head every.single.time I entered through that front door. And it just so happens that it was one of the very last elements of the renovation to get a full makeover, mainly because I could not find a replacement entry set that I liked (the existing one was a bit too shabby to keep). So after months of putting it off I finally selected one (from the USA) and a few weeks after placing the order it arrived and the front door makeover began.

We replaced the original green front door as it had a rather large gap in the bottom - no good for keeping out cold draughts or vermin for that matter. We used one of the old bedroom doors that had the exact same profile, and after the old flaking paint was stripped away it looked something like this:

From green to pink

The initial idea was to paint the front door in a gloss white paint to match the two windows on either side, but I knew it wouldn't stay white for long - think of four grubby boys pawing at it day after day. A splash of colour would have been a fun option but I couldn't make up my mind so I decided to keep it simple and sophisticated and chose to paint it black:

So after the handle was fitted the only thing left to complete at the front of the house was to put up some privacy screens on both ends of the verandah. The cottage originally had lattice screens on either end, but they were in poor condition and didn't really provide much privacy so we made a last minute call to purchase solid casement windows.

The windows can be opened/closed to control light and breeze and have transformed this space into a lovely outdoor room. They cost approximately $5,000 to be manufactured, painted and installed but I think it was money well spent. The floorboards on the verandah were given a couple of coats of stain so all that's left to do now is find some furniture, plants, etc to turn this space into a perfect spot to utilise during the Winter months as it gets heaps of northerly sun.

And speaking of sun, I can't get over how much glorious light our ensuite is bathed in. I know I've mentioned it before but we don't have a window in this room, so a skylight was the next best option. If you have a damp/dark bathroom, suffer from privacy issues or have no 'special' view to acquire from a window (which is generally a problem small lot housing), do yourself a favour and install a Skydome ventilated skylight. Line the shaft - we have tiled ours all the way up to the roof - and get a clear dome so you can enjoy a view of the sky each time your shower.

Everytime I move house it takes me a while to get my cooking mojo back - I don't know why that is. Probably because things are in different spots and it takes me a while to get familiar with new appliances, etc. But despite this I am enjoying the layout of our somewhat unconventional kitchen design. It just seems to work and flow right for me - and best of all there's no television in sight which means I don't have to listen to any more children's TV while I'm preparing meals.

I also have the best of both worlds by incorporating two benchtop finishes in the kitchen design - calacatta marble and stainless steel. I love both finishes equally and both have their place here - the marble is such an elegant material which provides the perfect backdrop in the eat-in part of our kitchen. And there's no need to be too precious in 'back of house' where all the preparation, cooking and clean up takes place. Here we selected stainless steel for its hard working properties which is also hygienic and easy to clean.

And to finish off another before/after - this week the street elevation. I'd love to be able to fast forward a year or two when all the plants have matured: