Friday, December 21, 2012

Last Day

It's that time of year when everything and everyone is starting to slow down, including my blog postings. Everyone is tired and ready for the break and the horrible humidity we've been having lately has not helped the energy levels. This week we turned on the new air conditioner for the first time, but I felt very guilty being inside and watching my builders sweating it out building the new decks in the heat.
We've now been living in the new section for approx 3 weeks. It feels great and there are so many things I love. For the first time in 7 yrs I have an internal office, which is really practical with little ones constantly wanting mum. As I mostly go out to see my clients having an internal office is not a problem and if clients do come here, seeing my interior is all part of the experience of engaging an interior designer anyway.

Today is my last day for my builders before they finish for a 2 week break over Xmas. Before they leave today they are hanging a couple of large paintings including this one near my dining table.

I picked up the new rugs this week for under the lounge and dining table. I love the red tones. It's much more vivid than this picture. I've always loved these traditional print rugs as they can be used with wonderful effect in more modern interiors.

The internal stair treads went in this week also. They are laminated merbau boards which my cabinet makers Queensport put thru their 2 pak for me.

Here's the side deck. When the builders start back in January they'll put the roofing on. In the mean time over the break, I'm going to try to get the framing painted. I have a long "to do" list, perhaps more of a wish list.

Doug and Darren are just starting the framing for the next deck roof on the southern end. Each roof has a different look.

And this afternoon before they leave the kids and I have some Christmas pressies for them, including their favourite drops.

Over the next 2 weeks I'll be nesting and organising things in the house as well as doing my above mentioned projects. Currently there is a skip bin outside waiting to be filled and tidy up the yard for the Christmas visitors.

Tuesday, December 11, 2012


My very talented eldest drew this at school this other day on the back of a scrap of paper. It's a side elevation of the new house showing the new section on the left and the existing old house on the right. Although the new roof line differs a bit, I thought it was a gorgeous sketch even showing the patch of mint growing under the external tap on the old house!

Whilst I'm still sorting out boxes and still waiting for shelves to arrive from Bunnings the builders are now constructing the external decks.

But prior to this we had to pour the footings for the upright posts. The engineers had specified them to be super deep due to the alluvial sand. We actually hit a natural spring with 2 of the holes, which makes sense having to local creek so close in the golf course.

Anyway the footings were poured during our heatwave last week on the hottest day. One look at my builders sweating it out with the barrows and I decided to change into my gardening clothes and join them.

When I bought my wheel barrow I was smart enough to buy a manageable size for myself and not go too large, which paid off on this occasion as the cement truck driver was determined to test my strength with each barrow load.

For those readers not in this subtropical zone, here's the other way we know Summer has arrived- the absolutely glorious Poinciana trees in full flower everywhere.
My street is lined with them. This is one of my favourites due to it's prolific flowering. They truly are amazing and one of the best canopy trees I believe.

Monday, December 3, 2012

Thru and In

While Brisbane swelters in our heat wave and we look towards 39 degrees tomorrow and higher in the western suburbs, I thought I would visually cool you down with a look into the water of our newly finished and filled pool. We christened it last Thursday and everyday since the kids have been in and not wanting to get out. By 3pm it has full shade and feels so refreshing. We're all turning into prunes!

The biggest event after the pool was that we have cut thru between the old and the new and have moved in. It's been another huge week which also saw the old shed go.

Excuse the dust on the window I'm looking thru- the house is covered in it at the moment.

The old stumps were soon gone also and now the new deck is being constructed in this location.

Here comes the part that I was most excited about- the cut thru. Doug and Darren start removing the old kitchen sink.

They had a little apprentice who'd been very excited about getting to wreck the old kitchen.

And here we are. Cut thru. I still have a pile of boxes and am waiting for delivery of shelves so I can unpack those. The stair treads are temporary, but it's getting there gradually.

I looove my new kitchen tap.

The new-old dining table has been christened with several meals. Behind it is the tv cabinet. The table is currently in the lounge area and will be moved once things get a bit more organised.

Here's the view from my office. The other morning I watched our resident blue tongue lizard slowly crawl thru these plants also looking back at me, very unperturbed.

Here's the eastern elevation. As I sit here the bay breezes are blowing through the windows and doors, we're still waiting for cabinets to go in and lots of finishing off to happen, as well as the next major stage with the decks. But it feels so nice to be in our new home.

Sunday, November 25, 2012

Almost Home!

As I write this I am doing the proverbial "watching paint dry"! My builder has precut all the skirting boards and I am staining them with Japan Black so that he can install them tomorrow. I love this paint, even though it's a turps clean up- yuk! However it looks great when done and is also the magic ingredient to pull off the "Hampton's" look for a house reno. Which I am not trying for, but for interest if that's the look your after the black floor boards will get you home!
Anyway this paint is supposed to have a 12hr re coat time, but I am doing a rotation in the sun and hoping to have the 2nd coat on much sooner. I'm also not after a perfect look, so I'm then finishing them off with bees wax for a bit of a pre loved look hopefully.

It's been a huge busy week here, hence my lack of postings. It started with my builders cutting the brick wall in preparation for the connection later this week. This was their last  chance to do it as they needed to use a wet saw which means water everywhere. So they laid plastic everywhere on the floor and taped it really well then Doug my builder and I used the wet vacuums to soak up the water while Darren his son cut. We did well and it didn't penetrate to the polished concrete. (That's the kids little weekend craft projects sitting on the blue table- plaster cast moulds!)

Here's Darren getting ready to cut looking more like a trawler fisherman than a builder!

Now some exciting stuff. Here's how it currently looks.

This is the view looking from the current kitchen which will be our connection point down towards the fire place in the lounge room. That's a pile of boxes in the back corner, coming in from the old shed, in preparation for it's pull down and also the kitchen island bench minus the stone top.

The view in thru one of the bi-fold doors with the kitchen taking shape. The walls are clad with myrtle veneer.

Check out this little spunky monkey- it's the trapeze lighting in my new office.

This is the big high bay light over the lounge. I have 4 of these. They hang about 1.2m's down from the ceiling. The power in the new section is connected now.

This is the custom stair stringer lying near the wall of the old and new. The plumber will be here later this week to connect up the new kitchen. Once that's done he'll disconnect the old kitchen which is currently where our stairs are going and then we can knock out the wall and become one! All going well next weekend we should be living in the new section.

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Plantation Breezes

The past week has been really busy here at my house. Currently the cabinets are going in, the light fittings have been delivered and the sparkie is here wiring it all. The builders continue on with their progress and tomorrow the pool fence gets inspected and then it should be finished next week. I will do a post on the house later this week when there are some great progress pics to show. 

However, I did get a quote for plantation shutters earlier this week. I've had them in previous houses and they always look great. When I was recently in North Qld visiting Port Douglas so many buildings had the shutters. It truly felt like its one of those locations in the world that they are the perfect choice for windows and doors. The tropical surroundings, warm temperatures and bright sun with balmy nights are the perfect combination.

Check out this gorgeous hotel just up the road with the very Mediterranean look.

These next few are on the main street of Port Douglas. You can easily see that shade and breeze are the priorities in this climate.

I loved everything about this development. the exposed rafters, the huge awning overhangs and that very modern Mediterranean look, as well as the beautiful tropical landscaping.

The rusty left side building is the iron bar, one of the most popular pubs. The building on the right definitely had that plantation feeling.

The famous Veranda Bar, filling up with crowds watching the Saturday afternoon football broadcast.

This was a cul-de-sac with several large houses leading off it. I loved the stone pillars, lipstick palms and general tropical gardens all giving a wonderful Balinese look.

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

VJ's and Veneer

We're heading towards the home stretch for Stage 1 and being able to move into the new section. This is how the house currently looks. This is the southern elevation with the white boards at the top finished off , but still to be painted the dark charcoal, the chimney flue in, the external side of the fire place boarded in and the windows installed. Once the old shed is removed the deck goes on and wraps around this southern side.

All the windows are now in. These 2 tall louvres are in the laundry and the smaller end window is the wc. They are black aluminium and look great with the other modern finishes.

The top 3 sections of louvres are in and the large bi fold doors should be finished off this afternoon. You can see just below my builder is a section of the veneer wall sheeting, which is currently being installed. The ceiling has also gone in and is now all painted. The lighting cables are hanging down.

Often on these postings I attach photos of me dressed up attending events with champagne and canapes, so I am swallowing my vanity to show a very different side. During the reno I have been getting my hands dirty and having a go at some things myself. This was when I cement rendered a previous window that was relocated. I wanted to match the existing render which now becomes a part of my office. I am quite proud of my effort for a first time. I have also been jackhammering, concreting footings for paving and painting. And quite often by the end of a project I end up filthy and smelling disgusting. But there's also great satisfaction in doing something yourself.

Here's the end result with the plastic drop sheet ready to be pulled off. Whilst all this is happening on site, the joinery is underway including the stone bench tops. The plumbing fittings and lights are waiting to be delivered and the stairs are being 2 packed and the stringer powder coated.

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Eye Catchers

Here's a few things from out and about.
The always stylish (and never cheap) window dressings of Louis Vuitton.

The glass roof of the T&G Arcade Brisbane. The flowers were a deep red, but the overcast sky wasn't showing the colour.

And one right up my alley- cute shoe handles on the front door.

Friday, November 2, 2012

Oh so Polished!

Whenever I've done reno's in the past there are always a couple of features that I get very excited about waiting for them to happen. This is one of them- my polished concrete floor.

It involved 3 days of incredible noise and dust, but it looks great now. One thing I did find out along the way is that when you order the concrete and mention it will be a polished finish the concrete supply companies try to convince you to buy a special mix with very pretty pebbles and colours. These mixes are about double the price per meter of standard concrete. As I've been specifying polished concrete floors for years in my store designs I only wanted the normal standard concrete and I'm very pleased that I went this way. I love the blend of the aggregate.

You can see the dust that the polisher is making. Even though most of it is being directly sucked into the vacuum a fine film still ended up covering everything.

Here's another look at my finishes as I've now finalised them.

And today the pool fence was finished then the pebble finish will be applied in a week or so.

Monday, October 29, 2012

The writing's on the wall

Here's a simple but interesting hotel foyer from my travels. The repetition of the arched lamps was quite striking as you entered.

The aqua and brown theme was echoed through out with the striped upholstery and the lovely window mounted shells.

But this is my favourite part- the simple and inexpensive vinyl cut lettering creating a cool wall feature.

All good motto's I think!