Friday, November 23, 2012

And so it begins!

It really feels like we are getting somewhere.  Final plans are in and ready to go to council, pool is in, fences are up, woohoo.  We also need to decide on our exterior finish.  Render at the bottom was always happening (to cover the nasty old brick), but the top is going to be linea weatherboards, or FC with battons.  Not sure yet, but the architect thinks the FC will look better. Opinions welcome!

I'm sure it will look inviting eventually!

Friday, October 12, 2012

Make a decision already!

The house was littered with tiles
and colour chips for weeks!
Tiles!  They are the one thing in a house that I struggle to make a decision about.  They are tricky little numbers, because they always look different when they are laid.  They look lighter laid horizontal vs vertical.  They look lighter in a big space.  They look darker if the entire room is tiled. And of course, it all depends on the natural light in the room.  Arghhh.  These are a few of the reasons I often choose timber and/or carpet!  The other one is that they are so permanent.  But, the bathrooms must be tiled, so I must grit my teeth and make a decision.  Fortunately for me, my local tile store has angels working there, who patiently pull out tile after tile after tile.  In the last month, I have taken home about 12 different tiles – seriously!  But, I have decided on a white subway tile for the bathroom walls, a lovely grey limestone look lapatto for the floors and feature walls.  Did I tell you I also had to choose the outdoor tile?  This was a little easier, as I had my outdoor colours to guide me. 
Exterior colour 2
Exterior colour 1
Price is also something that helps you whittle down your choices.  I don’t know if this happens to you, but almost every outdoor tile I oooh and ahhh over is usually around double what our budget allows.  Anyway, we have gone for a grey limestone look tile and an aqua pool tile. Can’t wait to see them laid!

Saturday, September 22, 2012

One thing leads to another...

Dark floors and blue tiles - yummy
We had an exciting weekend last weekend.  We were invited to a trade sale by a well-known plumbing company and picked up some bargains including taps, a sink and best of all, three Villeroy and Boch wash basins.  Now, I’ll be honest with you, V&B, while absolutely stunning bathware, wasn’t really on our target list because it's a little out of our price range.  Originally I was looking at above counter curvy vessel style basins.
Curvy vessel basin

 But. when I saw these beautiful Subway basins at a bargain price - I couldn't resist.  The point of this story is not to brag about my bargains (although that is fun), it’s about how each choice you make impacts on the next.  My original plan for what my bathroom will look like has changed dramatically, because of my choice of basins.  If you look through my Pinterest pics of bathrooms I like and compare it to the one I have posted here today, you will see what I am talking about.

My current love interest - note the basin!

Friday, September 14, 2012

The hard yakka begins

Who's that cutie?
Now that we know what the house will look like, we are starting work on the gardens.  Firstly, the property is almost 30 years old and in that time trees have grown and soil has shifted.  We plan to completely redo the retaining walls and replace the fences which border our neighbours.  We are also going to install privacy fencing on the external boundary.  We are on a corner lot so this is a lot of fencing we are talking about! Eeek! I feel faint looking at the quotes for this.  This is the hardest part of renovating for me.  You spend sooo much money and really, have nothing to see.  However, my diligent husband won’t have it any other way.
There will be a fabulous pool and outdoor area here one day!
Note the timber fence - just about to fall over!

Friday, August 17, 2012

This one is a winner!

Eastern elevation
 So, today we picked up concept plan number two and it's great!  And, a whole lot cheaper than concept #1.  We have had to make quite a few compromises, but that is par for the course when renovating.
 This new design will see the southern wing of the current house stay pretty much the same lay out, with our old ensuite and robe becoming the walk in robes for bedrooms two and three.  Our biggest compromise is the location of the master. Initially we wanted the master down stairs, with a kids retreat upstairs.  We have also had to give up the idea of a dedicated library .  These are the compromises you must make to stay within budget.  We have managed to keep high ceilings in the living areas, with the old part of the house keeping the lower 8 foot ceilings. Our new section upstairs will have high ceilings too.  Feast your eyes!
Upper floor - master suite
Lower floor

Monday, July 16, 2012

Back to my happy place

While waiting to see our architect, I am busy editing my Pinterest mood board and my Houzz ideasbook and of course my huge magazine scrap book.  I want to begin choosing  the details of what will make this house beautiful.  I do have a broad style that I would like to achieve, but it's a fusion of quite a few styles which roughly translates to contemporary coastal, with a dash of homey Hamptons style thrown in.  The floor plan will really put me on the fast track, but at the moment I am trying to pin down colours and style.
Taken from Houses magazine - one of my favourite reads.
Usually, I have the same wall colour throughout the house, but this time I will have a two tone palette.  In the open plan living area, I am going to wrench myself away from Antique White USA (used in the last four houses) and instead go with Natural White (both from Dulux).  In the more intimate spaces, such as bedrooms and closed off living areas, I think I will go for a deeper, cosier colour. I am really liking Taubmans Abstract at the moment, but this may change!
The order that you choose your fixtures in is very important, as each decision impacts on the next, so I always start with my most definite vision.  For me, it's my kitchen. This for me is the part of the house that is non-negotiable.  My husband and I love to entertain and we also enjoy cooking together, so it's got to be a large functional space.  So, we started the plan with the functional things like: large walk in pantry, island bench, wide under-bench oven (for those massive casserole pots) and this time, we’d like to try overhead shelving, instead of overhead cabinets.  We figure, if we really hate it, we can remove the shelving and add cabinets later, without too much expense.  We have decided on the benchtops will be in Caesarstone Organic White, the cabinet in the shaker style in Dulux Vivid white. The shelving and flooring will be in timber to add warmth to the space.

The lovely Karen Martini in her fabulous TV kitchen
I have posted kitchens that have inspired me.  Thanks to the cooks in the pics who also inspire me!

Friday, June 29, 2012

Let's take a step back

Well, the budget report came in and it's not good.  After moping about the place for a couple of days, grumbling and muttering about big mortgages etc, what we need to do now is come back to reality.  Clearly the way to cut the budget is to use as much of the existing building as we can, as it is.  The problem for us is that at the top of our wish list, was high ceilings and this house, being a typical project home from the eighties has flat eight foot ceilings, except in the lounge area, where there is a raked ceiling. So, it's back to the architect to regroup.  Before we meet with him though, we need to revisit our brief and see what we can and can’t do without.

Friday, June 8, 2012

Show me the money!

We had our third meeting with David, the architect today and he has come up with a concept plan for what will be an absolutely beautiful house.  I am less than thrilled though, as I have a sinking feeling that it will be way over budget, as he seems to think that to achieve our brief, we would be better off demolishing and rebuilding.  Now, while I am all for this, the budget says "NO!" I have been in a position before where we built and lived in an amazing house with an amazing mortgage to match.  Never again - the stress nearly killed me.  Every meeting of the reserve bank would have me breathing into a brown paper bag.   Before we go any further, we will need to price it.
Dreamy house - nightmare mortgage

Friday, May 4, 2012

Meet the architect

We met with our architect this week (at last!) to start on the plans for our renovation/extension.  The process of working with an architect is quite rewarding.  A lot of people assume it’s very expensive so they don’t even consider it.  It certainly can be, but doesn’t need to be.  In fact I believe that their understanding of buildings and spaces can actually save you money, or at the very least, give you better value for your money.  Choosing the right architect is very important.  David is happy to hand over project management to Brenton and the design finishes to me.  He also values our input – it is our house after all.  Some architects won’t do this and insist on total creative control as well as tight project management.  This is when it gets expensive, obviously, because it’s a lot of work.  We did the design for two of our previous renovations without any expert assistance and I also designed our first new build and we were very happy with the outcome.  However, this will be a lot more extensive than any reno we have done before and will involve a major extension, so it’s definitely worth paying for his expertise.  This is the third time we have worked with David and I know what we end up with will be fabulous.   

Architect's brief: create a warm, spacious, stylish family home with a coastal feel
4 bedrooms with large robes
3 bathrooms (ensuite, family & powder)
Large kitchen with walk in pantry
Large open plan living, dining, kitchen
Separate family room
Triple garage
Passive solar design
Large outdoor living space with swimming pool
High ceilings
Lots of light

The house as it is now.

Friday, April 6, 2012

Settling in

Loving the beach
We've been here a few weeks and are  getting a feel for the area.  Its sooo great living so close to Mooloolaba.  Cafes, boutiques, the beach, and of course, 5 minutes’ drive from everything!  We're pretty sure this one's a keeper, so it’s planning time.   Because I am addicted to all things design, I have quite a collection of photos of my dream spaces.  Now is the time to put together a mood board.  This is a collection of all the things that I love -  cushions, furniture, lamps. I have also prepared a brief for our architect - more on that later.  We meet with him soon - can't wait!

Friday, March 9, 2012

I can’t live with that yellow

The yellow has to go
We plan to do a major renovation on this house, so we need to be careful not to "waste" money prettying the place up before we have our plans done.  It's really hard for both of us to do this.  We just can't help ourselves!  However, we both agreed - the yellow has to go.  Bang for buck, paint is great value, but it’s still not cheap.  How to save money?  This is an old trick of mine that I have used twice before.  Because we are serial renovators, we had a couple of buckets of paint hanging about.   So, time for inventory:  half a 10L tin of Dulux Weathershield in "White Duck"; half a 15L drum of Dulux Antique White USA (my all-time  favourite white paint); about 2L of plain white; and my secret weapon, a tiny amount of black paint tint.  I combine all the whites into the 15 L drum and stir madly.  It’s probably worth investing in a paint mixer.   It looks like a giant veggie masher, but works a treat for mixing thoroughly.  The next phase requires time and patience.  When all the whites are combined, I paint a test card or a bit of wall and I number them - just so I know which one is the original.   On this one, I worked in the garage and painted my test patches directly on to the wall.  Then wait for it to dry to see the real colour.  Add a very small amount of the tint, stir and test again.  I only had to add two lots of black before I came up with a colour I liked.  We did need more paint to get the whole house done, so I took a sample of my colour to Bunnings (painted on a bit of card)  and picked the closest colour.  I came up with Taubmans' Pebble Bay, a trendy grey beige.  The difference was amazing.  Not only was the colour great, it looked clean and smelled way better than it did before.   Happy days!  We move in next week!

Worth the effort - much cleaner and fresher!
Pebble Bay
Paint stirrer

Friday, March 2, 2012

Looks like we found it!

We had been looking for a “renovator” in the beach-side suburb of Kawana for about 7 months, when I suddenly had the urge to include Mooloolaba in my search. This urge was possibly the result of four trips to Mooloolaba in one day, ferrying my teenage daughters to the beach/shops/barbeque/friend’s place and home again.

Anyhoo, this house popped up in my search – a renovator in a great street, at a pretty good price. So, off we went to view it. Structurally very sound, great corner block in a lovely suburban neighbourhood, 950m to the beach. Hmmmm. My husband and I looked at each other with the same expression…and two months later, we were moving in.