the bathroom saga continues

Ok. Yes. I’ve been absent. I realise that. I have a good reason: bathroom renovations are very hard on your psyche.

I think I left you last somewhere before this stage: one wall done and the second wall started.

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Next came the bit above the shower and onto the window wall. That wall includes a black ‘feature’ stripe. We made a feature stripe of that bit cause it was just easier to put in the black tiles than try to chop up the white ones and keep the brick layout going AND matching up with the next corner. At this stage I’m all for easier and quicker. I’m beginning to feel like we’ve adopted the plumber.

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You may have noticed the weird little red spaceships on the tiles. They’re a kind of tile spacing and leveling system. Click on image to see details on how it works.

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Great, wonderful invention. You place these blue plastic spacers in the corner, line up the tiles, then use the little red screw on widgets to clamp the tiles in and line them up. Genius. Except that they’re made to be used with much thicker tiles than the ones I chose. See below? That little blue bit sticking out where the grout is meant to be?

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Uhuh. Now, I noticed this earlier on in the process but didn’t say anything cause, you know, I’m no expert. I expected that if there was something amiss about this, the plumber would notice. Right? But obviously not. He continued to blithely tile using the same system leaving more blue bits sticking out. But again, who am I to question the professional?

Let me clarify, at this point, that he’s a plumber. Not a tiler. Yes. My mistake. However, when the plumber that you like and trust says “I can tile” and “I can put up cornice” and “I can put in the window and door trims” you don’t think “No, I think I’ll look around for another trades person who can come in at the right time so the job gets done in a timely fashion, without any wasted time waiting for someone to turn up or finish a job.”

No. What you do is you say “Fantastic! You can do the lot? Wonderful. Forge ahead!”

One tradesperson to organise. One bill. Great.

Ok. Maybe not so great.

These little blue things are one example. The time it took for a plumber to tile and the mess he made doing it, also not so great. By the end of this I’ll have a new bathroom and have to redo the floor in the hallway, repaint the door frame and touch up some walls…

But we grin and bare it. I did choose small tiles. I did ask for a brick pattern. I believed him when he said that cleaning off the tiles of the glue after it set would be easy peasy.

sigh.

Ok, it wasn’t so hard getting the glue off and out from between the tiles. It just took ages. Both my time and the plumber’s time. Not ideal. But too late to do anything else. After all, I was the one who said it was a brilliant idea after all…

So, back to the little blue things.

I had planned to use a medium grey grout. I decided to go with dark grey. Almost black. Why? So that I could use a Sharpie (the crafter’s answer to everything) to colour in the visible blue bits.

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After all, I loved the look of the dark gaps which looked sort of like dark grout, and a black Sharpie should work…

Anyhow… when the plumber came in the following day he’d had an inspiration: he was going to use a fine cutting wheel on his grinder and grind out the little blue bastards.

Um… No. I don’t think so. Not a grinder. Its big and heavy and so easy to slip up. So I offered him my Dremel – the one I use on dog nails. It has teeny weeny cutting disks and it has a flexible hand held bit, so much easier to use. A much better choice.

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The better choice would have been to not use the blue things, but hey, what was done was done. Let’s make this thing work.

Now we have a multitude of scratched tiles and one chipped one which he wants to replace… How hard is it replace tiles? “Easy Peasy!”. I’m not sure I want to replace them. I think I can live with the scratches… I want the bloody bathroom finished in this lifetime. Tomorrow would be nice!!!

sigh.

Oh, and remember the deep scratch on the shower wall? I spoke to the guys in the store. They said “No problem. Bring it in and we’ll replace it”. Yeah right. Its ON THE WALL NOW. I wasn’t waiting another week for a working shower! Can we fix it? Nope.

Did I mention that some of the stuff on the floor tiles won’t come off? Its meant to all be the same stuff but some of it isn’t, I swear. I’m so over this. I want to start on the fun prettying up work!

Speaking of which, here’s a preview of the vanity. The colour looks awful cause of the lighting in the casita, but in the end I went with a greeny grey blue I loved – the colour of a Kmart throw I use on the couch all the time. I had a colour which was similar, I added a bit of grey which I already had on hand and viola! Happy Zefi. Only took 4 different colours to land on this one.

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I gave the inside a coat of waterproofing paint and then painted it white. Hopefully it’ll be easy to keep clean.

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One of the reasons I fell in love with this little cabinet was the hinges and the shape. Its not the ideal vanity unit, having only one door. It makes accessing things inside difficult. But I’ll make it work.

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So this is where we’re at today. All tiling done. Grouting touch-ups still to come. Tile replacements a threat hanging over my head. Tons more cleaning to do.

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The power points need putting back in place (and I need to get new cover plates for them). The wall you can’t see needs patching with plaster to smooth it, the door trim needs to go back on, then I need to patch and paint both the door and window trims and the wall itself.

And of course the vanity will go in tomorrow. And the cornice. Then the plumber will be finished.

I hope.

I’m not holding my breath.

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Meanwhile I found these towel rail holders with hooks. I love them. They were in my house in Melbourne and I kept them to use if I ever renovated another bathroom. I plan to use them in this one. On the long wall, a long towel rail… very industrial aren’t they?

towelhooks

But I’m getting ahead of myself. There’s still so much to be done before I can begin the fun parts.

I sure hope this is over soon. But at least we can shower now!

z

shoot me now – bathroom stage 2.5-3ish

You know how there are some things you’d rather not see? Well, this bathroom renovation is full of things I’d rather not have seen. Like, I could live happily without ever seeing men in boots stepping on my new acrylic shower base while putting the glass sides up. Or seeing the amount of cement-like tile glue all over my floor, the tiles, the walls, the shower base…

I’m going insane.

I keep telling myself this isn’t the guy’s first job. He knows what he’s going. It’ll all turn out great. I hope.

I’ve watched gazillions of TV renovation shows. And they never, ever look as messy as what I’ve been looking at all week. Sigh.

Anyway – this is after the cement sheeting went up and the wet area paint was put on the walls.

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The next step was to put in the shower. All was going well till we unpacked the corner acrylic shower walls and found this… about 10 inches of deep scratch. Not impressed. But by then it was already Saturday and we’d been without a working bathroom for almost a week. I was over showering in the hydrobath. I was not waiting for another one to be brought down.

 

scratch

The plumber did a bit of sanding and its better but its not exactly fixed. I’m not happy about it.

This is the bathroom after the shower went in (note, no taps – still not usable!) but before any tiling began.

shower

Meanwhile, I’ve been working on the vanity. This is the old cabinet with the Ikea sink sitting on top – I had to see how it would look. I’ve had to make it a bit higher and a bit deeper and I did that by using bits of pine on the top and back. I’ve added trim around the top to give it a bit more character.

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I spent ages trying to decide on a colour to paint it. I wanted blue – a light blue. But I also liked yellow… I tried about 2 different blues and 2 yellows by painting swatches on it and none of them appealed to me. So I went with something similar to the minty greens I already have in the house. I’ll share pics soon.

This pic was taken last night – we could use the shower… but we couldn’t use the bathroom cause the floor tiles needed to dry… sometimes you just can’t win.

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See all that stuff on the floor and tiles? sigh… is this normal?

And this is tonight. Tonight we CAN shower. I did. Good, cause I really needed it!
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Again, all the crap on the tiles… I sure hope he’s right and it comes off easily. I’m tired just looking at it. It seems I’m always cleaning and its always a mess around here. Mainly cause it is.

Oh well. It’ll be over soon.

But I must admit, I love the tiles!

z

PS. Sorry this is flat. I’m tired but I really wanted to share progress.

bathroom stage 2.0

Ok, before I go on, I have no photos of today. Cause, really, there’s not much to show. The shower cubicle was removed. The water pipes were moved. The cement sheeting is down on the floor.

That’s it.

I was sure we’d be further along today. I was all set to paint on the waterproofing this evening. But no, cause nothing ever goes as planned!

For one thing, I went in to pick up our shower and accessories, the tiles, the tile glue, the grout, and whatever else was on my list.

Like any shopping trip, it took longer than planned. But that’s ok. The plumber was late too. So part of not getting along further was due to the fact that we didn’t start on time.

Meanwhile, we had second thoughts on the shower. See, the sink I ordered from Ikea is 49cm wide. The cabinet it’ll sit on is 40cm wide. That’s ok. I’ll extend the back and we’ll put the waste pipe behind the cabinet instead of inside. Problem solved.

However, the swing door of the shower we initially chose would hit the cabinet. Even if I was to change the sink (too late for that, its arrived in Hobart!) so I had to change the shower to one with a barn style sliding door.

Below left is the shower we originally ordered, the one on the right is the one we’re getting now.

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We’re getting a combination shower with handheld cause we disagree on the best way to get wet. This one is a good compromise. In order to match the squareness of the shower fittings I bought the square mixer tap below right for the vanity.

accessories

Now, when it comes to tiling, I’ve decided to tile up to the window and over the window sill. No wood trim. The picture below is the inspiration. Plus I remember old school buildings with tiled windows… I think it’ll look really nice in our bathroom.

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Of course our window is a pale yellow aluminium called ‘primrose’. hmph. I’m sure some paint will change that easily enough.

There’s also a bit of an issue with the size of the tiles I chose (150 x 150cm) and the gap between the shower and window. That’s a 200cm gap. Which meant that either the poor tiler would have to cut every single tile to create the brick layout I want OR I had to find another way to deal with this troublesome spot.

My solution: some black subway tiles which will go up the wall in a strip.

Hopefully it’ll work.

Meanwhile I have a ton of work to do… the cabinet needs a total re-haul. The rest of our supplies need picking up. Cement sheeting needs to go on the wall… no rest for the wicked.

Our planned timeline is already blowing out and we have no idea how smelly we’re going to get before we have a working shower again…

z

stage 1.5 – the bathroom

Stage one is the stage where you remove everything from the bathroom that isn’t nailed down. Actually, everything that is nailed down, but not plumbed in. Stage one point five is where you remove the plumbed in stuff as well. That’s pretty much where we are right now.

On Sunday I removed all the extras from the bathroom – the medicine cabinet, the towel rails, hooks etc. Then this morning the bathroom looked like this as I got ready to remove the faux tile sheets. I’d already begun removing the window frame before I remembered to get the camera.

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Nice bathroom. Yep. Especially the space between the vanity and the shower cubicle. You’d never guess, but there used to be a bathtub along the far wall. Great layout for a small bathroom! First thing I did when we bought the place was to remove the tub so we could towel off after a shower.

bathroom1

I removed the door and window trims, the cornices and skirting boards and the faux tile sheets off one wall before the plumber got here this morning.

Together we ripped out everything but the shower.

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We left the shower in so we could get clean tonight, but we have a plan. The shower comes out first thing tomorrow. Then work starts on the floor and walls…

And we all know plans go perfectly, don’t we? We’ll have a working bathroom in a couple of days!

Bwhahahahah!

z

new bathroom on the horizon

Sooner rather than later actually.

Our bathroom is awful. I’ll try to find and share pics of it when I do the great reveal before and afters, but for now just trust me when I say its awful. Not that I haven’t seen worse, but…

Anyway, to add insult to injury, the hideous laminated fake tile sheeting we have in the shower recess (all over the bathroom in fact) has cracked and water is now getting into the wall.

Wonderful.

Well, really wonderful in fact, cause it means we get to renovate the bathroom!

Ok, so I’ve got some ideas.

I want subway tiles with dark grout, concrete floor tiles, white storage cupboard and a DIY vanity.

Sounds nice. Simple. Tasteful. Clean and tidy.

So… I have a cabinet I’m planning to make into my vanity using this sink from Ikea:

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My inspiration are these images I’ve had on my Pinterest ‘bathroom’ board ever since I began pinning things. I figure I can get something similar to this using an old cabinet and the Ikea sink top:

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Cool isn’t it? I know not everyone is into shabby, rustic or plain old, but I love it.

This one I pinned for the colour. For some reason it spoke to me though I’ve never considered yellow before.

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This colour is way more me, but I’m thinking darker, more aqua or turquoise will be the way to go.

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More like this!

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Anyway… wall tiles. I’m thinking subway tiles, right? I mean you can’t go wrong with subway tiles!!! And dark grout!

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Then I saw these pics on Pinterest and it got me thinking… We’re obviously going to be redoing the bathroom on a tight budget. And plain square white tiles are cheaper than fancy types. Right? So, I’ll go get quotes on both, but this is an option. I don’t mind the look at all.

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Of course, my window surround is timber and white, not black, but there’s no reason I can’t paint the aluminium window black. It’ll probably look way better than the ‘primrose’ it is currently. Ugh.

Still, how cute is that?

This week I’m off getting quotes and ordering the bits and pieces we need to create our new bathroom. And tomorrow I’m starting work on my new vanity and shopping my shed for what I can make my storage cabinet out of…

Another big adventure begins. Stay tuned.

z

its official – the kitchen is underway

You’ve all heard me complain about the kitchen, right? (And the bathroom, the living room, the bedrooms…)

But I put the kitchen at the top of the dream make-over list cause its the room we spend a lot of time in, its the heart of the home and all that.

Plus, our oven stopped working over 3 months ago and I’m over not being able to chuck quick meals in the oven when its my turn to cook.

Not to mention that Wayne always hated our 54cm rental quality electric stove which seems to have no low heat setting on the hotplates.

So. We’re getting a new kitchen.

This is kind of how it happened:

The oven stopped working. I had a dish to bake. I gave it to the chickens.

I asked ‘Is it worth looking at fixing it?’

Wayne said ‘No.’

He was pretty emphatic. So, we decided to buy a new one.

I started doing research. I wanted a double oven. I love the handiness of having the two ovens. No need to heat up a big oven just to heat up pies for dinner…

We both love cooking with gas. I wanted an electric fan forced oven.

I wanted a bigger stove than the one we have now, 60cm.

I wanted a bigger, better stronger rangehood cause the under-cabinet one we have sucks.

Or doesn’t suck, which is the problem.

It took me months to make a decision and act on it.

Why you ask? Well… I looked at the kitchen and measured it and thought about it. Even if we left things exactly as they are, putting the new stove in the gap left by the old stove (the gap is big enough for a 60cm stove), I’d have to remove all the top cupboards to fit the rangehood. And it still wouldn’t fit cause of the window!

This is what our kitchen looks like now. I removed the cupboard doors on the left to make the kitchen look more open. There’s a window above the sink on the left which looks into the mud room (the small porch we enclosed). The window on the right is hard to look out so there’s no way to easily look out to the gate when you’re in the house and the dogs go bezerk in the yard.

I put small strips of melamine between the stove and the benchtop to stop food falling down into the gap. The corner cabinet hinges have both ‘dropped’ and the handle on one has come off and the I need to pack the holes with matchsticks to put the handle back on. We’ve gotten used to using our toes to open the door so I never bothered.

I hate the laminte tile sheeting on the walls. I hate the lino flooring. I hate the benchtop.

Other than that, its fine.

This is the other side of the kitchen.

Ignore the half chalkboard pantry door. Given that we’re redoing the kitchen I can’t be bothered trying to fix that stuff up.

This is the left hand side.

There’s a tiny entry way behind the first half of that wall – we keep the fridge in there and I’ve put in the cupboard I removed from the living room. Its now an extra pantry. Its a great walk in pantry. Its a dark and dingy room when have to come through to enter the house.

Cause in country houses you always come in through the back door.

The front door is on the opposite side of the house, nowhere near the gate or driveway.

Naturally.

This is the right hand side.

The ‘window’ into the living room is handy cause we can watch TV when we’re in the kitchen. We’re not cut off from the rest of the house. Heat from the wood heater circulates into the kitchen.
Smells from cooking fill the house.
Anyway.
I had big plans. 
1. Remove the windows and put in one window in the middle of the front wall.
2. Move the stove to the left hand wall, move the sink to the front, under the new window.
3. Knock out a section of the wall on the left so that when you enter the house you enter straight into the kitchen – the short side of an L.
4. Remove the failed chalkboard pantry and replace it with one of my antique kitchen dressers.
A lot of work. A lot of money.
That’s why it took me so long to get on with this. I had to figure it out. I had to convince Wayne.
Eventually I got started. I have a family friend who’s works for a kitchen place. I asked for his help in designing the kitchen. I got quotes from electricians, plumbers and gasfitters and a builder.
The result is that we’re going to get a new kitchen but its a compromise. Of course. Money is always the issue. And Wayne does a lot of cooking. Need I say more?
My kitchen guru designed an L shaped kitchen which will go along the left wall and the front wall. The stove will go on the left, the sink in the middle of the front wall. The wall between the entry and kitchen will stay (I’ll have to work some magic in there to make that space work better). We’ll move the windows, getting rid of the small one but keeping the bigger one on the left, saving on a new window.
Naturally, one job leads to another 2 or 5. In order to put the window in the middle of the front wall, we need to move the water heater. 
But I won’t bore you with all the gory details (yet). Lets get to the fun stuff.

When looking for stoves, I found two I liked – the Belling and the New World. Both of those aren’t the exact models I was looking at, close enough though. I know 3 people who have a Belling and love it so that was what I was leaning towards.

When we went shopping we ended up with this:

Dont you just love it?? I do! We got it half price as its a floor model. Its a cream Euromaid.

I wanted a canopy rangehood.  This is the one we’re getting. Stainless steel and glass.
I’m getting a Bosch dishwasher (YEAH!) and a Franke huge single bowl sink with single drainer. I love double bowls, but I’ll have a dishwasher!!! Both are stainless steel. 
As for the design, I did what I saw on the DIY blogs. I collected photos of kitchens which inspired me and made me want to live in them. Then I printed out the photos and looked at them. I found the things that came up again and again. That told me what I want in my kitchen: 
White. Painted timber walls. Natural timber benchtop. Wood floors. A mix of old and new. Open shelving.

These are some photos I’ve collected in my Pinterest dream kitchen board. You get the drift.

The kitchen design is going to be L shaped bottom cabinets only. I’m still deciding on the colour/type but they will be laminate doors in a shade of white. (Compromise, remember? I need easy to clean and not expensive. Especially since I want an expensive benchtop.) The benchtop will be solid timber. I want to timber line all the walls*. I want to lift the crappy lino and hopefully find old floor boards I can fix up for the floor.

*today the kitchen, tomorrow dado rails in the whole house!

I saw a man down the road who mills his own wood and has some minor species timber in his lumbar yard. I’m negotiating on some pieces of timber for the benchtop.  I’m considering some 40mm planks of Tasmanian myrtle. Other options are eucalypt or blackwood. He says the myrtle is a better quality timber for benchtops and has an entire kitchen made out of it. Its a pinker/redder type of timber and I’ve always loved it.

So there you have it. I’ll be updating progress as we go along. It should be interesting. Wayne and I have never lived through this type of ‘invasive’ rennnovation before….

Lets see who survives…

z

PS. Feedback needed on my blog layout/look. Do you find the links easy to find/see? Do you think the type should be a bit bigger. Being a graphic designer I tend to go for the look I like. Small type looks neat but may not be so easy on everyone else’s eyes.

retaining walls and eliminating glassware

Things are progressing… Every day is a small step forward.
Wayne’s been working really hard on the new retaining wall. This is how it looked yesterday when he stopped for the day. 
He worked in the heat all day to get this far. He’s definitely a better man than I am! Even the small bit of heat I got was enough to knock me out.
Today the weather is cold and windy. It rained most of the night too. It is Tasmania after all. 
But I’m not complaining. 
Anyway, this morning we went in to the hardware store where Wayne bought 24 bags of concrete mix. I bought 2 towel rails. 
Turns out I wasn’t quite done in the bathroom yet.
While Wayne continued on the retaining wall, getting all the posts in, I put up two towel rails. 
Till now I’ve had an over the door type of coat rack for Wayne to hang his towels and 2 hooks on the wall for mine. I was sick of knocking Wayne’s towels off the coat hooks every time I walked past them. Plus I much prefer rails to hang towels on, so today I made the leap. I know that one day I’ll be re-doing the bathroom, but till then I may as well make it more bearable. And I’m definitely liking it with the new shelves.
I’d like to say it was quick and easy. I’ve done this before. But once again it was a comedy of errors, putting the fittings on backwards, putting screws in, taking them out, re-doing things. You get the picture. At one stage I was sure I was going to hit an electric cable so I put on rubber gloves and rubber soled shoes, told everyone I loved them, closed my eyes and drilled.
Luckily I didn’t hit anything.
But Wayne did.
He hit another water pipe.
I told you, the guy should hire himself out as a water diviner. With a crowbar instead of a rod.
Luckily he hit it but didn’t puncture it. Thankfully. Herman Too is too young to hear the foul language that puncturing the pipe would have brought forth.
Did I mention Herman Too is back in the bathroom?
We released him the other day and he ran to the other ducklings in his slightly off-kilter way. They didn’t shun him for living in the big house. All was well. 
Or so we thought.
Yesterday afternoon, after the weather had turned cool, I was watering my flowers when I noticed two ducklings in a deep water bowl. One hopped out. The other was soaking wet and did not look good.
Have you ever seen a soaking wet duckling? I sure hadn’t and I was sure he was a goner.

I fished him out of the bowl, gave him to Wayne to dry and warm up while I went in search of the large plastic tub, the heating pad and blankets. The poor little thing couldn’t even walk, he just kind of crawled. I was sure he wouldn’t make it. But he did. He’s back to being chirpy and a bit brave.

Looks like Herman Too has moved back in. I suspect he’ll be here till he goes to college.

Maybe he can be our house duck.
(I’m still pretty sure Herman Too is a girl.)
Other than that, I spent most of the day today cleaning the kitchen. And by cleaning I don’t mean washing dishes and floors (though I did that too). I mean clearing out cupboards.
The work in the kitchen will be done. I need to start preparing. All the top cupboards are empty now since they’ll be the first to go. I packed up a ton of stuff we don’t need on hand and filled up boxes with things to go away.
Getting there slowly.
z

office accomplished

I can’t wait to see Wayne’s face when he sees his new work space tomorrow!
So, you want the nitty gritty?
This morning when I woke up, I found I could barely walk. So sore! But I cowboy-ed up and got on with it.
After 2 cups of coffee and a breakfast of Weetbix (the breakfast of champions apparently) I was up to facing the mess I’d made in the living room.
First thing I did was mix up some more putty for the patched hole and apply it. Since its under the desk I’m not fussed about finishing it. That’ll be a job for when I paint the living room.
I had an unpainted corner to deal with.
I did what every DIY person would do… I looked around at what I had that I could use. The easiest thing I found was 3 metres of burlap.
Using upholstery tacks (leftover from my kitchen chair makeover), I tacked the burlap to the wall. I had to cut and overlap a bit to cover the entire area, but I think it looks ok.
I then had to put together my old office desk. Its one of those corner units, made up of two separate desks joined together by a triangular piece.
I found the triangle piece and the metal joining strips. Naturally I’d lost the screws to put it all together.
Of course I didn’t have any screws fat and short enough to do the job. I had to improvise.
I drilled new holes to fit the thinner screws I had on hand… then made little screw and nut kebabs to shorten the length of the screws so they wouldn’t come up out the top of the desk.
I never said I did things right. I just said I got things done.
After much wrestling with desk parts and crawling around on my knees, I got the desk together. And while I was down there I untangled all the cables and put Wayne’s computer, printer and speakers back together again.
At least I hope I did….
I got a whimsical wire frame Wayne made for me (as inspired by Pinterest) and put it on one wall. I put the floor lamp in the corner behind the desk, and a vase of flowers. Not sure how Wayne will like that!

I also brought in a couple of boxes I’ve been using in the shed for my tools. This gorgeously chippy box used to hold my framing equipment. It now holds Wayne’s notebooks and sketch pads.
This timber tool caddy used to hold my smaller tools. It now holds rulers and pens.
I’ve also moved an old bookcase into the living room for books and paperwork. I’ll take photos of that when I finish it.

So, lets review:

Before:

After:

 

You can see the first stage of the makeover here.

z
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TDC Before and After

Beyond The Picket Fence

when the cats away

As usual, I had big plans for this weekend. 
Its Grand Final weekend so Wayne has gone to his friend’s house to watch the game and do the male bonding thing.
It was my big chance to do something I’ve been thinking of doing for a while now. We have (had!) a big cupboard in the corner of the living room which I used as my linen cupboard.
In the living room.
Who thought that would be a good place for a linen cupboard?
To make matters worse, it was brown, varnished MDF. Not exactly pretty enough to make me want to keep it!
A few weeks ago when I opened the door to take out clean sheets, the front piece of cornice fell off and broke in half. It was like a sign – the cupboard had to go!
So, with Wayne and his rolling eyes away for the weekend I thought I’d tackle it.
I didn’t get any before photos cause I didn’t think of it, but I started last night (Friday to those of us in the Southern hemisphere).
I started by pulling the doors off the cupboard (man those suckers are heavy!), then removing the last strip of cornice still clinging on. I was able to get the cornice off without breaking it, and the doors off without crushing any toes.
I removed all the screws from the inside of the cupboard which fixed it to the bottom frame, the wall and the outer side, totally planning to dismantle it and just move it out. I discovered that the cupboard itself was one complete piece, with a ‘veneer’ of MDF on the side which matched the doors, a frame which it sat on, and a bit of a strip where it met the wall.
The ‘veneer’ side was stuck to the wall with silicone gap filler. I had to get rid of that, then use a hammer to loosen it, again managing to get it off without crushing any toes.
 I got the whole cupboard off the wall with immense difficulty. Not only was it heavy, it was also very tight. I had to inch it forward on the bottom frame, then try to work it off and onto the ground without totally damaging the ceiling. You can see the scrape marks where I didn’t quite succeed.
What I was left with was an expanse of unpainted wall and ceiling, with plaster bits stuck where the cornice used to be, and gaps that would need sealing up. And mouse droppings. Lots of mouse droppings.
This is the frame the cupboard sat on. No carpet underneath of course. And a hole in the wall behind the packing tape.
About halfway through the removal progress I began to have second thoughts. I wondered if I could/should leave the cupboard there, open it up to shelves maybe. It didnt look too bad all white and much brighter than the brown it was with the doors. But I decided to go ahead and remove it, however instead of pulling it apart, I’d keep it intact and move it to the tiny back entry as my pantry.
So I had to put half the screws back in.
My plan is to put my corner office desk in that corner so Wayne has a much bigger space to work. He never used the office so I’ve claimed it as my space and he has a desk in the living room. For now, I’ll put in my desk and later I hope to make him a much nicer desk, something with character.
Anyway, once I got the cupboard off the frame I had to figure out how to get it out of there. The ceiling in that part of the living room is really low.
Actually, we have 3 ceiling heights in the living room. Originally it was 2 separate rooms, with a later extension. Why they didn’t redo the ceilings to match I have no idea. But there you have it. A low ceiling plus a lower beam meant I couldn’t get the cupboard out unless I lay it down on its back, then onto its side to push it to the entry.
Good plan.
I started to lie it down when it broke in half, almost crushing me underneath it.
Ok, it didn’t BREAK in half. It was 2 pieces, joined together. It just came apart at the weakest spot.
On the bright side, it was now 2 pieces making it easier to move!
I lay each piece on its side, then slowly pushed them from the living room, across the tiny hall, around the corner in the kitchen and into the tiny dark entry.
I put the frame down first, then wriggled the biggest piece of the cupboard onto it. Then, using a ladder and my body as a counterweight, I managed to slide the top piece up and sit it on top. Again, using a push, slide and counterbalance technique, I got the smaller piece into place.
So high school physics wasn’t a total waste of time!
I then screwed the bits together and to the bottom frame. I even managed to put a few screws into the wall behind to keep it stable.
It makes the fridge look tiny now, doesn’t it? ONE DAY I plan to knock out half the wall from that tiny entry into the kitchen, making the kitchen an L shape and making that pantry area part of the kitchen. It’ll remove the rabbit warren feel of the back of the house and bring the fridge into the kitchen.
Most country houses here in Tasmania use the back door as the front door. Our front door is on the other side of the house. Sort of silly really, but thats how it is. To enter our house you have to come into the mudroom (which we added on), go through the tiny dark entry/pantry, then into the kitchen.
For now,  I’ve just made the tiny entry into a real pantry.
The house is a mess, stuff piled everywhere. I grabbed a few things I’d taken out of the old wardrobe I was using as a pantry and put them on the shelves. I’m planning to leave the shelves open, not adding doors. I’ll see if Wayne can remove the hardware. My arm is already killing me and I dont really want to be trying to remove them using a screwdriver.
 
 But I wasn’t done. I couldn’t leave the holes in the ceiling or the floor. Firstly its cold today and there was a lot of cold air coming in. Secondly, it was like a mouse superhighway judging by the droppings.
I’ve never done anything like this before and its a really bad job. However, it doesn’t really matter. One of these days, when we win lotto, I’ll get the whole living room ceiling redone. Till then, I just needed to get the holes patched up.
I used the cornice which had come off (or fallen off). I only had to trim down one piece and it turns out, cornice is easy to cut. The problem was with putting it up. I know you’re not supposed to use nails, but seriously, after trying to get it up using liquid nails* and failing, I decided what the hell. I can paint over nails.
*I broke my caulking gun. Then I couldn’t find the new one I’d gotten as a spare. I had to go borrow one from Wayne’s garage!
I couldn’t get the plaster blobs off the ceiling. They’ll need sanding off. Ugh.
I got lucky with the skirting board. I was going to use anything at all, just to cover the holes, but I found some matching stuff in the casita. I even managed to cut it to fit into the corner!
After everything was glued and nailed in place, I used gap filler to fill in any gaps. I’ve left it all to dry overnight and tomorrow I’ll sand back and re-fill any spots that need re-filling. Like the hole I patched.

Now, I know its not the prettiest job I’ve ever done. Its messy and ugly. There are plaster globs on the ceiling, missing carpet in the corner, the skirting is uneven where it goes from carpet to timber. But I don’t mind. It will do for now. I can’t paint the walls cause I don’t have paint for it, besides I want to repaint the entire living room. And I plan to remove the carpet when I can too.
So, I’m tired. Its been a huge day.
Tomorrow is another day with more work!
z

the woodshed finished!

Its finished! Mission accomplished. This September break, we made over the woodshed!
The last finishing touches went on on Monday, the last day of our break.
I made a couple of signs for the shed (what is it with me and signs lately? I have this unhealthy obsession…)
I made a small ‘Woodshed’ sign which I put into the center of the barbed wire wreath.
I also made a special sign –
When we moved here, we named the farm Wind Dancer after Wayne’s special horse. I always wanted to make a sign for the gate and never got around to it. Then while we were making over the woodshed I found this old round piece of plywood. I’d seen it many times before – its been there since we bought the farm after all. Its old, weathered and broken in spots. 
It was perfect.
I wanted it to look like a very old sign. Like you’d see in an old garage or something.

I had to print out the words on lots of bits of paper and I cut them out like a stencil. Using charcoal, I drew the letters and horse in, and then painted it.
Unfortunately, when I coated the sign with polyurethane to protect it from the weather (cause now its a sign I don’t want it rotting or washing away in the rain) it darkened. Varnish always darkens the colour of timber.
This is how it looks when you come up our drive now. The fence ruins the look a bit, but we can’t do much about that. (You can see where Wally has been gnawing on the fence posts!)
Wayne has finished the last wall – on the right. Its a half wall. He won that arguement. Actually, it made more sense than leaving it open on that side. Now we can toss wood in and it won’t just bounce back out.

 The front and left side of the shed now has plants and rusty objects adorning it.
The ammo boxes are one of my favourite things. I found them at op shops over the years and have held onto them.
We’re both very proud of our ‘new’ woodshed.
z

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