Ever since we moved into Wind Dancer Farm, I’ve itched to do something about the eyesore which was our woodshed.
Note the lovely heavy duty shadecloth gift wrapping… Very pretty. Not.
Ok. Its just a woodshed.
But I had a dream.
I dreamed of a pretty woodshed.
Something rustic, made from old weathered timber, with signs hanging on it and a yellow climbing rose growing up it.
Ok. The rose will have to wait. That will take a few years to grow up up the woodshed.
If indeed climbing roses are frost and strong wind tolerant.
Anyway, back to the point…
I’ve been itching to give the shed a makeover. It was clad in that dreary shadecloth. And we had piles of old timber lying in the back paddock, rotting away.
Wayne pointed out that we had to use that timber soon or it would be beyond using. At which point I jumped at the chance to bring up my plans to redo the woodshed. Again.
Note: Previously, every time I brought up the ‘woodshed makeover’ plan I got eye rolling.
Bring up using old timber which needs to be used or burned to clean up the paddock, and suddenly Wayne is making plans… Turns out I was just going about it the wrong way all this time!
Over our break (this week we’re on holidays from work) we were going to make over the woodshed!
It seemed like an easy plan.
It would have been if we agreed on the basics of how to go about doing it.
My idea: rip off the shadecloth (so we can see what’s under it), put in extra support bits to nail the timber cladding to, and go from there.
His idea: lay the timber straight over the top of the shadecloth cause he didn’t want to go to the trouble of removing it and cause it would involve moving firewood.
Of course I won.
Mainly cause I said I’d do the removing on my own, as well as moving any firewood needed to do the job.
We started on Sunday morning. Or should I say, I started on Sunday morning.
I spent what seemed like 52 hours (and was probably only 2) removing the shadecloth. I still have scratches, scrapes and a slice just above one of my nails thanks to the shadecloth…**
The heavy duty, metal infused shadecloth which medieval armour was make of.
Then I put on gloves.
By the end I could only reach 3 sides of the shed as there was firewood piled high against the 3rd side.
In the afternoon we drove the ute out to the paddock and loaded it up with timber. Brought it close the woodshed. Brought out the power tools and got to work.
We did a bit of arguing about what would go where and in the end we compromised.
i.e. I won.
We discovered my circular saw is stuffed. It works fine for a while, then jams and kicks back. No idea what’s going on. We decided it wasn’t worth the risk, so brought out the drop saw. Sensible.
We worked till late on Sunday afternoon and got the supports in and finished one side.
We had sore muscles where we didn’t know we had muscles afterwards. Ouch.
Monday, after a few errands in New Norfolk, we got back to work. This time Wayne cut the timber to size in the paddock using his chainsaw.
Sometimes he has good ideas.
It was quick and easy. All we needed to do was nail up the boards. That meant me carrying them over and Wayne nailing them on.
We got one more side finished and the 3rd wall almost finished till the rain chased us indoors.
Of course, it wasn’t without some stuff-ups. This wall below for instance. This was the result of the following conversation:
“Should I get the level?”
“No. We don’t need a level.”
“Yeah, you’re right. Its just s shed. I want it rustic.”
Tuesday we both looked at it and agreed. We had to rip those boards off and redo that section.
After we fixed the crooked bits, I tackled the shadecloth again. Wayne was really worried that the wood would get wet if it rained, cause the slats don’t fit perfectly.
So, in order to not hear “I told you so” next winter, I said I’d take care of it. I measured and cut the shadecloth, then clambered over the ever shifting pile of wood, legs spread-eagled, slipping and sliding, to nail it all up.
(Note: nail tacks in the back pocket isn’t a good idea if you end up on your butt.)
Then came the fun part. Moving the pile of wood from the outside of the shed to the inside. See it there? under the sagging roofline?
I cut a hole in the remaining shadecloth and picked up and tossed every single piece of wood into the shed.
But in the end I had a clean and tidy outside, under cover (more or less) area.
The plan is this: we’ll need to redo the roof on that outside area. Then new wood that needs chopping will be staked there. Wayne does the chopping in our driveway right now, but with this area cleaned out now, he can chop on the grassy bit to the left of the shed where there’s room to swing an axe. He wanted to keep the door (I was all for closing in that whole side), so he’ll be putting an old shed door I brought from my old home on there tomorrow. The side that opens to the undercover area will get made into a large door so chopped wood can get tossed in.
All in all, its going well. I plan to do some more work to the exterior, make a sign for it… stay tuned.
Unfortunately, I’ve managed to mangle my middle and ring fingers on my left hand. Typing is Really hard with one hand and 1 finger… Its like type, type, backspace, backspace…
How? Well, we took a load of trash to the tip this morning and somehow I managed to jam my fingers in the ute door. YOUCH!
There I was, fingers jammed, swearing up a storm (a couple of men nearby blushed) and trying to pull them free. Took me a few seconds to realise I could open the door with my other hand. I swear, if I’d been in water, I’d have drowned.
**The shadecloth cut is now gone. Sliced off with a bit of my nail bed. Nice.
Nothing broken at least, I had an xray and had a tetanus shot (ouchies). I opted to get the shot in the same arm. Why spread the pain?
So here I am. feeling sorry for myself.
At least I can’t do dishes!
What about the colour, huh? White walls, ok, blue and white vinyl on the floor, ok, egg yolk yellow trims….
Notice anything? Taps in the middle of the tub… and no shower! Obviously the family of 7 who ‘rennovated’ this house shared the bathwater… eeech. No thanks. I prefer my water running fresh and clean.
The clawfoot tub was gorgeous. It was a small thing, not that practical but oh so cute. I’d love to have kept it, but it was so ridiculous. It was a round type, with the nice lip around it, not squared off like our current one (yes, I have another clawfoot tub). I even loved the pink. But years of filling the tub with water and sitting in it, water splashing behind and under it had rotted the floor/wall. It was only a matter of time till I got in to shower and landed on the dirt below the house.
I needed a new floor.
Interesting wall treatment. In theory. I mean, I used mini-orb to redo the bathroom walls (that’s mini corregated iron in zinc finish). They used sheets of colourbond and they alternated them right way (blue), wrong way (grey) for artistic effect.
I hated the vanity unit, and I really hated the taps. Since I had to live with what I had for a while I put up a circular curtain rail and a curtain, got myself a handheld shower thingy with a wall attachment and spent the next few months showering while trying to uncling a cold curtain from my body. I also painted the vanity, changed the knobs to make it more acceptable.
Below are photos of the rennovation started. When the colourbond came off we found holes in the wall. Of course.
I got a friend, ex plumber, to do the bathroom rennovation for me in return for helping him with his show dog. A bit of contra is a good thing when you don’t have much money.
I bought a new bathtub, one that could be built in. Alan put in a new floor for me and moved the plumbing so I could have a shower over the end of the tub.
Having lived through this in Melbourne I was used to living around construction.There’s another advantage to this for a dog breeder: all my pups were well socialized to power tools.
Eventually the bathtub was in place, a large angle rod went up for the curtain and I could finally shower without peeling cold wet curtain off my butt.
I had this great curtain I’d bought at IKEA I was hanging out to use too.
I tried putting in the old cupboard but it didn’t fit. The new tub was much longer and wider than the clawfoot and the space between the cupboard and bathtub was too tight. I replaced it with an old shed door – this formed a simple visual barrier so you couldn’t see the toilet when you opened the door. It also served to hold towel rods.
Since I have dark hair and shed like a collie, I opted for dark vinyl on the floor. Nothing worse than long dark hair on light floors.
The bathroom had originally had a sliding door which I hated. I removed it and replaced it with a 2nd hand shed door. (Have you noticed I love shed doors?) I didnt paint the bathroom side of the door for a long time cause it matched the weathered room divider door.
You may notice I also clad certain areas around the tub and the walls below the mini orb with old fence palings. Going with that rustic look.
Oh yeah, and if you noticed I painted it lime green.
I have no idea why I did that but it seemed like a good idea at the time. It was bright…
Here’s the door from the outside, painting started on the door frame.
Eventually I painted the door Antique White USA on both sides, same colour as all the woodwork.
I bought a new shower curtain which was perfect for the new colours and painted my old cane laundry basket white. All that needs now is lining made from blue and white ticking. Lovely.
It’s a room which actually feels welcoming now, fresh and clean and spacious. And it didn’t cost the earth either. I bartered for some of the work, used what I had where I could, and did as much of the work as I could myself.
Now on to the horrific room that passes as a bathroom here… that will take time.
It was a disaster waiting to happen. I mean, we knew it was coming… we just stuck our heads in the sand and hoped that if we pretended everything was fine, that it would be fine.
When we first moved in over a year ago now, we had a problem with the plumbing. The shower started to back up, the sink wouldn’t empty and we got smelly as we waited to the plumber to come fix the problem.
It turned out the pipes under our house were all 1/2 the size they needed to be to carry away grey water from the house. We found a nice plumber who came and replaced all the pipes under the house for us and said he’d be back to replace the rest when we dug them up in the yard to the sullage pit.
Obviously, we didn’t do that. We thought ‘if it ain’t broke’ and carried on like ostriches till the water started to back up again. Last week I timidly said ‘Wayne, if I tell you something, will you promise not to yell?’ Of course he yelled. Words I can’t repeat for fear of being sensored.
But the fact is, we knew it was coming.
So, poor Wayne spent 2 days outside digging up our entire yard. This time, for once, he didn’t accidentally hit a water pipe – he was actually looking for water pipes!
What he hit this time was the phone line.
I wouldn’t have minded, but imagine all the calls from New Delhi telling me I won a cruise to Atlantis if I just buy $50,000 of aluminium siding I missed!
Wayne tried to tell me it was my fault. He said it was all the long distance phone calls I made which stretched the line and wore it out.
This afternoon it looked like WWI in our front yard, trenches everywhere. We had 2 Telstra trucks here as men crawled over the yard trying to find the fault in the line.
Its fixed now, so thats a relief. I would have missed the call from a nice man trying to sell me a new mobile phone otherwise.
Why is it that when men work they take so many breaks? Maybe if I adopted their more relaxed attitude to working I wouldn’t be wearing my wrist brace during the day and moaning about the pain…
Since this last week has been flat out work-wise and I don’t have anything new to share, I thought I’d share my kitchen make-over in my house in Fentonbury.
It wasn’t the first house I rennovated, that prize goes to my house in Melbourne. But unless I can find the photos for that rennovation it will forever remain a mystery.
The house in Fentonbury however, was recent enough that I have all the photos on cd so I get to bore you with how I managed to take my kitchen from this
When I bought the house I fell in love with it despite the fact that I hate pine. I loved the space of the kitchen. And I loved the white old country style sink.
Ok… so it didn’t have a drainboard, and, when you don’t have a dishwasher, you kinda need a drainboard. But I solved that problem by buying a plastic drainboard from Howard Storage World. Problem solved.
To be honest, I’d much rather have that sink here, now, instead of the single tub double drainboard sink we have in our current kitchen. I hate that.
Anyway, first thing I did when I moved into Fentonbury was to change the tap in the kitchen. I hate those low taps which you can’t get the kettle or a big pot under unless the sink is empty (who’s sink is always empty? Not mine…)
I put in a nice, high gooseneck tap. I have no memory of how I actually did it so I can do it again here, but I did do it myself.
So… here are some photos of what it looked like when I first moved in. Full of packing boxes to start with…
Then tidier, but oh so dark with all the pine…. From the living room, which was all white back then, the kitchen looked like a gloomy cave even though it had a skylight.
The breakfast bar was really wierd. It was low so that you had to use normal chairs to sit at it, not stools… which meant you were really low compared to the bench.
(The ‘rail’ to the right of the photo isn’t built-in… it was my cot side solution to keeping dogs out of the living room at the time.)
Among other things, there were 3 cupboards that didn’t have doors. On the plus side, my microwave fit perfectly into one of them!
Luckily, the floor was perfect.Polished tassie oak floorboards. I didn’t need to do anything to that.
Another plus – the bench top was gorgeous. Also tassie oak. Beautiful.
I did a few little things to make the room look better till I got the courage to take the plunge and really change things. I removed the little shelves from one side of the sink and moved them to the large blank wall on the breakfast bar side. I added a few more shelves to display my collectables and to hold the coffee and sugar.
I put an Ikea bathroom/towel metal shelf above the corner near the stove to hang pots from. And I put an old bathroom cabinet I’d re-done and repurposed on the wall to hold spices.
The cabinet is solid tassie oak with a king billy pine door that I found at a tip shop for about $5. That’s before they started charging like bulls. I removed the old mirror from the door, sanded back all the old paint to expose the timber. I put a solid tongue and groove back onto it. Added clear glass to the front door and a hand made handle, and voila! Gorgeous spice cabinet!
I’ve always loved the look of painted timber on walls. The only thing which was holding me back from painting the kitchen walls and cabinets was the thought of all that sanding!
Then I thought about ESP (I had used this stuff in Melbourne to paint an old laminated kitchen dresser and I loved the finished product).
So, instead of sanding, I simply wiped on and wiped off the ESP, then painted.
I used Antique White USA for both walls and cabinets. I changed the ugly plastic white handles with some simple black knobs cause they were cheap enough and weren’t brass. I don’t like brass.
I removed the small shelves (relocated them, a couple of them went next to the pantry to hold cook books) and added one large shelf to hold display items. I put another of my bathroom cabinet makeovers (this one with a bird wire door and a metal back) on the large blank wall to hold coffee, tea, sugar etc.
I also raised the breakfast bar. Since the bench overhung on both sides, I couldn’t put the breakfast bar at the same level as the benchtop. I considered leaving it off completely, but then had second thoughts. I just moved up the brackets holding it in place and so there was a small step down to it. I never got around to getting proper matching stools for there…
I made a large frame from old dado rail to hold an old poster I’d bought off ebay many years ago. Below I was testing out how it would look by putting it on a box on the breakfast bar… Very technical.
I added some tin signs over the stove (no rangehood, so many old Australian houses don’t have rangehoods).
I tried curtains but I hated them. Yuck. I lived without doors for a long time till I found the solution.
What I did was make a simple flat door for the microwave cupboard and swing it so it opened toward the oven. I decided flat doors would work fine, flat doors being way better than no doors, right?
I then made sliding doors for the corner cupboard under the stove and the cupboard on the other corner where position made it impossible to hang outwards opening doors. I bought some MDF, cut it to size, got some metal ‘tracks’ and made myself some sliding doors.
Ok… I know I’m not exactly making sense here, but one day while browsing in a hardware store (I do that a lot) I saw these square U shaped metal things. They came in long lengths and looked just the right size to hold a 6mm MDF sheet. I tested them and sure enough, they did. I have no idea what they’re meant for, but I bought a few pieces of the metal, cut them and glued them onto the shelves inside the cupboard.
On the corner cupboard above, where the doors could slide back into the corner I only needed one track top and bottom for each door. On the other side, where the doors had to overlap so you could only open one side at a time, I had to make the tracks double, one for each door so they could slide past eachother.
I painted the new doors the same colour, added the same knob to the flat door but I used sash window openers to the sliding doors.
I considered using the fabric I bought on Paros while over there on holiday a couple of years ago to make curtains for the kitchen. But I realised this fabric would be too thick for the amount of light coming in through that window. I’m glad I didn’t use them there now as I have put them in the bedroom here and they’are perfect for there! They add a touch of Greek island to our room and make me smile.
I needed something thinner. A friend gave me some old tab topped organza curtains which I cut and hemmed and they worked perfectly. They let in all the light and blurred the view just enough.
I can’t give you an idea of cost for the kitchen update but it was cheap. I didn’t need to replace appliances or move anything. I just gave it a facelift the only way I could – with paint and imagination.
Lots of fresh white paint, some new doors, new knobs, a new tap, some personal touches and I had a kitchen I loved.
This is what it looked like when we first saw the farm. It was an old shed, housing a tractor and many bits and pieces of rusty engine parts, broken plowing implements, trucks, boat bits, drums of oil and a truck parked next to it. The roof was being held in place by spit and a collection of old tractor wheel hubs and besser blocks.