if its not one thing… kitchen update

Things have been progressing… more or less… slowly… in our kitchen reno. 
‘Cause you know everything that needs to be done can’t be done until something else is done first. And that can’t be done till something else is finished, and on it goes indefinitely.
During this last week Handyman came over and put up the last 2 boards to finish the first pine lined wall so I could paint it. 
The electrician came over and wired in the stove and put in a power points for the dishwasher and the range hood.
Together they worked out how the range hood would fit, where it would be attached to the wall, etc. 
Then I painted the wall. I finally settled on a colour. I decided to go with Dulux China White which is a dark creamy colour. Too dark and creamy I thought after putting a large swatch of it on the wall. But I needed a creamy white so in the end I bought a 4 litre tin of China White at 3/4 strength. It looks great, just a bit less yellowish but still a rich warm white.
So right now we have a finished floor, one finished wall, architraves sanded and prepped to paint, the stove wired and plumbed in for gas, powerpoints awaiting the dishwasher and rangehood.
The backsplash (a sheet of glass) can’t go in behind the stove till the rangehood is in place.
The rangehood can’t go up till we get the ducting for it sorted out. Of course the place that sells the rangehoods doesn’t sell ducting. I found a place that does sell it but I can’t buy it myself. I have to send Handyman to buy it cause what he told me I need to get and what the guys who sell the stuff told me I need to get differs. Wildly.
I don’t want the stove working till the glass splashback is up. I don’t want food splatters on my new paintwork. We can’t put in the rangehood till ducting is sorted, as I said above. But even if I was happy to cook without the rangehood and splashback, I don’t want to cook till I have a way to effectively (and easily) wash up. I refuse to try washing a frying pan in the bathroom sink.
We can’t connect the dishwasher till the sink is in cause they need to be connected to the same water outlet. Or so I was told.
We can’t put the sink in till the benchtop is put in.
Handyman is working on that. Its coming along but I don’t have a delivery date on it yet… ugh.
The kicker? The electrician gave me the RFW (request for work) number for our job – the moving of the meter box – so I can call Aurora and hassle them to hurry them up. It was dated March 5, 2014.
Surely that can’t be right!!! I was sure he told me he put the paperwork in weeks ago!
I know I’ve been texting him about once every two weeks and asking him on any progress every time I see him and he’s always replied with ‘no news yet’…. as if he’d put the paperwork in!

All I managed was ‘That can’t be right! This paperwork was put in way before that.” to which he muttered something about being busy.
What I wanted to do was scream at him.
But wait. 
It gets worse!
We got a text from Aurora saying they’d be doing our job in 7-10 days. Great news.
Till you learn that the electrician is away on a holiday and that once Aurora does their stuff we’ll be without power till the electrician does his stuff.
I have no idea if he’s away for one week or two. He didn’t mention it. We heard it from Handyman. I sent a text letting him know we’d heard from Aurora and asking if he’d be back by then. 
No reply yet.
We need him here at the same time as Aurora or as soon as possible after. He’ll have to climb into our ceiling and pull all the wire cables from the old box to the new one.
If he’s away we’ll be without power.
I’m not impressed with him right now, even if he does like Dwight Yoakam.

cabinets are in – kitchen update

Yes! The cabinets are in. It feels like a huge step forward.

It is a huge step forward really. The cabinets are in place, the handles are on and its looking great.

For the drawers I picked antique style cup pulls like the ones on my old dressers. I bought them on ebay, from England. They were cheaper from there, even with postage.


On the cupboard doors I’m using these pumpkin style knobs I bought on ebay a long time ago. They’re actually cream, not white, and they match the new stove perfectly.

And the floor is done. Today I really needed to actually finish something. You know that feeling? So many things are just not going well, not the way I planned, not smoothly… I just needed to feel I’ve achieved something.
I gave the floor a light sand with 240 sandpaper, cleaned it, and scooted around on my butt (twice) to give it two more coats of polyurethane. It looks great!
If I wasn’t so tired right now I’d be jumping for joy.
Wayne is pleased I’m finished too. He was getting really annoyed at having to go out the living room door, walk around the porch, go in through the mud room to access the entry/pantry just to get to the fridge.
Next on the agenda? The electrician is coming to connect the stove and dishwasher. And we’ll get the dishwasher plumbed in.
Of course, we can’t get the sink put in till we have the new benchtop. Right now we only have a temporary MDF benchtop.
Another thing on my agenda is to kill the gas fitter. He installed the gas and put the pipes on the outside of the wall. It caused some grief to the guys fitting the kitchen cabinets, but they worked around it. The real problem is that the connection is also on the outside… which means that the already wide stove will stick out even more from the wall. Not to mention the gap behind it… what on earth will I do with a gap behind the stove?
I was so angry when I realised. I threatened to call the gas fitter to come back and fix it. Then Wayne told me they’d discussed it and decided it was better easier to do it this way.
That’s the last time I don’t look over a tradesman’s shoulder when he’s working for me.

the first coat and sore knees – kitchen update

I have just spent the entire day shuffling along on my butt and knees sanding the kitchen floor.

Ok. Not the entire day but a bloody good portion of it.

I tore two #40 grit belts doing just one corner this morning, but they must have just been cheapies. I had to go into town to buy new ones and one of them lasted the rest of the floor. Mind you, they cost twice as much… After the #40 I went over it again with #120, then swept, vacuumed and wiped the dust off the floor before putting on the first coat of varnish cause the tin said ‘make sure floor is clean and free of dust’.

I don’t think this house will ever be free of dust. Ever again.

In fact, I think I’ll be finding dust in things for the next 5 years.

I am not looking forward to cleaning up, but unfortunately that’s what my life has become lately: Move things, clean, move things to somewhere else, clean again.

One day it will all be over. And it’ll be totally worth it!

As you can see, the floor has plenty of ‘character’. That’s what we DIY renovators like to call things which are old, stained, imperfect.

The square ‘patch’ is very visible. There were stains and mucky stuff under the old cabinets but I didn’t worry too much about them as they’ll be covered by the new cabinets. Unfortunately there were a couple of stains which will be visible… No amount of sanding would get rid of them. Probably sump oil or something equally inexplicable.

After all, this is the house where I found sump oil in the garden when I went to plant my hydrangeas.

I can deal with that. Its just more character.

Tomorrow Handyman is coming over to patch the holes he put in the wall when he did the plumbing, I’ll fill holes and hopefully do another coat.

At least that’s the plan.


the best laid plans – kitchen update

The day started off badly.

The car battery was flat cause someone, not naming names, but it starts with ‘W’ and ends in ‘ayne’, left the hazard lights on all night accidentally.

That was bummer #1.

Wayne put the car on the charger.

So we had to take Eduardo to work. That’s the old grey truck held together by rust spots, dints and black plastic where a back window should be (also thanks to someone, I won’t mention names, locking the keys in).

We were already in the city when I realized I’d left the work keys in the Beast (the newer, prettier, though only a little cleaner, truck).

That was bummer #2.

I realized I’d also left my wallet in the car.

That was bummer #3.

When I finished work I didn’t have my car, my audio book and comfy seat and I didn’t have money to go shopping.

That was bummer #4.

I called Wayne, told him he’d have to catch the bus cause I was going home to sand the floor. We could have dinner out when I picked him up from the bus stop. I booked at a local restaurant.

I made plans on the way… George said the kitchen cabinets are ready to put in this weekend (YAY!) so I needed to get the floor done. If I spent an hour on them tonight, then another hour on them tomorrow I should have most of the sanding done before Thursday.

On Thursday I have two dogs to groom in the morning, I could seal the floor, and even give it a second coat before picking up Wayne in the afternoon.

On Friday afternoon when Handyman arrived to patch all the holes in the plaster I could fill holes in the floor.

Then on Saturday or Sunday George would install the cabinets and I’d organise to have the plumbing and electrics connected after that.

I had such great plans… oh how naive I was…

I came home and the first thing I did was go start the car. I would let it run while I sanded.

The car wasn’t having any of that. It was still flat as a tack.

That was bummer #5.

I called roadside assist. I sanded till he arrived. About 15 minutes worth. He started the car up and recommended I take a long drive. I did. I drove for 40 minutes or so. There goes my sanding time.

That was bummer #6.

I got home, turned the car around, stopped outside the gate ready to go out for dinner, then thought “hmm, better test it” and …


It was still flat.

That was bummer #7.

I rolled it down the drive, threw it into second gear…


I rolled a bit further, tried again…


That was bummer #8.

I stopped just before the gate and called roadside assist again. “I need a new battery”.

The wait would be 45min or so. I called the restaurant and cancelled our reservation.

That was bummer #9.

So much for planning. I don’t know why I bother. I almost always get more done when I fly by the seat of my pants anyway!

The guy arrived to change the battery. $186 with the member discount, money I was not planning to spend on a battery.

That was bummer #10.

The restaurant hadn’t given away our table so we managed to have dinner after all.

The opposite of bummer:


up a ladder without a paddle – kitchen update

This last weekend saw a first for me – I painted the fascia on the front of the house at an altitude that had me ducking low flying planes.

Ok, ok, I exaggerate. I started painting the fascia… However, it was high. I’ve always been the ladder girl when it comes to painting – I’d never use one of those extension sticks with a roller. No way. It gives me a crook neck. I use a ladder and put all the strain on my leg muscles.

They are the strongest muscles in the body for good reason. They have to lug me around all day!

So, when doing any painting I’m always the one who gets the job cutting in around the ceiling. And painting the ceiling by climbing up, rolling a bit, getting down, loading up the roller, moving over a tad, climbing up, rolling a bit, getting down… you get the picture.

Its my version of a step class.

Well, this last Sunday had me doing the extreme version of that sport. And cause the only place the ladder could rest was on the aforementioned fascia (the one I was painting), and since there were more steps involved, it was a lot more climbing and a lot less brushing.

I had planned* to have all the white bits on the front of the house railing done. I did all the posts, porch side and garden side, and the inside of the fascia… and then it got hot.

I may have mentioned that I don’t do well in the heat? No?

I’m stubborn. I said I’d do it, I’d planned to do it, so by golly gosh I was going to do it!

I lugged out the ladder (with some help from my brawny half), fought with it to get it level and steady, then gamely climbed up the 323 steps and started painting. I painted about a foot, climbed down, wrestled the ladder over a foot and repeated.

About halfway across the front of the house my calf muscles started to shake.

I would have pushed myself to finish, but the highest bits were yet to come, and … did I mention it was hot?

I was about to make the decision to quit for the day when the decision was made for me… I stepped back from the ladder and right into the bucket of paint.

I now have a few white patches of grass and one white boot.

My failure to finish aside, other things did get done.

The gasfitter came and installed the gas lines. Here’s a pretty photo of our gas connection. We opted to go with smaller gas bottles we own and can fill as needed rather than pay rent on larger ones. You may not notice, but the gasfitter fitted the lines on the unfinished part of the porch enclosure. Handyman was not pleased.

Speaking of Handyman, he did a great job on making a slab for the gas bottles to sit on. And Barney promptly immortalised himself in the fresh concrete.

This is what that area used to look like – the end of the porch was pretty (now enclosed), but the ground sloped down in that spot and there was a broken concrete path that lead into the wall, and gravel. A mess basically. Having the slab there gives us a level area not only for the gas bottles but for my collection of junk decorative garden art.

Meanwhile, back in the kitchen a big hole appeared in the floor. This is where the floor dipped by almost an inch towards the wall. Handyman lifted the boards and raised up the joists to level out the floor, then he and Wayne moved the plumbing to the other wall where the sink and dishwasher are to be located.
It made total sense to use that huge hole to move pipes than to squeeze through a tiny door at the far end of the house and have to crawl under the house, dodging spiders all the way to the kitchen. It was a door direct to the spot they needed to get to. It would’ve been silly not to take advantage of it.
Neither Wayne nor Handyman were too upset about not becoming better acquainted with the arachnids under the floor.

So, plumbing moved. Gas fitted. Electrics almost done (will they ever be finished? I’m not sure.) Pine lining started. Floor work started.

Started. There’s still one piece of masonite to be removed. All nails have been removed or punched in on the rest of the floor and I’ve started sanding with the belt sander.
That may seem extreme considering I can hire a floor sander, but here’s the thinking…
1. I can’t lift a floor sander by myself. Sure, I have Wayne to do the heavy lifting, but he won’t be here when I’m doing it. Or shall I say, when I plan on doing it…*
2. I rather like the ‘unprofessional’ finish. I like character and imperfections. I want the floor to look old – not brand new and slickly polished.
3. I have nothing better to do than crawl around on my hands and knees sanding the floor.
4. I’m insane.
So, the plan is to have the floor sanded and give it one coat (or two) before Sunday.
That’s the plan
More on that later!
*Plans – those things which are made only to be messed up. 

its all happening – kitchen update

Yesterday was one heck of a busy day. And every busy day begins with a busy day before cause I had to remove everything that wasn’t nailed down from the kitchen.

That means I had to empty all cupboards and find a spot for the necessities (toaster, jug, coffee) and rudimentary food prep and cleaning. We now have a temporary kitchen area in the office and are washing up in the bathroom sink.

Handyman got here early in the morning and we removed the rest of the kitchen cabinets, then he started removing the flooring – vinyl and masonite.

I helped. I got down on the floor and started removing nails. Fun job.

The kitchen is a real mess. We have holes in the walls, electrical cords taped to the wall (my idea to keep them off the ground where the dogs can touch them, even though they’re capped off). Speaking of caps, Handyman forgot to bring the caps for the taps so he had to put the tap back on so we could have water in the house without also having a swimming pool in the kitchen. Bet you’ve never seen a mixer tap used like this before!

We found that the bump on the floor is because there’s a rectangle of boards that was put in later or something. The joist along the wall in that area is about 1/2 inch lower than the rest, creating a wierd dip. The previous owners found it easier to trim the baseboards than to do the floor properly.

So my plan of sanding the floor this weekend goes out the window. I don’t think it’ll be smart to hire a sander for the weekend hoping that Handyman gets the floor issue sorted out on Saturday… Who knows what we’ll find when the floor comes up…

What did I say about this job growing with everything we start and can’t finish?

The electrician arrived to do a bit more wiring work. I somehow found the only electrician in Tasmania who believes in drip feeding his work. Seriously, he keeps calling to say he needs to come around and do something, does a small amount of work, then comes again a few days later to do a bit more.

Maybe he just likes my company!

Well, he’s a nice guy, neat, does a good job. And he likes country music. Anyone who likes Dwight Yoakam is a friend of mine. As long as it all comes together at the end I’ll be happy. He can’t finish the job till Aurora comes to move the electricity meter. Then he has to connect the stove and he’s done.

I had advertised the kitchen online and a guy came with a truck and a friend to pick it up. Thank goodness cause the porch was chockablock and I hadn’t been able to access my workshop area for weeks.

With all those cabinets gone, I was finally able to get to my power tools and I’m afraid that proved to be a temptation too hard to resist. I never finished pulling nails in the kitchen… I got distracted.

I’ll share my creations later. Meanwhile Wayne has been warned to stay out of the kitchen and I’m feeling better even though I have to make toast in my office and have aching hands.

Being creative makes my day.


its sinking in


Deep breath.

I think I’ve narrowed it down.

I realised that whichever way I go, I need a sink with the space to put in two taps. See, we have rainwater tanks. And those tanks only work when the pump is working. ie if there’s a blackout we have no water in the house.

Or we wouldn’t have water in the house if we didn’t also have a gravity feed from the bore water tank.

Sure, the water isn’t the nicest to drink, but you can use it to wash up (to save rainwater) and cook with. For that reason we have 2 taps in the kitchen and in the bathroom. The mixer tap for ‘real’ water, and a regular cold water tap for the bore water.

So, after all that stuffing around yesterday and the tossing and turning last night, the conclusion I’ve come to is that NONE of those sinks I’d narrowed down to my list of 3 will do. None of them have enough space around the rim for 2 taps.

I now have a new list of 3, two of them are economical in price and come in shiny stainless steel, one is more expensive (but cheaper than the Franke) and comes in brushed stainless steel.

Needless to say I’m leaning towards the most expensive, brushed stainless one. Its called Posh. That’s so me… (not). Its got a bigger, deeper large bowl and a 1/2 bowl and overall size is 1050mm.

Next on the list are the Squareline sinks. Those are pretty much a tie in as much as bowl sizes, one has a 3/4 2nd bowl, the other has a 1/2 second bowl. Those are 980mm wide and 1080mm wide. If they done have the Posh in stock I’ll chose one of the others. They’re sold at the hardware store and they have plenty in stock. Or so they told me.

I choose to believe them.

So, I’ve made a decision. On Monday when the girl from the plumbing store calls to let me know if they can get the Franke in for me in time I’ll tell her I want the Posh instead, find out if they have one in store and go pick it up after work.

If they don’t I’ll just go buy one of the others.

Get the darn thing done and over with.

Now, on other news, I sit here while Handyman and significant other pull out the pantry in the kitchen. They already pulled out the corner unit so the electrician can put the wire in for the dishwasher. I’ve spend most of the day till now moving stuff from the pantry and rearranging things in the kitchen.

This is the bit I dislike about renovating.

The good news is that we have floorboards under the lino and under the masonite!!!!!!!!!!!!

When we rip out the rest of the kitchen cupboards we’ll lift up the flooring so the new cupboards can go on the floorboards!

That discovery really made my day!

Now I’m pondering whether to risk painting a bit on the porch rails. Will it rain? They said chance of early afternoon showers… Yesterday it poured and thundered. But the sun is playing hide and seek… The potato vine is saying ‘please paint so I can grow upwards’ but the sun is saying ‘go on, I dare you to paint’… decisions…



Today I spent the entire day looking at sinks. our kitchen guy said the cabinets would be ready in 3 weeks. A week ago. So I went shopping for a sink.

I started out unsure about what I wanted. By the end of the day I was unsure of who I was.

See, I thought I had the sink sorted.

Firstly, I wanted a double bowl sink. But I’ve managed for 3 years with a single bowl and it hasn’t killed me. Then I decided I won’t need 2 bowls. I’ll have a dishwasher.

I planned to go with a laundry tub – single bowl, big, deep. No drainboard, but my sink in Fentonbury didn’t have a drainboard and I managed for 8 years with no permanent scars. I still have the plastic white drainboard I bought for there. We could use that till I find something prettier.

Then our kitchen guy recommended a Franke sink, single bowl, with a bowl almost as big and deep as a laundry tub, with the added bonus of drainboard as well. Yay.

Today I found out that they need to order that sink from Melbourne. They say 7-10 days delivery.

So, do I go ahead and order it and risk the sink not arriving in time for the kitchen installation?

Wayne doesn’t want to risk it…

I spent the day looking for alternatives. Prices vary wildly from under $100 to over $1000.

I’m not insane. I’m not willing to pay more than the cost of the Franke sink ($396) if I’m to pick an alternative. The idea would be to find something cheaper and save money, right?

This is where things started to go downhill.

Single sink? One and 3/4 sink? Drainboard or no drainboard? Bigger, deeper sink or shallower and smaller overall?


I’m surprised I’m not still lying in the middle of the hardware kitchen aisle in a fetal position sucking my thumb….

I did what any normal (slightly OCD*) person would do.

I made up a comparison table.

Hey. It worked for me when I was buying my first new car. It should work when I find myself unable to make a decision for something that costs 1/100,000,000th of that.

By making a table, doing hands on research, pushing Google to its limits and driving a good friend to drink, I managed to narrow it down to a choice of 3 single bowl sinks. The Franke and 2 others which are smaller overall but still with good sized bowls and nice designs.

Too rounded?


Then I realised the bench top won’t be ready for installation in two weeks. If the kitchen is actually being installed in two weeks. We are talking about tradesmen here… We could put the old sink in the temporary bench top till the new bench top is finished and the sink arrives… I can still get the Franke.


It should be easy. Right?


*Tell me… is it normal to count everything? Is it possible to be ‘slightly OCD’ or have OCD tendencies? I count everything. I count snips when I trim pom poms. I count mugs as I rinse them. I count brushstrokes when I brush my teeth.

Basically, I count when my mind isn’t busy doing anything else.

Is that normal? Should I have my head examined?

a special find


I found the most gorgeous step ladder EVER.

I was picking up Wayne at work when I noticed this beauty in the middle of the training room.

You know me. I have an eye for special things. And this is special.

I had to have it. Turns out it belonged to a good friend of mine so I made an offer and this gorgeous stepladder is now living at my place.

Its in great condition considering its very old. There’s some staining on the timber and the middle step has broken off. Nothing a bit of sanding and gluing can’t fix.

(You don’t want to know what I paid for it, but I think it was worth it.)
I already have a spot planned for this baby. I’m going to put it in the entry/pantry.
This is the plan:
The entry to our house is a tiny little area which holds the fridge and the pantry cupboard I moved from the living room. (Minus its doors as the space is too cramped for doors.) Eventually I’d like to build a custom pantry which will go over the fridge to maximise storage space. 
This is what I’d like to build (from DIY Showoff).
The main problem, however, is that any pantry will be high and I can’t easily reach things on the top shelves.
This is where the step ladder comes in.
With a custom built pantry cupboard I’ll have a spot for the ladder to sit, keeping it handy for when I need to step up and get something from a top shelf…
…With the added benefit of looking pretty and being one of the first things I’ll see when I enter the house.
The custom pantry is a long way away, especially since I’m told that making it out of galvanised pipe will 
cost me an arm and a leg, so there’s no rush to fix this beauty up, but I’m sure glad I have it!

getting there slowly – kitchen update

Not much has actually happened in the kitchen yet, so the title of this post is misleading. However things are going to be happening. Soon, I hope.
This is where things are at.
Handyman has been over and worked on the end of the porch till he ran out of wood. That’s semi enclosed for now and already making a difference when its really hot, and today when the wind picked up and it rained horizontally.
Yesterday evening we sat on the bench at the end of the garden and looked back at the house and I’m loving how its looking. I love the enclosed end of the porch and the way the retaining wall frames the house.
Just squint a little and picture the painting finished… perhaps with some decorative corners on the posts…
Meanwhile the electrician has put in the new meter box and the gooseneck thingy where the power comes into the house. We’re waiting on the electricity company to come move the power before we can put the new window in the kitchen and finish lining the walls.
All the power points have been moved and we now have a power point outside for those times when you need power outdoors. Power has been pulled to where it’ll be needed for the new stove, dishwasher and rangehood.
My kitchen maker has been to confirm measurements and will be placing the order on Tuesday (Monday is a public holiday here) and thinks the new kitchen will be ready to install in 3 weeks.
That means that the week before we need to rip out the old kitchen bench and cabinets, lift the lino and masonite on the floor and hopefully find floorboards in decent condition. If so, I’ll need to give them a sand in preparation for the new cabinets to go in. If not we’ll be putting the masonite back and organising vinyl for the new floor.
I really hope we have nice floorboards.
Soon as I get the precise measurements for the new benchtop I can give them to Handyman so he can start making it. Then it can go in soon as the cabinets are in place.
I’ll have to organise delivery of the stove, rangehood and dishwasher so the kitchen can be put together at the same time. I think… The timing of this still kind of stumps me.
I know I need to organise a plumber gasfitter to come get everything ready for the stove and sink before they’re put in place, then come back to connect them up…
Ditto with the electrician when he puts in the bits he needs to wire in.
Remind me never to do something like this again…
Meanwhile I found this little beauty at the tip shop while looking for something else. I think it might be the perfect mobile island bench for the new kitchen. All it needs is new handles, a bit of TLC, a shelf and castors. Oh, and a new top to match the benchtop Handyman is making.
On another note, the garden is going well. I’m waiting for 3 of the 4 of these plants-who’s-name-I-have-forgotten to bloom so I can decide if and where I’ll put them in the garden. I love the pink but I don’t want red.
Wierd, but I don’t remember planting these seeds… Remember, I never wanted yellow flowers in my garden and now I have plenty of yellow flowers.
Oh well. The garden is a work in progress. I can always dig up, pull out and move things I don’t like.
Yesterday I planted a ton more seeds in pots so hopefully they’ll start sprouting soon and I can add them to the garden. There are already a few things which are ready to be put in. Its just a matter of deciding where they should go and put them in.
I’ll have a pretty garden yet!