Thursday, January 31, 2013

Cabinetry *Fail*

It seemed like a good the time. Seamless cabinetry of glossy white, with no handles to draw away from the flow.

But...the cabinetry is laminate not 2Pac and so instead of gently rounded and smooth tops to the pull out drawers and cabinets, we have two pieces of laminate put together on a 45° which feels like the edge of a knife when you touch it. With the soft close drawers as well they are extra hard to pull out and just way too sharp.

I can add handles at a later date and TBH I probably will because the constant opening and closing I think will wear and tears the joins and will eventually separate the laminate from the bases.

*Sigh* was good in concept, just not great in execution.

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Me Likey!

I'm loving these retro posters from Custom Canvas Company. They're on sale too at Temple & Webster if you like them too ;-)

The original design for the house had an additional living space on the ground floor and these would have looked awesome in there. Shame I had to take it out to save money. I can't think of anywhere they would work in the house....except maybe the granny flat?


Localised flooding

We are thanking our lucky stars that neither the new house and back granny flat, or the rental we are in were affected by the floods. Very grateful, we are. (Yoda).

Our thoughts though have turned to the disasters in Bundaberg, Laidley and soon to be Grafton. What an incredible force of nature this flood crisis has been.

The builders managed to get back on site this morning, but the power is out so they couldn't get much done today.

The only damage done has been some of the timber stain leeching onto the new paintwork. I'm not sure how they're going to rectify this. My cousin said to make sure it's not just painted over otherwise it will seep back through later. No biggie really, all things considered. Just another event to put life into perspective.

Monday, January 28, 2013

Deja Vu....

Backyard, 28 January 2013, 8.54am

I NEVER thought I would say this least not so soon. But it looks like we are going to flood again. The remnants of Cyclone Oswald has sent wild weather throughout Queensland including tornados (??!?!?!), wind gusts, storms and flooding. People have lost their lives in Bundaberg, homes and businesses have gone under and they're predicting flooding throughout South East Queensland.

Deja Vu.

The Government began releasing water from Wivenhoe Dam a few days ago and have released flood maps modelling the predicted flood levels for the next few days. The peak will be Tuesday afternoon and again on Wednesday.

Karina's House Project is in the floodzone. Seriously?? Are you kidding me? Hehe...I'm beginning to think I pissed Mother Nature off in a big way in a previous life.

End of the street, 28 January 2012, 11.29am

On a positive note, the waters are predicted to be 2 metres lower than the 2011 flood levels, which will still flood parts of my granny flat down the back, but (hopefully) not the ground level of the so close to being finished new house.

On a super sucky note, the brand new, retro style couch I bought is stored in the granny flat. Grrrr. Annoyingly I asked the builders on Friday to move it up to the top level of the house, just in case, and they put it up on a park bench that was in the granny flat and said if it started to flood they would come back and move it. I let it ride, I don't think ANYONE predicted we would have this kind of situation again. I called him on it, but he is cut off by flood waters and can't get to the house...and he has the only key.

The brand new couch on the park bench
My mate with the ute AND a boat is o/s at the moment and may not even get back on schedule today due to weather conditions so no chance of moving it to our rental.  Lucky for us, our super awesome neighbours have let us store the couch at their place until the floodwaters recede.

Our power has been out at our rental since yesterday so I am at a local Macca's, drinking terrible coffee, charging my laptop and phone and posting this blog. The next 48 hours will be critical.

The house and granny flat though are #FirstWorldProblems. We've been through this before and all these things can be replaced. For the family of those who have lost their lives, my deepest sympathies. For those in the firing line of the flood, take care and stay safe. xx

Saturday, January 26, 2013

Feature tiles in the shower niche

The tiling is over the half way mark! The floors are done and there's just the walls and grouting to finish. Woohoo!

This is the niche in the main bathroom and the one in the ensuite is similar. The builder has made a suggestion to put some sort of feature tile in there to make it stand out a bit more, otherwise it just gets lost in the rest of the space if we use the same tile.

I've never really thought about it, but it does make sense. I'm in two minds. Firstly I like the whole idea of everything being white and seamless and there will be chrome edging around it which will highlight it somewhat. On the other hand, as everything is white there is no defining feature in that main bathroom so it wouldn't be too overpowering. There is one painted wall in there, as opposed to tiled, so we were going to put a painting or a feature piece in there, but it doesn't face this niche. Also, because of electricity regulations, I couldn't put the feature pendant over the freestanding bath like I had intended, so even less features.

Here's some pics I found.

Here's a pic without feature tiles, courtesy of Jeff's Organizing and Decluttering News website. I do kinda like that seamless, all white look.

Here's one with a feature tile in the shower niche surrounded by tiles that are about the same size as mine. (Photo from Coburn Constructions.) I really quite like this look as well. I'd probably look at a small glass mosaic tile or something really subtle.

What do you think?

I guess another thing I have to consider is that the tilers really only have a few more days work in this and given the stress and meltdown I had even picking the floor and wall tiles in the first place, I would probably be under a lot of pressure and that's when bad decisions are made.

*Sigh* I just don't know!

The rains are coming...

I love the sound of rain, especially on a tin roof. In Brisbane though this weekend, we're expecting over 300mm, the remnants of Cyclone Oswald up in North Queensland. As it's travelled south, it's caused widespread flooding and damage. It's Mother Nature, I know, and she makes me nervous.

I asked the builders to move the couch that's stored in the granny flat...just in case.

Friday, January 25, 2013

The Roof Shout

I didn't know about the concept of the "Roof Shout" - eg when you shout your builders and tradies a carton of beer when they finish the roof. Seeing as my roof was put on weeks ago,  I completely missed it.  I did try to make up for it today in time for the long weekend.

And I shouted Coronas...surely I'm forgiven?

They told me I missed the plaster shout as well. No one has told me about that one. I think they might be pulling my leg.

Down Lights - White or Chrome?

There's 32 down lights to go in the house and I was always going to use white so it would blend, but now I'm leaning towards satin chrome after seeing them in someone else's house.

The satin chrome (I think) would add add an upmarket touch and there are aluminium kickboards in the kitchen which would tie in with the downlights in the living room.

I was a little worried too that the white lights would start to look a little dirty after a while and also one of the white lights (not the one shown) had gone yellow after being on display for so long.


The satin chrome one is on sale!! I've only been looking at the ones without the glass front as the one with it is $15 which is a lot more expensive. The lovely lady at the store also said without the glass they don't heat up as much.

Which one do you prefer?


Downlights - Satin Chrome or White?

Thursday, January 24, 2013

Tiling Grout

The builder sent me out to Sumner Park to choose a grout colour for the floor tiles. I had originally said to him that I just wanted white, but he insisted I go out and have a look myself and I'm glad he did. There were probably 24 colours and white would have been way too light for the look I was after.

The colour I chose was "Buff". I've put the tile on the right side to compare and this one is definitely the closest.

The floor tile is a rectified porcelain, which will have about a 3mm grout, so hopefully, it will all look seamless.

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

*Epic* Tiling Fail

That moment you realise you've had an epic tile fail.

I've screwed up. Big time. Daryl the interior designer extraordinairre had designed the cabinetry and in particular the mirrored cabinets to line up with the large format tiles we'd chosen for the walls.

*Somewhere* along the line I changed tiles from the 550mm wide to 600mm, I think because I got a better price and it wasn't until yesterday when we were lining up the tiles that I realised my mistake.

Put it down to experience I guess, but I'm very annoyed with myself.

I hope it's not something that I walk past 10 times a day and are annoyed with. These things give me a twitch!

Monday, January 21, 2013

Bedding Love

I'm a bit obsessed with bedlinen at the moment and all the gorgeous quilt covers I love seem to be on sale. We still have at least 5 weeks to go before we can move in so I'm not sure if I should get them.

Ikat in Smoke by Aura by Tracie Ellis

Koya by Marie Claire

In the year before the flood I had bought up on decent linen for the first time in my life. White Sheridan sheets, Marie Claire quilt covers, all chosen after much consideration and the use of a number of gift cards from credit card points I'd traded in.

The bed after the flood
Despite the floodwaters rising to just under the ceiling, the bedlinen on the very top of the beds remained dry. There were a pile of clothes that I left on top of the beds that were also dry.  The waters must have risen so gently that the beds floated to the top and then back down again as the waters subsided.

Marie Claire Bedlinen after the flood

Sadly I couldn't save any of the linen. Despite being dry on top, the waters had soaked through the mattress and onto the underside of the linen and not even the strongest bleach could shift the stains.

A good excuse to buy some new stuff right?

Sunday, January 20, 2013

Day 124 - External Painting in Progress

External painting is almost complete - colour is Dulux "White on White"

The first full week of the builders back on site for the year and the external paint is nearly complete. In fact they were there on a Saturday when I went for a site visit.

I'm glad I chose white. It's so fresh and clean, although I'm sure it won't stay like that for very long. Luckily I bought a Kartcher after the floods and I'm pretty handy with it.

The two main columns surrounding the carport are still yet to be painted "Pail Grey" and I think that will add another dimension to facade. Being all white I think looks a little stark and two dimensional IMHO.

Gratuitous shirtless painter photo. Prob not the best idea for UV protection.

Cabinetry Follow Up

Had a site meeting with the builder and cabinet maker on site on Saturday to run over a few cabinetry issues that have been worrying me of late. I'm confident most of them are resolved or at least addressed.

I wrote in a previous post that I was worried that the island bench looked like it was too far to the right and the space looked unbalanced, but I took advice from h&b and took some photos from a different angle and I feel much better about it now.

The cabinetry in the main bathroom and ensuite was supposed to look symmetrical even though cabinet on the right is one large pull out drawer. I thought you could just put a fake faceplate on it, but because of angle of the pull outs they wouldn't look they match. It was good lesson in communication because somewhere along the line we were lost in translation. It will have to stay like this :-(.

The gaps between these panels were supposed to be 15mm but when they were put in they just looked to wide to me and indeedy they 2mm (size does matter ;-P). To me they looked clunky and basically looked like a bit of a mistake. They were supposed to be a subtle difference. Anyway, to rectify, we've reduced them even further to 10mm. I'm happy with this outcome.

Friday, January 18, 2013

Found a pendant for the dining room...finally!

The dining room pendant was the last on my lighting list and the one I struggled with the most. I'd originally fallen in love with the David Trubridge Coral Pendant, but even with my lovely contacts, it was still going to be over $400 and at the moment, the budget is just too close.

I've been searching for something cheaper for a long time and finally I found it - this Marakesh Pendant from Andrew's Light Up Australia. I just love the simplicity of the design with its three strips of timber around a white cylinder.

The David Trubridge Coral Pendant Lamp I REALLY wanted...but I can't justify the $400+ price tag.

This is what I bought. It was 25% off so down to $97. Much more reasonable.

We are about 4-5 weeks away from completion so I think the electrician will be installing these pretty soon. I'm pretty excited and very happy with this choice. I might set this pendant quite low over the table to make the dining atmosphere more intimate.

Does anyone have any more advice?

ABC Radio Interview

I did an interview on ABC Local Radio with the absolutely gorgeous Emily Jade O'Keefe about my experience in rebuilding after the floods.

She asked me about the day the house flooded, all the personal effects we lost, how we have been coping since the flood, the house blog and the decision to demolish and rebuild.

This is the first time I've done a radio interview and I was pretty nervous. Emily Jade, with her voice like silk, was such a fantastic presenter and interviewer and put me totally at ease. I must admit I thought that being a radio DJ was all fun and games and just chatting, but she had researched, written all her intros and to see her ask questions on the back of my answers without so much as a pause made me realise I was in the presence of an ultimate professional. I think we counted over 50 "ums" from my part and not a single one from her. #Respect.

The ABC Studios are at South Bank, next to the Wheel of Brisbane overlooking the Brisbane River and the city skyline. It's such a gorgeous setting and the interview was at night so the city was spectacular.

Emily Jade had heard of me through the house blog. While it was originally started just as a personal journal for me, it's been such a fantastic medium for meeting amazing people, sharing stories and receiving advice. I'm so glad I started it and so grateful for the experiences it's brought me.

You can listen to the whole interview here.

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Kitchen Dilemma

The builders were back on site this week - yipeee - but with that brought a few new issues I hadn't noticed before Christmas.

Mainly the issue is that the outside of the breakfast bar is lined up with the wall of the dining room and to me that makes the breakfast bar look off centre.

I've asked a few people and they have said it looks fine, but I can't shake the nagging feeling that it doesn't look balanced.

As the benchtops haven't gone in, it could still be moved to the left, but the issues would be that it would impede on the space to open the fridge. Subsequently too, the right side of the breakfast bar would then not line up with the outside of the dining wall.

What do you think?

Sunday, January 13, 2013

Two years on...

This is the one day of the year I can say I knew exactly where I was and what I was doing two years ago.

Today marks two years since the floods consumed South East Queensland, flooding 22,000 homes in Brisbane alone and left many people dead and businesses and lives destroyed.

The night before we had watched the coverage of flood which was expected to peak at about 4am. I hardly slept a wink that night and woke to the horrible, but expected news. Our suburb had gone under and so too, I expected, our little home.

The next 48 hours seemed to float along in slow motion, surrealism.

We went down to Bulimba and watched the waters rising along the Brisbane River. Drift Restaurant, released from its moorings in Toowong was upstream and floated past us in a tangled mess after hitting the bridge in the city.

Anna Bligh gave her historic "We are Queenslanders" speech and while I'm not a Labor supporter, it did give me a sense of community and pride and I actually teared up.

We managed to get back to our suburb later that night and while we could get into our street, access to our house was still cut off from the floodwaters.

The neighbours further up the street who had stayed during the floods told us our house had flooded almost to the ceiling, so we had an idea of the task ahead of us. This is me looking back towards our house, which has the blue fence.

While the last two years have been quite trying, things are definitely looking up. We are just weeks away from being back in our home . We didn't do anything to commemorate the day, in fact I wasn't even in town, but I did have a few moments of quite reflection. Not just for that day, but for the lives that were lost, for the people who are still rebuilding and the sum of all our experiences over the past two years. Onward and upwards though, life goes on. Forever though, I will always remember the 13th January and where we were on that day in 2011.

Monday, January 7, 2013

A second opinion

I've been really happy with the builders so far, everything looks like it's in the right place. But my knowledge of building is really limited so I dragged a builder friend over to check out the structure.

His verdict? All good. Very reassuring. Not that I had any concerns anyway, sometimes it's just good to get an independent second opinion.

He particularly noted the workmanship on the front portico deck.

Happy days.

Friday, January 4, 2013

Could I have renovated?

People often ask me why I didn't renovate the original house rather than going through the stress that has been the subdivision and rebuild.

It's true, I took the long and hard route and had I simply restored the original house back to what it was, I probably would have been back in 18 months ago. It all came down to simple economics and opportunity.

Firstly, the house sat in the middle of a 1012m2 block with a 20 metre frontage in an area that wasn't in a Demolition Control Precinct (DCP). In Brisbane you can subdivide a minimum 809m2 block to create 2 x 405m2 small lots. My block (technically) would easily be large enough to subdivide. It was the perfect opportunity to split the block and build back on one side only, so I could sell the other block later down the track.

Secondly, the cost per square metre of renovating, particularly an older style home like mine was, is much more expensive than the cost per metre of building new. The structure of the original home was quite badly damaged, particularly the back deck, which had sunk significantly into the ground and needed to be demolished and rebuilt. The rest of the home had sunk in places and needed to be levelled with packers under bearers. The cost of rebuilding the home back to what it was before the flood, was almost the same as building a brand new home. Restoring the original house did not include the cost of raising it to be flood proof and for resale value, for which I was quoted about $28K. The cost of rebuilding didn't take into account town planning fees or demolition.

So in the end it made much more sense to spend the same amount of money to create 2 blocks of land and a floodproof home rather than a low set, flood prone home on a single block.


You might find this interesting. Recently we sold my Grandmother's post war home that had been her home for decades. It is similar to my home, I guess just higher. The person who bought it has done an AMAZING job completely transforming it.


This is the house before it was sold. Structurally it was still very good but it needed a good clean out.

This is it after. I was stunned!!  It was so unrecognisable, I almost drove straight past it.

It's projects like these that make me wonder whether I could have renovated the old house back to its pre flood condition. I probably could have, but then I say "nah", it's all good.

Tuesday, January 1, 2013

Look how far we've come!

While work sits idle on site while the builders take a much needed break (they've worked flat out since the floods in January 2011), I am going slowly crazy. So far away.

So I put together this photo montage to remind myself of exactly how far they've come, in a relatively short period of time.

26 September 2012

2 October 2012

12 October 2012

12 October 2012
16 October 2012

18 October 2012

3 November 2012

20 November 2012

23 November 2012

22 December 2012