Sunday, June 30, 2013


Winter is here and this house is freezing! I'm not talking a light-cardigan-across-the-shoulders temperature, I'm talking arctic, balls off a brass monkey situation.

It's been ridiculously cold in Brisbane lately anyway, but the fact that the house is sooo high, has only one layer of insulation, no floor coverings, limited window furnishings and NO heating means this house and everyone in it FREEZES!

Duh, I hear you say, why don't you just buy one of those cheap little heaters. Well, here's the thing. Electricity is really expensive in Queensland and I really want to try and be more environmental. So rather than just run the heater constantly, I am trying to do things in a more environmentally conscious manner.

Starting with downstairs. There is nothing but an open space underneath the house and you can literally feel the cold air coming up from under the floorboards in the downstairs space and in turn on the upper floor.

Josh has all his music equipment stored in the downstairs area on a small rug and the space is so, so cold. It's 3.5m X 4.4m and I looked at rugs to provide a buffer from the draught coming from under the floor, but for that size we were looking at $500+. Not ideal.

I was looking on Gumtree (yep, I've turned into one of THOSE people) and there was a carpet wholesaler moving to smaller premises so they were getting rid of all their stock, some for as low as $5/metre. I picked up this 4.0m X 4.0m remanent for $50. It's made from wool, in charcoal with a modern square embossing. It's a bit short on one end but that's OK. It's only temporary.

I think it's a *bit*warmer. It certainly hasn't made the place 10 degrees warmer, but every little bit helps I say.

It's school holidays too and the house has been full of teenage boys for the past 4 days :-/.  I've decided that this downstairs area will become a teenagers retreat. We can still fit a lounge (that can maybe convert to a bed) and cheap TV and I can throw them down there with all their noise and smell :-). Magic.

Saturday, June 29, 2013

Blindingly Good!

Ohhh I'm getting so good at putting up blinds, I'm almost a pro. Not! But it's taking me way less than 40 minutes to install one these days. I do a little DIY jig after I finish each job, Dora the Explorer style..."We did it, we did it...".

This is the window in the entranceway, directly in front of the main door leading up the staircase. I put it there to create a "light and airy entrance hall" and while it totally does that, it also looks straight into our neighbour's house, is completely visible from the road and the sun that shines through will eventually fade the flooring.

Before installation. Anyone walking past on the road can see straight in. Further exacerbated at night. Not ideal.

The view to the neighbours without the blind. That's their kitchen. I'd keep the windows closed too! It's bad enough they have to live next door to a house that casts a shadow down the street, but to have a window that looks straight into their kitchen isn't fabulous for them either. Hopefully they don't feel like they're in so much of a gold fish bowl now.

Oh...the blind was on sale too from Spotlight. 40% off plus another 25% for Spotlight card holders which reduced it to grand total of....$13. Ye-huh. The custom price for this window was $ I'm pretty happy.

Friday, June 28, 2013

Red Love

I'm loving all things red at the moment. Not sure why. These are on my wish list.

Hayman Quilt Cover Set by Home Republic - Love

Akira Isogowa Rug - would love beautiful in the in the entrance. So expensive...sigh.
Chevron Pillow. This might actually come off the wishlist because it's on sale for $18.

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

The Evolution of the Window Furnishings in the Master Bedroom

Longest title of a post in my blog EVER! Probably because there was no other way to describe it really. The sliding doors from the master bedroom that lead out to the front balcony overlook a fairly main road. Not only that, because we are up so high, it's really, really noticeable.

The ensuite also directly faces the sliding door so I'd come straight out of the shower and give the neighbours (and passers-by) a show they certainly didn't ask for. So for the first few weeks, we pinned up a quilt cover on one side, and the other side was covered by some cardboard from the box that dining room table came in. Ugly? Oh yes. Effective? Uh-huh.

We ended up using the box to protect the floors downstairs while we were having a party and it got trashed so for a long time we were using a coreflute building sign (thanks work) which was only half the size of the door's height, so I had to duck every time I got out of the shower and shuffle soldier style across the floor to the wardrobe. That too met its demise when Jansen used it as a cutting board to fillet some poor fishy he caught up in North Queensland. So that brings us to version number three. This oh-so-fashionable picnic rug taped to the walls with Command M hooks. Awesome right? No.

Anyway, I grew very tired of looking at this version every night, it was a bit depressing. In the quote I got for custom roller blinds for the house, the door alone was going to be almost $500, way more exy than my picnic rug and way over my budget. So my only option really was DIY. The only problem was that with the DIY roller blinds, even the fab ones from my eBay supplier, there would most likely be a gap between them and I wasn't that keen for that in my bedroom. So I decided on eyelet curtains. Easy, affordable and you can get thermal backed ones that help keep in the heat.

Spotlight (am seriously loving this place lately), were having a sale 30% off rods and curtains and if you had a VIP card you could get an extra 25% off. Awesome. Both cost a total of about $110. Bargain.

Measure twice....

Drill once!

...actually, drill three times because my hand kept slipping. Pass the Spakfilla please...

Actually, just get someone taller and better at it to do it. Like your six foot tall, 14 year old, who's now used to fixing up his mother's DIY mistakes.

Ta-da!!! OK, I'll admit, this isn't probably my favourite style curtain in the whole world. It's a slightly shiny, leaf pattern which could border on nana-like, HOWEVER, it was sooo cheap that it'll totally do for the moment. And it's 1000% better than the quilt cover/cardboard box combination. It is also slightly too long but that's because I didn't want to put the rod into the gyprock, I think it's much safer in the frame. I'm considering getting a sewing machine just for little jobs like this and also to make some cushion covers after seeing how expensive they are.

Spent my first night without having to do the ensuite-to-wardrobe nudie run. Slept soundly without the flash of headlights coming through the window at all hours and woke to a *slightly* warmer bedroom. You can see, with the curtains open, how exposed the room was to the world.

Definitely a job worth doing. Show's over neighbours :-).

Sunday, June 16, 2013

The Bedrooms

Master Bedroom
Ok, so the house "officially" has 4 bedrooms on the upper level and there is room downstairs "unofficially" for another bedroom. That was how it was designed, but not how it's all ended up entirely.

The downstairs area was supposed to be a guest wing as it has the separate bathroom next to it, however the space that was supposed to be a bedroom is just an open space at the moment with Josh's drum set and guitars (ohhhh our neighbours looove us).

Master Bedroom Ensuite
Upstairs, the master bedroom is being used by moi as its intended purpose, especially the ensuite and walk in wardrobe (ohhhh my wardrobe). The bed frame and side tables were from the original house, they were just about the only pieces of furniture that survived the flood, mainly because they were solid timber.

The quilt cover set is by Marie Claire and my absolutely favourite. It too went through the flood and was on my bed at the time, but because the bed floated to the ceiling and gently back down again as the waters receded,  it was only the edges that got wet. Amazingly, the clothes and pillows that were on top of the bed came out of the flood completely dry.

Like all of the other rooms, the master bedroom still needs window furnishings, rugs and wall art. There's also space for a TV and an antenna point, but I have a "no-electronics in the bedrooms" rule so that space could have a painting on the wall and a little comfy chair and table set in the space. Of course there is NO money left in the decorating budget so I might have to make those out of cardboard.

Josh chose to have the room that was a teenier bit longer (and really only longer by about 500mm) but had the smaller wardrobe. I would have chosen the wardrobe over the space ;-).

His bed too survived the flood however it's really only going to last another year at the most. He's just a touch under six foot and if his head isn't close to the bedhead then his feet hang over the end. I did buy him new Sheridan linen recently though when they were having a sale. They were soooo cheap, cheaper than I could have bought at Target!

We bought some photo frames from Ikea to put up on his wall, but one broke and then fell off the wall, so now there is a big space with just a CommandM tab on his wall. He just needs a rug and roller blinds and his room will be complete.

He loves it so much though, after 2 years of moving around and temporary bedrooms, he's pretty chuffed at having somewhere to put his favourite guitar permanently.

The third bedroom is the guest room. There's already been two lots of guests in here, but none with this Sheridan linen, which I also got for an absolute bargain. We just need roller blinds, valance, bedside tables, lamps, rug and maybe some wall art, but at the moment, that's hardly a priority. For the moment it's at least a place for our guests to sleep.

The fourth bedroom has been converted to a study for the moment.

Friday, June 14, 2013

Bernard Villemot

Am so naughty. Just bought this vintage Campari poster by Villemot online. It's 900mm x 600mm. I don't even know where I'm going to put it in the house - I just know I love it! Its simplicity. Its sophistication. I have a terrible weakness for Bernard Villemot, particularly his artwork for Bally.

Arrrrgh! No roller blinds for me this payweek.

Also wanted this Villemot, but drew the line. One blowout this pay week is enough!

...although I still need to get a frame for the Campari one...

Thursday, June 13, 2013

Chop! Chop!

I came home yesterday and there was a rather unassuming package on the doorstep. When I opened it, OMG, it was a 6 piece Global knife set.

Whoa!!! That's not really the kinda thing a courier should leave on the doorstep, without a signature, at a house without a fence.

Still - WOWSERS! These are like the Mercedes Benz of knives, who would send such things?

After much texting around to find the mystery sender, turns out it was Jansen. Apparently he was sick of using my crappy knives when he made dinner. Awww that's so sweet.

He's so right, we actually don't have any proper knives at all. We've been using a set of Victorinox steak knives to cut everything and it's a particular bitch when you're trying to cut a breadstick. We have a fancy schmancy bread knife to do that now.

They're amazing!!! The kitchen looks all gourmet with its fancy knife block :-)

(I'm very lucky...)

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Blinds! Well...blind.

One of the smaller windows in the living room -
looks straight into the neighbour's windows.
When you're sitting on the couch, we can see straight
into the neighbour's kitchen.

When I asked Tony to design a house that was "light and airy" I didn't consider the implications of the windows. Lots of windows! Lots of full height windows. 

I thought that we could get away without window furnishings, at least in the short term, but it became pretty obvious as soon as we moved in that we wouldn't be able to do that.

Because we are so high up and on a main road, we look straight into our lowset neighbours on either side and everyone driving past can see straight into the front master bedroom (currently covered with a bedsheet and carboard box).

I got a quote from a well known, cheap blind supplier who were having a 30% off sale. The cost, after the discount for simple roller blinds for the house - $3200.


Apparently that is pretty reasonable, given the size and number of windows in the house, but HOLY CRAP!!

It was simply out of our budget. The roller blind for the window in the pic above was going to be $210 including installation. 

Miss Kirty to the rescue again! She sent me the link to some DIY blinds she bought on eBay as a temporary measure for her new home until, like us, she was more financial. But she's been so happy with the quality the blinds are now permanent and she saved a bomb in the meantime.

I had to stand on a chair.
Josh had to stand on...

I bought one over the weekend just to see how they looked and how easy it would be to install. There was a discount for local pick up and the price for the 90cm x 210cm white thermal blind was a grand total of $25. Sweet. It took about 40 minutes to install, but now that we know how to do it, I think the next one would only be 20 minutes.

I can totally do this! The plan is just to pick up a couple each pay week, starting with the most exposed windows. The whole house should be done in a few months.

I love these blinds! They're blocking out the neighbours so they don't get a show they didn't ask for, it's blocking out the sun so the floorboards don't fade and it's keeping the heat in, which is great for Winter. The quality is awesome too...even if they are made in Cina :-P

Saturday, June 8, 2013


Freedom Furniture have seriously picked up their game in the last season. I LOVE all their range lately, and I'm totally in love with this retro chair. I would so love it for the living room or reading nook.

Shame it's out of my budget at the moment :-(

Love! Love! Love!

Thursday, June 6, 2013

Pantry Perfection

My old college friend Chris was visiting from New Zealand last week He's a bit of a foodie and couldn't sit still while I was making dinner (probably also because I'm painfully slow) so he rolled up his sleeves to give me a hand.

I couldn't work out if it was stunned silence or horror but he was in the walk in pantry for a long time before he came out and said, "how on Earth can you find anything in here?" Jansen, thanks very much, chimed in with, "I know, right?"

Fair point though. It's just something I hadn't had time to sort out and because it has a door, I'd just slam it shut whenever I got sick of looking at the mess. It had become the pantry/storage room and a stack of non-food related items had been thrown in there. Stuff was on the floor, on the shelves and all the plastic bags flew everywhere when you opened the door. By my own admission it was horrendous.

I finally cleaned it up. It only took me the better part of an hour so I don't know why I put it off for so long. It looks soooo much better and turns out I don't even have that much food! It's only half way there. When I designed it I had visions of everything in neat little containers, with baking zones, sauce zones, saucepans stacked neatly on one shelf...Vogue Living style.


That's NEVER going to happen. I should just stop kidding myself now and be happy I just got to the stage where I can see the floor!

Annoyingly Chris probably won't be back in the country for a while. Not because of my pantry I hope. I'll have to send him this pic.

Monday, June 3, 2013

Art Wall

I've finally done something with the blank wall in the reading nook. It's the first wall in the entire house to have some decoration. We don't even have a clock up!

We're on a ridiculously tight budget, almost zero really, so this was kind of a temporary project and then when we're a bit more financial we might upgrade.

The frames were a housewarming present from my bestie (very useful) and the artworks were a collection of cards, artwork and printouts from the internet.

And look at my flash animated gif skills. Clever aren't I?  (Not really, you too can do it