Sunday, December 31, 2017

First open house

First open house is done and dusted and we had a pretty good turnout, given it's the Christmas period. The people sent their gelato cart, giving away free gelato to visitors that came to the open house. It was good publicity and loads of people stopped (who wouldn't for free gelato). Don't think they were buyers though.

I had the rose milk and pistatio. Delicious!! But back to the open's a few more pics from the photo shoot. Everything looks so...neat!

I can't believe how open and airy the dining room and balcony look with all the windows, doors and blinds open. One of the selling points of the home is that it has loads of natural light, but that also fades the floors, so I generally keep the blinds down in the morning and I always have the screen doors shut. This just looks...weird.

The guest bedroom looks like it always generally does. Aside from a few staying guests over the years (and some of Josh's drunk mates), this room doesn't get used that much.

We styled the room that Josh uses as his study/media room/mates hang out, as a baby's room. It's a family home after all and it looked really lovely.

Ohh the ensuite is so sparkly! And I love that you can see the new charcoal curtains in the background. I love this house so much...I'm still a bit sad to not be living there, especially at this time of the year when we used to have the beautiful Christmas tree up and people around for Christmas Day lunch.

Saturday, December 30, 2017

We are on the market!

Yep, Karina's House Project is up for sale and it's a mixture of sadness, excitement and looking forward to the future.

There's so much love I have for this house, so much love that's gone into this house and so much love that's been in this house. I really believe you can feel it and saying goodbye makes me sad. On the other hand though, it'll be interesting to see exactly what the property is worth. There is nothing like it in the area - 4 bedroom, 3 bathroom and 2 living areas on a 506m2 block. Most small lot blocks are 405m2 and because the house and the bottom level are incomplete, there's still potential to extend the house and have loads of outdoor living under the house. So actually getting to a price is exciting. And finally, once we move on I'll be looking for a new housing project - either reno or build new again and that really makes me look forward to the future.

The real estate photos have come up amazingly and the house looks showroom perfect. We've moved out so we don't have the hassle of needing to clean up every week and so it looks pristine at a moment's notice if the agent wants to bring someone through outside of open home times. I also hate the thought of people rifling through our cupboards and stuff while they're there - not to sticky beak, but if I was a buyer I'd be looking through to see what sort of capacity there was and configuration of drawers. So moving out was an obvious decision and also depersonalises the spaces so people can more easily imagine themselves in there.

It was also a great opportunity to see the home (and have it photographed) without all our crap in it. Not that we were messy or hoarders, but you know, we had to live. Without all that, it's a house, not a home, but still a nice house :).

And now it's really like a brand new display home. It wasn't that old and we've taken really good care of it,  but just because of general wear and tear we gave it a good spruce up. Jansen resiliconed all the showers and we had all the grouting in the bathrooms cleaned, the house washed from head to toe and all the windows and window tracks cleaned. The place is sparkling and I'm so proud. I hope someone falls in love with it like I did and wants to buy it.

Sunday, December 17, 2017

This sweet little tea set ❤️

I'm SUPPOSED to be decluttering and downsizing the house in preparation for sale, but I saw this sweet little tea set about six months ago and I kept seeing it whenever I was in Kikki-K.

Then it went on sale....

It's sooo cute isn't it? And in my defence I don't actually have a teapot, so I WILL actually use it. There was a little tea cup and saucer in the set as well but it's sold out. Sad face.

Monday, December 11, 2017


I was watering the gardenias the other day and noticed this not-so-little fella. And then another, and another, and another until I lost count. There were hundreds and they were HUGE!!! They were devouring the leaves at a rapid rate leaving (pardon the pun) not much in their wake.

While they are slowly killing what I've spent so, so many long hours tending to, I really didn't want to kill them. They become beautiful butterflies and help pollinate other flowers.

So I'll be picking off these little suckers one by one. I'll never get them all but I can reduce the impact somewhat and they should be happy munching on the mulberry tree in the vacant lot next door.

Friday, December 8, 2017

Backyard Update

Thought it was time to give an update on the backyard, five months after the makeover where we put up the fence, laid turf and created some garden beds.

You'll see that the turf is well established, and believe it or not, no one is more surprised than me! We did this on a super tight budget, with the cheapest (and possibly nastiest) of materials and zero hired labour - just me! A recipe for disaster really, but months on, here we are and the grass is lush and thriving.

While we didn't start with the best of materials, I did spend a LOT of time tending it, like copious watering, fertilising and applying weed and feed, in an effort to get it established. It worked, but certainly cost me - I only just got the water bill for those two months and it was DOUBLE what they normally were. Oh well, hopefully it's a one off.

The plants haven't fared quite as well, with all the cordylines succumbing to too much direct sunlight. The bromeliads are still OK, but I feel will always look a bit sparse.  While I did set myself the challenge to get all the plants for free, I really think I may need to spend some money to get some plants, shrubs and trees that will have more height and create more shade and privacy, especially given next door will start building any day now.

However, I always try and look back to remember how far I've come and given this was the backyard really not that long ago, I'm super grateful for the progress we've made so far.

Saturday, December 2, 2017

New charcoal curtains for the master bedroom - huzzah!

Finally...after many years I've upgraded the 'temporary' curtains in the master bedroom to these divine  charcoal coloured ones and they look ah-mazing!! I was worried that they may be too dark but it's such a large bedroom, it was completely fine. They're made from a heavy, textured wool with matching rubber backing so they totally blocked out prying eyes and the sun.

When I first built the house I didn't budget for window furnishings. I just thought I'd grab some blinds from Spotlight or just whatever not realising how unbelievably expensive they were, even from the discount stores. Collectively, there's almost 20 windows in the house, some double, some triple and not all are standard sizes. One blind alone was $300, so it became an ongoing project that I would just get one at a time, when I could afford it or when they went on sale from the online store I bought all of them from.

This was the temporary curtain for the master bedroom. It was super, super cheap from Spotlight, but did the job for three years so I'm totally grateful. This bedroom faces the front front road so in terms of priorities, this one should have been at the top of the list. But ironically, cause it did the job, it ended up being the last one we changed out. I'll admit, they were pretty nana like, but they kept the space private so no complaining.

Loving these new curtains now though!

Sunday, November 26, 2017

Number 55

We've gone from number 57 to number 55 without moving! When we subdivided (a while ago now) the spare block took the original number 57 that we'd always been and the house became number 55. We hadn't changed anything officially on correspondence because it all just seemed too hard and the new owners of the spare block hadn't yet started building.

But there were a couple of things that we did have to change and that was Council rates and utilities. When they tried to deliver to 55 and complained they couldn't find the letterbox, we figured it was time to do something...officially.

So we've finally made the change and the letterbox was the start. It looks really weird after being 57 for so long.

Friday, November 24, 2017

New bar stools!!

I've treated myself to an early Christmas present of new bar stools for the kitchen and I'm loving them so much I think that will also cover my birthday and Christmas for next year!!

These lovelies have been on my wishlist for AGES. They're replica Yvonne Potter Y stools and I love the simplicity of their design. The footprint isn't as wide as many of the other stools so they don't jut out as wide from the bench and the fineness of the legs don't take away from the statement island bench. These came in a variety of materials - like oak seat and white legs, but this combo matches the rest of the chrome and walnut elements throughout the house. I'm LOVING them.

I'm also loving the price I got them for. As per usual I've kept them on a watch list until they went on sale and while patience is a virtue I don't usually have, when it comes to large purchases I don't really have much choice and in the end it usually pays off. These were a great price and I intend to have these for a long time so I consider them a worthy investment.

The old bar stools certainly served their time and they've been brilliant. They've seen many meals, parties and get togethers and they were snapped up pretty quickly on Gumtree for their next life.

Friday, October 13, 2017

Spring is blooming at the house project

We came back from a week overseas and the garden had bloomed with the astounding beauty of spring while we were away.

My much loved star jasmine had exploded with colour and fragrance and the heady scent enveloped us as we arrived home at 2am after 24 hours of travelling. It was a beautiful homecoming.

Only a few of the gardenias have bloomed, but there are thousands of buds just waiting to open and combine their sweet fragrance with the jasmine to create a signature home scent.

I can't wait.

Saturday, September 23, 2017

The new master bedroom nook

Ta-dah! Here's the little nook in the master bedroom, just as you come through the door. I've been meaning to do something with it for a while, just haven't had the time or found the right pieces. 

There's actually a TV point here, so it was designed so you could put a tv on the wall and a cabinet underneath. Or it would be a fabulous space for an ottoman or day bed, which I've been looking for but haven't quite found one that was the right size, look and price.

I've settled on turning this into a little reading space, mainly because I already had all these pieces to hand. The chair is part of the amazing collection Frederik A Keyser collection I scored from Gumtree, the side table was one of two I took from the guest room (and replaced there with a plant), the copper lamp was given to me by a friend and the little succulent in the marble pot was originally out in the reading nook. The only thing relatively new is the massive abstract art, which I've had a while, just didn't know where to hang it.

Overall I'm pretty happy with it! I've already tested it out, sitting with a cup of tea and reading a magazine. It's a nice calming little spot :-).

Friday, September 1, 2017

The skirting board saga - the final chapter

Haha I can't believe I'm STILL sorting out this skirting board issue, almost four years down the track.  You might recall the saga (or maybe you've tried to block it out of your mind like me) so here's a quick recap. 

The skirting boards were accidentally installed too low by the builder as they thought the flooring I was installing after handover were tiles, not floating floors. They were pulled off by the guys who installed the flooring and one of Jansen's chippies installed new ones after we moved in.

That part was actually easy, it wasn't until I decided to paint them myself that the pain started. It's so much harder than you would think, and it took ages to get it done. I got part way there in the end - patching up holes, sanding and two undercoats of matte paint. I was so over it by the end I didn't put the final, gloss coat on. Mainly because it's a much harder job to do than the matte paint and I was always going to get it done by a professional. But also cause I was over it.

Well, years down the track and it's time todo it before the house goes on the market and to be honest, I don't want fork out the $1000 that it would be for a professional, so here I find myself, again, surrounded by tape and brushes and paint.

I remember now how crap I am at this. My taping skills are bad and my painting skills are worse.

This was by far the worse example. I didn't squeeze the water out of the brushes properly when I washed them so when I used them the next day the paint was all watery and just seeped in under the tape. AARGH!!

The good thing is, I guess, this will be the final chapter. And I really need closure.

Rant over, back to painting.

Thursday, August 24, 2017

THIS KMart shoe rack

This is the KMart scandi shoe rack that EVERYONE is talking about and everyone wants. It sold out in our local KMart in one day. There was a stack of hype on social media about it before it even went on sale and I got caught up in it hook, line and sinker.

The second it went online I bought 2 via click and collect - one for me and one for a friend who'd just got out of hospital. There was NO WAY we were missing out.

I picked it up the next day and it's now sitting pretty in the entrance hall styled simply with a cushion and a pot plant and sitting below some scandi prints.

It's really quite lovely. 

Tuesday, August 1, 2017

The guest bedroom gets (another) makeover

The guest bedroom has been given another makeover with a new charcoal bedhead and base and new side tables and I'm LOVING it so much!!

The look has gone from a country style (created from timber bed we've had for over 10 years) to more of a modern, minimalist look, but still with touches of mid-century. The bedhead is from Adairs, the base from Myer and both were on sale. The bedside tables, clock and concrete pot plant are all from Kmart so this was definitely a budget makeover.

The change from the old sleigh style bed has also created more space around the bed and make the room look and feel so much bigger and more spacious.

Previously, if the door and the wardrobe door were open there was just centimetres to get through.

It was pretty tight and felt a little claustrophobic.

Now though there's loads more space to get through.

There's been a number of changes to the room over the years, but I'm pretty sure this will be it for a while. I'm loving the space so much I wish I could sleep in here. We actually have guests staying with us at the moment though, and I'm sure they appreciate the update.

Sunday, July 30, 2017

Feathered friends

I'm in a reflective mood today peeps, thinking about all the fab things about the house and the neighbourhood. This was brought on while I was having a cup of tea on the back balcony and this little feathered friend flew in and sat on the railing. There were actually two of them but one flew away before I could get my phone. It's pretty common for kookaburras to sit here, I guess they like the view.  We also get the occasional deer (which I've never actually seen, just reported the community page) in the neighbourhood and other wildlife like foxes and bush turkeys.

This place really is fab - I just want to take a moment to appreciate it. The train station is down the road, the Woolworths and some great cafes and restaurants are down the road. Bunnings is just a quick drive away and neighbours are really great. I'm really grateful for the time we've had here.

Now, back to the kookaburra. Look how chill he is! Josh got even closer and he didn't even bat an eyelid. Sat there for about 20 minutes before he flew off. Hope he comes back for a visit.

Friday, July 28, 2017


The turf is in people!!! I laid EVERY SINGLE ROLL of this, by hand and all in one go. It took about four hours and god I was sore the next day, but oh so happy with the result.

This is what 150m2 of turf looks like! I nearly had a heart attack when it arrived and I saw how much there was, although I don't really know what I was expecting. It also didn't arrive until almost 10am and I knew it had to be laid straight away or it would start to dry out. So while laying turf in the middle of the day wasn't very appealing, it had to be done. I guess I should have been glad it was Winter.

The rolls were all a bit different, some were a lot drier than others but I've been giving them a good soak with the sprinkler. Hopefully they'll all survive.

The turf has made an amazing difference to the backyard. It's beautiful to sit out there an enjoy the sunshine. I've also got a fire pit on order so when that arrives we'll be toasting some marshmallows out on the patio before winter is over.

The dogs are loving it too. Next up, mulch.

Saturday, July 22, 2017

Patio and plants are in!!

The garden edging and plants are in and not only do they look better than I thought they would, there was enough to complete the entire garden. Jumpy claps!!! I love the pop of colour that the cordylines create.  The combination of the plants, even though they came from different gardens just seems to work.

I also used leftover treated timber for the garden edges. It was cheap (well, free really) and did the job relatively well. I'm pretty happy with the budget for this garden so far...

I also used the leftover bricks to create a little patio at the back. It's Winter here at the moment and I was planning to style it with a fire pit and some chairs. It's simple and will be a nice place to relax.

Next up, turf and mulch.

Tuesday, July 18, 2017

Topsoil - tick!

The topsoil has been delivered and the backyard has gone from this....

To this!!  The turf can't be delivered for another week, but I still have to lay out the garden bed edging and plant the plants. Everything is running on schedule.

Bella approves. 

Saturday, July 15, 2017

The free plant challenge

I've set myself a challenge to create the entire garden with plants I've gotten for free. Crazy I know, it's partly for economic reason and partly for eco reasons. I don't want to spend any more on landscaping than I already have and I really want to save plants that are destined for the rubbish. It's nuts that entire gardens full of established plants are tossed away during garden renovations and the same plant is $25 for a single pot at Bunnings.

I thought this challenge would difficult and time consuming with lots of driving and digging but I was super, SUPER lucky and it only took two houses.


The first place was on the other side of town, so a bit of a drive but so worth it. This couple was turning their front garden into a productive garden, so all the old agaves had to go. There were eight really large ones and dozens of smaller pups - 32 all up!  I took my trusty handsaw and shovel but they were relatively easy to remove. They fit nicely in the back of the car and are ready for planting when the garden beds are ready.

The second one happens to be a place that Jansen is demolishing. It's really hard to see, but there are loads of bromeliads and cordylines in the front. It took me quite a few hours to get them out and loaded up into the car, but oh so worth it.

I was pretty happy once I loaded up but when I got in the car I turned around and saw this.


I didn't know what to do, so I just took a photo and sat on the ground and pondered the fact that  I probably just loaded 30 of these arachnids into the back of the car, something I definitely hadn't considered during the process.


Anyway, I love animals, but I hate spiders so I squished it and hightailed it home as fast as I could. After I unloaded it I sprayed the car, but luckily nothing came out.

It was a fantastic haul - hundreds of bright cordylines, ctenanthe and spathiphyllums. They're all just sitting in buckets of water until they're ready for planting.

And there were 68 bromeliads. Yep, I counted them cause that's what I do. I'm pretty confident this will actually be enough to do the whole garden, but I'll keep an eye on Gumtree anyways.

Generally the type of plants that will transplant well are tropical plants and just so happens all the ones collected are tropical so I guess that's what the backyard will be. It will be different to the front yard and not originally what I planned, but I'm sure it will be ok. Actually I'm sure it will be awesome. And, you know, free.