Tuesday, January 31, 2017

Wonderland under the house

One thing I didn't consider when designing the house, was outdoor lighting under the house. On paper it didn't really look like much of a usable space and I never realised how large it was, how useful it would be and how much time we would spend down there until after it was built.

During the day is fine, in fact it's an awesomely large and breezy space that's nice to just chill or rest during gardening. Since we completed the first stage of the underneath part of the house, we've added some chairs and at a later stage we'll add some tables and maybe a hammock and it will really become an outdoor room.  The dogs have their dog house and a few pillows for them to relax on. The clothesline is also under there, safely undercover out of the rain.

At night though it's a different story. It's pitch black and can be a little scary. I often have to put out or take in washing or check on the dogs and there's been a number of times that I've tripped over things, or even run into poles. There is a torch stored under there, but it's a bit useless to light up the whole space. I've even put those press button, battery operated lights you get from the junk store, but they're nowhere near bright enough and you have to walk around to turn them all on and off.

Just before Christmas I bought 50 metres of warm LED fairy lights, with the idea of hanging them around underneath to light up the area so it could be used whenever we were down there, but also for parties and gatherings at night. It's sat there on my "to do" list since November, but last week I kicked my toe on a piece of timber at night while carrying a load of washing. I kicked it so hard I actually thought I might have broken it, but it just cut the skin and bled everywhere. I guess that was a sign. 

I finally put them up on the weekend, just using some screw in hooks and I could not have imagined how amazing they look. They light up the space amazingly and bathe the entire space in a warm glow. It's like our own little wonderland. It will be a fabulous place for a party of just a casual BBQ. I don't think it will take Josh and his mates much time before they use it. I really wish I'd done this earlier.

Thursday, January 26, 2017

The front garden fourteen months on

The front garden is massively overgrown at the moment and in dire need of pruning and weeding, a problem I never thought I'd have a year ago and one I'm pretty actually pretty happy to have.

I was looking back on a post I did 14 months ago when I'd JUST finished the front yard and the murrayas, gardenias, magnolias and spider lillies looked ever so teeny! I actually thought it would be years before they matured but time and time again, Mother Nature surprises me and here we are with the lush and fragrant garden I dreamed and wrote about.

It hasn't all totally been Mother Nature though. I have spent hours and hours, watering fertilising, weeding and planting over this time. I water them most nights and every week they get a good dose of either epsom salts, Seasol or iron chelate. But this is progress far beyond my expectations and I really can't wait to start on the backyard.

Tuesday, January 24, 2017

My new Don Draper chairs

"Be still my beating heart," I told myself, when first I laid eyes on them. Beautiful, rich leather and deep lustrous timber I hoped would be walnut. They'd been listed on Gumtree as vintage armchairs and they came as a set of ten. They were just gorgeous and I was in love. I was so very lucky to have them.

They're so very Mad Men-esque wouldn't you agree? I'm calling them my Don Draper chairs. They came out of a divine heritage office in Charlotte Street, where the lift had an old manual gate and the walls were exposed brick. The chairs were around a meeting room and were being replaced with a new set. I had no idea what I was going to do with ten, but I knew exactly where two would go.  The buttoned leather was similar to the couch in our lounge room...it's like it was meant to be.

The design is so unique yet classic and the quality of workmanship is how it used to be in an era when people took their time and had pride in their work.

I love this arrangement, under the new tea towel art. Having two armchairs now in the set means a more people can comfortably sit in the space and have a conversation. I do need a new side table for the middle though, this just doesn't quite work. I feel it will need to be a lighter coloured table for contrast, just maybe in a round shape. For the moment though, it will do just fine.

Originally I thought this would be a good restoration project, but they really are in pristine condition, especially considering their age and the number in the set. There's really no need for restoration at all.

The leather is still supple without any cracks, scratches or fading, it's really quite astounding. There's just one chair with a button missing and it's hardly at all noticeable. The frames are still sturdy and with a few minor chips on the inside of a couple of the chairs. Nothing you would notice unless you were underneath and up close and personal with the chair.

I gave the chair pads a quick wipe with a leather cleaner and the frames a wipe with some furniture wax and that's all that was really needed. It's so cliched, but they really did look like brand new...I still can't believe it.

The remaining eight are earmarked for our new house (way down the track) where I'm hoping we'll have a large dining room. For the moment though, they'll be stored at Jansen's office. It works out perfectly as he only had a couple of office chairs. I have no idea what he did if he had more than a couple of clients in the meeting, but from here on in, he can have a meeting with eight (very) comfortably!

Over this projects I've really come across some amazing bargains and some amazing finds. I'm going to count this in my top five.

Sunday, January 15, 2017

The 2017 Project

Happy new year!!! Wow I can't believe we're already halfway through January. Most of our holidays guests have left and I'm already back at work - it really feel likes Christmas and new year are a distant memory. If things continue like this then 2017 will fly by.

I have a super strong feeling that this year is going to be a great one for the house, with loads of projects on the cards. The main one is the desolate backyard, which has irked me for years. It hasn't been worth doing anything on it because it was going to be carved up during the subdivision process, so a drain could run the length of it and the neighbour's yard. The awesome thing is, this was completed late last year and so now this blank canvas is ready! So excited!

The backyard design was done long ago and while I still love it, it may need to be revised for budget and time constraints.  You see, the other big news is that we 'may' be selling the house. Yes, *sniff*, we may put the house on the market later this year.  This is actually not big news to us, as it was always in the plan. My son was just 11 when we bought the house and we bought it mainly because it was in a developing area and close to his school. It was always the long term plan that we would develop the block and stay until he finished high school. Well, he graduated late last year and the time has come.

The loose plan is to finish the backyard and put the house on the market when the time feels right. There's no hard deadline, however going forward we are looking for the next development, whether it's building a new house or renovating an older one, it's not really one we can plan for until we find the right project.

So there you have it, 2017 plans in a nutshell. Let's revisit this in December and see how accurate it was!

 Happy 2017 everyone!! xx

Friday, January 13, 2017

Remembering...and moving forward.

On this day, six years ago, our adorable little post-war home was engulfed by floodwaters not seen in Brisbane since 1974. We had no idea on that day just what heartbreak, hard work, setbacks, joy and celebration lay ahead.

Every year, on this day, I stop and reflect on the incredible journey this one, massive event of Mother Nature has taken us on. From incredible sadness and stress, to demolition to rebuilding a home that have now had so many fantastic memories and milestones for us.

This year, the anniversary fell on Friday the 13th, but it was far from black day. I actually look back on this day with no anger at all, just fondness and the realisation it was new beginnings.

The other reason this date is special to me, is that, either by sheer coincidence or some other higher force, this is also the anniversary for my partner and I. Though he wasn't my partner at the time of the flood, he has been a massive support for me since day one of "us" on this project. I guess it helps that he's a builder, but literally there's more than just bricks and mortor on a building project - it's the emotional and financial toll and just the constant reassurance that you need to know you're doing the right thing. And for that, it's just one more thing that I'm thankful for.

So here's to remembering the past...and looking forward to the future.