Thursday, November 25, 2010

emerald green

I mentioned in prior posts my love of this shade of green which is kind of emerald, but brighter. Like the green besser brick in my post 'nature - my 1st love' and the green acrylic grass in 'grass'. I am desperate to paint something this colour and did a bit of snooping to see if the colour is used much -- which it doesn't seem to be. Looks glorious ...

Dramatic and serene all at once.

Sunday, November 21, 2010

white on white and black

A great combination.

We painted the house the same in as out. Dulux Whisper White on the body, White Watsonia on the trims (inside) and railings, sill's,  fascia etc outside. Detailing in black - gutters, doors, security etc.  The painter tried and tried to convince me to add another colour. He thought my idea was dull and not traditional for this era of home. Each to their own. The house looks fresh and brightens my day when i pull into the drive, even when the sky is overcast and it's pelting with rain.

Aggregate driveway in grey/white/black

This is the back deck finished and painted
'A's handy work is excellent, he deserves some serious snaps for it. He built the carport and electric gates himself (as pictured above in the first pic). And he built the fence, and he's not a carpenter, nor has he done any training. How do boys do this stuff???
It was quite a project. He dug out the fence line by about half a foot and then put long pieces of timber into the ground along the sides as a barrier/box, as well as stuff that goes under cement on the bottom - wire i think? He then poured cement into it (and put the posts into it too) and as you can see there's a hob now. This is so a dog can't dig out of the yard, and it looks super neat. Then he built the rest of it and added the ball thing to each post. Looks fab.

I've always loved this detail on steps from when i was younger so had to have.
And these doors we added to the front deck. I'd bought something else from a guy on ebay and low and behold - he had these which i snagged for $20. I couldn't believe it, don't mind a bit of lattice in small doses and they fit perfectly.
Garden wise we haven't done a great deal. This is the little herb garden area that we never weed but serves us well all the same.
This is the rest of our one garden. The only structure when it comes to gardens/plants we have is the lilly pilly's framing the driveway. This garden is wild and unruly with a mixture of everything, different pots, baths, wrought iron and .... pottery projects our parents kept from high school and felt we would really like back now. I made a turtle. 'A' made a pot. Out of the dust and into the dirt.
We're currently nurturing some gardenia's and other floral's we bought for the front garden. I've nominated myself to plant it all. At the moment the front yard consists of a lime tree and a stunted poinciana. Poor lonely souls.
That's my reno fix for the time being. Short and sharp. There's many a story i could tell about this reno and there's obviously much more to it, anyone who's renovated knows the drama that can ensue.  I wish i had more before's of inside...maybe they'll turn up. For now it was nice little trip down memory lane looking at how the outside has changed. When we do underneath i am going to be so much better with the camera.
December 1 is next week! Christmas tree time. Wahoo!

Saturday, November 20, 2010

the queensland way

Bit of history on this before i continue. This house was purchased through a house removal company.This one had yet to be make it to their yard and was on a block of land purchased by Energex at Nundah on Brisbane's inner north. As you saw, this house was relocated in one piece and thankfully it was one move from block to block rather than block to yard to block. Less movement in a house full of vj's the better i say.

Plumbing and electrical is cut off at the roots and the dwelling was then delivered minus the roof, which was replaced once put on blocks. Lights still hung inside, the bathroom and kitchen kitted out as it was, power points still in walls. You pay for the house, and then the move depending on distance.

This is a typical colonial, 2 bedrooms, sunroom, dining, kitchen, living, bathroom. When downstairs is done, there will be 2 bedrooms, study, living, laundry, bathroom, toilet added.

First thing first was the addition of the 'queensland way'. Front and rear decks which has worked beautifully. All kept in character with no fancy smancy anything, these are some progress shots of the decks being added.


I love this photo below and i'll tell you why. Fast forward if you can't be bothered with a story.
'A' was still away and i had organised for the roofing to be done. I stopped in after they'd finished and as i looked at the roof from the back deck i could see issues where the roof line split. Each 'tricky' spot that required more than hammering in a bolt was messy, the corregated iron poked up and wasn't folded neatly at the ends to conceal the peaked joins and the guttering was crooked. Probably makes no sense but long story short - it looked like a dogs breakfast and one of the fascias was now broken.

I dialled the roofer and was met with the rant of how i know nothing about roofing and "i had my best tradesmen on this job and checked over it myself, i've been in this game for 30 years...blah blah" After 20 minutes of adamence the job was tiptop, he finally agreed to meet me the next day. In the meantime i bought myself up to speed on  'roofing terminology' - i refused to be bullied. We met, and after a couple of minutes of pointing and "hmmmm"s he agreed with me and said he would have his guys back to fix it asap. He didn't agree on breaking the fascia and said the scaffholding wasn't connected to that area. We were getting on like old pals at this stage so i let it go.
Enter the above.
Months later our neighbour gave us the photos ... and there it is people, one of his lads up there leaning on the scaffolding which is attached to the fascia at the very spot that was broken. Knew it! I chuckled for a while and congratulated myself on being right ... women know everything, when will they realise that?

French doors were added to the front deck and bi-folds to the back...

Not only had our neighbour taken these shots, he had allowed us to hook up to his power via extenstion lead until we got the electrical done. We had a powerboard in the room where the bi-folds were and 'A' was just on his way down to the shed when he smelt burning ... the powerboard was on fire! We think it was due to all the dust getting into it. We'd been sanding like there was no tomorrow. From that moment on we turned everything off at the end of a day until our own electrical was done. What if? ......

Thursday, November 18, 2010

reno withdrawal

I'm having reno withdrawals and i made it worse for myself by searching for all the internal 'befores' only to find bugger all. Dammit! There are a few pic's, but i like seeing a direct 'before' and 'after' shot - side by side, same angle and they're nowhere to be found! It's this new aged electronic filing of pictures and data cards. Which, yes, it's very convenient but the cards are so little and can slip between any old thing... which they do all the time.

I did come across the shots of the house in it's first stages that i thought i'd share. Going back nearly 3 years, we demolished the original dwelling and then relocated what is now our existing home, onto the block from across town. Our lovely neighbour took photos of it arriving in the middle of the night, twas a very dramatic evening  for the street. Check it out - looks like such a tip when it arrived - very deflated and defenseless. Fancy that, a house crossing over the storey bridge on a truck.
Bless our neighbour. He did up a CD of the house for us, this is all courtesy of him. It's very precarious looking on the blocks - i remember for the first few months prior to restumping, we accessed the house up a ladder to the back door. I was paranoid that it would topple over (the house that is) - it just didn't look safe.
 Being that it had been vacant (of humans) for a while prior to us purchasing it, a window had been left open and it was horrifically evident that an exceptionally well fed (extended) family of pigeons with very good digestion had found their own haven. Removing their parting gifts was memorable.
This is the house restumped, it looks much more dignified now, it's pride slowly returns ...
We pulled out the kitchen and bathroom and re-designed the layout of both and i remember there being a huge copper rangehood in the kitchen ... which i allowed one of the electricians to have ... while 'A' was away. Woopsy daisy - i didn't know copper was worth $$, and when i look back now i could've made it work in our kitchen - stainless steel is annoying, it marks at the thought of marking. This is the sunroom and junk area of the house, you can see the rangehood to the right there. How this room has changed and all we did was paint and polish, I love the slant of the ceiling and those windows attract so much natural light.
This was the first stages. We did much of the hard yakka ourselves from here on in and i swore i would never touch a bottle of sugar soap again... i keep going back. I'll do a couple more posts on this reno with whatever pic's i can find and then i'll be able to show you the sideboard i've nearly finished revamping.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

bergdorf goodman

I'm feeling very christmassy and am giddy with excitement because i've been looking at everything christmas ... decorations, food and shop displays - all the while humming 'white christmas'. If only i was going to experience one this year... or any year for that matter! 

I love what some visual merchandisers can do with shop windows, one window display can take you away into a completely different world ... Holly Golightly style.

This jaw droppingly stunning Christmas display is from Bergdorf Goodman's last year ... as follows ... "A compendium of curiosities"

How's that... different? I don't think i got all of them either.

This following one is from Le Printemps Haussmann in Paris - what year, not sure.

For those that this interests. I've found a link to a massive album of brilliant window displays photographed across the world. take a look ...  If i could hang the majority of them in my home to admire daily i would. 

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

"No Matter where i serve my guests ...

... it seems they like my kitchen best."

A little plaque that's been on the family kitchen wall since i was a kid and it's my topic for today.
The kitchen --- Kitchen 'Room' vs Open Plan.

I have an open plan kitchen, and i'm afraid to say that i despise it. 100% do not love it at all. Firstly, i get so tired of keeping it perfectly dish/smudge free and clean and secondly, it's rediculously hard to get a good design flow on with it in the picture ... which it is, from every angle!

I want a kitchen which is more old school style. I connect many a fond memory to it as a child growing up. I hate seeing my dishwasher from the lounge room and fridge from the dining. appliances are terrible unattractive.

A history ...
Way back like early 1800's the kitchen was still centred around the fire place in many cases and was the room of the house that the family would congregate. Those more 'flush' decided that the preparation and serving of meals was beneath them so kitchens were banished out of sight. Further into the 18th century houses with separate dining rooms became more common with kitchens designed  at the rear of the home (or basement) with adjoining back steps to ensure that the servants were unseen.  I'm guessing that over time, this design of having the kitchen at the rear of the house just carried on in properties in the late 19th century and early 20th, your pre-war's - queenslanders, colonials, manors, plantation homes etc etc.
This is a kitchen out of an 18th century barn - since refurbed slightly - you can imagine it before the more modern island bench.
Kitchens became smaller late 19th century and after WW1 servants began to peter out and seeing there were no longer maids to carry the food from room to room, people chose to eat in the kitchen again, hence the commencement of the 'kitchen table'. 

Then, jumping forward into the mid 20th century and the age of consumerism, the 'housewife' emerged. Many woman who had worked throughout the war were enticed back into the home (through very clever marketing campaigns) and the kitchen became her domain more than ever before. Brand new appliances to rival that of any other housewife's kitchen were a necessity and a larger kitchen was conceived. Convenience, efficiency and perfection in the home was the undertone of the era with constant upgrades of items created to better that of the one before.  More open plan kitchens were designed - as in, still viewed as a separate room but larger and outfitted with a kitchen table or booth - with special occasion dining still reserved for the formal dining room.
Our family home was early 1900's so the kitchen is at the rear, smaller style but we always dined in there as a family together and still do when i visit mid week. We'd talk together, listen to our parent's stories of the day and were 'guided' on how to use a knife and fork and chew "...with our mouths closed!!!". Each night one of us would be on dish duty. Regardless of the fact there was a dishwasher, this was simply a part of the process. Saturday nights were roast night, in the formal dining with AM radio in the background and 'sweets'. generally whatever the middle child wanted being that he's the favourite ...

Dinner parties that were held would see everyone congregate in the kitchen for a chat and then adjourn to other areas of the house. There was always a constant hum of conversation in our kitchen.

It was also a workspace and a getaway for woman during an era when men were so unashamedly chauvenistic. The venting room. Now it's their getaway from us ... mwoooaahahaha. That's not true. The shed is.
I found this on the internet from 'Mens Night In the kitchen' 1951.
Now in the modern age of more convenience and unecessary gadgets, it's still the centre point of the home ... for me, it's just not the same with open plan. Stools at an island bench are uncomfortable. I'm a lounger. Open plan, as we know it, is appealling for the intention of creating a more inclusive way of entertaining but i still love a home that offers a discovery - what's around the next bend? Our current home can't offer that. It's too long and narrow - what you see is what you get and it suits, and it is convenient but the cosiness of a room that creates the family meal of the day, whether it's 2 of you or 5 of you is something rare and very special. A certain time of the evening, families up and down our street would be huddled around the kitchen table enjoying eachothers company. So my next home (and it will be an argument) will have the kitchen designed as a separate space.

Whether we agree on this or not, here's some 'kitchen rooms' i like the look of

Sunday, November 7, 2010

nature - my 1st love

Moreton Bay was a dream yesterday. The water was refreshing and the islands were as clear as a bell.

Water and the mountain air invigorates me which is what this weekend consisted of. I took my camera for the first time and thought i'd share a few titbits. So, i've mentioned it was a dream and i did take pics of that but it never comes up quite as stunning as it is in real life. Admire the birds instead. They are 'pied oyster catchers' - so i was told by 'A'. He is a wealth of knowledge with the feathered variety.
Little darlings, they just sat there together looking around - a happy little pair, while 'A' snorkelled and i read the latest 'Inside Out'. We were all very content together.

On the way back in we decided to come down the river past the port which i always enjoy. It is so fascinating both watching it all in action and the sheer size of the ships and the cranes is incredible.  This ship had 3 cranes in the throws of importing stuff into our country. The ship was from China i think. We would've looked like a pea next to it. Last time we came down this way they were unloading cars. Lord knows where they found the 800 people to drive them out of that ship - they just kept on coming.

This anchor would be the size of a small car. There were two on the front. The port really is worth just watching sometimes. There's something powerful and submissive about it all in at the same time.
Onto the mountains (i realise port watching ain't for everyone) Today we had a quiet drive up to Springbrook and Beachmont. It's a lovely mix up there, one minute you're passing large light filled acreage properties with long tree lined driveways that curve out of sight - you wonder what's sits at the end - and the next minute you stumble on the hustle of a little suburbia with it's rows of letterboxes and numerous tracks which shoot off in different directions to what seem like little hollows - cool and shadowed by rainforest. You can hear rainfalls and birds and little padymelons run around everywhere.
We passed this old decrepit caravan which we then reversed and tackled the branches and cobwebs to get a closer shot -  i instantly began to complain about a tick maybe getting in my hair - low and behold i was accompanied by a little leech on my ankle instead. Most disturbing indeed.
It's so damp there - look at this besser brick... this shade of green is adorning something i own. not sure what though -just like the colour of that acrylic grass. brilliant!
Coming back through Beachmont we had the most beautiful home made meat pie and watched the parasailers take off. The view is magical to say the least.
Well, that was my weekend. I achieve nothing other than lungs full of fresh air and a good ole dose of vitamin D. Why can't every day be just as refreshing. Hope you all had a great one too.