Monday, November 5, 2012


It's been a while i know. It's November? I just don't believe it. Christmas is a mere 7 weeks away and the renovation has been at a complete standstill.

Funny how you lose a bit of drive mid way through things.

I came across this picture that I had saved, and to keep it somewhere safe it's best to throw it up on N&N. I absolute love it. The fact is has animals in it will always appeal to me. But the colours are just beautiful together.

I use a bit of colour here and there in the house, but not much. These tones above I'm thinking of using downstairs.

This painting is stashed in the office waiting to be mounted so it will guide the living room. It's enormous. 1.7m x 1.3 by indigenous artist Mitjili Naparulla. I like the simplicity of it and her style is very unique when thrown amongst other artists. I have a gazillion things to frame and mount - anyone know a great and cost effective framer in Brisbane? ................

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Painted & Window Hoods

It's been a busy couple of weeks with the prepping and painting of the house exterior . Our builder advised that the sooner we get a first coat on the weatherboard the better so it doesn't dry out and split.

'A' has been all over it. Gap filling the board joins and nail indents, sanding and cutting in and then finally whacking on the first coat. We used these paddle sponge things to apply the paint. Much easier on the wrist than an oversized brush.

We did the external of the house in the same colour scheme for inside all those years ago. White Watsonia trim and Whisper White for the main - black trim. Whisper White is a great colour (in my opinion) for VJ and weatherboard. Because it's not a glaring white, it manages to hide dust outside and seems to absorb the floorboard colour inside as opposed to reflect it. Whether that makes sense to anyone other than me, i do not know ...
And the window hoods are up. The builder replicated the originals on the top level of the house. Unfortunately, we can no longer get our hands on the smaller guttering which this style of home used for hoods originally. We'll need to replace all hood guttering on the house with the general size of today. I find it surprising, given how many colonials and queenslanders we have in Qld, that no one does a smaller guttering any longer?

In garden news. We have a passionfruit vine that absolutely loves where it's been planted. It continues to creep along the fenceline. It's looks great and produces to!

On Sunday, I repotted a bunch of plants and added some top soil to the front garden in preparation for Spring. The man at Bunnings said end of August early September is the best time for us to prune here in Qld. I'm pleased to see the Christmas tree below flowering, as are the local birds.
These are the bathroom tiles below
And, in breaking news, my vanity double sink may be too large for the space. Dammit! Plumber comes later in week to talk it all through, Fingers crossed.

Thursday, August 2, 2012

Horse Head Lamp x 2!

Yesterday was a good day for a few reasons:
  • The weather was stunning
  • I've finally located some of the internal doors for downstairs - it's been 2 months in the making. The Brisbane Demolition yards must be so sick of seeing me slinking around the glass door section, and;
  • I came across two stunning horse head lamps
They need new shades plus a bit of a polish and dust off. I love the clear acrylic on the base and the gold detailing that holds the shade.

The owner of the market was not there, but i'm going to call him to see where these came from. They're pretty big. Maybe 50cm high to the head plus the lamp.

I'm very excited to figure where these two will go. Keep them together or split them? I threw a spare black shade on it last night, much better, but I'd prefer one slightly stouter. As in wider and shorter and a little lower and closer to the head with gold lining.
The only negative is that they don't face one another. They are the same, not a mirror image which i didn't notice when I bought (it wouldn't have made a difference anyway).

Here's a shot of one of the doors i've located. This is for a bedroom.

I had all three ready to go when I bought the dutch door in May.  'A' wouldn't allow me to have the frames made to suit their size, he wanted to keep a more universal standard opening... good for the builders and future owners who may not like the doors I choose, not good for me and the doors I want.

All three doors for both bedrooms and bathroom will be this style. Obscure glass at the top and closed in at the bottom. I need as much light in the hallway as possible. Dark hallways on the bottom floor of houses are creepy. The more natural light the better.

Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Cladding Finite!

Makes such a difference to the house having it enclosed. The grass looks greener. I know that sounds weird, but it does and it's warmer upstairs.
The Dutch Door has been hung in the laundry.
I’ll paint it black - same as our guttering and will keep all the original hardware.
This week the boys will be back to make the window hoods and whatever other finishing touches they need to do to the exterior. 'A' has started puttying up the nails and is going to to the undercoat himself.
Building in underneath a house style that's traditionally is not two storey, has made us mindful of trying to maintain and uphold the original design. Being that we opted against casements for downstairs (this was a security choice), we ensured that the builders followed the vertical  line in the corners of the sunroom which (you can see below) to assist in tying the top and bottom floors.
We also chose to duplicate the small corner hopper windows in kosciusko glass on the bottom floor – this has made a brilliant impact on the front of the house. Being that we’re on a corner block, these additions have brought it all together quite nicely and maintained privacy into the front room from people entering the house via the steps.

Still a little way to go. Insullation, stairs, internal walls, plumbing, electrical, floors, painting.....

Monday, July 23, 2012

Getting Closer

It's nice when you see this blue stuff up around the house. That means the cladding is coming soon which means it's getting closer to stage 1 being finished.

This is one of the bedrooms. The doors have since been put in.

I wonder what it will all look like tonight? ....

Thursday, July 19, 2012

New York and William Claxton

My oldest friend gave me this superb book of New York for my birthday recently. I love it. It's enormous and jam packed with some amazing photography and history of the city that never sleeps.
This photo below is my favourite. It was taken in 1960 by famous photographer William Claxton and is called 'Big and little apples'

Fabulous, yes?
I've been trying to find it everywhere and have had no luck. What's been great about the researching of it is coming across more of this man's work which is, in a nutshell - superb.

William Claxton was mostly known for his work as a jazz photographer who then ventured into fashion photography. In 1959 and 1960 Claxton and noted Musicologist Joachim Berendt travelled the United States on the Jazz trail. One of the musicians Claxton favoured (and pretty much made famous) was Chet Baker.

This picture above is of Chet Baker outside Birdland, New Yorks hottest jazz club of the 50s and 60s. If you remember from my New York visit, I went to Birdland the final night of my trip for a jazz fix. It's no longer the original which is photographed here. It's been moved since this photo was taken but had awesome photos around the perimter of the room of all the greats that had played and visited the place. It was a serious hang out for Frank and his cronies and of course, Miss Monroe.

Claxton and Berendt created a book called Jazz Life. Collectors Editions cost around the $2,500 mark.  This is another shot that I love from his jazz days

Claxton married a model by the name of Peggy Moffit, this is her below, great shot. He later took photos of her topless in a swimsuit which were considered 'groundbreaking'
A few more favourites...

I'm really mesmerised by his work, not only what he captures but the era in which most of it was taken. What an amazing place to be in the 60s.

Another interesting image out of this book is this one.

As we all know, there was some serious crime action going on in the Big Apple in the 1980's. This photo was taken by Janette Beckman in 1986 on Avenue C in the East Village which was then known as 'Alphabet City'.

Motte's advice on "How to Survive in New York City"

Looking over the evolution of New York, it's simply amazing to see where it started and where it is now. It's not at all hard to understand why so many people have been drawn to it. So much history and tradition is inscripted at every corner, yet it's a city which is so very  welcoming of change.

Thursday, July 12, 2012

Smaller than I expected ...

As I titled this post I tried to think of an instance where "smaller than I expected" was a positive. I've decided that that instance is strictly applicable to debt.

The builders are doing a nice neat job and spending quality time with the dog in smoko breaks. B is beside himself. Having so many people excited to pat, spend time and share their sandwiches is almost too much for his little frame to handle.

I, however, am dellusional.

With my head cocked and uttering the words 'gee, that bathroom's smaller than i expected...' I realised that every single picture i'd planted in my mind of each room is at least 1m wider than it actually is.

This is the bathroom framed up

And to think that the draftswoman initially had a bath, shower and long vanity crammed in there.

Ok, it's not that small, it's the same size as the bathroom upstairs but I did picture something wider. Black walls will now only be confined to the courtyard. Of course once the internal walls are in there I'll have a better idea, but looking at it from this angle it's pretty little.

Way back. I'd initially intended on a cobble stone tile for the floor but couldn't find it so then jumped over onto a slate, uneven type of arrangement. Guess what? The tile company we use had a delivery of the most attractive cobble stone tiles last week. So with this in mind, and the bathroom being a little smaller, I'm liking the idea of a more intimate space with a nice porous floor.

It's funny how you always end up coming back to your original idea. Could this mean that i've found a second instance of smaller than expected being a positive? ... I don't think so. I really did want a black bathroom.

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Two weeks?

The builder's have moved in and it's well and truly happening. 
Windows and Doors will be delivered this week, so the lads will have everything they need.

This was the downstairs area Yesterday. The weekend was spent clearing out my hoarding and shoving it wherever space would permit. It's not huge, our house is quite narrow.

So the builders were thinking they’d do stage 1 in two weeks (that’s just cladding and framing).

They move quite  swiftly these builders.

Quickly though, I must mention a disappointing revelation of today. Turns out that our stumpers didn't line up the poles correctly 5 years ago. I'd noticed this recently but assumed it was intentional. Negative on the intentional. You can see on the left below how one side has a double thickness wall. This is exactly the kind of thing that p****s me right off. Firstly, because the stumpers are incompetent and secondly, because we never checked their work. 

Lesson: We're not in the 1940's anymore - meticulous is hard to come by. Not only do we now pay too much for someone to do something, we need to check what they've done as well.

Moving along before I jinx anything, I wonder what tomorrow will bring? Our builders are good. They're onto it and are totally flexible. We've changed this window, that door, this height - and that's just today, Day 1. Poor bastards. Now we have the option of recesses in the hallway wall due to the stumpers. I'm not a recess kinda gal, but being that the hallway is now narrower (which I do not dig), I may need to take them up on the offer. I have tonight to think about it.

So today, we have all the ant capping done, markings and almost one side of the house framed plus numerous alterations to placement of doors and sizes of rooms.
 2 weeks is looking possible. We’re not intending on anything fancy pants down there so everything should tick along nicely. This is the plus of having done upstairs first - rainy weather doesn't hinder building in underneath. 

Damn those stumpers.

Thursday, July 5, 2012

Who's that artist?

Isn't this a pretty work room. Everything about it looks perfect. The old counter, the curtain divide which looks like it's made out of old card table tablecloths and fabric remnants, the nice high ceilings. I wish I could see more of the rug. I don't know where this image is from. I've had it saved in 'pictures' on the computer for possibly a year. Same with the image below - they were saved together.

I love the painting in this one. Cute cat.

Does anyone know who the artist may be for this painting? Every time I see it I visualise this in my house.

Wednesday, July 4, 2012

An Upgrade

When I went to the US last year, my friend and I stayed at the Chateau Marmont in LA. We were the extremely lucky recipients of an their 1-bedroom Penthouse suite. It was one of the happiest moments of my life (small things)

I had taken a trillion photos when I was there and then after I came back accidentally deleted them. My friend had taken a few but they weren't as crisp as this photo I found of the living room online. I just googled it today because I was thinking about how desperate I am to go back, and up came this picture. We sat at that very table agreeing that seeing there was a Tretchikoff on the wall it most definitely was meant to be. This table and chairs is etched in my memory, it is so incredibly classic and beautiful. So many original Art Deco pieces have been preserved throughout. If only the walls could talk ...

This is one of E's pics of one of the balconies (they wrapped around) It overlooked on one side the hollywood hills and over the rest of the hotel and garden restaurant

and on the other side West Hollywood.
The dining, lounge and bedroom all had these fabulous black steel french doors open up onto the balcony. These are my favourtie style of French Door. Check out the original Art Deco wall sconce on the wall below.
 This was the living room from one angle, that lounge wrapped around another wall
And another shot ifound online of the other angle

Far more impressive in real life, and below is the original kitchen. Nothing changed. The stove was amazing. I had so many pic's of it but we only have a side on one left ...
This hotel had the nicest vibe. It was intimate and cosy and the service was exceptional. Food delish. Not many hotels still emboss your name on personalised letterhead and provide swizzle sticks to go with your whisky sour - it's like a preserved slice of old Hollywood glamour. If only everything still had that attention to detail and finesse.

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Eye Candy

I am 134% in love with this room. The lounge is the perfect shade of sage. The coloured gold and glass room divider is making me short of breath. Love, love, love. The artwork I could do without, but something in the same tones, size and placement would suffice.

Builder commences on Monday. Yesss!

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Our Southern State is seriously underrated!

We went for a little trip last month. Just a week.

South Australia really has some stunning scenery. We hit the Fleurieu Peninsula, Barossa Valley, Flinders Ranges and topped it off Cage diving with Great White sharks in Port Lincoln. Quite the whirlwind.

I thought I’d share some nice spots & shots if you choose to do a little road trip of your own.

We stayed at Collingrove Homestead in Angaston (which is somewhere around the Barossa Valley.)
Riddled with history. No ghosts (I was hoping for clanging keys and the like). The original owner came over from England back in the 1800’s and built the house in the English style to make his wife feel at as home as possible. Because of the tremendous contribution the owners and land provided to the are, the government have ensured that it’s been brought back to its original state after a few years of abandonment.

This room had a prince stay in it back in the day.
This family ended up owning 14 million acres of land which has since been sold off over the years.  It’s no wonder they needed their own petrol pump.
I just loved it everywhere I looked.

We caught a cab to ‘Appellation’ for dinner at The Louise. It’s renowned for its exceptional food. And it was superb. SU-PERB I tell you! We did the chef’s tasting menu. It was the first time A had tasted Lamb’s Tongue. I’ve never seen it on a menu before but growing up with my father's love of it, we often had it on sandwiches for lunch. The whole meal was the best I’ve had in a very long time and it gave us a great opportunity to taste test some of SA's great wines.

Driving from the Barossa to the Flinders Ranges is great. The landscape changes from rich greens into reds, purples and pinks. Kangaroos and emu’s dart about. It was baby lamb season. They are the cutest things snuggled into the grass – so small that all you could see was the tips of their heads. If you have children and plan to go, do it this time of year.
Those little lambs are a sight to see.

The old stone homes are everywhere and I didn’t tire of admiring them, or the crazy amount of cool old clapped out cars.

We had big intentions of doing the walk to Wilpena Pound but time did not permit. Next visit. We stayed in one of Rawnsley Park Stations Eco Villas which has glorious views over the ranges. On the other side of these ranges pictured is Wilpena Pound.
Wine and cheese was provided in our room to enjoy the sunset – which we happily did. The roof above the bed opens to clear glass so you can ‘sleep under the stars’.
This was the way out from Wilpena on the way down to Port Lincoln. Wilpena Pound in the background there. 'A' knows how to use the landscape thing on the camera. Fancy.
Shark diving was tops. They are enormously enormous. So much fun. They drop the bate right in front of the cage so you see the sharks mouth open, eyes roll back and their jaw protrude onto the bate.  It’s not at all scary but very invigorating – we felt 200% safe in the cage. There were about 5 sharkes cruising around when we were down. Very cool. Most definitely worth the drive to Port Lincoln.

The cage is pretty big and so is that gap. A smaller shark swam up slowly between myself and the guy next to me and nudged the cage just below the gap. If i were a shark - i would've aimed better. Thank goodness he wasn't that smart because i'm sure his head would've fit through it. The largest shark of the day was a monster at 5.5m long.

We enjoyed Oysters at Coffin Bay on the last day of the season at Oyterbeds Restaurant. Coffin Bay, 30mins out of Lincoln is very quaint and have super cool old beach shacks right on the water's edge.
We pub hopped in Adelaide down lane ways into the warmth of Art Deco hotels and that was the trip done and dusted.
There's more to SA than the Barossa.