Wednesday, 12 March 2014

Our previous DIYs

Sometimes I get overexcited. I do, especially about house DIY projects on my favourite blogs & Pinterest. When I see something amazing my brain kinda shuts down and I forget that I am a novice with power tools (except jigsaws, holla @ dad for trying to make me into the son he never had).
I think to myself that it looks simple, so so simple and easy and oh wow I can just go to Masters and buy those bits and make that and my house will look better than anyone's ever!!!.

No, Jessica...No.

We have had some great DIY successes and some not so great ones too; but that's ok, because everyone is a little bit shit at the start (& the middle &, spoiler, there is no end so you may always be a little shit).

However I am in a fabulous mood because I have the day off work and I have just finished a rigorous round of online Halo followed by doing absolutely nothing - so let's focus on the DIY successes shall we?

First up, our matching TV unit & dresser. 
Although these weren't originally a matching pair, my gorgeous controlfreak of a boyfriend needs a little matchymatchy in his life. Alas these two twins were born.

Originally crappy gumtree purchases, Tim & littlebro Mike stripped the crappy laminate off these cupboards, painted the shells a gloss white; and cut & stained a plywood sheet to make new 'laminate' drawer fronts. I have the name of the wood stain around here somewhere, promise I'll find it one day. I was allowed to assist with the stripping (not as fun as it sounds) and measuring out drawer fronts.

Dresser (unfortunately I don't have a before for this one)

TV Cabinet before

BAM secret door. Bet you didn't see that coming. 

The boys joined 3 drawer fronts together to allow our Xbox 360 to fit. They're smart boys I tell ya

Next, the ombre dresser.
Tim's old dresser was in need of a little love, with scratched drawers and missing knobs. I purchased a few small sample paint tins from Bunnings and went to work. I love how it turned out and we have used it for a few months now. Unfortunately there is no real place for it in the new house so it may be sold soon.

Our amazing dining table
Tim purchased some old wood that used to form part of the Pimpama Wharf and, with the help of Mike, built us a 6 person dining table. He used new wood to frame the reclaimed timber and added metal legs from a desk kit (Officeworks). It weighs an absolute ton and I love it even if it attacks me with splinters once in a while

Next, Tim's office coffee table (now living in our loungeroom)
I built this coffee table for Tim for one of our anniversaries from stained Timber and angled metal pieces from Bunnings. Due to our old coffee table shitting itself, we have now relocated this one to our new house and will re-stain the top a less-red colour

The infamous tub chair
I can't express how much Tim disliked the broken, cream tub chair I bought off ebay for $15. I printed out a hexagon clipart image and used it as a template; utilising painters tape to tape up the entire chair (yeah I totally regretted it halfway through) and mixed fabric medium & yellow paint. Result - success? Unknown. We have lived with this chair for months now and it is a bit bright for our new place - hopefully I can find a new loving home for it, in someone else's house.

Sunday, 9 March 2014

My hell.... gardening stage 2

So here we are, at the weekend again and what does it bring? Gardening! Yayyy.....ok I can't even fake that enthusiasm; but at least today we got to actually put in some plants!

Tim & my lil bro in law Michael used sleepers to build planter boxes in that previously discussed crackerdust area and also down the side of the driveway.

Firstly let's look at the new garden bed at bottom of driveway (& in front of our new fence!)
The plants at the back are Cordyline Rubras from a nursery at Mudgeeraba for $11 each and I feel something akin to love for them. The yuccas in front are 'thrifted' from Tim's nanna and his mum's place (thank ladies). The Xanadu plants came from one big Xanadu plant from the other side of the garden which ended up splitting into a ton of plants. We are still deciding what to put in the front, maybe mondo grass?

The side garden you can kinda see in the above pic runs all along the driveway. We have planted a Port Wine Magnolia in that far corner and placed yuccas and Xanadus along the side garden bed to flank the driveway. 

We have a small rock garden on the opposite side of the driveway at the front of the property. It had a horrible little retaining wall so we put those boulders we dug out of the other garden to good use and replanted the garden. Still heaps to go (like pulling out all the ferns and the flowering plants) but it's a very good start

Garden before

& Garden after

They also used to park their caravan just on the left of this pic, between the rock retaining wall and the house. It was a dirt area with random pavers however it now leads to the other gate into the backyard on our new fence. As we don't have a caravan we have decided to grass this area. 

The next area to tackle will be the old steps leading to the gate next to the new garden bed. Tim & Mike ripped out the old mismatched pavers and we will be putting in two long grassed steps.

And lastly I will leave you with a few pics of some new pots/plants we've accumulated since moving in. 

Wilfred #2 - Peace Lily in Ikea pot with Ikea wheeled plant stand living next to the TV in the loungeroom

A new pot for the front door. A lillypilly just chilling in there for now while he waits for his new home in the backyard. No ideas what plant we might put in here yet.

& finally my Mother In Laws Tongue plant was a bit sad after spending 4 years in a tiny pot so slightly upgraded into a $4 matt grey dice-looking pot in the loungeroom

My hell....gardening stage 1

Have you ever lived in a house where the garden was almost entirely made of pot plants? Like literal pot plants just sitting in the garden? Me either, until we moved here.

I am the first to say it, I HATE gardening. I am useless, I have no idea what I'm doing and I enjoy whinging about gardening far more than I enjoy spending a ton of money on plants and getting dirty. However our garden clearly needed some attention. We have a fairly large backyard but no back fence or front fence. The week we moved in, we found a lovely fencing man to construct a new fence for our dogs (Ian Parbery Fencing on the Gold Coast if anyone needs a recommendation) which was perfect.

However we still have a weird crackerdust filled area at the bottom of the driveway that we thought would be easy to dig out and plant. Yeah I know what you're thinking, Jess you sweet, over-positive moron.

So it turns out our house is built on giant boulders. Boulders that weigh a ton and needed 4 trailer loads to the tip to clear enough to put down some soil. I can't even look at this without having sore hamstrings.

HUGE thanks to my MIL & her partner for coming to help us :)

Don't look at this while eating (aka let me introduce you to the Stank Room)

So we have 3 bedrooms in our new place and one of these bedrooms is known as the Stank Room. Yes, you read that right, the Stank Room.

Our biggest guest room was used previously as an office for the elderly gentleman who used to own our house...and apparently he lacked the ability to hold his coffee cup because the entire floor under the window is covered in horrible stains. The room also had a particular aroma, a mix of mothballs, mould and god knows what else.

So in an attempt to make this room bearable, we set out to remove the old air conditioner out of the window and get some fresh air all up in this. So please put down that sandwich and make sure you are ready for this...

Are you ready? Don't say I didn't warn you..

eww. just eww. I think it was 1996 the last time this air-conditioner was cleaned. It literally fell apart in rust chunks when we pulled it out. & this thing was solidly built in. I'm talking cement sheeting, wood blocks, screws, caulk and sheer willpower.

Ahh sooo much better! 

So the Stank Room is still a bit stuffy, and it still needs some desperate attention with new flooring, fresh paint and a new queen bed, but it's one step in the right direction


I took a week off for the big move with the thought that I would unpack and spend some quality time on the lounge with good tv shows and just get to know the new place.


Tim is a slave driver! We pained the entire L shaped living area, hall, kitchen and baseboards 2 days after we moved in. We chose the colour Dulux White-On-White which has a soft grey-blue undertone after a long debate at Bunnings. It also just happened to be exact same colour that was already on the walls (good work team); but obviously not covered in filth and weird yellow marks.

The room already feels fresher; especially after Tim removed the old air-conditioners from the sash windows (I supervised of course), & with the addition of our furniture.

We have started painting the window trims a bright white and will remove all of the ceiling fans and dome lights down the track (at which point we will also repaint the ceilings)

We have some big plans for artworks and a frame wall near the entranceway. Oh yeah and we might repaint when we install the new kitchen because the new colour apparently throws too much blue. The joys of living with a graphic designer!!!!!

Our first big project plan

A few things niggled at us when we first viewed the property; the main being the kitchen. It is an older kitchen and full of standard laminate drawers with plastic pulls. There is an empty space under the bench which I can only assume is for a dishwasher and the existing cupboards are not useful or space efficient. However the main issue we have with the space is that you walk in the front door and face a wall which is the back of the kitchen.

I don't know about you but we treat our kitchen as the hub of the home - the place where Tim yells at me to stop cutting things up because I scare him; where I catch Tim drinking straight out of the water bottle ALL the time; where we have the majority of our arguments - so we'd like a social kitchen. This kitchen acte ually faces toward the back of the house, with the breakfast bar opening into the weird little study area and a straight shot to our bedroom door. 

So....we plan to flip the kitchen and make the current island into a solid wall and knock through the wall to open the kitchen into the loungeroom. We have already had a builder check that no internal walls in our home are load bearing and good news, none of the interior walls are :)

As the hall wall is the side of the kitchen we are toying with the idea to keep a blank wall at the end of the new galley kitchen to maintain that hallway between the loungeroom and the um.....bathroom area?

Still in the very baby stages with this project but it will be the first large project we complete in this house (bathoom renovations being the second). 

At the same time we will be replacing the flooring. At present it is a mix of HORRIBLY stained carpet, cheap yellow clickclack flooring and black vinyl sheeting stuck over white greasy tiles....charming. We are looking at an Oak simulation laminate clickclack and diying it. Can't be that hard...right??

We will also be installing huge floor to ceiling cupboards in the back of the new kitchen wall in study are (in preparation for removing the linen closet in our bathroom plans later on down the track) & having all of the horrible old fans and lights taken out and replaced.

We are still doing a ton of little bits and pieces while we save for this project so stay tuned!

Accidentally On Purpose...

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So we accidentally bought a house. Yep.... I  said accidentally. It all started on one very hot, very boring weekend during which Tim & I decided to forgo the ice cold air-conditioning at our rented house and head out to look at new housing estates. See, we always had a plan to build or buy at the end of 2014/start of 2015. We thought we would wander around, whinge about how everything is perfect and not at all within our budget... the usual things people do at display centres; and we did that - we got bored - we decided to visit open houses to see what was on the market.

Enter this guy:

What happened next was a combination of isthatasunroomgetoutofmyhouseyoufilthybeggarsthisoneisours! & the gut wrenching, knee shaking trepidation that comes with finding the perfect house at the not-ideal time.

One expression of interest later and we were being taken for a second private inspection that same afternoon by none other than the real estate agent who would become known as the most arrogant wanker we have ever met.

Turns out this house was being sold as the previous owners had some health issues and were moving to a retirement village not too far away. The house was built in 1994 and they had owned it since 1996. I can safely say they owned more furniture than they could ever need  and it was initially hard for us to visualise this house with anything resembling our style. It needs some adjustments to make it more 'us' but the process is something we are looking forward to immensely (as in i may clap like an over enthused seal everytime I see an IKEA store...but hey...that's normal right??)

So fast forward through the absolutely most stressful 30 days of our lives, throw in a hasty drain repair, some apologetic pleading to our rental property manager and we are now the proud owners of our first home together.

Welcome to number 36!!! (please excuse the previous owner's furniture....those pelmets! that flooring! Am I having a nightmare?)

The entranceway into lounge

Kitchen...can anyone say 90s?
Study off kitchen/master

Master walkthru robe & ensuite...that window opens into the sunroom!


Dining room, looking from sunroom back towards front of house

Sunroom, door on left goes into study/kitchen

Sunroom looking back into original dining room

Back deck