Houseversary – Two months

Yesterday we had been in our house for two months. I feel like I’m treading water a bit and not really getting anywhere with getting the house pretty, so I thought maybe looking back at the past two months to see what’s been done might make me feel better:

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  • installed book cases in dining room
  • removed annoying tree that was knocking on our bedroom window at night
  • removed weird blinds hardware in bubba’s bedroom window
  • created a little play space for bubs
  • tore out all skirting in bubba’s room
  • tore out the innards of her wardrobe
  • removed clingy plant off front porch railing
  • bought two pretty rugs and planted some indoor plants

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  • bought new sofa and got rid of the old one
  • removed redundant old yucky chairs in the backyard
  • toddler proofed front door
  • had pestman over to spray for spideys (was disgusting, and still is, it aggravates the spiders and they come out in FORCE before they cark it)

Ok. I look at that list and I can see now we’ve done a fair bit, although most of it is stuff you can’t SEE, or things that are functional rather than pretty, hence the lack of feeling any real progress.

Onwards.

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Big things

And then there’s the big things.

A few days ago I lost someone who I cared for very much.

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I wanted to plant a tree for her but I wanted to be sure it would stay safe through our outdoor renovations and landscaping.

I got an olive tree. It’s a symbol of peace and happiness. She gave me both in an area of my life that had never had either. The tree will live inside in this beautiful pot for now.

It’s been a year of great losses. We’ve lost several important people, and people that are important to us have lost someone special. We remember them too.

 

Posted in Such is life | 2 Comments

Little things

The big changes are taking their time around here but I’ve gotten a few little things done.

We now have an escape artist in our midst. Someone figured out how to open the front door all by herself. I got a simple latch and screwed it in to the door frame and the door, high up, so she can’t reach it.

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I also bought a few small succulents that I planted in Ikea’s marble mortar, bought two of them to use as pots because I loved the marble and thought they’d go well together. I can see now that I need one more succulent for each.

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Two of these rattan chairs came with the house. They were in pretty bad shape and very dirty.

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I didn’t have it in me to fix them up but thought somebody else might, so I posted them on Gumtree (Australia’s Craigslist). I figured I had nothing to lose, listing being free and all. If no one replied within two weeks I was taking the ad down and putting the chairs out for the council curbside pickup in October.

I listed them honestly with lots of photos, showing how filthy and bad shape they were in. The price: $0. I had two replies within the first hour and the chairs were picked up by a DIY enthusiast this morning. Win-win-win. Win for me getting rid of them quickly, and for free. Win for DIY lady getting them for free and having a new project. Win for third person buying them off DIY lady and living happily ever after. Awesome.

Then. Do you remember this old bugger?

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The old letterbox was lying around in our carport waiting for the October council pickup as well. The chair lady took this one as well. AWESOME!

And then we bought this stunning green rug for the living room and it arrived this morning as well.

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So a few little things.

Posted in Backyard, Entry, Living room | 2 Comments

Crime scene?

This coffee table looks like it’s been dusted for fingerprints.

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Admittedly having a glass table with a small child isn’t a great idea but we had the table before bubba and it sort of just tagged along for the ride.

The problem now is the afternoon sun. It makes every little smudge look a hundred times worse. Or… it’s probably just showing the actual filth which was never really accentuated before.

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I clean this thing every day. I KNOW! And I realise there is no way you’d ever believe me, I hardly do either. But fact remains that I do, and I get nothing to show for it. Or actually, I get DUSTY SMUDGE GALORE to show for it. (If we’re going to be honest here, I only clean the underside maybe every few weeks, but the top still get’s a goings-over every day. True story.)

So we’ve finally decided it will have to go. [Insert a I-will-never-clean-a-coffee-table-again dance here].

I will head out to what I understand is a treasure trove as soon as my car arrives (I’m finally getting a CAR! ARRRRGH!). It’ll be our bonding trip, me and the car. The Salvos (Salvation Army) have a large furniture depot somewhere out west and I’ve been DYING to go there for forever.

I’m hoping to find something with nice lines, good bones and something I can give a little paint-luv maybe. I’m thinking it’d be fun if it still allows bubba to crawl under, which she loves (hence the footprints and smudges UNDERNEATH the table). We’ll see what’s out there on the day.

I’m not sure what will replace our coffee table but I’m PRET-TY sure it won’t be another glass table.

Posted in Living room | 2 Comments

A play space

Pre-house, when I was still only dreaming about a house, I always visualised my LACK of interior design prowess to magically turn in to a KNACK for interior design (see what I did there?). Here’s to hoping.

Even though I was hoping to make us a beautiful home I also always wanted for it to have plenty of play space. Which obviously means toys in the open and (occasionally ugly colourful) things that allow for playtime. Not so beautiful. Not so much interior design prowess-ing. But this is bubba’s house too and she couldn’t care less about vintage armchairs or matching soothing colours.

Cool-ish hard floorboards however do not invite to sitting around and playing for hours. So I decided to buy a play mat. Most of those look like this.

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Yeah… I was hoping to find something that was more of a compromise between interior design and creating play spaces.

So the other day I found this.

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It’s four foam squares that form a play mat/yoga mat and I ordered two sets to get a substantial surface for her to play on. I think the calm grey will (sort of) blend in better than the alphabet mat.

Yes husband, this is what I do when you travel for work. Never leave me alone with the internet shopping network computer.

I put it together when she was napping. Took about five minutes where three minutes was spent looking for the utility knife. I was surprised to find that although they sell it as an expandable system, the two sets didn’t match seamlessly.

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It was an easy fix though and with a wee bit of cutting it was perfect.

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I know this doesn’t look awesome and that I’m still flaunting my lack of interior design prowess but it’ll get better down the track, I promise.

The first thing she said when she woke up was “Oooh nice rug!”, and then she was straight into it.

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Somersaults anyone?

Posted in Living room, Play spaces | 3 Comments

The vision – Nursery

The nursery will be all about me. Pretty much. It will reflect things that I grew up with and that connects with the culture I was brought up in.

I find the longer I’m away from the Motherland, the more I appreciate the things I took for granted growing up. So I’m going to shove it on to my daughter. Makes sense, right?

I also want to go a little bit crazy and out there (so again, all about me). I mean, if you can’t do it in a kid’s room, when can you?

I tried to do one of those fancy pants mood boards to show you my vision for bubba’s room, but yeah, not happening. Turns out I have no idea how to do one.

We bought a rug already. It’s much bigger than the picture shows.

 

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It’s a grey wool rug. Waiting for it to arrive but I’m very excited.

She’s still in her cot so that’ll just be transferred from the guest room.

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The walls in her room will be painted white. But. BUT. I’m dying to do a stenciled feature wall, like this one. Birch trees. A nod to the Motherland.

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But not blue. Celery. Like a light green. I’m terrified. Absolutely terrified. I’ve never done stencils before and it seems finicky. And not just finicky, but what if it’s TOO MUCH you know? Terrified. But I think I’m doing it anyway. YOLO. (You Only Live Once).

And then I stumbled upon this picture and fell smack dab in love. Bubba loves yellow so I thought this could be a fun thing to do to her wardrobe doors. Lacquered. A bit out there. Love it.

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I also have a fun-wall in mind, something playful she can interact with, but I’m not sure I can pull that off yet so for now I’ll keep it to myself.

She needs a soft and cushy seating area, but I need to think on that for a bit as well.

Another nod to the Motherland is a String shelf. White, not black. Love those things and have wanted one for years. Not sure yet how I’ll get my grubby hands on one but I’ll figure it out.

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And then art and accessories but I think I need to see the big stenciled wall in real life first before I even dare start thinking of the little things.

So the list of things to do for her room is:

  • remove old skirting
  • remove old skirting residue
  • paint the walls and inside wardrobe white
  • stencil birch trees on one wall
  • cut, paint and install new skirting
  • install more power outlets (1? 2?)
  • sort out the random cables sticking out of the floor
  • paint ceiling
  • exchange ceiling light
  • clean, spackle, sand and paint window frame
  • clean window and its aluminium frame
  • install blinds
  • make and hang curtains
  • clean, spackle, sand and paint wardrobe door frame
  • clean, sand and paint door frame
  • get a rug
  • paint wardrobe doors yellow and lacquer
  • install wardrobe system
  • make the fun-wall
  • hang some art (some of it will be references to things I grew up with, go Tintin!)
  • arrange a soft and cushy seating area
  • get a couple of reading lights
  • acquire and hang the String shelf
  • exchange outlet covers and light switch covers

The function of her room will mainly be for sleeping and storing her clothes and probably her books. We have so many other areas in the house where I think she’ll prefer to keep her toys (close to us) that I’m not sure I’ll work that in to her room right now. There will be a day for sure when she’ll demand her privacy and space, but thankfully that’s not this week.

Posted in Nursery, ToDo list | 3 Comments

The prettifying has started

It’ll however be a while before anything actually LOOKS pretty. In my case the old adage of “chaos before order” is very true.

I’m starting in bubba’s room. I have some idea of what I would like to see happen in there but I’ll come back to that another day, the vision and all and the list of what’s to do.

The Banker went grocery shopping and took bubba with him this afternoon so all of a sudden I found myself NOT being interrupted every 20 seconds. Initially I got a bit lightheaded from the sudden rush of freedom but then I realised I had a short window of opportunity, so I jumped right in, not even moving any furniture.

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Skirting. I started tearing in to the skirting.

When we had the floorboards installed we paid extra for the installer to remove all the skirting. I didn’t have time to do it and those very scary nail strips from the carpet was in the way.

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The skirting was in a pretty bad shape in the whole house so when we decided on floorboards we decided we’d upgrade the skirting too and install new fresh skirting down the line. So the floorboard installer was told to not put the old skirting back.

They did anyway. And this is the love and care they did it with.

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So it’s looking a bit cruddy everywhere. I suppose having the skirting, although damaged and dented, does make the floorboards look a bit more finished.

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But I can’t wait to have it removed everywhere and replaced with freshly painted, un-dented skirting.

This post is not sponsored by UNI-PRO and their Real Good Scraper.

Posted in Nursery | 3 Comments

Mouldy McMoulderson

This is a long and boring story so stop reading right now.

Back when I was removing the carpet to prepare for the floorboard install, and found mould, it started a roller coaster of money sucking events.

It started with me calling a mould expert. I had one week before the floorboards would be installed, with no chance of rescheduling since we would move in only days after they were laid. I was in full panic mode.

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Mould-man came out and had a look already the next day and said I could easily treat the stuff I could see myself. He said it’d be fine to lay the floorboards as scheduled and he’d come back and treat the mould from underneath the house, as well as inside if we really wanted to. I very much liked mould-man.

So I started by my own mould treatment with oil of cloves. Yup. Oil of cloves (that’s “nejlikeolja” for you Swedes). It was my mother-in-law’s tip on how to kill the fuzzies. I had never even heard of the stuff. You get it at the pharmacy and when I walked in and asked for it, the pharmacist asked “is it for teeth or mould?”, so apparently it’s a well known remedy for mould. Or teeth?! Mouldy teeth? I have NO idea.

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So I treated the mould with oil of cloves and I tell ya, that stuff SMELLS. It sort of smelled like an overdose of Christmas (cloves is often used en masse around Christmas where I grew up).

This is happening at the same time as I was trying to kill remove the cork tiles in the study with mineral turpentine. So I got the turps stinking up the place, and then the oil of cloves reeking through the house too. I was wondering if I should’ve Googled if the two make for a chemical reaction that will kill a small town.

This is getting to be too long of a story.

We got the mould-man back to gas the crap out of the house with his super-mould-killer gas. He gassed our house from underneath and through the entire house. We had to evacuate. View from the hotel room. Roughing it during evac.

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When we came back the house smelled if possible even worse than during my cloves-turps treatment but we knew the house was squeaky clean. It cost us a bit but we figured it was worth it considering the option of living with mould.

A couple of days later we proceeded with the next step of the mould fighting process i.e. the constant moisture under the house that was the cause of it all. Mould-man had put us in touch with Ventilation-man and he and his team came to install an under-house ventilation system together with a subfloor insulation for a couple of easy thousands. This not only stopped the dead-freeze creeping up through our floors but also exchanges all the air under the house many many times per hour, thus keeping all the moisture away.

That was all the mould taken care of for all eternity. These three actions; mould removal, insulation and moisture removal, now also allowed us to actually utilise the under-house area for storage.

Now. This is where things really get out of hand with the unexpected spending and the bleeding of dollars.

When ventilation-man walked me through the subfloor installations he just in passing mentioned their positive pressure ventilation system, i.e. climate control system. We were planning for ducted air-condition down the line, but DOWN THE LINE because that install costs around $9000. But we got curious of his system and did some research and as it turned out it seemed this positive pressure ventilation system would work better for us and our health concerns, while ducted air-con would not have been ideal for us.

Ventilation-man’s install would also only (I’m laugh-crying a little when I say “only”) cost us $6000.

And did I mention how cold we were?

So. Feast your eyes!

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What? You don’t think this is pretty?

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Nono, please keep looking at it. I need the value for money.

This puppy cost $6000. Of course it came with some stuff in the roof you can’t actually see, BUT STILL.

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Go away. You’ve had you’re 15 minutes.

The fun part is that it’s working. The wee control unit sits outside the guest room.

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We also got seven of these distributed over the house.

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So between the

  • mould killing
  • subfloor insulation
  • subfloor ventilation, and
  • positive pressure ventilation

we’ve spent a God awful amount of our renovation money already. And none of it is stuff you can actually see and say “oooh, pretty”.

It feels a bit like we’ve been haemorrhaging money since we bought our house. Most of it was planned, some of it for straight away, some of it was meant to be for later (a climate control system), and then some that wasn’t planned at all. I’m sure it’s all par for the course when you buy property but can we just slow down now a bit please?! Or at least start spending money on stuff that’s PRETTY and that you can SEE.

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Noo, not YOU!

(If you’re still reading you’ve officially earned five, FIVE Anna points that can be redeemed at any time.)

Posted in Reno | 6 Comments

Unpacking update – Part 4 (and final)

The last of the unpacking was depending on three things, one being the bookcases being anchored in the dining room. Yeeaah… That took me a while. I couldn’t find the saw. I couldn’t find the drill. Had to buy screws and brackets. Had to buy different screws and brackets. And then it took me several tries before I got it right. I am mortified I couldn’t get it right the first time and really Ijustdon’twannatalkaboutit.

The second part that would allow me to get rid of the a lot of the boxes were getting the under-house space prepped. Yes, we have under-house space. You haven’t seen it yet. And you won’t for a while. But it’s that door underneath our front porch.

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There was a fair bit of moisture underneath the house and some mould, and it all ended up creeping in to the house. It wasn’t good. We’ve done a few things about that now (tell ya later) which allows me to store stuff down there. I have no intention of hoarding things out of sight, it’s the garage stuff, like camping gear, sport stuff, tools and DIY stuff and seasonal things like Christmas things that will live there until we (hopefully) convert our carport into a garage.

The third part. Well… I’m a bit away from doing that yet but it’s basically setting up my study with storage for the craft stuff, study stuff, business stuff and stuff stuff.

So. Jibber jabber. With two solutions now finally being available the house now looks like this.

Dining. We’re finally ordering dining chairs tonight so that we can start inviting people over. Never mind all the brown.

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Living. All the boxes are now gone. There’s so much space now!

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Here’s some gratuitous G. Callen for you as well. You’re welcome!

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And yeah, don’t think I told you but we bought a new sofa. It is good.

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Study. Yeah…

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Yeeaah… I know. I have too much stuff. Not all of those boxes belong in here truth be told. I need to get rid of stuff, clearly.

The other rooms look pretty much like last update. Bub’s still in the guest room. I decided I want to do some work in her room before I permanently move her. Easier to sand and paint before she moves in.

Bar the study, everything is pretty much functional now which means that next step is PRETTYFYING!

Posted in Such is life | 4 Comments

Front porch view

Some photos taken from the front porch (while likely holding a wine glass in the other hand).

Different days. Different times. Same spot.

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Posted in Such is life | 4 Comments