Tuesday, September 27, 2011

This is not my beautiful house

Working on our house project has made me more focused than ever before on housey things.  I've always had a bit of a thing for architecture books and interior design magazines, but now that I'm working on our own project and constantly selecting, sourcing and installing various products, I'll admit to becoming just a little obsessed.  I knew I had it bad the other day when I had a few renovations done in my mouth and I had to work very hard to resist asking my dentist where he'd got his dishy bench tops from.

The rest of the family are not immune to this.  As we get about on our daily business we find ourselves having conversations about window styles and pebble colours, roof lines and design crimes.  (The pictures throughout this post are of various weird and wonderful houses around these parts.  None of them are my beautiful house, though the very last photo is of something I own.) I don't expect we'll be like this forever as our plan is to move in and get on with our lives, and then look back and laugh at our numerous painful outings to hardware stores where at least one of our party ended up with that "someone just kill me now" look in their eyes.

Throughout this project Interwebland has been my best friend.  I have been constantly amazed by the number of people, both professional and amateur, who continually renovate, redecorate and restyle homes, then post evidence of their projects online.  Type any old paint colour, style of light fitting or floor covering into Mr Google and you'll find someone who has not only used it but beautifully photographed and documented the results for grateful folk like me to benefit from.

I'd like to be that generous but our project is very modest and simple and besides, we move house this coming Saturday so I'm a tad too busy.  Here below is where we'll most likely be moving to.

No, that is not my beautiful house.  That is my beautiful, hangar-sized shed.  Unless a miracle happens between now and Saturday we'll be shifting most of our worldly goods in to there, but given how many shed-dwelling redback spiders I've rehomed I draw the line at sleeping in there.

The hold-up is that the rolls of flooring are still sitting in the house like great galumphing elephants in the room.  The floor-layer has had an accident and busted his hand.  I haven't been hassling him because a) he is nice, and b) he knows full well how we are placed, and c) I reckon that a floor layer with a busted hand has quite enough hassles already.  But I will admit to thinking more than once "How did I get here? What have I done?"

Tuesday, September 20, 2011


No renovating today as I had too many other appointments stacked up.  I did pop to the new house to drop a few things off though and noticed that a minor miracle had happened ... flooringdude has obviously been in there as one batch of the flooring is in the building.   Apparently it needs to acclimatise!

Hopefully by the time I next pop in there more than just the sample patch will be glowing with beetrooty-coloured goodness. 

Early on in this process we had to face the somewhat vexing question of whether to decorate the house for a) the Mandurah resale market or b) for us to enjoy living in for however long we live here - and no, given the decor in the hundreds of houses I looked at before we bought I'd say those two things are most certainly not the same.  Obviously we chose the latter option and only time will tell whether we succeed in making this house completely unsaleable.  The product above is marmoleum by Forbo in the colour Bleeckerstreet.  It's not for the faint-hearted but then I'm not scared of flooring, and besides it is only going in a small part of the house.

And speaking of unsaleable, I didn't take proper "before" photos because I was so keen to rip stuff out, but here is a wee snippet of what that wall and floor looked like before, when they languished on the market for over a year. 

Mmmmmmm, Grim as Grimsville.  Surely only a troglodyte or a very brave type would take that on.

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Going AWL

Last Thursday morning I got up at some horrifically early hour, got dressed and at 6am went to Mandurah train station.  I caught the train to Perth (that picture above is of artwork in one of the stations on the way), then walked a few hundred metres, then caught a bus.  A while later I got off the bus and got on a plane.  On the plane I sat next to a man who thought it was OK to fire up his laptop and grunt his way through a movie that had not employed the services of a costume department.  To my great relief this was deemed not OK by the flight attendant and the strange man was made to turn it off.  He didn't argue but he did fidget, harrumph and sulk throughout the 3.5 hour flight.  After a while I got off the plane and caught the impressively efficient SkyBus service all the way to my hotel in .... Melbourne!

Yes I went absent with leave for four whole days and three whole nights.  When I booked this trip a few months ago I had no idea that the timing would be somewhat, well, rubbish.  My partner had been away for the whole of the previous week, had a jam-packed diary for the time I was away, and now that I'm back he is away again for the whole of this week.  Plus there is the little matter of the currently uninhabitable house I am still in the middle of renovating.  Despite not even being able to remember the last time I went away by myself, my ladies' holiday seemed a tiny bit extravagant and frivolous just at the minute.

But heck, here I was in Melbourne so I soon got over those thoughts and just got on with the business of enjoying myself.  What to say?  Nothing that isn't sickeningly gushy as I'll admit to having a big fat crush on Melbourne.

I met my sister and her friend who were there for a landscaping conference and another friend who had come over from Sydney.  The weather was truly hideous.  However I was pleased to discover that spending a year in a place where people say "Isn't it freezing!" when the temperature dips below 20 degrees hasn't turned me into a cold weather lightweight. As my sister quoted Ranulph Fiennes - "There is no bad weather, only inappropriate clothing!" - I donned my mothballed Christchurch winter clothes and we set off undeterred.

We ate amazing food, drank excellent coffee, went to wonderful galleries, shopped in gorgeous shops and roamed down interesting lane ways and humming neighbourhoods.  Some Fashion Week thingy was on and we saw quivers of models proving that there can be a huge difference between looking fashionable and looking good.

I soon discovered that I am quite out of practice on the drinking front and so just sat coveting the great cluster of George Nelson bubble lamps in the East Berlin section of the Berlin Bar while my companions sipped cocktails.

I proved to be even more of a lightweight when it came to shopping.  Despite being tempted silly all over town (Twenty21! Angelucci! Gorman! SoleDevotion! CraftVictoria!) and watching my companions spend up large, my upcoming renovation bills weighed heavily on my mind; all I bought was a book for my son (which he finished minutes after we got home from the airport) and two funny old safety deposit box keys for my daughter's key collection.

All too soon it was time for another SkyBus to collect me to start my journey home again. 

No strange men on the homeward trip, just a very nice one and some lovely children at Perth airport to greet me.  When I fessed up to being shockingly out of practice on the shopping front and to coming home bearing little more than a tip for a no-mow lawn alternative and a desire to investigate the possibility of a green roof, my partner suggested that maybe I shouldn't leave it so long before going absent with leave again. 

I didn't argue.  Any suggestions ladies?