Wednesday, July 28, 2010

The crash and burn out
Sorry for being off air for so long. This will only be brief too. I've got a honking head cold and my back is giving me the heebie jeebies, as it's done for the past 19 months!
Craig the painter started on the outside of the house on Monday. He's buying the paint tomorrow or the next day so I really have to nail the colour toot sweet!
I tried all our prissy little chopping boards in the kitchen. We got one with the sink and I had a couple of those tiny ones that you just pop back in the cupboard when you're finished, but they were all most unsatisfactory. In the end I tarted up our old butcher's block and plopped it at the end of the island bench. I think it works quite well.
I've also found most of my cookbooks now and have put them in the pantry. I'm still missing my favourite one, Retro Classics, so there is potentially another box of recipe books somewhere. I've got three shelves of them thus far and I use every single book!!

On Saturday night I hosted my first dinner party and invited my girlfriends around from my mother's group. We had a fun time and finished at nearly 2am! I think the neighbours got a kick out of seeing me skulking around all day Sunday like I was trying to balance books on my head.
I made these little rosewater scented meringue kisses and decorated with the most stunning pink roses from the foodstore at Rosalie, the only place to be buying your flowers!! This bunch was huge, pink, fresh and gorgeous and cost $15.

On Sunday we also took a trip down to Manly. My husband wanted to photograph an awning he'd seen there at a convent. A similar one will go over our downstairs french doors. It's very similar to the arbour we have beside our pool, so it will fit in very well.

That's it for me for the moment....

Sunday, July 18, 2010

It's only the beginning
When I arrived at the house on Thursday morning I was full of bravado, but it didn't take me long to realise I had severely underestimated the amount of work we had to do to set up house again.
In my mind I pictured myself emptying our boxes and arranging our pretty things on pristine shelves. In reality, the house was blanketed with a fine layer of dust upstairs from the floorsanding.
Downstairs was even worse. A thick layer of dust from the builders covered everything we owned.
I remember a teacher at school telling us once that you can't make dust disappear, you can only move it somewhere else.  That somewhere else ended up being our beautiful black floors.
Our floors, even now, have a dust film from my dusting and people walking across our dust bowl yard, up our dusty stairs, across the dusty verandah and into the house. At first I tried to fight it, then I let it go.
Tomorrow I intend to get the floors in order. After four days of almost literally back breaking work, we have moved in the bulk of our possessions. I now have the elegant saunter of a 95 year old with severe osteoporosis.
This is what we had to contend with downstairs.

While I thought our early days at the rejuvenated Euphemia would consist of 'styling' our interior, we've really just had to focus, rather unromantically, on hauling our crap up the stairs and getting it unpacked.
I have realised that I unkindly called Gwennie a hoarder. That, safe to say, was the pot calling the kettle black. We seem to have so much of everything that I think it is actually having a disabling effect on the smooth running of this family....well maybe not, but it's driving me crazy.
As of tomorrow I plan to sift through (again) and upload many of our odds and sods onto Ebay (will give you the heads up). I'm throwing some things away - there I said it! I'm also taking the inbetweens to the Salvos.
In the next 4-6 weeks I'm aiming to get the house functioning smoothly and looking 'smart'. Then I'm going to give the whole 'housey thing' a rest!
Although we've just tossed in our things, I can see there's some good stuff happening. Thought you might want to have a look.

On the shelves either side of our kitchen range, I've gone for pink on one side.....

...and bleau on the other....

The pantry will always be a work in progress I think, but this is it for today.
A couple of snippets from the main bathroom.

I finally put my basket chandelier shaped light shade up in the ensuite. It makes such a pretty pattern on the ceiling. I bought this shade a few years ago knowing I'd get the house for it later.
Below is a little group of glass jars and bottles I've been collecting for the bathrooms. Once I revamp my two old medicine cabinets, I'll store them in there.
We get big-time western sun. This was the living room and dining room this afternoon.

The dining room and living room need a monster amount of work, but it'll come together eventually?

This is simple and sweet in our bedroom. I've always loved this little chest of drawers, which came with the house. The butterflies are actually a hand coloured lithograph (or woodblock?) from 1804.

The day before we moved in the children and I went to Chinatown for yum cha. I bought this paper lantern for $4.50 and thought I'd find a place for it. As it turned out I had forgotten to get a lampshade for our bedroom so that's where it ended up. LOVE paper lanterns!

Once I hung up most of my clothes I realised why I never have anything to wear. I buy clothes like I'm stocking a fancy dress shop. Furs and sequins aren't all that handy for school and grocery shopping.

Amongst all the commotion Teddy has been kicking back and taking it easy.
So, as it turns out what I thought was the end is actually just the beginning. I still have a lot to do.

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Two more sleeps
At the moment we are staying with my husband's parents bayside, which is very nice. It's the calm before the storm, you could say.
The floor guy put the top coat on the floors this afternoon. Right at the end we had a hiccup. He was unable to fill borer holes in the floor because he couldn't get the putty to be a match with the floorstain.
This means that in a few of our floorboards the honeycomb effect will stay, although they are all very structurally strong. It doesn't bother me. We have said all along that it's an old house and we want it to look like that. The last thing we want is to ' over restore' it.
I'm so excited about moving in, although when I look at the number of bags and boxes under the house and the thick film of dust over them all, I could just cry. I have so much work to do.
Have been trying to imagine what it will all look like when finished. I will be taking some direction from Anna Spiro and India Hicks. As we say, fingers crossed!

Anyway, two more sleeps. Thursday here we come!!

Friday, July 9, 2010

Through the keyhole
Euphemia is pretty much closed to us at the moment until the top coats go on the floor over the weekend. I had to take this most recent photo by sticking the camera through a broken pane of glass at the front door.
We've taken the plunge, there's no turning back now.
We've gone from this... this....

The floors got their second coat of Pitch Black stain only a couple of hours before this photo was taken, and as you can see it's not entirely soaked in yet.
Don't panic! The floors will come up beautifully although it does look a tad extreme at the moment.
EDMI (estimated date of moving in) is Wednesday.
I've had a few questions banking up in the comments which I thought I'd try and answer.
Firstly, I got our  'camp' sconce lights from Victorian Living on Windsor Road, Red Hill.  Note to parents of small children: do not take your offspring there. You'll see why when you get there.
Yes, we had considered Japan black for our floors, that's pretty much the traditional method, but it was going to be more involved and therefore cost more time and money. We also may not have got the inky black effect we were after.
Colourwise, for the front door I am considering a Resene colour called Sensual Red. Who names these paints? Hopefully, our house won't look like a brothel?
For the back door I have narrowed it down to either French Grey (which is more of a green colour) or one of about 400 turquoise/blue/green colours including Shampoo, Silk Road and a Tiffany's blue. I was also considering painting both doors in a different shade of turquoise/blue/green.
On the weekend we will be packing up and shipping out of mother's house. 
Not long to go now. 

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Let there be light

At last we have most of our electricity and some running water. Just a few photos to keep you up to date.

Lights are on in the kitchen, although the sconces don't have their shades on yet.

The bath has been unwrapped.

Sconce in the main bathroom, below. It doesn't have it's shade on yet either. The bath feet, bath taps, sink taps and sconce lights all have a nickel finish.

Below is the ensuite as it is today. Still a lot of work to do, but it's coming together.

Tomorrow the floor people start. That'll be interesting.

Monday, July 5, 2010

First colours....then pitch black!

This morning I got out of bed, all full of bravado, ready to nail those front and back door colours, finally.
While the children ate breakfast I went over them again, logically breaking down the reasons for choosing one colour over another.
An hour later I bundled up the colour charts and the children, and went to the house to look at it AGAAAAIN.
Twenty minutes later we went to our favourite cafe in Paddington. I thought the surroundings might inspire me to see the forest rather than the trees, or whatever. (I'd tell you which cafe is our favourite, but since it was featured in the Courier Mail a few months ago, there is now a line for breakfast on a Sunday and the prices seem to have gone up by about 25%. I make it my personal rule not to line up for food unless there's a war on)
This didn't seem to help and when we were leaving the waitress called out to me because I'd left the colour charts on the table. 'Must be subconsciously trying to get rid of them', I said to her.
Then as we were crossing Latrobe Terrace to get back to our car I dropped the whole bundle right in the middle of the road. I may have even screamed a bit. I just had to grab the little hands and get us all to the footpath before we were squashed by a bus. Once to safety we turned to see the colour charts all churned up by car wheels, and spread all over the road. There was no saving them.
My latest brilliant find is The Paint Place at Milton, just near that American burger chain. They have everything there including Porters Paints and Resene.
I went to check out floor products. One of the men there took me through a few different products including Palm Beach Black. None of them seemed quite right.
After stocking up on some replacement colour charts, we all boarded the 'ishi bishi' and went to the nursery. Enroute from the paint shop to the nursery we passed through Paddington again. My colours had mostly been blown into the gutters. I think I was meant to start again anyway.
I wanted to get some annual seedlings to put in my mother's front garden, to take the focus away from all the plants I've killed in the back garden. We finally got them planted and watered, and I was happy our day ended productively.
Later in the day my husband visited the same paint store also looking for a solution for our floors. Apparently, just after I had left the man had thought of another product but by the time he got outside we were gone. It seems we're now using something called Pitch Black by Resene. Will let you know how it goes.
The plumber showed today and we unwrapped the bath. It's very cute. The silver grey colour is very subtle.
The box brownie was going flat so I was only able to photograph a couple of things from the ensuite.

Above is the marble tiled floor. It hasn't been cleaned yet, but I'm very happy with it. It's a classic.

Ok, these sconce lights are a bit camp, but my thinking was that they would contrast well with the cold, hard marble floor? I'll wait and see how the whole picture looks.
Ta da! I've been meaning to post a picture of this for ages. This is my kitchen bin!

The reason for my excitement over a bin is that I loathe the rubbish problem in kitchens. I'm always using the sink for vege scraps and hanging old shopping bags over door handles for other rubbish, and then there's the recycling bits all over the benchtop.

With this nifty bin I have compartments for green scraps, recycling and general rubbish. Everyone asks what the fourth one is for, but I'm not sure yet. Maybe it will become apparent once I start actually using the kitchen?

As for the colours for the doors, well... the painter will finish up everything inside tomorrow, then he'll take a couple of weeks off before starting the outside. He'll do the doors when he comes back, so I've got quite a lot of extra time up my sleeve, hopefully enough. Maybe I'll end up resorting to a lucky dip?

Saturday, July 3, 2010

The countdown
We didn't get as much done this week as we thought we might have, but we are still on track to move back in on about Tuesday, July 13th?
The plumber didn't recover and was a no-show all week. He said he'll be there Monday and Tuesday to get everything fitted.
The electrician turned up and fitted most of the lights. We are very happy with the three lights over the kitchen island.
This coming week I haved to put my mother's house back in order, and take the rest of our belongings back to Euphemia.  I also need to be handy for the plumber and electrician in case they have any queries.
I will be writing lists like a mad woman this week. I have also been known to write lists of lists I need to make. Tick! Tick! Tick!
The floorsander begins Tuesday or Wednesday and thinks he'll be done by next Saturday. We have decided to use his products rather than the Porter's Palm Beach Black. We are picking over the bones of our budget, and our options are; (i) to get the floor sanded and do the rest ourselves (which extends our time dramatically) or (ii) pay the floorsander to do the whole lot and use his Feast Watson products. The finish will still be dark and waxy.
This is how the kitchen is looking thus far.
My husband fitted the taps today, just so we could see how they look, although they aren't plumbed in yet.

The main bathroom is coming along too, but it's not as photogenic as the kitchen. We are in the process of painting the pressed metal before the bath goes in early in the week.
You can see above how the metal looks when it is first installed. Once painted it gives the plain white wall more texture. There is still masking tape all over the place, and the tiles need a good wash.
These mosaic tiles (below) are from Johnson Bros (I'm not sure who that is?). They are called white, but once all up they appear more of a pale, public hospital green, which I actually love, right or wrong. The colour goes really well with the white and the nickel tapware. This little wall hides the loo and it will soon have two sconce lights on it, plus a white pedestal sink and .........

a beautiful mirror I bought on Ebay for $81. It's not a big space and I was having trouble finding a mirror that would fit, but was really wrapped to find this one.

Speaking of Ebay, I also purchased this little old medicine cabinet below for $49 from my new favourite seller, theoldboatshed. Katherine also has a blog called where she shows all the best pieces from estate sales she's purchased. All very exciting, if you're into that sort of thing.

I will also try and take some photos of our ensuite tomorrow. The dust sheets over the floor are gone, the wall sconces and shower are in. It's all looking good. Wish I'd used more of the marble though.
Tomorrow I also need to finally, finally decide on the colours for the front and back doors.  Once and for all. 
Currently leaning towards turquoise or red for the front door and grey or turquoise for the back door. With a white house and black floors, there are about 150,000 colours which would suit. Not an easy process for someone who spends half an hour pondering which ice cream to have from the shop every Sunday afternoon..... and I always end up with the trusty old Maxibon.
I wonder if some paint company, somewhere, has a colour called Maxibon?