Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Concrete Flamingos and Beach Umbrellas

I don't think it's any secret that I love a good fossick around an op shop. It's practically a legitimate hobby these days. With all that mass produced land fill coming out of China, where else are we going to find well-made unique pieces? I find it soothing, interesting, and it can be tres rewarding too.
I think everyone has their 'holy grail' of op-shopping, that special 'blank blank' that you're always looking for. For me, it's a number of things, in no particular order:
  • A concrete planter shaped like a swan
  • Pineapple shaped whatevers
  • Beautiful glassware
  • Peacock anythings
  • Concrete garden flamingos
  • Pretzel cane
As you can see in the above photo, my friend Elizabeth struck it lucky on the latter two. Look at those flamingos. Palest pink, authentic 1960s concrete garden flamingos....they're even from the Gold Coast! Oh, I was almost sick, but of course, happy for her (sort of). They're even better in real life.

I had a little find myself last Friday. Whilst busy procrastinating instead of being at home working, I came across this.

It's a 1960s beach umbrella, in mint condition. It's like it's never been used, with vivid colours. I noticed it as I was walking out the door, it was folded up in plastic and I couldnt'tell what it was at first. I couldn't get it out of there fast enough. I can tick that one off the list now.

I have been looking at lights, ceiling roses, and the extras for downstairs. The Restoration Station is just around the corner from us on Waterworks Road. We got quite a few bits and pieces from them when we were doing upstairs.
I popped in there recently. They've got quite an amazing collection of bits and pieces for Queenslanders and older houses.

We were playing Boggle last night. I was using an old stenographers writing pad which was in the house when we moved in. The pages were all yellow and the paper was fragile, but it was ok to scribble my words in. I flicked over to the back of the book and found some pencilled notes about babycare, headed '7th May, 1942'.

Gwennie strikes again! Just when I think this is truly our house now, she let's me know that she was here first.

Monday, July 29, 2013

House of India

Quite a few years ago we went to a dinner party where we met a couple who had just returned from working in Indonesia. They had re-settled in Australia and bought the former Indian Embassy (or Consulate?) in Hamilton.
We didn't know such a house existed, and upon our real-estalking the following day, I fell in love at first sight.

So, it was with great agitation that I discovered yesterday that it is currently for sale. The root of my agitation being that I am without the $2.9 million to buy it.
I could show you some of the interior shots, but safe to say, it's been top-to-toed with the bland brush. I've already redecorated it in my mind, using the colours of India; peacock blue, turquoise, hot pink, emerald green, acid yellow.
Details are here.

Thursday, July 25, 2013

Hooray for Herringbone!

We had our first tiling quote come in for the herringbone floor. It was $88/metre, making the labour cost for laying the tiles in the living room almost $4000. Then we have the cost of the actual tiles on top of that. I nearly lost my lunch.
My husband, who works in the construction industry, then got onto another tiler and our second quote was $60/m. Much better.
We have another tiler coming this afternoon, who is apparently ridiculously meticulous with his work. Whether we go ahead and use him or not, I'm happy to pass on his details to anyone who wants them. Until recently he worked for a large tiling group and has now started his own business.
In summary, the herringbone floor look like it's a goer! Hooray for herringbone!
I'm always looking at properties for sale, it soothes me. There hasn't been anything too exciting on the market for a while, at least not in our neck of the woods. If I was looking to buy right now, shopping the market with a few million clams on board, I'd be inspecting this house. It's called Monaise and it's in Ascot. It was built in 1921 and has only ever had three owners, which would account for its sense of authenticity and lack of contrivance, there's not a vignette in sight.
I've been daydreaming about sitting on this verandah, reading to my golden haired lady babies, all of us dressed like extras from Picnic at Hanging Rock. In my daydream I have hair like Miranda, instead of my actual crazy cave-woman hair.
Look at that beautiful emerald green.

Monaise is at 36 Kitchener Road, Ascot. You can see the details of it here.

On the flipside in terms of style, there's something very appealing about this house too, probably the 2.9 acres of city land it sits on.
It seems the land has been in the one family for over 150 years, and the house itself was architecturally designed in the 1960s by Neville Lund. I've no idea who that is, but I guess if you were super into this style of architecture you'd know.
I'd say this might be the 'good room', it's crying out for a bar or at least a cocktail cabinet. Look at those beautiful doors and the view.
I don't think it would be a massive house, but as the client on Sunday night's Grand Designs said, 'better to have a little of what you love, then a lot of what you don't' - or words to that effect?
Those glass doors are even in the bedrooms.
A peanut with a view.
I don't know who owns this house, I'm not giving it a plug, I just thought it looked beautiful. It's at 9 Mt Nebo Road, The Gap and you can see it on RealEstate.com here.
Let me leave you with a couple of pretty pictures, source unknown, as usual.

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

The Green Herring

Just a tip. When you're in a tile shop in Noosa, and a lady called De De tells you the tile you've selected is 'very special' and 'made to order', don't bother getting too attached to it. If these tiles aren't going to drive you around in their convertible Porsche or take you on holidays to Monaco, you're probably going to be hard pressed to justify the cost of them.
These are the ones in question, they look harmless enough don't they?
 And they would do the job we had in mind for the downstairs living area, which was something like this.

However, at $180/metre plus delivery, presumably in the convertible Porsche, they are cost prohibitive over 45m.
Here's another tip. When you go to 10 tile shops and everyone tells you the tile you are after doesn't exist, go to the 11th one and they'll have it.
We finally found our more affordable floor quality subway tiles at The Tile Mob in Mitchelton. They have an amazing collection of tiles for such a little shop tucked away.
We're now waiting on our first quote from the tiler to lay these babies, one by one, over the vast living area and laundry. There'll be tears, I know. Then there'll be more trips back to the drawing board.
When you're renovating I know that the budget is annoyingly dominant in what you do and don't do, however, I think there has to be one element of your house that is non-negotiable. You can't finish the job and still be without something that you absolutely loved, and got in the end. So far, we've been non-negotiable on the vj walls and ceiling, the skirting and trims and the doors, all of which could have been done for a lot less if we'd used more inferior and less traditional materials.
Maybe the floor will have to give? This is what we have in mind - black and white herringbone. The tiles we've picked are smaller than these ones below, but still a honed stone look with square edges.

Tiles can be laid in all types of patterns if you want to get creative about it.

Or this....

Tiles and paint, that's the fun stuff for me. So now we'll sit and wait for the first laying quote to come in, then we'll go from there. Fingers crossed people!

Wednesday, July 3, 2013

A Progress Report

Remember this frame work?
After that stage the insulation went in. I'm assured that's not actually Persion fairy floss.
Then the coffered ceiling was lined with vj board. We're doing the ceilings and walls downstairs with vj board rather than plasterboard, even though it is significantly more expensive. We want the lower level to look as much like upstairs as possible, and so our ceilings are also 2.7m high at a minimum, rather than the usual 2.4m.
Now things are taking shape and getting very interesting.....