Friday, 22 August 2014

Throne for the WC

It was a big day yesterday. A new toilet was installed in our mid mod house - a new throne for the royal ablutions.

Hmm...the joys of an older home...our throne is slightly elevated sitting on a concrete plinth of sorts...
As much as we like to keep the changes to this house 'mid-century authentic', we had to draw the line to the 50 year old toilet with original Bakelite seat. It had seen better days and was ready to be retired. (You'll be pleased to know that we are keeping the simple but highly effective toilet roll holder. Ha!)

A new modern loo was the only way to go - water efficient and hopefully much easier to keep clean.

Old toilet, I'm sure you served well over the years...RIP

We chose a dependable Australian-made Caroma toilet suite with a porcelain cistern. Anything made of plastic would have deteriorated due to the amount of sunlight streaming through the large frosted window in the WC.

I was toying with the idea of getting a new black Bakelite seat... however our experience from the Sow's Ear told us that black Bakelite is difficult to keep in pristine condition. Ours became cloudy over time. :(

After having this initial plumbing work conducted on the house we're now aware that all the old pipes are galvanised steel and are rusting badly. It will be something we will have to attend to before they eventually deteriorate to a rusty mess and seize up for good. We'll be putting that on the list as we plan out our projects.

A smart flush Caroma toilet suite
But firstly we will have to attend to the walls and floors in our sad looking WC. A coat of fresh paint on the walls, repairing the timber architraves and a choice of new flooring is on the to-do list.

Wednesday, 20 August 2014

The mid-century modern hallway

We had a productive week last week with the hallway receiving some much-needed attention. The fun you can have with a dark hallway, tin of paint and a few rolls of painter's tape! A mid-century modern hallway of dreams...

Hallway: taken from Bedroom 3 looking towards the shower room 

We continued the vivid white colour theme from the main living areas to down the hallway. The walls were a little tired and slightly scuffed, so the new coat of paint has freshened it up nicely. Again, it is only the subtlest of changes which still gives our home a substantial lift.

It is a dark hallway because of  the maple timber ceiling and dark floors, however the large picture window in the toilet and the skylight in the shower room located on either side of the hallway provides an abundance of natural light. When we close one of those doors, the hallway is quickly veiled in darkness.

Hallway: photo taken from the shower room looking down towards the toilet. That poor toilet is going to be replaced soon as some things are beyond restoring!
As you can see, there is a lot of wood trim in the hallway - it felt like we spent more time taping up and removing tape than actually painting. We undercoated the walls first and then followed up with two coats of vivid white paint. The inside of each door frame was painted too...which meant a week of doors ajar in a prudish household!

A huge sigh of relief was exhaled when this job was completed. It was a relatively problem free project and Jason's painting confidence is back after the setbacks with the blue front door.

We have a lot of other small projects underway, so I will be back soon to tell you all about it.

Monday, 11 August 2014

Blue door hell:part 3

If you told me that time had stood still over the past five weekends, I would probably believe you...given we are still painting the front door...It's like we are stuck in some cruel time warp, where we are in some kind of blue door painting holding pattern!

stripped back again
'What?' you ask. Didn't we finish that door a fortnight ago? Hmm...it appears the word finished doesn't really mean finished. Even a blog post saying the door was finished was not enough! Clearly it's not really over when the fat lady sings. Jason's quest for perfection with this blue door knows no bounds. Good enough is not good enough.

Jason wanted to do one final touch up of the door, because there was still some dust particles which showed through the glossy finish. It didn't help that one of our friends pointed out the dust too - a casual throw-away line was the catalyst for one final coat of paint. (Thanks a lot Chris! Keep quiet next time. Ha!)

Unfortunately when Jason started painting the final touch up he chose to use a paint brush instead of his trusty roller. The paint went on too thickly and it then went quickly down hill from there...particularly when he tried to scrape it off. I'll spare you the details. Holy blue door hell, Batman!

We had to strip the door right back and start from scratch. Again. Deja vu. Ground hog day.

Happy campers we were not.

Blue door drying
I'd like to say that this weekend we 'finished' the door. But I won't. We'll just wait and see, okay?

And in happier news, we are painting the hallway this week and that seems to be going quite well. Thankfully.

Hallway painting

Monday, 4 August 2014

Five years of Fun and VJs

Who knew five years ago when we wrote our first blog post on Fun and VJs we would still be plugging away today, even after a house move? Ha! Clearly I need another hobby...and Jason needs a DIY break!

Cheers to five years of blogging! Martinis in our mid-mod house.
It's been terrific fun to have a platform like blogging to chronicle our DIY adventures. From renovating our old interwar Queenslander - the Sow's Ear - to now, restoring a mid-century modern home in suburban Brisbane...it's certainly an evolution of sorts.

Moving to a different style of home and restoring it sympathetically is presenting a whole new set of experiences for us. It's not as straightforward as you might expect given it is a younger house to the Sow's Ear. There is such a lack of appreciation and awareness of mid-century housing in Queensland. We hope by writing about our attempts to preserve and respect the original architecture of our home, we will provide some inspiration for others wanting to do the same...particularly when the norm is to just throw out the old and modernise completely.

Hopefully, some things we have written on this blog over the past five years will resonate with readers. Perhaps you're in the midst of renovating an old Queenslander or you are just about to embark on mid-century house renovation project?  We've never put it out there that we are experts...far from it. We make mistakes all the time but we like sharing information which might be useful to others...even if it is learning what not to do!

As you can see, Jason still insists on painting at night...

Although we have never reached uber-blogger status (except in our own minds)...it still amazes us we have such a large audience from all around the world...who are not just spammers!

Thank you so much for reading Fun and VJs. We hope you'll stick with us while we restore our mid-mod home.

xx



Wednesday, 23 July 2014

Blue door blues part 2: using oil paint

The new glossy blue door which we painted with oil-based enamel paint
You wouldn't think painting a blue door would give us so much grief... In the quest for the perfectly painted door we realised the water-based enamel paint was not going to cut it, in this instance. Damn shame really because it has so many great advantages...

The painting fubar with the water-based enamel...it dries too quickly. The roller just stripped off a section...

After trying to salvage the door and failing dismally, we decided to strip it right back and start all over again with old school oil enamel. The last straw was when Jason painted the last coat of water-based enamel with a roller. He went over one section which had dried too quickly and ended up stripping off a thin layer of paint...ruining the final finish.

And then it was on. Jason lost his cool quite spectacularly - it was like we were back to days of yore at the Sow's Ear. I could have charged admission for the show and made a fortune!

Fortunately, a can of paint stripper and a new tin of oil paint was enough to quell the tide of anger. It was quite easy to get the first blue paint layer off. It was like peeling the skin off from a sun burnt Smurf, if you require a literary device to imagine the scene...

Peeling off the water-based enamel. 

Stripping back the door revealed its colourful past -  beginning from blue, to mustard, to salmon, to white and back to blue again.

The paint stripper was able to remove most of the other layers. A quick sand and a dust down was preparation for the first coat of oil-based enamel.

The oil-based enamel has a lovelier, glossier, smoother finish

The colour is much richer than the water-based stuff, it also has a smoother and glossier finish. It was exactly the look Jason desired. The major downside (which is also an upside if you have to fix anything) is the lengthy drying time - it's quite a few hours, so don't expect to be shutting your door in a hurry if you use oil based paints.

Jason used a roller specifically for gloss paint to paint the door - it has a finer stipple to minimise the orange skin effect when using a paint roller. He painted one coat and after it dried completely he sanded it down before applying the second coat (this was completed over the space of two weekends, by the way).

Success! It looks a thousand times better. All is well in our small renovating world.

The next door we need to paint is the stable door or dutch door in the laundry...that should be an interesting experience. I'll keep you posted on how we go...
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