Wednesday, 10 September 2014

Painting the mid-century laundry

The one-wall-a-weekend painting program has been quickly stepped up to one-room-a-weekend now we are unlocking our doors to be part of Brisbane Open House 2014! Nothing like a deadline to get things moving.

Last weekend we attacked the laundry with a tin of 'fresh frappe' green paint. We intend to keep some of the original colours used in certain rooms of this mid-mod home. 

Our initial thought, before we moved in, was to paint the entire interior white but having lived here for about six months our line of thinking has changed. Yes, who are we? 

I know, the light mid-century colours can be polarising...but we think they're fun and add to the personality of the home. The colour is also entirely appropriate for the era of the house. 

The laundry feels much fresher and cleaner with the newly painted walls. The change is not markedly different, however we believe the overall first impression is better.

After: repainted the laundry walls with light green paint. Jason also had more success painting the stable or dutch door. He's only painted it the once!

In progress shot of the walls as they were being painted

Before: this is laundry when it was owned by the previous owners

Monday, 8 September 2014

Removing the unwanted wood heater

Vale wood heater. It was nice knowing you, even though we never used you during winter. You were like the elephant in the room...taking up too much valuable space. We never took any photographs of you when you became ours because we never thought you worthy...sadly, unloved

For the few cold nights we have in sub-tropical Brisbane we were prepared to sacrifice cosy warmth for more useable room. 

A shot of the wood heater when the house was with the previous owners

A couple of weeks ago we hired a plumber to remove the heater and repair the inevitable hole in the roof. It only took about an hour or so for it to be done. Afterwards, a few days of rain assured us the plumber did a good job because we were leak-free!

Wood heater-free living space. You can see the maple board on the right.

Our next dilemma is to repair the hole in the Queensland maple ceiling. Finding aged maple rotary cut plywood to match the rest of the ceiling is a problem.

The solution we came up with, with our builder, was to re-purpose some old maple wood doors from the old kitchen cupboards which had been stored under the house. Fortunately the previous owners had kept the old overhead cupboards in the garage and they are a close enough match to work

Our builder has fabricated two old doors into one board which he will use to repair the ceiling. You will still be able to tell there was a repair to the ceiling, but that's fine. It all forms part of the history of the house as it evolves.

Removing the wood heater will provide us with more flexibility in our living and dining areas. That is always a good thing.

Wednesday, 3 September 2014

Brisbane Open House 2014

Attention all archi-tourists: it's that time again when we have to plan our itineraries for Brisbane Open House to be held on the weekend of the 11/12 October 2014.

For those of you not in the know, Brisbane Open House is an annual event which grants the general public access to some of Brisbane's architectural gems. You can read about my experience at last year's Brisbane Open House event here.

Last week we attended the official launch and received our information guide books. The breadth of historical and contemporary properties which will be on show is rich and diverse. There are nearly 90 properties featured in the guide - with 35 new buildings opening their doors this year.

Brisbane Open House guide book

One of those new buildings is also our home...Eek!

We were asked to participate and are among some of the suburban residential offerings in this year's open house program. Our home is listed as the AF Dawson residence in the program and you can book a tour of our place via the ballot system on the Brisbane Open House website. Go on, we'd love to meet you!

AF Dawson residence
We are very excited to be part of this year's event as hopefully it will raise awareness of the importance of preserving mid-century homes. Too often, homes like ours are unsympathetically renovated or even demolished to build homes which are generally poorly designed and constructed...And we can't have that, can we?

Our home was designed by an award-winning Brisbane architect called Peter Heathwood - it was drawn as a specification house for builder AF Dawson in 1962. The house was owned by the one family until we purchased it earlier this year. It's a great home and we really love it.

Railton House. Image from here
In the open house program there are other mid-century residential homes and buildings which are 'must-sees' for the mid-mod enthusiast. My pick is Railton House and Office located in Spring Hill, Torbreck Home Units in Highgate Hill, Jacobi House in Indooroopilly. You can check out the Hot Modernism suggested itinerary on the Brisbane Open House website to see what else is on offer.

Because we are part of the event it means my 'archi-touring' will be curtailed to just one day. I've got my heart set on seeing the old Boggo Road Goal built in 1903 and also the 2014 Christian Street residence designed by architect James Russell.

If you're in Brisbane which  buildings do you plan to visit?

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.

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