Tuesday, 30 March 2010

Coral pendant light installed

I guess the old adage 'pictures speak a thousand words' applies to this post.

Carlo the electrician installed our David Trubridge Coral Pendant in the lounge room yesterday. Yay!

It looks great and today we are sore from craning our necks to admire the new light.

Unfortunately the Star Wars buffs in the family have dubbed our funky light the Death Star.  I tell you, I'm surrounded by philistines!

image courtesy of wikipedia

Monday, 29 March 2010

Art gallery wall

Inspired by the various art gallery walls seen in Blogtopia, we decided it was time to hang some of the pieces we had on the floor leaning against the wall in the study and our bedroom.

Jason is most helpful when it comes to matters of de-cluttering our floors, so with hammer and hooks in hand he proceeded to transform our bedroom wall. Our walls in this room are yet to be painted and will be a project for the latter part of this year.

It is very much an eclectic mix but each piece has a personal resonance. The large one on the top right is a poster I purchased when bumming around Papeete in the early 90s - it is a souvenir of when I was young and carefree.

The bird of paradise canvas is one I painted during a brief botanical phase I went through - the bird of paradise was from the garden at our last home.

The graphite drawing on the bottom left is of Number One and Two sons when I went through a portraiture phase and did not forsee Son # Three. He is too young to have a complex just yet.

Above that is abstract calligraphy on reclaimed wood which I received recently from the talented Ange. It is a Vincent Van Gogh quote: "I tell you, the more I think, the more I feel that there is nothing more truly artistic than to love people." I'm a fan of French Impressionism and like works which draw inspiration from artists who pioneered this style of painting.

Lastly, the small canvas at the top is of the view from the window of a very humble pensione Jason and I stayed in when we visited Florence. Our little room had a breathtaking view of the Duomo. I painted it during my landscape phase.

These pieces have instantly made our bedroom warmer...and happier.

Friday, 26 March 2010

Window Putty

After work in the evenings, Jason has been going under the house to work on the new (but old) casement windows for our bedroom. He is way more motivated than me!

The window putty had deteriorated and was crumbling away on the exterior facing side. It was a very easy fix though. Jason scraped the old loose stuff out and then smoothed some new window putty around the edges to seal in the glass. Very simple.

He also used the heat gun to scrape off the worst of the thick gunky paint before he starts sanding them. When they are cleaned up and painted, they will look really good.

Tuesday, 23 March 2010

Vintage Tea Cosy

I was automatically drawn to this tea cosy which was sitting like a pariah on the shelves of the Annerley Lifeline shop. Looking for love.

When I walked into the store, I knew I had at last found the tea cosy of my dreams. This is the first tea cosy I have ever owned. Luckily, it was not an outrageous purchase to cater for my inner-granny.

After a quick soak with eucalyptus wool wash and some unceremonious tea cosy hat wearing by Son #3,  it is fit for our bland little tea pot.

Doesn't it look like a mutant pineapple? I should add a green crown of leaves. I can't fight my Queensland origins - I love it.

Sunday, 21 March 2010

Casement Windows Hopscotch Style

Doors and windows are an expensive yet necessary part of any renovation.

Down the track we plan to replace the windows in the master bedroom where we have a bay window. The windows we have currently are clear single-pane timber casement windows. They are the only windows on the left-hand side of the house which do not match the hopscotch profile that is consistent throughout.

No doubt they were a later addition when modifications were done to that room some years ago.

Yesterday afternoon, while it was raining I picked up the classified section of the newspaper to browse for retro furniture (as you do) and stumbled upon the "building materials for sale" column. I never really look in that section but I thought I'd see what was on offer in terms of casement windows.

Bingo! Right quantity, right size, right profile and when Jason called, they were still available.

A boot load of timber casement windows

The couple selling the windows were modernising their Queenslander...and the windows were no longer required. (I shudder when I hear modernise and Queenslander uttered in the same breath, which is ironic really since I have modernist leanings....)

To purchase 10 new custom built casements for our bedroom, we had a conservative estimate of $3,500. For a very tiny fraction of that, we are now in the window replacement business.

The windows are in good condition. The glass pattern is not a perfect match but we are not that concerned because our bay window is not original to the house anyway. It will give us more privacy than the clear glass we have at the moment and in the long run, it will be more sympathetic to the house.

Jason will sand and re-paint the windows before he fits them into our bedroom - it won't happen overnight, but it will happen. It's always good to have a project.

Jason's work never ends

Friday, 19 March 2010

Anodised saucer bullet planter

The anodised saucer shaped planter arrived early this week. I've been looking for an atomic shaped one like this for simply ages. This type is very hard to find in reasonable undinted condition and particularly for the paltry sum of $5.00.

Happiness is an unexpected bargain.

The pot which is a soft under-stated metallic green sits snugly on a black plastic coated metallic tripod stand.

Planters, jarnidieres and bullet planters are like the holy grail in my second-hand shopping endeavours. They are just so expensive, usually, and they are never quite right. My new find is a crowning moment.

image courtesy of mid century modernist

I ideally wanted something like the bullet planter but they don't seem to be available in Australia. These bullet planters are made of a fibre-glass construction and come in a variety of colours. They are very cute but also expensive if you include cartage to the Antipodes.

Now that I've got my anodised version, I think I like it better. It is so quintessentially Australian - just about everyone knew somebody whose groovy parent's had the anodised saucer living on the back patio (my parents weren't groovy).

image courtesy calyx flower

The big question is what should I plant in it? I spoke to my hard-core modernist friend, Susan, and she said a Spider plant (chlorophytum comosum) is the way to go because it would suit the saucer shape of the pot and it's a very hardy indoor plant.

What do you think? Or should I plant something else?

Wednesday, 17 March 2010

David Trubridge Coral Pendant Light

It is here. I have in my possession the pendant light which will soon hang in our lounge room.

I was able to buy the 600 mm Coral Light kitset when I was in the Valley yesterday. For an extra $50 you can have it fully assembled but I'm cheap and Jason is handy, so that wasn't an option. The instruction sheet said it would take approximately 40 to 60 minutes to build.

Sixty bamboo plywood pieces to be attached with rivets in a repeating pattern.

Holy Mother of Impossible Jigsaw Puzzles! Thankfully, Jason has a spatial brain and can read instructions.

Keeping up our liquids was an essential element of the assembly process.

It is such a simple concept which makes this good design  - why couldn't I have been blessed with such ingenuity? David Trubridge is a New Zealand designer who uses only natural materials in his designs to leave behind a more delicate footprint. The Coral design was released in 2004.

Anyway, the instructions lied. It took well over an hour for us to assemble the Coral Light...but, nonetheless a moment to be truly proud. Now we need to call the electrician to wire it in.

I'll keep you posted.

Monday, 15 March 2010

New pot

child and adult butterfly chair with new pot in the front entry

I re-potted my sansevieria (mother-in-law's tongue plant) on the weekend. I bought a glazed pot which has a retro lava feel from Katherine at theoldboathouse (thanks Katherine!). It will now keep company with mother and baby butterfly chair.

Katherine said she didn't think it was vintage, but it certainly has the right mid century look which I was after. It's hard to find this type of planter. Everything is either too darned square or pretty. Where has all the ugly pottery gone?

glazed pottery planter

I also scored a lime green anodised planter on a black metal tripod stand. It is on its way to me from bustling Bundaberg (four hours north of Brisbane). I'm unsure about its condition but my expectations are always kept low and I like the odd surprise...

Saturday, 13 March 2010

Secret Austen tragic

I made my very first Etsy purchase. Purely on a whim. Sadly, it is pretty tame - a tea towel. But it makes me laugh.

And if I had a well-read daughter getting married, I would buy her this:

Too funny and it is all from here.

*Images courtesy of Brookish

Thursday, 11 March 2010

Pointlessly frugal

There are a few things I'd like to buy for the house and I've kind of been putting them off until we had a bit more money; to recover from Christmas time spending (this period also coincides with when our major insurances are due - a major suck in more ways than one).

Being the martyr that I am, I've been very frugal these past few months. You know, looking after the pennies so the pounds can look after themselves nonsense - thinking twice before purchasing anything, making school and work lunches religiously, not having take-out etc. etc.

But not anymore. Being a martyr is utter madness, especially if you're the only one depriving yourself!
Image courtesy  Rhodes & Beckett

Over the last few weeks Jason has been revamping his wardrobe. On his side of the cupboard, lovely 100% Egyptian cotton hand tailored shirts are hanging handsomely from their hangers.

Mr French Cuffs Jason never thinks twice when making a clothing purchase and when he believes he's onto a good thing he buys duplicates.

So far, his recent shirt purchases roughly equate to one designer light fitting I've delayed buying for the loungeroom, because I thought I was being extravagant.

How ridiculous I was! I should've got in first. 

And I don't really want to begrudge Jason buying anything because he never ever begrudges any of my purchases and even coaches me in the ways of a spendthrift.

shadeless lounge room light

No more St Brismod. Cured of my pointless frugality, I'm going shopping!

Tuesday, 9 March 2010

New art

Look what came in the mail, all the way from France, yesterday. My second giveaway win of the year.

acrylic ink on reclaimed wood

Thank you to artist and calligraphist Ange from Signed by Ange who interpreted a Van Gogh quote for my abstract pleasure! I love it.

I can't believe how excited I was to see it sitting near the mail box. I was just like a child.

The packing - draft calligraphy work on catridge paper and a small message on aquarelle card. Love, love. Thanks again, Ange!

And for dinner tonight, I'm doing tapas. Some friends from book club are coming around to discuss "Brave New World". Tapas laced with Soma. Yeah!

Monday, 8 March 2010

Kitchen - before and after and a Marimekko giveaway winner

Yesterday, we were showing a friend some before photos of our house (only because they were interested - we attempt not to bore our friends).

Blogging about our renovations has given us a great collection of photos of the house which we otherwise wouldn't have taken.

I've been trying to take after shots in the exact position of the before shots. It is very motivating, especially as we are waiting to do our next large project which is Number 1 son's bedroom. I can't wait!

To date, we have renovated the front entry, lounge room and kitchen. This is the first before and after I have collaged together:

The before shot is from our second inspection of the property last year. It is the only before shot we have. Most of the storage in the photos was freestanding and went with the previous owners.

As you can, see we didn't change the layout dramatically - just tweaked it so it would function better and have more bench and storage space. The bi-fold windows were also added to allow us to open up the space when needed. Jason said he will definitely paint the windows a gloss white when the weather improves (it's been raining heaps).

The fridge obstructing the doorway leading onto the deck was also very bad feng shui  - the couple who owned the house were divorcing. Perhaps if they had moved the fridge, things could have been different...

Marimekko Giveaway

Man, I was relieved there were a few more entrants than the embarrassing eight or so I had early last week! My plea for more entries worked and saved my pride somewhat. Anyway, there were 23 entrants (including the double entries for those who advertised my giveaway on their blog).

This morning I recruited the help of Number 1 Son to draw a name out of a stainless steel bowl for the Marimekko cushion giveaway. So very hi-tech! And this is what he pulled out:

Congratulations to Amanda from Small Acorns for winning the Marimekko cushion. Amanda, I will be in contact with you shortly to arrange delivery.

And a big thank you to everyone else who entered!

Friday, 5 March 2010

Queenslander house styles

Although we are not being pedantic with a true restoration, we are keen to make sure our renovations are sympathetic to the character of our house. We certainly don't want to live in a museum but nor do we want to ignore the fact we live in an older style home.

The local city council library has proven to be a good source of information about Queenslander house styles.

I recently found two really great documents which will be helpful when we eventually decide upon replacing the rotting front fence, window hoods and front and side stair cases.

1. Looking after the Queensland House, Brisbane City Council Heritage Unit, 1997 is a great little guide about caring for a traditional Queenslander home and how to plan for extensions and alterations to adapt it to a modern lifestyle.

It has one chapter dedicated to carpentry and joinery for Queenslanders built in the 19th Century, Pre WWI and Interwar era and it has illustrative diagrams for those who require visuals (like me!).

2. Brisbane House Styles 1880 to 1940: A guide to the affordable house by Judy Gale Rechner, Brisbane History Group, 1998.

I just love this guide and I believe it to be a must-read for any Queenslander house junkie or even renovating novice.

It is about the popular house styles which the majority of Brisbanites could afford at the time. It details the external characteristics of each house style and the architectural features which were used during the differing periods. Very interesting indeed.

From the National Library of Australia catalogue you can also access an online document called Designs of Dwellings, State Advances Corporation, 1935.  The State Advances Corporation was set up to assist applicants construct houses on their own land or government selected land with loans from the Government. This document has the example house designs and floor plans which were available during that particular era.

The Sow's Ear was built circa 1930s and is a double gable house with front verandah and enclosed side verandah, but I haven't found any other house which looks exactly like it in terms of external facade or even floor plan. Well, at least not yet. I can only guess that it is a hybrid of a few designs which were popular at the time.

The best thing about finding out this information is now I have documentary proof that the colonial finials, on each of our roof gables (there are nine), are historically inaccurate. The decorative phallic protrusions were already here when we bought the house and must have been added during a previous renovation. Approval for removal is pending with the Chief Renovator but I fear he has grown attached to them...

Really, someone ought to have done their homework before they colonialised this humble interwar Queenslander.

Please don't forget to enter my Marimekko giveaway. Your odds are very good!

Tuesday, 2 March 2010

Arne Jacobsen Lamp and his poor cousin (and Marimekko giveaway)

Bedside lighting has been an issue since Jason's lamp gave up the ghost a couple of weeks ago. Such a pain, but they were cheapie Target lamps which had been given to us sometime last century. They lasted a decade, so they served us well.

We wanted something a lot simpler and modern to the faux plastic fantastic Tiffany lamps we used to have.

For some time I've admired the simplicty of this Arne Jacobsen lamp which was designed in 1957. It has a fixture head with a distinct asymmetrical shape, while the lamp base has a hole - originally made to accommodate an ashtray (for the obligatory cigarette after ...well, you get the picture).

It has a fabulous modernist line which appealed to me.

the real deal arne jacobsen lamp

As is always the case, the price tag just didn't fit into our budget especially at the moment. Approximately $360 per lamp. And delayed gratification and saving for lamps doesn't cut it when you have a pile of  books waiting to be read on the bedside table!

I looked at buying replicas which worked out to be $130 per lamp. But, you know, I feared I would go to Knock-off Hell if I went down that path...but, I was up for the heat.

the not so real deal from Milan Direct

Then on the weekend, I spied a set of these - on sale at Freedom furniture.

Needless to say, I bought them. They are not a complete rip off of the original design, but they come pretty close. It has a solid base, which is not as sexy as the holey original. At $30 a pop, I was prepared to make the sacrifice.

We are catching up on our reading to the light of Arne's poor cousin, awaiting our fiery destiny.

Goodbye faux Tiffany and hello faux Arne

On another matter, the response to my Marimekko giveaway has been underwhelming. Seriously, you should enter the random draw HERE - you are a certainty to win!
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