Saturday, 28 June 2014

Palazzo Terrazzo

We love terrazzo floors, which is fortunate given it is used extensively in our modernist Brisbane home!

Terrazzo is a composite material which basically consists of marble chips set in concrete. It is quite durable and our home is testament to that, as the terrazzo has survived reasonably well for its 51 years.

We are very lucky the terrazzo was never removed as is the case with most terrazzo floors in older houses. I guess there was a time when it became unfashionable...when people renovated their bathrooms or laundry it would have been easier and cheaper just to lay tile or vinyl.

It is a shame really because it is a beautiful building material. It is also a great floor to have in Queensland because it is quite cool underfoot which is always a good thing during our hot summers.

cracks in the terrazzo tiles on the patio

In our house, there is white terrazzo in the bathrooms and laundry. The floors inside are virtually in pristine condition.

Externally, the stairs and patio floor have been laid with terrazzo tiles...they have had a harsher life, exposed to the elements as they are, with some discolouration from where pot plants have sat and cracking in spots where there has been movement in the house.

Wear and tear on the terrazzo tiles on the front patio

Our plan is to restore the external floors when we figure out the best way to do it. They would look fantastic with some TLC.

Does anyone have any experience in caring for terrazzo floors. Anyone know a good terrazzo floor restorer?

Some discolouration from pot plants that used to sit on the terrazzo tiles

Thursday, 19 June 2014

House finance experiences

brought to you by Loan Market

We’ve been in our mid-century home for about three months now. How time flies when you’re having fun! However, the process of buying a house and moving is not something you can call fun...

It’s a pretty stressful time and it’s not something we’d want to be doing again in a big hurry. From the get-go, we were worried about the house contract and whether our offer would be accepted, building and pest inspections and of course obtaining the much-needed finance to buy the house of our dreams.

exterior shot of our mid-century home at night...

All I can say is thank goodness for mortgage brokers. We have always used a mortgage broker to help us find a competitive loan to buy our houses.

Loan Market is just one of the many mortgage brokers out there in the marketplace. With a mortgage broker, the running around is done for you, if you know what I mean…and it’s a free service. Funnily, it is one of the few free things available to you when you buy a house. Ironic, really, as it will give you the biggest debt of your life. Ha!

Our very first home loan was with a non-bank lender which was suggested by our mortgage broker - mostly because it was the late 1990s and we were too much of a risk to traditional banks given our very meagre incomes.  The mortgage broker handled all the paper work and outlined the best loan options available to suit our particular situation.

Never in a million years would we have even thought to go down that non-bank lender route  The loan also fulfilled our criteria of having no monthly account keeping fee, allowing extra repayments, good interest rate (at the time!) and have it split into fixed and variable portions. It was a very good loan and suited us perfectly.

Most importantly, we were able to purchase our first house and get our big toe in the door of the property market.

When we bought our mid-century house in March this year, we used our mortgage broker again to refinance our loan.  It really was one less stress on our time, knowing our finances were in good hands.

I think it is worth giving a mortgage broker a call if you are in the market to buy a property or even if you are thinking of refinancing. Most brokers will visit you at home and you can organise after-hours appointments which is great if you work full-time or have small children.

Anyway, I’m very glad to have that process of buying a house behind us. Nesting and renovating is way more fun. 

Friday, 13 June 2014

One wall a weekend painting

The long weekend provided us the right impetus to clear out some of the overgrown garden and to continue painting the living/dining room. Three whole days in a row is such a decadent luxury in DIY land and we didn't want to waste it.

One wall a weekend painting. The living/dining area 

Jason got stuck into the painting. The goal is to paint one wall a weekend, so our living room is cleaner and fresher. Small bite size pieces is the method of attack. The most time consuming part is the taping up of the walls for the cutting-in as there are so many timber architraves and strips in this mid-century house.

The finished's like we never painted. Ha!

Jason painting the black timber ceiling beams. Notice how he hasn't taped up. Go  steady hand Jason!

We also have lovely black timber ceiling beams which need to be repainted. Jason used a matte black chalk paint to freshen it up. It provides a crisp contrast to the Queensland maple timber ceiling. He only painted one of the beams and already it has given our living room a real lift.

The finished's like we never painted. Ha!

Most of the changes we have been making to the house are very subtle. When people come to visit us, they don't actually notice if we've done anything new to the house. But that's okay. I kind of think that is the mark of a good restoration/renovation when people think it is as it should be. Hopefully the cumulative effect of all the changes will bring this house back to its former glory.

This one whole section of wall is now is that one strip of ceiling beam...

And the skip bin was a great investment for the long weekend. We cleared most of the vegetation which was covering our garden shed. It's just tidied that portion of the yard and we were able to give the rest of the garden a much needed prune. Hooray for long weekends!

Skip bin being delivered. It took us one morning to fill up!

Friday, 6 June 2014

Happenings and a house profile

Not a huge amount has been happening around here, and is the main reason for the very quiet blog...can you hear the crickets?

Plans are underway though to tackle a few jobs this coming Queen's Birthday long weekend. A skip bin is being delivered later today - a long overdue garden clean out is required and we have to prune back some of the many established bushes and trees, to bring them back to life.

A mature bottle tree and Birds of Paradise are among the treasures to be found in our garden.
We also plan to paint another living room wall in our one-wall-a-weekend method of attack 

And in other news,  if you don't already read Walk Among the Homes blog, you should! It profiles our new house. You can see the before shots of our mid-mod home HERE. The lovely Elizabeth dropped in one morning, a week or so before we moved in, and took some fab photos of the empty house. Enjoy!

Original joinery at Mid Century home in Brisbane’s south.
Photo by Elizabeth Santillan

Hope everyone has a happy and productive long weekend!

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