Thursday, 29 April 2010

Master bedroom

Here are a few photographs of  the finished bay window area with the furniture back in place.

Nice new VJs painted a crisp white

This picture shows the before cream colour with the new white

This completed portion is like the appetiser for when we start the major painting down the track. But the next project is our eldest son's room.

And please don't judge my lairy bedspread. I know it is like a patchwork of Hawaiian shirts!

It was a gift from some relatives in Tahiti. I'm kind of fond of it because when you first wake up in the morning you think you're back on the island of Moorea...yeah, I'm dreaming big...

Monday, 26 April 2010

Painting the VJs

This ANZAC long weekend has been dedicated to painting the area under the casement windows in our bedroom. It is not an overly exciting job to write about....but it is looking very good indeed.

Painting the undercoat

Jason used builder's bog (a second best friend) to cover the nail holes and other imperfections in the wood and after it was dry, sanded it smooth.

We used a Dulux primer/sealer for the base coat, caulked any gaps with "No More Gaps" and  painted  two coats of Dulux 101 low sheen white for the the VJ board and two coats of Dulux high gloss white for the window trim and sill.

undercoat is on

We like a stark white despite it not being terribly fashionable. There are so many different whites but we like this one best. It also keeps it simple when we buy paint. No-brainers are our specialty.

Number 3 Son watching and hopefully learning from Dad. This photo is for Mise.

After this small section is done, Jason will  leave the rest of our bedroom incomplete, so that he can start work on Number 1 Son's bedroom. It was always our intention to make a start on his bedroom first since it is in the worst condition.

It should be interesting sleeping in a half-painted bedroom but I guess you learn to live with things like that when renovating. There are worse things.

Saturday, 24 April 2010

Jack and Jill sat on a wall

or was that Humpty Dumpty? I get an F for Mother Goose 101.

Here they are hard at work. And a mighty fine job they're doing too!

They look like they are looking for a big hug.

Friday, 23 April 2010

Sunburst Westclox wall clock

I visited Mum this morning and came home with an old Westclox sunburst clock.

Her back room is an endless source for my mid-century decor habit. Another unloved item in the mound of junk.

The clock is made in Scotland and the metal surrounding the clock face looks like copper, so I will get out Jason's beloved Brasso and give it a gentle buff.

It is battery operated but I don't know what type of battery it takes (?) or whether it even works yet. Surely, it can be easily repaired if it has seized up?

In the meantime, it will hang in the dining area showing the incorrect time.

Wednesday, 21 April 2010

Jack and Jill Coat Hooks

Deciding which coat hooks to use in our front entry was easy after completing a Google search on the products we liked best.

Black Jill and Red Jack

The Jack and Jill coat hooks are designed by two industrial design graduates from Adelaide who formed a company called Two Halves.

The hooks are also made in South Australia. Australian designed and made and they are also affordable. Three very important ticks.

If you are interested, you can read more about it here.

Although they are marketed for little ones, I think they are too sleek and funky to hide in a bedroom or playroom (the boys are already in my ear about getting some for their rooms).

image courtesy of Living Edge

These hooks remind me, in essence, of the Eames "Hang it all" which was orginally designed in 1953 for children. The brightly-coloured wooden spheres were aimed at encouraging children to hang up "all" their things.  

Anyway, our new coat hooks will encourage me to hang up my bag properly.

As an aside, we chose a black Jill and red Jack because that's what colour Jason and I become after a stint in the sun. I'll show you some after photos when we mount them on the wall.

Jack and Jill playing outside

Tuesday, 20 April 2010

Best of the Brisbane blogosphere

Best of the Brisbane blogosphere

Well, fancy that! And so very unexpected!!

Fun and VJs was mentioned in the Brisbane Times (part of Fairfax digital) as one of their favourite blogs in Home and Lifestyle.

You must read it - Jason gets a mention. Too funny.

Thanks Brisbane Times.

Monday, 19 April 2010

An easy choice

Thanks for your comments regarding our wall quandary. I did like hearing what approach you would take if you were in a similar situation.

To refresh your memories our options were:
1. Leave the fibro as it is.
2. Disguise it - leave the fibro, but nail ready-made MDF VJ (vertical join) panel board over the top.
3. Remove the fibro sheeting completely and replace it with traditional pine VJ timber planks.

The reality is our wall options were always going to be a toss up between Options 2 and 3 with the deciding factor being time and cost.

Old fibro walls

Jason is (undiagnosed) OCD.  Having two different wall types in the same room does not compute (feature walls don't form part of his vernacular...), therefore Option 1 was not even entertained for more than a minute.

He is also not one for leaving a job half done for too long, so time was of the essence with the time-bomb ticking in his head.

Cost was another issue - a DIY job was on the cards.
removing D mould which formed the frame and sill for the windows. This photograph is for Melissa.

I was pushing for Option 3 - complete asbestos removal with replacement VJ timber boards. As this was going to take more time and hassle, the Chief Renovator pushed for Option 2. 

I could hardly argue with him since I was not prepared to hammer each indivdual VJ board up, nor was I getting in any disposable suit and mask to rip off the asbestos fibro sheets.

New frame and window sills installed

So option 2 it was.

Now that it's complete, I know it was better than Option 3.  You know how I know this?

I quote the Chief Renovator (please imagine these being said in a maniacal voice in the fading light):

"Next time, we buy a new house!"

"These f*cking stupid nails are useless! Useless!"

"Is there nothing f*cking square in this house?"

"Another one of my bright ideas to buy this house..."

"This. Is. The. Last. Job. I. Ever. Do! We're paying someone to do the rest of these f*cking renovations!" 

VJ panel board to cover the old fibro walls

New window sill, frames and VJ board panelling awaiting a coat of paint

Wednesday, 14 April 2010

To VJ or not to VJ?

That is was the question.

image from here

There was much debate about what we should use to line the walls, beneath the new casement windows in our bedroom.

This bay window area has asbestos fibro sheeting rather than the original VJ (vertical join) walls, which is throughout the house. The bay window was a later addition in the 1950s or 1960s.  We also have fibro sheeting on the enclosed sunroom/verandah.

Ah yes...the ubiquity of asbestolux...
We tossed about our options:

1. Leave the fibro, as it is.
It's been there for nearly 50 years. Perhaps there is merit to just let it be, as it forms part of the history of this Queenslander. It is also in very good condition with no cracks.

Fibro wall under the casement windows

2. Disguise it - leave the fibro, but nail ready-made MDF VJ panel board over the top.

The cheat's way of getting the right look without the extra effort...A few panels of "eazy-vj" and, hopefully, Bob's your uncle.

 image from here

3. Remove the fibro sheeting completely and replace it with traditional pine VJ timber planks.

This would be completely in keeping with the traditional way the house was built, but with the added hassle/cost of asbestos removal and disposal.

So, we made a considered decision given our personal be revealed in a later post.

What would you do if it were you?

Monday, 12 April 2010

Romantic casement windows

All the casement windows are now installed in our bedroom.  They are just waiting on the finishing touches, but at least the fiddly part of hanging the windows is over.

I was hasty in my comments about Jason deriving great satisfaction from manual work. After the weekend, there is definitely no fear of Jason giving up his day job and seeking a builder's apprenticeship.

What an ordeal! The colourful language used when things aren't going exactly to plan would make the most hardened prison warden blush. I would never have believed how difficult it was to hang windows...

After seeing how many times those windows were adjusted to make them open and shut properly, I will never take another timber casement window for granted.

There was one major casualty. A window slipped out of Jason's hands while he was removing it from its hinges, shattering into pieces onto the concrete path below. Fortunately, it was the old window he was replacing, not the new. 

Self-preservation prevented me from my usual blog paparazzi thing. The camera would have been trampled on if I had taken a photograph of the incident.

Ah...the romance of tangible results after a hard day's work, figuratively and literally, went out the window.

Sunday, 11 April 2010

Will it win?

Remember that ugly brown lamp, which I have now lost interest in...(that happens quite a lot around here)...Well, I've entered it into a competition for best ugly piece of furniture award. Terribly cruel.

The competition is open to Australian and New Zealand residents and all you do is upload a photo of your ugly item saying why it should be replaced. If it is judged to be the ugliest, you win a replacement of the item. Click here if you are interested.

The whole competition has captured my imagination. And as my regular readers know, I love the remote chance of a freebie. I click on every so often to check out the photo gallery of my competition. I tell you, my chances are not looking good.

What really astounds me is that quite a few items photographed aren't that bad really. Clearly, these people have yet to discover the world of the Before and After in Blogtopia.

The judges have already given awards to some outstanding pieces - my favourite being the alien-like floor lamp entry. I laughed out aloud at that one.

I will also enter Son # 1's bedside table which is decorated in autocollants*.

*Yes, that would be stickers in design-speak.

Wednesday, 7 April 2010

Casement Windows - first set installed

One thing Jason does not lack is motivation. I literally had to hold him back so that the paint could dry before he whacked these up.

During the long weekend he installed the first of the new old casement windows which we picked up second-hand from the "Weekend Shopper" for-sale section of the newspaper.

The photographs do not do the windows any justice - my photographic skills are shadowy. It really looks fantastic. Trust me.

With the first set of windows up, we can see how much open our bedroom will appear. There are another four sets of windows to install over the next few weekends.  New frames will be added and a new sill will be built to finish the look.

Again, a fresh coat of white paint on these windows makes a big difference in brightening the room. The old windows were painted a yellowy cream colour.

The curtains which are currently there will be made redundant. Although the patterned glass panes give us more privacy, we will still need window coverings of some sort as our bedroom gets the morning sun.

I learnt saying "Don't fall out the window!" is not a useful comment to make.

 New and old windows side by side

For a white-collar dude (he should've got a trade, he derives so much satisfaction from manual work), Jason is managing to turn this Sow's Ear into a silk purse. I'll give you a progress report next week.

Monday, 5 April 2010

Lounge room - before and after

It is incredible what a difference a fresh coat of paint makes to a room.

This is the lounge room "before and after" set of photographs which I have been taking to chronicle our renovations.

The before photograph on the top is from our second visit to the house.

The lounge room was tired with the condition of the paint work average. The colour was ok too but because the lounge room forms the core of the house (with no windows, only doors leading to other parts of the house); it tended to be on the dark and gloomy side. The previous owners also had a very traditional period/country style decor which is popular in Queenslander style homes.

The changes shown in these photographs although fairly small were highly effective from our perspective. It illustrates how colour can transform a room.

We painted the walls with a Dulux white acrylic 101 wash and wear, low sheen. All the doors and trim are painted with a Dulux white acrylic gloss. It is a bright, crisp white which works well with our 60s style furniture, art and other decor pieces. Our stuff looked extra drab in the old colour scheme.

We removed the picture rail in this room too. Unfortunately, there was no way of retaining the rail without it being visibly crooked. Removing it has given us more flexibility with hanging art, but most importantly it provides a seamless uniformity which makes the room appear larger.

Jason replaced some skirting and damaged door hardware. The light fitting was also changed. We are very happy with the Coral pendant light. It looks equally amazing in the daytime as it does illuminated at night. I think "wow" every time I see it.

On another matter, I do intend to recover the lounge suite to something less mustardy and less vinyl or we may replace it entirely if something fabulous comes our way. For now, it is just immensely practical with little ones.

So, there you have it - our new improved lounge room.

Saturday, 3 April 2010

Spider plant and coat hooks

Taking Susan's advice regarding what to plant in my new old anodised bullet saucer planter, I went looking for a Spider plant.

I had a feeling my Mum had a spider plant lurking somewhere in her overgrown garden. I asked her if I could have it for my planter - Mum's are good for giving you the things they no longer really want.

It looks better at my place anyway.

This is a photograph of the other side of the front entry (I'm sitting on the green butterfly chair).

As you can see, I use the door knob from the study door as a coat/bag rack. (I carry a hand-made cherry-red fabric tote, the other bag is #2 son's library bag which I still haven't packed away.)

Jason can't stand that I use the door knob. What can one do? It is the first protrusion I see when walking through the front door, so I dump my bag there while I bundle the brood into the house.

If I leave my bag on the floor, #3 son does a runner with it. The child shows me no mercy.

Therefore, I need a hook; preferably a funky hook. I didn't realise how many takes there were of the humble coat hook.

Here are a few of my favourites:

 Eames Hang-it-all
 image from living edge

This was originally my first choice but I'm starting to think it has been overdone. I don't know. I shouldn't over-analyse, it is only a coat rack, after all.

cubby coat hook  image courtesy of Materious

This is a very cool idea. It would mean never having to lose keys ever again...
jack and jill coat hooks image courtesy Great Dane

This is actually meant for a child's room or the beach house (that's what it says in the spiel). How limiting. If I was their copywriter, I would say it was meant for everywhere or for the whimsical...I shouldn't let their spiel put me off, I shouldn't let their spiel put me off, I shouldn't let their spiel put me off...

Or, should I just keep it simple?

Friday, 2 April 2010

Hot Cross Buns, one ha' penny

two ha' penny, Hot cross buns.

Home-made hot cross buns for Good Friday are really the best. These were the nicest I had ever made. They were soft and light. Delicious. If you are toying with the idea of making some, it is well worth the effort.

I used an old Australian Women's Weekly recipe, which you can also find here.

Thursday, 1 April 2010

Tulips and awards

I bought some tulips today. Pink ones. 

These flowers called out my name when doing the grocery shopping this morning.  Good Friday and Holy Saturday are such sombre days that beautiful things are needed to decorate this old house.

On another beautiful topic, the lovely Lesley from Life at Number 10 gave me a Sunshine Award.

How cool is that? It is so nice when people acknowledge that they like reading you. Thank you so much for this award, Lesley!!

1.Put the logo on your blog or in a post
2.Pass the award on to 12 fellow bloggers
3.Link to the nominees within your post
4.Let them know they have received it by leaving a comment for them
5.Share the love and link to the person who gave you the award

As you may already know, I'm not really great at giving out awards. Most of you have already received this award and most of you read the blogs that I read.

So, if you write a blog and I read it and/or leave comments, it means I think you rock. Really, you do.

However, I will mention a new blog I'm following which I think is really cute.

Travelling with Ana

It's a blog by a 3 month-old baby girl who will be travelling quite a bit this year with her jet-setting parents. Ana hopped on the plane to New Zealand earlier today. South America is also on her travel itinerary.

Yes, this child will be better travelled than me by the time she turns one. Lucky girl!

Anyway, it is a new little blog which is a bit of light fun. And who can resist a back-packing infant?
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