Waste not, want not!

Since my Nan died last year I’ve been spending a couple of nights a week with my grandfather to keep him company in the evenings.  He’s not short of company during the day, my mum and her sisters visit him regularly.

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He’s doing really well on his own and likes to keep himself busy pottering around the house and garden.

Last week when I was doing a few jobs for him I noticed this washing basket trolley.

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check out the wheel!

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My granddad clearly comes from a generation where the term ‘Waste Not, Want Not’ applies to wheels.

Love you Stan the Man!!!

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Deer oh deer!

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Late Friday afternoon I was at the Cottage Garden Nursery, East Brisbane and I saw this 1960’s concrete garden statue.  I think it’s supposed to be a deer.

It was getting late and they were closing up and so I went back this morning and brought it. It’s so heavy and poor Mr F had to carry it up the front stairs, oh deer!   I think it’s going to live by the front door.

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My productive weekend.

I’ve had a busy weekend working on small projects. I’ve finally scraped back and sanded the door and window for the garden shed. I’ll try to undercoat it this week. Mr F doesn’t understand why I’m doing this when we don’t have a garden shed. I know he’s right. We can’t begin building it until we know exactly where the concrete slab will finish for the house and pergola area. I’m just getting a head. I’d like it to be ready when he’s ready.

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I also re- oiled the dining table.  Two weekends ago I sanded it back and just never finished the job.  It looks, feels and smells  amazing.  We’ve had this table for over ten years.  It was made for us by a very talented Dutch woodworker using recycled timber from an old nursing home.  We wanted something solid that could stand up to constant use

It certainly has proved itself to us.  It been used as a stage for ‘rock concerts’, celebrations, homework and building projects (lego). It bares the scars but it just adds to the table’s story.

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A few years later we went back to the small shop to arrange to have a cabinet designed and built but sadly the woodworker had passed away from cancer.

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At the same time, (it was 2002) we brought these chairs from an office furniture shop.  They weren’t cheap (at the time we were living off one income, I was pregnant with number three) but we like ‘woo hoo’! ‘they’re made in Italy’!!.

Plus we thought we were being ‘a bit clever’ mixing plastic chairs with a timber table.  So it’s been eleven years and they’re still going strong.  They’ve also taken a battering, (cubby houses etc..) but nothing that a bit of Jif and elbow grease won’t get rid of.  Plus we still like them!!!

What to do when its too hot to be outside??

It’s so hot here in Brisbane at the moment.  When we’re not out in the pool,  I’ve been sitting here at the computer with a pedestal fan on full.  Its better than nothing!!  This old house doesn’t have air conditioning.

I’ve been looking for a website that you can have a go  designing  your garden for free.  I found one and  managed to waste a good few hours doing one for us.  It was really fun and quite satisfying.

NEW HOUSE PLAN

A new space for the washing line.

I know it’s not the best idea  having a washing line  blocking the view of the pool from the house but we don’t have a lot of choice.   When the major alterations to the house start, the washing line hanging off the back stairs would be the first thing to go. There is absolutely NO room down either side of the house to put one.  So we’re trying to make it look as nice as possible.

Mr F and eldest son have spent a few days during the Christmas holidays extending the side fence to re-hang the existing washing line and also another platform out of Merbau to stand on.

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A tree was  in the way.  So a few of its branches had to go.  Eventually the whole tree will come down as we are planning on putting a small garden shed in this space.

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Mr F and eldest son were determined to finish the job despite the heat and were very creative  with some clamps and a drop sheet.  It definitely worked.

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Here is the oldest son getting stuck in.

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Here is the completed project.  I love it!!

Remnants of past residents.

It may not be very interesting to some but to me its been quite special  finding  these small bits and pieces.

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The brightness of the lino is so cheerful.  It was under some stinky cupboards in the kitchen.  There was newspaper under it but it’s still stuck to the floor.  The coins and the comb were in the main bedroom, wedged between the skirting boards and the walls.  the plastic lion and the broken fork were buried in the garden.

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The bright lino teamed up with the original green on the walls would have made it a very  colourful kitchen.

The house…..

The house itself is quite compact.  When we came to look through the house for the first time the tenants were home and it was kind of awkward.  It was a very quick visit but we knew that it had potential.  It still had some original features like VJ walls and picture rails.

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The block is ’16 Perches’, 405 sqm.  Yet the house is sitting quite close to the road which leaves quite a nice sized back garden.  Our first idea was  to push out from the kitchen and create a new living space.  After all the paperwork was done and we’d officially brought the house we contacted a building designer who had been recommended to us and he came to the house to help us work out what to do.

We told him that we needed to keep it under a certain price.  He explained to us that extending a house could get expensive and to use the footprint of the house would be cheaper.  So his idea was to raise it higher than it currently is and put the kitchen and living area downstairs.  Ok, we were cool with that.  He drew a rough sketch with us standing there.  It looked amazing and we got all excited.  The following day he sent us a better drawn ‘rough plan’ .

He seemed really motivated and we thought ‘this guy is young, fresh and eager, let’s go with his ideas.  So to cut a long story short.(its been a year, because the guy was growing a moustache.  So it was November)  He asked us to come into his office in Teneriffe.’Dahling’ and presented us with the plans.  The plans did look good and for the price of a trip for two to somewhere exotic they should have.

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After throwing a few insults at us and showing more interest in the Friday night drinkies happening behind us we got up to leave.  His last remarks as we walked out of his office were  ‘ Yeah I think this is going to cost more than what you wanted to spend’. ….’Sorry??? Are you serious ?? did you listen to anything we had to say??.  We left and thought ‘well that was a waste of time and money.’ it was said with a lot more of #%!!*>these words though.  We left him to join the rest of the boys with their moustaches and Boutique beers.  What a jerk!!!!

As soon as the Christmas/New Year was over and everyone was back at work, we started getting quotes from builders.  The quotes were coming back $50 – $100K more than we could afford.  We just threw up our hands and walked away from the whole building ‘thing’ for a few months and focused on tidying up the house.  Mr F and the Older Mr F got stuck in and painted the lounge and dining area.

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We have used Dulux – White on White in these rooms.  In the last house we used Dulux – Fair Bianca and it seemed too close to cream for us.  We are happier with this  new white.

The orginal ceilings in the house are really interesting.  Each room has a different design.  the lounge and dining room ceiling are quite Art Deco in style yet the kitchen, and bedrooms are classic and pretty.  They were in pretty bad shape but each night before we moved in, Mr F would get stuck in after work.  He’s done a beautiful job in the main bedroom, dining and lounge room.

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The lights obviously needed replacing.  We went all over Brisbane looking for something suitable. Restoration Station on Waterworks Road, Ashgrove have a fantastic range at prices for all budgets.

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The lights had to sympathetic to the age and style of the house and so we chose the lights (far right).  And here is what they look like installed.  We are happy with them.  Nice and simple.

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A NEW CHAPTER!

I’ll start from the beginning!!

Before I do start this blog. I have to quickly say that I am a complete novice. I’ve never done anything like this before. So please excuse the odd sized photos, photos that are placed haphazardly. It’s all new to me and I will be learning as I go.   Some of the photos may not look the best either, I’ve used the camera on my phone.  So here goes nothing….

Late  2011 we brought a new house to renovate.  It’s a little house, a very little house and  we are a family of five (three sons), two cats and two possums (they were here  when we moved in).

We moved from a bland yet spacious brick and tile, four bedroom, two bathroom, media room, swimming pool etc… in an equally bland suburb. To a much smaller two bedroom + sunroom, character house. But this house is oozing with personality.  It’s in an older suburb closer to Brisbane city that’s bursting at the seams with vibrant, interesting people and beautiful older homes. We love the house and the location but the house is just a little too small for us lot.

So… the renovations began!  We started with clearing the back garden. The house has been a rental for many years.  The previous tenants had kind of  let things go.  Please don’t be fooled by the photograph above.  It was sent to us by our lovely real estate agent.  I think it has to have been taken at least five years ago.  As there is now an enormous tree by the back steps.

This is what we were up against on a stinking hot day in January.  It was quite a satisfying job. The neighbours on one side didn’t seem too impressed though, the overgrown jungle had given them privacy and she told me so.  I felt bad for a few moments, then took the opportunity to explain to her in  the nicest way possible that we’d brought the house to live in. It was going to need some work,  but hey ” No more tenants ” !!

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She   just  snorted and walked away.  But you’ll be pleased to know that since this first meeting we’ve got to know her quite well.  It took a while for her to warm to us (remember the three boys) .  so anyhoo we’re  keeping  our neighbours well-informed of whats going on and I think she’s secretly pleased that the ‘old girl’ is getting a makeover at last.

It might not  look like much when you look at the photo above  but it was a great start.

A month or two later the lovely neighbours on the other side gave us some fence panels that had been removed from their place and they had no need for them.  A couple of bottles of wine, a dozen beer and the new/recycled fence was  passed over the fence .

We cleared the mess down the back, demolishing the bits and pieces that had for many years been some sort of property divider. Then replaced it  with the new/recycled back fence.  A few trees from the house behind us  needed a few limbs cut off and one particularly ugly one that had been planted too close to the old fence line had to go. We were given the thumbs up from the owner, we just needed to find the right person for the job .

We decided to try using ServiceSeeking.com.au to find a suitable person for the job. We placed a job description and waited for the quotes to come in.  We decided to go with a man called Grady Simon.  His passion and knowledge was incredible and he was extremely well priced.  I would recommend his services to anyone needing something done in the garden anywhere in Brisbane (North and South side), Ipswich etc.

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The next job to do was to build  a low retaining wall to level out the garden.  We wanted to put a small swimming pool at the far right hand corner.  The cooler winter evenings set in and it was harder to motivate Mr F to do anything outside.  But with a little encouragement and acting as his labourer, we completed the wall in time for the hole to be dug for the swimming pool .

The new recycled back fence and the markings for the new pool.

The  company that we chose to construct our swimming pool was Thomas Pools. They’re based in Capalaba but have been putting in pools all over Brisbane for many years.  They did my parent’s swimming pool in two of their houses.  My dad, who does everything ‘by the book’ was very impressed with them and so by late August, Brian from Thomas Pools  ( thomaspools.com.au ) came over and measured up and sent the diggers in.

I think I’ll just fast forward this week. We had a few hiccups with Brisbane City Council, we had to get a permit to have a fence over two metres on the boundary. As usual the paperwork disappeared and then ended up on the wrong person’s desk. It was a massive delay but FINALLY last week we got the certification and started to fill the pool.

Woo hoo its been so hot these past few weeks and looking at an empty concrete hole was pretty rough.

We did use the time however to have Indo, from Pro Fence ( profence.net.au) build a hardwood deck around two sides and install the pool fence. In our previous house we decided to have glass panels installed instead of the standard powder coated type. We found it to be a bit of a pain to keep clean. So this time we have gone with the  standard powder coated type. Pretty boring, I know  but its one less job to do on a weekend.

It’s nearly done. We just have to clean and seal the pavers, clean up the decking (tradies just don’t seem to care about making a mess), lay some turf and we are set for Summer. Bring it on!!!!

So this is what the pool looks like currently.