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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Possum eviction Part 1.

My youngest son and I have spent  Sunday at my parent’s house.old pearly jenkins

My dad very kindly gave up his only day off this week to help me build three new possum houses and I am extremely grateful for his time..

He found the plans online and we got stuck in.

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Here are the finished products! three wonderful new homes for the possums.

It’s really important to me that we at least try to offer alternative accommodation.  We’re having  the rusty old roof replaced with a  brand spanking new one!! + insulation in a few weeks time.

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I hope the little buggers use them!!  I also hope that they’re  ‘rain proof’  We’ve built them out of marine plywood but I think I might still give them a coat of ‘something’ to keep our little friends dry.  Spring is just around the corner and that means Storm Season here in Queensland.

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Here they are,  buckled in the back seat of the car … ready to go!!!

I also want to share with you a recent project my parents have been working on.  It’s a Pergola by the swimming pool.  I love it!!!

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And here is the youngest son enjoying the last of the winter sun.  Despite it being winter, I still managed to  get sunburnt!!

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So where did Pearl and Charles go?

It’s not very exciting, I had a look at the Australian electoral rolls and in 1943 found Pearl and Charles living at 6 Ridge Street, Northgate. It’s definitely a bigger house than this one.  They must have needed a bigger house because at some point they had two sons, Keith and Colin.

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The 1943 electoral roll has Pearl’s occupation listed as ‘home duties’ and Charles as ‘bus driver’ and this is how it stayed until records stop in 1980.

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In 1954 Keith is listed as ‘labourer’, 1958 as ‘grocer’ and in 1972 as ‘shop assistant’.  Colin is also listed in 1972 as ‘shop assistant’.

Hang on this is where it gets really exciting…. in 1980 Keith had MOVED OUT!!! his address had changed.  He was living in Chermside.

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 shed for the garden.

When we lift the house, everything that we’ve got stored under it will have to find a new home. It’s all the usual stuff that most families collect, bikes, scooters, tools, Christmas tree etc. The house will have a car port  but no storage so we need to put a shed out the back.

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We could put something in like this……  but I love these ones better, they’re sooo cute!!

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We went to our favourite demolition yard and brought this door and a window. The door is very narrow. Just wide enough to get a lawn mower through. We’re not going to begin building the shed until we know whats happening with the excavation for the house. We brought the door and window now as I need a new project. I’ll strip, sand  and undercoat them and have them ready for when they’re required.

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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.