Friday, September 4, 2015

instagratification...succulents with black glass

I am loving succulents and black glass right now.  I cut back the gorgeous blue chalk sticks in our garden and they are all over the house.  Perfect is early morning sun in the spare room(at top) and by candlelight in the living room (bottom).  The vintage black glass vase was a lucky bargain find in the Coledale markets, the fan another market find from Cape Town.



For more instagram moments follow here.

Tuesday, September 1, 2015

#cottage renovation...bathroom update with lots and lots of white paint

Seriously!  This is what the bathroom at the cottage looked like when we bought it.  Pretty original and not in a good way!  Infact this photo makes it look like the colours were kind of vintage charming, when really they were just dirty, and don't get me started on the vanity.  

I would love to have gutted and started again, but we are saving our pennies for other projects.  Something had to be done though.  After reading lots of online reports we decided to paint everything white.  The blue walls are plaster so we could use acrylic, but the pink bits are plastic (yes plastic!).  Plastic needs special paint and we went with White Knight Laminate Paint & Primer.  Now I should say that all the hard work was done by Mr B, and he reports back it was hard work.  Not difficult but a lot of effort.  

First you have to clean and sand the surfaces really really well.  This takes 90% of whole time of the job, but if you don't do it well the product won't work well.  If you aren't prepared to do a whole lot of sanding this product is not for you.  Once the surfaces are prepared, cleaned and dried, paint on the White Knight Tile & Laminate Primer.  Once the primer is dry paint with White Knight Laminate Paint.

Safety note!!!  The paint has really strong fumes, extremely strong, so do not start without first buying a good quality mask and goggles that you can wear comfortably while you are painting.  Mr B said he could only be in the room for about half an hour at a time before the fumes really started to get to him.  Even with the windows wide open he had to outside for lots of breaks.  This little room took two whole days to do, and a lot of effort.  But for around $250 you have to admit the results are pretty good (the photos are not the best I know it really is a tiny space and hard to photograph).

With a lot of elbow grease and a lot of white paint it's gone from very very yucky to fresh and bright and spotlessly clean.  We could not salvage the vanity, it was truly horrid, so we bought the Hemnes/Rattviek from Ikea.  It fits in well with the country style, has a generous sink and lots of storage.  So much better and good value too!

There is still a little way to go, that is why I called it "better" rather than "after".  We were going to paint the tub but now I rather like the sky blue, it may stay, what do you think?  I would love to paint the floor in a blue, white and grey pattern, maybe an encaustic style pattern.  The trim still needs painting too.  But it is clean and whole lot better that what we started with.

Tuesday, August 25, 2015

Build 101...top tips for designing bathrooms

Today we are talking bathroom details.  It's an expensive room and you want to get it right the first time.  Changes are going to cost you.  There are lots of decisions to make besides choosing the perfect tiles.


It is very important to have a detailed layout of the room.  You will want to give this plan to the builder, the tiler, and the plumber - all of them.  My old friend graph paper is your best friend here too.  Draw the room to scale, floor plans and elevations (what it looks like when you stand on the floor looking at the wall).  

Its a little time consuming, but its the best way for you to check how something is going to look, and much cheaper than making changes once the fittings are in.  If you have given a tradesman a scale drawing there is no room for misunderstanding, if it isn't what you drew they need to fix it at their cost.

Below is an elevation of one of our bathroom walls, I did similar drawings for each wall with fittings on it, and a floor plan.  

So lets get into it the detail.

Design decisions I would make again:
  • height of counter - 800mm
  • height of tap spout above basin - 1,050mm
  • position of tap - spout centered with plug hole
  • counter top and splashback - both caeserstone in white.  Caeserstone can be ordered in a single large piece so there are no tile lines to worry.  The finished look is very clean making the basins and tapware the hero, which is as it should be.  It is also warm to the touch unlike stone, good in winter.
  • tap fittings - I love the Brodware City Stik range and used them throughout the house
  • basins - Lavabo Solid Surface counter top vessels by CIBO.  Not to deep, they don't splash, and plenty of space for Mr B when he is shaving.
  • free standing bath - Kado Lure from Reece Bathrooms

Other decisions to consider:
  • Position of plug points for hairdryers etc - check your local code but usually have to be above counter height for electrical safety
  • Position of floor waste - check local code again, try and tuck it under the vanity, somewhere you don't see it as soon as you enter the room
  • Shower grates - I am a big fan of linear grates rather than a central waste.  Does depend on your tile choice and floor plan.
  • If you are using a white counter top make sure it matches the colour of your basins, you would be amazed how many tones of whites there are and they don't all match well.
  • Make sure the white of your basins tones in with the colour of your bath and toilet.
  • Storage, storage and more storage.  We have a full length double cupboard in the bathroom so we didn't need under counter storage.  Your bathroom will never look tidy unless there is space to pack everything away.  Plan enough storage that you never need have any products standing on the counters unless you are using them.

We made all five million of these decisions when we built four years ago and I learned so much along the way.  For more details you need to know to get the finish you want see the rest of the Build 101 series.

Friday, August 21, 2015

instagratification...a fabulous rug

Spotted this enormous 3x4m rug in hemp and chenille rug in papaya home on sale for $999.  It's enormous and a great base for every room.

Their other rugs are fab too and the price point is not bad.  For more instagram moments follow me here.

Tuesday, August 18, 2015

want want want list

Some inspirational styling from Karin Meyn to whet your appetite, and a few things on my want want want list.  



 I am slightly obsessed with these petrified wood sculptures.  Amazingly it is wood that has turned into a mineral but still looks like wood.  So badly want some of these.  The Sourceress has some beauties online.

Arteriors book ends - I don't need book ends but I still want these
And then there is lighting.  I am always on the look out for unusual lighting.  I really like the new Josh and Jenna range from Beacon.  Good prices and lovely materials, I think this copper and cement Gaston uplight would be fab in Miss E's room.  The bottom light is the Spence from the same range.  Sandwiched in between is the fabulous Pileo lamp by Porada.  A real feature piece but a feature price tag to match, but it could be a design classic, I love it.



Sigh... so pretty...

Tuesday, August 11, 2015

currawong cottage... a magical tree house

A magical tree house at Currawong Cottage built by Mr B for Miss J.  A place to play and dream and spot kangaroos.  Painted pink & orange (well coral because we couldn't mix orange) for fun & decorated with holiday craft jellyfish.  Magical memories in the making.

A wintry sky view.


Coral pink, next time we will make it more orange and build a wall and a door!

Tree house love - I had lots of trees to climb as child but never a tree house as cool as this one.
Book your stay at Currawong Cottage, the perfect spot to explore the Mornington Peninsula from.

Tuesday, August 4, 2015

Framed modern art...diy made easy with the right tools

I am feeling liberated.  After a morning tinkering with my new Ryobi Compound Mitre Saw and Ryobi Nail Gun and I am ready to take on a whole lot more wood work.  I am nervous of Mr B's saws, now finally I have one that I am confident to use on my own, no more waiting for help!  Today I tested them on a project that I have been wanting to try for a while, making a floating frame for a canvas.  It was a gratifyingly short job with the help of the Mitre Saw and the Nail Gun and I love how the finished piece looks below.  

A couple of things I really like about the Ryobi compound mitre saw:
  • it has a laser guide which allows you to cut exactly where you marked the wood.
  • a simple but effective clamp to hold the wood in place and make sure your fingers are nowhere near the blade.
  • a great sliding action for larger pieces which allows a really smooth cut and allowed good control.
  • An easy to use mitre setting, you simply swing the front arm until it gets to the correct angle that you want, then lock it firmly into position with the front lock.
You can see below how clearly the laser line marks the wood, it is easy to match to the pencil line and make a really accurate cut.


To make your own basic floating frame you will need:
  • Any canvas - mine was a failed painting hiding in the garage
  • Wooden trim slightly wider than the depth of the canvas frame
  • Enlarged photo copy an image you like ($7 for B1 size at Officeworks)
  • Magic tape
Make as follows:
  • Tape photo copy to the front of the canvas, like wrapping a one sided present.  Make the corners as neat as possible and tape down securely.
  • Cut long sides of wood trim - measure them to be the same length as the canvas sides and mark the cut line in pencil with a set square.
  • Turn the laser guide on, match up the red laser line with the cut on the wood and lock wood securely into place.  
  • Clamp both side pieces to the sides securely and get your nail gun.  (Love the nail gun) Nail trim at left, then at right.  Start at the side so that you can adjust the piece if you need to.  This is the work of minutes and really really fun!
  • Cut the trim for the top and bottom pieces of the frame.  Measure these pieces from the edges of the already attached trim.
  • Cut, clamp and nail gun in place as before.
Yes it really was that easy.




What I really liked about the Ryobi Airstrike nail gun:
  • This model compresses its own air and doesn't need a stand alone compressor or canisters.  Less things to hire, buy and store.
  • Not to heavy, easy enough for a non-chippy like me to use
  • An easy nailing action and the ability to set nail depth
  • I cannot hammer in a nail straight, but with the Air Strike...to easy.
I am going to be making so many things with these fab new additions to the tool shed.
Next time I am going to try something a bit more complicated and use all that fabulous mitre capability.  Can't resist a final action shot.



So this was really a very easy test, I just couldn't wait to make something and give you a little feedback.  Mr B will be putting them through their paces when he replaces the cladding in the Currawong Cottage entrance.  I am thinking I may make a tray next, I want to test out the mitre capabilities.

Tools were provided by Ryobi but all opinions are as always my own.

Friday, July 31, 2015

inspirational styling at home with The Broken Heart Repair Shop

Some spaces are just inspirational!  Today I am sharing the home of my talented cousin Justine, proprietress  of The Broken Heart Repair Shop.  Justine has the gift of spotting a great buy at 100 paces, and the even greater one of styling spaces effortlessly and originally.  "Curating the lost and found" is how she describes her style and her shop.  Watch this space, Justine is going to be working with amazing artists to create a new home wares line soon.










Have a wonderful weekend

Tuesday, July 28, 2015

diy bedside pendant lamps ... part 2

Mission accomplished.  From design (below left) to finished installed product (below right).  What do you think?  I could not be more pleased with them.  Click here to see how I made the wooden structure, for more on the cord and installation read on below.

For this part of the project you need 2 extension cords, two lamp holders for pendants with a built in switch, and two lamp shades.

Step 1 - "piggy back" extension cords
I bought two 5m "piggy back" extension cords from Bunnings.  5m seems quite long but the next option down is 3m which is to short.  I also recommend the "piggy back" version as it means you don't use up all the plug points in your room, because the "piggy back" fitting has a plug on one side, and a plug point on the other.

Step 2 - attach the lamp holders
Next, cut off the socket end of the extension cord.  The lamp holders are going to be attached to this end BUT you need to thread it through the holes in the cross piece before putting it on.  Hold it up against the wall to make sure you have threaded it the right way.  Attaching the lamp holder is as easy as changing a plug.  You can see a close up of this type of fitting here.
For safety I am not going to explain how, ask your local hardware if you need help.

Step 3 - attach lamps to the wall
You will need to drill two holes (you can see them clearly on the left below) in the wooden upright that you are going to attach to the wall.  I used a countersink drill piece so that the screws sit into the wood, I could fill them and paint to get a completely smooth finish but I like how it looks for now.
Only drill this hole half way into the wood, then get a bit the same size as your wall screw and drill the hole right the way through.  Position the fittings where you want them and mark the wall through these holes so that you have the correct position.  Then use the appropriate wall fitting to attach them securely to the wall.





Once they are up you can add your choice of pendant or lamp shade.  These ones were $9.99 each from Bunnings and perfect for my white on white scheme.

You could go out and buy one of those pretty colourful pendant cords and use them in this project, but there are two problems.  First they are pendants and don't have a plug fitting which means you are going to have to attach one yourself.  The second is that the flex cord may be to short for your project remember to measure what you need.  If you want to use a colour flex contact an electrical specialist store and they will be able to get them for you.

So I am delighted with the project.  I can't wait to do another project soon.  Planning planning!

Thanks to Worx tools for letting me test drive the brushless motor drill.  I really love it and you can read all about why in the previous post.  As always all opinions are entirely my own.