Sunday, 8 April 2012

Easter with us

I woke this morning to find the Easter Bunny had thoughtfully brought me yummy handmade chocolate eggs from the French patisserie down the road. Wow, I was seriously super-excited to find these on my bedside table! And as is usually the way with long weekends spent in Sydney, Eady and I then headed off with our baby Weber for a BBQ in our local beachside park with some of the inlaws. 

After eating far too many sausages in bread, chocolate cupcakes and easter eggs then is recommended in any one day, I decided it was high time to lay back on our picnic rug and relax. 

Eady on the other hand decided it was high time to teach our 3 year old niece Immi, just how closely related to chimps we really are. So convincing was his performance atop the wire jungle that I was certain someone would call Taronga Zoo to report a wild chimp had escaped and was causing a ruckus at nearby Clifton Gardens...

Friday, 6 April 2012

The Pros and Cons of Our First Renovation

Whilst we bask in the peace and solitude of our "new" house with no tradesmen making noise and ever more mess and all rooms now fully operational, I thought I would summarise the highs and lows of our first renovation experience:

The Highs:

Removal of the hideous faux-federation balustrading and skirting boards

No more cream carpets

No beige, nothing even close to being beige, anywhere in the house

The lights, the one in the living area especially!

Our electricians (see below) and most of our tradies

The colours, the floors, the walls and furniture. We love it all!

Our budget, only because we stuck to it and didn't spend all of the emergency funds (phew!)

The Lows:

Wiring that ran across floors and upstairs that was discovered only when the carpet was ripped up

The smell of paint, glue, solvents and waterproofing membrane

Project Managing the renos whilst holding down a full-time job (aaaargh!)

The DUST!!!

The alcoholic painter that drank our open bottle of wine in the fridge, got copious amounts of paint on our new carpet and bedding and then tried to hide the evidence in the shrubbery outside our front gate. He was caught in the act  by the electrician who took a photo and emailed straight to us (Yay, we love you Josh!)

The sheer inconvenience of living, eating, sleeping in one room (or having to de-camp to the inlaws place)

I do have to say that all of the lows resolved themselves easily enough and dare I say it, I have almost forgotten the stress involved now that I can look around and appreciate the home we have. 

Thursday, 5 April 2012

The inside is done!

It has been a very busy month since my last blog post and why is this so? One simple word for you - renovations. My gosh, what a stress they are! I don't think I ever fully appreciated the sheer extent of madness they can cause in even the most sane and sensible of people. Surely witnessing the huge number of tears shed on every renovation show we have ever watched should have given us some insight but no, we were none the wiser when we woke up in excitement on the first day of "Renovations Stage 1A" only a few weeks ago. And in all honesty, having come through the other side, I don't think there is ever anything that can fully prepare you for the intense highs and lows that occur when your long saved for and hard-won house is at the mercy of builders and tradesmen and meticulously drawn-up quotes. Even though our renos paled into insignificance compared to the wild and whacky plans unleashed on "Grand Designs" (ah, Kevin McCloud, not just the thinking girl's crumpet but probably a very handy person to have around when debating measurements and all things structural), the anxiety levels reached fever pitch for both Eady and I. Luckily for our sanity and that of Honey Boo, the cutest puddy in the world, we never lost the plot at the same time.

Here we are though, one month later, and I am pleased to say that "Stage 1A" is now complete. We tackled most of the townhouse in this phase, both upstairs and downstairs, and rather then looking like the dated-early-1980s-faux-federation-drowning-in-beige place that it was, we now have quite a simple and elegant look that mixes a very modern colour palate with a mix of modern classic and retro styling. In a nutshell, we have solid floorboards downstairs, charcoal carpets upstairs, soft grey walls and vivid white woodwork throughout. We made all of the decisions ourselves, without engaging any professional help and we both really love what we have created. Downstairs has been described by a Stylist we engaged for the outdoor area (Stage 1B!)  as "very masculine" which is interesting given that most of the suggestions we went with came through me. In this area, we have paired modern white and black gloss furniture with some very cool light fittings which were first released in the 1970s and sourced through our new favourite lighting store in Surry Hills to create a very stream-lined and minimalist living space. For two Type A personalities like us where clutter of any kind is not just unwelcome but down-right distressing(!), we just love the clean lines and clinical colours we went with. Not to say that the space is cold, it definitely isn't thanks to the soft grey we used on the walls but rather it is more low maintenance and perfect for getting home from work and knowing that everything is as it should be with no "stuff" to distract us from relaxing. Upstairs is definitely a little more relaxed. Same colour palate but softened with charcoal carpets, oak furniture in our bedroom and white and red in our study, with plantation shutters throughout and lets of personal effects too that remind us of our travels and experiences. 

The planning for our outdoor space is nearly done and work should kick-off in about 2 weeks time in what we have imaginatively called Stage 1B (work with me people, between an accountant and former project manager we like our simple and concise names). With all of the issues around plumbing and fencing and asbestos, we can't wait for the first bit of soil to be turned or in this case, first brick paver be removed! So ideally we are looking at everything being done by June. Well I say that, but we do need to update our wardrobe doors and re-do the bathroom even though a lick of paint has done wonders to both. Planning Stage 2 already? Seems we may well have caught the renovation bug....