Outdoor kitchen

Outdoor kitchen

Our barbecue collection is becoming a bit embarrassing.  Lest we be caught short without a barbecue, our current count is 4, spread over 3 locations.    But that is not enough for The Nice Wolf (a.k.a. husband).  Australians love to barbecue, but so do Canadians, Brazilians and South Koreans and they all do it in different ways.

The Nice Wolf loves to entertain and if he invites you for dinner, the chances are you will be fed either BBQ or pizza.  And when the husband is cooking, which wife in her right mind would deny him the “necessary” tools?  So the outdoor kitchen at House By The Water shall be requiring a standard Australian/Canadian style barbecue, a Brazilian churrasqueira and a pizza oven.

Top 5 Outdoor Kitchens:

COS Design back yard.

This is probably the closest example of how I imagine our BBQ area to look. Amazing Melbourne back yard by: COS Design.

Pizza oven

Pizza oven and built in BBQ by Harrison Landscaping. (Feature photo is from the same garden.)

Punta del este alfresco

Space hungry but beautiful.  Source: Menossi Fotografo.

Black and timber outdoor kitchen

Building approval required for this rather OTT outdoor kitchen. Never-the-less, it’s classy. Photo source: unknown.

Simple BBQ bench.

Subtle BBQ bench by Secret Gardens.

Longtime readers will know that I like to choose my favourite 5 photos for inspiration, but I have to tell you that outdoor kitchens were a struggle.  So many of them dominate a space.  When I’m outside, I want to forget about the sink and let the canal and garden be the focus.  We want a lot of BBQs but we don’t want it to look like a lot.  Probably the standard BBQ will be wheeled out of sight most of the time, leaving just the built-in churrasqueira and pizza oven on display.  I’m sure the Nice Wolf will enjoy the challenge of designing just the right space, with my guidance on the finishes:

Mood board for outdoor kitchen.

Keeping the outdoor style consistent. Modern Australian with a touch of Italian and Brazilian!

  • concrete ✔︎
  • timber ✔︎
  • matt black ✔︎
  • stainless steel ✔︎
  • neighbour friendly ✔︎
  • plant friendly ✔︎

Have you got a fancy outdoor kitchen plan?  

What are your back yard cooking essentials?  

Could you start your own barbecue shop?

HAPPY FATHER’S DAY to my Dad who’s favourite BBQ method is a snag in a pan on a campfire in the paddocks, and to the Nice Wolf, who likes that too!

Building progress: photo frenzy.

The first thing I do every morning is check my inbox for photos of House By The Water.  You never know when one of my Mandurah friends might have been in the area and thought to take a photo or when our builders decide it’s time to show off some work.  This week I cracked the photo jackpot.  My blogging friend, Trixee, was in Mandurah.  Trixee is building a solar passive home in Perth and knows what a girl wants when it comes to building photos.  No detail is too big or small to snap.  Aside from evidence of building progress and quality, the photos serve as a record of the location of pipes, wires, holes, etcetera.  As if Trixee’s photos weren’t exciting enough, our site supervisor sent photos of windows!   WINDOWS!

Here’s an abbreviated collection of the photos:

OutsideUpstairs render and windows.

The top floor render is completed and is drying out before being sealed, “textured” and painted.

Upstairs windows

Bedroom windows.

The window frames (in “white lustre”) should blend in with the walls once the render is painted.  Some top floor windows are yet to be measured up on site.  Coming soon!

Upstairs:

Upstairs living.

Left to right: linen closet, stairs (scaffold covered), master bedroom (in distance), living area.

Upstairs the rendering is complete, the ceilings and cornices are in.   Ready for sanding the ceilings and white-setting the walls.

Garage

The garage that will be filled to the brim before long.  Entry directly into the hallway, handy, should we ever be able to fit a grocery laden car into our garage.  (Note: photo featuring discarded tradie clothing.  I think Trixee wanted to add this to her rather impressive “What the tradies leave behind” photo collection.)

Hallway

Entrance

Entrance and hallway.

Looking rather dark, but not for long.  Scaffolding currently covers the entrance void space and light grey walls will make all the difference.  The library opening is to the left.

Bedroom for the littlest pig.

Kid's bedroom.

Future sty.

Scullery

Scullery.

Scullery. My mess hiding indulgence. Home to sinks, dishwasher, fridge, microwave, pantry and more.

Laundry

Laundry chute.

Featuring the laundry chute.

And the best for last,

Open living area.

Kitchen

From the dining room, looking into the kitchen. Scullery at right rear, “cellar” through the door.

Open living area.

From the dining room, looking across the kitchen to the living area on the left (still housing a lot of scaffold to cover the void).

To top it all off, Nearmap published another aerial view of our property – the first time they’ve flown over since December.  There’s not much to see now that there is a gigantic roof on top, but you can see the difference in style of our house compared to a typical house in our area.  I hope the neighbours are not cringing!

Aerial timeline:

Aerial view - canal side.

Canal side view. Work in progress.

 

Counselling for building customers.

House building packages should come with counselling.  You know, the “Build Well value pack”.  It includes internal painting, floors, air conditioning and 4 sessions with a qualified psychologist.

Sunday night, I was a little bit grumpy.  The cause?  The weather App on my phone.

Mandurah weather report.

Outlook is blah!

I had visions of the tradies staying at home all week, Ugg boots on, watching reruns of “Real Tradies of Melbourne”.

Tradies health video link

Special program for Tradies National Health Month.

Fortunately, I woke the next morning to fresh photos of work at House By The Water and a plan for the week that didn’t revolve around weather.   So I’ve postponed my session on the therapy couch for another time.

The renderers managed to get some external render done before the rain:

The ceiling fixers put up the ceiling on the top floor:

Alfresco ceiling.

Alfresco ceiling. Versilux sheets.

Plasterboard ceiling.

Plasterboard ceiling and a small amount of internal render started.

I have been waiting for this bit.  The ceiling makes all the difference between a construction site and a future home.  The light suddenly changes and you get a sense of the room proportions.

The internal render on the top floor should be completed this week.  (Writer’s déjà vu.) Then the ceiling fixers can return to flush the joints and put the cornice up.

How do you deal with the emotional highs and lows of building or renovating?  

External paint revealed.

External paintThank goodness for a new photo and a smidgeon of progress at House By The Water.  The scaffolding that was getting in everyone’s way, and seemed to be the cause of a two month standstill, was finally lowered.  And, ta da! The external colours of the house are revealed.  I’m rather happy with my paint choices.  Although I spent weeks deciding what interior colours to use, the exterior paint was a 5 minute decision.  I showed Webb and Brown-Neaves’ interior designer a picture of a house exterior that I liked and muttered something about grey.  She said “How about Grey Pebble with Calfskin?” as she poked a couple of sample strips in my direction and I said “OK”.  Done.

The trim, between the roof and the top of the brick work, is Dulux Calfskin and the paint over the render that’s on the top of the window and on the feature column is Dulux Grey Pebble.  (People like to know these things!)  The roof is Colorbond Surfmist.

The plasterers were due to start and finish the internal plaster on the first floor last week, but my spies dropped by on the weekend and couldn’t find any new work.  Ho hum!  This week should be action packed  with ceiling fixers and external renderers both scheduled to be on our site.  Keep your fingers crossed for me, otherwise it’ll be a post on housing pets next week and I’d rather it didn’t come to that.

On a side note, this week I had

My 15 minutes of fame!

In case you missed it, I was interviewed about my purchase of an original Coco pendant as opposed to a replica.  You can read the article on Domain News.

The Coco pendant. A work of art. Source: Coco Flip.

The Coco pendant. A work of art. Source: Coco Flip.

In response to the article my blog stats did a bit of a flip of their own, and, ahem, check out the hits counter!  It reached over 100K views.

Secondly, an anonymous blog reader nominated House By The Water for the U.K. based, Amara Interior Blog Awards in the Australian category.  Thank you to Mr. or Mrs. Mystery and “hello” readers from the U.K.. If you wish to vote, click on the icon below:vote-now

Okay.  I’ll get back in my box now.  Awkward moment.

Feeling bolstered by my newfound “fame” I decided to test out a suggestion made on the HomeOne forum to another home builder.  Remember the cobblestone driveway saga?  Think $$$$.  After getting yet more crazy quotes for the driveway, my husband and I decided we’ll have a go at it ourselves.  Some of my Instagram friends even offered to turn up with scones and help!  (One might be forgiven for assuming this means that we eat scones and chat while we watch the Nice Wolf, a.k.a. husband, lay cobblestones.  But if you’ve seen my Insta friend, Lady Jo, with her tools, you’d know that her offer is sincere.  But I digress…)  So the suggestion was to ask suppliers for trade prices in return for displaying a sign advertising the product.  Since House By The Water will be highly visible, I thought there was some potential for this idea and I asked Eco Outdoor for a discount on cobblestones.  I received a polite and prompt response, offering a rate of $121 per square metre.   $10 per square metre more than my previous quote.  Ha ha ha! The price of fame….

Cobblestones are everywhere here in Brazil. Might have to pack a suitcase full.

Cobblestones are everywhere here in Brazil. I might have to pack a suitcase full.

Real rooms.

I quite like the minimalist look but the Nice Wolf and the Three Little Pigs just didn’t get the memo.  You know all those gorgeous pictures of perfect houses that I’ve been posting?  Well, that’s not going to happen.  Okay, it might happen once or twice, but if you knock on my door on any random day, you won’t see it.  Keeping my house tidy is an ongoing, half-hearted battle.  I know the motivation will increase tenfold once we move into House By The Water, but still, I’d rather be in the garden, on the deck or in the kitchen cooking up a storm.

Living room with Lego.

Our (rental) living room at this very moment – currently the most photogenic corner of our home. Where’s the Lego in the magazine photos?

Of course, I’ve tried to train the Pigs (now aged 10, 8 and 5).  They are rewarded for cleaning their rooms and for helping with chores.  I trialled Hong Henwood’s “black bag strategy“, where, after fair warning, any kid’s items left lying out of place in the living areas are collected in a bag.  In our case, the “black bagged” items could be earned back, donated to charity, thrown out or regifted at birthday or Christmas times.  Well, the two oldest pigs formed a union and I received a formal complaint:

Black bag complaint.

An elaborate bag-stealing heist followed, foiled only by the littlest Pig being a goody-two-shoes.  On day two of “black bag” I asked the Third Little Pig to put away his skate board.  He replied that he was leaving it out for me to put in the black bag because he’d like to receive it again for Christmas!

I’m hoping that in a double story house, the ground floor will be tidy-ish most of the time.  Two of the pigs will have their sties upstairs and perhaps as they get older their mess may be constrained within their own four walls, but for now at least, they like to be where I am.  They bring toys out to play on the lounge room floor and their homework is done at the dining table despite having their own desks.

So my challenge is to create spaces that can handle a bit of real, 3-kids, no-hired-help, living.  Part of that will be allocating drawers, hooks and cupboards in the living areas for quick clearance.  (One of my friends suggested a kitchen drawer for the mobile phones, pens, mail, etc.  Yep, all the stuff that’s currently sitting on my kitchen bench.)  Part of it will be sticking with fresh, tidy habits.  Wish me luck.  And part of it will be embracing the lived-in, homely look.  On this final point I’ve been keeping my eyes peeled for inspiration.

Beautiful rooms that look inhabited:

I'd rather have a cuppa and read a magazine than get the vacuum out.  Source:  Ngoc Minh Ngo Interiors.

I’d rather have a cuppa and read a magazine than get the vacuum out. Source: Ngoc Minh Ngo Interiors.

Clutter is chic en Paris!  Source:  Inside Closet

Clutter is chic en Paris! Source: Inside Closet.

Too much cleaning may crush my creativity??  Source:  Airbnb

Too much cleaning may crush my creativity?? Source: Airbnb.

Queen of collected treasures, Sibella Court's home.  Source:  The Design Files.

Queen of collected treasures, Sibella Court’s home. Source: The Design Files.

Kid and Coe specialise in stylish holiday rental homes around the world that welcome kids.  This one is in Barcelona.

Kid and Coe specialise in stylish holiday rental homes around the world that welcome kids. This one is in Barcelona.

The House Nerd blog is full of real rooms with real people (and often animals too).  Sure the floor has been cleaned and the bench wiped, but the kids' art is still on the fridge.  Photo by Heather Robbins at Red Images,  Thanks to House Nerd.

The House Nerd blog is full of real rooms with real people (and often real animals too). Sure the floor has been cleaned and the bench wiped, but the kids’ art is still on the fridge. Photo by Heather Robbins at Red Images, Thanks to House Nerd.

I notice from this collection of photos that the signs of life, be it personal items, clutter or disorder, add to the character of the room.  Unique windows, interesting artefacts, layered soft furnishings, mismatching and multicolours provide enough interest that the kid’s toys and pile of books on the floor look perfectly suited to the space.

So matchy- matchy?  Out!  Monochrome?  Out!  Minimal?  Never a consideration!  Sleek, shiny, see-through?  Probably not.

Greenery?  In.  Favourite bits and pieces?  Definitely.  Anything with storage potential?  Yes!

Have you mastered the combination of kids/husband and tidy house without feeling like your life revolves around housework?  If so, I need tips.  

 

Exit planning.

It has started.  Those late night mental lists.  And, a count down of sorts.  I’m finally allowing myself to think of packing up and moving back to Australia.  10 weeks from now, I’ll be on a plane heading for home.

There’s the usual cull to be done.  Outgrown clothes and toys, items that cannot be shipped and, fingers-crossed, maybe an old sofa.  Everything else must fall into one of three categories:

-Plane luggage

-Air shipment (A limited amount of stuff that should reach Australia in one to four weeks).

-Sea shipment (Stuff that will take 2-6 months to arrive in Australia).

I consider myself to be a pro at this.  We’re serial intercontinental movers.  The catch, this time, is that I don’t know what to expect at the other end.  Theoretically, House By The Water will be ready for handover in October, but I really can’t fathom how that can be achieved at this point.  We are still some time away from the “lock up” stage.  Then I need to get the timber floors installed.  The installers are on standby, but I’ll be lucky if they are available immediately once we have the keys, given the uncertainty of a date.

So I’ve brainstormed a couple of short term solutions:

Option A:

Camp on site.

Camp on site.

Positives:  Our van is stored in Australia, already kitted out, ready for action.

Negatives:  Bathing in the canal could be a little awkward.

Option B:

Move into one of Webb and Brown Neaves' display homes.

Move into one of Webb and Brown Neaves’ display homes.  Source:  WB Homes.

Positives:  Completed house, fully furnished, currently vacant, room for visitors, the public can see the functionality of these homes for family life.

Negatives:  The school commute could be a tad long.  (To this point, I’m willing to take The Toorak in Applecross, even though The Islander is my current favourite.)

I think you can guess which way I’m leaning.

Which display home would you like most to live in?

What did you do to bridge the gap between anticipated home building completion and actual completion?

or

Was your builder on time?

Vote “Yes” below if you think Webb and Brown-Neaves should offer us beds in one of their display homes until our house is ready for handover.

 

 

Worldly walls.

Exterior render and paint

Thanks for the pic, Harry.

It’s a light news week.  The internal render has started on our house, but I have no photos to show.  The exterior render started too.  It took us a while before the penny dropped and we thought it was a bit odd that the feature column at the front of our house was being rendered when this column is to be clad in stacked-stone.  Oops.  I bet render is not fun to remove.  Aaah!  I feel another week slip away.

Anyway, it’s holiday time here, so here’s a post I prepared earlier.

I have wallpapyrophobia.  The fear of wall paper.  It’s a bit of a shame, because there are currently some lovely wall papers available.  Still, I’ve enjoyed collecting these well-walled interiors with one thing in common. Can you guess what it is?

New York, apparently.  Source:

Paris. Source:  Pixers.


New York Subway

New York Subway.  Source:  Olive Juice Designs via Houzz.


Kyoto

Bamboo Forrest, Kyoto.  Source:  Pixers (unverified).


The Great Wall of China.  Source:

The Great Wall of China.  Source:  Pixers via Freshome.