When the money runs out…

…you wait, and you DIY.  

Spending is over.  Paying bills is not. It would be lovely if we could just keep handing out cash in order to quickly finish off the house but the optimistic reality is that landscaping and furnishings are going to take a year or two, limited by funds and time. 

So the Nice Wolf started work on the cobblestone pavement on the canal side of our property.  The idea is to practice our skills before taking on the project of cobble stoning the drive way.  To remind you, the quotes for  a cobblestone driveway were in a the order of $35K.

DIY cobblestones go something like this:

  1. Get all keen and order the cobblestones.
  2. Take a week or two to recover from the shock of the arrival of the crates and crates and crates of cobblestones. 
    Endicott cobblestones

    Endicott cobblestones from Eco Outdoor

  3. Prepare area, level ground.  In the case of our canal landing this involved carting in road base and hiring a compactor.
  4. Mix concrete and lay the cobblestones.  Some cobblestones are nice and consistent in size, but the ones I selected have huge variation in thickness between stones, therefore a thick layer of concrete was needed to compensate.  
  5. Grout between the cobbles. 
    cobbestone grout

    Grubby work.

    cobblestone grout

    My first attempt at grouting. I will experiment with a piping tool next time.


Sounds simple, doesn’t it?  Well, at current rate, I estimate we’ll be finished by June.   

cobblestone progress

Work in progress

Now, you know that I like to pass my home decorating dilemmas on for reader opinions.  The latest interiors quandary is the colour of our interior blinds.  Living in House By The Water for just 3 weeks has confirmed that we do need blinds to protect us from the setting Western sun.  Our living area is basically inhospitable from 4-7pm in Summer without blinds.  The heat and the glare is severe.   
living area windows

Living area windows.

So roller blinds it is.I’m going for a light filtering blind.  You can still see through it during the day time and my first inclination is to go with a charcoal colour.  I’ve seen examples of this looking good.  My hesitation is that when the blinds are fully rolled up, we’ll have a black bar of colour across the top of all the windows.  I’d prefer a more camouflaged approach.  The obvious alternative is a lighter coloured blind but I’m worried this will be glaring and too much whiteness during the day. 

Roller blinds

Charcoal or “Sterling” (below).

I think this is a job for Pinterest, but do send your opinions my way.

I’m hoping for the timber floor installers to start this week and the return of the landscapers to start to get the pool into working order.  

I’m still pinching myself everyday, checking that my amazing new surroundings are real.  Our jetty visitors this week have included ducks, dolphins and a rather large stingray!

*Note:  please excuse editing anomalies.  This post was produced entirely on my mobile phone.  Apparently, laptops  and concrete floors do not mix. 


24 thoughts on “When the money runs out…

  1. Kelly O says:

    I say charcoal (they will look great with your wood flooring) and let’s be honest no one will even look at the dark bar at the top of your windows when they are up as they will be too busy admiring your view and your house 😉 lol

  2. Charcoal!
    We have white ones at our place and they are a bit conferenceroomesque in our modern house. Like you, am waiting for (the Childcare fees to reduce so we have) a new cash injection for plantation shutters.
    Good to see you doing some back breaking work 😉 Lucky you know a good physio.

  3. Kelly O says:

    Oh and the cobblestones look fantastic! We are in the same boat at the moment money runs out bloody quick lol…we still haven’t touched our back yard!

  4. Sharon says:

    Well. We had this issue also and went for white on the white walls and charcoal on the charcoal walls. The white become invisible when its rolled up, You have to ask yourself how often they will be down? The answer for me is only when the sun is too much to stand, otherwise I want to be looking at the view!

    • Very good point. Plan for how you expect to live the majority of the time.
      We had a soft grey in our last place for our bedroom which might be an alternative. Not stark white like our walls but not heavy grey. Didn’t create much of a distraction.

    • Very wise Nat, pelmets are good heat-wise too. The problem is that I have an aversion to pelmets. I can’t get the association of floral fabrics and pelmets out of my head. 😜

  5. Sarah says:

    Cobblestones look fantastic.

    I’d go with charcoal rollers. We looked at the Luxaflex Silhouette blinds (like a horizontal louvre with a fine mesh front and back to soften the look) and it was quite remarkable how much more ‘visually permeable’ (there’s a term I’d never thought I’d get to repeat from the sales guy) the darker colours were – so you could block the glare but still enjoy the view of the canal during the daytime. The paler colours were no where near as effective in this regard.

    Nice to hear we aren’t the only ones running short of cash at the finish line!

  6. Lydia says:

    When my sister renovated, the architect designed a snazzy nook above the windows to hide the roller blinds completely. Very impressive!
    Personally I would go for white – 1. Not a feature. Blend into walls. 2. If you are using them for sun blockage, not night time privacy, charcoal may make the room too dark?
    Love the cobblestones. We need to do some paving at our place, but your driveway quote has put me off. What is your hourly rate? 😉

  7. Cobblestones are looking good Jo.
    We had light coloured in our old home as I wanted them to blend in but I don’t think they cut out as much glare as the darker ones.
    We had the dark grey outside and they looked great and were very effective.
    Funny thing is that you worry and stress about these things and then once they’ve been up a while you won’t even notice. ☺

  8. Good luck with the cobbles, that’s a mammoth task!
    We went for a dark blind, not charcoal, and are really pleased. You can see better out of them than the paler blinds. I think Sarah had a natty phrase about it in her comment, ‘visually permeable’ ( have to remember that one!)
    Your area looks large, open and light so I don’t think it would make it feel smaller or darker.

  9. Team White on the blinds, but if the charcoal cuts out more of the harsh sun, then it’s worth it. I like how light-filtering white rollers are all serene and glow-y.

    The cobblestones look so good! That’s a tough job and I don’t envy it 🙂

  10. Miranda says:

    We had the same blind colour issue and found it a really difficult decision. The Freedom interior designer gave us some helpful advice (though I now can’t remember all the detail). As others have said, you see the view better through a dark blind but the light colours blend in better with the walls. My notes say the Freedom interior designer recommended charcoal but in the end we went with light blinds (but chose a slightly more open weave to keep more of the view).
    Good luck with the cobblestones. I hope there’s some cooler weather around for you soon – it looks like hard work!

  11. Bruna Evans says:

    Hi Jo, I’m going against the flow, as I like the light ones , as they’ll blend in with walls, and keep the view as the most important feature. We have a lighter colour which you can see through but they block a fair bit of sun. Glad to see you are developing new landscaping skills! Love Bruna x

  12. I can share your lament in the money running out – we were quoted $16k for our window furnishings, so we are also going to do the ‘live in it and see’ for the entertaining areas. I’d go the darker block out blinds but that’s probably because with little children about, I am more drawn to darker colours because they stay cleaner looking. I think either would look fantastic in your space though. Cobblestones are cute, and while it might be hard work, I’m sure you’ll be proud of your efforts every time you drive down your driveway for years to come.

  13. After a few afternoons sitting in our living room with my sunglasses on, contemplating blinds I think charcoal is the go. The glare is driving me nuts and I don’t think the lighter blinds are up to the task.

  14. Anthea says:

    Hi Joh, Great work with the cobblestoning! Your house looks awesome! We are also at the money has run out stage. We are in our house but landscaping, living area blinds and some furniture and rugs will be a WIP.

    We are wanting the sunscreen blinds in our living area also, to cut glare/sun. I like the charcoal. You can also see through the dark colors much better. Pelmets also make me shudder but I have seen ‘pelmets’ made out of timber and painted the same color as the architraves that just blend in to the architrave.

    Good luck.

  15. Anthea says:

    Oh hang on – I don’t think you have architraves do you? I don’t think the dark bar would bother you. As someone else said “you will too busy looking at the view”!

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