One year at House By The Water.

The Nice Wolf and I have been flat out getting at least some of the garden ready in time for the influx of Christmas and Summer visitors.  I’ve lost count of the weekends the Nice Wolf has been laying cobblestones.  He complains that I get the good jobs and it’s probably true.  Planting, painting.  Any way, no time to write, but I feel I owe my readers at least some photos of recent progress.  I hope you enjoy the gallery:

On becoming a shop snob and DIY as therapy.

Girls room.

With the benefit of Instagram filters.

Having just survived a sleepover party for six almost-10-years-old girls, the only thing I can do this afternoon is laze on the sofa.    The second Little Pig and I glammed up her room a bit with some matching doona covers.  I ordered them online since I’ve had no time to shop.  That was a mistake.  While the doonas themselves are quite lovely, they are not the colour that they appear online (nor in the hard copy advertising of the product sent along with my order).  So the various pinks in the room clash.

Doona cover.

New doona cover, modelled by Evita.

The Nice Wolf says I should have learned by now.  Helpful.  I’ll probably do it again.  I’m afraid I’ve developed shop snobbery, an unpleasant side effect of several years of online interiors “research”.  There’s only one local shop that satisfies my snobbery, so if I can’t find it at Frisky Deer, I look online. There is the argument that buying better quality products than the average Kmart product may pay off in the long term, but when it comes to bed linen I’m not sure that it’s true.  I pick on Kmart because I recently got all excited over Kmart’s new industrial style lockers.  Just what I was searching for to put in my son’s room.  The excitement ended as soon as I saw the product, so small and looking as though it would barely make the trip home let alone stand up to the hardship of housing a 6 year old boy’s daily clothes.

Shop snobbery is an expensive addiction that I’m trying to control.  To curb my habit, I’ve taken up some DIY.  Inspired and instructed by Maya from House Nerd, I dared to drill a hole in a brand new wall.  At first, I thought I was no good at it, but then Nice Wolf replaced my inferior drill piece included in a kit, with a decent drill piece and away I went.

 

Bathroom hooks.

Bathroom hooks.

I was on a roll with 3 wall hooks mounted, only to be halted by some electric wires.  According to my wire detector, my whole wall around my bed head is filled with electric wires!  Exactly where I want to put a bracket for my much-loved pendant light.   Back to the drawing board.

Not to be defeated, I took up rendering.  With a couple of YouTube lessons and some advice from the Nice Wolf under my belt, I set about to hide the neighbour’s brick fence.   The Nice Wolf made me a concrete mix in the mixer.  He was laying cobblestones (forever….) while I rendered the wall.  I donned some gloves, put the grouting gizmos (technical term) in my hands and hoped for the best.

 

I am not a perfectionist.  Some may shiver at my amateur efforts, but I am rather pleased with this wall so far.  I plan to paint the wall once the rainy days disappear, then plant a row of pleached pears or lilly pillies in front.

The professional landscapers installed our outdoor lights.  They look WOW!  They bloody well should, too.  (Dad, cover your eyes…)  They cost $7000, or about $500 a pop, on average.  My night time photography is blah, but trust me that my 3 coastal banksias, lit up at night, look fantastic and as for the copper step lights?   See for yourself.

We are, as always, progressing slowly.  I really, really, really hope that next time I blog, our landscapers, Tim Davis Landscaping, will be finished their scope of work.  They still have the pool to finish, a couple of fences to install, a bench seat to deck and a few bits of tidying up to go.  Honestly, they’ve been incredibly slow.  I can’t blame them in this rainy weather, but they did start last December.

Sweet dreams, new bed.

Since we last talked, I’ve been sleeping on a lovely new bed!  We ordered an “Iris Dunes” bed from Snooze.  They are made to order, in Australia, so I asked for the bed head shape to be varied from the wavy version in the show room.  I think it looks excellent!

Luxury!

Luxury!

It’s a little bit wide for the mattress, or is the mattress a little narrow for the bed?  Both are King sized and both are from Snooze, so it’s a bit annoying that the slats are visible on the sides. After waiting 3 months for the bed, I can’t bare to send it back to be modified…

More on the master bedroom soon…. (Freedom have a furniture sale this weekend, so I have plans…  Plus, I need to ‘fess up to a Pottery Barn curtain disaster.)

Roller blinds.

Charcoal light-filtering blinds.

Blinds.

Blinds up.

The living room blinds arrived and were masterfully installed by a pleasant fellow from Kresta blinds.  One wall of blinds were not measured accurately, so they need to be sent back to QLD for recutting.  (Note to self: do not chat with sales lady when she is trying to take measurements.)  I was a bit nervous that my dark choice of roller blind would look out of place on our light walls, but I’m very happy with how they look.  In fact, they are more pleasant looking than our fairly ordinary window frames.  I’m currently typing in our living room, without wearing sunglasses, which is a plus.

 Concrete pool surround.

 The landscapers concreted around our pool in preparation for tiles.  The rate of landscaping progress is excruciatingly slow.  Luckily, I’m well trained in patiently waiting for trades to arrive.  It’s going to be great when it’s finished.  You just need long range vision.

Aunty Kate (a.k.a. my sister and unqualified, highly-opinionated interiors advisor) is currently in residence.  Possibly sleeping off the latest feast on the deck.  Of course, I was aiming to impress her.  This called for a quick stock up of flowers and greenery from Frisky Deer and a whirlwind cleaning spree.  You can imagine that the effect lasted only minutes with the Three Little Pigs around, but I made sure to snap a few pics as proof that House By The Water was momentarily clean.

  

In any case, Aunty Kate has given the official thumbs-up to House By The Water with one exception.   The purple blue blind in the powder room.  Remember the interesting powder room door?  It has clear glass.   Perfect for sitting on the loo and waving to the neighbours.  A bit of a blunder with the building addenda.  Various solutions are still being thrown about, but in the mean time, the Handy Wolf and I picked up a cheapie roller blind from Masters for self installation.  It was inky blue in the shop, without any sun behind it.  It’s vibrant purple in our powder room.

Featuring purple!

Featuring purple!

 

The “to do” list right now seems quite impossible, but with this as our regular dinner time view, how could we complain?  

Cheers!  And happy Easter!

Me!

“The hostess @housebythewater”.  Photo by Aunty Kate.

 

The end of my two year spending hiatus.

Dear Nice Wolf,

Don’t bother to read this post.  It’s not really your thing.  Mostly about interiors.  I’ll send you some pictures of building progress very soon.

Love,  Me.

Okay, readers.  Just between you and me, it’s possible that I’ve spent more on shopping in the last 6 weeks than I did in the whole two years prior to that.  There wasn’t a lot to tempt me in Brazil and anything of interest was exorbitantly priced.  So I’ve been patiently planning for two years and refining my interiors style.  We’re calling it “modern Australian with a touch of earthiness” or “surf and turf” for short.  Well now I’m home and we are on the countdown until House By The Water is ready for occupation.  We’ve had a run of birthdays and, yes, the mother father of all consumer events is just around the corner, so some rather lovely things have been purchased.  I’ve been buying only things that fit with the mood boards I’ve created for each room.  Here’s some highlights:

Living room:

Cray pots!

Cray pots.

West Australian cray pots.

The Nice Wolf sourced these locally for my birthday.  They are the real deal.  The man who made them thought it was such a waste to use them for lighting when they could be catching crayfish.  They have so much character and a lot of weight.  I plan to age them in the weather a bit, then hope they’ll bring a relaxed, natural vibe to our house.

Living area mood board.

Living area mood board

I got some sofa quotes, but I’m not entirely happy yet, so I think I’ll extend the search.  My dream was an Australian-made linen sofa, but practicalities (read: removable covers) lead me to look at the Lazy Time sofa.  Its fabric is mixed, with only a small percentage of linen and the sample fabric I chose in the show room is not quite right:

Sofa fabric mood board.

I’m luke warm on the sofa fabric.

Girl’s Room.

The First Little Pig turned 11 and, with  strong reader encouragement, we gave her a hanging chair:

Hanging chair.

Hanging chair, snaffled up at Empire Homewares in Freo. The shipping cost of these from the East was putting me off. Cushion by Kip and Co. from Frisky Deer Interiors + Cafe.

Tween room mood board.

Book worm heaven in a hanging chair.

Master Bedroom

After 20+ years on the same mattress and 15+ on a homemade, rickety bed, we are upgrading.  I’ve been researching beds for the past year and had my eye on several Australian-made options.  I like very plain, blond coloured timber, with the focus on a comfortable backrest for my breakfasts in bed!  My shortlist of beds did not include any beds stocked in Western Australia so I went in search of a bed that didn’t come with shipping costs.  What do you think of this one?

Iris Dune bed

Iris Dune bed from Snooze. Aussie made.

I love the way it appears to float off the floor.   I haven’t bought it yet.  I don’t want to peak too early with my purchases and have to deal with moving lots of  furniture when our floors are installed.  I did, however, buy some linen sheets to celebrate my first pay cheque for my new job.

So the master bedroom mood board has morphed to something like this:

Master bedroom mood board.

Curtains, rug, bedding, art, lighting, chair – all accounted for.

I’ve a few other items that cannot yet be revealed.  I’m finding it useful to shop with the mood boards in mind, helping me stick to the big picture and to make quick decisions.

At House By The Water this week, I’m actually locked out – not just for accounting purposes.  Of course, it’s cramping my photo-taking style.  The internal painting is in full swing, and thank goodness there is some tiling started.  The tiler is also working on our stacked stone cladding which seems to be a case of “don’t rush the artist”.  It’s certainly an art fitting all the pieces together while trying to balance out the different colours and shapes to give the illusion that it’s all random.

Stacked stone cladding.

Boral’s Country Ledgestone in Echo Ridge.

 

Girly glamour and glitz.

“Mum, you need to passion up a bit,” said The Second Little Pig sometime ago, referring to my lack of lipstick and ordinary attire.  She would totally disapprove of the natural, relaxed look that I’m aiming for with House By The Water, if I let her have a say.  We don’t know where she’s got it from, but somehow The Second Little Pig (from hereon referred to as P2) has a kind of pizzazz, a crazy style sense that can only be pulled off by someone with an unusual amount of energy and lack of inhibition.  So for P2’s bedroom we need luxury and sparkles, glamour and glitz, but most of all lots of mirrors! Here’s our common ground:

Restoration Hardware has great kids' room inspiration.

Restoration Hardware has great kids’ room inspiration.

Bold.  Photo source: Macys.

Bold. Photo source: Macys.

I wanted to commit to colours because we had a little furniture makeover planned.  She wants pink, black, purple and white.  3 out of 4 is fair, don’t you think?

Mood board for The Second Little Pig's bedroom.

Mood board for The Second Little Pig’s bedroom.

I decided it was time to start warming up my DIY muscles.  (They are going to need to be in top shape once the keys to HBTW are ours.)  We braved a trip or two (Doesn’t it always take more than one trip to the hardware store?) to the local equivalent of Bunnings or Home Depot, in search of a greyish-pink paint and other supplies.

Et voila!

Before (left) and after.  Styled by P2.

Before (left) and after. Styled by P2.

Cute.  P2 spent several days styling and restyling her new dresser and hutch and self-filmed a little “How to style shelves” movie.  Maybe we’ve been watching a little too much home-improvement TV. P2 has drawn up a bedroom layout plan, to scale with some help.  We have plans to make a fancy head board – light grey velvet(?), some sort of drapey thing to hang over the bed and probably a faux chandelier.  Aussie readers, do let me know if you spot a reasonably priced dress-model thingy (I’ve forgotten the proper name again) for hanging jewels, handbags and scarfs on, like the one shown on our mood board.

Tween room.

The First Little Pig is about to turn 10.  There are days when my stuffed-toy-loving daughter still seems like a little girl and, gradually more often,  there are days when she seems all grown up.  She’s certainly old enough to have her own opinion on most things, including her own room.  I’ve been trying some gentle persuasion using my favourite pictures of bedrooms, many of which my daughter has categorically dismissed.  And, in turn, she has collected some pictures that I’m not too fond of.    We’ve managed to find just enough common ground:

Purple bricks.  Girls bedroom.

Source: Originally on Vertbaudet. (No longer available.)

OK, so we are not painting a wall purple, but if we had a brick wall with daggy bricks, I’d go for it.  My daughter’s favourite colours are blue, white and purple.  She is attracted to drawers, shelving and boxes – probably a good thing given her genetic predisposition to hoarding.  (Nothing to do with me.)

Girl's bedroom.

Source:  Original source not found.

Hands up all 10 year old girls who’d like a four poster bed?  What about a hanging chair?  I understand the attraction, but nope, that’s not happening either.

Red bedroom.

Source: Originally on Pottery Barn, no longer available.

I like the more adult colours here.  Still fun and feminine, but fresh too.  Originally I was drawn to this picture by the red and pink tapestry above the bed.  We bought two similar tapestries in India a few years, one for each of our girls.

Source:

Source:  Daily Dream Decor.  (Unverified.)

The hanging chair is definitely popular.  I have no idea whether our ceiling could cope, but my daughter is happy with any kind of space dedicated to book reading – so I am planning a book-nook of the more traditional kind.  I like the light colour pallet used in this picture, with a bit of red to avoid it looking too young.  We already have a few things in this colour pallet.

A whimsical room.  Still dreamy but definitely not babyish.  I love this one in every way, though my daughter is not keen on the quilt.

This week’s “Top 5” inspiration pictures are such a hotch potch.  The internet is overflowing with gorgeous baby and toddler rooms and there is plenty of inspiration for adults too.  But where are all the pictures of rooms for the inbeTween years?   Are photographers too scared to enter?  I see my kid’s rooms as a chance to let loose a bit.  To inject some fun and personality.

So here is my mood board (take 1) for my daughter’s room, approved (without any particularly great enthusiasm) by my daughter:

First little pig's moodboard.

Based on furniture and decor we already have.

My mother-in-law painted Van Gogh’s “Almond Blossoms” to celebrate the birth of our first daughter.  In real life, it’s beautiful and is the only “must have” in the room.  Something’s not right with this mood board, but I can’t put my finger on it.  Any suggestions?  I tried adding some bold yellow.  My daughter screwed up her nose and I admit that it’s not right for her.

Adding yellow to the mood.

With yellow?

Of course it can be work in progress and I’m sure it will evolve.  We will be using an old wooden bed that belonged to my Aunt before it belonged to me.  I think it needs a lick of paint.  White?  We’ll also make use of an old wooden bookshelf, bedside table and storage bench – all ripe for the painting.  It’s just a matter of picking a colour.

Edit:  Following your suggestions and photos, the First Little Pig and I prepared this mood board together.  I think it’s much better.  She’ll probably put her very bright coloured donna cover on at first, while we search for “the” perfect bed cover.

Hanging chair bedroom.

Bedroom mood board – Take Three.

Breakfast in bed.

In my family, Mother’s Day is celebrated with breakfast in bed.  It’s usually something yummy that my husband has helped the Little Pigs make.  I do love breakfast in bed and I often try to sneak it in on non-celebration days too.  Which brings me to my latest dilemma….the position of the bed in the master bedroom.

 

Plan A shows the bed in the logical position, on the only uninterrupted wall in the room.  It leaves plenty of space for a chair or two by the windows.  But sitting up in bed, with my cup of tea, I may not be able to check out the water for passing dolphins.  I’d have to drag myself 4 metres to the chair, and that’s just not the same.

So I’m considering putting the bed in the middle of the room – there is enough space – like in Plan B or C.

But a bed in the middle of the room makes me worry about:

  • wasting space
  • it looking out of place
  • bad feng shui?   (Nah, I’m not really worried about that.)
  • and worst of all, its similarity to a certain famous pink bedroom on the Mandurah canals, exposed for all the tour boat patrons to see.  I can hear the commentary now:  “And this is where the blogger from HBTW eats her breakfast…”

Here are some examples of “bed-in-the-middle-of-the-room” done right:

The common theme here is a low wall, in these cases, built in.  Commitment required.

Here’s a possibility that would allow me to change my mind:

Dividers create a visual wall.  Looks OK, but could be clumsy without a real wall to keep it upright.  So how about this one?

This bed head would normally need a wall to prop it up, but my husband thinks that he could attach it to the bed to suit the middle of the room.  This last idea is growing on me by the minute, not least because we could do with a bit of a bed update.  Here’s an idea of how it might look in our room:

Domayne's "Amelie" bed head and some of our existing furniture.

Domayne’s “Amelie” bed head and some of our existing furniture.  (According to my husband, the silver tea set is not included.)

What do you think?  Could you, should you, would you put your bed in the middle of the room for a better view?  And, if so, what would you do with the “left over” narrow spaces created by this arrangement?

Happy Mother’s Day everyone!  You know where I’ll be!