Every spare moment has been spent in the garden lately. Planting, reticulation, lawn preparation, mulching and cobblestones, of course… No time at all for blogging. We’re on a mission. Guests are coming for Christmas.
Fortunately, the “House By The Water” videos, made by our builders, are ready. You can enjoy a little chat in our kitchen and living room instead of reading a post. There are two short videos. Click on the pictures below to view. I don’t think I’ll take up vlogging, but it was fun to do this once.
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!
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.)
Charcoal light-filtering blinds.
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.
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.
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!
“The hostess @housebythewater”. Photo by Aunty Kate.
Our boxes and furniture arrived. The kitchen boxes took me a full weekend to unpack and I’ve declared a ban on any further kitchenware purchases. Our plentiful kitchen storage is full.
Alpine Mist Caesarstone and the splash back tile dilemma, well and truly resolved. Pot stand made by my Nan.
This 3 day weekend, my mission is to clear the house of all the other boxes. I’m spurred on by a special request from a South African reader for photos of our void area and by the impending arrival of an important guest, Aunty Kate.
Our living room (with void) is furnished temporarily with old furniture:
View of our living area from the second floor.
I have big plans for this living area, but I have to be patient. In the end, practicality won over lust and I’ve ordered this sofa:
Lazio Daybed by Weylandts.
The sofa is coming from South Africa and is due to arrive in May. I’m taking that to mean July, because everything seems to arrive later than advertised. (Hello? Bed I ordered in December. Shutters I ordered in October. Are you there?) When the sofa arrives, I shall borrow some rug samples from Frisky Deer and will select a rug to complement the new sofa and the “I.O.U. artwork” that is yet to be purchased following a conspicuous birthday a certain time ago.
I’m only half way through my box emptying spree, but I feel like showing off our living area. I’ve earned a short break…
Open living area.
Through the chaos of the week, I’ve enjoyed finding little spots that give me pleasure. Honestly, everything looks better with timber floors:
At times it seems like jobs will never end, but after 6 weeks our timber floors were finally finished.
Living room. I hope the floors distract you from the kerbside couch that has survived too many moves.
Life has hit crazy-busy levels over the past couple of weeks, but my current favourite past time is to find a little corner of the house to put right.
A happy corner.
We moved in some old pieces of furniture that were in storage for years. The rest of our belongings arrive this Friday so we’ve been madly trying to make some room in our garage for access to the house and for the inevitable items that won’t be unpacked.
Landscaping is moving at snails pace. Over the past two months the landscapers have removed the pool scaffolding and rendered around the top of the pool. Full stop. I’d better start cracking the whip if we want it to be ready before next Summer.
Hurry up, landscapers.
The Nice Wolf has been working on a jetty-style entrance. The idea was to reduce sand entry to the house as soon as possible.
Like most things around here, work in progress. Our front door is yet to be replaced.
So, we may have made a short visit to House By The Water at half past midnight, upon our arrival in Mandurah. And it’s quite possible that we are averaging 3 site visits per day this week. We are a tad excited. We have a lot to catch up on and so do the builders. The new construction plan is all go go go, aiming for handover before Christmas.
Here is the promised tour:
Stairs and hallway.
Looking towards the kitchen from the living room.
Through the walk-in-robe to the bathroom.
Looking down into the living room.
The Second Little Pig’s bedroom.
The Three Little Pigs, squinting to preserve their anonymity.
The Nice Wolf inspecting the man hole. I think it fits.
I added the above photos to this post this morning, but by my second visit to the site this afternoon more ceilings had been plastered and lots of the scaffolding was removed. Woohoo! So now you can really see the size of the living area, including the living room void and alfresco area which looks especially huge.
Canal side aspect.
Double height alfresco area.
Plastered ceiling, dining room
Plastered ceilings ground floor.
And for this week’s style dilemma, the stack stone that I selected almost 2 years ago for the feature column on the front facade is currently unavailable, so I needed to reselect. I checked the options online and made a tentative selection, but for $14K worth of stone and the labour to install it, I thought it wise to see a sample. Midland Brick in Mandurah stock Boral’s stone cladding and I went to inspect. I’m so glad I did because the colours of the stone on my computer screen were completely different to the real samples. That made me nervous so I decided to take a short list of samples around to the house for testing:
Online “Aspen” (left) was my first choice, but in reality there was too much orange. So Echo Ridge (middle) and White Oak (right) were the last two contenders. I’ve selected Echo Ridge, wanting a bit of dark contrast to the rest of our light grey pallet to break up the front facade with texture and colour. My Mum (starring in the photos) likes White Oak the best which is very beachy, but slightly off my colour pallet of greys.
Oral “country ledgestone” in White Oak, Echo Ridge and Aspen.
That’s all for now. My head is still a bit rattled by jet lag, too much excitement and a hectic week.
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:
The top floor render is completed and is drying out before being sealed, “textured” and painted.
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!
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.
Smart wiring panel.
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.)
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.
Scullery. My mess hiding indulgence. Home to sinks, dishwasher, fridge, microwave, pantry and more.
Featuring the laundry chute.
And the best for last,
Open living area.
From the dining room, looking into the kitchen. Scullery at right rear, “cellar” through the door.
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!
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.
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:
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.
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 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.
We have a roof. It’s a rather dazzling white despite the gloomy day on which the Nice Wolf took these photos.
Colorbond Surfmist skillion roof.
Roof at the front of house.
The skillion roof line of our house is such that no one is actually going to see much of the roof cover. We picked “Surfmist” Colorbond to reflect the sun, to keep our home a little cooler and minimise air conditioner days. We plan to add solar panels later. These will contrast completely with the white/grey roof cover but only the seagulls will notice.
You really can’t see the effect of the roofline yet for all the scaffolding:
It’s a scaffold jungle on the canal side/back yard.
Side of house, pool in foreground.
Eventually it will look a bit like this:
Front Elevation. Not a lot of visible roof.
Aside from the addition of the shiny roof, all the ducting for our air conditioning has been installed and our air conditioner unit is ordered. We have ordered an LG 17kW system – recommended for its value for money by our cooling specialist. Other companies recommended that we install two units for our house, doubling or even quadrupling the cost! Luckily, we are not wilt-in-the-heat types, and hope to manage the heat well with window dressings and only use the air-conditioning on the really hot days of the year. On those same hot days, the solar panels will be producing plenty of energy.
We had to raise the roof line by 3 courses of brick to accommodate the air conditioning ducts.
Pre-wiring for our phone and internet lines, the plumbing and electrical tubes and guttering has all been installed for the second floor.
Bathroom plumbing will be hidden in the scullery ceiling.
According to my schedule we are still 3 months away from “lock up”. The next big job on the list is internal and external plastering but I think some of that incredible scaffold jungle has to come down first.
One last dodgy site photo (for my Mum)! This picture is taken from the open, upstairs living area. Check out the view! It’s a little dark now, but wait until the rain clears, the scaffold is removed and the walls and ceilings are painted. We were so focussed on getting the downstairs orientation for views right, that the upstairs view comes as a pleasant surprise.
Walk straight ahead to our bedroom. Space here for the kids lounge, a study nook and the Pilates Reformer.
Firstly, I can’t decide whether or not our fireplace wall should be “a feature”. Giving it a colour of its own, would highlight the fire and provide a nice back ground to a large pendant light that will hang in the room. On the other hand, we’ll already have the canal view as a feature (at least in the day time) and I have plans for a big piece of art for the large bare wall, shown on the left side of the photo above. Is that too many features?
Secondly, for every beautiful feature wall I’ve seen, there is an equally beautiful room that is elegant in its simplicity. (Plain in the left column, “feature” walls on the right.)
Thirdly, try searching “feature wall” on Google or Pinterest. You’ll find all kinds of “nay” happening there. Pulling off a feature wall takes confidence and skill. A feature wall, well, features in a room, so you’d better love whatever colour you choose.
In the case of our fireplace, I don’t think we can go wrong. The easy answer is “no feature paint” but I don’t want to miss an opportunity. With the double height wall, painting it later would be a saga. At this point, most people would buy a couple of sample pots and paint a wall to make a decision “on the ground”. We don’t have this option right now. The next time I see House By The Water will be for the “Practical Completion Inspection”, when the interior walls will have long since been painted by the builders.
To resolve the issue (again), I turned to my new favourite time-wasting activity, mood board creation.
No “feature wall” in our open living area. Kitchen, living and dining all in one.
So for our fireplace, I’m saying “Nay” to a painted feature wall. An additional block of colour seems to detract from the rest.
I also considered a painted feature wall for my son’s bedroom. We are going for an industrial/coastal style there. (There’s a new combo for you!) A charcoal colour would go nicely, but there was the question of which wall to paint. In the end I’ve decided it’s all or nothing. (Another post, another day.)
Of course, there are alternatives to painting a feature wall. Wallpaper is big right now. But if you think I have commitment issues with painting a feature wall, I am down-right scared of wallpaper. I don’t think I’ll ever recover from the time we removed the old wallpaper in our first house. It was not fun and it went on for days. Timber panelling, exposed brick, raw concrete and stone are all high-commitment options for feature walls. Although they usually require thought in the planning stage of a build, I consider some of them to be low risk options. Rarely do I see a stone or timber wall that I don’t like.
And, for the complete “feature wall” chicken, here are some gorgeous wall hangings that I love:
Paris Map bedroom
Starry Night Bedroom
These are from Restoration Hardware in the United States. Unfortunately, they don’t ship to Australia.
So, dear reader. Are you still there? I’m voting “yay” for feature walls, but not always.
Are you planning a feature wall?
Have you painted a feature wall that you lived to regret?
How about one you love to bits?
Has anyone tested out the new so-called “removable wallpaper”?
The house slab isn’t down but already I’m thinking about rugs. I want to be ready for the moment when I find THE rug. I like to see and feel a rug before I buy it and the right rug may pop up while I’m traveling. There may be no going back to get it later…
With the exception of the bathrooms and laundry, our floors will be blackbutt timber. We’ll need plenty of rugs eventually but, for now, the main rug of concern is for the living area. There are various opinions about how large a rug should be in relation to a room and “rules” about sofa feet being on or off the rug, but I’ve noticed that some of the most stylish of rooms don’t follow the rules.
For our living room, I’m subscribing to the “large makes the room look large” theory. At a minimum I want the rug to sit under the front feet of the sofa. At a maximum, I want to leave 20-30cm from the walls, so you can still appreciate the timber floors and to keep the rug clear of ash that might fall out of the fireplace. I used Jardan’s room planner to map out the likely location and size of our dream sofa in our living room. From this I took the measurements for the rug.
Each small square is 20cm square.
Maximum size 3.5x 3.4m. Minimum size 3 x 2.2 m. Big.
However, if I was to fall in love with a rug outside these dimensions, then I think it could be done. Many off-the-shelf rugs do not come large enough to fit my requirements.
I’m wavering between a rug with a pattern and a small pallet of colours or something neutral and unicoloured but with lots of texture. Here are a few of my favourites:
Right now, pattern is winning. The sofa will be plain, so some pattern won’t go astray.
Cotton/thread ✔ I’m a sucker for a good kilim.
Silk or a silk blend.✔ So nice under foot.
Wool ✔ Sometimes. I have a great wool rug from Freedom that is at least 10 years old and has been very resilient to herds of wild children and questionable house keeping. But some wool rugs look like they need a good shear. They are a bit fluffy and shed! A few rugs that I recently saw at Pottery Barn fell into this category.
Which rug do you like best? Are you eyeing off an alternative? Have I missed any secret rug shops? You know, I usually like to consider Australian made options, but I couldn’t find one I like under $1000, not even under $3000.
If you are still not overloaded by rugs, you’ll find more in my Pinterest file.