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.

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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.

Build update: render started.

 It has been so quiet on the build front over the past month that I sent in my spies to see if any work had been done at all.  The external cladding just below the roof has been installed.  It looks very white now, but it will be painted in Dulux’s Calf Skin.  The space between our ceilings and the roof is rather huge.  The roof line was raised by three courses of brick to accommodate the ducted air conditioning.  

The renderer has started covering the highest bricks and I suspect is now waiting for the scaffolding to be lowered before he can proceed.   I’m imaging that the process goes something like this:

  • Wait for renderer. Render a bit.
  • Wait for scaffolders.  Drop a lift.
  • Wait for renderer. Render a bit.
  • Wait for scaffolders again. Drop a lift.
  • Wait for renderer.  

All quite understandable, but I wasn’t mentally prepared by the construction schedule for this, so I’m feeling twitchy!  

The render will be painted Dulux’s Grey Pebble at a later date.  (Oh no!  I suppose that means the painters are going to have to wait on scaffolding too.)  The central column on the facade will be clad in stacked stone.  I’m rather pleased about that having seen some fantastic stacked stone today, used not only on the exterior, but also in a double shower with sky light ceiling.  

A big thanks to my friends who sent me lots of photos of House By The Water this week.