House

Chalk paint kitchen hutch makeover for little girls room

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Storage in this old house is an issue! With absolutely no built in cupboards, I have had to source storage for absolutely everything.  I love old and interesting pieces of furniture.  Luckily for me, old stuff is currently out of style and I have managed to pick up some pieces that I really love at bargain prices.

I bought this little old-style kitchen hutch off gumtree for $80 when we ripped our kitchen out and had nowhere to store our stuff.  Since then, we bought a 2nd hand kitchen (which you can read about here) so i decided to use this piece for toy storage in Isabelle's room.

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It came without handles, was half painted and had a bit of texta artwork added on the top by one of my kids. So it was definitely in need of a make-over.

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I removed all the doors and drawers, undercoated the entire thing with zinnser oil based primer and then painted in Rustoleum ‘Chalked’ in Blush Pink.  This retails for $42.20 a can at Bunnings.

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I also added a timber decal on the top piece to add a bit more detail. 

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I wanted to try and create more of a french provincial look rather than the shabby chic look to fit in with her other bedroom furniture.  The plain pink was a bit too one dimensional so rather than sand and distress, I attempted to do a white wash over the top.  This was my first time using chalk paint so I played it pretty safe and wiped most of it off just leaving the white to enhance the details of the edges and joins.  It was much more noticeable before I put the top sealer on, but the clear top coat altered the final appearance.

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Chalk paint needs to be sealed or else it will chip.  I wasn't going for the chippy look so I sealed it with poly acrylic which will protect it much better than wax.  I used Cabot's bench top clear which is supposed to be non-yellowing.  The clear coats did darken the pink colour somewhat and also blended the white more into the pink.  So in hindsight, if using this sealer, I would probably buy paint a shade lighter than what I am intending to achieve as final colour.

I purchased new handles from eBay for a few dollars each and lined the drawers with scented drawer liners.  I plan to also seal the paper when the scent has worn off, making them easy to wipe out.

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And lastly, i highlighted the decal and corners with this champagne coloured gilding wax in ‘white gold’ to add a bit of bling. You can find this brand on eBay for $10.

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And voila!

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A pretty storage solution for books, puzzles, hair accessories and other knick knacks that need a home in a little girls room.

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Chest of Drawers Make-over

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A couple of years ago, when in desperate need of storage and living 3 hours away from any furniture stores, I happily accepted this old chest of pine drawers that was en route to the tip.  To be completely honest, I have hated them every day since and had planned on throwing them out as soon as we had the house painted. But after searching online and in a couple of stores for a replacement, I realised that the size was actually perfect for the boys room, it was just the colour and style - and missing knobs - that were the problem.  So, rather than just get rid of them, one afternoon I got out the sander and paintbrush and gave them a bit of a makeover.

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First of all, I removed the remaining knobs and then sanded off all the varnish.

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Then I undercoated with Taubmans 3 in 1 primer, sealer, undercoat left over from the toilet reno.

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I made sure I didn't rush the prep time as Ive learnt from past failures that preparing the surface makes all the difference to the longevity of the paint job.

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Then I gave the whole thing two coats of paint. I really didn't want to spend any money on it in case it was a great big flop so I just used paint I had on hand which was one of the many grey sample pots I'm currently deliberating on for the exterior of the house.

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Surprisingly, once it was painted, I actually didn't hate it.  So I went and ordered 8 brand new knobs - I found these little vintage dinosaur knobs on etsy (knotty's knobs is the store name) and I LOVE them!  There are 8 different dinosaurs which was perfect for the 8 drawers.

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In hindsight, I think an enamel paint would have been better so when it comes time to repaint, I will probably go and buy some grey enamel.  Having said that, its been eight months now since I painted it, and it hasn't chipped at all and wipes clean.

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All in all, I now really like them! The boys share a room so they have four drawers each and they fit nicely under the window.  

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Cost break down:

Chest of drawers - free

Undercoat - left over from another project, approximately $5 worth or less

Paint - sample pot $6.95

Dinosaur knobs - 8 @ $7.55 each plus postage from the UK (total $79.50) ETSY

Total: $91.45 

Rats nests, cockroach murals and rooster dish pigs...my kitchen update

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When we first moved into the house, i spent a considerable amount of time cleaning the kitchen before I unpacked anything. I remember calling Jamie at working telling him that I was really creeped out as I found some bones in one of the bottom cupboards under the sink behind the pipes.  At the time, I was already super freaked out about the huge carpet snake that had been in the house and subsequently ate my pet guinea pigs so finding bones just added to the 'oh my god, what have i done?!' state of mind that I was in. Then my rational mind prevailed and I told myself that the previous occupants must have kept their bin under the sink and they probably missed the bin when they threw some chicken scraps into the bin. Then I just forgot about it.

 In case you missed the post about the snake who was here to welcome us when we moved in, here he is.

In case you missed the post about the snake who was here to welcome us when we moved in, here he is.

Fast forward a few months to when we decided to pull out the old kitchen so that all the walls could be painted.  The first stage was removing the top cabinets and splash back which revealed some impressive cockroach poo markings all over the wall.  

 Heres a recap of what the kitchen was like.  Who would've guessed that behind those unassuming top cabinets dwelled a cockroach named Picasso?

Heres a recap of what the kitchen was like.  Who would've guessed that behind those unassuming top cabinets dwelled a cockroach named Picasso?

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The more I looked at it, the more it started to look like art and, just like the clouds, I began to see all sorts of weird shapes and animals amongst the cocky poo.  

 But c'mon, tell me you don't see it?! There's most definitely some sort of antelope up in the right corner sitting on a deer right?

But c'mon, tell me you don't see it?! There's most definitely some sort of antelope up in the right corner sitting on a deer right?

 Anyhoo, then we removed the splash back and in case you spotted it, no I'm not an alcoholic but since moving here, I have learnt that wine helps me to find the good in any situation.  In this situation, it was that I had wine.

Anyhoo, then we removed the splash back and in case you spotted it, no I'm not an alcoholic but since moving here, I have learnt that wine helps me to find the good in any situation.  In this situation, it was that I had wine.

The second stage, a week later, was removing the sink and all the base cabinets. By now I was already expecting to find forty years worth of cockroach poo so when Jamie called out 'Come have a look at this' I thought I knew what I was walking into.  Not so!

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There, where my kitchen once stood was a MASSIVE ghost-rats nest complete with rat skeletons spanning the entire length of the wall. The mystery of the bones found in the cabinets was solved at last.

 I must admit, I was impressed by the rat family's commitment to the philosophy of Reduce, Reuse and Recycle.  Reduce, not so much, but there is definitely a lot of ingenuity to be admired here.

I must admit, I was impressed by the rat family's commitment to the philosophy of Reduce, Reuse and Recycle.  Reduce, not so much, but there is definitely a lot of ingenuity to be admired here.

I cant even put into words how I felt.  All this time, I had been preparing meals atop of a mass rat grave. I poured myself some wine and walked away until I could cope with the thought of coming back and cleaning it all up. 

 Virgil! How shall we ever know what happened to you?! Although my friends and I have speculated. Despite the plausible love triangle murder-suicide hypothesis, I can't help but wonder if me covering up the hole in the base cabinets when we first moved in contributed to your untimely death?

Virgil! How shall we ever know what happened to you?! Although my friends and I have speculated. Despite the plausible love triangle murder-suicide hypothesis, I can't help but wonder if me covering up the hole in the base cabinets when we first moved in contributed to your untimely death?

Moving on....After the kitchen was removed I had NO kitchen.  Which meant I had to prepare food on the dining table and do the dishes with a bucket of water.  

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At first I was like 'I've camped.  I can totally manage'. But as the days turned into weeks (as the painting took way longer than expected) the novelty of alfresco dish washing started to wear off.

At that time, the chooks still had free range of the property and also liked to get involved in the dishwashing process.

 So did the dog. (Don't panic, we've all since been wormed).

So did the dog. (Don't panic, we've all since been wormed).

I'm learning that everything around here takes us WAY longer than most people.  I was expecting a week, maybe two tops but this here was my reality for the better part of a month. In the meantime, the kitchen was painted and we tried to figure out what the heck we were going to put back in to use once the painting was complete.

The long term plan is actually to extend the house out from this room to make way for a new kitchen leaving this room as a seperate dining room. Currently it's just too small to be an eat-in kitchen for a family of our size. I'm not entirely sure how much it's going to cost nor where we are going to get the money for said extension but as I like to live most of my life in an imaginary bubble where unicorns exist and dreams do come true, I have decided that at some point, along with my boob job, it WILL happen.  Therefore, we purchased a second hand kitchen for $300 off gumtree that we have just plonked in the kitchen to use until such time that the extension is built.  

 A glorious Day! Jamie put our old sink back in so as not to have to much around with the plumbing too much as its all going to be moved in the future.

A glorious Day! Jamie put our old sink back in so as not to have to much around with the plumbing too much as its all going to be moved in the future.

So here it is.  Not yet my dream kitchen but there are no rat nests and there is running water. Winning! The $300 gumtree kitchen is super functional with all the drawers and there's still more of it in the shed that we may install at some point so I'm pretty happy.

 We painted the walls and ceiling in Dulux Natural White and the trims are white enamel 'Quarter Ash'.  I'm really happy with the colour as it's got enough warmth without throwing any pink or cream - which I've experienced with other whites in the past. Not too stark, but definitely still white.

We painted the walls and ceiling in Dulux Natural White and the trims are white enamel 'Quarter Ash'.  I'm really happy with the colour as it's got enough warmth without throwing any pink or cream - which I've experienced with other whites in the past. Not too stark, but definitely still white.

 The 'new' second hand kitchen is Tasmanian oak and is very solid.  I'm actually planning on using it when we do the extension but I'll replace the handles and bench tops and possibly even paint the cabinets. Not sure yet.

The 'new' second hand kitchen is Tasmanian oak and is very solid.  I'm actually planning on using it when we do the extension but I'll replace the handles and bench tops and possibly even paint the cabinets. Not sure yet.

 As you can see, we closed in one of the doorways on this wall to allow for a longer kitchen.

As you can see, we closed in one of the doorways on this wall to allow for a longer kitchen.

 I bought this chandelier off eBay for $19.  It did however cost four times that much in postage to get it up from Sydney but for $100 all up, I still consider it a bargain and much nicer than the old fluorescent wall light pictured below. As I said earlier, the plan is to make this the dining room eventually so the chandelier will hang over the dining table.

I bought this chandelier off eBay for $19.  It did however cost four times that much in postage to get it up from Sydney but for $100 all up, I still consider it a bargain and much nicer than the old fluorescent wall light pictured below. As I said earlier, the plan is to make this the dining room eventually so the chandelier will hang over the dining table.

 Old light in kitchen before.

Old light in kitchen before.

 Another eBay score is this old kitchen hutch which i bought for $275 for some extra free standing storage. Surprisingly, it holds more than you would think.

Another eBay score is this old kitchen hutch which i bought for $275 for some extra free standing storage. Surprisingly, it holds more than you would think.

 The cabinets are not actually installed, rather they are just sitting on the floor and the bench top is balanced on top.  Seems to work for now.

The cabinets are not actually installed, rather they are just sitting on the floor and the bench top is balanced on top.  Seems to work for now.

 So there it is.  It's only a temporary solution but it undoubtedly will stay like this for some time while we work on other projects and save for the extension which I am super excited about!

So there it is.  It's only a temporary solution but it undoubtedly will stay like this for some time while we work on other projects and save for the extension which I am super excited about!

 After discovering all the cockroach poo and rat remains, I can honestly say 'Good Riddance!' to this old 70's kitchen!

After discovering all the cockroach poo and rat remains, I can honestly say 'Good Riddance!' to this old 70's kitchen!

Our New Loo

Well we finally did it.  We renovated our first room.  Admittedly, it is the smallest room in the house and it took us the better part of six weeks to complete, but we eventually got there, without killing one another.  So here it is, the story of our new loo....

The two toilets in the house are... how shall i put it... um...well....beyond saving. When it comes to the unique features of our house, i refer to the toilets as the 'Pièce de Résistance' which in our case translates to 'resistance to piss'. Or to go anywhere near the toilet. 

The toilets are hooked up to bore water which has left them looking like this...

 Hmmmmm.

Hmmmmm.

We decided to start with the outside toilet because a), we really don't know what we are doing and b), we are probably going to be moving the inside bathroom to make way for a bigger kitchen.

So after seeing how cheap toilets are at bunnings, we jumped straight in thinking that if we fail miserably, we'd only lose a couple of hundred dollars.  How hard could it be? I called my handy dad who assured me that replacing a toilet was a piece of cake and could easily be done in less than an hour.  

Well I am here to tell you that in our case (cue Jerry Springer voice) 'That Is A Lie!'.  I can confirm however, that after we spent six weeks installing said toilet, it did take us approximately one hour to agree upon the placement of the $7 bunnings toilet roll holder.

You see, Jamie and I sit at opposite ends of the Plan it/Wing it continuum.

Jamie is what you would call a 'perfectionist', a 'planner', a 'lets have everything just right before we start' kinda guy where as I am what you would call a 'winger', a 'that'll do', a 'lets just see what happens and hope for the best' kinda girl.  And as much as I have come to appreciate the details that he pays attention to that I would otherwise overlook, 'perfection' is a painfully slow process. Like having-teeth-pulled-painfully-slow. Even more so if it's something we haven't done before.

But it is finally finished. And by finished, I mean 95% complete as we still need to hang the new door and move the light switch into the this room as its in another room for some unknown reason. But the toilet is usable and it works! With no leaks which has given us the momentum to move onto the next project. At this rate, we are on track to have the whole house finished just in time to move into a nursing home. Here's some before, during and afters...

So lets take a look at before...

 Other than the toilet situation, the room is very drab.

Other than the toilet situation, the room is very drab.

After pulling out the toilet in disgust, we figured we may as well paint and tile before we installed the new one. We contemplated going all out and lining the walls to cover the besser blocks, but you know, budget, so we just gap filled and painted.

 The children wanted to 'help' paint.

The children wanted to 'help' paint.

We painted the room in Taubmans untinted semi gloss white.  We did one coat of primer and two coats of paint.  Then it was on to the tiling.

 We needed a little bit more height so that the new toilet would line up with the old plumbing, so we tiled over the existing tiles.

We needed a little bit more height so that the new toilet would line up with the old plumbing, so we tiled over the existing tiles.

Not really thinking ahead, I chose tiles that would cause someone with OCD - AKA Jamie - nightmares if not layed correctly. So that in itself was a process. They are encaustic-look tiles (also called cement tiles - but these ones don't need sealing). I think you either love them or hate them.  Personally, i love them.

We discovered the bunnings $30 tile cutter is actually a piece of crap.  The first few cuts were fine, but after that, the aluminium ridge had flattened at one end and turned into a big problem which caused Mr Perfectionist much anxiety.  MUCH anxiety. The project was put on hold another week until a suitable replacement was found (a particular blade for the angle grinder).

I strategically left the glueing down of the tiles to Jamie, not wanting to be held responsible if any of the tiles weren't perfectly aligned and level. I think he did a great job but he was very disappointed in himself as apparently two of the joins are slightly out of whack by a millimetre here and there.  He continued to go on about it while I was grouting and for a couple of days later, venting his extreme remorse for such carelessness. I suggested he seek counselling to move past it so that we could finally install the toilet.

 Me grouting with my trusty side-kick Millie

Me grouting with my trusty side-kick Millie

Once we figured out the right fittings to extend the outlet pipe, fitting the new toilet was actually in fact, pretty easy.  Of course, making sure it was perfectly centred took most of the time.  So much time. Apparently one eighth of a millimetre out is not acceptable. By this stage, I'm starting to wonder how Jamie manages to live with someone like me.  Even deciding exactly where to place the toilet seat was a mini ordeal.

 Jamie debating the pro's and con's of placing the toilet seat 1mm further forward than its current placement.

Jamie debating the pro's and con's of placing the toilet seat 1mm further forward than its current placement.

By this stage, I've started drinking and am rolling my eyes behind his back thinking 'just screw the flipping lid on already'.

 After what seems like an eternity, the toilet is installed and fully functioning.  The children are amazed. Their parents are magicians.

After what seems like an eternity, the toilet is installed and fully functioning.  The children are amazed. Their parents are magicians.

So with the toilet finally in place , it was on to the finishing touches...

 Jamie built a shelf out of pine to cover a pipe that was protruding out of the wall from the inside toilet.

Jamie built a shelf out of pine to cover a pipe that was protruding out of the wall from the inside toilet.

 We hung a picture that was given to me by one of my oldest and greatest friends about 10 years ago when I was living in another run down old house south of Brisbane. I must say, it's been so great finally having a place for all my old vintage style bits and pieces that I've been carting around most of my adult life... #hoardingpaysoff

We hung a picture that was given to me by one of my oldest and greatest friends about 10 years ago when I was living in another run down old house south of Brisbane. I must say, it's been so great finally having a place for all my old vintage style bits and pieces that I've been carting around most of my adult life... #hoardingpaysoff

And last but not least, the $7 bunnings toilet roll holder...

 Ergonomically positioned for easy toilet paper reaching and yet centred 'off centre' within the brick for visual appeal.  This involved sitting on the toilet and re-enacting the process of going to the toilet, taking into consideration different age groups, heights and shoulder widths and even comparing the comfort level of using other toilets and toilet roll holders. I'm. Not. Kidding.

Ergonomically positioned for easy toilet paper reaching and yet centred 'off centre' within the brick for visual appeal.  This involved sitting on the toilet and re-enacting the process of going to the toilet, taking into consideration different age groups, heights and shoulder widths and even comparing the comfort level of using other toilets and toilet roll holders. I'm. Not. Kidding.

So there you have it.  We have made some progress! It took way longer than it should have but we are pretty pleased with how it's turned out and now it's onto the next room.  Here's another picture of how it's looking now...

Voila! We have a new, sparkling, white toilet.

 

Cost Breakdown:

Paint/undercoat:  Approximately $50.00 total

(Undercoat - Taubmans 3 in 1 sealer/primer) (Taubmans Interior easy coat semi gloss white)

Gapfill:  $8.20

Silicon: $9.89 (Selley's wet area)

Tiles: $200  (2.5m @ $80m2 - The Tile Mob)

Tile Adhesive: $15.00 (half a packet of Dunlop superset tile adhesive) 

Grout: $4.50 (used half a packet of Davco grout in Basalt)

Screws: $5.00

Toilet roll holder: $7.98

Pine (for shelf): $20.00

Light fitting:$59.00 (bunnings)

Ceramic toilet: $129.00 (bunnings)

Fittings: $8.00 (bunnings)

Grand total: $516.57

 

Things that go bump in the night...

Old houses creak and make noises. Old houses in the country seem super quaint and peaceful during the day, but at night, make you think you're living in a freaking horror movie. The amount of actual sleep I've had in the past 3 weeks is less than what I had when my babies were newborns. On top of the creaks and rattles and unfamiliar tree branches-scraping-on-roof noises, turns out we also have an abundance of wildlife living both inside and right outside our house.  

Inside we've had bats, snakes, frogs, toads, geckos, lizards, mice, huntsman spiders and alien-sized cockroaches to name but a few. Real witches brew stuff.  Outside - or more aptly, not inside yet - there's possums fighting on the roof, nocturnal birds carrying on, bellowing cattle and neighbours dogs going off in the distance at god knows what. Some of these I can live with, but others, I'm struggling to come to terms with. When I named this blog a few months back, it was MEANT to be more of a metaphor for striving towards a life that has more meaning and more connection with the earth.  I didn't realise that we would literally be sharing a house with wild things that not only grow, but fly, jump, screech and eat each other. While I'm trying to sleep.

Think I'm exaggerating? Here's a few of our house mates...

 Mr Praying Mantis....one of many insects we find inside daily. Not a big deal however they attract bigger animals.

Mr Praying Mantis....one of many insects we find inside daily. Not a big deal however they attract bigger animals.

 Such as... Bella & Edward, two of the little bats that like to fly around the house at night eating insects along with the frogs and geckos.  What eats bats, frogs and gekkos though?

Such as... Bella & Edward, two of the little bats that like to fly around the house at night eating insects along with the frogs and geckos.  What eats bats, frogs and gekkos though?

 You know, giant snakes like this 3m carpet snake who needed to rest on my tall boy after gobbling up my guinea pigs. This guy has since been relocated up the range thanks to my neighbours, but the previous tenants told me he was in the house often but 'don't worry, he just eats the mice and rats'!!! Yeah, no, snakes in the house is never a good thing in my world.

You know, giant snakes like this 3m carpet snake who needed to rest on my tall boy after gobbling up my guinea pigs. This guy has since been relocated up the range thanks to my neighbours, but the previous tenants told me he was in the house often but 'don't worry, he just eats the mice and rats'!!! Yeah, no, snakes in the house is never a good thing in my world.

A couple of nights ago, just as I was about to drift off, I heard knocking on the back door.  My eyes jolted wide awake and I lay there, frozen. I heard it again.  My brain instantly jumped to the most logical conclusion - that being that the house was haunted and I froze, motionless in my bed.  Cos, you know, ghosts are less likely to get you if you keep still.  Then my mind started to drift to another likely probability that a snake had slithered in under the door, eaten the cat or worse still, one of the children and was knocking the door as it tried to get out with a big bulging belly. Believe it or not, this kind of thing has actually happened several times around the world. Google it. So, driven by a desire to protect the remaining children and/or cat, I forced myself to get up and investigate.  

I've started sleeping with the lights on in the living room due to aforementioned scary noises so as I opened my bedroom door I saw instantly that the cat, who no longer goes on the floor since massive-guinea-pig-eating-snake episode, was still alive and well, albeit somewhat freaked out, on the table.  I checked the children were all still in their beds and then heard the knocking on the back door again. It was coming from down low.

There's two back doors along the same wall that lead to the back entryway and the sound was coming from the door off the lounge room.  Apprehensively, I tip-toed towards the other door off the kitchen and slowly slid it open. My sleep deprived imagination was now conjuring up images of small goblins poised on the other side of door preparing to ambush. So it was a surprise to find the cause of the noise was in fact, six great big cane toads jumping up to catch the moths that were trying to get in to the light through the cracks in the door. Thats right.  There are toads IN my house. 

Now as disgusting as this is, I felt very relieved that it wasn't a) a ghost, b) a snake or c) a troll.  It also got me to consider that perhaps the last time I was convinced my house was haunted back in 2014, the time that I went so far as to having the house blessed was maybe, possibly, not ghosts either. But still, there's toads in my house and this is not cool.

So, no longer feeling the need to call in the pastor - which, mind you, would have been a lot easier as apparently ghosts, unlike toads will leave at the mention of Jesus' name - we are now on a mission to make our home less appealing to the wildlife.

 I command thee Toads be gone!

I command thee Toads be gone!

First up, we had Edward from Sarina Pest Control come in and take care of the cockroaches in the house and termites in the sheds. We had to wait 3 weeks before he could get to us and I've never been as excited to see a man other than my husband as I was to see Edward. The house was literally teeming with roaches and even though I'm not a fan of either chemicals or killing things, something had to be done. On a side note, all the cockroaches reminded me of a girl that I worked with in high school and I told Jamie how she told me that her and her friends used to smoke them! True story. Jamie stared at me like he does when he realises how sheltered a life I've led, raised an eyebrow and said 'Roaches?' before he shook his head and walked away.

Anyway, Edward told us that cane toads eat cockroaches so that would be why the toads keep coming in. The good news is Edward got up in the ceiling and under the floorboards and said there aren't presently any snakes, mice or rats living above or below us. 

By the way, have you ever smelled toad poo? Until a couple of weeks ago, I had somehow managed to avoid even contemplating such a smell.  That was until Oliver stood on one in the bathroom and we all nearly DIED. It is the most god-awful thing we have ever smelled. It's like a noxious mixture of rotting meat, poison and dog poo all rolled up into one tiny, little, unsuspecting package. We've since discovered, they only smell if they are squashed or, worse still vacuumed up by mistake. Even after changing the bag and thoroughly cleaning the vacuum cleaner, every time I turn it on now, the smell of death lingers in the air and the children run away in disgust. New vacuum cleaner is on the list. Until then, I can guarantee some 'me' time by switching on the vacuum cleaner.

Back to the problem at hand though...just how do all these creatures get in the house in the first place?  Why, through our back 'security' door! 

 'Security' grill which allows any animal smaller than a giraffe free passage into our house.

'Security' grill which allows any animal smaller than a giraffe free passage into our house.

So, our next mission is to replace the back grill with solid doors so that nothing can get in when the house is closed up. At the moment I'm putting up a knee high barrier so the toads can't jump in, but I'm still super paranoid about snakes eating the children and I'd prefer it if there weren't bats flying around our heads while we watch TV so I want to get this happening soon.

After we've painted all the windows (hopefully before next summer) we will also put screens on. Less insects means less geckos and frogs which means less snakes which means I will be able to sleep through the night again.  It's going to be a long year.  So friends, if you see me in the next few months and notice I've aged heaps, now you know why.

 

Current style - Heroin Chic

In an effort to keep things real, I want to do a tour of the current state of the inside of our house.  It's a mess. There's work everywhere I look.  We've got stuff all over the place and I'm pretty sure it looks like we are junkies.  Despite all this, I think the house has a certain charm. I'm calling it 'Heroin Chic'.  

A couple of decades ago before Facebook and googling cats with brain freeze was a thing, I occasionally entertained myself by purchasing fashion magazines. At one point during the mid nineties, it became fashionable to look like you never washed and spent all your money on drugs and alcohol.  The trend was labelled Heroin Chic and it was very cutting edge.  Artsy even.  Pale, skinny, sombre looking models with smeared makeup, disheveled hair, cigarettes and designer jeans graced billboards and magazine covers.  

However, the key to this look, which I unfortunately discovered the hard way, is that you actually needed to be stunningly beautiful in the first place.  Looking like you belonged in Vogue as opposed to on Jerry Springer came down to genetics. And so it is with my house. She has the bone structure of a supermodel, in my eyes at least, but in it's current state, looks like we never wash and have spent all our money on drugs and alcohol.  Actually 'Heroin' chic might even be pushing it.  It looks more like we can't afford drugs and have spent all our money on VB and cask wine. 

There's paint flaking off the walls, the varnish is peeling off the floorboards, there's holes in doors, broken windows, graffiti and every single surface is covered in a thick layer of grime.  But, underneath it all, she's beautiful. Just like Kate Moss, who's still beautifully intriguing on the verge of rehab, my house draws me in and despite even the ants, spiders and cockroaches, I am pinching myself that she's ours.

She needs a lot of love, a lot of work, hours of cleaning, storage, and pest control but here she is, our home....

 The living room has 6 doorways and two windows coming off it which is proving really difficult for furniture placement.

The living room has 6 doorways and two windows coming off it which is proving really difficult for furniture placement.

 Our furniture is too big for the living room but we are just squeezing around it for now.

Our furniture is too big for the living room but we are just squeezing around it for now.

 Oliver and Louie are now sharing which is working out really great.

Oliver and Louie are now sharing which is working out really great.

 All the bedrooms are really big and bright.  Just need storage and painting.

All the bedrooms are really big and bright.  Just need storage and painting.

 French doors off the boys bedroom.

French doors off the boys bedroom.

 Big bay windows temporarily housing our 2nd TV.

Big bay windows temporarily housing our 2nd TV.

 I'm slowly getting my seventies kitchen in order. It took a full week to clean the cupboards. I'm yet to tackle the walls. That'll be this weeks job.

I'm slowly getting my seventies kitchen in order. It took a full week to clean the cupboards. I'm yet to tackle the walls. That'll be this weeks job.

 Kitchen window.

Kitchen window.

 Little bit of decoupage above the stove for that artistic touch. In all seriousness though, I actually prefer full gas stoves, so even though this one is a little worse for wear, I'm pleased it's not electric.

Little bit of decoupage above the stove for that artistic touch. In all seriousness though, I actually prefer full gas stoves, so even though this one is a little worse for wear, I'm pleased it's not electric.

 I love that old houses are solid and built to last. As ugly as my wood laminate kitchen is, there's no way kitchens mass produced today will be in as good condition in 40 years as this one is. 

I love that old houses are solid and built to last. As ugly as my wood laminate kitchen is, there's no way kitchens mass produced today will be in as good condition in 40 years as this one is. 

 Jamie cleaning the front porch.

Jamie cleaning the front porch.

 Looking towards our bedroom. 

Looking towards our bedroom. 

 The bathroom mid scrub.

The bathroom mid scrub.

 Such a relaxing place to unwind after a long day.

Such a relaxing place to unwind after a long day.

 Cockroach home base

Cockroach home base

 The absolute bomb site that is Isabelle & Charlie's room.  Current floor-drobe is taking up the entire floor. You know it's bad when you couldn't even be bothered shutting the drawer for the photo.

The absolute bomb site that is Isabelle & Charlie's room.  Current floor-drobe is taking up the entire floor. You know it's bad when you couldn't even be bothered shutting the drawer for the photo.

 Looking past the mess, I love the depth of the window frames.

Looking past the mess, I love the depth of the window frames.

 Our very unromantic bedroom...birth control right there.

Our very unromantic bedroom...birth control right there.

 Back entry/place I've dumped a heap of crap until I find somewhere to put it.

Back entry/place I've dumped a heap of crap until I find somewhere to put it.

 What is supposed to be the study.

What is supposed to be the study.

 Outside toilet which we've just pulled out to replace.

Outside toilet which we've just pulled out to replace.

 Outside shower

Outside shower

 What will eventually be Sam's bedroom - cosy don't you think?

What will eventually be Sam's bedroom - cosy don't you think?

 Laundry - how things go in dirty and come out clean is a mystery

Laundry - how things go in dirty and come out clean is a mystery

And there you have it. It's going to be a long road to fixing her up as we will be doing much of the work ourselves. We're still moving the furniture around trying to fit everything in so it's very, very crazy around here at the moment. It's kind of fun though, and very rewarding as we slowly get rooms semi-sorted. I'm a little bit nervous about starting the renovation as I really want to get it right and I don't have any natural flair whatsoever for that sort of thing. But, at the end of the day, it's our home, not a designer's showpiece and as long as it's clean, comfortable, safe and functional we will be happy.  If I manage to pull off some sort of style in the process, preferably one not drug related, it'll be a bonus.

We are finally in our new home!

homefront (1 of 1).jpg

We're in! After months of waiting and a couple of really full on weeks we are now officially living in our new home. The last two weeks have been really challenging! We finally settled and were about to move when cyclone Debbie hit. We lost power for days, and roads were cut and so we weren't even sure if we would still have a house to move into.  Fortunately the house came out unscathed but there were a couple of trees down and the yard was a big mess. No big deal really, but it pushed our moving date back by five days which meant we had to work tirelessly to get completely out of the rental house and into this one in a matter of days before Jamie went back to work.

We've been here almost a week now and it's a gigantic, big, jumbled mess! On top of all our stuff which needs a big culling, the house also needs to be cleaned before I can unpack anything. I've had definite moments of 'Ermagod...what have I done?!' and I'm feeling a bit engulfed by all the stuff everywhere with no where to put it.  Jamie is a bit of a hoarder and he also has this OCD streak where everything has to be neat and organised or else he walks around complaining.  Not a good combination at the best of times, let alone when you move into a small house with zero storage.  Its going to be an interesting few months...

But despite the feelings of overwhelm which I am curbing nicely with alcohol, I have to say, I LOVE it here! I'm getting used to the frogs and the bats and the geckos that we share the house with and in some weird way, I'm sort of enjoying scrubbing the walls and the benches as I'm really getting to know the house inside and out. 

The children have just fit right in and when I catch glimpses of them playing out the window as I scrub, I know this is all going to be worth it. There's so much here for them to explore. I'm honestly feeling really, really lucky to have found this little place. It ticks all the boxes for me and even though theres a tonne of work to be done, the elements that are already in place are priceless in my eyes.  We've got heaps of mature fruit trees, rustic out buildings, a beautiful lawn, really good bore water, rainwater tanks and most importantly our own creek with a swimming hole. The synchronicities that led to us being able to buy this property make me believe it was just meant to be and I cant wait to get started on actualizing all the dreams I've been carrying around for so long.

Here's a few pics from our first week here ...

Oh did I mention the creek?  Yeah I know I did, but it's seriously so great! Thanks to all the rain it's quite deep at the moment and it's crystal clear.

Well back to sorting through the mess for me for now and trying to get our home into some sort of liveable state!  I actually lost my phone this week in the mess and it hasn't resurfaced yet, that's how bad it is.  I keep telling myself to stay calm and just accept this is what it is for now until we can build storage etc.  I'm sure there's a lesson in all this and I suspect it's that we really need to be proactive in letting go of 'stuff' that doesn't serve us, probably both literally and figuratively, so that we can live more peaceful lives.  Perhaps the lack of storage is actually a blessing.  If we had cupboards, the stuff would be shoved in there and not used nor looked at for years anyway.  Out of sight, out of mind but not actually dealt with. Does anyone else have this problem?  I would love some help trying to live more minimalistically and how to get my life in order!

Bedrooms #01

The house has 4 bedrooms, 3 of which are a really good size, and a 4th teeny, tiny room added on to the carport.  However, there are no built in cupboards in any of them and 2 of the bedrooms have either windows or doors on 3 sides which limits where we can build storage.

Our kids will have to share rooms and we are still trying to figure out whats going to work best.  Obviously, having them grouped with whoever they are closest to in age seems logical...the two little ones, the two middle ones and then Sam.... but they tend to fight more with that sibling, so I'm still undecided on who will share with whom. I think we'll try out a few scenarios when we move in and see how they work. They still all end up on the floor in my room most nights when Jamie is away so I guess it's really just a place to put their stuff anyway.

Two of the bedrooms have bay windows which I'm excited about. They all have high ceilings and lots of natural light too.

It's probably worth mentioning that I do NOT have a natural flair for decorating or interior design. I've attempted some projects in the past that have been total failures and at this point I don't even trust myself to choose a shade of white for the walls!  I've bought couches that looked awesome in the shop and didn't fit the space when I got them home....hence why we own a lot of couches, some of which are out being loaned to family.  I can't afford professional help so I'm just going to have to do some research, play it safe and hope for the best.  Pinterest has been my best friend lately.  However, I'm hoping for a better outcome with my house than my Pinterest inspired cake making attempts.

bathroom #01

There are actually two bathrooms - which I'm really pleased about. One inside, one outside and both very much unloved. The inside bathroom is an all in one - shower over bath, toilet and basin currently looks like this...

The second one is a separate shower and toilet located outside, under the carport....

And...

Jamie wants to start on the inside bathroom first, so watch this space for progress pics and all the costs involved.