Merry Christmas and a bit more

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I feel a bit of a fraud – writing on my own blog, after ignoring it for so long!

But I do have to check in and say Merry Christmas and thanks for being here. And in case you get all nostalgic at this time of year (who doesn’t… just a little bit?!) here’s how we did Christmas last year, the year before, and back in 2011. As the years go by it gets a little more… well… Christmassy!

It’s been a year and a half this one. Lots has happened that wasn’t supposed to happen, and not much has happened that we thought might happen! But we are looking forward to “big things” next year, and I have my fingers crossed for a little more time to myself, with one off to school and the other to kindy. I may even get back into blogging regularly?!

But for now, just have yourselves a merry little Christmas!

Thanks x

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Mid century style in Hamilton

Hamilton is known for a lot of things, but architecture isn’t one of them, as far as I know. Although to be fair, Hamilton and I have never been more than vague acquaintances.

So I was surprised but delighted to see HOME magazine has featured a gem of a mid century home in the heart of the city, overlooking Lake Rotoroa.

Lomus house Hamilton. Photograph by Paul McCredie.

I love the thought that has gone into the design of this house (courtesy of the owners, and the architect – Peter Middleton), and the spaces that were created to accommodate various family members and activities harmoniously.

Photographs by Paul McCredie.

There is even some adults-only territory, otherwise known as a parlour. But my favourite would have to be the library. And the fireplace. I love a handsome open fireplace.

Photographs by Paul McCredie.

The big reason I got excited though, was this:

Lomus house Hamilton - Peter Middleton

A floor plan!! Weirdo me, but show me a floor plan and I’ll be happy as Larry for hours after! This one is truly a good one, and after some perusal I can’t see anything I’d be in a hurry to change. There is outdoor access from almost every room, guest accommodation at the opposite end of the house to the kids rooms, a study nook (AND the library, don’t forget!) as well as a studio and store room. Wow!

They did make good houses back then. In Hamilton.

Happy hump day x

All photos by Paul McCredie. for HOME magazine.

DIY clothes rack

As you know, we moved into our bedroom without a wardrobe. We had plans for a midcentury style built in, but got cold feet on that at the last minute. Neither of us could visualise it entirely, and we decided that wasn’t a good thing.

So our plans are to find a gorgeous pair of vintage freestanding wardrobes (like this one – below), and give them a modern lick of gloss white. Because we like our white bedroom, even though it really was unintentional!

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But… we do things a little slowly, so an interim measure was required. Crossing the hall to fetch clothes from the spare bedroom only felt fancy-dressing-room-like for a couple of days. It didn’t help that the wardrobe in that bedroom is less than an arm span in width and full of “stuff” already. Something more convenient was required!

On an instagram (@duckeggblueblog) post a while back I vowed I wouldn’t consider a clothes rack, knowing our collection of clothing is a long way short of colour-coordinatable. Plus, there is an alarmingly large pile of husbands trackies and swanndri jumpers that don’t fit in our drawers, and will never know a coathanger. Where to put those?!

Ignoring that small problem for a minute, I quickly realised a clothes rack would be the perfect interim option – cheap, quick and not so bad if I could leave the loudest of our clothes across the hall for special occasions!

So… a clothes rack:
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For anyone in a similar situation, there is so much inspiration out there for DIY clothes racks. It’s a simple matter of finding the one you like best and copying it.

I started this on a night when chaos was reigning… so excuse my over-zealous attempt to regain some control by laying out all my pieces like this:
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From there it was a simple matter of attaching the tees and elbows to the right pieces and then Andre helped me to connect them all up (one person holding up the frame, and the other spinning the allen key). Once it was all put together Andre got his squint on and adjusted everything so it was all in line, and standing straight up.
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We opted not to put flanges on the bottom to keep things a little more minimal, so needed some “feet” to keep the cut off end of pipe from scratching the floor. I found the perfect size bungs at Para Rubber!0904_2104

A little spray primer, followed by gloss white and we had ourselves a basic clothes rack!0904_2108 0904_2109 0904_2202 0904_2203 0904_2204 0904_2205-(2) 0904_2206 0904_2207 0904_2208

Budget breakdown:

Pipe $40 – Easysteel
Joiners $46 – Advanced Steel Products
Bungs $6 – Para Rubber
Spray paint (we had primer already, and some leftover white gloss, but I needed one more full can of gloss white) $8 – Bunnings

Total $100 (give or take a few cents!)

I’ll be honest and admit I removed half of our clothes for the styled shots above. This is how it really looks, with a few more colourful summer clothes still hanging next door. Not so bad!

0904_2212Next up is something other than a chair in the corner to dump those aforementioned trackies and big fat jumpers…

 

Small spaces: A bridge house

If ever you have a difficult building site, or just an extra special landscape you don’t want to mar… the bridge house could be your thing.

Besides “touching the earth lightly” this one by Max Pritchard Architects is packed with eco features such as a black concrete floor for thermal mass, huge north facing and double-glazed windows, steel louvres for summer shade and solar water heating.

Gorgeous innit?!

PS. Anyone know that ol’ railway bridge on the left just at the southern edge of Ohakune village? The property it is on was for sale a while back and I reeeeeeeally wanted to buy it and create a house on the bridge. Big old arches and all. How fun would that have been? And it looked straight up to Mt Ruapehu. Amazing… but not to be.

Pin of the day: Spring living

It’s spriiiiing!!! Despite today’s wintry grey raininess, I’m still excited that down here in the upside-down side of the world we can now officially look forward to summer! It’s just around the corner…

The lengthening of days over the last few weeks means we now (sometimes) have dinner before dark, and on a good day even the birds are still singing! That’s awesome.

So I thought I’d keep an eye out on my Pinterest feed for something springish to share today. Gardens, outdoors, flowers… nope? How about a little living space then?

The light in this one puts it squarely in the spring camp, and the potted tree totally goes with the theme too. I also love the big artwork (it’s so trendy right now) and doesn’t the sofa look comfy? I want that floral cushion…

Hope spring has arrived for some of you with more sun and less rain than is going on in Auckland today?

A halfway hallway

Back in the midst of our bedroom painting party, I thought we may as well get something going in the hallway as well. We had the paint right there, along with rollers, brushes, a step ladder, paint trays, screw drivers, paint stirring sticks, drop sheets/towels, sore arms and long faces. So why not?!

The hallway is a little dog leg of doorways and no space for much of anything, but that was no reason to neglect it any longer. That last patch of apricot-beige was calling – loudly – for some help.

Problem was… this.

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Yep. Cracks. Plastering required. And maybe even gib…

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Undeterred, I checked out the rest of the hallway and decided the front “half” was in ok condition. Just a few minor plaster touch ups needed. So I convinced Andre to get the plaster out again (ooooh he hates that stuff!) so I could start painting. It was easy enough that I could have done it myself, but I know that if I show any interest in getting acquainted with a new skill I’ll be in the thick of it in no time. I know my place, and I’m sticking with it!

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But first, a proper before from back when Master W wore smaller shoes, and Miss E still needed a blanket by the door for stroller walks:

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Actually these aren’t a true before because all those doors and all that trim were once far from white too.

But, a couple of nights and kids at kindy/in bed daytime hours later, and the walls were joining in with the lighter, brighter and fresher theme.

Here’s how it looked after the first coat. I wanted to get some more photos today with the morning sun streaming in here again, but I missed the little window of time due to dropping off kids and enjoying my coffee a little too long…
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So today – minus the sun but still plenty light enough!0829_2176 0829_2177 0829_2178 0829_2179 0829_2181 0829_2182 0829_2184

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Furnishing is a little sparse and/or temporary… the print was destined for our bedroom but didn’t look right there so I tacked it up out here out of the way and there it has stayed! It’s nice to have a reminder of the first home we owned, right by the front door of the first house we own! It cost about $7.50 to print at Warehouse Stationery. Cheap art!

The mat is really not right for this space but it’s doing a good job of minimising grubby footprints and reminding us of our time in Fiji. These mats are handmade by the villagers in dozens. It was one of these or a hand-carved turtle. I want to go back for the turtle…!

My lovely outside door mat is from Tea Pea Design – I snapped it up in their big sale a while back.

The little strip of ugly above the laundry doors will be my motivation to continue with the rest of the hall. But it means plaster dust in a very central part of the house which we can’t close off for too long (there’s a bathroom at the end which we all kinda need!). I’m working up the courage, and it may take some time…
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Beyond the painting… I’m mulling over some wall hooks so I can artfully hang my best coat and stylish scarf to wear everywhere I go. And more artwork… and plants… for the walls – not for me to wear everywhere I go.

Have a lovely weekend!

PS. dum de dooo… dahhh dayyyyy…. scroll up…. up…. up….. see it? The sneak peek of my next project? Sharing next week some time.

Pin of the day: Modern farmhouse kitchen

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Whoaaaa!!! Modern, classic, midcentury – this kitchen has it all going on! My dream kitchen has a big ol’ farmhouse table in it like this one, but I’ve never been a real country kitchen type. Love how this one puts it together with both timeless white and my favourite design era with the pendant and chairs. Oh and the floor? Is that concrete?! Concrete floors in the kitchen are the very best – I should know!

PS. I missed this post on Monday… worth the few extra days though right?!

Small spaces: A brick loft

brick house sectional exterior

That brick?! Inside AND out. Love that.

This one is a small one bedroom loft guesthouse, in San Fran. The architect made use of a small footprint by going up, up, up! On the lower level is the kitchen and living area, and the mezzanine bathroom is accessed by the ships ladder. Up top, across a glass walkway is the sleeping loft. Apparently it’s been described as a treehouse. Pretty amazing treehouse!

A guesthouse conversion in San Francisco

I love the texture palette, and the natural colours mixed with bright white. Gorg!

Follow me on Pinterest for more small space inspiration. x

Small spaces: Families sleeping small

I had something else in mind for today, but on further investigation… it’s not as small as it first appears, and I couldn’t think of a good enough reason to include it in this weeks Small Spaces. But have a little look, as there are a few ideas to steal for a much smaller space – like the sunken bath, and some built in furniture.

So, another from my Pinterest filing system…

Cozy sleeping space / via Brooke Brooke on VSCO

It’s the time of year where I start getting itchy feet and think “this year? Will this year be the one we get to go on a family holiday in a campervan again?!” But with little Miss still hit and miss (with sleeping through the night) I’m not sure how relaxing it would be…

So I’m just looking at small spaces instead, and I love this combined sleeping area, for how well it could work for a small family (of good sleepers!).

You could use the lower bed as lounge seating during the day, simply by shifting the cushions up against the sill/shelf along the wall and making it a comfy day bed!

For a family with a couple of littlies, I’d have to make some modifications for safety, add a curtain to pull across at sleep time and ensure the sleeping nook up top would happily take two mattresses as I’m not sure how much sleep they’d get all in together! Another option would be to create bunks, but sacrifice some storage.

Although the storage is one thing I love about this layout!

I also love the white on white with the addition of natural colours and textures. It’s a somewhat surprising (to me) direction we seem to be heading in our bedroom…! And to be honest I’m enjoying the extra space we have in our l’il house with a third bedroom back in action. It’s ok to like small spaces at the same time as liking a few more useable square metres in our fulltime house isn’t it?!

Pin of the day: Spring is in the air

schoolhouse rocks.

 

I spent a lot of Saturday in the garden, and I’m so pleased to have tidied up all of the front and side yards. No longer are they overgrown with weeds (or those herbs I planted and forgot what they are…), and although they are still looking a little wintery and bare, at least we’re up to presentable again. Maybe next winter I will learn how to make the best of at least the front garden…

The good news is, I could feel a little spring in the air, and I even spotted a pansy poking it’s head up. My bulbs are starting to sprout (even the ones around the tree on the lawn, despite being mown over twice already!), and I’m looking forward to a flourishing garden again in a few short weeks!

The image above has got me a few times this past week or so – it’s been popping up everywhere. I finally gave in and pinned it on my Backyard board. I love a little private garden oasis like the one glimpsed through these doors!

There is lots more to this house too – it’s a converted schoolhouse in Haarlem, with masses of light and open space, but with plenty of eclectic goings on to create that cosy feeling the Dutch are so good at. More pictures at sfgirlbybay and here.

Enjoy!