Tag Archives: demolition

Master bedroom makeover: Wall prep

We are in the middle of a week of plastering and sanding, and I’m too scared to open the door to the bedroom for fear of a dust explosion happening through the rest of the house. I put up with a mess of dust through the living room once, and I don’t want to do it again!

Last time we talked about this room reno we had demolished the wardrobe and were starting on removing the wallpaper. But it wasn’t going well remember?

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And then we remembered there was this great invention called a wallpaper steamer! For less than $25 for a days hire I convinced Andre we should at least try it.

I’m not sure what was going through his head but he was all for carrying on with our spray and chip method for the next three months.

Buuuuuttt… look who took over. Power tool – it’s only natural. And a few hours later I had to forcibly remove the steamer head from his hand because it was way past bedtime.0605_1167 0605_1168

Once again, I was on clean up duties. But I was content to lean on my broom and watch that wallpaper coming off in strips, not chips!

And the next day we were done with a couple of hours still to spare before we had to return the steamer soooo… the bathroom got dealt with too. This wallpaper is of the nineties trying to be twenties era. It had to go.0605_1173

This was possibly/probably a paper especially for use in a bathroom as it seemed to have quite a “plasticky” top layer, which I ended up pulling off before Andre used the steamer to remove the backing. It all came off really easily, and of course it helped that we only had the top half of a small room to do.0605_1178 0605_1181 0605_1182

But apart from cleaning up that mess, the bathroom has had no more attention for now.

So back to the bedroom. I mentioned last time there was icky stuff to be found under the paper in certain areas. This is the dampest and darkest of all the rooms in the house, and with drafty timber windows and no insulation until recently I wasn’t surprised, but I was still well and truly disgusted.

So after a bit of research and pulling on some latex gloves with a satisfying snap I held my breath and got rid of it as best I could. I started by spraying it with a water/vinegar/tea tree oil solution. I did this two or three times over a couple of days. Apparently that’s all you usually need to do to treat it (slash kill it, although how do you tell when it’s dead?!) and wiping it is maybe not good because it can cause the spores to spread. But of course we need to paint these walls and I’m not painting over dead mould, no matter how dead it is.

So I compromised and did my best to kill it before I then cleaned it up with rags doused in the same solution. Those rags got binned immediately – nasty things.

For luck I went back for a third step and sprayed again to ensure any leftovers were well dead.
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In the meantime we spent an evening doing some wardrobe visualising with the doors and shelves of the old wardrobe. We are trying to decide whether to use woodgrain on the sides of the wardrobe, or on the doors. Or not at all.0605_1204

All other spare time in the last couple of weeks has been put into sugar soaping. I started out with this job thinking sugar soap was some miracle cleaner that would disappear all gluey mess as soon as I touched my cloth to the wall. Not so my friends, not so.

I scrubbed, and scrubbed, and scrubbed until my arms ached and my fingers were raw.

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You can see below the difference it makes though – the left side is sugar soaped, the right is still waiting…0605_1207But I’m done, and now it’s Andre’s job to plaster and patch up and then finally sand smooth these four dodgy walls!
0605_1269And I don’t envy him one bit. I’ll take sugar soaping every time!

 

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Master bedroom makeover: The ugly beginnings

Almost a year ago, I showed you our master bedroom in it’s best looking state – rather embarrassing to say the least. But now the demo is done and I’m excited for the ideas floating in my head and can’t wait to show you an after that will erase all memory of how it has looked for almost 4 years. Yep, we do things slowly!

First to happen was removing the old sliding door that we never bothered to slide across because it was such a cranky old thing. Now we have a glossy white hinged door and despite it missing a door handle it’s still pretty awesome! A door on your bedroom after four years is a big deal.

Note: These next few photos most accurately show the current colour of our bedroom, and believe it or not… it was once worse. Just wait…!

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(A saw hanging in your front entrance… totally normal)0508_0013So with that done, I was itching to get stuck into the wallpaper. I just had to know how easy it was going to come off.
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Short answer: not that easy. So I ignored it for a few more weeks.

But then we finally moved out into the “green bedroom” and the excuses weren’t cutting it anymore!

So, here’s what we “started” with this time last week. An empty room with beige painted bubbling wallpaper, ugly light fittings and a behemoth of a useless wardrobe. (Plus a spare bed that has nowhere else to be, and a writing bureau that is awaiting its fate on Trade Me.)
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It’s a good feeling to use a hammer and a crowbar on a room you have no attachment to, despite sleeping in it for years! And despite Andre’s nervousness about me wielding such tools, he showed no reservation when he came home last Thursday and saw I’d got started. He was into it and there was nothing left for me to do…0508_0970 0508_0975 0508_0997

…but sweep up the mess. Don’t let this next photo fool you. Neither of these two did any sweeping (I just caught them having a very short-lived sweeping lesson), although to be fair, the little one did a great job of helping me cart all the pieces of timber and gib out to the trailer.

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But that’s where all the fun ended. Because now we have the mammoth task of getting all that nasty twice painted wallpaper off.

But first – something else a little scary ugly.

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Not only is our room now a hideous apricot-beige, but prior to that it was purple… complete with glow stars. I can only hope it was once a young girls room. Before that it appears it was green, and originally it was wallpapered with storks (thankfully stripped by some poor previous owner, but we found a remnant stuck under the sliding door pelmet).

But we are moving on!

This room is in the least sunny corner of the house, and is therefore a bit damp and icky. So without going into too much revolting detail, in the extra icky parts like the back of the wardrobe and by the south side window the wallpaper came off super easy. No spraying, scraping or picking required. But fortunately/unfortunately (I can’t decide which because the first means less mould, the second means endless hours of work) in the rest of the room the paper appears to be well stuck and it’s a tedious process of removal. Which is why we’ve buried our heads in the sand not made much progress.

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The problem with painted wallpaper is it’s completely sealed and no amount of spraying any kind of solution is going to work until it’s given a way to seep into the backing of the paper. So the theory goes.

This strange looking tool is called a Paper Tiger and it’s specific purpose is to score the wallpaper so whatever you spray on will penetrate beneath the paint.

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At this point I can say it is definitely doing it’s job. The spray is getting under the paper. So far we’ve tried a detergent/cold water spray (just because I always have a spray bottle of that sitting around for everything from ants to cockroaches) and a vinegar/hot water. But either the spray or our technique or some other force is working against us and the wallpaper is coming away in the smallest peelings. I have not yet had the satisfaction of grabbing one loose edge and hauling from top to bottom. It’s a sad state of wallpaper stripping.

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So either we try something else or we keep chipping away for years to come. Either way, I’ll let you know!

But here’s at least some progress for you. I present to you… all four walls, as of this morning:0508_1126 0508_1128 0508_1129 0508_1130
Guess what we’ll be doing this weekend?!

A few weeks in an “insta”

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Progress has been making slow headway around here, which makes for little blog content. But there’s always little bits of projects on the go that end up on Instagram (@duckeggblueblog). So I thought I’d share them here in case you don’t catch them there. And there are a few bonus pics that haven’t yet seen the light of day!

So… starting out the back which is our current priority, here’s progress in pictures:

0410_0208 0410_0213 0410_3149 0410_3158 0410_3195 0410_3198I’m aware that not much of this will make sense right now, but you have my promise it will in a few more weeks (here’s hoping the weather holds to and beyond Easter!).

Much to my delight we’ve also made a start on the master bedroom, finally replacing the cranky old sliding door with a more pleasant hinged option, and the nightmare of wallpaper stripping has begun…

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Besides this, I’ve set myself another six year deadline to get our travel albums completed. A few short weeks away is the day that six years ago we headed off on the adventure of our lifetime.

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As we lived the nomadic life there was a lot of talk about kids and houses and settling down – and suddenly here we are and I’m wondering if that “big OE” was really the adventure of a lifetime?! Every day is the adventure of a lifetime is it not?! In another six years, who knows… I might even be missing these days of endless demo and painting?

 

Backyard update: Getting productive

After a few weeks of demolition fun out the back we had a short break in Christchurch, and now, as of last weekend, we’re into production of a new deck!

But first, a couple more prep steps from the previous weekend – digging some giant, child-sized post holes, and waterblasting. Our kid sized earmuffs by Peltor are our most used DIY item! They prevent many tears and fears and meltdowns – totally recommend them if you have some projects planned with little ones around.

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I had no part in this particular job, but could see from afar that it was pretty tough going. I was a one woman cheer team on the sidelines but I don’t think it helped much. Under our entire section is a whole lot of rock. Everywhere we happen to dig we hit rock (unless of course we hit concrete first!). So it was a good thing this little guy was super keen to help. 1001_8018

Four giant post holes later and some sign ply standing by to cover them up and prevent losing the kids.

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Then it was my turn in the backyard to waterblast the last corner of fence (we cleaned up most of the fence a few months ago). And because waterblasting is a little bit addictive (try it if you haven’t… it’s good clean fun!) a few more things got cleaned up in the process…

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I was too excited to get a before shot of the fence, but here’s “the concrete terraces” before and after…

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Andre got caught up in the fun on a roundabout way back from the garage to changing some brake pads on my car, hence the CRC or whatever he’s holding…1001_1413

And that brings us to the start of last weekend. Post holes ready and waiting, levels marked and much contemplation of required materials.

1001_8176After a trip out to get builders mix, cement and posts, it was all go to get them in.

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They are just four timber posts but I am just so pleased to see them everytime I look out the window. They are the humble beginning of our fabulous new deck!

And see that pile of dirt that has been hanging around like a bad smell since way back when we dug up the back lawn?1001_8197It’s gone!     1001_8200

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And it only sat here in the trailer for a couple of days. Now it is totally gone gone!

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There is just this small problem of the old decking timber… earmarked for next winters firewood, so it’s a matter of chopping it into fireplace sized pieces. Next weekend…!

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And these three remaining trees along the side fence are out of here real soon too. Which will make our backyard feel completely exposed until we get some more planting done and it establishes itself. One step back… two steps forward. We did think about leaving them there, but I really dislike that yucca-type in the corner, and the ones near the house are actually pushing on the fence and will also be in the way of the screen we have planned for that side of the deck. 1001_8203To prepare you for some further deck building progress, the top of the post nearest the fence is about where the deck will sit, so it is pretty high up against the fence, hence our need for screening and creative handrail design, to give us some privacy and of course a safe barrier to keep adventurous ones from tumbling over to the concrete below. I hope to share some of my sketches and inspiration pictures later in the week. The advantage is some great storage space under the deck for the kids outdoor toys, garden equipment etc.

Our backyard is a few steps further from a wasteland and a few steps nearer to an oasis – hooray!

Working out the back

This is what we tell our Saturday visitors at the moment: don’t knock at the front door – we’ll be working out the back.

There are a couple of things on the go out there. The main one being demolition of the old deck, to make way for a new one over the next couple of months. It’s been Andre’s project (I’ve been getting my hands dirty with some concrete planters) but we were both pretty pleased to see the last piece of old deck come away this weekend.

A few weeks ago, we started here…

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The lower steps were the first to get removed, so the kids (the smallest one at least) could no longer get up onto a half dismantled deck. Safety first – always!

With that, I left Andre to carry on as he wished…

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There were lots of rusty nails, and some help from a small boy with a hammer, until eventually all the deck boards were done and we could see right down to the odd concrete terraces underneath. 0903_1100

With a deadline looming (our building mastermind returning from a holiday!) Andre opted to stay home from a kids party on Saturday and busted through the rest of the deck. I got home in time to make him pose with the very last piece before it joined the pile of scrap timber. Here’s the “I can’t believe you’re making me do this, and that I’m actually doing it” face:

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So while things are looking more like a blank canvas in one corner of the backyard, the other corner is temporarily doing the opposite. I’m just so glad for the hardy wee plum tree that is bringing a bit of blossom beauty to a very sad and sorry backyard just now! Even that succulent is giving up after being unceremoniously uprooted and dumped with barely a clump of soil to help keep it alive. I’m not sure what the plan is for this timber now – we were hopeful we could use some of the decking boards to replace some rotten bits of the lower deck triangle (right under where they’re stacked now) but a fair bit of them were also rotten, and most broke up when they were prised off also. Firewood maybe? Or just the scrap heap…?

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Because I’m a neat freak clean as you go type I was in with the broom as soon as Andre was out of the way. Decades of decaying debris didn’t stand a chance. And that last remaining patch of “back lawn” got bundled away too.

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The old apricot paint is a clear mark of where the old deck came to, and how it stepped down alongside the house. We’ll need to waterblast and touch this up at some stage…

Among it all, I found this:

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It’s body was as long as my longest finger. Erghhh! And yes it did get dealt with when it had the cheek to actually jump on me. I totally didn’t squeal, but there was lots of arm shaking and shuddering and I made Andre check all over me to make sure none of its friends thought it would be fun to join in.

The last task before we called it enough’s enough was to mark out and cut holes in the concrete for where the new deck posts will go. The four squares marked along that line are where there will be posts in a few more weeks. The old deck came to right about the edge of the bottom concrete terrace. The new one will go to about a metre beyond that yellow line, so we’re getting another metre and a half in length, and a touch more in width too. Yes!

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Next week we’re breaking out that concrete to discover if we get an easy “dig out some dirt underneath”, or need to hire a rock breaker! I’m picking the latter… this house seems to be built on rock!

For the meantime, the kids are loving playing in their idea of backyard paradise – pile of dirt, stack of timber (sticking out nail free, and securely stacked) and those fun (but ugly) concrete terraces!

Deck demo

While I’ve been having a break away from the blog, we’ve started on demolishing the deck. Turns out this deck we’re doing away with is very well built (which does makes me question the destruction of it, knowing there’s a lot of life left in it yet…) so it’s painstaking progress, but with our builder leaving soon for a few weeks away we have time to just chip away at it.
If you follow me on Facebook or Instagram you will have seen a couple of pictures but I want to share them here too.

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Summer on our new deck seems like a long way away at this stage but here’s hoping!
Note: I’m trying out the WordPress app on my phone so this post probably looks a bit different…

Because green is the new grey

Hey Mr Big Concrete Slab… we had a date remember? It was fun, but I don’t think we’ll be seeing you again. We’re looking for something a little more… green.

0411_6892  Ten points for spotting the cute boy in the grey hoodie:0411_68950411_6930 Bonus points: Aww who’s the cutest l’il Daddy’s helper? Clue: Not the one in the high vis jacket.0411_6893

Here’s the updated front yard list:

Build and paint fence
Build and paint gate
Build and paint letterbox
Make a sweet spot for morning tea in the front yard
Remove concrete turning bay
Kill off lawn with Kiwicare Organic Weedfree Rapid
Fill in and level with new topsoil
Plant new grass seed
Plant climbing vine along inside of fence
Plant a row of something else at base of fence

It looks like we’ve still got a long list… but the worst is over. Can’t wait to get it finished and then I can tear up our master bedroom!

Here’s a little funny story: My car was parked on the street while the demo was happening. Once it was all done and just before heading out to visit friends for dinner, I shifted it back in. Andre was waiting with the kids in his car on the street. As I reversed back and forth a bit to get around the corner (I normally drive in forwards – smoothly) he was watching with this “bemused man watching a woman driving a car” face. I was halfway into my manuevering when I remembered the pile of broken up concrete where my parking space used to be! Ooops!