Tag Archives: Mid Century

Going backwards to go forwards

I’ve been itching to get a progress update on here, because there has been a bunch of stuff going on with just little hints shared here and there.

But… there’s not a room in the house that doesn’t have that “work in progress” vibe. The front room (below – first sneaky peek of that progress!) just has a hint of it, with it’s bare walls and badly styled shelves, but every other way I look it’s far from subtle.

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The dining area currently houses a cabinet destined to be the new bathroom vanity, along with a stack of chairs and cushions that used to belong in the lounge.

The lounge furniture is packed and stacked tight in the middle of the room because we intended to get onto painting the freshly plastered walls and ceiling much sooner than we have… (haven’t yet!).

The kids bedroom is a haphazard halfway point between building a loft bed but not quite got to rearranging the other furniture and artwork to work with the new layout…

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The map prints from the lounge are leaning up against the wall in our bedroom, precariously close to kid-sized somersaulting on the bed feet.

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All that, and the arrival of spring is also making me freak out about the state of my kitchen cupboards and the contents of all wardrobes in the house. A massive declutter suddenly feels like a matter of urgency!

Plus, I miss this edition of the kids room. Why did they have to go and grow so quickly and need full size beds already?!

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In the meantime… we are actually crossing things off the list, and I know it’ll all come together and look fab again soon. Real soon… because I can’t stand it much longer!!!

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Covering it all up, and a dad joke

Well hello there…glossing right over my long absence from keeping you updated on our progress, I have progress to share with you in spades. Or shovels actually – square front, because they’re the best for this job so I’m told.

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The last I clued you in on what we’ve been up to in the backyard, was when we transplanted the plum tree from it’s corner of the odd little triangle of deck, and up into the more deserving and lofty place of the biggest planter we could heft down the stairs and across the backyard.

I’m pleased to say it survived, and I had high hopes when we got to enjoy a good spring bloom, but sadly there were only a small handful of meagre plum offerings. Uprooting an old tree definitely interferes with it’s nervous system. Hopefully next summer it’ll be feeling more up to production tempo again.

Pretty ain’t it?

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But not so pretty… the weeds growing in every nook and cranny of the patchwork of old and new concrete, and ugly stained timber decking.

What to do….? Clearly laying ready lawn over top is not a good idea.

While we didn’t hate the concrete part, the odd triangle of deck in the back right corner really didn’t fit in with my vision of a comfortable, cosy, and relaxing back yard. What I really wanted to do was turn the concrete into crazy paving, and then cover up the deck. But apparently this was not achievable without seriously annoying the neighbours with a concrete saw for weekends on end, and the result unpredictable at best but leaning heavily towards disaster.

Would you believe we even contemplated ripping out the decking and filling the void with concrete so at least we’d be back to one simple surface? But that would have brought all sorts of retaining nightmares and probably have involved talking to the council. Not ideal.

So. “Cover it all up!” was the cry. White pebbles was the answer.

Until we saw the price. And realised that to do it properly we’d need to first invest in what the kids have deemed “honeycomb”.

“Honeycomb” is otherwise known as Natural Paving. There are various versions of it, and I forget quite why we chose this in the end, although most were priced pretty comparably, and do the same job. Which is to provide stability for a large area of pebbles. It holds them in place, and makes them easier to walk on. An added bonus is that it makes it hard for kids to dig around in them and throw bucket loads over the back fence and generally create havoc after you’ve gone to great lengths to rake it all out nice and smooth and level. Yep we’ll have some of that.

At $32 a sheet, and needing a total of 31 sheets, it got us almost to $1000 in one transaction. Scary stuff. But at least it was straightforward.

Pebbles was not so much. First there was giving up the dream of white pebbles, because that was looking like a few too many digits after the dollar sign. But mainly because once I got beyond that by telling myself they’d only be hard to keep looking good anyway, I couldn’t for the life of me make comparisons between pebbles and prices and suppliers thereafter. I was good at maths before I divided my brain in half twice by producing two offspring (leaving me with a quarter of my original… just enough to work that one out) but trying to compare these pebbles priced at so much per m3 with these different but supposedly the same pebbles at so much per tonne… way too much.

So what is one to do but go by looks then..?!

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Exhibit A: 4 different pebble samples from 3 different suppliers

I liked the look of the “Hoki Poki Small” from Daltons, and within days a truck dumped a 1.5m3 mountain in front of the garage door.

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But meanwhile… we laid all the “honeycomb” and congratulated ourselves on moving one step further so efficiently (it was super quick to lay), only to spend the next few days wondering if perhaps we needed some kind of drainage underneath…

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A wash down of my pebble samples left water sitting in the matting, with nowhere to drain to, and a quick phone call to Natural Paving confirmed that yes it was absolutely necessary to have at least 50mm of drainage metal underneath. The webbed material on the underside of the honeycomb is more for weed control. Nevermind that we’d edged off the entire yard allowing only for the thickness of the matting plus 10-15mm for pebbles on top of that. We didn’t have 50mm. At least not without copious frustration.

Andre’s day time job came in handy once again as he sussed out more advanced drainage materials than GAP 20, eventually coming across some kind of geotextile called “bidim” from Geofabrics. It has hydraulic properties which makes it ideal for use for drainage and filtration applications. Oh really? And how thick is it did you say? Oh about 2mm. Give or take 1mm!!

Laying it meant taking up the honeycomb row by row and replacing it over the top as we unrolled the bidim, so we didn’t mix up our jigsaw and get ourselves in a complete pickle.

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With that done, I spent most of a precious childless Friday moving barrows of Hoki Poki from here to there. Blisters and splinters aside, it was a good feeling to get to this point.

0504_145748I left off with it all dumped in piles where the wheelbarrow got the better of me and tipped off my wobbly ramp, too exhausted to rake it around, and definitely not able to manhandle that half-built playhouse structure around to finish off the job.

0504-03.07Andre got it done the next day, and after a good wash down of the dusty pebbles, it was looking pretty fine!

0504_4354We over ordered by a small pile of pebbles, and these have been fun for the kids (to throw around by the bucket load) but will get bagged up and used for top ups when necessary.

0504_4358 0504_4359Besides this “cover up” we’ve been busy in the backyard for most of the summer with adding timber to the front side of the planter wall on the deck, and to the side alongside the stairs. I’ve spent a bit of time in the garden up the side, trying to get some shade loving plants established, and helping the jasmine along with a better growing frame, and a couple of extra plants. We also filled in and painted the “half wall” at the garage side of the backyard.

Busy. But these leaps of progress are so worth it!

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Once you can stop and look back… and once you know there are just a couple more things left on the list. We have a playhouse to finish obviously, and then a line up of more concrete pipe planters waiting to move into position along the back fence and break the monotony of brown with some much needed green!

I’ll leave you with this:

After 5 years of fatherhood Andre is getting pretty heavily involved in the Dad-joke Club, but one of his latest (pilfered from somewhere no doubt) is actually not bad: “Did you have a good weekend or do you own your own home?”

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:

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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.

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?!

A handle mismatch

You may have wondered why I included a close up of our door handle in last weeks bedroom post?

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It was actually because that photo shows the essence of how our bedroom feels now – all light and white and refreshingly simple. But… there’s more to tell about this door handle.

You may remember we lived with a cranky old sliding door in this bedroom for four years? We never even bothered to try and slide it out, so when we put a hinged door on it felt like a real novelty to just be able to give it a gentle push and…. shut!

But the screw driver handle was getting a bit annoying (especially when you were on the wrong side when it fell out) so on move in day Andre installed a proper one. A small thing, a small job, but so big you know?!

For all these years, we have rummaged in hardware boxes at second hand and demolition shops in a somewhat vain search for a couple of sets of handles to match our existing ones.

And, some time ago we came up silver (not quite gold) with a single handle in the same style, only the “lock” version. It was so long ago that we’d all but forgotten we had bought it, and our vain search continued each time we set foot in a demolition traders! We found it at Villa Desires in Te Aroha, on a random little weekend away pre-Miss E (yep, long ago!). We made a Plan B at the time (in case we didn’t find a complete set), to pair it with another single handle from the wardrobe in the “green bedroom”.

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Beginning with the HWC cupboard in the kids room, then the laundry and linen cupboard doors (and even the cupboard door on the kids play kitchen!) we are keeping “cupboards” consistent with simple round pull handles. So it made perfect sense to utilise the handle from the wardrobe door in the spare bedroom (and one day get around to replacing it with one of our stockpile of easier to find round pull handles) as our bedroom door handle.

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So, that made our mismatched set for our new and novel hinged door! They are a different height, but it’s not something you notice at all unless you happen to be looking at the door like this out of focus view (and that’s never a good idea, because it likely means you’re about to walk into it!):

0815_4292Ouch!

I love these handles… they’re pretty in an understated way, but they also feeeeel good! It makes such a difference!
0801_2069And that difference is especially noticeable when I have to use this handle. It’s the best we could find as a “temporary” solution for the kids room. Although this one was done a long while ago, we kept that lock version that we’d found (and then forgot about it!), thinking it was a better fit for our master bedroom, and also that with our room off the entrance hall, it would be more noticeable.
0815_4296So… we will still be the ones you see rummaging in the hardware boxes at Junk & Disorderly et al.

Have a lovely weekend!

 

Pin of the day: Mid century time out

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I’ve been poring over a book of mid century house plans that Andre got me recently, so this outdoor space has me tying some of those plans into a minimal landscape like this one. I love the simple, neutral colour scheme, the clean lines and the scarce planting. And I just know those chairs are comfy – we have our own versions!

It looks like a good space to just sit in and contemplate.

I’ve been doing a little of that recently, hence the blog silence for a while.

It’s winter here in NZ, and while we haven’t been hit with nasty weather too much (yet!), it’s definitely feeling like time to slow down and just sit some more. Read books, chat by the fire, lay on the floor doing puzzles, anything… just to wind down.

I’ve been feeling exhausted with mothering lately – the constant demands, both physical and mental, and the guilt that comes with my need to take time to step aside from all that for a bit. We’re struggling to shift month-long colds and sniffles, and of course, battling to get our bedroom progressing so we can look forward to having a spare room again and another few square metres to breathe in.

I know updates on what we’ve been up to are well overdue… but I’ve just been busy getting on and doing it, instead of blogging it.

I’ll be back to blogging it when I’m done sitting in the “winter sunshine” in my coolie chair!

The curtains that nearly weren’t

 

 

 

These curtains. They’ve been a long time a comin’.

So first the pictures, then the story…

0527_1153-(2) 0527_1232-(2) 0527_1241 0527_1244-(2) 0527_1249-(2) 0527_1255 0527_1257 0527_1259 Starting way back when I first eyed up this fabric, in… August 2012. Gulp!

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Then we DIY’ed some curtain rods a year later. And they stayed bare for many more months, while I shopped around, and around, and around. Call me thrifty, call me cheapskate… but I didn’t want to spend over $1k on one pair of curtains. One summer passed by and I missed the special deals. Another summer came… and I juuuuust scraped in, with a few lessons learned along the way.

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After hosting a few big brand curtain consultants who offered only scary quotes and less than helpful advice, I decided to trust my own judgement on the fabric and style I’d had plenty of time to mull over, and hunted down a smaller scale curtain maker.

They appeared professional, with a simple website, some good reviews, and plenty of helpful advice. Not to mention a 30% lower quote than the cheapest of the big names.

Things were looking rosy and I had high hopes of hanging some curtains before winter began. Deposit paid!

And then… a few weeks later I thought “hmmm, looks like autumn is arriving, I wonder how my curtains are going?”

My emails bounced back, phone numbers were disconnected and a getting desperate phone call to the fabric supplier came up with “oh, they closed their account with us about a year ago”.

I felt pretty scammed. I felt a little silly, and a whole lot disappointed. I felt annoyed and grumpy. I felt like I’d just lost a few hundred dollars.

Then I got mad and hunted down the guilty party. I found an alternative email address in the depths of a business listing website, and my firm but friendly email didn’t bounce back!

But who knew if it had been read…

Then a few days later, a reply! Woohoo! They’re alive! But all it said was the fabric had just been ordered. Not so promising but at least a response and a way of contact was formed.

Days passed before another reply to my “where are my cuuuurtains?!” and apparently there’s trouble in the small-scale curtain maker camp. So my hopes were low.

The next email got a little more threatening and I did feel bad about that but Autumn was well and truly settled in and I just wanted my curtains! Or my deposit back.

I didn’t get a reply to that one. But eventually I got an email to say “your curtains are ready, where shall we send them?”. What? Really? My hopes rose a little but the fingers were still well and truly crossed.

Until a week or so later and just as I was walking out the door one morning, a courier van pulls up with a big box?! Noooo… it can’t be?! I told the kids to stay in the car, and ran back in with my box, grabbed the scissors and opened it just enough to peek in. Hallelujah!!! We have curtains!

I half expected spiders or mice or something to jump out at me too, but no. I just got my curtains, as ordered and as lovely as I hoped! Relieved and a little bit wiser, but I took a few days longer than I would normally to pay the balance. Fair’s fair I say.

And now these are my favourite curtains to pull every night and morning, and we can enjoy dinner without the cold draught through the french doors. All is well!

Especially now I’ve adjusted the hooks and they hang just right. I snapped these photos below before I fixed them up so ignore their bunching at the bottom, and just admire how they look from the living room (I forgot to get more photos from this angle after I’d adjusted them).

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The fabric is Pegasus EMI Imperial, in Duck Egg. My fave!

And the curtain rings come in packs of 10 – Nusa, in pewter (but I sprayed them the same colour as I sprayed the rods) by Windoware, from Bunnings.

I’m not naming the curtain maker because I believe they are/were genuinely in trouble and did their best (the curtains are well made and their advice in the beginning while we sorted the details was appreciated) but in future I will make sure to have a physical address for contact because phone numbers, email addresses and websites can disappear in an instant!