Tag Archives: Mid Century

Pin of the day: Some midcentury garage love

1958 asbestos garage. Repinned by Secret Design Studio, Melbourne. www.secretdesignstudio.com

Garages are usually lucky to get a quick coat of paint and a tidy up.

But in the fifties… they got Fibrolite! I love the upbeat feel of this decades advertising, and its trademark fonts. I think I’d even call it my favourite design era.

And of course I’m loving that colourful panelling, the awning, and most of all – the planters!

Protect your car! (But not your health… asbestos beware!)

Have a lovely Monday…

Our midcentury outdoors

I made a promise on Instagram this morning that I’d get a backyard progress post up. And I know I’ve been saying the same thing on here for days now.

So, I hereby dedicate my entire afternoon (yes it will probably take me that long) including all available precious few moments of near silence with Miss E asleep and Master W temporarily convinced to sit still in one place, to show you where we are at with our deck and backyard.

We left off last time with the professionally built brick wall (which I still completely adore!) and this view of the backyard:

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And after a horrendous amount of painting and a bunch of other stuff, we now have this view from roughly the same position:

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Spot the difference?! I promise it does get more exciting. But first I’m going to thrill you with the process. If we had to endure it, it’s only fair I get to share it right?

This stage started yet again with cutting and drilling and digging and chipping out a couple more holes (but with much less grumbling because they could be the last) for the pergola posts.

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And I started with the fun task of choosing colours for the mid century screen on the side of the deck. I’ve had a trio of colours in mind right from the beginning (see the inspiration picture here) and even photoshopped them up here, but when it came to the nitty gritty of choosing the actual paint colours, I freaked!

There were numerous trips to Bunnings and the Resene Colour Shop and I collected a small hoard of samples, in the hope that one or two swatches would say “hey it’s me! pick me!”. Nope. All silent, even when I taped a few of them up onto the frame they didn’t squeal.

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But a few days of mulling it over and I finally picked the least saturated of my selections, knowing that on a sunny day the brighter colours would just be ouchie on the eyes. Plus the pastel tones are more true to mid century styling. We also picked for the strongest of the colour trio to fill the smaller panel on the left. And I did what I don’t normally do and grabbed some test pots of my chosen colours. Wiser and wiser! And the lesson is learnt, because with some bigger samples painted up (you can spot them a few images down, halfway through the pergola building process) I changed my mind on the blue.

But these screen panels weren’t all I had to paint. The pergola posts and fittings took me days of endless painting and a few mishaps along the way. It was definitely not my favourite painting project.

Before we go any further, let me just explain how we came to use steel pipe for our pergola… We knew we wanted something that would span the length and width of our deck without needing posts or bracing all over the place. We also wanted something solid and definitely there, but not chunky, so that ruled out timber (which would have needed to be on the chunky side to hold itself up) and left steel. I had pinned a bunch of images of awesome outdoor spaces that used I-beam steel as a pergola frame and so we designed up a frame and worked out how it could all fit together… then got a little concerned at the cost and logistics of having to construct it onsite. It would have been super heavy and needed welding in position. A little too much to ask of a humble husband and wife DIY team. There was no way I could single-handedly (the other one would have been feeding kids) hold up a 4 metre I-beam while Andre perched on top of a ladder with the welder. So Andre came up with Plan B: steel pipe and fittings. With a 60mm diameter being the largest standard tube size I was worried the whole construction would look too flimsy alongside our bold privacy screen and solid brick wall. But a little scrap pipe visualising along with Andre’s winning smile, and the knowledge we didn’t have any other choice (without spending way too much) convinced me to just go for it.

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So, with that the pipe was ordered and the painting started with a primer made for galvanised metal (I had to hunt this water based Steelite one down) and then topcoats of gloss white (tinted to Painters white for way better coverage).

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Next time we do something with steel I’m going with spray paint and probably will start with an etch primer or something like that. More expensive, but so much easier and a guaranteed better result. We had to do up to 4 top coats to get these pipes and fittings looking good. Te-di-ous. And yes they got rained on and a couple of times as I rolled the pipes to paint them they fell off the saw horses into the dirt. Aaahhh but it’s over now. The posts are all up!

Starting with the two upright posts, the weekend before Easter:

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With a last minute dash to Bunnings for a final piece of timber before Easter weekend (and a closed up shop on Good Friday) we were good to go with the rest of the pergola. Or so we thought… unfortunately “we” picked up a piece only treated for indoor use, and we definitely needed something outdoor treated. Oops. That left us with just a bunch more painting to do on that first precious day of the long weekend, and you already know how that went.

On day two Bunnings was open and the right piece of timber purchased so construction could get back underway.

Our resident builder came to lend a hand and the critical piece was ready to go up by lunchtime. Things are looking up (literally!)

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Oh but I forget… it needed painting. And the panels for the screen did too. That sorted the afternoon of day two. And of course it rained again.

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Which brings us then to our third and last day of DIY’ing it on Easter weekend and finally getting this pergola up.0429_3300

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By this time I wasn’t trusting the weather one dot so we rearranged the house to paint the panels inside. Take that rain.

0429_3284Somewhere in the midst of the late afternoon the last coat on these panels was deemed dry and we hung them. That was a happy moment I tell ya. There was dancing on the deck!

But no photos because I had my hands full of these heavy Durasheets while Andre nailed them into the screen frame.

Determined to finish by the end of the weekend, we were back out on the deck after an Easter Monday dinner of fish and chips.

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9.30pm – Done!

It wasn’t until the next day that I even really looked at it! At first I worried that the centre pipe in the “roof” was one pipe too many, but I think it’s just taking some getting used to. Anyway, we have plans for it, involving some shade for next summer so it’s staying put for now, and is an easy task to take it down if we change our minds.

So here’s where we’re at with our mid century flavoured deck and backyard space!

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I am delighted with how it makes this outdoor space an extension of our living area, and even Andre no longer scoffs when I use the term “outdoor room”. He gets it!

It just feels good out there on that deck! Much like when we built the front fence, the addition of the screen along the side, and the pergola frame makes this space feel like it now belongs to us. It’s cosy. We don’t have to share our deck dancing moments with the neighbours!

The colours for the privacy screen are, from left: Dulux Te Awamutu, British Paints Water Watch and Dulux Cape Kidnappers. Love them!

There is just a smidgeon more building to do out here before we’re calling it quits on exterior work for the winter. The outside of the planter box on the deck needs it’s decking timber skin (same as the front side) and we’ll do something similar (but more narrower/trellis-looking) to cover in the underside of the deck by the stairs.

So of course I’ll be back with that as it happens.

But for now, my deck is calling me to enjoy the last of the sun with a bite to eat. It’s well past afternoon tea time according to hungry kids and yes, this post has taken me ALL afternoon!

 

A brick wall to talk to

You don’t want to listen? Fine… I’d rather talk to the brick wall anyway. I’ll stop short of saying it’s better looking, but… well…

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…It is looking mighty fine!

After two long weeks I can finally share our finished brick stair wall. I even managed to wait patiently for the rain that was promised over the weekend, to wash all the orange dust away so I could show it to you at its best. It was hard… but worth the wait!

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I love it! Really, really love it! As it started to go up I thought “shivers, that’s really cutting our backyard in half!” But it’s perfect. It’s a big step in creating the outdoor spaces that we originally planned. Space for relaxing, space for playing, and space for storage and services.

There is still a fair bit to do to make these spaces more defined but this brick wall feels like the biggest step of all.

Next up we’ll be working on a steel framed pergola over the deck (which reminds me… I need to pick up the fittings for that today!) and closing in the gap under the deck. There’s so much useful storage under there so we’ll possibly not close it in entirely, or we’ll put an opening section in so the kids can easily get their toys in and out. Or at least out. It seems to be my job to tidy things away still, but I’m working on it!

Beyond that we need to decide how to approach the rather boring area where the kids sandpit and the plum tree currently sit. But we’re happy to mull that one over and don’t plan for anything to be happening there until next summer.

For now, I’m delighted to remember how far we’ve come in just 5 months. From this:

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to this:

0317_0035By the way, we got the door on in our bedroom! The predicted storm was less stormy than rainy, but it still kept us inside and got that done. It’s a small thing, but it’s big too yes?!

 

Pin of the day: A starry night

Everlasting Star (glow in the dark) - Engel. - BijzonderMOOI* Dutch design onlineBack with a pin of the day after many months of neglecting it!

This one got me for a number of reasons. The first one being that amazing navy wall. I’m seeing dark walls everywhere right now and I love them! The star garland is perfect against it, and reminds me a little of the washi tape skyline I did in the kids room a while back.

Also, how amazing is that wall hung cabinet, and so fun to push the bed right up next to it. It almost makes me want to move back into a single bed so I can have me some treasures and hide them safely next to me while I sleep!

Not so keen on the technology right next to the bed. Or to be honest, at all in a kids world (other than letting them borrow mum and dad’s under supervision). What do you think? Are you all for kids embracing technology from a young age or do you opt for good old fashioned fun every time? I’m hoping to find the middle road…

Image from my Kids Room Pinterest board.

 

A deck for summer

As promised, I’m back with a few progress shots of our backyard. I’ve been a little slow to post an update, not just because weather made things a little less photogenic for a while, but because we’re at that awkward, inbetween stage of A to B where things just get confusing if you don’t have a clear view of the B in mind!

So put your visionary goggles on for this one!

A couple of months ago this is how things were looking out the back.

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This is the same(ish) view now!

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We have ourselves a deck to dine on, play on, sun ourselves on, and stargaze on! It feels so, so good to be at this point, and I’m so grateful for our warm and summery weather of the last few weeks (I’m doing my best to forget those two days of incessant rain!).

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Our custom balustrade is completed and installed and I am so happy with it! We took a popular midcentury design and modified it to meet modern safety requirements. I was worried the V shape would be so narrow it would barely even give a nod to its predecessor, but I do feel like we got away with it! Phew! One thing I’m not entirely happy about is the colour, but I’m reserving judgement until we firm up some plans for a frame (see below!).

1211_8725A few temporary measures have been taken to ensure child safety, and enjoyment of this space, until we move onto the next stage of progress which we’ll get to after a few weeks of Christmas and holiday fun. The handrail down the stairs, along with the plastic netting on attached to the full height screen are not part of the vision! The handrail will be replaced with a brick wall/handrail, and here is a little preview of our vision for the screen:

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We are also weighing up our options for a “steel frame” to make this outdoor space feel a little more like a room, than just an open deck.

It may or may not include rafters across the top, for some extra potential in hanging furniture or decor! You can see below my vision for planting too… a jasmine hedge is underway in the narrow garden space behind the screen but it may take some time to fill in like this! Also, we have a few little marigolds in the planter box at the moment, but plan to replace them with some kind of climbing/overhanging vine to add a little privacy and interest to that side of the deck.

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If you scroll right back up to the top, you can see that things are all rather brown and grey at the moment, so I’m grateful for the little bits of greenery that we have, and couldn’t resist these close ups of the plum tree, and concrete planters, and a sneaky nasturtium peeking through the neighbours fence.

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Here’s to a relaxing holiday season, and lots of enthusiasm to finish this space off in 2014!

Our custom splashback – a performance review

Happy Monday! I’m writing to the sound of a lawnmower somewhere down the road, and I like it! Even though lawns need mowing most of the year, it does feel like a summer sound still.

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I’ve had a few readers ask about our custom splashback, so I thought I’d do a post on what I think of it, a couple of years down the track. Do I still like it, and how is it holding up to cooking mess, and general wear and tear?

Just a quick heads up on what we chose, and why…

I wanted something here that would make an impact, as it is the only real area of colour in the kitchen. Our cabinets and benchtops are all white, and the open shelves (which I love!), as you can see are timber. So the splashback needed to make something of a statement, to make this kitchen ours. Ideally, I wanted a glass splashback so it would be very easy to clean, especially because we have the extraction system set into it. I have heard tiles, which can look amazing, can also be annoying to maintain.

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A quick check on prices for printed glass splashbacks (where a pattern, or photo is applied directly to the back of the glass) put that option out of our reach, but there is nothing like a budget challenge to make me get my creative hat on.

I then rung around for prices on a clear glass option, explaining that I intended to fix it to the wall in front of some wallpaper. I already had my eye on this mid century patterned wallpaper (although I shopped around for a significantly cheaper price).

It seems the standard way to fix glass splashbacks to walls is by smearing glue all over the back of them… so I had quite a few adamant replies of “No, we can’t help you with that sorry lady”. But I had a plan, and when I have a plan it’s hard to throw me off it (for better or worse!) so after talks with Andre and his dad we figured out a way to do it, giving me a comeback for those doubting splashback manufacturers!

We had the glass cut with screw holes in each corner, and used some capped screws to fix it to the wall. One thing we learnt in the process was to cut small crosses in the wallpaper, so it didn’t tear when drilling/screwing into it.

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Then the key to making this work is to silicone around all edges. As soon as possible!

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The one regret I have is leaving a couple of edges without silicone for a few days, because this happened:

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Bugs. Little, tiny, irritating bugs. Somehow they made their way in and there they stay to this day! I initially thought they might shrivel a little and drop to the bottom, but actually, they haven’t budged.

I must admit, despite our best efforts at siliconing everywhere pesky ants etc might get in, the original few fruit flies have recently been joined by a couple more. We have both an extraction fan grill, and a power outlet set into this splashback, and I’m pretty sure we sealed around the grill, but for safety reasons we didn’t seal around the outlet. Perhaps this is where the two or three have got in?

They do annoy me, I’ll be honest, but having exactly the splashback I had in mind makes me forget those bugs most of the time! We get so many comments about it, and I’m very glad I persisted with those doubters and I do feel like I’ve proved them wrong for the best part. There were predictions of doom and gloom and ants nests!

There are no ants nests. Just awesome mid-century pattern which adds personality to our kitchen and makes me smile while I cook!

The thing is, even if things do get worse from here on out, it’s a simple matter of slicing off that silicone, removing the glass and wiping away the bugs. Put the glass back, redo the silicone and it’s as good as new.

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You have the look of a fancy custom printed or tiled splashback, for far less cost!

A couple more posts planned for the week… I’ve taken way too many photos of our less than perfect but I love it very much Christmas tree, and some long-awaited deck progress updates!

Small Spaces: Caravanning in retro style

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It’s that time of year (down in the summery south) when we’re all dreaming of sand between our toes. And caravans get dusted off!

I had the pleasure of a coffee catch-up with my cousin yesterday, who was bemoaning the idea of heading off on a caravan holiday soon… in very retro style. However, not just retro in style, but rather retro in condition apparently!

Because it won’t be me putting up with less than comfy conditions and a leaky roof, I’m just excited for her at the potential… Maybe next year it’ll be looking more like some of these beauties I’ve been ogling this afternoon…

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Love Vintage Caravans offers these pretty ladies (they have names like Mary-Lou and Lola and Polly!) for sale or for event hire.

If you’re lucky enough to have yourself a caravan already, these guys also have the perfect wares to make retro condition magic into retro style!

They say “You can’t buy happiness but you can buy caravans and wares and they are kind of the same thing” – cute!