Tag Archives: paint

Pin of the day: Concrete pipe planters

Over the weekend Andre took Master W out for coffee and a little poke around Shed 5 and it’s neighbourhood. We’ve been going there since before Master W could toddle around looking at the motorbikes himself, so it’s exciting to see all the new eateries appearing, in keeping with the shed aesthetic. Nice work Auckland!

They came home with some photos of concrete planters, and an idea of how we can get some for our backyard. When you have something quite different in mind (like oversize terracotta pots) it can take a little getting your head around a new idea, but if it works out a lot cheaper and I can resolve the potential problem of characterless concrete then I’m in.

Like these mini neon versions, a lot can be achieved with some paint. Especially if there’s some metallic involved!

A colourful past

One of the things I love about having a many times over pre-loved house is that there’s always stories to be found. Every hole left in the wall by a picture hook… every scuff mark on the door frame… every scratch in the floorboards… and every coat of paint on the walls tells a story that only the house knows. We, as current inhabitants, can only guess at the life this house has seen.

After tearing out the garden below one of the front bedrooms, and laying some pavers for a patio area, we were left with baseboard in need of a repaint to match the rest of the house. But first… sanding.0321_6638

Craving some sense of personal achievement I sent Andre out with the kids to pick up some paint for this, and the gate, while I donned a mask, goggles and earmuffs and got to it. It’s best to take the safe option at times like this where there are multiple layers of paint, and you know some of them were applied prior to days of lead free paints, and assume you’re dealing with the nasty stuff. Hence the mask and goggles, and sending the kids well out of the way. I also made sure I cleaned myself up well once I was done.0321_6645

This is what I was dealing with… icky flaky bits that weren’t going to be helpful in holding onto the latest layer of paint.0321_6653

With rain on the way and the kids due back at any moment I got schmoozing all the flaky bits away. Aaaahh much better!0321_6654

I love how it looks like a world map… and I bet this house has stories to tell that would compete with those of a world traveller! If only walls could talk. And if only my sanding efforts didn’t have me dashing to the phsyio 48hrs later.

A glossy black fence

Done. I can put the paintbrush down… right next to the gate and a bucket of primer… sigh! The fence was by far the biggest part of the “paint the front yard” project though and it feels good to have it complete. After a week of getting out there every day and getting a suntan while I was at it, I’ve been ignoring the last stretch for more than a month. But it’s done now. Let’s just go and look at it… 0314_64970314_6610 0314_6499 0314_6498

This is a terrible photo (I’ve been venturing far beyond auto on my camera and mostly having successes – this just wasn’t one of them) but it does show the finished fence and the work in progress everything else. The letterbox got installed last weekend, and I plan to keep going with painting the gate this weekend. Beyond that we will tackle what was the lawn. I’m excited – I love this new space of ours!

Father’s weekend in the man cave

Father’s Day rolled around this year with a few hints that tools were required (aren’t they always?!). Actually I should rephrase because he doesn’t do hints. When pressed I got “I think I need a spanner set.”

What he got instead was a sweet handmade card that is the spitting image of our newly painted (yes, yes, more on that later I promise) garage and a promise from Mama and the kids that we would dedicate two whole days to help find a spanner set.

Some…. where….. in…… here:

A spanner? In there? Hardly likely… and he wants a whole set?! Before I go any further I need to say two things: No attempt has been made to sort this garage since things were thrown in on moving day, and with all going on inside the house the garage has born the brunt of hurried returning of tools and bits and pieces. Secondly, my poor husband can’t stand up in this garage… being 6’4″ has it’s advantages – a low roof is not one of them.

Now, arrow 1 points to the chest freezer where I have a few meals stored for “one of those days”. For some time I have not been able to get to any meals on “one of those days” which is just the last straw and makes it “ONE OF THOSE DAYS!!!” Arrow 2 points to the “tool drawer” which hung out in the house for quite some time and quickly became the dumping ground for anything that I or Andre couldn’t immediately find a place for ie. everything! Arrow 3 marks the spot where one or two motorbikes are usually parked but weren’t for this photo – I just have to point that out so you know I really, really couldn’t get to the freezer and there was a very valid reason for sending Andre back out for takeaways as soon as he got home.

Anyway, there are loads of photos so I’ll let them speak for themselves for a bit:

Ugh! Because this was a serious operation, Andre took a couple of days off work so we had ourselves a four day weekend to get this chaos into order. Being Auckland, rain was guaranteed at least four times in those four days so we put the tent up to store everything in the meantime. This is how it looked by coffee time on the first morning:

Some time after lunch everything was out (including Miss E) and in various piles designated for the rubbish truck or Trade Me or for keeps (this is where we put Miss E).

And we got to cleaning in preparation for a repaint (looks like someone had tried to clean their paintbrush on the walls previously…??).

I have no progress shots of the painting because it was all hands on paint brush to get it done before dinner. I was pretty delighted to get so far in one day – never thought we’d be painting until day two!

Day two was another big one which involved splitting all the scrap timber into kindling for next winter:

And starting the slow process of moving everything back into it’s rightful place. Because this is my kind of job I was so engrossed I also missed pictures of this process, but am delighted to be able to present some “finished” pictures after a solid three days of getting well acquainted with our man cave and all that is in it (and no longer in it).

Sooo much better don’t you agree? Thanks to removing an old blind off the window, freshening up the walls and painting the lower beams white (hmm… varying shades of leftover white or not so white) and putting everything “away” the garage looks bigger, lighter and there is space to work at the work bench at the back, or even work on bigger projects without having to hang from the ceiling beams. The bench just to the left of the motorbike holds all the “for sale” things, so if you squint and picture that free from clutter it just gets better! I didn’t wait for that to be gone before I took after pictures because… well, I just couldn’t wait.

I’m pretty proud of this corner:

It’s my gardening station. I no longer have to fight with the ladder for possession of the rake. Dare I give you a close up look for my tool rack? Oops, you can see where I took a wee shortcut and didn’t paint the underside, but I can assure you only small children or squatting photographers see this view.

Down below are these old nail boxes which have faithfully followed our every move since Andre claimed them from his Dad’s (or Opa’s?) garage when he moved out. They look so smart lined up together and they’re doing a great job storing the smaller gardening tools and gloves, seeds etc.

Further back in the garage are these shelves (repurposed from the kids room, which now has a new manrobe) which hold the only new purchase for this makeover: 8 storage crates from Mitre 10 at around $9 each. We’ll call them the Father’s Day present (I think we found the spanners!).

They hold painting supplies, plumbing bits and electrical things, as well as some other odds and ends. Based on the above view I have imposed a “no more paint” rule. Surely there is enough paint, sealer and filler to allow for whatever project we dream up next?

Once I had “my” gardening corner and these shelves set up I pretty much left Andre to get to know his man cave on his own. I am absolutely delighted at the transformation and am no longer afraid to venture in for a piece of sandpaper, but it’s Andre’s place to hang out, not mine. Besides, my usefulness had expired by then anyway – I was just getting in the way and putting things in the wrong place, which was definitely not the idea. I snuck back in one morning last week to get some more photos.

Long may it last!

Resorting to Plan A

A few weeks ago we went through a few options for our fresh new exterior (still no date but the word from the painter is “any day now”… he doesn’t appear to plan ahead very much, although in all fairness the weather is far from predictable!) and wondered if the colours we picked out first were not quite dark or contrasty enough.

So we picked up a couple more Resene test pots and painted a few more patches by our back porch.

The original scheme of Half Concrete walls/Eighth Friar Grey sill/White window frame is at the bottom left. Above that we tried full Concrete but the verdict was it’s too grey. We want “white” not grey. At the right we tried out the other samples that we used on our test boards – Truffle and Half Truffle. These are warmer greys but we also wrote them off as too grey.

So we’re back with our original choices and can’t wait to say “good riddance” to the awful apricot!

Rainy day painting

Way back when we moved into the new kitchen we hadn’t quite finished the painting. And we made the mistake of using masking tape, and took it off weeks later. Not good at all! We had bare patches where the tape ripped the paint off all around our windows and doors. Lesson learnt – now we cut in freehand like pros.

Today, instead of planting out our new front garden (which is almost finished and ready for a paintless reveal) we’ve been staying out of the rain and getting some painting done.

It took me a couple of hours to do the dining room end while Miss E was sleeping and the boys were out at Bunnings picking up some irrigation supplies and forgetting my picture hanging strips. Then Andre has just finished the touch ups around the kitchen and in the pantry while I put the two little ones into bed for afternoon sleeps.

We used Resene Space Cote Low Sheen for Kitchen & Bathroom – it’s low VOC and more resistant to steam and cooking mess than regular paint. The colour is Half Rice Cake, which is a warm white. All our trim is Resene Enamycryl in White – it’s a bit glossy which I love!

This patch got missed on the first coat because we mistakenly marked it out for tiling, but of course the tiles stopped at the edge of the bench!

Unfortunately we still have a bit of trim left to paint, and our french doors, back door and windows still need some tlc. Maybe when Miss E starts going to bed more reliably at 7ish and not getting up multiple times in the night… maybe then I’ll have more energy to tackle a door or two in the evening!


Apricot or apricots?

I love apricots, there’s nothing lovelier than sweet apricots in season.

Apricot though, I don’t love in most of its forms. Especially on our house.

It almost looks acceptable in this photo, but it must be a trick of the light.

All I can think is that the previous owners got a good deal on this particular shade of apricot – the outside is painted head to toe gutters to baseboards in it, and some of the windows are even painted shut with it. Nasty stuff!

We had planned to paint the house one day, but with all that has been going on inside, it wasn’t much more than a passing thought until we decided the other day to get it done by a pro. We had a guy come and take a look on Saturday so hope to hear from him soon…

Back in – What?! A whole year ago?! (I just checked the date on the photos) – April last year I got all enthused and tried out some paint samples.

A whole year ago… I obviously thought our house would be painted by now. Even though life teaches us over and over that everything (especially renovation) takes longer than you expect we still remain optimistic!

Here are the boards (dragged back out of the pile destined for the rubbish after the great garage clear out) leaning up against our apricot house:

As you can see we’re not being adventurous… at all! This house has had enough of adventurous, going by the glimpses of teal green under the apricot, and is ready for something a little more true to its nature.

In case you’re wondering about the way I’ve painted up the sample boards, let me explain. Each board has two different strengths of a main (walls) colour, which is the bigger patches. Then, each trim colour is shown next to each other, and next to the wall colour. Which is why there are three stripes of one trim colour and two of the other. Every colour appears next to every other colour in order to check contrast and depth without other distracting colours between. Note this is for a three colour scheme.

I whipped out the test pots again and got my painting t-shirt and leggings on (this photo is actually to show I’m not just the photographer, sometimes I actually do some real work):

This little area is right by our back door, and can’t be seen from the street, and with a window there it was a good place to test out our “3 colour” scheme.

Here’s a before shot (we don’t style our shots around here… artfully placed jumble of shoes and boots that is not) of the apricot-y-ness of our back “porch”:

And we painted a wee patch with the colours we liked from the sample boards. Resene Half Concrete for the walls, White for the windows and Eight Friar Grey for the windowsill.

What we noticed straight away (and you might have too?) is how much lighter the colours appear when they’re up on the wall, and the contrast between them seems minimal. Take a look at the sample boards sitting on the step. Somehow the colours look much stronger on that small, defined area. So we may well pick different colours, but now we have a starting point.

Here’s a closeup of our test patch without any distracting mess of boots, firewood and test pots, or the aforementioned apricotness:

Aaah, much better than this:

I also had a go in Photoshop to get an idea of how it would look in a more complete view:

Andre looked over my shoulder and muttered about how it’s not the greatest view of our house to be trying out paint schemes on. I had to agree, so I got this shot of the front of the house to hone my skills on (I used to do photoshopping for a job so if you have any members of the family who need removing from otherwise favourite photos, just let me know). First up we have a rendition of our initial paint colours, with a bright lemon door:

Not super keen on the door, especially not since Andre commented that it looks like “ASB house”. They are our bank but we’re not that close.

Then I tried a blue door:

Which was fun, but not really what I’m trying to decide on right now, so back to the main house colours… here I’ve reversed the wall and window colours:

Andre quite likes this, but I prefer the white framed windows because they highlight the windows, which are “the eyes of the house” and very much the attractive feature on our house. Especially while the garden looks as sad as it does. (I’ve mentioned that “side garden wall” before… it’s getting there folks – Project Anzac Day tomorrow, let’s see how far we get with it…) Believe me, it’s much worse than it even appears in this photo – Andre’s Grandad even commented the other day after a visit to see his newest great grandchild and check up on our reno progress, “Andre doesn’t really like gardening does he?”. We actually can’t wait to get stuck into the garden and prettying up the outside but it just hasn’t been a priority, even maintaining the weeds is way down low on the list!

This one has the windowsills, guttering and baseboards a shade darker to add some contrast:

How about darker walls?

No? What about even lighter?

I know which is my favourite. Which is yours?

I’ll be sure to let you know what we decide and when this is all going to happen – hopefully before April next year!