Tag Archives: progress

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.

0909_7095

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…

0909_2015-09-08-09.47

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.

0909_20150908

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?!

0603_after_kids-room

0603_after_kids-room1

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!!!

Advertisements

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.

0504-12.10

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?

0504_4498

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..?!

0504-01.49

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.

0504-12.10a

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…

0504_4315

0504_4318

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.

0504_4322

0504-07.12

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!

0610_1867

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?”

A few weeks in an “insta”

0410_3177

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…

0410_3164

0410_3061 0410_3096 0410_3131

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.

1119_5480

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?

 

How do we DIY?… Tortoise or hare?

0131_9492 I’m an avid home magazine and design blog reader. Which is good for relaxation and inspiration, but not so good for making me feel awesome about our own progress. Reading about home owners bemoaning the fact that their renovation took “more than 6 months!” makes me cringe inside a little.

We thought we were being totally reasonable with a vague plan of two years to renovate when we moved into our home sweet home.

0131_9493

But, halfway through year four and the list is still pretty comprehensive. We don’t even have a master bedroom sanctuary to hide away from it all yet!

0609_3833

You probably picked a long time ago that I’m something of a list maker. And then I like to work through that list, one item at a time. It does my head in, to be working on multiple parts of our renovation project at one time. Because I like to cross things off my list! On a typical Saturday (our biggest DIY day) I like to get up in the morning and have a rough outline of what I’m going to get done that day, and usually, I’ll have everything I need already, to do that. In the week before, I will have been to Bunnings and got my paint, or I’ll have a request in for tools we need to borrow.

0108_8869

But I’m learning to give a little, and enjoy the process. Nothing crossed off the list in a month? Fine. After all, what will I even have to do or think about when we are “done”?!

0321_6645

I’m also a little astounded at what we’ve learned in the process of taking our time, and doing things ourselves where possible, and sensible!

0131_9494

Part of that process is stopping every now and again to just look back and see how far we’ve come. It’s important for keeping spirits up and making the to do list take up a little less of the viewfinder. So, if you’re new to the blog or just want to join me in some reminiscing, let’s carry on!

0307_Demolition

After a few months of settling into our house, and mulling over plans for making ourselves a home, the demolition started. Fittingly, with our front entrance.

0131_9495

Sometimes the smallest and least exciting of projects can make the most difference to every day living – like a washing line. And sometimes the biggest changes are the ones that feel like they were always that way. Did our kitchen really use to be an empty sunroom?!

0305_6453

Our kids share a bedroom, and Master W can’t remember when that bedroom didn’t even exist. I don’t blame him. My memories of cooking and doing the laundry in the space that the kids now sleep in are very vague.

0411_6893

Renovating, especially with small children to care for all at the same time, can lead to some pretty challenging times for a Type A person, but it just makes me more grateful for the peaceful corners and the little personal projects that do get ticked off the list.

With the outdoors neglected for the best part of two years, we finally turned our attention to the front yard, with a little morning breakfast patio, and a life-changing fence and gate.

0705_7301

We had to have a few goes at getting something to call a lawn and this summer hasn’t done it any good so you might see more on that in a while! Failures are all part of the DIY deal, but the successes more than make up for them!

0131_9496

It has been a labour of love on our part for the majority, so we are super lucky to have a builder in the family to help with the bigger and trickier bits. We’ve only called in a couple of pros like a gasfitter and electrician to connect up our new kitchen, and the biggest job we outsourced was the exterior painting. It saved so much time, and was definitely worth it!

1212_5598

Soft furnishings are a little few and far between as yet, so putting up some delicate sheer curtains made me smile for days (ok weeks!) and I still completely adore our lounge room rug. Artwork too, is taking it’s time filling in the walls, so besides the giant maps in the lounge the kids room and the dining space are the only ones to get any attention as yet.

0131_9497

On the go at the moment of course, is our backyard which we are very much enjoying this summer despite its unfinished state, and we have great things planned for our bedroom. One of which is going to be a new wardrobe! Whoop whoop!

I am very grateful to you all for reading and liking… and especially the lovely comments. It definitely keeps me motivated to crack the whip keep things happening around here, even if at a slow pace!

So to all the hares out there enjoying a snooze or two in a beautifully and completely renovated home, I commend you (ahem… envy you!) but we’re sticking with our tortoise style and will enjoy the scenery as we go!

0131_9498

If you are just starting, or somewhere in the middle, or even near the end of a similar adventure, do let me know – tortoises unite!

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.

1001_8200

This is the same(ish) view now!

1211_8740

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!).

1211_8731

1211_8726

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:

1211_8725a

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.

1211_8725c

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.

1211_8738

1211_8734

1211_8739

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

Spo-rad-ic (adj)

1129_2082

Sporadic blogging… hmm. I’ll try and do better. It’s just, well… I’ve been too busy sunning myself on our new deck…!

Actually, not too much because we’re not quite at the toddler-proof stage yet (not that I’m a toddler, but there’s usually one not too far away from me) but oh the promise! I’ve moved the coolie chairs in, and our custom balustrade is ready and waiting to be installed.

There has been progress a million, so I definitely owe you an update post – bear with me til next week? I’m still getting over last weeks post which took me way too many hours to write!

If you just can’t wait you can get a few little sneak peeks via my Instagram (@duckeggblueblog) or have a look on Facebook. Links just over that way ——–>

Have a lovely weekend!

Tidy up time!

Warning: It gets ugly in here…

There’s nothing like friends coming to live in your house to get you motivated about clearing out the hideous and embarrassing spaces in your home. Thanks guys!

First up was the worst space of all. A space that is probably the worst because it’s not one that gets shared too often. It’s one that visitors, and even extended family keep out of generally, even when the kids are persistently inviting them in to “come and see…”!

The master bedroom. The one that I was too frightened to share even on the Before & Progress page. Because there was no progress.

But last weekend I learnt that even a declutter and tidy up on a large scale can be called progress. This is it:

0709_7303

This room has become a dumping ground for bits of projects, boxes of paperwork, endless blankets and pillows and cushion inners, and let’s be honest… piles of clothes that never make it to where they belong.

0709_7305

May this cringe-worthy sight keep me motivated to work towards a master bedroom that is a pleasant place to be!

0709_7307

As with any good tidy up, things look so much worse in the process. Not only did our bedroom look like a bomb had gone off, but the lounge and spare room got treated pretty badly too. I’m pleased to say the lounge is restored to normal again, but the spare room still suffers… Still some sorting to do there!

0709_7309

0709_7310

So, here’s how we are looking now (I did get to sleep that night!):

0709_7420

0709_7421

0709_7423

Tidy…! But there is not a single thing I love in this room. Except for these (temporary) flowers and the digital clock. Sad but so true. It is the least loved room in the whole house.

0709_7422

0709_7428

After months of living in a room that was not only uninviting, but actually rudely obvious about not wanting to be habitable, it feels good to feel like we at least have a bedroom that is behaving like a bedroom should. We haven’t won it over yet by any means, but this little step of progress makes me feel like one day it might get all friendly and say “oh won’t you come on in and stay a while? – It’s peaceful in here!”

Cheers to unintentional but very strong encouragement to get things sorted, and to a clear space that allows you to see a way forward! Here’s my last thoughts on the way forward for this very important room.