Wednesday, December 31, 2008

And speaking of fabulous storage ideas...

When you have high ceilings and you're only 160cm tall, reaching the upper shelves in your overhead cupboards, or anything in the corner where you need to lean over the bench, is a bugger.

All our most frequently used items are under the bench, or on the lowest shelves in the overheads, and I keep a step in the pantry so I can reach higher things when I have to. But getting the wine glasses out of the cupboards altogether was a stroke of genius.

Two racks side by side hold six red, six white and six champagne....perfect!

Getting organised

With the moving done and the unpacking just about complete (I'm trying to ignore those boxes in the lounge....), we made a huge start yesterday on getting our garage sorted out. It took us all afternoon, but there's actually room for a car in there now.

We need to get some shelving and brackets and perhaps some more plastic tubs for storing all those odds and ends that you accumulate somehow, but it's beginning to look more or less organised. Of course, Bike Boy's priority was to get suitable storage arranged for the bikes.

It would be lovely to go all-out and buy one of those fab storage systems you can get at Bunnings or Howard's Storage World, but with our budget still needing to cover numerous expenses, we're doing garage storage on the cheap. So a trip to K Mart today and some minimal expenditure got us the perfect hooks for the job.


The boxes in the foreground are full of stuff to be donated to charity. Where DOES it come from?

I insisted that mine be hung on the lowest hook, seeing as I'm vertically challenged.... The other two belong to Bike Boy. There's one hook left, and we think that will be used for hanging the gazillion spare tyres and tubes we have lying around.

It'll be nice to be able to open the car door without banging into bikes or spare tyres. The garage at our rental was considerably smaller than this one and I was forever tripping over things trying to get in and out of the car. Having everything cluttering up the floor didn't help.

On the furniture and decorating front, we're moving slowly. Blinds are probably three or four weeks away, but the Redi-Shades are doing a sterling job in the meantime. Fitting out my studio is a priority, but we're not rushing it. I need to figure out exactly what I want (and what will fit).

We did manage to pick up a bargain couch/chaise for the retreat on Christmas Eve and it arrived this week. Trouble is, youngest son thinks the couch and the fake-fur throw are just the best things EVER and is always in our room. The phrase "parents' retreat" obviously doesn't mean much to him....

The colour wasn't what I wanted. I was after cream or beige, but the choices were limited and a bargain is a bargain, so chocolate it is.

Anyway, we have the TV and DVD player all set up in their special niche, and it's lovely to lie around watching TV in what we jokingly refer to as "our flat". Now we just need a coffee table. And maybe a bar fridge. :p

Saturday, December 27, 2008

Let there be light!

We made yet another trip to Bunnings today, in search of a few bits and pieces, and were amazed to find the DIY light fittings we've been trying to get hold of for the past three or four months.

So, in the kitchen and dining area at least, no more Chinaman's hats!

They look great when turned on.... I tried to get a shot of them all lit up, but they were bamboozling my camera's light meter and I'm far too lazy to fiddle around with the manual settings. You'll just have to take my word for it. ;o)

It's all coming together. We also picked up some outdoor feature lights, which we'll get installed where we had the builder put junction boxes. Bike Boy assembled our shed yesterday, and he's put up some wine glass racks under our overhead kitchen cupboards. Monday, our new couch for the retreat arrives, and we should have the pendant light for that room in the next couple of weeks too.

That only leaves: feature wall lights for the ensuite, some light shades for the laundry and mud room, trapeze lighting between the bulkheads in the lounge, shelves for the showers, fitting-out of all five wardrobes, decking for the front porch and al fresco room, plus a heap of paving and landscaping. And a lot of new furniture.

Pfft. Not much at all.... We should be all done in about a year or two.

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Feeling settled

We're just about unpacked - there are only about half a dozen boxes in the lounge (which is unfurnished apart from one couch and the Christmas tree), and a big pile of crap in the garage now.

It was interesting unpacking some of the boxes that we sealed up in April 2007, before we put our old house on the market. Those have been stacked in the garage at the rental this whole time, and apart from a few "Where on earth is such-and-such? ....Oh yeah, it's in a box..." moments, we managed well without all that stuff. So when they were finally opened, I found a mixture of treasures (I have JUST the spot for that!), junk (Why on EARTH did I keep THAT?) and things that made me go Hmm...I've lived without it for a year and a half, do I really need it?

Consequently, this morning, one of my favourite charities, Diabetes Australia, is coming to collect a nice big donation of clothing, kitchenware, small furniture items, a couple of surplus bikes and various bits and pieces.

I can't believe we still have so much unwanted stuff. After all, when we sold the old place, we had a garage sale, filled a huge skip, made several trips to the tip and gave a truckload of stuff to charity as well.

I'm sure that stuff breeds or clones or something.


We have a slab for a small storage shed now, which will be going up on Boxing Day. We still need to get those light fittings, and a couch for the retreat - which I am LOVING, even unfurnished. :o)

I also have to do something serious about equipment for my studio and a decent desk for my office area. And then there's landscaping - the front will be mostly taken care of, but we have some serious work to do in the back yard. It's raining once again, so the yard is a quagmire.

*sigh* I have this strange sense of deja-vu. I bought pink gumboots 22 years ago when we moved into our first home. Wonder if I still have those?

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Drought? What drought?

Of course, we would cop the wettest, muddiest weekend of the entire year for our big move.

Never mind, we're all moved, and at least partly unpacked. As long as we can find food and clean underwear, everyone's happy. Come to think of it, the kids could probably survive quite well without the clean underwear. ;o)

More photos to come when I get a bit more organised and a LOT more spare time.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Shiny, shiny, shiny!

Bike Boy is extremely excited about the new stove. I'm extremely excited about what he's going to cook me on the new stove. :o)

Must order those damn light fittings....

The dishwasher is in there somewhere. No close-ups though - I need to clean all the fingerprints off it. Ick.

Appliance cupboard. We had one of these in our old kitchen and I miss it a lot. It'll be nice to shut the doors on the toaster. And all the toast crumbs that my kids are incapable of cleaning up. Now you see it:

Now you don't:

See? I said I had just the thing for that feature niche. Turquoise wine glasses. Don't tell anyone they cost me $2 at the Reject Shop....

It's all coming together. Our fixing items have all been taken care of, the appliances are in, the Bath Magic guy is coming back to clean the pantry shelves, the lights that weren't working have been fixed, the painter is now coming on Saturday (Gah! We're moving IN on Saturday....), the bifold door service is booked, and the cracked tile in the bathroom has been noted by our SS, who will get someone to fix it. Lucky I kept the leftover tiles. Heating and cooling work a treat - let's hope we don't need the heating for several months. It is Melbourne though, so you never know...

Even the fences are mostly up, and the fence guy is going to hang our side gate for us for a token cash amount.

The only new problem is that one of the burners on our stove doesn't work. Whatever - someone will contact us about that.

Carpets are being laid tomorrow, I'll be confirming the order for our blinds and we need to do something about a shed. I also have my eye on a hall table and a couple of perfect glass shelves for the showers that might be a wee bit exxy. OK, so Bike Boy almost had a coronary when I showed him the brochure and the $200+ price tag on those. He's stingy, what can I say? ;o)

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Feature tiles: Before & After

The difference a sealer makes to natural stone:

It really brings out the colours. And it's shiny. I LIKE shiny!


This morning I was feeling very frustrated. Most of the outstanding defects have not been rectified, and we'd had no response from Porter Davis since I emailed last Thursday to point out that numerous things still needed fixing.

Then the nice man from Bath Magic turned up as arranged at 8:30, to fix a small chip in our bathroom vanity - but he knew nothing about the stained pantry shelves which also required his attention. And without a work order, he couldn't do the job. *sigh*

On top of that, the bank is still stuffing us around, since they haven't fully funded our loan - there's a small balance to be credited to our account, thanks to a few post-contract variations. And apart from the fact that the extra bit of cash would be welcome right now, we stay on interest-only payments until the loan is fully drawn. We'd really like to be making fortnightly, rather than monthly payments, and paying a little off the principle, thanks very much.... I'm also peeved at them because they've put clearance days on the cheque we deposited the other day. I've NEVER had to wait clearance days! Tuh!

The fencing guy still hasn't finished the job. No panels, no posts at the back and the hole that's slightly on our side of the boundary hasn't been moved.

Then I headed off to a client appointment and got caught up in road works. By this point, bad words were spewing from my mouth like a Tourette's sufferer. I got to the gym and told my client I was in a Bad Mood, at which news she looked a little worried. ;o)

Anyway.... the site supervisor called me this afternoon and he intends to be at the house tomorrow to sort out most of the minor issues, as well as supervise the appliance fit-off and some electrical work that has to be done. He's also faxed a work order through for the pantry shelves and tells me that a couple of other things have been organised. Plus he was about to call the painter too. If it happens as planned, all well and good...

And I just rang and made a formal complaint to the bank. Let's see if that gets some action.

Hmm. I feel better now.

Sunday, December 7, 2008

Nearly there!

I'm counting sleeps till we move in (seven to go). Visiting is fun, but we always have to leave again... :o(

Today we got two out of three light fittings up in the boys' rooms - we discovered that compact globes don't fit them, and a rummage in the kitchen cupboard only unearthed two of the old standard globes. Neither of us wanted to make another trip to the shops, so the third will have to wait.

Bike Boy managed to put up our heated towel rails with no problems at all. I actually commented that it was all going far too smoothly and that was scaring me. Something always goes wrong when we attempt DIY stuff. But there are no extra holes in walls, the rails are straight and exactly where I wanted them and they work. Well, one does.... we need an extra power point for the ensuite one. Yeah, that was an oops in our electrical plan....

This is the kids' towel rail. Ours is a monster 11-rail one:

The toilet roll holders that I was so gleeful about getting online for a steal though - those turned out to be made for skinny toilet rolls. Or something. Whatever the reason, there isn't space between the wall and the spindle for a standard dunny roll. I'm peeved because I really liked them, they were very stylish. Yes, I know.... it holds toilet paper, but who says a utilitarian object can't also be stylish? Now I'll have to go in search of something else, dammit!

This photo lies!

Our letterbox is painted and has numbers on it. Now we need to wait for Number One Son to get home from work so the three of us can lift it into place. It's a heavy bastard. Gee, who'd have thought something made of concrete would weigh a lot?

I've painted ours in Colorbond Ironstone, to match the garage door, front door and spouting:

Other than that, I did a lot of vacuuming and scraping, so the floors are all ready for the carpet later in the week. We also picked up all the offcuts of flooring, a ton of cardboard and plastic packaging and general rubbish that's accumulated since handover. And we carted several boxes and bits and pieces over, just to get them out of the way here and to give us a few less things to move later.

Now I need a massage and an early night.

Saturday, December 6, 2008

Shopping is meant to be FUN

This morning we went in search of light fittings. We know what we want, and thought it would be easy. Ha!

First stop was Bunnings. They stock the pendants we want to go over the kitchen bench and the dining table. At least, they allegedly stock them. I've been haunting every Bunnings store within a 15km radius for the past 2 months and nobody has the lights we want, in the colour we want. There's a space on the shelf and one hanging in their display, but no stock.

So we thought we'd ask them to order them in for us. Noooo. They only take orders for "special" items, not stuff they keep in stock. So if they don't ever actually HAVE any stock, how are we supposed to buy the things? Bike Boy got a bit snippy with the girl at the special orders desk and she just looked bemused. Or maybe she was bored, not sure. Obviously, they don't want our money...

For the kitchen bench - there'll be three of these:

Dining table, centred between two downlights. NOT in hideous red though.....a nice white shade:

Next stop was a major lighting store. The assistant there was helpful and knew her stuff, but the one item we decided we wanted today - a largish pendant for the retreat - was out of stock. And no other store had any either. And there were none in the warehouse. They'll have some more some time in January.... *sigh*

All we wanted was one of these:

And on it went.... Shopping with jaw clenched and forehead fixed in a frown is not my idea of a good time. So now we have a change of plans. I'm going to buy the kitchen and dining room pendants online, and just pay the shipping charge. And the retreat light will have to wait till January.

We DID get some cheap oyster lights for the kids' rooms. At least that's something.

Friday, December 5, 2008


The floorboards look pretty damn good under electric lighting. And thank goodness Bike Boy has a bug up his arse about skirtings and insisted on upgrading to 90mm.

Ignore all the crap on the bench. And the lack of appliances. Ooh, I have just the thing to go in that feature niche there.

Hope the new dishwasher, when it arrives, works a LOT better than our current one. And I really need a stainless steel fridge - the old white one is going to look sadly out of place....

No sheets here!

It's well known that I absolutely detest sheets hanging at the windows. I refused to have them 20+ years ago when we moved into our first home, and I'm not having them now. Sheets belong on beds. And maybe on small children if you're one of those irritating people who sends their little darlings out to annoy total strangers by trick or treating.

Back then, I solved the problem by buying a big roll of heavy scrim fabric (it was the 80s....) and making privacy curtains for lounge and main bedroom. I also made blockout drapes for our bedroom. And we had some terylene curtains that had once belonged to Bike Boy's Nan, so those went in the spare bedrooms. Kitchen and family room, we just lived with bare glass for a while.

This time around, we've organised blinds for all windows. But thanks to all the builder delays and the uncertaintly about when we'd be moving, we weren't able to get our order in until it was too late to have them installed before Christmas. Which is why I've bought a stack of Redi Shade temporary blinds, to get us through the next month or two.

Here they are on one set of bifolds. I think these are staying up until I figure out what I want to do here permanently... I need to trim the length on the one on the right, in case you're wondering why it hangs lower than the others.

If you want to open the blinds, you just fold them up and clip on the little white pegs that come with them.

See? Much better than sheets! Makes the place look occupied. :o)

And our completed but very dusty floating floor, looking from the front door. Hmm, no hint of the colour feast for your eyes that waits inside....

By the way, the Redi Shade product that Bunning sells is identical in design, material and so on to the ones I ordered over the phone. BUT....they're only 900mm wide, and mine are 1220mm.

Come to think of it, Bunnings may have had a wider one....

Are we there yet?

Got my Redi Shade temporary blinds in the mail yesterday, so guess what I'm doing this afternoon?

The floating floor will be completely finished this morning, and I plan to go take some photos later today. Promise to post them here.

We have a few trades booked in to finish stuff off - replacement of some fascia today, a small repair to the bathroom vanity cabinet next week, a service for the bifolds the week after, and the painter is coming Monday or Tuesday to do a few touch-ups. And I've just emailed our construction manager a short list of minor stuff that the fixing carpenter didn't do prior to handover, to make sure it doesn't get overlooked.

Apart from that, appliances and carpet go in next week, and then WE go in. :o) Must do something about that landscaping request form. Where did I put that.....?

Now I'm just getting impatient. We're soooo close!

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Getting closer

We've got through a lot in the past few days. The site supervisor sent a cleaner on Sunday, to deal with the mess the tradies left on Thursday/Friday. He also organised for a locksmith to come yesterday, and we now have all entry sets and deadlocks keyed alike. One key - much better!

Yesterday was a busy day, with our driveway poured and the flooring guys getting the boards down in the family/dining rooms. The house is starting to look a lot more like we imagined it.

Today the floor progressed down to the front door, our gas meter turned up and we had a guy come over and replace the mesh in a flyscreen that had paint stuck in it. By the end of the week, the floating floor should be finished, the fences ought to be up - at least along the side boundary, with the post holes dug in the correct positions along the rear boundary, and we'll have a few small jobs done ourselves (stuff like sealing the pebble feature tiles in the showers, painting the letterbox...).

We're right on schedule so far....