Friday, April 24, 2009

Rumpus room transformation

Whew! It's been a busy week. I've become an expert at assembling IKEA furniture, been away for the weekend, caught up on some sleep and got my gym equipment delivered yesterday, and it's just about all set up.

There are one or two extra things I need to get, and I have to do some rearranging of the room, but today I'll be testing it out for the first time. Training at home - yay!

Here's a quick pic:

I have a LOT of work to do to get my office area perfect, and will be doing some of that today. I still need some shelves installed, but that's a job for the weekend, and there are a few things I've yet to buy.

I'm holding off posting photos of that end of the room till it's all just how I want it....

Thursday, April 16, 2009

I've been to IKEA

Yes, I braved the horrors of the car park, the one-way labyrinth (and all the people WITH PRAMS who clearly don't understand the concept of ONE WAY) and the unpronounceably-named furniture for some Swedish ingenuity. Oh, alright...... it's really because it's cheap.

Number One Son actually wanted to go to get an armchair and a couple of shelves for his room. Of course, everything he wanted was out of stock, in spite of the website claiming that the items were IN stock. But I brought home a heap of flat packs. :o)

I now have a half-assembled office (still waiting on the rest of the stuff I need) and somewhere to put our coffee cups in the retreat.

Photos will be forthcoming, when the new equipment arrives for my studio and I have it all set up. Meanwhile, I'm running off to Sydney for the weekend.


Sunday, April 12, 2009

Garden inspiration

This was the display home that gave me the inspiration for our front garden design. Whilst I made quite a few changes and used completely different plants, I was a bit concerned that it would look unoriginal.

I don't think I needed to worry.

Ooh - note the photographic technique they've used for the website exterior images.

Sunday, April 5, 2009

New header - again!

I decided I need to stop being so lazy with my photos and start making some extra effort. So tonight I dragged out the tripod, played with the camera settings and employed a trick I learned from someone who photographs houses for real estate advertising. The result? See for yourself.

If you want to know how to make your house exterior look warm and inviting (and probably as attractive as it's ever going to get), listen up:

Before the sun is due to set, you need to get yourself organised. Turn off the auto flash on your camera and mount it on a tripod - you're going to need quite long exposures, so hand-holding won't work. Unless you want blurry pics, resulting from camera shake.

Turn on all the exterior lights and also all interior lights in rooms with windows that overlook the front yard.

Wander out the front and find the best vantage point. You might need to stand on the road, or the opposite footpath - that will largely depend on the focal length of your camera lens, and how wide your house is. Watch out for nature strip trees, power poles and the like, which might block your view - you may need to position yourself off to one side to avoid them.

Now be prepared to take lots of photos. Every few minutes, get some shots, perhaps from different angles. Keep taking photos until it's getting quite dark. Amongst that lot, you should end up with a few that have the wow factor....

These are mine, taken over about a 45-minute period, starting around 5:20pm. I used the same camera settings, and all the same lights were on throughout. The only thing that changed was the amount of daylight:

I was more than happy with the last set, and chose my blog header from amongst them.

Obviously, you also need to make sure the garden is tidy, move cars out of the driveway and away from the front of your house and so on. And if you can see in the windows, then you'll need to tidy up indoors too.

There you go - it's easy, when you know how.

Still gardening

Finally got this lot done:

Now I need a couple of rocks, and that tap removed:

I was going to add more of these Libertias, but saw some mature ones at the nursery and decided to give them some space:

Got my succulents planted. Now I need some pebbles or gravel to give it the finishing touch:

I also worked out what I want to do around the clothesline. The heavy rain on Friday resulted in mud splashed on my clean washing....not happy about that! I want to use 400 x 400 square pavers under the line, to pave an area about two by three metres. I'll leave 50mm gaps between the pavers, and will plant some Mondo grass in the spaces. I got some at a bargain price from Bunnings today.

I'll also leave a narrow strip at the back, along the fenceline, and plant some groundcovers there. I picked up some small pots of dichondra and a sedum variety this morning that will look good.

A couple of potted plants to one side will finish off the effect nicely. When the line isn't in use and is folded down, we won't be left looking at an expanse of glaring concrete, but.... no mud!

Gee, this is turning into a gardening blog.....

Saturday, April 4, 2009

Into each life some rain must fall

There's been zero progress on the garden front. I've been busy with work, and then the rain kind of got in the way yesterday, when I might have actually had a spare few minutes.

On the plus side, this morning I scored a heap of free plants from one of my lovely clients. Her husband grew these from offshoots and had plenty to spare, so I gratefully accepted the offer of some drought-tolerant plants to help fill out the backyard garden beds ...which, as yet, are non-existent.

Score! Four agaves, five yuccas and some cute little cacti that I have plans for:

There may have been less doing, but there's definitely been more thinking. I've been pondering the back yard design and my ideas are beginning to take shape.... I can see it in my mind. Now I just have to transfer that, first to paper, then to reality.