Tuesday, 25 December 2012

Our First Christmas!

Well I really wasn't going to until a friend suggested I need a Christmas post.

So. Our first Christmas in our new house was actually a little restrained. Less pressies. Less food. Less STRESS!

We had Oscar's best mate and his Mum to celebrate with us. And it was so casual and relaxed!

Of course - there is still enough food to feed a small nation. But it has been a lot less stressful than previous years :)

XMAS morning. Before the destruction of two 
over-eager small children!

Adelaide snacking on Christmas cake AND
striped green and red jelly!

Oscar at the end of a busy day.
Flaked out on Dadda on the couch.

Sunday, 23 December 2012


After seeing my friend's lovely laundry, I decided it was time I spruce mine up a little. Admittedly I am not sure one can do a great deal with laundry decor, but a little art brightens up any space!

I've loved the Marimekko Lumimarja design since I saw it in San Francisco. As soon as I saw it I knew I needed to have it somewhere in my house. In our old house there was an obliging wall at the end of the kitchen so it hung there - but no such spot in the new home.

Until I thought it might look well in the laundry! And now it's up I think it's just the spot for it :)

Sunday, 16 December 2012

The Garden

So now we've been in a while, I can report on the progress of the garden!

This week our lovely magnolias have started to bloom! Not every plant - but quite a few. Actually that side of the house is looking quite nice - everything is growing and looking good!

The gardenias down the side at the front are doing OK. Some are doing well and flowering, but we have lost a couple. Will be out replacing those this weekend.

Across the back my crab apple and pear are both doing well. The opulus is OK but not thriving.

However I have, sadly, lost my forest pansy. It just did not make it. So I am considering a weeping cherry or similar to replace it.

Now it is Jacaranda season I am longing for one in the back. Of course, I forget the awful mess they make (not the blossoms - when they lose all their foliage). Just the riot of purple is SO pretty!

I did find my Flemmings Tree Guide a few days back, and am seriously considering a Lilac. Overlooked, in my opinion! Gorgeous, scented, pretty as! What more could one want?

I might ask Santa for one for Christmas!

Sunday, 9 December 2012

Coffee Table

When we got the rug, something just didn't look 'right'. Turns out it was the coffee table! New one arrived Friday and I finally put it into place on Sunday.

I am so happy with it - much lighter and brighter and what the space needed. Now I just have to fix up the couch legs to match and get some colour happening in there cushions wise. I want to go teal, red and linen. So off to Spotlight in the next week or two to pick some fabrics up!

Friday, 30 November 2012


One thing I have learned is that our street is a real community - and every calendar event is celebrated in style!

After a fairly abysmal Halloween (where we ran out of lollies) I swore we'd redeem ourselves at the annual 'light up' night. Which is tonight.

Now the other end of the street goes berserk - the full monty including organised caroling etc. A flyer went out a month ago to remind us all! However - keen not to be completely outdone, this end of the street is getting into the spirit of things, and are at least token 'lighting up'.

It wasn't looking great when we came home this afternoon after a birthday party, and Sean was pretty whacked. I was fairly certain we'd be conspicuously dark this evening :(  However about 3pm he decided we couldn't be the ONLY house in the street without at least a token effort - so we headed off to Bunnings for a few strands of LEDs and then hung them across the front of the house.

We also put up the XMAS tree in the front window and will have the curtains open / lights on and XMAS music playing.

Not a huge effort, but I have been assured most homes buy a new thing each year (in the post Christmas sales) and so over time the displays get more and more elaborate ;) I will certainly be looking for a nice wreath as I have always wanted one for the front door!

So our first XMAS season in our new home is here - and it has been such a delight to become part of this beautiful community!

Dodgy pic of our lights - and a small guy in his
PJs coming back home after light up night.

Monday, 19 November 2012

Rug and powerpoints

A bit of action today - specifically the new rug arriving at 9am! At first I was unsure about it - but then I realised it was the coffee table on it that I was not loving. Thankfully that situation will be resolved in a week or two ;)

In the meantime I am quite liking the rug. It's lovely and soft underfoot, and has made a difference to the echo in the back room.

Of course, the room is looking so very bland - so I need to start adding some decorative elements. Will probably start with some cushions - although I won't do too much until I have decided on the curtains.  More decisions!

Not long after the rug arrived, so did the electrical contractors who did the wiring for the house. They were here to put a double powerpoint in the roof (they accidentally only installed a single). Happily while they were here they were able to install an additional powerpoint in the master bedroom as I realised I'd not made a spot for the clock radio to plug in! So it worked out well.

Saturday, 17 November 2012

Art. And stools!

For me, art is about what I like. It's also about what works in a given space. So hanging art in the new house has been a challenge! A lot of things were bought or framed for a different spot. But now I need to see if they can work in a new home.

I am happy to report I have positioned 3 pieces - and that (I think, at least) they suit their new spaces even more than they did their old ones!

All three are 'children's' art. 2 Elise Hurst prints (one for each of the kids). Also 2 sets of Michelle V stickers framed together. I think they work beautifully in the space. I know they might not be everyone's taste - but they make me smile :)

Kids hallway artwork - towards Oscar's room

Kids hallway artwork - towards Adelaide's room 

Our Michelle V originals
These are actually little stickers designed
for the back of envelopes. But when I saw them
I thought they looked like little teeny artworks -
and so I framed them!

Oscar's Elise Hurst print

Adelaide's Elise Hurst print

Oh. The kitchen stools also arrived today. They are slightly darker than the meals table - but it works and they are suitably unobtrusive which pleases me.

New stools.
Now the kids can have breakfast at the kitchen bench!

Thursday, 15 November 2012


My ideas regarding my laundry have changed a lot. Originally I was going to have it as more of a walk in pantry/butlers pantry. But that changed. So then it became more of a bulk storage space/laundry. I planned open shelves on one side which, in retrospect, looked ugly and were a constant climbing/rummaging temptation to the kids.

And so I recently commissioned matching doors for them - which were installed today!

I worry about poisons, and things like that, so I got them to make one of the two new shelved cupboards lockable - and also one of the ones under the laundry bench. Not for anything precious (a really determined yank by an adult would probably open either). But it's enough that I can put the bleach / toilet cleaner and metho in there and not worry that either of the kids is going to get into some creative chemistry - or cookery :o

Not a very exciting mod - but one step closer to 'finishing' the house. And I do think it looks a lot better! Might have to start decorating the laundry, soon!

New doors on what were open shelves

However tomorrow's job is to move all the things I do not want the kids to get into from the right hand cupboard to the (key lockable) one on the left. Then I can take off the kiddy lock!

Also need to ring and check on progress of my stools, rug and coffee table. And then I must pull in my horns for a while and instead focus on sorting and hanging things and less buying :P

Saturday, 10 November 2012

The bell

Something I had not anticipated was that it would be hard to hear a knock at the front door when you are down the back of the house. So a door bell, of some sort, became an issue.

I initially thought a brass bell - and managed to source just the thing at Bunnings. But positioned next to our chrome door handle it looked silly. And the chrome bell, when we tried it, looked even worse!

So despite my misgivings, we ended up looking for an electronic doorbell. Not wanting it to stand out, I immediately limited the selections to grey/black models. To be honest they all seemed like much of a muchness. Sean said no 'Westminster' chime (I have to say I agree) so we ended up with a model which does that chime but also with the option of a simple 'ding dong'.

It is wireless - and the 'speaker' can be positioned anywhere in the house. It's on top of the fridge, at the moment, which is surprisingly quite a good spot as it echos a little and you can hear it everywhere but it's not too loud from the bedrooms.

Visually the button is quite discrete, which I like. So while I started out fully expecting to get a brass bell, I ended up with some plastic made in China and could not be happier :)

The front door bell.

Friday, 9 November 2012

Shut it! Or perhaps I mean shutter it :P

Today was lovely to have Margie (with her lovely Mum) visit to install our sitting room curtains and the shutter in the ensuite/master cavity.

The sitting room curtains are identical to the bedroom ones and, like the bedroom, they look great! But the real winner today is the shutter.

You might recall that there is a cavity in the wall above the spa.

Quite some time ago - here's
the cavity above the bath

The plan was always to put a shutter in. To allow privacy, when required, but also light. Anyway. It's now in and looks awesome. I am so pleased with the way it looks and how it finishes the space!

With the shutter

And same from another angle

So now I need to start thinking about the back of the house. Thankfully we're not overlooked, so I have plenty of time on my side to come up with exactly the right look :)

Thursday, 1 November 2012

Fence - revisited

It's not a very 'sexy' house modification - but today we had the inside of our left hand fence covered in fence palings.

The house next door has the parents and 3 teenaged/early 20s boys and a (newish) pool. Maybe 5 or 6 years old? The house we demolished also had a (above ground) pool of 30ish years old. Which we removed. For whatever reason the fence runners are on our side of the existing fence.

When we moved in, we had the fence covered along the stretch which bordered their pool (and they also have fence extenders at the top). However in the last week Oscar has started to climb the runners near the front yard, use that to climb our side gate and get out into the front yard. From there (if he wished) he could easily walk down the side of next door, drag an outdoor chair, open the pool gate and get into the pool :(  Or just wander off down the street!

Thankfully next door have been wonderful. And today their middle son (a chippie) and his mates came across to put palings all along the inside of our fence, and also put guards on the gate to help prevent climbing. It is already deadlocked with a proper key lock. AND they're building a side gate on their side to help prevent any little person access to their back garden.

I can't tell you how grateful I am that the neighbours have been so accommodating and helpful and willing to go the extra yards to keep the kids safe.

Both sides (and indeed over the road and further down) have been so lovely, welcoming and accommodating since we've returned. For example - today Oscar wrote a 'letter' to the guy next door to thank him for installing the fence posts. Of which you could probably make out about two words :P  But the guy next door made a big deal of receiving the letter - (pretending) to read it and making Oscar feel so special for writing it :P

Makes me even happier to have our home in this street <3

Tuesday, 30 October 2012

Coffee Table

So if I am getting a new rug and new stools to match my new table and chairs and office chair, then I figure I need a new coffee table, too ;)

I wanted something 'interesting' but simple visually - and possibly oak. And then I found this:
I really like :D Better still it's on special for the next couple of weeks. Will see how it looks in place - but I was thinking I might need the matching occasional tables, too ;)
I think it is just the right amount of casual - not too much not too little.

Anyway. Now to talk Sean into it. Actually - I might just order them and surprise him when they show up!

Sunday, 28 October 2012


So as I have mentioned several times - the family room really needs a rug. It's so echoey without one. And it's stalling decorating that area.

Now finding a rug big enough, and in a pattern or style I like, has proven difficult. So I decided to look into having a piece of carpet edged into a rug.

I wanted something textured, hard wearing and something with a bit of visual interest. So I popped down to my local carpet shop and had a chat. And they suggested this:

 Sample of the carpet I am considering
for the family room

It is graded for commercial use - so it should wear well. The colours look good with the existing furniture. It should cope with pug fur quite well, too.

Am going to think about it overnight - but I think this might well be the one. Thoughts??

Garden Update

I realised that I have not posted a pic of the front of the house since the tape for the lawn has come down. So accordingly here are some shots I took this morning.

The grass has had its second mow and is looking good, the plants are all coming along nicely, and other than the side gates needing a paint, and the flyscreens too, we're now pretty much finished with the front of the house.

And I am pleased!

I wanted a house which sat well within its environment. And maybe I am kidding myself - but I think it does.

My lovely oak all green and fresh out the front

Front from another angle

Left hand garden bed

Gardenia hedge on the right

Looking up the street - the sea
of green now the oaks have leaves

A little bit of garden art Oscar
found and loved at Bunnings

Inside there is still so much which needs to be done. Some of it is in hand, though, like more curtains and shutters. I really really need to get on with buying a rug for the back room. I have been putting it off - but I might pop out to some rug shops today and see if anything appeals.

A name. ANY name!

So we bought a brass bell (for the front door). But it looked weird hung next to the chrome front door handle. There was a chrome version - but I am not sure that will work either. So for now I will return it to Bunnings ;)

To be honest - I think it will all depend on the house name plaque. Which I have been thinking about.

But the name. WHICH name????

Well we have decided. Hopefully not pretentious. Hopefully indicative of the area. Hopefully US.

I'll give you a clue. It's NOT Parkview ;) But beyond that? Well. Wait and see :P

Wednesday, 24 October 2012


A small job - but it makes the front area look a lot nicer (and brighter) than the bluetacked butchers paper :P

Two frosted sidelights.
A modest household now!

Feeling Productive!

Two posts in one day! But I am feeling productive.

Have booked the window tinters in to apply film to the front sidelights - because the butchers paper on the sidelights is looking pretty sad! Best thing is they can come TODAY. YEAH! Sean won't know what's hit him when he comes home and sees it all done.

Also about to approve the quote to add doors to the open shelves in the laundry and to have a lock added to one of the cupboards.

I think I *might* even tackle the WIR today and try to finish that off, too.

Another project I am eager to tackle is the deeds to the house. Let me explain :)

As the first sale of the house/lot since certificates of title went electronic, we got the decommissioned original paper deed in amongst our settlement documents. It's slightly larger than A3, has been removed from the original paper ledger, and has the subdivision measurements etc. and original owner's details on the front. And on the back it has the details of every owner (and mortgage :P) since the lot was created and the original house built.

Of course now it's just a curio as it holds no legal value. But it's part of the 'history' of our home - and so I am going to have it framed and hung in the entryway.

Because it has information on the front and back, I was thinking to have a double sided frame made for it. Am not sure whether these even exist - but am sure where there's a will there's a way :)

Study Chair

Now I know I promised the next post would be about the shed. But to be honest I am a lot more excited about my new chair!

At the moment I am using one of the kitchen chairs at my study nook. It does the job - but I did have something a bit prettier in mind. Have been looking for ages, and really liked the look of something on EBAY. But it's in Sydney. Shipping was going to cost another $100 which really was not worth it.

Noticed the same seller was selling the stools I liked (and which I finally found for the same price in Melbourne). So on the off chance they came from the same supplier, I emailed the Melbourne store where I bought the stools - and yes they can get the same chair in for me!

I think it is going to be just the thing for my study nook (which I am still tidying to photograph, April :P). Better still, the chair is going to be in on Saturday's truck!

Happy to have one more piece of the decorating puzzle in place. We're starting to get into the 'silly season' of birthdays and pre-XMAS entertaining - so I suspect decor may take a back seat for a while.

Saturday, 20 October 2012

First Haircut

So yesterday saw the front lawn have its first haircut.

It was probably a week overdue - and really needed to be done as it was wet near the roots even after a scalding day. So it had to be cut back to allow more light near the roots and to let it breathe.

The first mow

It was getting a little long

The front done

And the back mowed and about to be edged

Left today is to install the can crusher next to the recycling bin. And possibly install the clothes line.  Also the final parts on the longest project so far - the shed.  The shed has been such a drama I think it deserves a post all of its own. So stay tuned ;)

Thursday, 18 October 2012

Still a lot to do!

I know I have not been posting much - but there's not been a lot to report!

I am still not 100% unpacked, and there's still a 'to-do' list a mile long.

I have ordered curtains for the sitting room. After a lot of umming and ahhing I am having the same as in the bedroom. We can't have a sheet up forever - and I like the bedroom drapes. And they're neutral enough that I can decorate around them.

Am also going to put a service central job up for painting today or tomorrow - so that should move things along there.

Mostly I just need to pull my finger out and finish unpacking the WIR and sorting through my files. Boring but necessary.

The garden is coming along nicely. The grass is desperately needing its first trim. Hopefully over the weekend. Will post pics then.

Friday, 5 October 2012

Still to do

So we've been powering along with getting things settled - but there's still a lot to do. Little things - but the devil is always in the detail...

So this is basically a to do post:
  • Paint side gates (Monument - to match front door and faschia)
  • Paint timber flyscreens (Dune - to match windowframes)
  • Assemble shed
  • Choose something for the living room curtains
  • Organise frosting of sidelights on front door
  • Arrange doors for the laundry shelving area
  • Get a rug for the living room
  • Get a direction for the sitting room!!!
Plenty for me to be getting along with ;)

I'd really like to start properly styling up the kids and spare room - but they're low priority just now.  But I'm starting to think about it... :P

Friday, 28 September 2012

Curtains (and blinds) and doggie door

Today more curtains and blinds were installed. Master bedroom, ensuite blinds, main bathroom blinds and sheers in the sitting room.

I am delighted! The master bedroom curtains and sheers were the ones I most wondered about. I worried would they be the right colours? Would they look as I'd imagined?

Well I am pleased to say they look even better than I'd imagined :)

Thanks Margie for doing such a great job! And R for the inspiration.

Master bedroom

Same from different angle

LOVE the box pleat sheers

From outside they look great too

The sitting room window

The ensuite blind is great, too

In other news, we also had the dog door installed for the pugs. It's in the window opening out onto the paved area off the meals area. Took a little while for them to get used to it - but it helped that it is the same style as they're used to at the old place.

Might need to put a little mat there for them


Monday, 24 September 2012

So what has worked?

Going with a Pollyanna perspective, I was thinking about what's really worked in the new house.

First would be the study nook. It was not initially part of the design - I'd just planned to use the spare room as a computer space. But I saw one on another blog and it was instantly obvious what, and where, ours should go. And it's worked so well. BRILLIANTLY in fact!!!

Gone are the days of me at one end of the house and Sean at the other. We sit a few feet away from one another chatting etc. while he watches TV and I surf or do bookwork. I love it :)

The back garden has also been a real success. It is literally 1/4 of the size of our old rear garden. But we're out there all the time! The cubby on an angle (and easily viewable from the rear living area) has been great too. Worth the extra effort it took to get it there.

The laundry drawers in the kids bathroom and laundry have proved so practical. We use them all the time, and it really does help keep the spaces cleaner and neater.

Changing from a sliding door to an open entry to the ensuite has also worked. It's great to lie there and watch the plasma while lying in the spa! While we would have been able to do that with a sliding door there, the open entry and the wall cutout give a lot more light and a feeling of space which a more enclosed design wouldn't have.

Finally the oven. OMG. I love it!!! The auto-start function. The various cooking functions. The sensitivity of controls? It's all so good!

Friday, 21 September 2012

Echo echo echo echo echo....

So the back room echos. Badly! Two young kids, two dogs, a large TV, dishwasher, robotic vacuum cleaner etc. and it can be hard to hear what people are saying. We NEED a rug!

But it's a BIG space. I'd really need a 12 x 16 foot rug or thereabouts. And they cost. Big time. And with a big rug, and a big cost, I need to be sure and play it safe. And I kinda wanted to be a bit more out there and vibrant in that room.

So then I started looking at edged carpets - particularly patterned ones. Some of them are really really inexpensive! E.g. $300 for a massive rug. And that's when I came across the Laura Ashley carpet range. SWOON!!!!! Their Isodore teal/duck egg blue carpet calls to me big time:

But I ruled it out, as I have a large open plan kitchen / meals / family room - so the theme would need to continue across the space - and integral to the kitchen is Mabel the mixer:

And as you can see there are neutral benchtops and a brown splashback to consider, too.

I was bemoaning my carpet lust when a friend suggested I do a teal/duck egg blue and red theme with chocolate. Which I immediately poo-pood. Until I googled and thought what about TEAL and red (same theme I wanted for Adelaide's room) and suddenly got inspired!

It has that slight playfulness I want in the casual living spaces! I can see it looking fresh and clean and modern. And I am really loving it as an idea.

So I started to look up some inspiration...