Why painting is the worst job in the world… 

Painting is shit. There’s no other way to describe it. When we decided that we were going to purchase a house to renovate, I was inundated with the offers of help to paint. In recent weeks I have come to the conclusion that the people offering have clearly never painted a house. 

There are so many reason why painting is the worst job in the world but let me take the time to explain to you my top five. 

  1. Preparation – no one (let me reiterate this: NO ONE) likes prep. Nor does anyone tell you how long that shit takes! They say it’s all about the prep and you know why.. Because it takes a bullshit amount of time. Now factor in decorative cornices and 80 year old plaster walls and you’ve at least tripled your time. Sanding and patching is messy, tedious, mind numbing and time consuming. It’s also hard! You have to have good eyesight and attention to detail and it’s not something you can do well at night after work. Therefore, taking up your whole weekend *sigh!*. 
  2. Priming – if your previous owners were anything like ours and decided that the colour terracotta would be nice for those cornices in the bedroom, baby blue in the lounge room and mustard in the halls you have yourself another nightmare. Welcome to weeks of priming! Priming paint is hard to use. It’s thicker than most paints and if you’re painting decorative cornices then you’re using a special brush which is round with a blunt end. Dabbing primer on 15m of decorative cornices in each room is not fun and cannot be done in a weekend. 
  3. Choosing a paint colour – White is white, right? Wrong. There are like 40 shades of white which, if you look at them for too long, begin to become the same colour… And this is just in the Dulux range! With five or six brands to choose from in any one hardware store, you suddenly have a white colour pallet of about 100 shades! It’s ridiculous! I’d also like to know who’s job it is to name these colours because, as if looking at the colour isn’t enough, there are competing cutsie names which is enough to make even a seasoned renovator confused! (Did I want vanilla ice cream skies or polar bear love? – argh!). Not to mention, they never look the same on paper as they do on the wall!
  4. Coats – So, after you’ve gone through the paint colour debate and you’ve prepped and primed, it’s smooth sailing home right?! Well, let me tell you something. Not even all the best priming in the world will hide the hideousness of terracotta paint. Alas, not one, not two but three coats of paint might just be required. Remembering how long the decorative cornices take to paint in the first place and couple this with mind numbing task of painting the same thing three times, let me assure you that by this stage you are bordering shooting yourself in the foot!
  5. Rolling – This is the part which is the quickest and easiest but definitely the least satisfying. After working for weekends on end to get to the rolling stage, rolling the walls is almost disappointing. If you’re anything like me, your spaghetti arms serve as useless work tools when painting high ceilings. Which means a stronger (male) counterpart will sweep in and take the glory by rolling the walls in one day and finishing off the room off. 

Needless to say, we are only one (beautiful) room down at this stage. A paint job is a sure way to freshen up a room and give the space a new lease on life. Just remember to be realistic with your time allocation to complete your project – particularly if you’re working after work and on weekends. 

Despite the pain, the end result is more than worth it and for this reason, paint project two has begun in the lounge room in this cottage.  We’re definitely hanging out for it all to be done but when it is, we will stand back and think we did that!

 What we began with in bedroom one.  

Our beautiful bedroom now!  

Replace the 50’s lampshade and…   

Ta da!  

Painting project number two – lounge room     

Another before shot  

The not so glamourise side of painting! 

Rolling, rolling, rolling! 

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The importance of doing your homework. 

We learnt the hard way this week about the importance of doing your homework and the realities of assuming. 

As with every renovation, unless you are privileged enough not to consider the financial implications of your decisions, the budget has been looming over us and governing the decisions that we make. Though we had quite a healthy budget to begin with, renovations quickly add up and things can be far more expensive than you’d imagine. With the budget in mind, I’ve shopped around and not paid anywhere next to retail for anything. (Remember those tiles?!)

In upcycling my 1900’s washstand that I picked up from gumtree, I decided that I would replace the worn marble top with a beautiful ceaserstone one to compliment our oversized, on counter, vessel basin. Given its tiny size, I was able to source a small piece of stone which was an off cut from a larger job for next to nothing. The new top, coupled with a fresh coat of varnish has meant the washstand has a new lease on life and will be a beautiful feature in our newly renovated bathroom. 

  
Therefore, when we decided on the cupboards in the laundry it was only natural to assume that we’d pick a lovely matching ceaserstone top in this space to tie our bathroom and laundry together. With simple gloss white doors and handmade ceramic and chrome door handles, this cabinet was bound to be perfect. 

Without any consideration for price, given that the cabinet itself was two doors and a washing machine hole, we sent the cabinet maker on his merry way to create and install. 

Now, for anyone who has built or renovated before you might not have been as naive as we were to choose a ceaserstone top in a laundry. I mean, there’s no need really for stone in your laundry and in most laundrys someone sensible might use a laminex top or the like. 

Well, there’s a reason that those who aren’t first time rookies don’t use stone. Unknowingly, the boy and I had purchased $1700 worth of stone to put on top of a cabinet worth about a quarter of that! 

Needless to say, I’m glad we decided not purchase expensive tiles after all and that we’ve been thrifty with all other purchases otherwise this really would have way extended our budget.

There’s nothing else to say but that it was a rookie error. In future, we won’t just assume the price of something without having double checked it first! If nothing else, we have ended up with a stunning laundry cabinet which is spacious and functional. Though, perhaps in the next house we could do without the stone in the laundry!

  

  

  

Don’t sweat the small stuff

Someone failed to explain to me when I decided to start my blog about renovating that I would suddenly not have the time to blog because I’d be too busy doing the thing I was supposed to be writing about! 

Between renovating and managing a crazy work schedule our social lives have disappeared into dust (perhaps that’s why there’s so much of it on my floor!) and the renovating itself has becoming an all encompassing being which invades my personal life, dinner conversations and relationship! However, every story has an end! And we are quickly approaching a foreseeable end – for the bathroom and laundry at least! 

In recent weeks, walls were installed and tiles laid so it’s been all systems go on the exciting times but not without a hiccup or two. 

So, I took a week off work after the walls went up to open the house for the tiler and plod around painting and doing other odd bits and bobs. On day two our tiler, a delightfully polite man of afghani descent with a love of tim tams (a pack a day!) and cans of V Energy drink, (politely) informs me after trying to tile the wall in the delicious but painfully small subway tiles I have chosen that the walls are too bowed to lay them and that the walls need to come down, be packed and reinstalled. You can imagine my dismay and absolute desperation to know how much work this could possible be, how much of a delay this could cause to our potential move in date and how seriously out of my depth I am to deal with such a dilemma! 

Thankfully, a team of problem solvers consisting of plaster, tiler and boy all came together to find a practical and reasonable solution to the wall debacle! With some additional gyprock sheets, base coat and some talented plastering magic, the problem was solvered – as they say – and things were back on track! 

Our poor tiler was very patient in the laying of the delicately small tiles and finicky patterns (because the mood board doesn’t exactly explain to you just how labour intensive the look you have your heart set on might be!). I have a feeling that when his wife asked ‘how was your day today?’ at dinner time each evening that he’d happily tell her that he was at the shittest job he’d ever done! Oops! 

Our second mistake in this same week was to underestimate the length of time it would take to tile said ridiculously small tiles. Almost two full weeks were taken to screed, waterproof, tile floors and walls to the ceiling, grout and silicone. 

But boy, was that two weeks worth it! 

 Who doesn’t love a checkered floor?   

Welcome to the open shower on the left and the proposed vanity on the right. How gorgeous are those tiles?!  What we have ended up with is beyond our wildest dreams. It looks beautiful and more stunning than I could have ever imagined! I’m ecstatic with the end result and once fittings and fixtures are installed, we really will have something special! 

So, don’t sweat the small stuff! Everything can be fixed one way or another. And if you have a vision, don’t compromise. The end result will definitely be worth it! 

Its all about the little things

Over the last six weeks of renovating there has been a lot to learn, a lot to do and a lot to be thankful for.

Part and parcel of the renovating journey is the unexpected ‘pop by’. We have been arriving to the house bright and early on Saturday mornings, staying Saturday night and working the entire way through the weekend to meet our July move in deadline to find ourselves constantly surprised by friends and family popping in to say hello. Many are in the area and wanting to check up on the progress, some are there to lend a much needed helping hand, some it seems like a cuppa and a chat and some… well.. I’m not quite sure.

It is easy to think of these pop by’s as an inconvenience. You just get on a roll hand-painting the decorative cornices (and by roll, I mean your brain finally switches off and you’re on autopilot because its such a mind numbing task!) and someone stops in and wants to chat.

However, its not an inconvenience at all. We have remarked time and time again over the last few weeks how grateful we are to have our friends and family want to stop by and check in on us.

Whether its to stop past and offer advice and ideas on how things should be done (some advice is definitely more helpful than others), or just to drop by to offer your congratulations, we could not be more thankful.

A couple of things have really warmed our hearts over the last couple of weeks and for those of you who know someone renovating, this is your chance to take notes!

Do:

  • Ring with the offer of dinner at 7pm at night because you know that said renovating couple have been beavering away since 7am that morning. This has actually happened to us a couple of times, by different friends and words cannot even explain the joy your tired body feels not having to go to the dodgy IGA up the road to conjure up something for dinner.
  • Stop past on your way out with bottle of wine in congratulations and send a follow up text offering great ideas about the layout of a new kitchen because ‘I’ve been thinking about you and your renovation’.
  • Pop by on a Saturday night for a alcoholic beverage or two (usually a red wine or a port to fight the freezing temperature of this house!) to distract us for a little while, catch up and make us feel like we have taken a break for a short while in our weekend before Monday morning rears its head!
  • Jump the fence to drop off power tools whilst trying not to get caught by the neighbours because you know that the things you are dropping off are going to make particular jobs just a little bit easier.

Dont, however:

  • Walk inside a place currently being renovated to say ‘Wow, there’s so much work to do!’, ‘You’ll be busy for a while!’ or any other comment which is directly related to how many days, months or years we are going to be using up our weekends to complete this project.
  • Make note (out loud) about the amount of dust or plaster on the jarrah floorboards inside the house or how dirty the floor is. Trust me, it doesn’t matter how many times you sweep or mop, those bastard dust particles will appear.

So, if you know someone who is renovating but you think you’re inconveniencing them by stopping by, know that they’d probably appreciate the visit. We like showing off our progress to you as much as you love seeing it.

Not to mention, there is always time for another coffee.

The big (and expensive) decisions – tiles and doors

Last weekend we set off on a mission to purchase the doors and tiles for the newly renovated bathroom and laundry. Now, if you cast your mind back many blog posts ago to my research on tiles specifically, you might remember my shock at the cost of replacing the mosaic pattern tile which was featured in the existing bathroom. Over the weeks since that blog post we have um-ed and ah-ed about the prospect of forking out over $100 a square metre for these tiles. I have surveyed family, friends and work colleagues and with no firm decision about what to do, I jumped in the car with dad armed with my bank card and measurements to make these purchases.

 Remember these tiles?

My first stop was a local, family owned tile shop in the southern suburbs of Perth. Though polite, I wouldn’t have rated our store assistant in the highest category on the customer service scale. I began by explaining the vintage of our cottage and the look were trying to achieve and basically was told to visit what seems to be the only period tile shop in Perth. Before insisting we head somewhere else, she did (unenthusiastically) show us the same style of mosaic tile as mentioned above at double the price I had seen it at that period tile shop. Very helpful.

The second shop on our list was a recommendation from a friend on Facebook who had told me to visit a particular store saying that they had a great range of tiles and that the store was beautiful. Now, how beautiful can a tile store really get? Let me tell you! Dad and I pulled up at a store featuring a mesh steel facade in to a car park which only featured cars made by high end european car companies. I turned to dad and said, ‘Something tells me that this isn’t our tile shop!’.

See the lesson here is two fold. 1) Always listen to a personal recommendation because word of mouth is truly the best source and 2) never judge a book by its cover.

Hesitantly, we went inside and were overwhelmed by the beauty and range of tiles on show. This store really does take the term ’tile showroom’ to a whole new level. Sales assistants who are as knowledgeable as they are beautiful, walk around immaculately dressed and in high heels putting dad and I in our steel cap boots and painting overalls to shame! We were blown away. In recent weeks I have visited countless tile stores and never have I seen decorative tiles, stylish mosaics, colourful timber look tiles and extra large porcelain marble look tiles like these.

Still unsure about whether I was going to find the tiles I needed, I made my way to the back of the store to a ‘sale’ section like you might find in any clothing boutique. I scanned that sale wall to suddenly realise that all my Christmases were coming at once. Beaming with excitement, I took a closer look at the perfect 200x200mm black and white matte floor tiles, which would suit my space perfectly, and found them discontinued and on sale for $20 a square meter. What’s that you say? $308 to tile my entire bathroom and laundry floor – that sounds like winning to me.

The wins didn’t end there either. Whilst on the way to another tile store, we stopped on a whim past a store with signs out to say ‘end of year financial sale’. I was delighted to find the perfect 150x75mm white gloss subway tiles down from $137 a square meter to $40 a square meter. After a quick call to the boy and a hesitant ‘just buy them!’, I bought both the floor and wall tiles that almost every store said we wouldn’t be able to find because they’d been discontinued, for $1400. Tiles under budget – tick!

 The style we have decided on. 

The doors are a little less noteworthy but still worth a small mention. I’m not sure what I was expecting but my god, are doors expensive! We’re using the the existing antique jarrah door as the entry to the laundry. This means there are three doors left to purchase; the bathroom door, the sleepout door and the external backdoor. I’ve decided on two barn-esk doors for the internal doors and a traditional panelled backdoor with a frosted glass panel, for the addition of some extra light, in the laundry. Two stores later and $800 out of pocket, we have three doors. Pictured below, they’ll fit perfectly with the style we’re setting out to achieve once painted in gloss white and featuring heavy chrome antique handles.

Internal barn-esk doors   
External laundry door 


Want to visit those tile stores?

Glory box delights

The boy sold his apartment fully furnished and given that we had only acquired things in the last couple of months meant that we only had a handful of things to move. Or so we thought! 

With a thrifty truck hired and a friend and dad in tow to do the moving, we were ready to stop inconveniencing people all over Perth who had kindly looked after our belongings over the last few months. I waited eagerly at the house for the boys to arrive with a truck full of goodies, ready to unpack and for a house to feel a little more like home. (The truth is, this truck meant a fridge, kettle, cups, plates, a toaster, pots and pans – all of the things to make overnight sleepovers a little more comfortable!). 

However, when that truck arrived and the door flung open, I was a little bit confused by the number of boxes inside. How had we acquired so much stuff? 

Now for those of you who have European friends you might know a little something about a glory box. Traditionally prepared by your parents as a gift for you when you move out for the first time, you could think of it as a kickstart to your new life with the foundations and essentials for everyday life as an adult. Think blankets, tea towels, a cultery set, other bric-a-brac, etc. The stuff you know you need when you move out of home but would never be sensible enough to acquire before actually moving out.  However, apparently my mum had mistaken the glory ‘box’ for ‘boxes’. 

In that truck contained the gifts from my very own glory box(s), collected over the best part of a decade. My thoughtful, organised, wonderful, Portuguese mother had collected and stored TWELVE large sized cardboard boxes filled with treasures for the kitchen and linen cupboard. She had even labeled every single box with a thorough description of their contents! 

Treasures inside included Pyrex dishes, serving bowls, Tupperware, a pot set, steak knives, designer curlery sets, porcelain mugs, crystal vases, glasses of every description including port glasses, martini glasses, shot glasses and two sorts or red wine glasses (glasses are not indicative of our drinking behaviors, I promise!) and the list goes on! 

Collecting these bits and pieces over such a long period of time cannot have been easy and though a few pieces have dated and there are double and triple ups of a few things (she’d forgotten what she’d purchased over the years!) we are absolutely indebted to her for such a special gift. It hasn’t just kickstarted our lives in our new home but has sent us running in the right direction and saved us a significant amount of stress and money. 

I hope this is something we are in a position to do for our children so that they too may sit in their kitchens and feel the excitement of opening a box to find a jaffle maker (sandwich toaster) inside! 

Don’t you wish your mum was this good? I know you’re jealous! 

First time sleepovers

Like any time you purchase something new, you wait with baited breath until you can unwrap the packaging and use with enthusiasm whatever is inside. Buying this house is no different, except for the fact that between getting keys and moving in, there’s a shit load of work to be done!

Last week marked our two year anniversary of being together. This time, two years ago, I would have never imagined that we would be where we are now or undertaking a project together of this size. However, it’s been a wirl wind couple of years and we are proud as punch to be where we are. 

To mark this special occasion, I was surprised to find the main bedroom of our beautiful cottage transformed in to a candle lit retreat, complete with blow up matters dressed up in new linen I had bought for the house and the bench seat from our verandah lined with blankets as a spot to drink champagne. (Look ladies, he’s not bad!). 

Since then we have stayed a couple of more times at the house in our makeshift bedroom. Though, to say it’s been a piece of cake, is a lie. People have asked us why we aren’t staying in the house while renovating it and the fact is that living in a house with no shower, storing food in eskys and living on a diet consisting of meals which can only be cooked on a bbq (not to mention camping out on the floor to eat your meal in your furniture-less home!) is no ones idea of fun! 

But hey, it’s all part of the bigger picture as our friend Colin Barnett would say. So if sleepovers mean leaving the house in the wee hours of the morning in your track pants and brown leather business shoes (because you forgot any other type of footwear) to get in to work early for a shower before anyone sees you, then that’s what has to be done. …and yes, that did happen!   

Our makeshift bedroom on night one 

Camping out on your bedroom floor, now this is living! 

Let the demolition begin!

On the reality television show The Block there is always one person in the team in charge of design whilst the other is the project manager. In our very own version of The Block, I have coined myself the design visionary whilst the project managing of trades, quotes and timelines has definitely been left to the expertise of my very lucky other half. Therefore, when it came to demolishing, this was definitely a him job and not a me job!

Last week we marked the official beginning of our renovation with the demolition. It can be the scariest part of a renovation because it doesn’t matter to what extent you have done your homework on a particular property before purchase, there really is no telling what is actually there (or hidden!) until you begin to tear the place apart. 

For the cottage there were a couple of large concerns. The sections of the place that we are renovating are additions which possibly contain both asbestos and lead paint so, safety is a major concern. Additionally, we were unsure what actually lay underneath the floors in the bathroom, laundry and sleepout. Was it concrete? Or concrete sheet on top of timber joists? And we’re the terribly dodgy floating floors on the sleepout hiding something worse underneath? 

The demolition itself has revealed a number of surprises which are not all good ones. Underneath those terrible floating floors is a timber floor which appears the be a part of the original verandah.. Good surprise! However, a rotting timber base joist holding up the walls in the bathroom.. Not such a great surprise! We did of course expect that there were going to be things that we couldn’t see and we are thankful that things aren’t worse. 

With the muchly appreciated help of a friend our bathroom and laundry have almost completed gutted in three days. We’ve had to remove a poorly assembled concrete floor in the bathroom but have been able to leave the laundrys concrete floor in tact. We’ve also torn down the wall between the laundry and the sleepout to reposition it and accommodate a small linen closet. 

With the plumbing rerouted and electrical points terminated the next step is to replace those naughty rotting timbers with new ones and cement the floor in the bathroom. A job for next week!

 Current view of the bathroom   
Inside our newly demolished bathroom  

View in to the laundry from the sleepout  

View in to the sleepout from the laundry 

Indian Inspiration

Whilst recently away losing ourselves in the thick of the ‘country of colour’, India, that beautiful little cottage waiting for us with all of the fun and games of renovating wasn’t far from our minds.

Even before we went on leave, the boy had decided that he was going to take an extra week off from work after our amazing Indian adventure to get stuck in straight away on the demolition stage of our reno. Given that we had been given our keys on the Thursday and flew out in the wee hours of the Saturday morning, there was basically no time to do much more than make the place secure while nobody was there.

India has given us inspiration a plenty. It’s use of colour, silks, marble and all things decadent are truly unique. Anyone who has travelled to this wonderful country would know that the Indians definitely do not do things in halves! What I learnt in India was that you can never judge a book by its cover because the run down facade of a building may not indicate the true beauty of the amazing interior which is waiting for you behind the front doors.

We managed to fill our backpacks while in India with too many souvenirs, as you do on holidays, of which most were for the house. We bought Ganesha statues (in both camel bone and bronze!) for luck and prosperity, masala chai tea (because there is nothing quite like welcoming someone with a beautiful cup of sweet chai) and pop-art inspired street art of India culture (picture very bright turbans in an Andy Warhol-esk theme).

For me though, our best buys were in Varanasi. Varanasi silk, or so I am told, is some of the best in the world. While on tour in this chaotic and mesmerising city, we toured through the small and winding back alleys to find entire sections of the city devoted to silks. We watched as men and women worked one thread at a time to create what can only be described as pieces of art work in the form of scarves, sarees, shalls, bedspreads and throw rugs. We were invited in to a wholesaling business of silks from this area and were shown through some of the most brightly coloured and softest creations I have ever had the chance to see and touch.

We just couldn’t help ourselves. We weren’t leaving without a few of these beautiful and timeless pieces. I purchased a earthy, natural coloured raw silk throw which has hints of orange and green (two of my absolute favourite colours, particularly together). The seller assured me that I was making a justified purchase because this type of silk is affectionately termed the ‘Mahatma Gandhi silk’ after his original profession as a raw silk weaver. Now, I’m not sure if this is in fact a little fib or not, but it was too late, I had already fallen in love. The boy also decided to splash out and purchase a ‘handmade with love over 90 days’ bedspread in a pastel shade of green – just gorgeous.

Raw Silk _ Honey Rust418

An example of a raw silk throw for reference

So once the renovations are finished and we get around to unpacking what we have collected, we will look around and be reminded of the Indian adventure that was. We will remember a beautiful country of endless sunsets, searing hot days and a life changing experience that we wish we could do all over again. I hope that our home reflects all of our adventures together and celebrates where we have been and where we are yet to go!

Some photos of our Indian adventure

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The colours of Jaipur

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The wonders of the holy city of Varanasi

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My favourite – the city of Delhi

It’s crunch time!

Whilst we’ve got off to a slow start, things have kicked off with titles for the land (finally) being issued on Tuesday. With titles in hand, this means we can finally set a settlement date and its crunch time with the decision making. Now, you would think that, seeings as we’ve had so much time, decisions would be made… right?! Wrong. I always wondered why parents-to-be had such a hard time deciding on a name of their beloved newborn despite the fact they’ve got nine full months to make a choice. However, as it turns out, the more thinking time that you have, the harder it becomes to make a decision it seems.

So, where are we at? Well, as you know, washstand, basin and tapware have all been purchased. Though, decisions had yet to be made on tiles, toilet, shaving cabinet/mirror, shelving and lighting. As you can see, there is still a fair amount of work which needs to be done! (Not to mention all of the smaller things like waste, ventilation, power points and switches!)

The boy and I decided to start with the tiles first. Given that this is such a large part of the feel and aesthetic of the room, it makes sense that the tile choice will largely set the scene for the entire room. The look we are setting out to achieve is heritage but with a modern twist. One might assume that given the sudden trend of all things vintage and retro, that achieving this sort of look shouldn’t be too difficult. The reality is that anything with the label heritage, victorian, period or edwardian suddenly inherits a silly price tag.

We initially set out on a mission to find flat, white, gloss subway wall tiles and black and white floor tiles as depicted in the picture below. Surely, they’d be easy to find right? I mean step in to any nanna’s bathroom predating the 1960’s and you are sure to find them! The subway tiles are of course on-trend and readily available at any of the major tile retailers for a little over $20/sqm. The floor tiles however, are another kettle of fish. As it turns out, there is only one tiny and delightful showroom specialising in this era of tile in Perth and sure, we can order them in but… wait for it. Are you sitting? *Cue the minor heart attack!* They cost almost $100/sqm. Furthermore, if you think that you fancy one of those border tiles featured three quarters of the way up the wall in the photo below, then you better have a deep pocket because those little guys will send you back $16/tile.

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Black and White Dot Tile

Now, now. I can appreciate the workmanship that these tiles represent and the authenticity of having them handmade. I also understand that tiles bought off the shelf aren’t necessarily the right size or colour when compared to the actual tiles of that vintage. However, the aim isn’t to recreate the past or for it to be historically accurate. It’s to update the space, for the space to be functional but beautiful and for the space to have kept some of it’s heritage feel and charm. Most importantly, I don’t have an infinite budget and (unfortunately) I cant be blowing my entire budget because I fell in love with a tile and tile shop!

Fortunately for us, the other type of floor tile which keeps regularly coming up on our mood board is a simple black and white checker. Again, though it would be nice to have 150x150mm tiles, as history would tell us this is the correct size, we have decided on 200x200mm matte black and white tiles which are again, readily available at any major tile warehouse. To complete the look, we have also decided to run a black border around the base of the wall in a black subway tile and just like that, tiles are done!

IMG_7402

Bathroom inspiration – featuring checkered floor tiles and subway wall tiles

Sometimes, less choice is better. This was certainly the case with our choice in toilet. The lovely lady at Reece Plumbing let us know that unfortunately, high level toilet cisterns no longer adhere to plumbing standards and therefore, are no longer on sale. Well, that crosses that off the list! In addition, one of the few manufacturers of federation style toilets left in Australia is Caroma and essentially they do one type. Decision made then! And just like that, $1,100 later (I told you – anything with ‘federation’ in the label automatically warrants a 100% price hike!) we have a toilet specially ordered from Bunnings.

Strangely, lighting has been the source of the more heated discussion between myself and the boy. Choice is overwhelming and it is such a large factor deciding the functionality of the space. No one likes being in a dimly lit space particularly in your everyday bathroom where you need to shave, pluck your eyebrows and put on your make up. (I wear glasses for gods sake!). However, at the opposite end of the scale, no one wants to spend time in that bathroom where the lighting shows every fine line, crease, crevice and dimple! With this in mind, we have chosen down lights in the ceiling in white, so that they blend in and aren’t a feature in themselves. We have also decided on black pendant lighting for above the vanity. (Position and number of lights are still TBC).

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Mechanics 1 Cage Pendant Light from Beacon Lighting

Speaking of which, the decision about what we are going to hang above the vanity is the last of the big decisions to make. Though I love the idea of having a big silver statement mirror, I am quite conscious of the lack of storage. Considering too, that storage is an issue that we will have across the whole house, coupled with the fact that the washstand isn’t an adequate storage space, I am inclined to suck it up and purchase a mirrored cabinet or shaving cabinet. Though we have agreed to place shelves in the space above the toilet (picture woven wooden boxes with towels in them) I do think that a shaving cabinet is the only logical solution for the storage of every day items like toothbrushes, perfume, etc.

When looking for a shaving cabinet, don’t be disheartened by what you see on the shelf. On offer, by way of shaving cabinets at the major home improvement stores, appears to be nothing more than white boxes with mirrored doors which lack imagination or creativity. However, stores like Reece do provide a special orders service. So it’s definitely worthwhile seeing which manufacturers these stores stock and getting on their websites or contacting them directly to have a look at the range of products offered by particular manufacturers. As it turns out, these manufacturers make products which are much more exciting than their basic sister models stocked in-store and lets be honest, if you really cant find what you are after, then it may be time to call in a professional to custom make what you are after. For instance, I’ve managed to find this lovely little thing which will work beautifully in our space and tie together the vanity, basin and tiles. Best thing is, it can be made in a range of sizes ranging from 450mm to 1800mm! Finally things seem to be coming together.

Reflect-T2-Cabinet-for-banner

The Rifco ‘Reflect T2’ – available for special order at Reece Plumbing

So, with the big decisions made it’s almost time for the fun to begin! Bring on the next couple of weeks!