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.

We’re off and running

This weekend was the Western Australian Day long weekend but instead of having a relaxing weekend celebrating the beautiful state that we live in, the house was a flurry of activity. 

Remember those naughty rotting timbers? Well, thanks to the help of a super handy brother/brother in law we have removed them and put a concrete footing it its place. 

After much um-ing and ah-ing we also made a decision to remove the timber cladding in the sleepout which would have once formed the external wall to the house. In cementing in the new footing in the bathroom, timber cladding on the outside of the house has had to have been removed because, as in many instances with houses of the age that ours is, homeowners over the years have patched the outside timbers where holes have been made. The timber cladding from inside the sleepout can now be recycled and used on the outside of the bathroom to give that wall a fresh new look whilst the walls in the sleepout can be nice and flat to match walls in the adjacent laundry and bathroom. A win, win! 

Another handy brother/brother in law was also able to reroute our television aerial and phone line cables to accommodate our plans to make the front room with the fireplace our bedroom and the other front room the loung room. Thank goodness for handy family members, even if they choose to proudly pass you a bag containing a rat found in the roof which looked like it had been dead for longer than house had existed (and affectionately calling it Rodney!). Ugh. 

We also decided to move our furniture in this weekend which has made a hell of a lot of difference in the comfort of staying there overnight. Finally, eskys are made redundant by a beautiful new stainless steel fridge and the barbecue may be less used now we have pots and pans. 

I also began the tedious task of sanding and priming our soon to be bedroom. However, this and other stories must be left for another day. Some action and progress pictures below until then.

Ornate cornices – beautiful until you try to prime them!  
The fun of unpacking. 

 

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! 

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.

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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!

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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.

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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!

Tapware Fit for a DIY King and Queen…

Whilst the waiting game for settlement is still being played, now is the time for us to turn our painting tape designs on the floor in to a reality. The boy took the draftsman to the house to measure the bathroom, laundry and sleep out spaces accurately to have our winning design from two posts ago turned in to something legible to a tradesperson.

In the meantime, we have been on the hunt to find the perfect tapware. There is a lesson to be learnt in this blog post which as a rookie, was bound to happen. As you know, we’ve been flicking through a ridiculous number of home and bathroom magazines, creating mood boards and piecing together our ideas. In the search for ideas I noted that all of the tapware I was cutting out and pinning to my mood board was from the same company. So with this in mind I set out to find local stockists of said tapware here in Perth.

Unfortunately, we aren’t as spoilt for choice here in WA as they are in some of the eastern states when it comes to shopping around for this sort of thing! However, there are two local stockists for this particular brand (or so the website says!).

So, off we set one Saturday out to Midland to find the perfect tapware, Given that we have a character home, we are on the hunt for chrome Federation or Victorian styled pieces. We had decided that we preferred lever tap handles and that the shower set needed to have a hand-held shower as well as a drop down given there’s theres no room for a bath in the tiny space and our future may or may not include little humans. I was filled with anticipation, particularly because apart from thinking about it, this was the first actual purchasing we were going to be doing! We drive the 40 minutes out there, chatting with excitement, product codes and product pictures in hand to realise… the stockist had closed twelve months ago.

Never mind! Remember that there is two stockists in Perth, perhaps we’ll have more luck with the second store. On his lunch break I send the boy to the store in the hunt for this tapware specifically. He walks in the front door that afternoon and hands me a product brochure with handwritten dollar amounts besides the products we had marked. Put simply, I had sent the boy in a store not knowing that the prices of the tapware I had been lusting over for weeks would cost almost the same price as my car! I asked him ‘how did you respond!?’ and his response was this:

I had to pretend like I was fine with it but I literally had to try not to sweat bullets when reading what the guy was writing down. I kept thinking to myself, I wonder if he’s going to charge me just for asking!’

They had quoted us almost $3,000 for the toilet, $2,835 for the shower set and over $1,000 for the basin tap set with additional charges for the handles that we preferred. Like any woman, I know that style (and good style at that!) is worth its price tag. However, this just simply isn’t in our budget. The lesson learnt is, they don’t quote the prices in magazines for a reason! They want to suck you in, make you fall in love and make an emotional purchase that your heart loves and your wallet does not! The save in grace in this situation was that the laziness of the shop assistant meant that there was no followup the next day as promised and the boy never had to provide an explanation (perhaps his acting wasn’t as good as he thought!).

In compromise, we have hunted around and found a company which creates similarly themed products without the hefty price tag. Don’t get me wrong, we aren’t being cheap with out tapware at all but the Bastow range which can be purchased at Reece Plumbing, and in part at Bunnings, ticks the boxes for us. It is beautiful, elegant and suits our theme perfectly. It also comes with a 7 year warranty which says it all really.

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Tapware from the Bastow range thanks to Reece Plumbing

So, its done! For about $2,800 we’ve purchased the shower set, basin set, the basin its self and the laundry mixer tap. The next steps are to send the dimensions of these products off to the draftsman for him to pencil in to our plans, choose a toilet and meet with the cabinetmaker to have him draw up our vanity, matching shaving cabinet and laundry cupboards. Slowly, the dreams are coming to life!

Mood Boards and Style Inspiration

Despite falling in love on first inspection, it was very clear that the breezy, light-filled cottage that we had purchased would require a lot of love and therefore, a lot of cash too. It was evident that walls would need to be patched and painted (and in some instances replaced), areas outside would need to be repaved, soak wells installed, the kitchen replaced and that most importantly, a new bathroom would need to be fitted.

We very quickly decided that the bathroom would be the first space we would try and tackle for one main reason. The thought of living without a bathroom scares me. I have this image of me showering outside whilst trying to cover my private parts from the construction workers building the two storey town house on the rear block next door – no thank you! So provisions were made and a budget was devised to renovate a bathroom in the first few weeks of possession and to have it done before we would consider moving in.

Settlement, because of the issuing of new titles for the cottage and its newly subdivided rear-block, has of course been delayed which has allowed us to thoroughly research every aspect of the renovation and decide on floor plans, budgets, style inspiration and make some decisions. Ultimately, we have a 2m x 2.4m square box to work with in which we have to somehow fit a vanity, toilet and shower. Say whhhattt!

What we have to work with:

GrandProm11I decided (much to the boys disgust!) to create a mood board to visually represent the look and feel of the bathroom we are aspiring to create. I have trawled and cut my way through what seems like every bathroom and home renovating magazine on sale in Western Australia. In creating my mood board as well, I have analysed various options in layouts for this tiny space.

Tools like the ‘Reece 3D Bathroom Planner’ (see http://www.reece.com.au/bathrooms/3d-bathroom-planner) have made this exceptionally easy to see how average sized baths, showers, toilets and vanities might fit snuggly in to this space. We have toyed with various options, such a keeping the plumbing as it is and completely moving it around. Though nothing was more telling than actually mapping out the design on the floor.

I’d recommend this as a part of anyone’s design journey. Do yourself a favour by going to Bunnings, buying some of that blue paper tape (usually used for painting) and map out any design you are considering on the floor. There was no better indication of the functionality of this space than ‘sitting’ in the design and there is nothing more important than functionality.

Failed layout design number 1 (out of at least 20!)

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So, after about twenty failed attempts at designing our bathroom we finally have a layout which we are happy with and which is functional. We’ve chosen this particular layout to accommodate a simple open frameless shower screen, a decent (1m wide) vanity and as to avoid seeing the crapper as you enter the door (a rookie error for newbie renovators – or so I’m told!).

The winning design!

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The plan is to create a functional but beautiful space with touches of old world charm in a modern setting and the mood board has been a great tool in coming to a joint decision on some of the key elements of our planned renovation.

So get printing, cutting and imagining and use all of the style inspiration that you find on various websites, in magazines and in your creative juices to create a mood board which represents you and your space.

Ta da! My very own mood board.

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