Tuesday, May 28, 2013

new home essentials

The whole painfully long (for us!) househunt has had its advantages. It gave Steve and I WAY too much time to think about what we'd like our next place to look like and things we'd like to include. I'm forever dreaming of us in a made-up space that looks so incredible. We're all dressed in floaty summer clothes, our hair seems lighter, we're always laughing and doing lovely homely, fun things together and lounging around the beautiful garden in an endless summer. Hey, it's my imagination... Now if only I can make it a reality.
Here was our priority list for the house:

+ It needs to be close to the water - because we can't not have that lifestyle now. Tick! Across the road.
+ Size not important as long as there's room to extend to our liking - but we do need to live there in the meantime, so it can't be a one-bedroom shed (wouldn't that be cosy?!). Tick! A 3 bedder with a self-contained cabin.
+ The block needs to be sunny most of the day. Tick! 
+ Ideally it'll have high ceilings (tick!), original timber windows (cross. Boo - ugly 80s aluminium), floorboards (tick!) and some established trees or greenery (cross. Boo again. The back and front yards are barren. I hate it, but I guess we can just think of it as a blank canvas...

And the interior/designy elements we'd like our place to have? Let's get onto the good stuff: pretty inspirational pics...

Light floors
Not white, but light. That kinda lime/white-washed style where you can see the grain through the colour. If I could afford it, I'd install wide-plank Dinesen Douglas Fir Oak floors in snap, but I have a feeling they'll be beyond our budget. So I'm going to have to research the best way to get the lye finish on whatever timber we have. Mafi have a nice-looking wash but I don't think the actual product is available to the public to use on any old timber. Another alternative is Porter's Paints Woodwash - Kara Rosenlund has had great success with hers (bottom three images, above) and has some great tips on her site which I will be following when the time comes. I've had white floors, I've had black floors and I've had that typical yellow lacquered pine. I've always wanted that Scandinavian style with the grain of the wood gently coming through a casual (in look only - getting the look appears to be quite the process) wipe of whitewash, so now is the time to try it. I'll give it a whirl in the bedroom first - any imperfections can be hidden by the bed, right?! Might be time to invest in a new orbital - I think our old one might be close to power tool heaven...

Pretty windows & doors
At the risk of offending most of the country, I have issues with aluminium windows. You know the cheap nasty ones that replaced all those beautiful timber ones in the 70s and 80s (or maybe before. I just assume all ugly things were done in the 80s). Today's aluminium is fine, but the old stuff? Ugh. Well of course that's what we have in our new place - the old ugly stuff. To me, windows and doors are a big deal - even the plainest red-brick cube would look instantly better if it has nice panel windows. So it'll be out with the aluminium, and in with nicer timber - three hinged panel doors in the front living room and two or three sets of French doors in the extension, similar to the ones I fell in love with on Mokkasin blog, top of picture, above (I've fallen in love with everything on that blog - it's gorgeous). I have yet to find a 21-panel door like Mokkasin, but I did manage to find a 15-light door from Crown Doors which I think will be perfect. We also had our hearts set on a serving window from the kitchen to outside just as above, but I'm not sure it'll work with our current idea. But it's early days... we'll see. 

Black kitchen cabinets
Well, probably more like a charcoal, not pure black. At this stage, I plan to install another Ikea kitchen. I had no complaints about my old kitchen, and to be honest, I don't get the whole snobbery about Ikea kitchens. They rock. And in my highly investigative research into kitchen cabinetry (!), I've found the base cabinets to be the same - if not better - quality than top-end cabinets. So why pay three times more? Plus, this way, I am thinking I can afford to spend a little more on painting the cabinets a custom colour and installing a nice benchtop (I'm going to look into some samples of Caesarstone London Grey). I was thinking concrete benchtops but I've heard some horror stories and the stone just seems easier to clean. Of course I'll be pairing those lovely charcoal cabinets and super-soft grey with white subway tile and I'm thinking three diamond lights bulbs over the island. I just scored one for my birthday yesterday, so I'll have to stock up on some more plus the fittings (am going for gold at the moment) over the coming months.

Lofts, fireplaces and skylights
For as long as I can remember, Steve has been banging on about having a loft library in our house. I kind of ignored him for the first few years, but I've grown to love the idea. We are planning to extend and build one large living, dining and kitchen room onto the back of our house. We want it to have vaulted ceilings and at one end above the French doors, we'd like to have a little loft library. It won't look as beautiful and quaint as this one (above), but I think it will be a nice feature, extra space and I have always dreamt of a little library space of some sort. Two (or three!) birds, people! Also on the wishlist, skylights (which would look similar to Dana's place from House*Tweaking) to let light flood into the new room - some openable ones like these from The Attic Group would be ideal for a bit of extra air flow. I also dreamt the other night of a fireplace, so then got obsessed with them and found this dreamy fireplace: the FilioFocus available froma Oblica in Melbourne. I'm in love. Am pretty sure it's going to be the most expensive fireplace on the market, but man it's nice. And of course whatever fireplace I get, this incredibly cool fire-wood shelf needs to go with it - it's Oblica's Big O; one part practical, two parts cool.

What else? Oh new roof (swapping the tiles for Colorbond - possibly Shale Grey, Surfmist or Windspray depending on what council regs), weatherboard cladding (going with Linea) painted dark charcoal (Porter's Paints Palm Beach Black would be perfect - not sure if I can use on this kind of cladding though?!), backyard deck, new bathroom, trees and landscaping, high skirting boards, fresh white paint (am thinking just the untinted white. I like my whites to be bright!) and maybe an attic storage space with pull-down ladder. We had one in my house growing up and man it was handy. And that's just the reno stuff. Then there is decorating and that is a whole other series of posts. I can't wait!

So, I guess my love of white, black and grey hasn't disappeared...


  1. Happy Birthday, Belinda!


  2. Gorgeous inspiration pics! Although I'm feeling tired just thinking of all the effort to do it. Would be fun though! :)

  3. I love your plans! How much fun are you having right now, dreaming of all the potential?! I feel very lucky that I get to follow along with your journey.

  4. Amen! Love ALL of this. Happy belated birthday :) xx

  5. I love all of your ideas and style. How exciting is the planning stage? We have just about finished our Reno and am already planning the next house, you have to do it a few times to get it right! I'm looking forward to seeing your place and it all coming together!

  6. Beautifully presented post. Thanks for highlighting this issue. Love it.