Wednesday, January 22, 2014

a renovation update

Gee, surprise, surprise, I've been MIA yet again. But this time I have a good excuse. Our renovations have started! Quite major ones too, really. We've knocked down walls, jackhammered up concrete laundry floors, installed new French doors, planned, bought and half-installed a kitchen, finished a bathroom, sanded and whitewashed floors, painted bedrooms and generally made a complete mess of the place. Well, technically, "we" was limited to the last three things on the list. The rest was done by the professionals. But basically, we've been incredibly busy. Want to see what we're up to now? Check out the progress pics of the last two weeks below...

 This lovely wall was the one separating the living room (pictured) from the kitchen and dining. The weird white patch is my paint sample (Dulux Lexicon quarter strength) I've used throughout the house so far and will continue to do so. Two days before demolition day, we relaxed the "do not draw on walls" rule and let the kids go nuts. They had a ball! Was a little sad to see it sitting at the bottom of the skip bin!
 Day one: skip bin in the driveway (it is STILL THERE!!!!!!), this wall was first to be hit by the hammers. Due to electricity all dangly, the builders wrapped it up in plastic for the night so we didn't get the true effect of the missing wall just yet.

 The other side of the room - the fridge has been moved to the hallway (convenient!) and the glass door to the left of the fridge alcove takes you to the old laundry and a weird little thoroughfare room/closed in verandah we used as a playroom for approximately 2 weeks before it became a storage space for whatever room we were emptying to paint/sand floors in. Now it is all gone.

 Day two: The laundry was ripped out and the poor young apprentices spent a good portion of their day jackhammering the concrete. Not only was it needed to create these lines for the floor trusses, the whole slab was higher than the floor in the kitchen so to continue to floor all the way through (which we wanted to do - cost a bomb more, but so worth it). So it had to be attacked several times to get it to the right height. We left the house that day...

 Other side of the laundry - up until we renovated the bathroom, the bottom left used to be our toilet. SO glad that horrid thing is gone. The white concrete you can see in front of the grey is the floor of the tiny square we called the playroom. Really it was an enclosed verandah and thoroughfare to the backyard. It used to look like this (below) before I ripped up the lino and painted the floor in an attempt to make it half decent for the kids to play in. They didn't get long to do so though as we moved everything forward and it ended up being stacked with wardrobes, shelves and toys with no room to play as we worked on the bedrooms.

Day three: the builders patched the floor (and it was quite a bit of work! I'd never leave the floor like this, but I quite like the patchwork-style of it. As a bit of a novelty.
Right now it's all covered in plaster, but still looks cool. Each piece was individually cut by hand with a small saw, sometimes split in two and then removed. The new piece was cut to size and hammered in on such an angle they could slot it into the pieces beside it. It didn't look easy and took the best part of a whole day...
 We loved having that wall down. It was nice to sit at the table and see outside and watch the sailboats sail past. Note the fridge in the hallway and the bookshelf housing crockery from the pantry.

 The kitchen corner kitchen cabinet was chopped in half and turned into a small galley style. This same length will be half the new kitchen with a huge 3-metre island running parrallel to it in the centre of the room.
 Day four: Bye bye back wall. That light came streaming in once the old back wall was taken away. The ceiling in the playroom was lower than the rest of the house so was also ripped out. We decided to keep the window in the playroom for now - eventually it will replaced with a tall and narrow one, but I'm glad we didn't just seal it up for now. I love my light.

 We had a lovely orange tarp as our back wall for a couple of nights. First night was fine; second night was windy so it flapped all night which was loud and annoying!

 A pulled-back shot from the living room. We can see from front yard to back!

 I've lost count of what day this was... But the doors are in! We changed our minds at the last minute - we were going to go with sliding doors in the centre and fixed panes on either side. But then realised we loved French doors and so went back to our original plan - full light French doors in the centre and two full-light French doors fixed as windows on either side. Our builder built the giant frame and fitted everything in and then they somehow managed to install it into the almost-4-metre gap they created!

 Our kitchen purchase was so simple - I created the room at 1.30am using Ikea's kitchen planner, saved it to their system and went down to Sydney later that day at an actual normal hour hoping it didn't look as though a drunk person had created it. (For the record I wasn't drunk - I don't drink and am pregnant anyway. Just super-tired). I waltzed in, got someone straight away who opened up my plan, helped me make a few tiny additions and subtractions, printed out the list and sent me on my way to the checkout. Last time we bought an Ikea kitchen I paid for it, then had to wait 2 hours for my order to be "picked". Then I had to wheel 5 bloody trolleys laden with kitchen cabinets and fittings to the home delivery counter a few metres away and organised delivery a week later. This time, I paid for it and walked over to the home delivery counter with a massive smile on my face after being told the warehouse will pick it all and deliver it on Saturday - 4 days away. Perfect! And then the perfection ended - I knew it was too good to be true. I had my incredibly convenient (not) time slot of sometime between 8am and 6pm on Saturday. We hung around, went fishing, all the time waiting for the call an hour before they were to deliver it (as promised). I started to wonder if they didn't actually call me and just arrived and when noone was home, left again. At 5pm they called: "Oh I"m sorry, the delivery company stuffed up and it won't be delivered today." Grr. There went my plans to build the cabinets on Sunday... Monday it arrived at 6pm and was stacked in Layla and Immy's room which was empty until I had to empty the cupboards of the old kitchen so it could be ripped out! This is what it looks like now with a few more drawers to build....
 Our new bathroom! I haven't even showed it to you properly yet, have I? Well here is a sneak peek, complete with dirty shower screen. I haven't shown you yet because the finishing touch - painting - has been put on hold until the kids are all back in their proper rooms and the house is kind of back to normal again. Then I'll get onto finishing the bathroom... It's currently being used as our kitchen sink - and will be for another week still...

 Our island is in!!! For as long as I can remember, all I've wanted is a huge kitchen island the kids can eat, play, create, craft and do homework at. I made sure it happened in this house! And because I love the panelled wall in our bedroom, I decided to panel the back and sides of the island too. And by I, I mean our builders of course. They made it super neat and tidy and I can't wait to finish it all off with a coat or two of dark paint... The unattractive hole in the wall has since been patched, but the doors nailed to the opening will remain for another three weeks while my two windows are on order. They will sit on either side of the rangehood.

 A look from the back door to the front. The kitchen cabinets in the living room have since moved into place between the newly created wall for the fridge alcove and the older cut-back wall that was between the kitchen and playroom, below. All the other crap is still in place. Ugh.

I won't even show you what the state of the bedrooms are - put it this way, I packed suitcases  and stored our clothes in the cabin and we are living out of the washing basked in my bedroom for the moment. That washing basket, however, is overflowing and has spillled out all over the floor. Just for fun - and because I have nothing else to do - Immy likes to fling the contents of the basket all around the room. I love her for it...

And there you have it - a pictorial progress report! The plasterer is coming back to sand and make a gigantic mess in the morning (yay!), the electrician comes Thursday and then hopefully the stone benchtop is installed by Wednesday next week. Then it's just up to the plumber to hook everything up and the waiting game of the windows.... I can't wait to see it finished! I absolutely love how much this work has transformed our house. It looks and feels totally different. And I love it all. I'll be back later with a moodboard for the kitchen and another kitchen update.

Oh and HAPPY NEW YEAR! Hope 2014 is your best year yet!

{All images by Belinda Graham for The Happy Home}


  1. Your new kitchen/living area looks like it will be amazing. Looking forward to seeing the end result.

    1. thank you! I can't wait either. If it looks how it looks in my head, I'll be happy! a moodboard coming soon x

  2. Such big progress! I know it still feels like a lot needs to happen, but it's coming together and going to be so so worth it in the end. Hang in there!

    1. I keep telling myself that! hah I also forget that it is much more than a kitchen renovation - we ripped out half our house interior, so a lot of work really! I LOVE it so far, which is always a plus! haha

  3. Wow! Amazing progress and already such a huge difference. The light!!! It looks fantastic... Can't wait to see the finished product :) good luck!

    1. thanks Sarah! Despite the unfinished state it has made an amazing difference - even more than we expected, I think. So once it's all done and painted and everything in, I think I am going to be very pleased! x

  4. Luuuurve how you show exactly how you are living.......we are about to start last phase of reno and not sure where we will fit two rooms that will be gutted hmmmmm this gives me a taste of what's to come and I must say it looks much light and air. Well done, looking forward to next update, Neen ;)

    1. thanks Neen! I do like making pics pretty, but I also like showing the real side. The mess and the chaos - it can be too much seeing perfection and edited life. I like to show a bit of both if possible! Good luck with yours - you will make use of all those spaces you don't think of normally (under the bed/in empty nooks/linen cupboards - everywhere!!). and it's always worth it in the end! x

  5. Wow! The renovation really look so great. The progress is there and you really see the difference. Looking forward for next update.