A Simone summer

And in Adelaide, this is what it looks like. This stunning photo of my kids and the boy from across the road was taken by my dear friend Simone Hanckel. She took it when doing a shoot for our neighbours, that was supposed to be of THEIR kids, and our kids crashed it and stole the show, as usual! (Don’t worry, my neighbours got amazing shots and their money was not wasted on my kids!) 

She is without a doubt the best photographer of children in Adelaide if not Australia. This photo just won Gold at the Australian Institute of Professional Photographers Awards last week and we were all thrilled! Simone took out the category with a Silver DIstinction and FOUR other Silvers. I was so impressed and proud.

I am honoured to have her to take photos of my kids and she is someone I know will be a close life long friend. We spend hours chatting every week (not to mention shopping) and she has been indescribably helpful with the build. She is always willing and eager to, yet again, go over fine details and muse over ideas or search for the perfect light fitting with me. She has such terrific taste and an ability to help mine to shine too. This renovation would be so much less without her wisdom and thoughtfulness. 

So, in the midst of all the crazy mess, plumbers who just won’t turn up and money streaming out of our pockets, I am filled to the brim with a deep deep feeling of gratitude. For my lovely builder Geoff, for his son known as Superman Brett, for my gorgeous Paul’s endless patience and complaint free dishwashing capacities and last but never least the lovely Simone. 


Fencing fantastic

If you ever wish you had a bigger yard, let me tell you, don’t. Our new fencing experience, while not standard as it’s 2.4m tall, has cost us, wait for it, $8,000. Yes, that is as depressing as it sounds.

We had no real choice as we had to high a massive shed on our neighbours boundary and I wanted to hide all the crap on at the back of the block. Once brief discussion with the kids agreed that chooks would indeed be far greater than the trampoline they haven’t used since a month after they bought it. SO. Looking for a barely used trampoline in the Adelaide area???? Going cheap!! :/

I am also more than a bit thrilled that we can now get chooks again, and a fruit tree to shade them. Yes, putting gravel down for the chooks, thank you Jansens. We also have four blue poles that we can now install our shade cloth on. YAY! No endless sunscreen applications to swim. It will be something like what you see below…

Brett is of course doing an exceptional job of this, and when it’s all done it will look stunning. The fencing matches the pool coping but will be covered by the lovely plants described last night anyway.

The glass fence will meet here with the shade pole and it will all be seamless. I’ve always read the most important thing in a garden is to make sure the boundaries look good and consistant, so you eye doesn’t go to them as a feature. So, after all that money, at least we will have that. RIGHT?!?!?


Pool plants!

Some of you may know I am a mad keen gardener. It has been painful not only having to give away all my plants prior to the build, but watch what was left be destroyed. 

We are now at the stage with the pool that planning what to plant needs to happen. I have spent a lot of time obsessing about this. I wanted something to cover the HUGE fence we now have (photos to come on another post) and something low that would add colour but not drop stuff in the pool constantly.

Pools are tricky for me. I don’t want it full of bits from the garden all the time, but I also don’t want it to look like a car park. I think the trick is getting deciduous plants with no real seed issues and ever green with large leaves that don’t sink to the bottom easily. 

I have always loved the garden design company Eckersley Garden Architecture. Most of the images here are theirs. Love the warmth and texture in their gardens. They have a lovely rambling feel that is still structured and not chaotic. 

SO. I have chosen a Boston Ivy (Parthenocissus Tricuspidata) for the wall and the stunning Agapanthus Guilfoyle from my favourite nursery Lambley in Victoria. They have a wonderful array of unusual plants most of which are very drought hardy. This Agapanthus they claim to be the King and the best with the darkest blue and longest flowering. The ship anywhere for a flat fee of $9.50, works great for our 20 plants! I think I may have bought them out completely… 

Now before you go mad about the ivy, it’s a relatively gentle creeper. It needs to be pruned once a year and you need to make sure that it’s planted somewhere that you want it to be permanently and not on a house. I’ve done HEAPS of research including an essay by a guy who wrote his PhD about this. Relax. It will be fine. :)

I have ordered the plants, they will arrive from Victoria next week, perfect timing for the pool tilers to be finished!!

OMG. I will be SWIMMING SOON!!!!!!!!!!


Wonderful white

The hard (or ‘wet’ plaster as it’s also called) is done. It was SO time consuming, took more than two weeks.

The mess was insane. The entire house has been daily covered in a fine mist of plaster powder. Also, the plasterers themselves were very odd. Very quiet when I was there, then, they would bicker like children fighting over a toy! Totally bizarre! 

SO happy it’s done. Floors go down this week, then ceiling! The fence is also happening, I’ll post pics of that soon too. We’ve also got the pool being tiled on wednesday!!! OMG. Yes. I’m excited. Good times!!


Plaster, Pool and Perfection


We have had some fun here over the last week. We have plaster on the walls, which makes the rooms ENORMOUS! Which I’m pretty thrilled about. It also tidies it all up, no more miss matched bricks. Image above is the dining on the left, the back door far left, the door to the laundry on the far right, door to the outside on the far far right!

Dining room and back door.

Aaand our first white plaster wall. GORGEOUS! It’s hard and soft at the same time and so smooth and cool. It’s just lovely. SO much nicer than drywall, gyprock. I know we paid more, but given how much more effective it will be at keeping the house cool in summer and warm in winter, it was completely worth it. Couldn’t be happier.


Yes. We have FINALLY made a decision on the tiles. We were going to go with a cement finish (Q-Chrystal) but given we have a massive gum tree in our neighbours side, we have reconsidered and decided to spend a bit more for the fully tiled. The great thing is I get to have exactly the colour I want and it will look AMAZING. After much contemplation and thought and as always the wisdom of the gorgeous Simone, we chose the tile above, and that’s the coping under it. The tile shop has emailed me some photos of this tile in different pools. See below…

It’s called Deep sea blue and it really is lovely. It looks stunning next to the dark coping too. We will be swimming by December!

Although it’s hard to see how that’s going to happen when you see this!

The coping is all done and Brett did a SPECTACULAR job of it. Made the gaps in the slabs of stone really tiny, unlike the standard cm gap. Mitred the corners beautifully too. Also, when he discovered the vile bit of plastic the pool company wanted us to use as the lid to the filter, he was horrified and decided to find a solution. He carefully cut a little stone lid and square around the box, making it accessible, but completely lovely and seamless. Brett rocks.

Oh, and the fact that it’s off centre on one side from the other? Yes, that’s courtesy of the pool company, apparently paying $60k for a pool isn’t enough for it to have a centred filter box!!!

and Perfection

We now have this most amazing light in the afternoon that streams through our new windows all the way up to the hallway, TEN metres away! It makes the entire house glow like a firefly. It’s just lovely and I have had more than one photographer covet it. It’s perfection.

Lovely isn’t it? I may be the luckiest girl in the world… more evidence of that will come in next post.


I’m baaack!

That is the nest our local black bird carefully made in the corner of our reno. That gives you some idea of just how slow it’s been here. We’ve had a good 6 weeks of too much work and not enough progress. We were messed around by a two faced brickie who just flaked out and a lazy sparky who couldn’t quote to save his life. This put us about 3 weeks behind.

I was given the task of moving the nest filled with the most beautiful eggs I’ve ever seen. I was devastated to see they didn’t survive the trip. :( But everyone keeps telling me to get over it as they were just black birds… but… :(

Also, the dishwasher died, so we are doing dishes by hand for the next month until we can get the new (a very painful way of getting rid of $1000) dishwasher into the new kitchen space.

However! We now have a floor, temporary, but good.

I just adore the light in this room, especially in the afternoon. So lovely.

The kids are enjoying the new found room too.

Also, you don’t even want to know why this image below has been part of my life. (old laundry loo, or one half, waiting for plumber)

Oh, and we now have the laundry bricked up and ready. The window and door in. (The window to the right is in the dining room.) Looks great in there, haven’t figure out how to take a good shot of it yet, it’s too small. 

It’s all moving again soon and I’ll post some more images. I’ve had masses of work (two books) with Opera SA to get done and a huge project with Paul, it’s all died down for now, so more updates will happen. Promise.


Bathroom. Actual decisions made.

As some of you may know, I’m not so great at making decisions. Thinking, analysing, considering, researching, fretting, these things I excel at. Decision, and there fore the ending of the afore mentioned activities, are hard for me and stress me out. Mainly because I’m terrified of making the WRONG decision and that I will not be able to live with that mistake. This issue is more pronounced when you are making decisions you can’t changes easily, like, I don’t know, A BATHROOM or TWO!?

Anyhooo… Decisions have been made and frankly, I’m pretty impressed by my ability to do it sans panic attack and with a great sensation of satisfaction upon completion. 

En suite. 

First some inspiration. I wanted something that had a sense of space as we have a long room to fill. I wanted something with space for me to personalize it with things I love, vintage things, flowers, a lovely chair, whatever. The image below was one of the first ones I saw with the idea of an off centred basin. It’s a great way of getting more bench space while still being beautiful.

Ages ago, Carol and I found a most magnificent table in a shop outside of Geelong, for the grand sum of $70 it was mine. I don’t have a photo as it’s stored under a bunch of other stuff. It is 6ft long and 60cm deep. It has lovely turned legs. I am going to strip it back to the wood and put a marble top on it. It will then have a gorgeous basin on top with taps on the wall. See the plan below…

WIth these taps…

And this basin…

The cabinet will be inset into the wall above the basin and there will be a simple light box style light above the cabinet. The cabinet will have several power plugs inside the cabinet itself so we can have the hair dryer plugged in and the all important tooth brushes. I have some great vignettes in mind for the space next to the basin.. it will be beautiful. 

Kids bathroom.

The kids bathroom is going to be fun. I wanted something that didn’t have too much bench space, as they will just fill it with small messy bottles of stuff. I wanted the floor easy to clean, so no pedestals. I wanted them to both have their own space. Some inspiration below…

Ok, ok, I know there are quite a few pedestals in there. But you won’t believe how hard it is to find a large basin that is just a wall basin! They are either tiny or insanely expensive. I found one design that was neither and also lovely. Below the plan. We have the toilet on the left and the shower over the bath on the right…

The kids will each have a 750x750mm in wall cabinet with a light above it and a double power cord. The taps on the wall make for easy cleaning as the basin in just one simple shape then. Oh, the basin, just look at this…

How lovely is that?! I’m thrilled with them, got a great price too as they are being discontinued. Fools. Taps the same as the en suite bathroom.

What do you think?

I’m pretty happy with all my decisions. The best thing is I’ve ordered everything so when the tradie is standing there asking for minute detail I can give it with confidence!

Lots happening this week, more photos of progress soon.


Road trip!

Due to the brickies being busy on another job, and us all waiting on them, I have a few days to kill with not too much work on so….Tomorrow I head off on a quick trip to Melbourne - alone!!

I’m really looking forward to it, gives me some time to think and I love some solitude. I will also be finalising the order from the bathroom people and the tile people.

I’m also hoping to get a few stools for the kitchen I have been coveting for a long time. The Bertoia Bar stool is perfect for the look I’m going for, simple, modern and neutral.

Unfortunately my Mum is living it up in Europe so I can’t drop in and see her. But I’m sure I will amuse myself with plenty of things, I’ll only be there for two nights. Hopefully my clients won’t drop too much on me while I’m there.


Dude! Where’s my pool?

We have had a lovely taste of spring summer weather the last week. It has been a time of pulling out the old summer clothes and looking woefully at the swamp like thing in the back yard we call our pool-to be.

The build is moving along nicely, but frankly I’m over just looking an imaging my pool! FINISH SOMETHING! I feel like shouting at the builders… but alas, there is an order in all these things and I must wait. So for now, some pretty pictures of other people’s pools.


From prettystuff.tumblr.com

From hautemamasfaves.tumblr.com

From thehousehome.tumblr.com

From alifesdesign.blogspot.com

From blessthisstuff.com

From leah-theinsidestory.blogspot.com

From decorno.blogspot.com

From europeanchicdesign.blogspot.com

From sarahklassen.com

The roof, the roof, the roof is finished…

The fact that this post is coming a week after the event, gives you some idea of what my week’s been like. Too much everything and not enough sleep.



And it’s glorious. It was my birthday the day they finished it, it was pretty much the best present I could have asked for (however the gorgeous Cambridge Satchel was a very close second see here: http://www.cambridgesatchel.co.uk/shop/collections/the-batchel).

It took two days from start to finish. The first day was some what terrifying with huge sheets of iron and 3inch nails falling from the sky for hours. Very dangerous, kids and dog kept inside at all times.

They then discovered an issue with some of the trusses, the old ones, that would require replacing. Thankfully we have the greatest builders ever and Geoff called his brother and Brett and they all literally RAN to get if fixed by sundown so the roof could be finished the following day, or we’d have to wait two weeks!

They all worked so hard non stop. They even took that nasty awning off the front of Jo’s room, it was like night and day, the amount of light that thing was stealing is amazing. Her room is transformed. The girls are currently addicted to ‘The Renovators’ so they loved all the action. Jo asked ‘when they do the rood will they zzzit zzzit or puck puck?’ Her way of asking if it will be screwdrivers or nail guns! They are so fascinated by The Renovators that they go crazy with joy just seeing a real live nail gun! Hilarious. 

This shot also shows our new colour ‘Monument” by Solver. It will be used for the gate pillars and the fence and the facia boards. Soon, my life will be sans cream.


I was beyond thrilled by the transformation of the house. Me and the builder were standing out front admiring it for ages, like something from a roofing ad! It was amazing how it make the new extension space seem even bigger! It also assured me that I have put in enough windows given the amount of light in the space before it’s even done. Also, don’t forget, the cream along the side of the house will be transformed back to the original brick work, thanks to Peelaway. 

I was very grateful to all the guys who worked like dogs, and the builder who really pulled out all the stops. It’s great to hear how much they all love working on these old houses, had some great chats and advice about the brick work. They were full of praise and approval for my decision to remove all the paint. At the end of the day I feel very honoured to have such skilled people taking such care over my lovely house…

Life. Is. Great.


Lock up

The steel for the roof was delivered this morning. It looks a disappointingly small pile of steel given the thousands of dollars we’ve paid for it. The roofing man will arrive first thing Thursday morning, and we will be at lock up by Friday night!! Lock up is wonderful because all that’s left is the pretty insides… SO good.

I have been busy painting everything “Solver Monument Grey”. It looks insanely good, I’ve had heaps of comments from neighbours up and down the street. I’ll post pics soon. 


Final paint colour. Final, no, really.

The builder did the “Ok Katie, need the paint, now. No, NOW.” on the weekend. So, all my procrastination about this issue had to actually end and I had to make a decision. I ran to the shop, bought $200 worth of paint, only to decide to go with different colours after I painted a bit.

Anyway. We are going with quite a traditional look, this would have been what the house looked like originally, but with cream instead of dark grey, but we all know what I think about cream so that was never going to happen.

The roof will be unpainted zincalume so that’s the light grey strips you see on the A frame bit of the roof. I wanted a darkish grey roof, but it was this one decision that my husband not only decided to put his foot down (a rare moment indeed) but also decided to put his greenie hat on and insisted on the zincalume for it’s reflective qualities. Given his alternative (that we keep with the original painted heritage green look) I gave him this one victory.

I think it looks great, but it’s only paint so we can always repaint if we change our minds.

I’m going to start painting the fence and stuff this week if I get time… darn clients won’t go away.

Roof goes on THIS WEEK!!!!