2016-04-01 08.48.16So, we have had a huge month. We moved house on Good Friday, immediately all got gastro, then a week later I hosted a huge party for my 30th birthday. What a start to the year, amiright? It has been beyond hectic and I feel like things will hopefully start slowing down soon. Or not. My mind is chockers so consider this post a brain dump (I actually hate that term because DUMP is never a good choice of word).

  • Jed is sort of toilet training and is determined to do wees standing up. He is one year old and about three feet tall so it's not really working for him. Cute though.
  • I got my nails done for my birthday and they are this gel stuff, very fancy. I love looking down at them and feeling like a glam grown up.
  • We are all going to Bali in June and I literally own zero hot weather gear, so checked out the Myer sale today and found a pair of cute denim shorts on sale for $19 down from $80. And they were size six. I am not a size six by any means, so thanks Country Road for the positive boost.
  • My car is so insanely messy right now. It is filthy and I am horrified, but clearly not enough to do anything about it.
  • I am loving living here. We have seen rock wallabies and kangaroos in the front yard, a brown snake and heaps of cool little birds.
  • Speaking of snakes, Jed is pretty into snakes and whenever he sees a millipede he's like 'Mum! Snake! Sssssss!' That's all very cute, but yesterday he was up near our washing line (ie literally in the bush with a stunning view of the Dandenongs) and came down and says nonchalantly, "Snake up dere mum." Is is a millipede? Or a freaking tiger snake? We will never know.
  • I am doing quite a bit of writing over at the Creative Women's Circle blog. I love chatting to interesting dames about their creative practices.
  • I have been getting really into meditating using the Headspace program. It's really practical and simple, and doesn't have any of the woo woo shite that some other meditation apps love.
  • I want to do a bit of a reno update post, with pics of our new house, but we all know that it will be a crappy iPhone photoshoot so I'm putting it off. That said, the house is looking mighty fine and I am loving myself sick in this new space.
  • Archie and I spent the day together yesterday and it was ace. We don't get much one on one time so a whole day of library visits, cafe hangs and Legoing was perfect. He is turning out to be such a cool little person.

I think that's all. Now I'm going to watch Broad City and crochet in my dressing gown, like the 30 year old nanna that I am.



A modern, Modernist kitchen

This is my favourite part of a renovation: choosing paint colours, testing materials, selecting hardware and tapware. Because Yarra Yarra has heritage overlays and heritage controls on certain rooms, we are a tad limited with what we can do. This is a good thing, because I reckon that creativity thrives with limitations. Having quite a strict framework makes it much easier! We want to basically replicate the existing kitchen, but with contemporary fittings, a breakfast bar and more drawers than cupboards. Past experience (this is the fourth house we've renovated, eek!) has taught me that drawers are better than cupboards, and to try to fit in as much storage as physically possible in the space. Also, put open shelving somewhere to show off your cute shit. #interiordesigninglikeaboss Untitled design (8) Untitled design (6) Untitled design (7)





^^ These are the existing colours in the house: limewashed hardwood lining boards on all the walls, dusky green window trims and polished boards.

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And these are the new colours we are introducing ^^ We are painting the lining boards in the living room Dulux Rhino Grey, and echoing that with the Laminex benchtop in Midnight, a dark royal blue. The drawers and pantry will be plywood with the handmade steel handles from the original kitchen. Half of the benchtop will be stainless steel, to keep with the retro vibe. The overhead cabinets will have sliding plywood doors, in true 60s style.

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^^ The only other rooms we are painting are the boy's rooms, they are pretty tiny so I want to brighten them up with a big, bright colour. Go bold or go home! Archie is keen on yellow so I'm hunting for that real retro mustardy yellow, with a beachy teal for Jed's room.

On that note, I have been slamming Pinterest pretty hard for inspiration, plus my collection of mid-century furniture and design books.

Here are some faves... click through for sources:




How to handle open for inspections when you have kids

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The auction for our Coburg house is tomorrow. Fingers crossed, y'all, that some megazillionaire comes up and decides to pay a mint for it. Chances are not likely, but I'm staying positive. This is the second house we've sold at auction (we auctioned the Northcote house  and NO ONE BID. Stressful much.), so we have pretty limited experience. We've bought three at auction but they were total dumps - with the exception of Yarra Yarra - so it was a whole other ball game as there were no pretensions about the value of the properties.

That said, I have quite a bit of experience with setting up a house for rental inspections, open for inspections, photoshoots and whatnot. Adding kids to the mix adds a new level of angst to the new process because no potential buyer wants to see a dirty nappy under the couch or unknown smears on the kitchen walls. Also kids = STUFF. There is plenty of other info online about adding value and prepping your house (here, here and here), but here's my top advice cobbled together from the last six weeks of OFIs + watching the Block.

Do one huge clean, then maintain.

We have found it easier to do a humungous deep clean before the first opening, then attempt to maintain that level for the whole campaign. Lee and I both set aside a Saturday morning and did stuff we don't usually do, like clean the skirtings and lights, wipe down walls, wash the windows and sweep the random piles of leaves out from behind the bins. Once that's done, it's much easier to give everything a quick wipe or sweep before each opening.

Get outta the house early.

If you can, try to get out of the house well before the opening. We gave our agent a key so we never have to meet him here before the openings. The main reason is that getting two kids out of the house can be a mission, and you don't want to hold up the opening because someone has lost a shoe or put a cheese stick in the toilet.

Pay attention to the garden and front door.

This a real estate mantra: first impressions count, curb appeal, etc etc. I think it totally makes a difference if you make the entrance and front path area look extra decent, though. Shake out your doormat, yank out the weeds and put a plant next to the front door. Easy.

Don't have a stinky house.

I listened to something the other day about the inventors of Febreze, the cleaning spray that dissolves bad smells. Apparently they thought it would be super-popular but the sales were really low and they didn't know why. They did some more research and realized that people get so used to gross smells that they don't think they have a problem. I have this secret fear that my house smells bad and I am so used to it that I can't tell, so I make sure to take out the bins, clean the toilets and light a magnificent candle before the opening. I sometimes spray lavender oil around, especially if Jed has had a blueberry nappy explosion recently.

Get rid of stuff.

Do a humungous declutter. Pack away anything that is too personal, too weird or too ugly. Make sure your indoor plants don't look too dead, try and hide any annoying cables and leave plenty of open space and clear surfaces. This might mean that your cupboards are bulging, but most people won't open the cupboards. And if they do, they will be punished by the avalanche of random clutter that falls upon them.

Be prepared for random questions.

Things that people have asked our real estate agent about include questions about nearby building developments, the wall colour, whether the deck and pergola have council permits and if the pizza oven is a fixture (because an oven made from 300+ bricks is pretty portable, right?). You will get weird questions. Be prepared for them.


By the time you get to the opening for inspections, it's usually too late to do any big painting or landscaping stuff. The most important thing is that your house looks clean, tidy and appealing. And doesn't smell weird. Good luck!

Demolishing a Boyd

Untitled design Most people spend their Wednesday nights demolishing the ceiling of their new house, right? Approximately 40 minutes after we picked up the keys from the real estate agent, we did a quick inspection then yanked off a Cane-ite ceiling tile. A bug puff of fibreglass insulation mixed with possum poo and fifty-odd years of scum came crashing down. We weren't planning on doing quite so much demolition last night but got slightly carried away. I was wearing sandals and skinny jeans which were not conducive to being covered in layers of itchy fibreglass and softboard splinters, but hey. Safety first, kids.

Untitled design (1)Because each ceiling tile is a slightly different shape, we had to measure them and draw a grid so we can replicate the exact same size with the new tiles. I love the Modernist attention to detail - each room has between four and five rows of tiles, with no weird short bits at the sides because they have all been laid out on a grid. Slightly OCD, yes, but definitely not something you would see in a cookie-cutter suburban development today.

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Anyway, we donned our dusk masks, turned on Johnny Cash and ripped out the ceiling in the living room, dining room and half of the kitchen ceiling. We were on a roll, so started smashing out the old kitchen too. God, it is so gorgeous, but in serious need of an update. We are aiming to get the big, messy jobs done before we actually move in March. So that's demolishing, insulating, wiring and replacing the ceiling, replacing the kitchen, sanding and polishing the floors and plastering the ceiling in the bedrooms and bathrooms. Totally doable for two people in about six weekends, right? Right.

Our house is a J-grade celebrity

IMG_7939  Our house was in the Herald Sun a couple of weekends ago (actually the same weekend we moved OUT of the house). You can read more about the photoshoot here, but they only used about a quarter of the photos that they took. The spread looks great, although I sound like a bit of a wanker in some of the interview questions. (How do you chill out? Me: We're always working! #nottrue I didn't want to confess that I chill out by eating snacks in bed at 7.30pm while reading feminist literature). There's some gorgeous photos of the kids, and all the furniture looks ace which was kind of the point.

The teacher at Archie's Gymbaroo class commented on it on Wednesday #awkward so I am feeling like a very, very, very minor celebrity this week.

Have a look!


Organisation is overrated, AKA how to move house with kids

IMG_7636 We have moved house five times in the past five years, and are due to complete our sixth move this weekend. This will be Archie's fourth move in his short life. I like to think that I have gotten moving house down to a fine art, but that would be like saying I had basic cooking skills, or blowdrying my hair, or parenting, down to a fine art. NO WAY, JOSÉ! Or as Archie says, NO WAY, HOSIE!

I have minimalist tendencies so we don't actually have that much, considering we are a family of four. Since reading Marie Kondo's The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up, (weirdest/most awesome book ever) I did a huge purge and got rid of heaps of extra crap. I am pretty strict about toy and clothing accumulation, but don't set limits on kid's books, plants, or art, so we have a lot of those. However, when you pile all your stuff into one room, which is what we are in the process of doing, HOLY CRAP there is a lot of stuff.

We hired these plastic moving boxes which are awesome. They all stack up on top of one another, are waterproof, light-weight and hold heaps of stuff. They drop them off a couple of weeks before your move and pick them up from the new house a week after you move in. So much easier than cardboard! I'm recommending them to everyone.

So, my tips for moving with kids...

1. Get rid of the kids. At least for the actual moving day, you want to outsource your kids to someone else. Give them to a doting grandma, friend or random stranger, if that's your jam.

2. Make it a game. After too many games of Let's Empty the Boxes Mummy Just Packed, I gave in and gave them a couple of boxes to make cubbyhouses out of, on the condition that they weren't allowed to unpack anything else or I would tape them to a wall with an industrial-sized tape gun.

3. Make them help you. Once I gave up on the idea of putting everything neatly into the boxes, I just let Archie see how many things he could stuff in each box. Thus, some boxes are labelled "Lego, toaster, Lee's socks, cookbooks" which will make for interesting unpacking at the other end, but at least I got Archie working for me.

4. Let them play with Christmas decorations. You know what kids love? Christmas. And you know what they love even more? Playing with all the stored Christmas stuff when it's July and Mummy is highly-stung, wearing her pyjamas at 3pm and stalking the house with a labelmaker and a tape gun while attempting to dismantle a king-sized bed on her own. It's Christmas in July, kids!

5. Turn your rage into excitement. When you feel a surge of anxiety at the thought of your to-do list (update house insurance! redirect the mail! tell the neighbours! clean the freaking skirting boards!), try and reframe your rage into feeling excited about the move. I am genuinely looking forward to getting into the new house, unpacking all our stuff and making the house feel like ours again. Try to hold onto that feeling when you are daunted by the sheer amount of effort required to move a household.


Fluffing a cactus: what it's like to have your house photographed for the newspaper

DSC_0048 Last Wednesday our house was photographed for the Herald Sun's Home magazine. I don't actually read that newspaper, but I think it will be in their interior design section. We made sure all our handmade furniture was in prime position, and I tried to display all the artworks and books my creative friends have made or written!

The shoot took the better part of a morning, and was pretty fun! I've been on shoots like this before, but never in my own home. Having it on a Wednesday was actually perfect timing as Archie is at creche on Monday and Tuesdays, so I cleaned like a maniac and kept the place relatively tidy.

The photographer Chris Groenhout was lovely and made the boys laugh. When Archie smiles for photos he does a terrifying grimace, so we had to work hard to get some natural shots. Jed ate about seven mandarins as we tried to get a shot of us all looking natural in the kitchen. At one point, I had to pretend to 'fluff' a cactus in a pot while Lee gazed off broodingly into the distance.

A journalist interviewed us about our house, our renovations, our business and all that stuff. It was actually really good to stop and answer those sorts of questions - we don't often have time to sit down and think about the Big Picture stuff, like why we renovate houses, where the business is headed, why we make furniture.

I took the opportunity of having a clean house to take some of my own photos...

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And in the interest of keeping it real, this is what my house usually looks like...

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The story will come out on July 18th. Keep an eye out!


What I've been... Beatrix, dirty hair and birthdays

I tasted the whoopie pie, the carrot cake and the creme brulee. Eating: All the things. I am eating less sugar and amping up the vegies to help reduce inflammation and swelling, and give this baby the best chance at not actually being a Jelly Baby (despite its generous girth). Lots of salads, nuts, chicken, fish and green smoothies. Archie loves green smoothies, but his little digestive system does not. The nappy after he sculls a spinach-cuke-apple-ginger smoothie literally looks like the same smoothie has been poured into the Huggies. Lovely. Despite my virtuous and healthful ways, I have managed to enjoy a BLT and carrot cake at the lovely North Melbs cafe Beatrix, which Lee did the fitout for a few years ago. The owner, Nat, loved Lee so sent me home with a chocolate, caramel and peanut butter whoopie pie and a pistachio creme brulee. Oh yes.

Reading: I've just finished the Omnivore's Dilemma by Michael Pollan and Why We Get Fat by Gary Taubes. Both books kind of blew my mind about the kind of food we eat, where the food comes from and just how messed up the diet industry is. In a nutshell, sugar is evil but everywhere, fat doesn't make you fat, veggies are best. And happy animals make nutritious meat. I've also just finished Eyrie by Tim Winton. God, that man can write. I've just started Stiff: The Curious Lives of Human Cadavers, by Mary Roach. So far, it's dark, funny and informative.

Bookmarking: The Art of Simple. The tagline is 'exploring the craft of living simply'. Love it.

Not doing: Washing my hair. I haven't washed my hair in nearly 10 days now. I don't know if it's pregnancy hormones or what, but I just went a few days between washes...then a few more... and now it's been ages and my hair is still fine. I rinse it with apple cider vinegar sometimes and spread a couple of drops of jojoba oil through the ends if it's getting frizzy. It isn't stinky or oily or dry. Maybe shampoo and conditioner is actually just a crock of shite?!

Coveting: Marimekko have launched a range of kid's clothes. And oh, are they cute. I want to buy all the things.

Writing: An interview about the business for Interiors Addict. Super exciting! And lots of words for a freelance project with a rather tight deadline.

Looking forward to: Lee turns 32 on Tuesday (so old!) so we are having dinner at Ladro on Monday night, hopefully with dessert at Gelato Messina. And on his birthday night we will get takeaway Indian (Kofta Nawabi FTW) and eat these heart attack brownies that he requested.

Submitting: Our building permit application! It is 170 pages of soil reports, site surveys, computations, engineering drawings and energy rating reports. Fingers crossed it only takes a few days to be assessed then we are ready to roll. Lee is at the house today pouring the slab for the front path, and next weekend we will finish the front fence. Progress!

House update: More freaking permits, demolition and kitchen designs

Not a lot has been happening at the townhouse over summer, but there has been plenty happening behind the scenes. Our planning permit should come through any day now, so the next step is the building permit. This involves about 148, 495 separate tasks, including site surveying, soil tests, structural drawings, engineer drawings, neighbour consent forms, drainage plans and all sorts of boring bits of paper. I have done most of it, but jeepers, what a pain.

We had a couple of guys there before Christmas to demolish the back half of the house. They went for broke and took away most of the rear. It now looks less like a building site and more like a demolition site. There is crap everywhere and it looks terrible. I can't wait to bring in Ben's excavator and scoop it all out so we can start pouring the slab!

I have been pinning up a storm and have chosen the final finishes for our kitchen and living area. God, this is SO the funnest part of building a house. The past two renovations we did were a bit haphazard as we had little experience and used the same paint colours, benchtops and spashbacks in both houses, as they were a similar era and style. This baby is hopefully going to be in a higher price range so I'm glad we are being more intentional with the design and finishes.

I'm thinking something like this stone benchtop with continuous splashback for the kitchen in the new Caesarstone Calcutta Carrera range...

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with cabinetry in recycled Vic Ash laid horizontally with integrated handles, like this...


I want black steel-framed industrial windows. Lee is going to handmake them as it is a non-standard size and we want huge doors. Something like this (minus the weird deer statue)...

Hecker Guthrie Carlton Residence

The floor will be polished concrete mixed with pigment to make it whiter, with darker coloured aggregrate. We will seed it (throw random rocks in it as it dries) with river pebbles. Something like this...


The walls for the entire house, front to back and both storeys, will be good ol' Dulux Lexicon half-strength in satin on walls and gloss on doors. It won't really show up onscreen, but here's an attempt...


It's a pure white mixed a tiny drop of black, so more of a grey-white than a cream or off-white. I needed a colour that will work with old timber floors and ornate ceiling details in the original front rooms, and polished concrete, super-high ceilings and steel windows in the extension. It also needs to work with the carpeted upstairs and the tiled bathrooms. Lexicon is where it's at, yo.

You can see more of my inspiration collecting on Pinterest.

House update: Draining the lake, Moreland Department of Delays and way too many paragraphs dedicated to paint colours.

photo (4) Good lord, that title is longer than I had planned.

Considering that this blog is called Worst House Best Street, you would think that I would cover our renovation a bit more. But apparently not. Apparently I mostly write about food and quilts and babies.

We have been chipping away at the Brunswick house  every Saturday for last few months and have managed to accomplish quite a bit, but there are still several thousand billion other things to do. The enormous carport/shed in the backyard is nearly done. We don't have any scaffolding and the ladder is only just high enough, so we used the fig tree to get up to nail on the roof sheets. It is so high that I can see into the yards of the people four doors down, which was slightly awkward. I had to avoid eye contact as there was only so much tense looking-away that I could do after several hours of trying not to watch people hang out their washing and water their veggie gardens.

We have also more or lessed fixed the indoor lake situation. As I have previously mentioned, there was no drainage and so the whole house was sitting in a foot-deep puddle. Water was running down the walls, the paint was peeling, the plaster was cracking and the front window is only just sitting on it's lintel (the lintel is the big chunk of timber or stone that the window hangs off in the wall). We dug out all the old stormwater pipes and replaced and reconnected them so the water ends up in the drain instead of under the living room floor.

I smashed down the front fence and then rebuilt it using recycled posts that Lee had sitting around the workshop. We made new pickets from some old merbau decking and I'll nail the pickets on next weekend, but most excitedly, we CHOSE COLOURS.  I kind of pride myself on my awesome paint colour-picking abilities and get pretty excited by colour forecasts and swatches and fandecks, so choosing heritage-accurate colours which still look modern and appeal to really rich people who want to spend a million dollars on a cute 1880s cottage in Brunswick made for a fun project.

Anyway, I wanted to use a Colourbond hue for the trims so that the fascia (the front edge of the veranda and roof) and the gutters would all match, as I can order pre-painted gutterings and fascia in Colourbond colours. The roof needs to be Colourbond for the same reason.

I planned on using Porter's Paint in Moon Shadow for the rendered brick, but have heard questionable things about the durability and colour accuracy of their exterior paint so went with good old Dulux.


The inside is a whooooooole other kettle of fish. I want something quite stark, chalky and clean that can be used throughout the entire house. It has to work in the high-ceilinged but slightly dingy, timber-floored front rooms,  the pokey hallway, the huge bluestone-tiled living and kitchen area, and the entire upstairs. Challenging much? Something grey-white, rather than pink or cream-white, but still warm enough to not look cold against the bluestone. Ok enough of me banging on about colours, I think four paragraphs is about three too many. SORRY.

Also, on the planning process: we have finally received the list of everything we need to submit to the Moreland Department of Planning (AKA the Moreland Department of Delays and Unnecessary Paperwork)  They want us to submit the plans, colour charts, neighbourhood character sketches, our tax returns, my first born and a urine sample (I kid, I kid). Such ball breakers.

ALSO. Our lovely neighbours renovated their place a few years ago and it took EIGHT MONTHS for their plans to be approved. Eight freaking months. Good lord. If our plans look like they will take that long, I  will be turning up at the council offices daily with homemade cookies and wine for everyone, and doing lots of nodding and winking and offering handshakes with cash-filled palms.

There is only so much living with the parents I can handle, and we want to reproduce again (hold me) soon. Moreland Council is basically deciding on when we can have our next baby. THANKS GUYS.

Deep holes and indoor pools

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I am basically a miner now, such is my hole-digging prowess. Last weekend we dug a total of 3.5 metres worth of holes for footings. It got to the point where I couldn’t reach the bottom of the holes from ground level, but it was too tight to shovel dirt while standing in the hole, so I ended up just randomly scraping dirt out by hand. As in, literally with my bare fingers. So old school.

The biggest surprise this week has been discovering the extent of the damp problem. A bit of rising damp can cause mouldy walls and damage to plaster, but in our case it is so bad that the water is literally trickling down the bedroom walls. We found a massive crack in the front wall (big enough to stick my arm through) and discovered that there is basically no drainage at all. Well, unless you count all the guttering and stormwater draining to directly under the house. The whole house is basically sitting in a puddle. We pulled up a few floorboards and found a freaking indoor mud bath under in the living room. The house is so old that all he footings and stumps are just big lumps of bluestone, which are now swimming around in the mud. AWESOME.

Lee and I like to stand at the back door and look out over our vast backyard. All 6m x 14m of it. The whole block is 237m2, which is pretty damn small, but we are managing to fit a lot of stuff in. At the moment we are fitting in several massive piles of rubble, rusty corrugated iron and smashed bricks, but hopefully that will turn into a sweet paved courtyard one day.

We got some more finalised plans back from our student architect, and they look ACE. I love this part of it – adjusting doorways to fit in extra storage, calculating how much light we need, shifting floor heights around. Super exciting.

Stuff to get done next weekend

-       get a skip/rubbish removal

-       measure up guttering

-       fix the crack (tie the wall up with strapping)

-       bolt up the poles for the shed

-       straighten up the bedroom window





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Lee and I did our first full day of work on the new house on Saturday, and jeeeez, I have a renewed respect for tradies. It has been a long time between renovations for me (um, plus I had a baby in there too) and it could be said that I have spent more time than necessary in the top paddock and not in the gym, and have gone to fat. Or at least, scrawny muscle-free flab, instead of the Crossfitting powerlifter I was when I was renovating every weekend. Anyway, I was totally and completely drained on Saturday afternoon and could hardly stand up. We went HARD and got heaps done.

We demolished the rickety carport/garage in the backyard, hacked down half the fig tree, ripped up the carpet and underlay in the front rooms and  hallway and pulled off the skirting boards, de-nailed them and stacked them in the lounge ready for repainting. Pulling down the carport was actually pretty fun. We ripped down all the walls until the roof was being held up just by two big timber poles, but we couldn't pull them down because the whole structure would have collapsed on top of us. So obviously we did the safe thing and piffed bricks at the poles until they broke and the whole roof came crashing down in a heap. The job satisfaction was extremely high.

I planned on getting more proper Yakka workwear but I am realising that I already feel blokey enough wearing Blundstones and a toolbelt, waving a chainsaw around. Sometimes I catch sight of my reflection and think that wearing black skinny jeans is the only thing stopping me turning completely into a bloke. I do need some better gloves because I have lady hands.

We have done a proper budget for the renovations (oh dear lord) and finalised the layout and interior fittings and fixtures. There was a bit of a debate about heating and cooling, with so many options available. We have decided to go with hydronic heating throughout, which I know nothing about and is megabucks to install but better in the long run apparently. Lee reckons he can do most of the plumbing himself, but we need to get it sorted soon because we need to run the pipes through the front bedrooms ASAP.

So, here was last week's list...

- Rip up the carpet and underlay in the front rooms

- Rip out the skirting boards in the front rooms

- Round-Up the crappy garden - We didn't have any Round-Up. And this is a bit of a shitty job that can be done whenever.

- Pull down the ceiling in the lounge - No point yet as the roof leaks.

- Clean up the carport

- Start pulling the carport down


And this week's list...

- Draw a floorplan with the heating panels marked out so the hydronic heating guy can estimate what kind of unit to get

- Dig footings for the posts for the new carport (not looking forward to this)

- Get new internal doors from Bunnings

- Sort out the planning permit

- Run wires for the GPOs in the bedrooms

- Draw up the cabinetry plans for the four wardrobes, kitchen, bathroom, laundry and ensuite


Fingers crossed for good digging weather!

House plans.

We visited our new place yesterday afternoon. God, I love it. It smells weird and is filthy and damp and extremely fugly in parts, but there is SO MUCH POTENTIAL. I have drawn it up in CAD so we can start planning out the extension properly, and have begun drafting a bit of a design schedule with finishes and fixtures. We have also drawn up some really high-quality plans and elevations using Doodle Buddy on the iPad which you can see below. I'm sure the planning permit people will really appreciate them.

This is the kitchen. Obviously.

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At the moment, there are two original bedrooms at the front with 3.3m high ceilings, huge cornices and deco ceiling roses and unpolished baltic pine floorboards, alongside a hallway. The hall opens into a little lounge area with another big ceiling rose and then through to a crappy little kitchen and bathroom lean-to. The rooms from the lounge room back has been added on, probably in about the 60's, and are literally falling off the original part of the house. Awesome. Lee got in the roof and found that the joists look pretty good, so all we need to do to create the upstairs is pull off the roof sheets, lay chipboard floors and build stud walls.

I'm not sure how I am going to blog the renovation, or even if it is of any interest to anyone, but I know I love a good before-and-after and jeez, this one will be epic. Also, there will be pictures of me wearing a toolbelt and workboots, so that's always hot.

Anyway. Next weekend we will spend Saturday there and try and do the following:

- Rip up the carpet and underlay in the front rooms

- Rip out the skirting boards in the front rooms

- Round-Up the crappy garden

- Pull down the ceiling in the lounge

- Clean up the carport

- Start pulling the carport down

Yay! I can't wait to get stuck in.

Wannabe architect

So I have an epic uni project to do, an almost-done house to finish renovating, a baby to look after and no food in the house, but all I want to do is design the new house. I LOVE that Melbourne thing of maintaining the facade of a tiny townhouse to protect the streetscape, but having a crazy awesome modern extension out the back. Like these...

Source: via Emma on Pinterest

New house!

cb98421e93f511e29c2922000a9e48da_7 We bought a new house! And it wasn't the one we originally meant to buy. It's MUCH BETTER!




On Saturday, we had planned to go to the auction for a house in Coburg that we were pretty keen on. Before we left home, I had a quick look through and found another place in Brunswick that was freaking awesome, but the auction was at 3.30 that afternoon and we hadn't inspected it or anything. So in a nutshell, we bid at the first auction, missed out, went and drove past the other house, LOVED IT, had lunch at the cafe on the corner, walked through it quickly, fell in love, bid at the auction and WON! I got my aggressive bidding face on (crossed arms, pokerface, fast and confident bidding- so far it has worked twice so I'm sticking with that tactic) and went for it. I was literally shaking towards the end as we got higher and higher, and then BANG. Done. Contract signed and it was ours!

It is literally in the best location ever. It is just near Brunswick Town Hall, there is a cafe two minutes walk away, the Brunswick Baths are just down the road, ten minute walk to my best friend's house, super close to trams and Royal Park, but the street is nice and quiet.

The house is a single-fronted terrace. It will definitely be the smallest house I have ever lived in, but there is loads of potential to extend it out the back. There is a wide rear laneway with rear access and a garage, a big fig tree and original windows at the front. I think we will keep the front few rooms, then pull it down and rebuild a new kitchen, bathroom, living space and possible another bedroom.


So the house is all brick walls, except fora weird addition with the kitchen, that weird small back bedroom and the bathroom and laundry. We will pretty much pull down that whole addition and open it all up. The lounge will become another bedroom, then we will extend out a bit further and put in an open living and kitchen area, plus a bathroom and ensuite and maybe another bedroom or study nook.

This will all depend on building permits, obviously, so I don't think we move in there for another year or so at least. But yay! New project!

So we literally have found the worst house in the best street.


So we missed out on the house we wanted by a measly five grand. Which is actually quite a bit in reality, but doesn't seem much when we are attempting to spend half a million dollars that we don't actually have on a house which would probably be a giant sinkhole sucking in all our finances for ever and ever. I was a little bit relieved, because it would have been a shitload of work. I have a feeling that the dude who bought it will bulldoze the house and put a block of units up. Bastard.

But no fear! We have our eye on another falling-down, peeling, rotting, near-condemnable dump! It is in Coburg, just off Moreland Rd. We have driven past and it looks like crap (by crap I mean AWESOME) and are going to the open for inspection tonight. I spoke to the agent on the phone and he mentioned that it is nearly a tear-down job, which makes me excited at NOT tearing it down and restoring it reminiscent of it's glory days. Anyway, it is a Californian bungalow painted bright blue, like some sort of Miami beach house transplanted into a leafy Coburg Street. And we all know I have a thing for shitty houses overzealously painted in rainbow hues (Ref Exhibit A).

And because I like to get overly emotionally attached to houses before I have even inspected them, I have found a good kindergarten and park nearby, located my nearest supermarket, mapped how long it will take to get to my best friend's house, introduced myself to the neighbours and planted some tomatoes in the yard (I jest, I jest).

We will need to look at the place, do a thorough budget of how much it will cost us to renovate, plug the numbers into our awesome "are we going to lose all our money and have to eat only baked beans fur the next 30 years" spreadsheet, which is literally titled 'Awesome Spreadsheet' on my desktop, then make an offer they can't resist.

Seriously, as if I am grown up enough for this shizzle (She says as she eats cream cheese out of the tub whilst dancing to Beyonce in a ridiculously messy kitchen).

Ten things for a Tuesday.

So, I had a bit of a blogging break for the last month. There has been lots going on, and I have been too busy living to stop and blog about it!

1. Archie was eight months old last Thursday. He is so freaking gorgeous at this age. He babbles away now and following our pattern of speech. I will ask him a question and he will respond, then ask me a question with the same intonation. Such a parrot. He had a few issues with his tummy being all blocked up, but I think that is sorted out now. He eats SO MUCH. Like it is a noticeable amount that requires more groceries to be bought.  And he is sleeping through the night about 80% of the time. Yay! His day sleeps are pretty solid too, with an ninety minute nap in the morning and two more longish naps in the afternoon. Such an awesome kid.

2. We are putting the finishing touches on our house now, as we have decided to lease it out. We are trying to buy another renovator that we have our eye on, and can hopefully swing it so we can rent this place out and not have to sell it. The other place (if we get it) makes the condemnable, dilapidated state of our last two houses look easy. It will need to be pretty much gutted and started anew. It will be LOTS of work, but will be worth it. It is a gorgeous old Californian bungalow with 8-foot ceilings and lots of trees. I really hope we get it.

3. The next few months are going to be mental. If we get this other house, we will have to style and prop our house ASAP to get it rented out, then move out to Mum and Dad's place for a few months while we build the other house up to a reasonably liveable standard. Plus the little guy will be turning one in June and is a force to be reckoned with when he is on the move. And we want to try for another kiddo too. This year is another big one. But I guess that is life, hey? If we had a quiet year with no renovations or babies or travel or house moves I would probably be bored.

4. We are doing lots of exciting things with the business. We are launching a new project soon, which will hopefully bring in a little cash and let me unleash some creativity and business skills again. I'm really excited about it!

5. Lee and I are doing Michelle Bridges 12 Week Body Transformation. The name is pretty horrible so Lee and I are calling it the Healthy Living Extravaganza. My bestest mum friend, my mum and my mum's best friend doing it too, which is great as we can all be hungry and sore together. Ha! Not really (yes really). It's only Day 2 and I am hanging out for chocolate or honey toast or pizza. But once I get over the first hump it should be a bit easier. I don't really want to lose much weight, but am more into getting fitter and making healthy eating and exercise more of a habit, instead of eating five bits of toast at 11am, then a Mars Bar at the supermarket at 4pm, then a giant carby dinner followed by a Magnum. (God I would kill for a freaking Magnum right now.)

6. Lee and I have been married for 72 days now. Most of the time it feels exactly the same as being not married. I keep forgetting to wear my wedding ring and still call him my Manfriend. I think that having a baby is such a greater test for a relationship than being married. Society should encourage people to have babies before getting married, there would be waaaaaaay less divorce as you would find out pretty quickly if you are both in it for the long haul. There ain't nuthin like a midnight poo emergency to prove who's a keeper!

7. I have started making Archie a jumper for winter. My mum seems to think that Archie will get teased for having homemade clothes, but I'm pretty sure the kids at playgroup aren't going to care. It is red and grey and based on this pattern (on a sidenote, how freaky is the baby in that picture?!)

8. At the risk of sounding like a Cosmo article, I am in a bit of a wardrobe rut. I stuck some photos of pretty outfits up on the inside of my wardrobe to inspire me to wear something besides my uniform of denim shorts, striped tshirt, chuck taylors and a scarf with a messy bun. I literally wear this everyday. Sometimes I add a cardigan and leggings if it is colder, but I wear these cheapo Cotton On shorts six days a week. Actually come to think of it, that is pretty gross.

9. I just re-read this list of things that I wanted to do before my 27th birthday in April. Ha! Clearly I made it before I had a baby. 'Make Turkish delight'. 'Read a Tale of Two Cities'. 'Quit sugar'. Clearly that is a list written by a hormonal pregnant lady with no concept of how much work a baby actually is. I think I'll try to do ONE thing off the list in the next couple of months. Maybe 'Relax more'?

10. Aaaand Archie has just woken up after a 20 minute nap. Awesome.



Life now.

I don't put that many photos up here, mainly because I am a pretty average photographer, and even if I do take photos, I can rarely be bothered to actually get the photos off the camera in a reasonable time frame. Anyway, the other day I took some snaps of around our place. Keep in mind that I am not a stylist or a photographer and these are totally unedited. Compared to the before photos of our house, I think the place has come up pretty freaking well.

My living room. The horse is named Willemina. We found her in a gutter in the back streets of Collingwood, so I cleaned her up and gave her a new home.

My couch is navy blue. Not that you could tell.

Lee made almost everything in this photo. The cabinet, lamp and three of the guitars. I made him the stuffed guitar for his birthday last year.

I got these on Ebay years ago.

Kitchen. The scales are an ebay find too. Ignore the slightly wonky tiling in the background.

More kitchen photos. The door hanging thing on the right was bought in India, the photo holder thing is from Urban Outfitters and the map is from Zetta Florence.

Our so-close-to-finished kitchen! Still need a door for the corner cupboard, a bulkhead above the cabinets and a few other little things. I would also like someone to tidy up the mess.

Looking back at the house.

From the deck to the yard. I do love our back yard. We had to do a bit of rejigging to avoid cutting down the fig tree and fit a shed and carport without losing too much space, but now it is a awesome, private, BIG and green yard.

Bathroom. Still lots to finish in here.