Sunday, June 30, 2013

Half way and Plans revisited - Reno Day 52

It seems that we have reached almost half way through the predicted four month build time and looking back, the progress is huge. At the end of the week the massive span bifold doors arrived and here they are finally in position. Here is a before shot in comparison, taken from a similar angle.

And the granny flat now looks like this,

instead of this.

And we have a lot less grass and much, much more of this. (Yep, it's raining AGAIN).

But it's ok because we checked today and we have a DRY deck. So exciting.

Anyway, I thought this might be a good time to re-share the house plans. I initially posted a version of the plans almost a year back, but as I have had a few questions about the layout and making sense of it all I will do an updated version now. So for all of you who, (like me) love floor plans,

Here is the house before.

The front of the house is facing to the right. Bedrooms 1-3 and the bathroom are all getting new windows but are otherwise unchanged. There is no study as marked, it is really an entry foyer type room. We have removed the wall between Bed 4 and the old kitchen to create a much larger kitchen space. The  three rooms in the top left corner are what was essentially a granny flat, a separate structure added about 25 years ago and connected only via the deck. The rooms were narrow, with poor ventilation and for the last three years, really just used to store stuff as they were not easily accessible from the house.

Here are the current plans that we are working to.

Our main goals were to largely use the current foot print of the house (so as to not encroach into the yard), create a larger kitchen, add a second living space, move the laundry out of a cupboard in the lounge room, add a new deck which would remain dry and resolve some crazy roofline issues.

By closing in the granny flat verandah, we were able to add a separate room for the TV and create a good flow from the kitchen and deck. The only real addition to the existing footprint, was for the laundry and a small section of the family room, about 9 m2 in total. The carport has moved to the front of the house and will be a double instead of a single.

So, I hope this makes it easier to see the changes we are making to the space. If you have any questions feel free to ask away. I will try and reply within the comments section.

A grand entrance - Reno Day 50

The new front stairs in are finally in and they are exactly as I imagined. Our old stairs were quite narrow and seemed tacked on and unsuited to the house. These however, are much more befitting of Betsy and her grand room proportions. Here is a close up.

The builders had never built a set like this before. Apparently, with all the complex angles,  it took three times longer than expected. Thank goodness they were part of the fixed part of the contract.

Out the back, with a looming deadline for the deck scaffolding to be removed, we had to act quickly to get the fascia board painted on the deck roof. This would easily be five to six metres in the air and would be very tricky to reach with just a ladder.

I chose Colourbond Woodland Grey for the gutters and the fascia is Dulux Vivid White. It is incredibly satisfying to see something painted to completion.

Meanwhile, the builders started installing windows and lining the deck walls.

At the far end of the granny flat, the weatherboards are going up to complete the end wall. Soon there will be no remnants of the verandah that was here before.

Window frames started to arrive and several have been installed. There are boxes and boxes of glass louvre blades lying around too. That's the pantry window leaning up against the wall.

There have been significant behind the scenes dramas with the enormous kitchen window splash back. Due to some communication issues between the window company and the builder, the window ordered was too small. By the time this was realized early last week, it was too late to alter as we were informed that the glass had already been cut and the window was complete.

As I stewed over this less than ideal news I was contemplating whether I could live with the incorrect window or whether an entire new order would need to be placed, possibly at significant cost. By some miracle, five days later we discovered that the glass had actually not been cut and it would be a simple and cost free matter to enlarge the frame. Crisis averted. Here is the new and correct sized window waiting to be installed next week.

Meanwhile, the last minute laundry window addition  has turned out to be one decision that I am really happy about. This section of wall currently faces onto the driveway and street but will end up obscured from view when the carport roof is built.

And some new interior work is visible too. The hallway down to the spare room/ playroom is open now and the frame is in ready for the new louvres here too. Coincidentally, this window is directly opposite the newly created hallway and should give us good cross flow.

The pair of massive sliding windows salvaged from the demolition yard are in.

And the massive louvre frame for the lounge room is also in and the wall linings are happening. I think it is well and truly time for the old washing line to visit the skip.

Anyway, we are off to make a start on painting that deck ceiling. Hopefully the weatherboards start to go up next week. Then I'll really have to knuckle down and make a final decision about the exterior house colour. I think I'm 95% there.

Saturday, June 29, 2013


a portrait of my children, once a week, every week in 2013 via Che and Fidel

He : is a stick collector from way back. I think he has been finding and dragging home sticks since he was around two. This is the current favourite and it has been lovingly sanded and oiled while Legoman does the same to our new outdoor table.

She : loves creatures and wants to make them all pets. This caterpillar came home in  a special carrier with a little stick for climbing and leaves for munching.

Monday, June 24, 2013

A shiny new roof - Reno day 45

So it has been a busy week with a lot  happening and not enough spare time to blog about it all. So this is where we were at a week ago. With a predicted  weather forecast of (finally) four sunny days and a rainy Friday for the week ahead. The roofers arrived with a deadline to get the bulk of the work done by Thursday, and they just scraped in before the rain plummeted down again. Aside from a whole lot more mess lying around,

they did also create this glorious expanse of silver sparkling in the sunshine. This was the new deck gable,

but we also had the old roof at the front of the house replaced. And of course this necessitated a decision from me about the gutter colour. Which I of course had not even allocated a nano particle of time to considering, and could I advise by tomorrow? Hmmm. (I'll share the outcome next post).

Meanwhile, while the roofers worked on top, the builders worked below to line the deck ceiling.

Suddenly, some balustrade appeared on the back landing,

And the old kitchen wall finally came down,  allowing a true sense of the space for the new kitchen.

The white vinyl floor indicates the old bedroom, the boards to the right (in the pic below)  show the position of the old (tiny) kitchen.

It's hard to see all the progress for all the scaffolding. When it all comes down, some time this week, I will able to properly share the absolute wonder that is the new deck.

And lastly, time for a now you see it.

Now you don't.

New front stairs coming soon. Can't wait to share the new improved version.

Thank you for all the enthusiastic comments on my last post. It is quite fun to know that so many fellow reno enthusiasts are following along and sharing my excitement at finding those long awaited doors.

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Silver linings, sunshine and a lucky find- Reno Day 38

Can you believe it has only been six weeks and already Betsy is showing off her long blonde tresses, I mean trusses? Finally late last week the sun shone down and some serious roof action could happen. All the rafters are up for the new deck roof and if the sunshine holds this week the old roof will be peeled away and the new gable will be joined into the old roof.

Of course to take these photos meant getting over my significant issue with heights  to climb some very wobbly scaffolding and then balance precariously at the top. Not so much enjoying the  looking down part. Or the idea of climbing back up there to paint the fascia board later this week.

The other exciting change was seeing the oversized hole for the kitchen window splashback. The window will be about 3/4 the size of this hole in both height and length, and the light it lets it is fantastic.

Meanwhile there was a silver  lining to the laundry window issue from a few weeks back. After realizing there was no way to fit the louvres above the back door, it also became apparent that placing  windows above the door would have given us a first rate view of the angled ceiling of the landing and also limited air flow.

So, some minor changes were made and the laundry window adjacent to the back door was changed from a fixed panel to louvres. And then I realized that there was no good reason not to add a new high window on the external wall of the laundry that would let in a lot more light. ( I am slightly obsessed with sunlight, the more the better). So, with my first ( and hopefully, only) variation, we added a new window.

Now, what about those uninspired front doors? Not quite so ugly from the inside but with only louvres and  security screens on the upper panels they were also fantastic for either  blocking the light or letting in cold drafts. 

Well, I have been scouring the demolition yards for the last two years looking for leadlight double entrance doors from around Betsy's vintage in the thirties art deco style. As bungalow style queenslanders are a relative rarity in Brisbane I wasn't really holding much hope of finding as set of doors in the size we needed here  in our own backyard. 

And then we were down at our local demolition yard discussing selling some of our old doors when I noticed that they had opened up a new annexe off the side of the usual shed. With a neon "OPEN" sign beckoning me over. And sure enough, tucked away in the back corner were these beauties, in the exact size of our front doors.

Apparently they came from another Queenslander house that was undergoing a renovation but originally may have come from an old furniture store owned by the Marrs family in Fortitude Valley. Now if we can just salvage the original wind up door bell and transfer it over I will be a very happy girl. Sunshine predicted all week, so fingers and toes crossed for a new roof.

Sunday, June 16, 2013


a portrait of my children, once a week, every week in 2013 via Che and Fidel

He : this looks like gardening. Do not be fooled, it is actually yet another version of making mud whilst still in pyjamas.

She : this is what happens when you give a four year old free choice on how to spend her five dollars at the local markets. Green and orange butterfly sunnies are obviously a must have item. I'm quietly just pleased she has finally fallen in love with this op shopped pink velvet jacket  that has been sitting in her wardrobe for two years. 

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Scaffolds,Skips and Sunshowers - Reno Day 36

With a public holiday long weekend and buckets of rain, I wasn't expecting much progress this week. What a surprise to wander over to Betsy and discover masses of scaffolding. Roboboy of course thought that one of his umpteen treehouse designs had actually been constructed for him and has been eyeing off that assortment of ladders and platforms.

The rain literally cleared away for about an hour so I could snap these photos but is predicted to continue this week, so not sure how much of that deck roof will actually get built. I was very pleased to see that the builders have been raiding the skip and doing a little recycling.

Pull out crazy blue skillion roof. Throw crazy blue skillion roof into skip. Rain, rain, rain. Pull crazy blue roof panels out of skip and hastily re install them to protect precious floorboards. Love these blokes, especially as it all just happened before I even had a chance  to utter the word tarp. And look at that hole in the floor. Yep, the POLE HAS GONE. Woohoo.

With the rain slowing the outside progress there has been some action inside instead. Here is the shell of the pantry with framing for the cavity slider door.

And they have started pulling out the old wall between the poky kitchen and the old back bedroom. Once this is out it will make a huge difference to the feel of the room and the new kitchen space will be ready for a check measure from the kitchen company.

I'm already getting a taste of the view from the new kitchen window splashback though and there is nothing that makes me happier than a view of green, green, green. Extend that window another metre to the left and it should let in buckets of light.

The view is not quite so flash from the outside.

Sights like this make me very very thankful that we are not attempting to live here through the reno. Gratitude of the highest order, that I do not have to try and keep my kids off this pile.

Not to mention the multi story treehouse.

Now, I know I said that  I would be back with the find of the year ( or two actually) but due to our car breaking down I will not have the find in my hot little hands until the weekend. I can give you a clue though. Let me show you Betsy's current front door situation.

Inspired? Me neither. Back soon.