Friday, September 27, 2013

Going home - Reno Day 130

Well, here we are, the final week in a five month renovation. And look, there they are, those shiny gloss floors that have caused so much drama. By some miracle, the magical product was found to remove all the silicone and the floors were fixed for a grand total of $200 and one extra day of work. Thank goodness it's all over and we can finally move home. I am loving the floors, especially how they reflect all the light and the trees, in my opinion all that reflection actually distracts from any grot on the floors rather than making it more visible.

While we had limited access to the house this week due to the floors, we didn't get anywhere near as much done as we had planned. However, we did manage to complete Liongirl's bedroom. Yep, even the skirts, arcs and windows by some miracle. The first and only finished room in the house.

Whenever the grot and dust and peeling paint and unfinished bits in the rest of the house were getting to  me, what a lovely little space to hang out in and swoon over all the perfect whiteness.

The only small problem is when you are using Vivid White (ie pure white with no tint) it takes a good six coats to get even coverage. Yep, three undercoats and three topcoats. Needless to say, when Liongirl turned around and said she wanted a pink room, I told her to get back to me in say about a year or two. I figure by the time she strews all her pink possessions around the room, that will be all the pink required. And I need to save my wrists for the rest of the house.

Since we were locked out while the floors dried, we wasted no time and got stuck into some exterior jobs. Legoman was in charge of oiling the deck,

And I made some sort of commitment to an exterior colour. Let me just say I'm still not entirely sure. The blasted thing changes colour depending whether it's in sun or shade and is completely confounding me. Time will tell if it stays or it gets tweaked.

And lastly, while there are many unfinished bits in the house (bathroom sink, doorknobs, lighting, kitchen drawers fronts, a whole lot of cruddy walls), there is one really significant bit of our kitchen that is still pending. A sneaky bit that I left out of my sketched plans. Let me give you clue with a little peek at the work in progress.

So, we are off to pack up all our goods, chattels and children and find our way back to the new, improved and incomplete Betsy. At this point it is probably wise to point out that this is not going to be one of those renovation blogs where there is a big reveal of a complete and perfect house. Nope, unfortunately not. But if you enjoy watching a house grow beautiful, room by room, with lots of love and white paint, then this is that kind of blog. Me, I'm looking forward to going back to a normal life, with more time for creative pursuits.


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

He : seems be at an undecided stage with his socks. Does he still pull his ankle socks up to his knees  or roll then down into a donut ? 

She : is stretching before my eyes and loves to help me cook anything in the kitchen. 

Saturday, September 21, 2013

Best $204 purchase and some good news - Reno day 122

Firstly I wanted to say thankyou for  the comments, thoughts and suggestions that you all left regarding all that floor trouble. It certainly takes the sting out of a problem to have so many calm, wise and sensible friends around the world to share it with. The good news is that the floor polisher has been talking to his rep and may have a product that can successfully remove the silicone. This would mean only a light sand and re-coat rather than a full re-sand which would save days of time and expense. Fingers crossed.

So, here we are, 17 weeks into the renovation and finally a chance to slap some white paint around. The original plan had been to move home this week but since the floors put a kibosh on that, and we were both on leave from work, we had a spare week to make a start on the epic job of applying the white paint makeover to all Betsy's previous dodgy paint jobs. First stop Liongirl's room, a previous unseemly shade of brownish cream.

Now, while slapping white paint around is definitely my idea of a great week, the standout moment  would have to be Legoman running off to Masters and coming home with this portable scaffold. After spending years painting ten foot ceilings in our last house, my god, what blessed relief to be up on this magnificent structure rather than a wobbly ladder. Can I state that this would have to be the best $200 the man has ever spent. Bunnings had nothing similar in this price range and it is light, sturdy, rolls around on castors and is height adjustible. We have put some mdf panels underneath to protect the floors (this is one of the rooms in the house where the floors did not need to be repolished).

And the other $4 of shopping joy would be this awesome item. A paint bucket/jug thingy with a handle, and a magnet to grip  the paintbrush. It even comes with thick reusable plastic liners so you can change colours and have a few different pots going at once.  I just about fainted with excitement over this one too. So far untippable off the top of ladders and that is saying something where I am concerned. Given that we have an entire house to paint, these sorts of things get a girl excited.

When I say that "we" are painting the house, what I actually mean is that I am painting and Legoman is gapfilling and performing general destructive duties. This would be evidence of him unsupervised for about five hours in Roboboy's room. It started out as just a teeny tiny area of flaking paint. The man borders on ocd with fun tasks like this. I cannot even bear to show you the ceilings in this room, it is going to be a big job.

Luckily, while I slog it around the room a few times, he is also happy to trot down to the bakery for treats, pour me more paint and crank the music. Bliss. Now I just need to remind him that he will be painting the ceilings in the rest of the house.  Can I add that the view from the work zone is mighty nice as well.

Anyway, hopefully only a week to go and we will be home. In the meantime some serious painting action will be going on and hopefully some finished rooms. Yippee! And just in case anyone was wondering, this is NOT a sponsored post, I just get very excited about sharing products that make massive painting tasks slightly less daunting. 

Monday, September 16, 2013


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

He : went off to his first overnight Joey scout camp this weekend. He woke me at 530 fully dressed and bursting to go ( helps enormously that his dada is one of the pack leaders).

She : riding off to yet another kindy birthday party at our local park. I have only just realised how much her legs have grown, she may need a bigger bike when her own birthday comes around in a few short months.

Sunday, September 15, 2013

Soothing taps and a whole lot of trouble - Reno day 115

This was not a great week where the reno was concerned. Finding out that there are problems with all the flooring inside and outside your newly renovated house is not conducive to a good week. Let me start with the solitary highlight of the week which involved the installation of our kitchen tap. Complete with light up hot and cold sensor, one of the gimmicks agreed on to keep Legoman happy. He has subsequently been using this as a calming tool and watching it change from red to purple to blue does appear to be rather soothing.

The remainder of this post is a whole lot of trouble. Look away now if you are not interested a ranting commentary about problems renovating. Keep reading if you plan to install a deck during rainy season or have your floors sanded and polished. You will either sigh with relief that you escaped these processes unscathed or reading this may prevent you from getting into a pickle.

Now, for snag number one. When our spotted gum decking was laid four months ago it had been raining significantly around that time. As it was being laid I started to notice lots of small black spots that looked like mould appearing on the timber. I queried the builder about them and he reassured me it was no problem, that they would wash out when they cleaned the deck at the end. Fast forward four months and as the reno winds up, he goes to clean the deck ready for sealing. And then discovers that despite using six different products that the deck now appears to look like this.

From one end to the other, covered in mould staining that cannot be removed. The builder has never seen anything like it before. The timber yard claims the rest of that batch of timber is fine and no other builders have reported issues. Apparently it is thought to be related to some sort of fungal spores that have penetrated the timber and caused the staining, probably from one of the trees in our yard. There are no easy solutions.

The deck has been installed correctly with a dome headed galvanized nail designed to sit above the timber to encourage water drainage. This means that the deck cannot be sanded back or the nails will be damaged and no longer galvanized. No one feels responsible as apparently this is just a freak environmental event. The BSA to whom we have paid insurance to cover the builders work, tell us that as this is only an aesthetic defect and not structural, there is no fault and they will not cover the repairs. The builder offers to bring out a scientific expert who for $1000 will tell us exactly which species of fungal spore is involved. Of course this will not provide any solution to the actual issue.

We attempt to find a surface product to conceal the staining  of our (brand new, permanently damaged but no one is at fault) deck. We contemplate the costs and time to replace the entire deck. Finally the builder decides that he can sand back the deck if all the nails are individually punched in by hand. He covers the cost of doing this and the deck is sanded back to remove the staining. The downsides are that we now have lots of tiny nail holes that are a risk for pooling water and a rough deck as the sanding process has removed the normal smoothness only provided by milled timber. We accept this and get on with it.

A few days later we hit floor snag number two. This is also an unlucky event however this time not due to random environmental factors and more to the messy activities of air conditioner technicians. You may remember me mentioning that we were talked out of getting the high gloss floors that we wanted and getting semi gloss instead. Then when we were unimpressed with the semigloss we told the builder the next day that we would cover the cost of changing it to gloss.

 He suggested that we wait until all the other work was complete in order to protect the final high gloss coat.  This seemed sensible and we agreed. What he did not tell us was that if any silicone based product came in contact with the floors in their current state, it would not come out with cleaning and it would then repel the top coat when it was applied weeks later. And guess what plumbers and air conditioner technicians tend to spend their days squirting around? Yep, we were in big trouble.

Both our living areas have large puddles where some sort of silicone based product has been left on the floor and has repelled the top coat. They are of course not in any inconspicuous areas that will be covered with furniture. And the icing on the cake is that someone has then stepped into the puddle and walked the product into several other rooms in the house. The floors are, essentially, a dog's breakfast.

To say we were cranky about this completely preventable situation that will no doubt cost us extra money and time to fix is an absolute understatement. The builder and floor sealer are just shaking their heads and no doubt wanting this renovation to end so they can move on to other (non cursed) jobs.

Legoman meanwhile has just been playing with his new tap and rocking himself quietly in the corner. So,  we are now waiting for the worst sections to be re sanded back and completely done again. There is talk of us sharing the cost of this three ways with the builder and the floor sander. I  just want to have my house back so we can go home. We  are now waiting another week for the floor sander to get back for this job and it has delayed moving home. Luckily we have been able to extend our lease.

It appears that we have now been out of the house so long that the wild ducks are moving in.

See, how they are using a hole in our big tree as a nest. That's the head of the mama peeking out. The dada appeared to be standing guard on the roof.

There was a whole lot of quacking going on, no doubt a running commentary on the state of our floors.

So, that is the whole lot of trouble. Feel free to commiserate with your own renovation mishaps or any other cheering thoughts.

Sunday, September 8, 2013

Show me the marble - Reno day 108

Well, this post has taken me a little longer than anticipated to write as there have been some dramas with the reno in the last two weeks that have kind of taken over the joy of new bench tops. It seems that while we had the finish line in sight, that did not mean we were home and hosed with an problem free renovation. 

It seems we have hit two snags, one just because we are very unlucky and the other because of some poor decisions by people who should know better. One of these issues is still unresolved and has created significant stress as well as delaying our return home. I have been reluctant to blog about the problems until a solution is found and it has also tempered my enthusiasm over posting about the progress as well. But in an effort to focus on the fact that this will end, we will go home and there are much bigger issues in the world (is anyone else worried for the safety of all those budgies now that we have a new prime minister?), I will push on and show you some marble.

This slab in fact, that was so heavy that the three stonemasons were able to get it up the front stairs, rest it in our entry room and then discover that they were unable to lift it again. So there it stayed for a few days until they could bring a fourth bloke back to get it down into the kitchen.

There, much better. I'm super duper happy with the lovely grey of this stone and for a tactile person like me, it is beautiful to touch too. I cannot wait to roll out some dough on here. 

The kitchen feels like it is starting to take shape now. The overhead shelf and rangehood cabinet are still two weeks away but I don't mind seeing it come together in stages, makes you appreciate each bit of the transformation. For those who have been on the edge of their seats for seven months wondering which stove we chose, as you can see in this pic, the Aussie Rogue was the overall winner. If it performs as well as Hugh Jackman I will be a  very happy girl. (Click on the link too if you are from the northern hemisphere and need to understand about the budgies mentioned earlier in this post).

The pantry/office nook is coming together too.

And while they didn't have enough of our grey slab to finish the laundry, I actually really like this off cut of a much whiter Carrara that they managed to fossick up.

Fingers crossed for some luck on our side this week, we hope to be home before school holidays.


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

He : doing what he loves best, arranging and sorting. If only he was this keen where his bedroom was concerned. 

She : let me introduce you to "Superfox". Superfox carries a small case and is on the job for various superhero type tasks. (She fell in love with the foxy mask from Typo and has been wearing it everywhere). 

Sunday, September 1, 2013

Light it up and plumb it in- Reno day 101

We have lights. The exciting pendant variety that is. Please excuse the terrible custard backdrop, once I have whited it all out I will get a much better pic of this beauty. We decided to swap them around and put the colourful one in the hall.

We kept the plain white one for the entry space so as to not compete with the leadlight.

Most exciting is the installation of those three mint green pendants that have been snuggled up in their boxes for the last 15 months. They are  still hanging  a little low but you get the idea. That's our fridge, all wrapped up in a protective vintage blankie.

And those industrial pendants we found at the demolition yard are in as well on the deck. They have a few bumps and dings, but I think it just adds to the charm.

The electricians suggested some up lighting on the expansive deck wall. We found these spotlights but turned upwards they should do the trick.

Meanwhile the plumber returned and in between uninspired jobs like installing downpipes, he popped a new toilet and pedestal sink into the second teeny tiny bathroom. This is the only room in the house without vj walls so I am pondering whether to sneak some wallpaper in here.

Several of you were wondering what the heck an ironing station was? I had no idea either until our cabinetmaker suggested it. We had been considering a pull out ironing board in a drawer but apparently these wall mounted options are much sturdier. It has a shelf and plug for the iron and the board folds down and swivels so there was just enough room to fit one in the laundry.

And finally, this week we had some resolution to the ongoing issues with the kitchen window. Despite the window company being aware from the beginning that this window was to be installed flush with the bench top, this simple request turned into a huge palaver.

In the end (at the builders suggestion) we were awaiting a final frame to be installed to cover over the main frame and reveal. Now that this is finally in I can see this room actually getting finished properly.

Next up it's kitchen benches and a few final jobs for Betsy.


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

He : back visiting Betsy this weekend, digging out his old faithful yellow rescue rope, ( favourite possession from age two). Trying to get his sister to hold it firm at the other end.

She : showing her face of absolute disobedience while holding the other end up the tree. Followed by asking (eventually), What does firm mean?. Compliance was  still not forthcoming when he bellowed for her to hold it TIGHT!