How much have we done with our house in two years? The answer is somewhere between “not much” and “heaps and heaps”, so I figured it might be worth another look through. Jamie and I have had plenty of projects to keep us busy, but not so much that the house has started to own us.
Like I said last year: we feel very fortunate to have our little piece of suburbia. The house was in great condition when we bought it, so we’ve just been giving it cosmetic updates to make it feel like ours. Before we moved in, we repaired the cracked plaster walls, removed the carpet and refinished the underlying floorboards, and gave most of the rooms a fresh coat of paint. The bathrooms want full renovation, but that’s it for major reno plans, really.
(This tour is also my to-do list, so expect a good amount of words and pictures.)
Entryway / Hallway
Mostly finished, but for a few tiny tweaks. The entry is a small, dark space with a low ceiling and three doorways, and I’m happy with how it turned out.
Accomplishments: Painted walls (Dulux Grand Piano quarter), trim and door; new low-profile LED light fixture; functional decoration including hooks, shoe racks, a large mirror and a blackheart sassafras landing shelf. In the hallway, I stripped doorway trims back to varnished timber and hung some fun prints.
Plans: Replace hall fixture with three globe pendants. Replace deadbolt for one that matches the doorknob. More substantial, modern hooks? Big decisions, obviously. A skylight in this hallway would be awesome.
Next to the garden, this is where we spend most of our time at home. The cozy couch and the gas heater make it pleasant in winter, and the workbench-like table has worked well for parties, games nights, and when I need to spread a sewing project out somewhere. It also gets a good northerly light for growing an indoor habanero.
- Fixing the walls and re-painting a soft aqua (Dulux White Box)
- Sewing linen curtains
- Furnishings: a dining table and shell chairs; a refinished sideboard that sits in the corner and holds nerdy board games and my sewing machine, a groovy black arc lamp; an ashtray sansevieria.
- Replacing our record cabinet for a more functional one.
- Refinish and reupholster my two retro armchairs — there’s one above, in progress. I’d like to switch out the bulky oversized loveseat for the armchairs, but only half of the household is into that idea. So far.
- Faux-brick fireplace column? It sounds tacky and awful but I promise I’ve got an idea here.
- Replace chandeliers for something more modern, eventually.
It’s seen a few minor updates, but I’m hoping that 2016 will be the Year of the Kitchen. It desperately needs floor tile instead of the gross vinyl, but we haven’t been able to take time off in order to install it yet. Here’s hoping for Christmas?
- Paint (Dulux Grand Piano quarter) and a laminate cabinet makeover (paint and contact paper)
- Spice and tea organisation (we like our tea!), golden sassafras shelves and a sideboard along the long charcoal wall
- Slate tile flooring
- Lighting: replace fluorescents with recessed LED lights and a modern pendant over the sink
- Blinds, stools, furnishings (hooks, etc) to make a secondary foyer by door
- Install a skylight — this room is rather dark, especially in summer when the sun sits above the eaves. Skylights everywhere!
- (Dream reno, if we’re going all out: new benchtops, timber cabinets, vaulting the low ceiling.)
I got lots done this year! It’s a better workspace than ever, and with a heat pump in place it’s extra-comfortable. Feels good man.
- Building a shelving unit from scratch
- Rescuing an old metal flat file (and gaining A TON of storage, possibly literally)
- Making my own DIY linen-weave roller blinds
- Giving the disused fireplace a major makeover
- Setting up a dedicated tea station for Jamie
- Refinishing the old desk and making the area nicer in general
Plans: Finish off standing workbench; replace dated light fixture; transfer futon to spare room and transfer foosball table to curb (???)
- Removing texture from the ceiling and painting the walls a desaturated navy (Dulux Signature)
- Window work: stripping the trim back to timber, altering IKEA curtains and roller blinds to fit. No more putty-pink venetians.
- Making a quilt! I used a simple, modern star design made from recycled fabrics.
- FUN STUFF. Switching up the decor, picking out a lighting fixture, investing in quality linens. The big one will be getting a new bed — we’re holding out for a decent frame.
- Maybe one day: new wardrobe doors? The giant mirrors are a little unnerving.
Accomplishments: Wall repair, painting a deep blue-grey (Taubmans Thundercloud); stripping the texture off the ceiling; replacing the mismatched, carved-up old baseboards with new ones. If you’re thinking “this hasn’t been touched in the last year”, you are 100% correct.
Plans: Finish off corner nook and add shelving; new light shade and window treatments; pretty up the fireplace. Transition from foosball parlour and junk storage locker into a guest room.
Laundry/WC; main bathroom
Accomplishments: Literally nothing?
Plans: Ooooh, big plans here. Both of these spaces need an overhaul. We’re planning to split the laundry in two; one section will be a small ensuite (connected to spare room) with a shower and sink, while the other section (connected to the kitchen) will be a laundry cubby that neatly stores the machines and whatnots. I’m pretty sure of the configuration I want, but we’re not ready to commit the necessary time+expenses to a full renovation yet.
As for the main bathroom, that won’t see any changes until after the future laundry reno, so we’ve got a couple years ahead of us with the peachy-beige tile in our lives. Jamie did replace the old toilet and its leaky cistern, though.
Exterior/ Front yard
The front yard is in transition from rosebush-lined paths to low-maintenance modern, using more and more native plants. A before/after is cheating a little when one photo is in winter and the other is in spring, but I’ll allow it.
- Removals: rosebushes/rhododendron, gravel beds, two arborvitae by the fence.
- Plantouts: Front and side hedges, including dwarf banksias (they’re still there!) and a profusion of kangaroo paws. The bed by the fence is in progress – it features bottlebrushes that will grow into a hedge screen. Over by the front door, there are hellebores in the brick planter and a Huon pine in its own retro cone plant stand. #discovertasmania
- Hardscaping: Laying bluestone paver edges around the new beds; cleaning up the sad cinderblock wall.
- More paths! Large concrete pavers and/or gravel.
- Cut down the enormous pencil cypress
- Create one more plant bed under left-hand windows
- Aerate and overseed lawn
- Wait five years for everything to grow and fill in
Exterior / Backyard
Notice anything different on the house? Like… the wall colour?! House painting is GO. We’ve tackled a quarter of it so far, which included half of the most laborious section (the wall that needs to be stripped to bare timber).
- Eradicating swaths of English ivy, looking after the few established keepers (ahem, camellias) and extending the mixed border, which we filled with heaps of natives.
- Building deluxe veggie beds, assembling a greenhouse and giving the ivy-covered wall a much-needed makeover.
- Staining and sealing the deck, the overhead beams and the railings; adding some furniture and a heap of potted plants. My succulents are multiplying.
- Finish my furniture plans for the deck (a coffee table and live-edge slab benches)
- Aerate and overseed lawn out here too
- Wait 2-3 years for the gum tree to regrow its broken canopy
- Wait another year or so for smaller plants to grow so we can cut down the last of the invasive screening plants (the sweet pittosporum and more infernal ivy)
- One day: add small paver patio, firepit and benches.
And that’s the lot! Bless you if you read through that entire house walkthrough.
I’m over two years in now, and I’m not sick of keeping this journal going. It’s cool to document our process and I’m sincerely grateful to everyone who reads, follows, comments, or shares my posts. (Tell your friends!) It means a lot to me and I’m looking forward to sharing more of the same with you all.
Here’s to the future. <3