Thursday, February 7, 2019

Finishing The Garden Studio

Well, another Christmas has come and gone and summer is just beginning to wind down a bit after weeks of hot, dry weather. I was on a mission to get the little back garden studio space to a completed-enough state to use it on Christmas Day (I hosted 22 family for lunch and needed all the space I could get..........I used the studio as a coffee/tea station and chill-out space.)

Since then, I've gone on to finishing it off as my backyard studio retreat - a sweet little space to read, sketch, sculpt, listen to music and even use as an extra bedroom when required.

I'm so happy with it and I spent very little doing it, just a bit of time. This is what it was like before.........and this photo is somewhat flattering:

Here's a view from the same angle:

And from two different angles......

So much more inviting, don't you think?

My next big project will be the kitchen floor - I can't wait to purge myself of the layers of old vinyl and lino and strip those lovely boards that are underneath! When it gets a bit sunny in there, that floor covering gives off a weird smell - won't be sorry to be rid of that!

I've had a quote to have the fascias, gutters and downpipes replaced - something that I decided needed to be done professionally - that will be done in early April and then I can get on and continue with the painting of the external woodwork.
Here's what else I'm hoping to get done over the next few months:
*Side fences on both sides
                               *Re-do all the insides of the kitchen cabinets 
       *Open shelving in the kitchen
    * Paint front deck and steps 
        *Repair some loose brickwork 
             *A bit of repointing of brickwork 
*Finish painting inside   

That's quite a list - I'd better get on with it! 


Wednesday, October 31, 2018

The Atelier

When I found this house, I was delighted to discover that there was a very solidly built small brick bungalow in the backyard. Perfect for a atelier if you want to go all fancy-French!

When I moved in it was full to the gunnels with old packaging, discarded junk, broken furniture etc, but once all of that was gone, it revealed itself to be structurally sound and only in need of a good clean, paint and finishing touches to make a very inviting space to work in. I had fully intended to get it done before last summer..........that didn't happen! But I've finally reached a stage where I can give it some attention.

First the floor - good sound hardwood floor, albeit with a few flaws indicating that it is not first grade, but perfectly serviceable for a studio. I cleaned it up and scrubbed it to remove decades of ingrained dirt (it had never had any kind of finish on it). Here it is in all its glory, cleaned and ready to go. The walls are "ranchwall" plywood, which should paint up quite well.

I decided to finish the floor with Feast and Watson Liming White, which should lighten the room considerably and provide a good cleanable surface. The floorboards are inconsistent in colour and there is a bit of staining - the limed finish should even out some of inconsistencies.

This is what it looks like with two coats of the Liming White and another yet to apply:

Now try and picture white walls and a brightly painted window and door (colour yet to be decided on). A bright rug, some practical shelving, a worktable and an easy chair. I can see myself spending a lot of productive time out here once it's completed!


Wednesday, October 17, 2018

Coming Out Of Hibernation............

Well, winter is officially over.......we had our first 25 Celsius day this week (quite unusual this early in Spring and I hope it doesn't portend a really hot summer!) To be honest, winter was not an ordeal: the house was warm and dry with the woodheater working efficiently and the residual dampness the house seemed to be harbouring is long gone. Things are really moving in the garden with the asparagus crowns I planted about 18 months ago springing into's so hard to follow the advice to leave it to go to fern for a couple of seasons before harvesting the spears when those fat little buggers are poking their heads above the soil! I'm told my patience will be rewarded. Next year. The apricot, plum and berry bushes have all set fruit - I'm looking forward to that!
Inside the house, I haven't been completely idle and I've been chipping away at some of the smaller, less pressing jobs before the spring/summer onslaught. 

I've replaced this nasty old carpet that was in the bottom of the built-in wardrobe in the main bedroom with some easy-to-clean laminate: that was a freebie left over from another job that was given to me - it's more than enough to do the job.

An improvement, don't you think? But probably, I'm the only one who will ever notice.

I've also finished off the laundry, which is a small room adjoining the kitchen. You might remember that there was a superfluous door leading from the laundry into the bathroom which I got rid of and re-plastered last year when I renovated the bathroom. That freed up a lot of extra wall space for shelving and even room for the freezer. After I painted it out, I installed simple open shelving with strong metal brackets, so I can see at a glance where everything is and I'm mainly using it for large and bulky cookware, iron and ironing board, vacuum cleaner, dehydrator, bulk food etc. Nothing fancy here - just a good utilitarian space.

Just to remind you - here are a couple of "before" pictures.

These shelves are tucked around a corner, so they are not visible from the kitchen or dining room. It has allowed me to substantially de-clutter the kitchen, too.

And lastly, I found this cute little nine-drawer cabinet (on sale for half price at Ishka) to put in my small entry (to replace a temporary very cheap and nasty table I had in there) It's the perfect place to put all the bits and bobs you need as you are going out the door and to put KEYS so they don't get lost! 


Tuesday, April 3, 2018

The Loneliness of the Long-Distance Roof Painter

Well, there are no two ways about it............preparing and painting a roof by hand takes a LONG TIME! There are five steps to cover for each section completed and it does take time. But I am so very nearly there and with yet another week of fine and warm weather coming up I WILL get it completed before the Autumn damp really sets in. I've had a good look at all the guttering and fascias while I've been working up on top and I've decided that they are in a generally poor state and not worth trying to save, so I will get it all professionally replaced next summer. That's one job I don't think I should tackle myself. Here's the roof as it is right close! I'll be glad when this is finally finished now so that I can get onto some of the other things on my never diminishing list! I am very pleased with how it looks, though - it's been worth the time and effort.


Thursday, March 15, 2018

Roof Fixing

Summer is drawing to a close, but the weather has stayed mostly warm and dry - ideal for getting onto the roof, biting the bullet and getting it fixed. It is a galvanized iron roof, like most of the rooves in Tasmania - a great, long-lasting and effective roofing material. However, after 50+ years in place, this roof was succumbing to the effects of time and beginning to rust, especially on the south-eastern side. Most people deal with problem by ripping it all off and replacing it, which is what I would have done if the rust had been too bad.  But it was very much only surface rust, which could be removed using a wire brush attachment on my electric drill, the metal treated with converter and then it could be primed and painted with special rust-guard paint. Also, replacing a whole roof is pretty expensive! It is a big job, because the area is large and there is are numerous of processes to be gone through properly to achieve a good, lasting final result. I decided I needed to do it is stages, in case the weather broke before I got done (I didn't want to leave bare metal exposed to wet weather for any length of time)..........I am well on the way. I'm only doing the side that is worst before the winter - the other side, with almost no rust, can wait until next summer.

 There is quite a good view from up on my roof - over the city to the north east and to the Western Tiers to the south west. I'm enjoying the view as I am up there working.

I did quite a lot of rock-climbing in a former life, so I feel fairly OK working at height. needless to say, I am being very careful!

Here is how things stand: the foreground section that is lighter in colour is completely finished, the middle section has been treated and primed and the small section in the background remains to be done. I'm getting there. I am enjoying it, but I'll be glad now when it's done!


Saturday, February 17, 2018

A Knitting Project

I searched high and low for a cushion cover in the right colours to go into my newly refurbished spare room.........(well, honestly, it was really only a perfunctory look) Couldn't find anything, so I bought some wool and knitted my own. This is knitted on the diagonal, so you start with very few stitches at one corner and increase at the beginning of every row and then decrease once you reach the widest point. The reverse is four squares knitted diagonally in the four colours I used on the stripy side.

I love the complementary pep in this room now - you would think such strong colour contrasts would be a bit hectic, but, on the contrary, I find it restful.
Total cost for renovating this room: around $250!


Tuesday, February 6, 2018

A Bit Of Wabi-Sabi

Yesterday, I dragged out the old table I mentioned in my previous post........and, yes, it was in a pretty sorry state. It had spent a number of years outside as a kind of potting table I think, and all four feet had varying degrees of rot where it had stood on and in the soil. I cut the bottoms off all four legs to the same level to remove all traces of rot. The frame and top were in surprisingly good condition - turned blackwood legs and a deal pine top, which had all the signs of a hard life, but was not warped or split. The base had been painted a grey blue which was weathered and peeling. 
I bought four matching pine feet to glue and screw onto the bottoms of the legs to replace what I'd cut off (remarkably, it is solid on its feet - no rocking at all!) I also braced the corners under the top to reinforce and strengthen it.

I then set to with the sander to sand back the top and remove most of the paint from the legs. I didn't want to obliterate every trace of its former life, so I allowed some of the stains and dents to remain in the top and  I left some of the grey paint on the legs. I stained the pine extension feet to match the colour of the legs and I oiled the top (thirsty, it was!) I'm really happy with the result of a little bit of effort - this cost me nothing except time!

So here it is: my new/old wabi-sabi table  - a perfect addition to finish off my spare bedroom. (Wabi-sabi comes from the Japanese aesthetic - it celebrates and finds beauty in the imperfect, the broken, the fits in perfectly with my designer-frugal style! In fact, I really have a wabi-sabi house!