Reno #14: they’re here!

The kitchen tiles have arrived!

You’re looking at my next renovation task: getting the kitchen splash-back tiled. Are these not the perfect tiles for a quilter? You can almost name the blocks they were designed from. I know they’re not the ones I originally chose, but I feel a sneaking sense of relief; these are smaller and easier to work with, a whole lot cheaper, plus easier to get hold of. And I think it’s probably clear from the photo that the kitchen isn’t exactly going to be short of colour anyway!

There are 10 different tile designs, there are 35 in a box, so you get at least 3 of each, plus some random extras. It’s just a pity I can’t pin them up on my design wall to select the layout! And by the way, am I the only one thinking that one at top left a bit overpowering? I think it needs to be placed next to the star and the triangles so it doesn’t shout so loudly. I have two boxes, so I could if necessary leave out any tiles that don’t blend enough to please my eye. I do want to use leftovers elsewhere in the house too, so hopefully I can make them all work.

So, the Easter weekend’s coming up. I have an appointment with tile adhesive, a toothed trowel and a spirit level…

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Reno #13: creeping comfort

Slowly, slowly, I’m beginning to feel settled.

Up to this point, I’ve felt constantly on edge. It’s not the house, that’s lovely: quiet, solid, the right size and shape, and now with sensible kitchen and bathroom. No, it’s that feeling of being adrift because you don’t know where things are, and the daily pattern of living is broken.

In every photo you see here, there are shelves waiting to be filled, boxes waiting to be unpacked, empty boxes waiting to be filled again. It’s a constant process. If there’s a gap, it won’t stay that way for long! The delightful part, though, is that there’s enough space for everything!

Suddenly, though, I’ve turned some sort of corner, and can lay my hands on things – or at least, know where they are. My kitchen equipment is (mostly) here, and the things that aren’t I’m seriously reconsidering. I have some hand sewing, the Days for Girls hexies. I have some of my books, including some I haven’t seen for several years because they were still in boxes, buried in the store room.

Those lovely tiles I’d sourced for the kitchen splashback..? Not happening. It has been six weeks since I placed the order, and they couldn’t give me any kind of date for their arrival, so I’ve cancelled it, and am going with something pretty similar but in shades of grey and white. I’m sorry about the colour, but these new ones are also very nice, and incidentally, half the price. There will be a good few left over, so I’m considering using those in the bathroom to extend the height of the tiling in the shower enclosure, which is adequate for short people (me) but not really for the more generously built (the Husband).

The guest room is entirely finished. Our bedroom still needs two chests of drawers brought in, blackout blinds and new curtains, and mirrors and pictures hung. The bathroom needs the tile skirting/baseboard done, the tiles in the shower extended up, a shelf installed beside the loo, the walls and ceiling filled, sanded and painted and a picture hung. The living room needs some new side tables (our old ones simply don’t fit, but I’ll repurpose those in my sewing room), one wall decorating and lots of bits and pieces taken out of boxes and installed on the shelves waiting for them. The kitchen still needs lots of work: filling, sanding, painting, tiling, boxes unpacking, etc.

On a subject close to my heart, the sewing room is currently the junk depository/furniture assembly area/tool storage. Once all that’s cleared, it doesn’t need anything doing to it apart from moving in bookshelves and all my sewing stuff, and then a serious vacuuming. The blue wall is already blue, just waiting for shelves to go up. I grit my teeth every time I see something new added to the assemblage, but it will change, I will have a sewing room, and sooner rather than later.

So that’s the latest. One of these days I’ll have a huge lie-in. One of these days….

Reno #12: three for free

I’m very, very tired now.

We have been living at the new house for several days now. We’ve had our first overnight guest, who commented how comfortable and homey the place felt already, so we’re doing something right. And suddenly, we’re both totally out of steam. Not really a big surprise, but there are still so many things to do and so much stuff still to sort out and either move on or move in. It has been weeks of relentless action, and while that has paid off in terms of speed of renovation, I have nothing much left in the fuel tank. The last few days have been especially taxing. Here’s a sample:

On Sunday, I was brushing my teeth and felt something swimming around amongst the froth. I assumed it was a bit of breakfast. Nope. It was a fair chunk of my back molar. Oh wonderful, just what I needed right now. I called for an emergency appointment on Monday morning, got one, and instead of the extraction I was dreading, she fixed me up beautifully and virtually painlessly, but it was a stressful time, being my first ever major dental work. Also on Monday we rented a small truck with a tailgate lifter for some of the heavier stuff, like the fridge, our armchairs, several book cases, etc. Turns out that if you only have it for 24 hours, you really have to hustle to drive about, load, secure, unload, etc, so everything had to be done at top speed. And finally, this morning we were attempting to put up the bracket for wall-mounting the tumble drier, and despite carefully checking and marking the location of the water pipes….. Yes, well, after turning off the water, calling the plumber, etc, the screw-hole straight through the centre of the cold water pipe was fixed fairly quickly, but there was a fair bit of mopping to be done.

So that’s the bad stuff. On the other side of the balance sheet is today’s Three for Free.

1) We had to put the car in for testing the alternator we’d had installed, as the battery still wasn’t holding a charge. They tested it, it’s OK, and they didn’t charge us! (We also got a major discount on a new battery). 2) The repair of the water pipe in the laundry was done for nothing by the lovely Keith the Plumber. 3) And finally, at 3.30pm, knackered and in full zombie-mode, we went to a well-known fast food outlet for a dose of sugar and fat. And there, the Husband got a free large French fries, by accident. That wouldn’t have done much for me, but he was happy!

So all in all, we’re feeling only very weary instead of totally frayed and exhausted.

 

Reno #11: man-eating cupboard and hungry ceiling-monster

Well, how else would you caption these two photos?

It’s the lovely Keith the Plumber, connecting up the gas hob

…and Greg the Electrician trying to locate a wire.

It was a big day today. All the lights and power points are now sorted out, and the kitchen is as bright as day with 6 ceiling (can) lights. The bathroom is completed and has the new shower head, taps, loo and fan/heat/light unit fitted as well as a tiny night light with two bulbs the size of wheat grains for those times when you stumble in to use the place but don’t want to wake up properly! The dishwasher is fitted and working. I’ve packed and unpacked three large boxes of books and DVDs, two 80L/20 gallon tubs of sewing stuff and two large boxes of table linen and crockery. I’ve swept, vacuumed, wiped and dusted, sorted plastic and cardboard waste and sorted cupboard contents to determine what to keep and what to give away…

Yes, I am wreckage. The Husband has laboured hard today as well, and we are sprawled side by side in our chairs wearing zombie expressions and wondering if we can summon the energy to conjure up a cup of tea and a large pile of buttered raisin toast. At least, that’s what I’m wondering and I shouldn’t be at all surprised if his mind is running on similar lines.

And finally, for all those who requested video evidence of geriatric ballerina action: this is as good as it’s going to get. Me doing first position on the new bathroom floor, with rags on my feet. Seriously, I couldn’t to it to you all, you might have ruptured something laughing too hard.

And now, tea and raisin toast, and I wouldn’t be at all surprised if there was a little snooze in there too.

Reno #10: an end to the grovelling

I refer, of course, to the crawling on hands and knees I’ve been doing.

One cannot tile a floor without lots of knee action, and mine are now on strike, so it’s just as well that I’ve finished the job! It’s tiled, grouted, sponged and sponged again. I still have to buff it, but I propose to do that with rags tied to my feet, swanning about like a geriatric ballerina doing glissades. At some stage after the plumber has been on Monday to install the new loo, deal with the shower and taps, and install the dishwasher, sink and gas hob in the kitchen, I will have to do a spot more grovelling to install the tile skirting/baseboard, but sufficient unto the day, and all that. I’m really rather pleased with how this looks 🙂

St Bill the Chippy is slowly withdrawing his equipment. At one stage the entire living room, garage and kitchen were filled with sawhorses, compressors, air hoses, nailguns, drop saws, cordless this and hammer that, endless sawdust, woodchips, old nails and screws, new nails and screws, offcuts of timber, mouldings and trims, shelves, beading, architrave, noggins, studs, doors off their hinges and I don’t know what else. It was his preferred working environment, and I picked my way around it all. Now, suddenly, rooms are reappearing from under the mulch of equipment. So what are we doing? Yup, establishing our own mulch of stuff. Boxes of books, files, piles of quilts and curtains, heaps of cushions, crash helmets… well, you get the idea.

But in between, we actually had the breakfast bar clear enough we could eat lunch at it, and the kitchen counter is clear (if not yet dusted and washed) so I can oil it tomorrow before I start painting elsewhere.

Those shelves are the same butcher block timber as the benchtop, which I think is going to look great against white walls. That’ll be my job, then…. Meanwhile, Monday is plumbing day, Tuesday is sparky day, when the range hood is hooked up, the electric oven goes in, the ceiling lights will be fitted in the kitchen, I get all my double power points, and last but not least, the fan/ heat/ light unit goes into the bathroom ceiling. I think we’re in the home stretch. Just a few doors to go back on their hinges on Wednesday, and we can sort of move house… Enough to sleep and eat there, even if all our possessions are not yet there, especially my sewing room, the least ‘necessary’ room in the house 😦

It’s been a hard day. Time for a cuppa and several bickies.

Reno #9 and BougieNights: a tale of three squares

Yes, it IS an odd juxtaposition, but let me explain why.

I have spent a large proportion of the last two days on hands and knees. That’ll be tiling the bathroom floor, then. I have 15 left to set, and then the main part is done, after which I just have to do the infill round the edges and the skirting/baseboard pieces, which can come later. Anyway, the result of this was (as you might expect) an almighty sore back and a sharp rise in my analgesia intake 😉

Looks good though, considering we had to come up with a design which used up the small quantity of terracotta tiles we’d been given, boosted with new white tiles. It’s probably not what I’d have chosen to do if we’d started from scratch, but I simply couldn’t chuck out perfectly good and useful floor tiles. I shall pretend it’s the mosaic floor of my Roman bath house, and accessorise accordingly!  That’s square No 1.

Square No 2 is the individual blocks of Bougainville Nights, now in their final positions.

There have been a couple of minor changes since I last posted about this, but I’ve had to draw a line under further alterations, because I’ve now positioned the remaining 6 blocks on the back and spray basted everything. If I change something now, chances are I’d need to mess up the pattern on the back.

You can see Square No 3 beside the quilt layout. There was one block I really loved, but it had too much lemony yellow in it to work with the rest of them. So I pulled it out, and bordered it with more bright yellow and orange to make a feature of it. It’s going to be the cushion that goes with the quilt – in the same family, but separate. I’ll back it with dark blue and bind it in pink and all will be well.

And now, I am very knackered, so I’m going to make a cup of tea and some toast and honey and kick back.

Reno #8: Saint Bill

I’ve had a major reprieve.

The lovely Bill has decided he’s not going to allow me to chip up those tiles. After our morning discussion of the program for the next few days, he took down the two excess bathroom walls after I left, and today by the time we arrived mid-morning, he’d got probably 20% of the floor done. I reckon that merits a halo, since I was NOT looking forward to the work, particularly as my back is letting me know that it’d like a break, please.

The photo shows how much bigger the bathroom is now that the two walls are gone and the room is a square instead of an L shape. Just in front of where St Bill is kneeling with the Righteous Jackhammer of Destruction is the spot where the new loo will sit, with the cistern against the left hand wall. The doorway through which I took the photo will be blocked off, leaving only the second one to the right of it. The electrician is coming today or tomorrow morning to take out the extra switches, lights and extractor fans and install the single fan/heat/light unit next to the solar tube already in the ceiling.

And I’ll have a clean slate for starting the tiling tomorrow morning. Still bending, still work, but a whole lot less strenuous and tiring.

Thanks, Bill, I appreciate it 🙂