Monday 27 October 2014

A hiatus..

Sorry I haven't been around much lately, something quite sad happened last week - my trusty old laptop breathed her last breath and stopped working forever. She's had a hard life with the kids wrestling, sitting, buying things of ebay (kidding on this one) so I can't complain but the timing really sucks. That's because I have so much to share with you!

Unfortunately it will all have to wait now until my new office space is set up and ready to use.

 If you would like to keep in touch you can follow me on Instagram or facebook or you can sign up with blog Lovin (all links are located in the sidebar on the right) and as soon as my next post happens in a few weeks it will give you a handy notification in your email!

In the next month I will be showing off my NEW kitchen and bathroom (and they are pretty good if I do say so myself) finally getting round to showing off a very cute bedside table make over AND an interview with another owner builder couple. 

Chat soon 


Tuesday 14 October 2014

8 simple Ways to save money on a home renovation

home renovation budget

We knew it had to happen, for lack of a better word we are hemorrhaging money right now, but that's ok we knew it had to happen. All of our trades want paid and we would like to move in one of these days - but that doesn't mean we haven't saved ourselves a lot of money on our home renovation. Today I wanted to share with you our best tips for saving money on a home renovation that have worked for us.

1. Shop around - this is obvious but it takes a lot more work don't take the easy option and go with your first price!  Investigate alternate products and brands, do you really need the top of the range stone in your kitchen or is there a comparable alternative?

2. Offer cash/ pay upfront - this goes for pretty much anything you purchase and services you use to get the job done.

3. Barter and call on friends - got a skill you can trade for with a mate? You never know unless you ask!

4. Trade accounts - Talk to your plumber/ electrician/ tiler about purchasing fixtures and fittings through their account this will often save you a lot of money as they have access to trade prices

5.Ask for a better price! - Again it's obvious (I am completely terrible at it but getting better so the hubs is our negotiator) let your suppliers know if you have been quoted a better price and ask if they are prepared to do better to get your business - they worst they can say is no!

6. Alternative sources - Visit auction and salvage yards and trawl gumtree classified ads. If you know what you are looking for and what you want to pay this can be a great way to snap up a bargain.

7. Decide on where to splurge and when to skimp - Sometimes it can pay off to spend more for higher quality in some areas and cut back on others that don't have the same impact. For us that means stone benches and custom cabinetry in our kitchen and then cheaper flat pack diy cabinetry for our laundry.

8. DIY - I'm not talking highly skilled or dangerous stuff but a lot of money can be saved in doing things yourself e.g demolition, painting, paving/ landscaping even the project managing ourselves has come with significant savings. 

Just so we are clear you might like to know of some ways to NOT save money-
Have champagne tastes on a beer budget
Insist on bathroom underfloor heating
Notice that the hot water system is about to die and needs replacing
Change your mind about extra windows, bigger rooms and fancier light fittings. 
Go for the thicker stone bench tops and the fancier lift up overhead cupboards..

Can you tell I'm speaking from experience here?

Ultimately our own renovation possibly would have cost the same if we were to have gone through a builder, however the savings we have made have meant much higher end finishing's than we would have otherwise used. If this had been a renovation for profit project or we had a tighter budget we would have certainly scaled back on those extras but they are nice to haves.

Are you a DIY'er or a leave it to the pros kinda person? If you have any good advice on how to save money on your home renovations please share below!

Dani x

** If you are planning to undertake a big scale home renovation as owner builders, I can't recommend enough engaging a building estimator to come up with a costings estimate of your project. This is a great way to set a budget and get an idea of where to start!

Wednesday 8 October 2014

Project owner build- the latest

Keeping my promise this week I have some updates on our home renovation! It's been another crazily busy few weeks while the hubs is home but we are so happy with our progress.

This week the tilers are here putting our tiles down and the texture coaters will be here at the end of the week to transform the exterior from that lovely blue cement board to something a little more conventional.

Power isn't connected yet but most of the lights are in and the wiring is almost done. Possibly the best bit about having an electrician husband is that I can be a total pain in the bum insisting on OTT lighting and he just goes along with it (mostly).

In the next fortnight our concrete floors will get the final polish, this is one thing I cannot wait for as it will mean no more dust!! Once the floors are finished the rest of our kitchen can go in. As nice as the plyboard benchtops are (joking) I think we might go for something a little more robust!

Just in case you had forgotten, this is what the back of our house used to look like..

And how it's looking these days...

I know the blue is nice right?!

plyboard paneling
Rather than go for the usual options of gyprock or wooden paneling for our alfresco ceiling, we really wanted to try something different so opted for plyboard ceilings. The house is modern enough to pull it off and there isn't actually a huge cost difference between ply and gyprock.

There is however a bit more work that goes into installing them as they need to be exact cuts, and the channel spacing between each board has a long strip of wood painted black behind it (so it doesn't look ugly). Overall we are pretty happy with the look and I think it will look great once its all finished.

ply board outdoor ceiling
The hubs is ready to install our external downlights after carefully cutting out the spaces. This was a bit of a nail biting job as the ply can't really be repaired well if the cuts are not perfectly neat.

A quick pic of our new  laundry with the tiles down. I am so so happy with these sadly my horrible iphone photos really don't do them the justice they deserve. The wall to the left will have benchtops, the sink, dryer and washing machine plus overhead cupboards and the wall to the right will have a wall to ceiling built in cupboard with sliding doors for linen, vacume, mop and household junk.

I couldn't get into the ensuite this morning to take better pics as the tilers and cabinet makers were all in there so these will have to do for now. We have a beautiful floating vanity and towel cupboard sitting in here with a benchtop that matches the kitchen cabinetry. The floors will be the same as the laundry with my precious hexagon tiles to go across this wall. If you have instagram and you are following me you might just get a sneak peek later of the bathroom..

Then looking through from the powder room toilet that high window lets in so much light I love it. I also am quite partial to the pendant lighting in here, it is actually 3 lights joined together with a special cover plate to make it look nice and neat. The stunning green colour in case you were wondering is the waterproofing membrane.

Then some shots of the main open plan area.

Looking out to the new dining area, I am especially looking forward to enjoying un cramped dinners with the girls here in the months to come. The view into the garden is also really nice despite all the building refuge and bits of steel laying about.

Looking back towards the original part of the house, the walk in pantry to the left of the picture, fridge and study nook (which I will probably take over with my sewing machines)

So that's it for now! Hubs is back to work for another fortnight and I am sure he is looking forward to the rest. When he comes back we will be moving out of our bedroom temporarily while the doorway to our walk in robe is cut. I'm not looking forward to the insane amount of dust that will accompany the job but oh to have a walk in robe for my clothes and shoes (and some of the hubs of course)

Hope you all love it as much as we do!


P.S I always love to hear from you, so if you have any questions or enquires about trades, products or services please don't be shy! I have also included a couple of the services and products we have used that I wouldn't hesitate to recommend (none are affiliate links in case you were wondering).

Gyprocking and plastering - All Dec ceiling and wall specialists

Asbestos removal and roofing - KBE Asbestos and roofing contractors

Tiles - Myaree ceramics

Architectural design and drafting - Design Pitch

Kitchen and bathroom cabinetry and stone - M&M cabinetry 

Thursday 2 October 2014

Friday finds

Be still my beating heart, how I love beautiful quirky chidren's illustrations and art. If you have not heard or seen the work by Schmooks by now you are probably missing out.  

The artist behind Schmooks, Claire Cimbora is based in Canberra and is also a mama of three. Her work is whimsical and timeless full or quirky characters and magic.

ONCE UPON A TIME, there was a little girl who loved rabbits and kites and pink and all the enchantments of childhood. That little girl grew into an adult but her heart continues to pitter-patter with the wonders of make-believe.

A few months back I shared a image of one of their new wall decals on instagram

These are perfect for a serene and calming nursery or play area for your small people. Made without vinyl they have a lovely fabric texture and can me moved and re-positioned without damaging the walls or falling apart.

For those who are not a fan of decals, Schmooks also have a growing range of completely darling prints which can also be customised to suit your decor.

Then there are these beauties...

When I was a little girl I had a pair of Clarks magic steps *** If you have no idea what I am talking about you can see a very vintage ad for them here)*** as soon as I saw these pendants it took me straight back to being a little girl, those shoes with the hidden picture on the sole and the wonder and excitement of a magical secret world.

I ordered one as soon as they came out for one of my good friends and it was as beautiful in real life as in the pictures.

If you want to have a look at more of this beautiful range you can find the Schmooks shop here or to read more about Claire and her work you can visit here

Dani x

**All image credits to Schmooks

Tuesday 30 September 2014

My camera isn't broken...

IMG credit Studio Bomba instagram

After having a DSLR camera for a few years, I am completely embarrassed to admit I have NO IDEA how to use it. So finally after so many feeble attempts to use it in manual mode armed with online info graphics and cheat sheets galore and still just not getting it I gave up.

Then a few months back one of my gorgeous friends suggested we enrol in a workshop Studio Bomba in Perth was running on getting out of auto mode and into manual  run by the very talented Angela Higgins and I jumped at the chance to learn what the hell I was doing wrong.

This is not a joke, but an actual attempt I made to use my camera in manual mode... so very very bad.

Turns out it was a lot! 

No big surprise there but it's taught me that I am very much a hands on learner. As I read a text on how to do something, no matter how interested I am in the subject my eyes start to glaze over and my mind starts wandering.... I wonder what I'll cook for dinner.... 

The best bit about our class was that Angela is not some hardcore classical photographer we could never aspire to be, she is actually self taught so I instantly felt at ease. Everything was approached in an easy to understand way that made so much sense to me. 

There is actually a point here aside from telling you how hipster I am participating in Studio Bomba workshops... Just bear with me here

After years of not knowing how to do something, something I actually really wanted to know how to do. I put myself out there and took a class on it. Now I know. 

It was so simple I'm not sure what was holding me back for so long. So now I'm not an expert, my photos are a bit s**t still BUT they are already better and I know they will get even better the more I practice.

Like I said NOT perfect but oh so much better.

So that's it, that's my point.

If there is something you want to learn go and find a class and learn it! Wishing you knew more really doesn't do a whole lot.


P.s if you are in Perth and a bit if a crafty type Studio Bomba has some great day workshops you might be interested in their schedule is HERE and if you can't see any give them a call!

Thursday 25 September 2014

Friday finds

I won't try and deny it, I am unashamedly a shopping junkie in store, online wherever it's all good. I have however been TRYING to curb my habit to save a bit of the moolah for our house. So in the meantime there is no harm in just looking and maybe sharing my favorite fines
with my readers... right ???

Hidden in among the fever that is replica furniture these days, there are some incredible furniture designers out there bringing us new, creative and irresistible designs. My latest loves are for Redfoxandwilcox  two kiwi chicks over east making beautiful furniture like this...

There are options of steel frame colours, dimensions and top material (wood, marble or glass) and that's not even the best bit...

They also can make custom made dining and hall table tops in some really exciting and beautiful custom designs.

You can pick your choice of legs...

Or if you already have your own table top, you can purchase these cool hairpin legs on their own.

I strongly suspect that once we have recovered from this home renovation one of these might be sneaking its way into our home.

Before you start feeling all sad and think that these are insanely expensive they are not (the freight over to WA isn't obscene either) Did I mention they are also made from recycled wood to??

To see some more of their custom work not on their webpage you should definitely go and visit their Facebook page.

Cool affordable design AND green friendly for the win!


P.S I was not PAID for this post, nor did I receive any goods to do so, my opinions are purely my own - I just think hooray for lady furniture makers doing cool stuff you should know about. 

Monday 22 September 2014

Bathroom tile selection

Clearly I must be mad, in the past few weeks I have gone not once but twice to tile shops with the small fries in tow. Not to say my madness wasn't without method as I have finally picked our tiles!

I have been to so many tile shops over the past 6 months I am a walking encyclopedia of where to find what in Perth and although I had a rough idea of what I wanted, it was harder than I thought to find it.

We really wanted to create a more grown up bathroom that still flowed nicely with the rest if the house so I wanted something that will look good against the polished concrete and wood veneer.

These images have been in my inspiration file for some time.

IMG source - The Interiors addict (from previous seasons of the Block)

For the longest time I was set on having dark tiles on the walls and floor. The en-suite has only one small high window so I had assumed it would be a dark room and felt that we should go with it and go for that dark moody feel. 

It turns out our building designer knew what she was doing and that smallish north facing window actually lets in a lot more light than I had ever imagined. Still set on my original design plan for our dark moody bathroom I found some beautiful charcoal hexagons  that so happened to be insanely expensive at over 250$ a square metre. We are tiling up to 2.2mtrs so it was just not going to happen.

I was so certain that I still didn't want white tiles on the walls because it would be boring but then I came across this beautiful bathroom on Instagram. It is from a Perth designer Susie Q

You can find SusieQ design on Instagram right here and I highly recommend you do for more photos of her 
lovely and stylish home. (thanks for letting me share your photos!)

I really like the visual interest of the penny rounds with the round mirror its far from boring and looks so clean crisp and fresh. She also made mention of Myaree tiles and I am so glad she did. If you are in Perth and looking for the kind of tiles you find in magazines, this is the place you won't be disappointed by their selection. So after a few trips back and forth I finally made the decision to go with these tiles
Matte rectified charcoal tiles for the floor, matte white rectified tiles for the main walls and matte white hexagons as a feature for the main shower wall and vanity wall. The wood sample hanging out right there will be our vanity top.** I would also like to make a public statement that I have been looking at the matte type tiles long before the judges on the block said that Matte is what is "in" I'm just completely stylish and in the know (haha) Rectified tiles are more expensive to lay than traditional tiles as it is more complex but they just look so damn good I couldn't didn't want too compromise (sorry hubs)This week we have had some tilers come round to quote on the job so we should have someone to start in the next few weeks. We had planned on tiling ourselves to save some money but that went right out the window when I insisted on rectified tiles. Ultimately we would both rather bite the bullet and pay the pros to do the skilled jobs and get a perfect end result than DIY and be disappointed in the end.Just so I am not keeping you in the dark, here is a bit of an ugly photo of our new en-suite looking from the powder room back into the room. To the left under the bulk-head we will install a floating vanity and directly below the window is our shower which will be tiled with the hexagons.

Tiles and bathrooms aside, things are moving along really well and I can't wait to share some more progress photos with you folks later this week. It is looking much more like a home these days not a lump on blue board and steel.I also found out that my building designer Cherie has finally launched her website. If you are in Perth and you like what we are doing you can find her here So what do you think? Would you ever have a bathroom tiled in all dark tiles or are you a white and bright fan? Did you get to pick your bathroom tiles or did you inherit someone else's good (or terrible) taste?Dani xo

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