gas hot water unit

I didn’t think too much of it about a week after moving in when The Man mentioned that his shower ran out of cold water. I apologised, figuring I’d just been in there too long scrubbing wallpaper scraps from my arms.

Unfortunately, it was a much bigger problem than my indulgent showers.

Yep, the hot water system was busted. Great.

(This also happened right after we moved into the townhouse which makes us wonder what we ever did to the hot water gods.)

Instead of simply replacing the old electric unit, we opted to get gas instead (it was available in the street but was not connected to our property). It was a total nightmare for The Man to coordinate the various parties (the person who installs the inlet is a different person to the one who installs the meter who is a different person to the one who installs the new unit, then of course there’s the energy company themselves whose call centre is simply delightful to deal with).

Oh and did I mention that when the gasfitter was emptying the old unit outside, the water started flooding in the back door?! Needless to say, I grabbed a bunch of towels, not the camera.

We did manage to get a temporary system (above) for a few days’ respite from the freezing showers (hooray!)… but then they took it away again to install the permanent unit which wasn’t hooked up for another three days (nooo!). So it was back to my parents’ place, towels in hand.

gas hot water unit

All up, it cost A LOT. Way more than it would have been to just replace it with another electric unit. But switching to gas will not only be more economical to run, it will also allow us to have a gas cooktop in future (we hate cooking on electric), to plumb in the barbecue and to replace the non-functioning oil heaters with gas if we want to.

Sorry, no eye candy for you today. Keepin’ it real with the boring and ugly realities of home ownership!

Now if you’ll excuse me, I’m going to wash my hair.

How do you power your home? Electric, gas, solar or a combination?

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flowers

Another huge weekend working on the house, this time working exclusively on the kitchen. I actually have a sponsor for the kitchen reno though so I can’t share anything yet.

So here is a pretty photo of a flower from our garden instead!

A couple of days ago with the early autumn weather a bunch of our bushes started flowering. It’s looking so colourful and lovely, both from the street and also the view from the dining room (where I’m currently working from while the office is awaiting completion).

We are so enjoying having a proper garden here.

This post is sponsored by Target

Target festive celebration

What’s the best part about this time of year? Opening up your home to entertain friends and family, with no further excuse required to crack a bubbly or whip up a cocktail at any time of day.

If you’re off the hook for hosting Chrissy lunch this year, perhaps (like me) you’re thinking about throwing a bit of a party this Christmas / New Year period.

With that in mind, I’ve put together a little shoot to inspire your upcoming festive celebration.

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Get the look from Target: wreath, hurricane lantern, square lantern, tree decorations, cushion, ceramic trees, polka dot flutes, polka dot tumblers, drink dispenser, black platters, dress, ring, necklace.

Thanks to The Man for helping with the photography since yours truly is in some of the shots.

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GIVEAWAY

I have a $30 Target gift card to give away to one lucky reader. Simply leave a comment and tell us your favourite way to celebrate the holidays and the best answer will win!

Competition closes midnight Wednesday 18th December and winner will be announced on Thursday 19th December. Sorry, open to Australian residents only.

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porch makeover

One of the things on my porch makeover must-have list was some storage. Why was it so important, you ask?

Well, because there is a never-before-photographed corner of our courtyard that looks something like this:

messy courtyard corner

Yeeeah. Nice, huh?

Our laundry is home to most of our hardware and garden gear, but sadly with no shed or garage the bulky items simply have nowhere to go and have languished in the courtyard for six years.

outdoor storage bench

They now have a neat little spot on the front porch inside the new bench.

Not the most pin-worthy storage idea, I admit, but it will mean our courtyard will no longer be a dumping ground so it wins major points with me.

Now the only question is: what do to with the awkward corner of the courtyard?

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This post is sponsored by Masters.

porch makeover

It’s done – wahoo! The Man and I worked hard over the weekend to finish the front yard and we’re so happy with how it turned out.

Let’s back up a bit though and have a reminder of the before shots and inspiration and also a couple of in-progress shots. (I won’t go into too much technical detail but I’m more than happy to answer if you have any questions about the plants or materials.)

porch makeover

porch makeover

porch makeover

As you may be able to tell from the glaring sun and half-dead lawn in the photos, we’ve been experiencing some rather hot weather. Our cold ciders were definitely well-deserved at the end of the day as the yard now looks a little something like this:

porch makeover

porch makeover

A red brick house with blue-grey trim is not something I would choose if it were up to me, but I quite like how the warm timber and grey metal of the storage box complement the colour scheme.

porch makeover

porch makeover

Two established yuccas either side of the bench were ideal because they are drought-tolerant which is perfect for the dry Adelaide climate (and my lazy gardening style).

porch makeover

porch makeover

We opted for a dwarf Japanese Maple for the tree in the lawn. Once it grows it will provide some summer shade and privacy for our giant living room windows, while letting the winter sun in.

porch makeover

porch makeover

porch makeover

porch makeover

porch makeover

We actually have no flowering plants in our back courtyard (I was going for a lush evergreen look out there) so I was itching for some colour and prettiness at the front.

I am loving the sweet pink pots by the front door and the hanging plants and evergreen bush softening the edge of the porch.

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porch makeover

And you know I’m over the moon that guests can not only see the house number but also walk in an unobstructed path to the front door – hooray!

porch makeover

porch makeover

porch makeover

porch makeover

Here is the before and after for you:

contemporary yard & porch makeover before

porch makeover

Barring the fact that we clearly need to be a bit more vigilant about our lawn care (the first photo was taken after a wet spring and the second was taken after a hot summer week, okay?), we are stoked with the result.

Thanks so much to Masters for giving me the opportunity to finally tackle our sad-looking exterior. It’s definitely a much nicer sight to come home to.

Shopping voucher provided by Masters Home Improvement. Opinions are my own.

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front-porch-during-01

I had a very hectic weekend with a bunch of errands to run, preparation for Bowerbird Bazaar and the wedding of a couple of friends (yay!).

I did manage to squeeze in some progress on the front porch makeover. And by ‘I’ I mean my father-in-law who kindly came over to install the light and house number with me for me and The Man who assembled the storage bench.

Unfortunately a couple of the pots had been damaged in transit (these things happen), but the customer service person at Masters was very helpful and had the replacements on their way immediately.

front-porch-supplies

I can’t wait to get out there and finish off the makeover – not just for the final result outside but so we can reclaim our indoors too!

Next step will be potting and planting all the lovely new plants desperately needed to liven up our sad little yard.

Have you been working on any spring garden projects?

Disclosure: I am working with Masters on my porch makeover.

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This post is sponsored by Masters.

Now that we’ve finished our bathroom makeover, there’s only one part of our home that has managed to escape our renovating attention. Is it some unused corner? A garage? A room that no guest would ever see?

Um, nope. Sadly not.

It’s our front yard.

contemporary yard & porch makeover before

Not exactly welcoming, is it? In fact our lovely neighbours there (to the right of the picture) are putting us to shame with their potted garden.

Being in a block of units, there’s a bunch we can’t change (flaking blue trim paint, I’m looking at you). But it’s well and truly time we tackled what we can of our sad little patch… especially since it’s spring!

The main issues we have are (ranging from would-be-nice to shudder-worthy):

  • the complete and utter lack of anything living (apart from the lawn);
  • disguising the ugly concrete;
  • the rusting original 70s porch light and house number; and of course…
  • the path that leads right into the verandah post!

We also want to add a small tree for privacy and shade (the afternoon sun streams into our living room) and some storage would be a huge bonus.

contemporary spring porch makeover inspiration

With that in mind, I jumped onto the Masters website and started browsing their outdoor living section.

I began looking at the furniture since they would be the biggest items. They had some great colourful chairs and tables but alas we don’t have the space for that. I did, however, find the perfect storage bench! It is not weathertight or secure, so it will be ideal for non-valuable things like the carwashing gear, buckets, hoses and watering cans.

Flanking the bench underneath the window will be two of the grey pots with some evergreen shrubs. Further potted greenery and colour will be in a hanging basket and pots beside the front door.

We will leave the lawn as-is except for the addition of some stepping stones to the porch. I considered edging plants too but I think it would make it look too formal.

In the centre I’m picturing a dwarf tree to shade the front window. I’m still tossing up whether to go deciduous (since it would let the winter sun in) or whether the dropped leaves would be more maintenance than we’d like.

contemporary yard & porch makeover before

(Would you believe me if I said the cobwebs above were just Halloween decorations? No, didn’t think so.)

Finally, a much-needed upgrade to some shiny new house numbers and porch light will modernise the facade.

I’m really happy with how it’s all looking on paper. I’m now ready to get clicking and buy all of the goodies on the Masters website to make it a reality! Best of all, they deliver (music to my ears).

I can’t wait for it all to arrive so I can start getting my hands dirty!

Shopping voucher provided by Masters Home Improvement. Opinions are my own.

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outdoor tiki torch

Spring is finally here, hurrah! We’ve had great delight in throwing open the doors and windows for the first time in months.

With that in mind, this month’s guest post on Houzz is all about sprucing up your garden.

Read the post here.

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kitchen window film after 2

You may remember earlier in the year I told you how we removed the window film in the laundry. It’s a really small window but was an absolute PITA to remove, so it’s taken me this long to get over it and tackle the much larger windows in the kitchen.

kitchen windows old

The before shot I took doesn’t show the true cruddiness of the window, so here is a lovely shot from when we first moved in. Someone clearly thought that cleaning the window with steel wool was an awesome idea.

Before:
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After:
kitchen window film after

I know there doesn’t appear to be a huge difference in the photos (especially since part of the view in the ‘before’ is overexposed) but you can definitely notice how much clearer and brighter it is in real life.

It had taken us four weekends of on-and-off attempts to scrape the film off the left window pane (I would get the size of the postage stamp done before my arm felt like it was going to fall off). The secret to removing it, as we found out last time, was elbow grease. This time, however, we learnt that there is definitely such a thing as too much elbow grease. The Man had just started working on the second pane when he heard a *CRACK*. Uh-oh!

Fortunately, since we’re in a Strata Title home, any damage to the building itself is covered by the Strata’s insurance so we didn’t have to shell out the 250 bucks (!) to have the broken pane replaced.

repaired kitchen window

Unfortunately, the new pane is held in place with exposed silicone, so I’ll have to paint the outdoor trim (as you can see, it clearly needed it anyway).

Very happy with the results from inside though, and glad we don’t have any other windows with film! The view from the kitchen window is so clear now it makes me want to get outside and tidy up the garden.


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For the sake of my Northern Hemisphere readers I’ll try not to rub this in too much, but Spring has well and truly arrived in my part of the world. Yesterday we took our first chance of the season to enjoy eating outside with a long Sunday lunch – life doesn’t get much better than that, right? 

Here’s a reminder of what the courtyard looked like when we finished it two years ago:

Look how it’s grown! 

I’m very happy with how it’s come along, especially since The Man and I are completely new to gardening.  The two trees in the corners (dwarf magnolia and Japanese maple) have barely grown but I’m hoping it’s just that they’re much slower growing compared to the climbing fig and bamboo.

   

 Speaking of how much the bamboo has grown, check out the photo above. Yes, that would be the bamboo reaching the second storey gutters!

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A collection of pretty meets practical ideas to inspire a happier home

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