purple easter table

I hope you are enjoying a lovely Easter long weekend with family. I know I am!

I’ll see you back here next week with the big kitchen reveal – woot!

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Alicia Parsons - Designer Insights

Happy Monday! Did you have a good weekend? We went to a gorgeous beachside wedding (complete with a burst of lovely autumn sunshine) and – in less glamorous fashion – worked on the office floorboards and kitchen benchtops.

I’ve been interviewed over on the blog of Terry’s Blinds, sharing some of my design process and product picks. Pop over and check it out!

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wallpaper

By the time you read this post, I will be dealing with this:

before-wallpaper-02 before-wallpaper-03

And this…

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And this…

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And even this…

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Might just have to keep this though:

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We moved in over the weekend and are currently busy with some initial works like removing (at least some) of the crazy wallpaper in the house.

I’m not sure how long it will take to have the internet connection sorted out, so follow me on Instagram and Twitter for all the latest updates.

New house floorplan

I’ve given you the grand tour of the new house, but I know it can be tricky to figure out the layout from photos.

So, behold! The floorplan!

(Click on the image to biggify it.)

The cellar was not actually on the real estate agent’s floorplan that I used as my template so it’s not necessarily accurate but everything else is to scale. The space labelled ‘store’ is a bit misleading: the plans suggest it’s under the main roof but it’s actually a tacked-on shed (not sure how far back it goes so I won’t be able to adjust the plans until we get in there).

The studio is also a bit unintentionally misleading too – the floor space is huge but the walls are sloping so much of the space is not fully usable. It is still plenty big enough, just not quite as big as it looks from the plans.

While househunting we saw a lot of odd floorplans. I’m talking sole toilets at the other end of the house to the bathroom, kitchens at the front of the house, living areas so isolated you’d imagine they’d be rarely used, bedrooms that can only be accessed by walking through other rooms, sunrooms so narrow they’re virtually useless…

Some were dealbreakers and didn’t get past the online browsing stage, no matter how pretty the house.

We particularly liked homes with the bedrooms together and with the living area(s) off the kitchen. A formal lounge, dining and second toilet weren’t on the essentials list but they are a nice bonus.

One essential was an office for me, preferably separated in some way from the main house, be it upstairs or in the backyard. We were even looking at properties that had garages that we could convert so I am relieved that we don’t have to go to all that effort and cost. I am so looking forward to being able to ‘leave’ my office for the night.

Our current home has:
2 bedrooms (one used as office)
1 bathroom & toilet
Kitchen
Laundry
Living/dining
1-car carport

The new home has:
3 bedrooms
1 bathroom
2 toilets
Kitchen
Laundry
Lounge
Dining
Living room
2-room attic (to be used as office/studio)
Cellar
2-car garage
Garden shed

It is massive by comparison, but we look forward to growing into it.

I am still pinching myself that we found everything that we were looking for – and then some.

house before

I’ve had this post waiting in the wings for a while.

I took some photos at the new house when we met the agent there to sign some paperwork a few weeks ago. I didn’t want to publish anything until finance and whatnot was 100% sorted, which it now is.

I would not have posted them at all if the home was still occupied, but it’s a deceased estate which has been vacant for some time. The furniture is still there but it has been largely cleared of personal effects.

Exterior

house before

The house is late 50s and is very typical of the area. However it does have a few surprises compared to the majority of seemingly similar homes, because it was built for the builder’s own family as their dream home.

It has only had the one owner for over five decades and, despite the dated decor, has clearly been a well-loved family home. We can’t wait to give it some TLC of our own!

house before

It’s only five minutes from our current home but it feels a world away as it’s tucked in a quiet suburban street instead of being in a big unit block on a semi-industrial main road.

Entry & hall

house before

The entrance is quite generously proportioned and I’m actually quite fond of the chandelier. The view from the front door looks straight into the laundry which is a bit awkward so we may block off that doorway and create more of a focal point.

house before

The three bedrooms are all off a single hallway. It’s not wide enough for any furniture but I’m picturing a gallery wall.

Bedroom 1

house before

The master bedroom I’d say has roughly the same proportions as our current bedroom, which we’ve found to be a good size for us.

house before

It doesn’t have any built-ins though (none of the bedrooms do), so that’s on the to-do list.

Bedroom 2

house before

The second and third bedrooms are decent (certainly bigger than our current second bedroom) but not big. They both have lovely big windows and natural light. Just imagine how light and bright they are going to feel without all the wallpaper!

This room will be a study for The Man, including storage for his work supplies and books as well as his guitar. We have actually arranged to buy some furniture from the vendor, including this desk and dresser.

Bedroom 3

house before

The third bedroom, which overlooks the garden, will act as a guest room.

Main bathroom

house before

If you weren’t already impressed with the variety of the wallpaper in the first four rooms, check out the bathroom.

Yep, it’s ladies’ faces. Watching you in the shower.

house before

…and the toilet.

Laundry

house before

The laundry, like the rest of the house, needs a freshen up but this will be low on our priority list. There is a full-size linen closet on the other side of the room which will be very handy as there is no hall cupboard.

Kitchen

house before

One of the main things that sold us on this house was the floorplan, which has the kitchen ideally (for us) situated between the two living areas. The very long-term plan is to install a brand new kitchen, knocking out the wall on the left to make it open-plan with the living room.

house before

In the meantime I’m planning to paint the tiles and laminate (and remove the wallpaper of course) to modernise and brighten the room. And generally just bask in having triple the storage space of our current kitchen.

Dining room

house before

Off the kitchen, at the front of the house, is a formal dining room. For the time being it will be our only dining area as we only have one table.

There are those glorious big windows again.

Lounge

house before

Through the brick archway is the formal lounge. It’s actually a double room so there are loads of possibilities. It definitely won’t be set up with two seating areas though.

house before

This is the room we will be tackling first since, unlike the rest of the house which has neutral flooring, this has carpet that really needs to go. We believe the sub-floor is timber floorboards so if that’s correct we plan to polish those.

Living room

house before

Adjacent to that is another living space. We actually have not a single piece of furniture to put in this room currently. At some stage I will paint the brick and panelling to create a bright casual meals/living area but it’s something that will evolve slowly.

house before

This house would have been quite the party place back in the day, featuring a built-in bar and speaker system. Much to the dismay of The Man’s friends, this will not be staying… at least not until after our 30th party this autumn. 

Powder room

house before

This photo is proof of not much except that I need a wider angle lens.

The toilet & basin is nicely located off the living room, near the patio, so it will be handy for guests.

Attic

house before

Next to that is a stairwell leading up to my favourite feature of the house…

house before

The attic!

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These two rooms will form my dream studio, with oodles of space for my business as well as crafting and other projects.

The Man is actually just as excited about this room as I am… because it means all my ‘stuff’ will be contained instead of spread out all over the house.

Cellar

house before

I mentioned that this house had a few surprises, well here is another one. North American readers may find this quite underwhelming as basements appear to be commonplace, but here anything beyond one floor is a bit la-di-da.

Especially when it involves a wine cellar big enough to host a dinner party.

house before

Oh and here is the reason why I don’t feel the slightest wifely guilt at ripping out the bar upstairs. Because there is still another one.

Backyard

house before

The patio is really spacious and the pergola is structurally is good nick. We’ll remove the green shadecloth and paint the timber but this is a while off.

house before

As much as I love a blank slate indoors, the opposite is true for the outdoors. I have improved a bit over the last six years of home ownership but I am still very much a novice gardener, so established = good / decisions = bad.

No doubt we will do a bit of landscaping in future but for the time being we will just try not to kill the previous owner’s clearly beloved lawn and fruit trees.

+++

Phew! Well that’s our new home, what do you think? I hope you enjoyed the tour.

 

There is clearly A LOT to do. As in, no wall, floor or fixture will be safe from a makeover. But everything is in good condition and it’s totally liveable so there’s no rush.

Okay, maybe not, because I have SO MANY IDEAS I’m itching to do. 

Either way, we can’t wait to get in there and start making it ours.

If you have any questions about the layout or our renovation plans, feel free to ask in the comments!

Moving in day 2008

When The Man and I moved into our townhouse, we were both coming straight from living with our parents. Naturally, apart from our bedroom furniture and personal items, we didn’t have a lot to move.

Six years on, we have accumulated a LOT of stuff. It’s things we need and use, so I’m not talking about clutter (well, mostly!). But we started out with the absolute bare minimum of furniture and household items (seriously, every time we cooked a new meal we discovered we needed some new utensil or dish) and have slowly built a home.

Now, we are faced with our first ‘proper’ move and to be honest I am kind of overwhelmed by the thought.

Where do I start? How long will it take us? And (with no garage or free floor space) where on earth do I put the packed boxes?!

So I’m asking pleading for your packing and moving tips. Leave a comment with your advice and we can get a nice big list happening.

Before we get into today’s post, I must announce the winner of the 3M Expressions tape giveaway. The winner, chosen at random by Random.org, is Melody Tan! Congrats Melody, I will email you for details.

Recipe folder and app

As I look around my home, I can see the supplies for the finishing touches to our bathroom makeover that began last winter, craft supplies left out after long-forgotten projects, pictures framed yet unhung, invitations that I have designed but not photographed or launched, half-full garbage bags from my partially decluttered wardrobe.

Not to mention the things you can’t see: my 176 draft blog posts (really), the nagging ‘we must catch up soon’ mental reminders, years worth of digital photos gathering virtual dust on my harddrive instead of being put in albums…

Oh my.

I’m exhausted just thinking about it.

Further to this new years post, I am in the midst of reevaluating my to-do list. I had long known that I had far too many commitments than were realistic. I knew the overscheduling left me stressed and drained.

What I hadn’t fully grasped was how my overcommitting was actually directly contributing to my underachieving.

The reason the once-enthusiastic digitisation of my recipe folder finds itself abandoned – 18 months on – is purely because the deadline for the next project was breathing down my neck. Then the next one… and the one after that.

Instead of flitting between so many competing priorities, I’m limiting myself to one project each for home, business and blog at a time. Of course there are the smaller everyday tasks (cooking dinner, client work, writing blog posts) that need to be kept on top of, so this approach is more for bigger, one-off projects.

Not only am I feeling less overwhelmed (no more ‘Should I be working on x, y, or z right now?’) but focusing all my energy and time onto one thing means I am actually ticking things off at a faster rate.

It is going to require all my restraint not to start a million projects at once on the new house because I know I am going to want to do ALL. THE. THINGS. Whenever I find myself wanting to dive into something new, I need to take a deep breath, put it on my ‘later list’ and get back to finishing the projects I’ve already started.

Now if you’ll excuse me, I’m going to type out a bunch more recipes.

Tell me I’m not the only one. What projects of yours are draaaaaagging?

House sold sign

We got to put up our sold sign last week — yippee!

Before we get stuck into planning all the new house projects — oh, who am I kidding, I have already mentally planned everything — there are a bunch of things to address in our current abode.

We already have a tenant lined up (phew) so it does take the pressure off but we still want make it nice for her.

Here are the projects we are tackling before we move:

Bathroom

  • finally finish painting bathroom tiles
  • install new taps and showerhead
  • deep clean and re-caulk shower seal
  • install shower shelf
  • whiten grout in floor tiles
  • tidy up caulking

Kitchen

  • fix light fixture that had come away from the ceiling
  • clean top of shelves and rangehood
  • fix stove element that I broke ~4 years ago and replace knob
  • touch up paint (there are a few nicks in the woodwork)
  • re-caulk splashback

Laundry

  • touch up chipped & scuffed paint

Study

  • fix hole in ceiling (don’t ask)
  • patch up wall where paint is missing from some overly enthusiastic Blu-Tak removal
  • touch up paint (where the lamp, cables etc have scraped the wall)

Bedroom

  • putty and paint holes from hooks
  • fix airconditioner

Living room

  • de-mount TV and patch/paint holes

Courtyard

  • general pruning and tidy up
  • train creeper along green wall
  • replace broken parts of bamboo screening?
  • put plant in bare corner where maple tree was

Front yard

  • nothing except trying to keep it alive during this scorching hot summer

Of course, each room will also get a thorough clean of all the floors, skirting boards and so on. I’m also trying to do a big declutter so we’re not moving anything we don’t need.

They are all little jobs, although they do add up. Plus, every time we do something, we are wishing we did it for ourselves earlier!

Do you have any other tips for first-time home movers?

I think you’ll all agree when I say that paperwork is one of the biggest clutter culprits in most homes. ‘Going paperless’ is a semi-regular series on eliminating paper from your home in order to save time, reduce clutter and benefit the environment.

Kindle and books

I can tell you the exact moment when I decided that I ‘needed’ an e-reader.

It was the moment The Man and I were trying to zip up our suitcases before our journey home after our big trip this time last year. They were filled with handpainted Christmas decorations, Ghiradelli chocolate, copious items from art gallery gift shops… and seven (count them) novels that we’d read over there. A couple of them were even hardbacks.

Neither of us are big readers at home but we totally binge-read on holidays. We even had to hit up the English section of some Austrian bookshops to feed our habit and I bought a couple of e-books to read on my iPad for the long flight home.

Upon returning home, I promptly forgot about my resolution… until our next holiday 10 months later to New Zealand, wherein I smashed through another three books in ten days (Hunger Games – omg!). And again, had to load up the iPad for more.

Apparently all my complaining hinting was effective, because on Christmas Day I was lucky enough to find a new Kindle under the tree from The Man and my parents.

I used to be all annoyingly purist about books. And to be honest I still prefer holding a real book in my hands and enjoying the lovely covers, but ultimately the practicality outweighed my sentimentality by a long shot.

Why didn’t I just keep using the Kindle app on my iPad for reading e-books? A few reasons. Mostly, the size, weight and screen glare. Also when I’m reading I want to be completely absorbed in it, so I wanted to avoid the other temptations offered by the tablet. (Those with iPad Minis and/or better self-control can feel free to disregard much of this rationale.)

For those on the fence, here’s what I lurve about having an e-reader:

  • Can hold your entire library – don’t have to lug around piles of books when travelling.
  • It’s so small and light – I can pop it in my handbag to read during my lunch break with no noticeable weight added (important as I walk to work and already have to cart my shoes, lunch etc).
  • Doesn’t add clutter to the house – nothing extra to dust and organise.

There are lots of other benefits that I’m enjoying that I wouldn’t have considered before, like being able to highlight and note which is great for non-fiction books.

Additional reasons may include wanting to read 50 Shades of Grey on public transport. Just sayin’.

The only con is that you can’t use them on a plane during takeoff and landing, which isn’t too big a deal.

I was also lamenting not being able to freely share books (something my family does a lot) but then found out you can actually temporarily ‘lend out’ your e-books to friends via Kindle which is pretty cool.

I’m actually reading a lot more now that I have the e-reader because it’s so portable. With any luck I may not just be a holiday reader any more.

 How about you? Are you a traditionalist or modernist when it comes to books? Any recent converts like me?

Sponsored by Target.

Target beach essentials

It was absolutely sweltering here last week with temperatures in the 40s all week and reaching 46°C (115°F). Which as far as I’m concerned is too hot to do anything but sit under the aircon with an icy pole. (Which is precisely what I did all week.)

Thankfully this week is much nicer, in fact it’s perfect beach weather!

Target beach essentials

Target beach essentials

My old beach kit was all worn out so I picked up some new essentials from Target, including the funky tote and cushy towel (the sunnies are also Target from a while back).

I opted for sandshoes instead of thongs so they’re more suited to a post-swim walk along the esplanade.

Target beach essentials  Target beach essentials

The Man and I popped down to the beach for an evening dip and walk last night – so lovely! I actually prefer the beach at night because I get burnt in about 5 minutes flat otherwise (whitest girl alive). Plus, sunsets.

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

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