Earth Hour 2014

I haven’t done a ‘Why don’t you…’ column in a while but when the rep for Earth Hour got in touch to spread the word I thought it would be the perfect reason to do so.

If you’re not aware, Earth Hour is an annual event to encourage us all to switch off our power for just one hour to combat climate change. This year the focus is on saving the Great Barrier Reef. My parents took us when I was 13 and I want to be able to do the same for my kids in future but it won’t be around if action isn’t taken now.

The Man and I have already been going very low-tech recently, with renovations simultaneously rendering our lounge and kitchen  almost unusable. So we enjoyed a candlelit picnic on the floor (and may or may not have polished off a bottle of red on a Monday night).

It felt like such a relaxing treat we’ll be doing it again for Earth Hour this Saturday at 8.30pm.




While I’ve been beavering away at the office and kitchen updates, The Man and a couple of friends worked on the lounge. Specifically, tackling this intimidating amount of wallpaper.

wallpaper removal

Some bits were flaking off even dry so we thought it would be much easier than the kitchen. Sadly it wasn’t quite that simple, but once you got into the swing of it it was manageable.

wallpaper removal

First we removed all the wall lights and outlets and covered the wires with plastic to protect them from the water and steam. We also removed any hooks and nails.

I had researched wallpaper steamers and they cost a bomb to hire. Not so bad if you only have a small area that you can do in a day, but we have an entire house. We were keen on this baby but it didn’t ship to our area. Happily though, The Man scored a second-hand one on eBay for $80!

wallpaper removal

It’s really easy to use; it’s basically like a giant kettle with a hose connected to a flat plate. We started off using less steam and more scraping, but with a bit of patience, the steam works like a charm if you take your time.

wallpaper removal

wallpaper removal

We also uncovered some unexpected scenes, like this spiders’ hangout between the wall and the loose wallpaper.

wallpaper removal

See if you can spot the four spiders in the photo!

wallpaper removal

The steamer works with water only (no chemicals or other additives) which is great. Although like the kitchen, we’ll give it a wash and scrape with a bucket of wallpaper glue remover solution to remove the glue residue.

Then there is the usual prep work to be done on the walls to ready them for painting, which will be the next step.

wallpaper removal

This is such an epic room – 10×3 metres – so it was a big job and we’re very relieved to have it done.

This post is sponsored by White Knight.

Kitchen before

Anyone for a brown-on-brown kitchen with orange and olive green accents?

Didn’t think so.

The first step in this makeover (or should I say makeunder?) was to remove the crazy wallpaper. With the help of a wallpaper steamer, some elbow-grease and couple of kind friends, after a (very hot and steamy) day we had uncovered the bare walls.

Our first of many rooms to de-wallpaper – very satisfying!

Kitchen during

I’d had great success using White Knight tile paint before in our first home’s kitchen and bathroom so I knew it would be well worth the effort here too.

This 80s delight called for a more serious approach though, needing not only tile paint but also laminate paint for the cabinets.

Kitchen during

One of the things that attracted us to this home was the beautiful natural light. The kitchen, however, is in the centre of the house and is really dingy with the dark cabinetry and lack of light. The Man and I selected white for the splashback and cabinets to really brighten up the space.


I set about giving everything a thorough clean with Tile & Laminate Cleaner, followed by a coat of Tile & Laminate Primer. I like using a foam roller (and foam brush for the edges) to get a nice smooth finish free of brushstrokes.

Kitchen during

Our cabinets were a cinch to paint but if yours have handles I would remove them first for a neater finish.

And here it is all primed and ready to go:

Kitchen during

Already it looks so much bigger and brighter!

Stay tuned for part 2…

New house ideas

No surprises that I’ve been pinning like mad since December when we signed the contract for our new home.

Like the announcement, I wanted to keep everything hush-hush until it was all 100% sorted. But I just realised my epic pinboard was still set to ‘private’ – oops!

Well and truly time to remedy that so you can peek inside my brain to see how my ideas for the new house are forming. Make yourself a coffee and go over and browse my inspiration so far on Pinterest. Go on, I’ll wait.


Back? Good! Tell me, what did you think?

In some ways it’s quite a departure from my normal design tendencies. There is a lot of white and other light wall colours (mostly very pale grey) instead of being drawn to my usual bold palette.

Certainly it’s partly due to age – we were in our early twenties when we bought our first home so it was a fun, colourful house for a young couple, whereas I feel like this is our ‘grown up’ house.

I think also at the time I had a boring job and wanted a stimulating environment at home. Six years on, I have more than enough stimulation in my day so I now find myself craving calmness and simplicity. (Self-diagnosing psychology through Pinterest – who would have thought!)

Some things definitely haven’t changed though. Overall my style is still a mix of old meets new, with a heavy mid-century influence, graphic patterns, industrial touches and pops of colour.

Either way, you can definitely see clear themes emerging, which is what’s so great about the process of creating moodboards.

My goal with this house is to have it all flow and work together, instead of the dog’s breakfast of a colour palette we had in the townhouse. Consistent flooring and a whole house colour palette is at the top of the list.

That said, I do have the irrepressible urge to paint a couple of the rooms in really bold shades, but I’m leaning towards neutrals rather than brights (greys or even black). I still want it to be playful and colourful (couldn’t live without that!) but more as accents rather than competing everywhere for attention.


I do have a very clear vision for our home, but I am going to take my time and let it evolve bit-by-bit.

This is the first time I’ve planned a whole house scheme at once. Have you ever done this or do you take more of a take-each-room-as-it-comes approach?

And how has your style or approach evolved over the years?


Paper rosette buttonhole

Hello, happy Thursday! Here is my latest post for Polka Dot Bride, a lovely paper rosette buttonhole for your man.

For those of us not planning a wedding, you can use the same technique to make adorable party decorations.

Check out the post here.


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.


working bee in progress

This is what our living room currently looks like.

It’s acting as HQ for all of our renovating gear so we don’t have to run out to the garage every ten minutes for tools and supplies.

working bee in progress

We’re making good progress on the kitchen and office and have made a start on the lounge. I took the photo of our master lists earlier in the week so I’ve since had the satisfaction of crossing off a bunch more tasks.

The Man is off at a work thing all this weekend so I’ll be cranking up some tunes (we figured out how to use the house’s built-in speakers which is pretty sweet!) to help me get through more painting.

It’s utter chaos but I’m loving every minute.

attic office progress

House progress photos as promised!

The first project I tackled was my upstairs office as I really want to get it set up as soon as possible so I can get back into the swing of things work-wise.

I started by throwing litres and litres (seriously, I used a tin and a half) of white paint at the room. I actually used an all-in-one sealer/primer/topcoat (One Step by Dulux) on all of the surfaces. Unfortunately the wood panelling and surprisingly even the walls needed FOUR coats so I was well and truly over it by the end of the week.

It was definitely worth all the neck-craning though because it is looking light and bright now.

attic office progress

Next I ripped up the golden yellow carpet. I’ve never taken up carpet before but, happily, it was easier than expected (how often does that happen?!).

I hooked a small screwdriver into the carpet itself (it has a high pile) in one corner of the room to begin lifting it up. From there it was pretty easy to jimmy off the tacking strips (using a larger screwdriver and a mallet where necessary) and yank up the underlay.

attic office progress

Instead of navigating the old carpet roll down the stairs The Man and his brother threw it out the window onto the front lawn which must have been an odd sight for the neighbours!

attic office progress

Behold! We have floorboards!

attic office progress

attic office progress

As you can see, it’s not in the best shape but it will still work for what I want them for which is painting them.

attic office progress

I still have to figure out how to patch a few gaps caused by too-short planks plus fill in all the nail holes, sand and paint.

A long way to go but certainly a marked improvement on this:

house before

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empty house

Despite the boxes and dust and chaos we are already feeling quite settled at the new house so I can’t believe it’s only a week since we said farewell to our first home!

Here it is as we left it ready for its new tenant.

empty house

empty house empty house  empty house empty house empty house empty house

I thought we I would get a touch emotional when it came time to leave the only home either of us has had as an adult. Perhaps it was just relief at having finally finished packing, moving and cleaning but we locked up the house and haven’t looked back.

It’s a public holiday here today so we are having a bit of a working bee with some generous friends. With any luck I’ll be able to show you a bunch of progress soon!

Atypical Type A DIY paper pinwheel

Hello friends! So the move went well on the weekend, thanks to our families’ help. I’d unpacked all of the essentials by the end of Sunday and since then I’ve been busy painting my office.

I’ll have some progress shots for you soon. In the meantime here is a sweet tutorial I did for Polka Dot Bride.

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