Archives for the month of: March, 2012


Hey Maker's card.

Sweet potato stamp.

There’s quite a little creative community thriving here in our far north coast town of Murwillumbah. There’s been a real influx of young city tree-changers in the five years since I’ve been here.

Last night a new creative cooperative, Hey Maker, run by young mums, opened its first pop-up workshop here in town. Local farmers and business owners donated all the vegies for the craft activities and the cheese and biccies for the grown ups.

I didn’t photograph the event because I didn’t think to at the time. I just thought we were going for afternoon drinks at a friend’s studio and then arrived to find it was an ‘event’. But I did bring the girls handiwork home.


To add ‘rustic charm’ (ahem… to save money and time) we’ve decided not to buy new flooring for the kitchen. The old porch floor is just going to get a good sanding instead. In all seriousness, we figure it’s kinda cool to just let the mismatched floor boards be what they are – two separate floors that have become one. The only real problem is that the floors were at slightly different levels so Bob (our builder) had to get under the house and jack up the floor a little until they joined. This concept blows my mind, but apparently it’s as common as jacking up a car chassis to change a tyre.  The bit where the wall used to be between the two rooms needed new flooring, so the end result is that we have 3 different types of floorboards in our kitchen.

After it's all sanded and polished should look fine.

My “keep it together” mantra from yesterday hasn’t worked. Hubby and I both managed to have mini meltdowns this arvo. First, Craig barked at the kids, making them cry. Then later, I whinged to Craig about the odd placement of the new window in bathroom, expecting a sympathetic ear. I didn’t receive much sympathy, so I barked at him. Now we’re all cranky and it has just taken me 2 hours to clean up after the builder. GRRRRRRRRRRRR!!!!! I know it’s not his job to be tidy but GRRRRRRRRRRR!!!!!!

Here’s the story…

The bathroom has always been my least fave part of the house, which is why you lovely blog readers have never set eyes on it! It’s tiny, cramped, OLD and BLeurghhhh. Because we plan to move the living room now that we’ve got the deck and bi-folds, it’s necessary to move bathroom entry. I hadn’t really gotten around to photographing the old bathroom for “before” pics and WHOOPS… the old bathroom has gone – it’s still there, but not as we knew it. There are walls missing. Oh well. You can have the “half-way through” ones instead.

Yesterday I arrived home from work to find our builder had knocked out the wall to form a new entrance into the bathroom. This was part of his brief even though we have no idea when we’re actually going to renovate the bathroom. We just figured we’d get the structural work done and then plan a pretty bathroom later. We’re creating a new nook for the toilet by knocking out a wall and extending the bathroom to make use of completely dead space in the enclosed verandah. H

ere’s a pic taken back in 2007 of the bathroom that we moved into and painted white (like everything else in the house).

The original bathroom. That hessian wall-hanging thingo is hanging on the wall that is to be demolished to make new entrance for bathroom. Behind the tiled shower/bath recess sits the toilet.

This pic shows entrance to bathroom. This will be walled in and new entrance created around the side to right.

Wall knocked out to create new bathroom entrance. This is where the TV sideboard used to sit in living room.

Wall has been knocked out and the dead space in foreground of photo will be built up with platform to match existing toilet floorline. Toilet will then be moved onto new platform to create much needed space in our teeny, tiny bathroom.

The platform has been built and just awaiting walling in.

New bathroom entry point.

My whole house has a film of dust on each and every surface.

Until tomorrow. Or the next day. x


Has anyone seen the old Steve Martin and Eddie Murphy film, ‘Bowfinger’? You should! Anyway, the way I feel trying to renovate our kitchen on a budget is kinda like Eddie Murphy’s character as he steps out onto an LA freeway and tries to make it across, unscathed, ‘Frogger’-style (old Atari game). “Keep it together, keep it together, keep it together…”

(Deep breath….) The kitchen space is 3cm too short for the cabinets I’ve bought because a little appliance rearrangement has become necessary. Noooooooooooooo! I’ve got a couple of ideas for rectifying this situation but they’re too boring to go into right now.

In the meantime, here is the progress we’ve made in new kitchen space.

New ceiling is in and electrician has prepared for down lights.

View from where new sink will be.

And straight ahead from kitchen window

Other corner. Ceiling and wall panels in place


Was looking for photos on my computer and came across these. Too cute. If you’ve read previous posts, you’ll know that we once had chooks but because of the smell we sent them to my in-laws’ property. Well, whenever they get chicks they send them back to us for a few weeks so the little girls can enjoy their chicky cuteness.  This particular lot was a bit of a worry. Mama Chook squahed one of them. Then the next door neighbours’ Jack Russell took one of them from a teeny gap under the fence.


How pretty is Mama Hen?

It’s Sunday afternoon after lunch. I could really do with a snooze, after a lovely evening and morning with mates in Redhill, Brisbane.

Just one teeny tiny errand to run before we drive home….

I pluck my ticket from the “take a number” machine in the Ikea kitchen section. I’ve kinda perked up a little. After all, I have to be on the ball if we are going to exit this place with the right number of flat-packs, drawer dampers, door handles and cutlery trays this afternoon!

It all goes swimmingly. That is, until the sink falls from the trolley, in the car park, acquiring a noticeable dent. Whoops!

Back to the pick-up counter. Take another number. Get a fresh, undented sink and hop back into the car. Outta here!

Retrieve docket from handbag for the 1000000000000 million items we’d purchased that afternoon. God knows why but I decide to peruse it and these well trained, cheap-skate eyes immediately spy a $100 price discrepancy. Turn the car around. Husband is asking legitimate questions but I’m losing my cool. I snap and bark and swear about the incompetent so and so  that DID THIS TO ME!!!!!!!!! It’s 60 mins later and we’ve been through the refund line (after taking another number) and been sent back to the kitchen section to retrieve correct item. It’s out of stock.

So that’s where we’re at. We have our kitchen except for the faucet. Should be in Tuesday and it’s only a 90 minute drive (each way) back to Satan’s workshop (ahem, I mean Ikea) to obtain desired item.

But Satan’s workshop is going to save us an awful lot of money in the long run so I’m going to take a deep breath and remind myself that Ikea is a blessing.

I’ve been getting a hard time from some work colleagues about my blogging. They can’t understand how a woman, who claims to be SO run off her feet, has time for such frivolous pursuits. “BAH,” I say to them!

I LOVE seeing other people’s homes. I’ve taken so much inspiration from the homes of others in my  own reno endeavours. I love sticky beaking into other people’s homes and I figure that other people must feel the same. I’m so excited about the developments here that I can’t help but want to show them off.

The other thing I’m terribly excited about is that we’ve managed to create such profound changes and improvements to our space for so little money. I’ve mentioned before that our building quote was $24,000. So far it looks like we’re pretty much on budget. We’ll do our own painting, of course.

On the weekend I was reading SMH’s Domain and came across yet another exorbitantly expensive home beautification story. It seems the average renovation spend for projects worthy of publication in Domain is about $200,000. OUCH! Last weekend’s story was about a family home that was purchased for $1.4 million and then torn down and replaced with a brand new million dollar home – except that it didn’t look very ‘homey’ to me. Everything was very ‘tasteful’ but was more than a tad ‘precious’. Of course, these people commissioned interior designers and decorators. Personally, I can’t think of anything more abhorrent than handing over the interior of my living space to a complete stranger.

So, I’m loving this world of blogging that allows us a glimpse into the possibilities that everyday people with good taste, imagination and a limited budget can achieve. And for the most part, it’s always the people with limited budgets that create the most interesting spaces. So, like Mel from Bungalow Bliss, go op-shopping! Start looking out for cheap box frames and  frame your children’s art. Hang it on the walls. In your LINING ROOM! Dare to recover grandma’s old lounge by yourself! Do whatever it takes to avoid creating a home that looks like a Domayne interiors catalogue. Life’s too short to live with a bland interior!

Not soooooooooo exciting but our new backdoor was installed today. Trevor, the builder, also took delivery of some VJ-style MDF boards to use for new walls in kitchen. Not as nice as using real timber but it’ll do! It’s going to look exactly the same as real timber and it’s only a small area to clad.

We had originally envisaged that this wall be entirely open. Structurally not possible so this is the compromise.

View from kitchen-to-be.

view of bi-folds and new back door from kitchen

New MDF wall cladding.

So, not sure what’s next for builder on Monday. he’s going to move the toilet soon though. You haven’t see the bathroom yet, have you?


I didn’t get a chance to blog about the momentous events that unfolded in my kitchen yesterday because my mother (who lives five hours away) decided to pay me a visit and she might have considered it a tad rude for me to spend hours in front of a computer screen instead of focussed on her. It had been a few months since we’d seen eachother.

Poor woman! She arrived here to find no-one but the builder and a house that looked as if it was falling down around her.  Minutes later, I arrived home from work and I swear it was only adrenalin that kept me going until bedtime.  FAR OUT! I knew our kitchen space would feel large once that kitchen wall came down, but I didn’t realise HOW large! Anyway, needless to say there was a great deal of mess and I couldn’t even offer Mum and her husband, Lisle, a cup of tea. God bless Lisle. He ran the vacuum cleaner while Mum and I put away all the kitchen stuff that had to be removed from cupboards that morning. Eventually we made enough space ( and relocated the kettle) so that we could sit down and have a cuppa. And surprise surprise, Mum and Lisle opted to stay at a motel rather than in our spare room that night.

Craig making lunches at old kitchen bench yesterday morn, while Trevor, in the laundry/porch-area starts pulling boards off the wall.

Sayonara, kitchen wall and all the decades worth of cockroach shit that was sitting between the boards! This is the last photograph I took of it before leaving for work.

I came home from work to find the Kitchen wall was gone but, "PFOOOOT," my mother had appeared! Look how fricken large the space is!

View from the living room. Note the triangular shape to the panel above kitchen entrance. I asked the builder to cut it back today, to follow diagonal of roof line.

And the result... Hope it was the right decision. Oh well. It's done. See how the builder just moved that bank of cabinets into a new position. This way we still have a semi-functional kitchen until we can build the new one.

View from the old porch/laundry, you can see where the kitchen cabinets were on the floor. We've decided not to re-floor. We're just going to sand it all back and re-polish. We figure it's all just part of the house's footprint and its quirkiness. It's also going to save $$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$.

View of edging (trimmed to the diagonal roofline) from the old kitchen.

They arrived! They’re installed! They look fab!

The pictures aren’t the best. But I don’t care! They’re here and they’re fab! The kitchen louvres were also installed today but I’ll post pics tomorrow when the back door arrives that will sit beside them. May as well save the reveal until it looks a little more finished.

Also tomorrow…the kitchen wall is coming down. I shudder to think of the amount of dust that is going to settle in every nook and cranny of the house as a result, but, them’s the breaks!

We’ll have to drive up to Ikea soon to purchase a new kitchen! THE EXCITEMENT!!!!!!!!

Doors in place. No glass yet.

Glazier doing his thing.

From inside. That lamp used to hang over dining table. Has to go somewhere else now!


x Rachael