No time for thinking up clever blog titles here at ‘Rachael’s Reno’. Today’s post is about kitchen handles. They are ON the drawers at last.

You have to look carefully to see them. They’re tiny. Non statement making handles.

Pictures are downloading so slowly right now that I might post the other one later.

The Colonel has knocked out 3 new cabinets for the wall of storage today. Nothing worth photographing yet!



Looks like Rachael’s kitchen reno might be hotting up again. The Colonel has finished the painting for me (except a few trims ect) and he sourced some black laminate-type bits and pieces to make kick boards with. Bless him! Here they are…

Please excuse all the mess on the counters. I have to find a more subtle position for the microwave oven.

Anyhoo… we’re going to put up some free floating shelves on the walls for plates and things that you just want to be able to get at with ease. Rather than go completely new with the kitchen, Craig suggested using some timber laminate beams for shelving. So off we went to a local recycled building suppliers’ yard to find said beams. Brace yourselves for this photo. It’s just too darn exciting!

Craig and The Colonel found them. They discussed the weight-bearing properties of various thicknesses while I swanned around taking photos for my blog. I told them to ignore the camera and to just be natural.

Tempting but no.

This afternoon it was back to Ikea to purchase our wall of storage. We bought shit loads of storage. $2700 worth of storage in flat packs for The Colonel to put together.

More on that later…

Rachael x

Craig’s back from his exhibition in Canberra. This is good news for the reno and for my sanity. I was getting a tad edgy during the school holidays as I sugar-soaped, no-gapped and painted the living room and kitchen and then sanded and lacquered the kitchen bench tops etc, while looking after the girls. But here he is doing some last minute touch ups for me today.

About time he picked up that no-more-gaps gun!

Craig’s father, Ron, who we affectionately have dubbed ‘The Colonel’ has come to say for a few weeks and he started on the old kitchen for me this week. He no-gapped the ceiling in there and sanded back the walls where the old tiles were.

The Colonel surveys the room.

My lovely M-I-L ( that’s mother-in-law, not to be confused with another acronym that is identical but for the ‘f’ on the end!), who accompanied Craig to Canberra with the paintings, bought me some presents while she was on the road trip! Yay! Check these out. They will be perfect in the bathroom when we finally do it up.

One present from my mother in law

And the other one. My personal fave.

One already hanging inside. It has a sailing boat in the bottom right hand corner. Hard to see though!

We’re still living in complete chaos. The kitchen is still packed up in tubs that sit in the living room until we’ve chosen handles. Who knew that’s be such a big deal? The drawers also need to be taken out when the Colonel screws the end panels onto the cabinets so it seems dumb to fill up the draws until that’s done.


Sorry there’s nothing more exciting to report.

Rachael x


I have two daughters. I remember the day I gave birth for the first time. “I’m a mum,” I told myself. I didn’t know what it meant. Felt rather odd. Well, eight years later, I KNOW what it means to be a mum. It’s a bitter sweet existence. The joy they bring is indescribable (mostly because I’m too lazy to try) and the “bitter” part is obvious – an existence that resembles, at times, that of an indentured servant. I couldn’t imagine life any other way.

The bonus about being a mother is getting a present on Mother’s Day. Here’s mine,

It’s from my fave shop in town. I already have the other one in the set. So when I have somewhere to display them they’ll look terribly cute arranged something like this…

On the renovating front…

I know the kitchen benches were looking good but the lacquer that was applied to them was a gloss and I really wanted matt so today I’ve sanded them back lightly and have applied a coat of matt gloss.

Next thing on the agenda is a quick snooze, followed by an audition for a local cabaret night. As a former actor I get the urge to scratch the itch occassionally.


Wish me luck!

Rachael x


OK. So yesterday was a stand out. But for a Monday, today wasn’t all bad…

Yesterday arvo, my backyard was a rubbish tip. See for yourself.

But the clean-up fairies came to take it all away today. Those fairies are known as Val and Des (my in-laws). I’m sure they don’t know how appreciative I am! Here’s a picture of them at the tail-end of the job. I had just arrived home from work to find my back yard cleared and their trailor, full!

And here’s the new view form my kitchen window sans rubbish and with newly mown upper terrace.

The other major development for the day is that our electrician returned to finish the job. We’ve been without electricity in the kitchen and bathroom (thus the opening statement in yesterday’s post that “life has been shit”  around here lately). I was well and truly fed up with taking a shower by torch light. Now I can run the dishwasher without having to run an extension lead from the kitchen to the living room. Ahhhhh. Bliss. Actually, he’s going to have to come back because he didn’t have enough fittings for all the kitchen downlights. Anyway, here’s a picture of the new lights in my new kitchen. Note the oven works too!


Note the collection of $5 bottles of red wine lined up along the wall. So cheap and I like the label.

Ciaou! x

Today was a good day for so many reasons. It feels fantastic to utter those words because life in ‘budget-reno land’ has been pretty shit lately. But today was good…

All the reasons my day was good

My sun-shiny bedroom!

1. I woke up in a sun-drenched bedroom.

2. I had enjoyed the company of old friends the night before and I didn’t have a hang over!!!!

3. These old friends (who are actually getting old like me) and who I feared may have “missed the  baby boat” announced a pregnancy!!!!

4. I spent today with more friends at a “mystery” BBQ in the glorious sunshine. Once we were all gathered the “mystery”was revealed.  My friends’ foster daughter (who has been in their care since she was 10 weeks old and is now 5 years old) has been granted legal adoption. Hip, hip, hooray. I came over all teary when Yasmin recounted the day that, despite having been told by DOCS to withhold a little bit of her heart to protect herself and her biological family when baby goes home,  she realised that she’d in fact given her “whole” heart to this little girl and there was nothing she could do about it. For years she went to bed every night wondering if tomorrow would be the day that she lost her little girl. No more!

5. My sister-in-law was heading this way from Brisbane so she went to Ikea for me to get some bits that we still need for the kitchen, thus saving me hours and hours and hours of Satan’s Workshop hell!

In fact, I was in such good spirits when we got home late this afternoon, that I decided to don my overalls and pick up the paint brushes after having had a reasonable break (all week) from sugar soaping, no-more-gaps ‘ing and painting !

The painting in the new kitchen room is complete except for ceiling (which Craig will do for me because my neck can’t take it) and I have begun the windows. They’re rough as. Literally. They’ve been sanded back but only roughly. I don’t care. The paint just went on over the rough surface. who’s going to really notice?

The inside of the kitchen window.

The house has been in such disarray that my usual practice of ensuring there is at least one vase of fresh flowers in the house has been ditched in recent times. Why bother when the place looks like crap? But today I gout out the secateurs!

Must’ve been feeling good. Picked flowers to brighten the place up.

I even took a shot of myself to share. I felt like a dick because of course I had to take quite a few before I got a shot I was happy with. If the neighbours were watching, it would’ve appeared most ridiculous : “Look! It’s me! Painting! So much fun!”

Rachael with overalls and paint brush.

Rachael x

I probably shouldn’t post while I’m feeling this way (tired, displaced, devoid of humour) but for those of you who are following this blog, I feel I should try and offer up something. There aren’t any photos as there hasn’t been any progress that would actually show up in photos. I’ve done a bit more painting but it’s far from finished. It’s a big job for a small girl. It would be so much better if Craig was able to help out but until his exhibition is Canberra is done, I’m all on my lonesome.

The girls have persuaded me to let them get rabbits. Am I insane? We already have a smelly, fur-shedding dog that attracts ticks like there’s no tomorrow and costs us a small fortune in vet bills. But little girls love small, cute animals and given that the are eight and seven (almost) they are at the age when it’s ‘now or never’. They’ll lose interest in a few years and they’ve promised me that they’ll do all the feeding and cleaning of hutches. I’ve promised myself that I’ll hold them to that promise instead of doing the usual – giving up and doing it myself because it’s a lot quicker and hassle free.

Anyway, it’s a bit depressing knowing that the working week begins tomorrow and I’ve achieved practically nothing. Now where on earth are the school uniforms that need washing? I’ll have to run a lead from the bathroom onto the deck so I can do some laundry! FUN!



Here’s the first glimpse of the kitchen bench tops after installation. Excitement plus for me!!!!  I’m most happy with my choice! How’s the funky pattern left behind by old tiles? When we first moved in (2006) and I ripped off the ’80s apricot tiles, that’s the pattern I found underneath. I actually kept it there for a while ’cause it’s kind of interesting. Anyway, it’s going to be history soon. Well soonish. When I get time to finish painting… You can see from this picture that an architrave/board/timber panel has been put up to bridge the gaping hole left between what used to be two separate rooms. The white wall (to the right) is the old laundry/porch while the funky green boards and tile pattern is the old kitchen.

Plumber installed faucet and the first coat of oil is on.

The stove in place. Gas is connected but not the electricity.

This photo illustrates where NOT to place your new power points. I suppose to an electrician, a power point is a thing of beauty but I didn’t want them to be so obvious.  SHould I bbother moving them or not? It’s going to be difficult to patch those holes. What would you do?

Meanwhile the bathroom looks like it’s going to remain unrenovated for a while. The builder put up some trim around the room to conceal gaps etc. Once I wash off the boards on the ceiling it should be OK for the interim.

And that’s it for now. Was going to post a little stop-motion video clip that Craig took (clandestinely) while I was working but computer says no!

Rachael x

It’s been a while since you’ve seen any progress besides the kitchen bench top decisions so I thought I’d bring you up to speed on everything else…

The holidays have not been ‘restful’ or ‘rejuventaing’ by any stretch of the imagination. My poor kids have had a cranky- tired- bitch of a mum for the most part.

Although I don't have to "No Gap" these cladding boards, each groove must be painted individually. Arghhhh!

Below is a pic of the new kitchen area after one coat …

First coat finished... fresher already!


So, if you read yesterday’s post you’d know that I’ve purchased new bench tops. Here’s a picture…

Ignore the "laminate" bit. It's solid timber.

And here are the cabinets that these bench tops will eventually sit atop…

Note: the VJ cladding is still unpainted in this shot.

Here’s a picture of where they sit while they wait to be assembled…

For now, the kitchen bench is sitting behind the lounge with all the kitchen crap.

Now for the “bitchin”…

Purchasing said bench tops was a hideous ordeal. The bit last week where I appealed to my blog readers to help me choose a ‘look’ was an absolute joy! So thank you for your valuable feedback. Clearly it was influential because I’ve done a 360 on my initila choices. Anyway…This bench top purchase involved a four hour round-trip, torrential rain, bored children, frantic phone calls and texts between myself, Ikea and Bob, the builder, 40 mins spent tying the 150kg load to the roof racks of my Subaru Forester and THEN a 2.5 hour drive home through torrential, blinding rain, accompanied by (as I expressed last night) warbling and whistling that approxiamted the “death dance” performed for Ridgimiraril in Rolf de Heer’s and Peter Djiggir’s 2006 film, Ten Canoes (as the wind played havoc with the straps and the minute gaps between each package).

WARNING: The rest of this post might just bore the shit out of you if you aren’t actually involved in a budget renovation or the planning of one. If that’s you, please just skip ahead.

At Ikea, the bench tops come in three different lengths ( 246cm, 186cm and 126cm) and of course only ONE of the lengths that I needed was in stock yesterday. I knew this before making the journey because I’d done my homework by checking stock levels on the internet and by ringing the store to make double sure the figures were correct. It did seem nuts to drive ALL THAT WAY until ALL the stock I needed was in-store, but, the sad fact is that Ikea cannot put stock “on hold” for you so I needed to get the length of bench top that WAS available yesterday (on the off chance that it would be out of stock when I go again for the other lengths at a later date).

Anyway, once I got to the showroom, I found that the actual bench tops on show looked markedly different to the photographic representations in the online catalogue.  I had arrived intending to purchase the ‘beech’ wood product but ended up purchasing ‘oak’ instead. 

The 246cm lengths in ‘oak’ bench tops were in stock but to my astonishment I found out it was going to be another 6 WEEKS  before the 186cm and 126cm lengths were to be available. Anyhow, I grabbed the 246cm length (along with a shitload of oil thanks to the advice from the lovely Liz who’s been through this before), just like my builder told me to, and braced myself for a six week wait.

AFTER going through the checkout line and picking up my bench top (oh God, why couldn’t I have had this brain wave earlier?????) I realised that it might be possible to buy several of these long lengths instead of the various other sizes that Bob wanted. Phone calls were made, calculations were done and I got the go ahead to purchase more lengths. This was going to save me another trip to Satan’s Workshop so despite my bored 6 year old’s protestations I went back and got the damned things and (shit-loads more oil, of course).

Those mothers ain’t light. Each bench length weighs 47 kg and my mother-in-law and I had to get THREE of them onto the roof racks of my car. But as my mother-in-law is an old farm girl she wrangled those bench tops like she was born to do the job. If I hadn’t have had her with me, I imagine I would’ve just broken down in tears…

Here’s her handy work…

 So that was my day yesterday…

Rachael x