Tuesday, June 30, 2009


Pool goss:

It's now sparkling blue..... and according to my blue lipped boys yesterday, "it's the best pool ever". Yes, they attempted a swim. It was freezing and despite hot showers afterwards, both my boys shivered all afternoon. Hubby purchased some little remote controlled boats for the boys to play with, from the sides, until it gets a little warmer to swim. There were shrieks of delight yesterday, with boats smashing into pool noodles and floaty toys just everywhere. 5am this morning, "Mum, can I go and sail my boat?". "When there's some daylight sweetheart".

Don't mind all the junk in the pool house. There is still so much to be done. Took hubby all Sunday to sand the left hand side picket fence, for painting. The pink fence will soon be white and the rendered wall will be the same grey colour as the house. We are installing flowing white outdoor curtains on the pool house posts and of course looking for a nice white outdoor setting. We will have lots of greenery in pots, around the sides of the pool.

We put a tile band on each step in the corners so that there would be no bumped heads on steps.

Close up of the blue pebble fleck. All the edges have been smoothed off so this shallow area, with the spa jets, will be lovely to sit on, in summer.

So that's our pool for now. I hope to have a 'before and after' reveal, once we paint everything and add some greenery and some furniture. I just need to get through the internal repaint first!

Saturday, June 27, 2009

Keeping It Very Real

We had to put the contents of our garage somewhere, while the garage floor and downstairs rooms were coated and sealed in a waterproof coating (results in a subtle flecked resin look)....so they ended up here ... in my lovely Great Room. You dont want to see the hall! It's been over a week since we cleared everything out so 'sing songs' around the fireplace have been out for a while. The rest of the stuff, the large stuff... fridge, exercise bike, treadmill, tables, cupboards have been stacked neatly under our front steps/porch. It's been raining for a few days... very heavy at present... so I am not looking forward to inspecting the potential damage. We had nowhere else to put the stuff. .....so todays task... move everything back in/down to the garage.

It's all very real here at "The House".... lots of hard physical work... no more pretty pictures for a few more days. Oh I have to show you my ensuite bathroom and my laundry. I'll tidy them up! and show them to you next week. Have a great weekend, my friends.

Friday, June 26, 2009

It's All Happening

We're filling our pool! ......first from the rainwater tanks and then from town water. I don't feel so guilty starting with the rainwater. We have 2 large tanks so they will fill half of it. Little one has been keeping a vigil since it was dark this morning.

House Update:

Fireplace works perfectly now. Yanked out of the wall and then reinstalled correctly. It's just so nice to be able enjoy it now, for this short winter we will have.

New painter starts next Tuesday. He will be redoing ALL the internal gloss work and some cornices, repairing walls that were never prepped and have big gouges in them, and painting some walls that had only received un undercoat! We are getting a Master Painter out to take samples of the exterior paint work as one of my pool guys (who had been a painter previously) said "hey love, sorry to tell you this, but that's only one coat there". Can you believe it????

Our music system is just divine. I have not lived with music for so long... it changes the way you live. "Lets put some music on for dinner". Morning coffee to the dulcet tones of Michael Buble. I have a bit of a crooners addiction which I am currently inflicting on my Armchair Trader Blog readers!..... in small doses!
I spend so much time in front of the computer, I thought I may as well take my music with me..... if it's not blaring through this fabulous sound system that these guys installed. They also do all my brother's property developments so we're keeping it in the family! If you are in Brisbane and after some smart wiring, sound systems, security, give Nic, from Smart Environments, a call on 1300 763 880. They come HIGHLY recommended. Their after installation service is outstanding. Wow, someone I can rave about. I could get used to this. Lloydy, you're next! More tomorrow.

Thursday, June 25, 2009


School holidays are exhausting, especially when you've helped your Mum all day, unwrapping things and compacting boxes by doing lots of jumping. I insisted on staying up to watch my big brother's favourite show, 'Ghost Whisperer', but thank goodness I fell asleep 2 minutes into the show, just before the scary stuff or else I would have kept Mum awake all night, with my nightmares!

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

The Terrace

Image Courtesy Canadian House and Home

Look at this gorgeous porch/terrace! Ours was supposed to be this wide but Lloydy's creative licence, with the pool size, reduced the size of our terrace out the back somewhat! Now that we have the pool fence up, the size is just perfect for us though. We plan to place an outdoor kitchen (fridge, sink, BBQ and bench) at one end of the terrace and an outdoor lounge setting, like this, at the other. It's difficult when one gets to this stage of the project though as you don't want to spend one more cent.... but then if you don't finish it, what was the point of the whole exercise?

It will be finished... hopefully before hubby's 40th birthday, in September (he's younger than me!). Picture twinkling fairy lights on the terrace, black tie attire, beautiful live guitar music by Adam O'Connor (www.adamoconnor.net), champagne and merriment! We have booked Adam for 2+ hours.

This is where we are at, with the pool and terrace at the moment.

Don't mind the bags of cement at one end of the terrace! Lloydy will be back, once this rain has stopped, to completely finish the pool... it should be finished by the end of next week. My little 6 year old stands at the pool fence and just gazes out to the empty pool (we've never had a pool before). Even though it is winter here, there will be one very happy little boy here next week, when it is all finished.

Saturday, June 20, 2009

Thank You

Image Courtesy BHG

Happy Weekend everyone. Thanks for all your encouraging and inspiring comments this week. We still have some challenges ahead of us, in completing 'The House', and knowing that you are with me on this journey makes all the difference.

Friday, June 19, 2009

My Good Boys

It's school holidays here, for a glorious 3 weeks. My boys need a break. They presented me with the best report cards a mother could wish for.... and my big boy won a part scholarship for his school, through the National Scholarship Program, for his entire schooling, until Grade 12. I cried like a baby when they called me. It was like winning lotto!

Back in February, all my friends thought I was the cruelest mother saying, "son, you're 11 years old, it's about time you started contributing financially to your education. You are sitting the scholarship exam. Come here and we'll practise fractions."

Boys, I am bursting with pride. Living in a caravan, on the school oval, is far less a possibility in the future!... oh and little one, you are sitting it, in 4 years time.

Wednesday, June 17, 2009


No desk chair yet. Arriving soon.

Oh my! We have another room we are in love with. Even without a desk chair (we are using a kitchen one until the proper one arrives) rugs, a coffee table and window coverings.... delayed gratification is ever so sweet. What do you think? The photos don't do it justice. I keep forgetting to photograph in daylight (too busy making Anzac biccies for the renderers and 'Lloydy'... oh and sitting having tea with them!). In real life, the wallpaper defines the corners of the room and makes the room look even bigger than it is. It provides a real third dimension.... like one of those 'play with your eyes rides' at the fair! Last night, my hubby and I sat on the sofa opposite the wall with a glass of red each, musing about how Tricia Guild is our new favourite person in the world.... "better than artwork", hubby said..... bigger than artwork!

That's the start of hubby's liquor cabinet, over there on the table. He keeps referring to the study as his 'parlour'.

Being a hopeless stager, you will have to imagine the natural fibre rug, bordered in black, in front of the chairs, with a low coffee table ( perfect for all hubby's home work appointments). The windows and doors will have Roman blinds to match. Just like this..... my curtain people are making to the photo!

Image Courtesy Pottery Barn

House update, in 25 words or less, give or take 25.

Front fence renderers have started and the front gates have been ordered. They are the same design as the front porch balustrade. 'Lloydy' was here yesterday scraping out the muck in the pool. All the filter stuff has been elegantly dumped in the pool house until it can be installed behind the pool house sometime in the next week or so.

I had a lovely day yesterday, only after my trainer severely 'smashed' me (as he puts it) to make up for all my building appointment excuses for sporadic attendance over the past 9 months. You asked me to message you if I was hurting Shaunie..... I'm hurtin'! I road tested our sound system with a bit of Michael Buble, bit of flamenco guitar, while cooking biscuits for tradesmen, lending an ear to those who needed it and wrapping my shoppe purchases on my kitchen bench. I can honestly say that yesterday was the first day I have really cherished 'alone' time in my home. All the traddies were working outside. Oh the renderers have just arrived and Foxtel is on his way to fix up... you guessed it, another thing that isn't working! I'm off to make them all a coffee. It's cold outside!

Monday, June 15, 2009

Monday Nook

Today's nook is actually not really a nook, well maybe it is, sort of..... a little portion of my kitchen bench, displaying the gorgeous housewarming gift my new next-door neighbours, Denise and Ray, presented me with yesterday.

During one of our morning coffee sessions, Denise (instant new best friend) noticed that I have a few pieces of the Royal Albert Zandra Rhodes china collection so she and her husband, Ray, found me the beautiful matching jug..... that now will sit proudly on my kitchen bench, full of flowers... for like... ever. Thank you from the bottom of my heart Denise and Ray.....Denise reads my blog, even though she's like 10 metres away...... might miss something between our morning coffee's!

It's me who should be bearing gifts: to compensate for hubby accidently leaving our VERY bright outside sidelights on all night..... they shone directly into their main bedroom....... oh and for the scary noises coming from our heating unit (also outside said bedroom window) yesterday....... before it promptly blew up! Denise and Ray have an 11 year old son who has also become my eldest's 'instant new best friend'.

House Update, in '25 words or less', give or take 25 words:

*fast internet connection is now slow again, due to some interference with Foxtel, which doesn't work at all now!

*front fence renderers didn't turn up at all last week and rain is now forecast for all of this week.... delaying painting, front electrical work, gate installation, paving.

Another eventful week at "The House" I am sure.... never a dull moment. Oh some good news... study wallpaper is being done today. I will have to show you pictures of that tomorrow!

Friday, June 12, 2009

A Brand New Life

'Abelia Cottage' - previously 'The House Before A-M Built'.

I was delighted to receive an email yesterday, from the lovely couple (Fred and Janette) who answered our "Free House" advertisement, all those years ago, when we first bought this block of land (with house). The deal was, "you can have the house for free (actually it was a $1 contract) as long as you leave the block clear, for us to build our new house on". I could not bear to demolish the original house. We had previously lived across the road from a home that was demolished in the early hours of the morning. I still remember the sound of the demolition... it was horrific.

This little place had been built in 1947 and had remained in the one family until the last parent passed away, just before we bought it, in June 2005. It had history and the potential for a whole new life. We even had a moment in the front bedroom soon after we bought it, where we all held hands as a family and thanked the previous owners for their home and land and informed them of our plans to build our family home.

Poor Fred and Janette spent many weekends clearing our block before the house was relocated. The little old man who lived and died in the house had been a bit of a 'Steptoe and Son' and had a penchant for plastic pot collecting. I swear, the whole top part of our block, which is now lawn, was covered in pots, sheets of fibro and general rubbish. A belated sorry, Fred and Janette, for what we left you to clean up!

The original house on our block, before it was moved. Is that you Janette?

The house was moved in the early hours of the morning and arrived on Fred and Janette's lawn, on the outskirts of town, at 3am. They are actually living in the house, while their main house, on their large property, is rented out. I thought you might enjoy some before and after photos of the original little house and the wonderful transformation Fred and Janette and their son (carpenter) have done.

Ready to move

In position at Fred and Janette's Place

A work in progress

Her name is 'Abelia Cottage'. She is just so beautiful. It brings a tear to my eye to see her in her new life. Thank you Fred and Janette for sending us these photos. What a wonderful ending to such an exciting journey for all of our families..... yours, ours and little 'Abelia's' previous family!

Now that's what I call recycling! Isn't she beautiful!

PS. I have cable now. I'm coming to visit you all this weekend!

Thursday, June 11, 2009

Breakfast At A-M's

This is our little breakfast area. It's a bit bare at the moment. I have a few more bits and pieces to add. It's all very much still in that "I have just moved in" stage. Note that I chose furniture that can be so easily wiped down... no fabric... little boy proof! I am having a gorgeous natural fibre rug made up for this area, with a lovely chunky border in the same fibre... one that will withstand spaghetti and meatballs. I will post a picture as soon it arrives. I am also having beautiful linen sheers made up for all the French Doors..... but they will come a bit later....
The table, chairs and French mirror are all available through my store via special order. Please email me for details.

See how the morning sun is just coming in through the French Doors on the right. It comes in just far enough to warm my feet, while I am making the school lunches. I have my second morning coffee (first one is here, in front of the bloggy blog) on the terrace just outside the kitchen, in the sun, just before the school lunches! Have I mentioned that I am now addicted to coffee... and tea.. any excuse to sit in a pretty spot and ponder.

For those who have emailed me re my floors - they are proving to be a dream.. so easy to clean. I wipe them over once with a dry mop and then a damp mop (just a basic Sabco one, that you can velcro on the attachments). I rinse out the detachable mop attachment a few times during the whole process and then pop it in the wash at the end. My floor guy suggested only using a touch of Morning Fresh detergent for greasy moments as it does not leave a residue. As my floors are a semi gloss (I reckon there's more matt in them than gloss, but that's just my personal, unprofessional opinion) - the mopping does not leave ANY mop marks! I am so pleased as I was not going to be a slave to my floors. I do them just after dinner and they literally take me 10 minutes. Oh and yes, they are a hardwood... Spotted Gum Select. Hilston Wood Floors, Brisbane. Ask for Jim.

PS. Fireplace stone queries..... 'Architectural Ceramics Slate and Stone', Newstead, Brisbane.
I should be on commission! Wait until you see the pool... you'll be emailing me for 'Lloydy's' number next!

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Pool Shenanigans

'Lloydy' holding up the waterline tiles, for us to decide on a suitable width - we decided on the smaller width.

'Lloydy' arrived yesterday to start back on the pool, Public Holiday and all..... so impressed Lloydy. He went all silly when I told him that his arrival was worthy of a mention on my blog. I made him hold the position he was in (in the photo above) while I ran through the house to get my camera.

Look, hubby has bogged up all the holes in the picket fence before he paints it white... this is going to be interesting to watch!

Craig - Master Tile Craftsman

My boys loved the whole 'Lloydy' day. Little one kept thanking them for doing the pool. Look, my boys match the pool tiles!

Our random stone outside the French Doors - isn't it beautiful!

'Lloydy' is still threatening to move into the pool house, as a contra-deal for completing the pool. We will have to get an outdoor kitchen now so he will have somewhere to refrigerate the milk for his morning cereal. He reckons he is going to swan around in a white suit to blend in with his surroundings... so that when anyone says "I've been meaning to ask you, who's that guy in your pool house?" we can just say, "what guy"? More photos of the pool next week when the internals are done! Promise.

Monday, June 8, 2009

Monday Nook

Photo taken by my youngest -didn't he do a good job! "Go take a photo of Kim's birdies for me darling"......all so professional here now at 'The House'.

New idea.... "Monday Nook" Posts. Now that I have the opportunity to be creative, each Monday morning I will be featuring a little nook, somewhere in my home. This Monday, we will start with the darling little birds I purchased from my 'online store buddy', Kimberlee, over at her shop, Brown Button Trading. Us 'onliners', we're a unique bunch. Take a look at her gorgeously groovy shop. Love ya stuff Kim!

PS. 'Monday Bed Posts' will still continue over at my shoppe blog - can't give up the Monday beds!

Sunday, June 7, 2009

The Powder Room

This is our downstairs powder room. If you enlarge the second image, you might be able to see the pretty damask pattern in the wall tile. When the light shines brightly through the little window the pattern on the wall tiles is very evident and is just gorgeous.

Behind the sink wall is a generously sized shower and to the direct right another wall hides the toilet. To the centre right are the steps down to the laundry. I cut up the grey floor tile into mosaics for the shower recess. They look great and they were so affordable! Everyone comments on the tiles. Oh how I LOVE a bargain.... with lots of bang for your buck!

A wonderful Mum at my boys school, sourced the taps and sink also at great prices for me as she is a qualified Interior Designer. Thanks J... we love them!

The rose is from my hubby.... my first bunch of flowers for our new home. He has his 'beer goggles' on at the moment and keeps staring all googly eyed at me and thanking me for the house!!! I'm lapping it up and using it to my advantage whenever he suggests something tragic wrt decoration/design. "Trust me" has so much more mileage now!

We have made a new house rule. We all sit down at our little 4 seater table for dinner together each night and we take turns at saying what we were most grateful for in the day. It's now getting a bit tedious as "this beautiful house" has been done to death. Last night my 'grateful thing'?.....the concreters started on the driveway yesterday and will be all done by the end of Tuesday..... less mud! Oh my poor floors... they're not lookin' too flash at present!

PS. I have tried to visit you all but my internet connection is too slow. It's like being locked out of a lolly shop. The cable guy didn't even turn up for his appointment yesterday so I have to wait until Thursday now for the resheduled appointment.

Saturday, June 6, 2009

My Great Room

Designers/stagers - you have my permission to weep over the fact that I did not remove the packing foam from under the piano legs for this photo - too tired by this stage! I was only thinking of my readers and their need to see photos..... any photos!

I would like to thank each and every one of you for your LOVELY comments. I am dying to visit all of you individually but I am still on a dial up internet connection and everything takes absolutely AGES! How did I run an internet business on dial up all those years ago?????Isn't it funny how quickly you get so used to things.

This is the piano end of the Great Room, still waiting on 2 Louis chairs to soften the 'dagginess' of my 8 year old beige suede Freedom sofa (still in such good nick, I could NOT justify ditching it....... just yet!). The sister of this sofa is upstairs in the main bedroom..... which consists of bed and sofa... ran out of funds! The fireplace works but it makes me nervous. I have never had a fireplace before and..... with gas... it scares me for some reason...... oh and 'she of peasant stock' keeps thinking, "every millilitre of gas in this thing is one less millilitre I could use for my hot shower". Oh and don't get me started......... if I have to say one more, "turn off the lights".....

I am having gorgeous duck-egg blue silk curtains made for the French door behind the piano and Romans in a similar coloured patterned fabric. The window seats will have piped linen cushions in a darker blue hue. There will also be some sort of natural fibre rug...... that I haven't met yet. I am also having a beautiful lamp shade made up for that little lamp on the black drawers in the corner.

I can't wait for my fast internet connection. I have all this lovely new homewares stock for my store that I am very keen to load up. I will of course be displaying it first in my home..... who needs a boring old photo tent now. My Great Room window seats have the most perfect light for product photographing. Will I ever leave this place? I can't even bear to go grocery shopping. Where did A-M go?.... she was swallowed by 'The House'.