January 8, 2014

Creating a gallery wall...

During this post-Christmas period we have been up to our eyeballs in art, creating a gallery wall for the study. Here's how we wrangled our collection of paintings, vanity fair illustrations, degree parchments and miscellany...


First, I hijacked the guest bedroom and arranged all the frames until I was happy with the layout (much like trying to assemble a puzzle without the box). Then I created a newspaper template for each frame and positioned them on the wall...


Then I nagged Farmer Joe for three days straight, until every last piece was hung...


And our feature wall was complete!


November 20, 2013

Road-testing Annie Sloan Chalk Paint


I've had a few furniture repainting projects sitting on the 'to do' list for a while now. Dreading the idea of sanding and priming all that polished timber, I was intrigued to discover Annie Sloan Chalk Paint. Chalk Paint (totally unrelated to blackboards, the 'chalk' is a reference to the finish), reportedly paints straight over most surfaces, without any prep work required. So I thought I'd try a little road test. Here's how I went...


The piece in need of painting was a side table chewed on by a much younger Georgia the Corgi. Highly polished and with a reasonably dark stain, I thought it would a good test of the Chalk Paint claims. After a quick dusting, I applied the paint straight on the timber (shown below on a rocking chair, another project I've now got underway)...


The paint has a very different texture to anything I've used before. It has quite a dry, chalky consistency and can be worked very easily. It also dries extremely quickly. I found that I only needed to leave it for ten minutes before re-coating. Here's the side table after one coat...


The brush marks were a little more prominent than I would have liked, so I thinned the paint for the second coat (as easy as stirring in some water). To finish, I rubbed in some Annie Sloan Bees' Wax (as recommended), and Farmer Joe fixed a new ceramic knob from Provincial Home Living...


And voila!...


My rejuvenated side table has a new life in the guest bedroom. I am so impressed with Chalk Paint that I've already started work on a pair of second hand rocking chairs recently acquired by Farmer Joe.

If anyone is looking for Annie Sloan Chalk Paint, I bought mine online from Brocante in the Barossa. They offered wonderful service, with the paint arriving promptly along with detailed instructions and a lovely hand-written note.

Happy Painting!

November 11, 2013

Before and After... Entrance

Entrance 'before'
Our new entrance needed to do several things. It needed to welcome guests, set the tone for the design of the home, and create an impression of generous space (to disguise our homes' actual, very modest, proportions). Come on in...

Entrance 'after'


To the right of the entrance (and immediately next to the front door) I hung three antique newspaper sketches of prize winning cows from the late 19th century... 


Our centrepiece is an antique farmers' workbench (our best loved piece), with custom arch mirror above, bone inlay boxes, marble pear in a cloche, and a hand carved sandstone lotus bowl we bought in India...


To the far right of the entrance hangs an abstract we commissioned in Thailand, with demi lune bench below...


 We're delighted with how this space has come together, and I can't wait to show you the rest of the house! Until then...

September 16, 2013

Snapshots

Our renovation is running full steam ahead this month. Three old bedrooms (about to become the study, gym and guest bedroom) plus the hallway are being revamped, and landscaping work continues. I love these busy periods. Farmer Joe blames them for his increasingly grey hair and newly formed worry lines.


Starting outside, the boys finally demolished the old shade house to make room for a planting of Snow Pears and Quince trees.


We completely emptied the rooms in the east end of the house, ready for trades to come in. Consequently, our dining room looks like a bomb site...


After removing the old built-in wardrobes in the bedrooms, our wonderful builder Max managed to construct a floor to ceiling linen press with only the width of our hallway to work in...


We removed the 1980's wool carpet and underlay, leaving each room stripped back to a bare shell...

Our animals know exactly how to make any renovation job harder

Now we're ready for a painting bee next weekend. Friends: Be Warned! Anyone who sets foot in our house next weekend will be handed a brush!

August 20, 2013

Before and After... Living Room

Living room before
Living room after
We wanted the living room to be warm, light and relaxed. New gyprocking, fireplace, down-lights, and oak floors helped to modernise the space. We (eventually) painted the walls in half-strength Dulux Stowe White (low sheen). The ceiling is Dulux Ceiling White, and doors and architraves are Dulux Vivid White (semi gloss).


Red ticking and damask add a touch of warmth to neutral linen tones...


On a recent trip to Thailand, we commissioned a local artist to paint a still-life inspired by my favourite Stephen Trebilcock work... 


Farmer Joe wants you to know that he stood out in the rain last night to chop 'attractive' wood to fill the wood basket for this post. Thank you Farmer Joe, it's very pretty wood.


We replaced the old slate hearth with limestone outdoor pavers that we sealed and adhered to the slab. Several tradies told me this wouldn't work - luckily, I am extremely stubborn. It worked brilliantly.

If you are in the market for a wood heater, I strongly recommend a Nectre. They are made in South Australia and this little unit keeps our entire house toasty. (Our dinner guests have learnt to dress in layers, so they can gradually disrobe to avoid overheating).


Here's a list of suppliers for those who are interested:
Rug: Two Pairs Homewares
Standing lamp: Balhannah by Design
Blind: Blinds Online
Entertainment Unit: House and Garden
Photo frames and candle holders: Country Road
Striped bench: Interiors Online (reupholstered)
Wood basket: One Rundle Trading Company.

August 14, 2013

Just between you and me

Several months ago my secret little blog became a bit too well known in our local area. Farmer Joe was suddenly actually being called "Farmer Joe" by locals, and more than once he was stopped in town and asked his opinion on the various strengths of Dulux Hogs Bristle. Feeling a little shy, he asked me to stop blogging until the interest died down. So I did. But now we're back. (And at some stage soon, I will get around to telling Farmer Joe that too). So for the lovely ladies who have been following from the start, and those of you who have quietly encouraged me to get back to it, here's what you've missed while we've been away...

In a fit of energy, Farmer Joe completely demolished the laundry...


We started to tame the driveway garden beds (with a front-end loader, of course)...


 And created edgings using recycled red bricks...



We resurfaced the driveway with limestone gravel...



 We finally said "Hello!" to our new windows...


And (not a moment too soon) said "Good Riddance" to the old brown aluminium...


And, with much groaning and complaining, we repainted all the timber work, cornices and walls in every room that we'd already painted...

Corgis are wonderful at many things. Acting as Painting Assistant is not one of them.

Finally, after THREE YEARS, we have finished rooms. Properly finished, rather than "come look at our new kitchen, but please ignore the leaking ceiling, the brown aluminium and the lack of window coverings".
But that's for next week...


November 1, 2012

Minted Christmas 2012

I know it's only the 1st of November. But if you're a Christmas fanatic like me, you probably ordered your Christmas cards early last month. If not, I'd recommend heading over to Minted. Here's a sneak peak at their 2012 collection...