Suite Extension Update

I know it’s almost Christmas and everyone has better things to do than catch-up on other people’s house progress, but I really wanted to share this quick update on the suite extension.

Our original plan was to have the build aspect entirely complete and signed-off (with official Certificate of Occupancy) prior to Christmas, and whilst we got super close, it didn’t quite happen.

No real biggie as this extension is purely an extraneous addition to what is already a fully functioning home. It’s not like my parents have been without a kitchen or bathroom for the past few months, or like there were gaping holes in their main living area walls or master bedroom ceiling (as is often the case when you’re undertaking a large-scale reno).

So, as things currently stand…

STAIRS

The stairs are in!

Stairs

Yes, I know, probably not what you were expecting, right?

I was keen to go next level on these, though my parents wanted to keep things simple, mainly because there was already a small basic staircase off the same hallway (less than two meters away).

Existing Stairs

Stairs

My parents had no desire to change the balustrade of the existing staircase, so it just made sense to keep the new stairs somewhat consistent.

But, we will be adding some DIY decorative trim to the newel posts, and painting the railing and risers, to help make everything look a bit more up-to-date and special. Oh, and that ‘super attractive’ bulky regulation handrail on the wall side just might need to come down – shhhh!

Top of Stairs

BATHROOM

The most exciting progress has undoubtedly taken place in the bathroom!

After a nervous wait, the vanity was installed last week and I’m super relieved to say it looks really great!

Vanity

Sorry, my quick snap doesn’t exactly do it any justice. And the top drawer is missing because it needs to be trimmed to accommodate the plumbing.

As nice as it would have been to have a solid timber vanity, that just wasn’t on the cards, and this vinyl alternative is awesome. I actually had to touch the knots because they looked so real (of course, I realise authentic shaker doors would have the timber grain running horizontally across the top and base rails however that wasn’t an option here).

As you can see the sconce light has also been installed (glass shade not yet attached). We found it on eBay a few weeks back for around $40. I always wanted mixed metals in this room (the vanity will eventually have brass hardware), though the antique gold finish on the sconce is much deeper than I expected, and granted at the moment it looks totally lost. Still, I’ll wait until the room comes together before deciding whether or not to paint it.

The tapware has all been installed too!

Basin

Shower Head

It’s a little bit pretty!

And as you can see above the shower niche shelves (which match the vanity top) are in place.

Finally, the massive glass shower screen panel is in!

Shower

I’ve ordered the wallpaper and can’t wait for it to arrive!

POWDER ROOM

There is a working toilet! With a glorious blue sticker.

Powder Room

And the cute little basin my mum bought has been installed too!

Powder Room Basin

Am thinking about painting the walls a deep olive green and hanging a timber or brass mirror with an in-built shelf.

FANS & DOWNLIGHTS

The black fans have been installed and all of the downlights are in!

Fans

BALCONY

The little balcony is almost complete.

Balcony with View

How lovely is the view?

The railing has been installed, and partially painted, and the plain concrete look tiles (which we plan to jazz up with a stencil at some stage) have been laid.

Tile

KITCHENETTE

The kitchenette was never part of the build contract so we will be ordering and installing the cabinetry ourselves.

Kitchenette
As you can see, it’s currently being used for door storage! Hopefully these will be hung soon once the painting is complete.

FACADE

Whilst there is obviously still quite a bit to do for the exterior overall, the extension component itself is almost finished.

Facade

I’ll be building some simple timber brackets to dress-up the underside of the balcony overhang. These will tie-in with the balcony doors (which I’m pretty sure we’re going to leave natural) and also a pergola that is eventually planned for the main balcony over the garage.

FLOOR

Like the kitchenette, the flooring wasn’t part of the build contract either so we will arrange and install this ourselves.

Originally we were considering vinyl planks, which are a practical and affordable option, however the rest of my parent’s house is solid hardwood and using vinyl just didn’t feel quite right. Lately, we have been looking into the Arbre range of engineered French oak which is just beautiful.

 

Have a lovely Christmas all.

 

Signature

 

Catch up on all of the other suite extension posts HERE.

 

Wallpaper for the Bathroom

If you caught my last suite extension update, you might recall reading that I was in wallpaper town trying to decided on something for the bathroom.

As mentioned early on, my parents like simple classic interiors which can stand the test of time, so injecting a bit of whimsy and interest through changeable elements (such as removable wallpaper) was on our radar from the start. In fact, we specifically chose not to tile the bathroom floor-to-ceiling to give us some wall space to play with.

To begin with I was envisioning a large-scale floral in here.

Something bold and moody…

Floral Wallpapers

Floral Wallpaper

Or something simple and understated…

Line Art Wallpaper

Line Floral Wallpaper

Both very different, yet with their own appeal.

Then, as happens, once I began researching actual products, a few more ideas crept in.

What about something green and botanical…

Green Wallpaper

Wallpaper

Or, something totally different, like a vintage landscape mural…

Landscape Wallpapers

Landscape Wallpaper

Of course, these four general “styles” are only the tip of the iceberg when it comes to wallpaper. And, even among just these basic options, the amount of choice is still totally overwhelming!

Wallpaper Choices

It’s at this point where you can become completely paralysed by indecision.

However, there comes a time when enough is enough already! You’ve got to acknowledge that any number of options could work equally as well, and realise that it’s not something you’re bound to for the rest of your life, and remember that it’s just decorating after all.

So, with that in mind, we’ve decided to throw caution to the wind and opt for the vintage landscape mural!

I’m well aware this is unlikely to be the favourite choice, however I need to stop worrying about what everyone else might think. I’ve adored this look for years and years, and my parents are keen to go with it, so it’s happening. I’m a little bit excited!

Before we settled on this choice, I knew it wasn’t going to be easy to find an appropriate “off-the-shelf” wallpaper. Despite the fact they are generally super expensive, wallpaper murals are, well, often just that, murals. Unlike regular wallpaper which repeats, most murals are an individual image designed to create a singular feature, usually over the span of one large wall. Yet, here we have three narrow half walls. Although there are some options out there, the choice is pretty limited, plus I had an idea brewing…

Based on my research, most of the vintage murals being offered by wallpaper companies are reproductions of genuine antique artworks (etchings in my case). And, if you know where to look, you can find these images, along with many, many, many more, available online as large-scale digital downloads…for free!

Yes people! Free!

Then, if you’re somewhat handy with digital design, there are ways you can edit these images to make your very own custom wallpaper files!

Now, I’m not gonna lie, when it comes to vintage artwork online there are seemingly endless options out there and if you’re not careful you could find yourself looking for months. Again, this is when it pays to remember my aforementioned points – it’s just decorating, it’s not forever, nice is enough.

To begin with, I had a few basic criteria to help narrow things down…I wanted something that was preferably in landscape orientation, had a decent amount of sky in it, and could be blended into a repeatable pattern without too much trouble (more on that below).

Initially I was after an Australian landscape, possibly even something local, to bring meaning and context to the wallpaper, and whilst I did find several etchings, none were quite right for my purpose.

So, rather than spend my life endlessly searching for that perfect (possibly illusive) image, I decided to cut my losses and focus purely on aesthetics.

Which opened up a heap of options!

And after playing around with a few possibilities we eventually settled on this antique artwork…

Vintage Landscape Etching

Landscape Etching by William Woollett (1760)

Of course, selecting the image is only the first part of the process.

It then needs to be edited as required. I’m still yet to completely customise my image however will need to re-size and re-scale it, plus do some general enhancing and adjusting. The great thing about creating your own file is having the ability to tailor it as desired. I can play with colour, tone, contrast, and so on, until I’m happy. Which is pretty cool.

The more complex editing step is making the image repeatable.

You might wonder why this is necessary. I mean, couldn’t I just blow it right up, crop it to fit, then stretch it all the way around the room?

Well, technically, yes, though it would be far from ideal.

You can’t overly enlarge an image without majorly depleting the quality, plus in this case it would be so harshly cropped that only a small snippet of the overall artwork would remain (because the aspect ratio of the image and the walls is so different). It would end up looking something like this…

Cropped Landscape

In all honesty, I actually quite like this because it’s a bit abstract and quirky, though in reality the quality would be noticeably poor and the room would have obvious large blocky patches (light skies/dark trees) rather than an over-arching continuity.

You might also wonder why I don’t just place the individual image on each wall and ignore the fact it doesn’t wrap around.

I could do this too but having the artwork abruptly end at each corner would look pretty clumsy and make-shift. Not having a seamless look would forever annoy me.

So, repeating the image is the only decent option in my case (if you have a wall with a similar aspect ratio to the image you’re using, creating a repeat is probably unnecessary). Although it does take a bit of work, time and skill, it’s pretty achievable using an editing program.

Here’s my effort…

Vintage Landscape Etching

ORIGINAL IMAGE

Art Cropped

EDITED IMAGE WITH REPEAT (PLUS CROPPING)
Notice the ‘new’ trees on the left. These blend with the original trees on the right to create a seamless look when repeated.

Repeating Pattern

REPEAT PATTERN

Granted, it doesn’t look great when viewed small-scale like this, though in the context of a whole room where the image is over-size and you don’t actually view each wall at the same time, it works really well.

Having never done anything quite like this before, I must admit, I was quietly impressed with myself. Especially when I asked hubby to pick the join and he didn’t have a clue!

Original Offset

INITIAL SPLIT
The noticeable seam is where the true image starts and ends as can be seen in the original artwork above.

Repeat Pattern

EDITED REPEAT
I’ve “cut and pasted” choice areas of the existing image to make the seam blend in.

I can elaborate on the process if anyone is interested, though basically I used Photoshop to split the image then I did some artistic “cutting and pasting” until you could no longer tell where the seam was. I don’t want to say it was fun, because how boring does that make me? But it kinda was, plus rewarding.

Edit Before

INITIAL SPLIT CLOSE-UP

Edit After

EDITED REPEAT CLOSE-UP

So it’s nearly ready to go! As already mentioned, just need to finish editing it then look into which company I should choose to produce it for me. As much as I’d love to be able to DIY the actual product, I don’t exactly have the capacity to manufacture my own wallpaper! And unfortunately I’m not holding my breath about it being super cheap – as most custom wallpaper can be a little pricey. Still, I’ll do my best to find an affordable option, and will remember to appreciate the fact this method still gives me ultimate control over the final image.

Can’t wait until it’s up on the walls!

As an exciting extra, I’m rapt to share that I’ve decided to optimise some of my favourite vintage landscape finds and share them as free downloads!

I’ll include a few seamless options if anyone needs a repeating wallpaper, and will also offer some which can be used as regular murals or large-scale wall art (which you can frame or create wall charts with, and so on).

Stay tuned for them!

Wall Chart

 

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Catch up on all of the other suite extension posts HERE.

 

Suite Extension Happenings

Things are flying along at the suite extension at the moment!

I think it’s partly because we’re just at that stage where things seem to go quickly, though also partly because the builder is keen to have everything done and dusted well before Christmas.

In terms of progress, the tiles have all been laid and grouted (still some caulking, touch-ups and cleaning to do).

Powder Room

Ended up going with mid-grey (Charred Ash) grout for the floor, and light-grey (Misty Grey) grout for the walls.

Bathroom Tile

Sorry, floors are sheeted over here because we’ve been painting.

At first I thought the floor grout was a mistake and that the herringbone needed something lighter to accentuate the pattern, though after playing around with some pale grey grout powder I’m convinced it was actually the right call.

Tile

With the subway walls it would have been way too busy. As things stand the herringbone is definitely noticeable, though it’s more of a subtle detail than a bold statement.

Still need to finish the shower niche which we’ve decided to add stone shelves to. The shelves will be Caesarstone Frosty Carrina to match the vanity top.

Niche

Love the simple pencil tile we chose to frame the niche with. They aren’t cheap (about $7 each – yikes!) but we wanted something different to the usual schluter edging and thankfully we didn’t need many.

All of the plastering has been done, and we’re working our way through painting the ceilings, walls and trim.

This is the kitchenette nook (taken from standing in the ‘living’ space).

Kitchen Nook

And this is the ‘living’ space (taken from standing where the bed will eventually go).

Living Space

Obviously, this is the little hall, beyond which the stairs will be positioned.

Hall

Mum was looking to install a more decorative door here, though the one she liked was double the price of this simpler one so we’re planning on hacking it a little.

Outside, some of the bulky scaffolding has come down so there is a clearer view of the exterior.

Exterior White Duck

Still lots to be done though at least you can see the colour scheme now (which I’m sooooo happy with!). Just ignore the mission brown brick!

So, in terms of projects moving forward, I’m pretty sure the internal stairs will be installed by the end of next week! And I think the balcony should be finished off too.

For the balcony, we were contemplating the idea of patterned tile, though they can be pricey and my parents just weren’t sure. Instead, we opted for simple inexpensive concrete-look tiles, which I plan to jazz-up with some paint!

Tile

Tile

Tile

Tile

Not totally sure what kind of look we’ll go for yet, though it will be something quite simple. Can’t wait to share more about that!

In other news, after a bit of angst and lots of tweaking, the bathroom vanity has been ordered. I’m still nervous about how my rendered design is going to translate in reality, but we just needed to bite the bullet and get it done already. We needed to add a panel on the left (so the make-up bench is no longer floating). This is kinda how I’m hoping it turns out (wood grain tone is just suggestive).

Vanity Design

There were lots of limitations based on what the cabinet company could offer, but I think this is a good compromise.

We’ve also started to think about flooring which, aside from the kitchenette, is really the only other major component still undecided upon. We know we want some kind of timber plank, we just don’t quite know what exactly. The stair treads will be Vic Ash to tie-in with the existing flooring throughout the original portion of the house (as shown below in the dining room), however we want something different for the extension.

Dining Room After

Light fittings are still up in the air (no pun intended) though we have bought two simple fans which will be positioned over the “living space” and “bedroom”.

Fans

There will be simple downlights throughout most of the space, with a pendant over the dining area and a wall light in the bathroom. Not sure on style yet though probably something a bit transitional.

My current obsession though is wallpaper for the bathroom!

As per my rendering, we will be papering the upper portion of the walls (barring the shower of course which is tiled floor to ceiling) and there are just too many beautiful options!

Vanity Design

Something like this black and white floral line art is a possibility, however I’m also loving bold botanicals and even the idea of a vintage landscape mural! In fact, I have so much to share about the wallpaper I’ll be back with a separate post soon.

 

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Bosch Cordless Lawnmower Review

Lawnmower Review

When you’re no longer willing to sacrifice twenty minutes of your life to the lawnmower-starting-gods, it’s probably time for something new!

No jokes, we’ve been using my grandpa’s old 1950’s mower for years now, and whilst it might be cool to have a mid-century coffee table, I can’t say the same for a lawnmower. You honestly don’t realise just how decrepit and inefficient something is until you upgrade!

We live on incredibly rocky soil (in fact, I could probably take the word ‘soil’ right out of that statement!) and although our grass isn’t the most magnificent in the world, it still needs to be mowed. In fact, we’ve spent lots of time and effort getting the grass to the point it’s currently at and frequent mowing plays a big role in its continued improvement. Having never owned a new mower, let alone a battery-powered one, I really had no idea what to expect from the Bosch Rotak 43 LI. To say I was pleasantly surprised is an understatement!

LIGHTWEIGHT

The first thing you notice is how light it is. I can actually pick it up, pretty easily, with just one arm! Of course this is super handy for steep or sloping blocks as it makes maneuvering easy. Plus it’s great if you ever need to transport it, or for people like my parents who have to negotiate stairs to get between their back and front yards. There is even an integrated carrying handle.

EASY START

Mower Start

The next thing you’ll appreciate is just how easy it is to start. That’s right, no more yanking cords until your arm is about to fall off. Simply turn the switch, press the start button, hold the triggers and away you go!

QUIET

I was expecting it to be much quieter than a petrol mower, though not this quiet. You could almost hear our old lawnmower in the next suburb however the other day I was preparing dinner in the kitchen and didn’t even realise hubby was mowing the lawn until I looked out the window!

POWERFUL

Now, I must admit, I was ready to be disappointed by just how much guts the battery-operated motor would actually possess. In fact, I even found I was holding my breath in certain anticipation of some kind of mocking comment from hubby. Turns out, my skepticism was totally unfounded and the first words out of hubby’s mouth were, “It’s a ripper!”.

Bosch Lawnmower

It actually has higher torque than our previous petrol mower and the hardened steel blades make quick work of all grass varieties. The battery reaches full charge in just 140 minutes and can effortlessly mow an area of up to 800 square meters.

EDGE TRIMMING

Unlike our old mower, which had wheels wider than the body (meaning getting close to any obstacles was little more than a dream), this machine is designed to trim right up to edges and comes equipped with special extended grass combs to make short work of those pesky areas.

Edge Trimming

I’m not gonna say it completely eliminates the need for separate edging, though it does a pretty decent job.

GRASS BOX

If you like catching your clippings, this mower come with a large removable grass box which clips on and off super easily.

Grass Box

 

Whilst it might be true that I don’t have much to compare this mower to, in the words of my husband I truly have no hesitation stating, “It’s a ripper”! Not only does it do the job – easily, quickly and efficiently – though the compact form, lightweight nature and simple start makes it so unintimidating. I just felt like I was outside doing the vacuuming!

If you’ve never contemplated the idea of a cordless mower before, maybe it’s time to reconsider.

 

 

Signature

 

I was super grateful to be gifted the Bosch Rotak LI Cordless Lawnmower for the purpose of an unbiased review.
All images and opinions are my own.

 

PS I’ll be back soon with a suite extension update. Things are really moving along now!

Bathroom Vanity Decisions & Extension Progress

If you caught my last post, you may have read that a “custom” bathroom vanity was included in the extension build contract, so we assumed we could request pretty much whatever we liked (within reason of course). My initial plan was to go with solid timber, so we could then choose to stain or paint it as desired.

However, we’ve since come to learn that there are a few limitations, mainly due to the fact the builder uses a cabinet-making company which focuses on producing vinyl wrapped MDF. There goes my solid timber idea!

Of course, we always had the option of forgoing the contractual inclusion and buying or commissioning something ourselves, though my parents weren’t fussed about making the most of what the builder had offered. And the fact is, we were never looking for some kind of amazing showpiece. We just wanted the vanity to be quite simple and classic. Plus, sticking with the vinyl wrap option is likely to be much more economical!

Also, if I’m honest, I don’t have a huge problem with vinyl wrapped MDF. It’s super common, durable and low-maintenance. The only real issue is that it does somewhat limit our choice of finishes, which is a bit of a shame.

So, not knowing exactly what our options were, mum and I visited the cabinet-making company a few days ago to look at swatches of the available finishes, and also see the range of door profiles.

We knew from the start we wanted shaker style cabinetry, and are currently tossing-up between these doors…

Shaker Door Styles

Do you have a favourite?

As for the finish, we didn’t want anything glossy, and mum was keen on charcoal, duck egg, taupe, white or a nice wood-grain.

If you’ve been following along you may have seen that in my previous renderings I’ve included deep green (which I adore but my parents aren’t fans of) and rustic mid-toned timber (which everyone seems to like). However both of these finishes aren’t included in the vinyl selection offered by the cabinet-making company.

In fact, the choice was pretty limited. Aside from white, which came in about one million variations, there was only really one decent option in each of our chosen colours. So, here’s what we’re working with…

Cabinet Colours

And here they are in place in my rendering…

Charcoal

Duck Egg

Taupe

White

Wood

Personally, I like them all and there is really no right or wrong. It just comes down to personal preference. Still, we needed to make a decision (’cause I reckon it would just look weird having one panel of each!). So, here’s how we narrowed things down…

CHARCOAL | I love the depth and pop of dark cabinetry, though here with the floor it just felt a little too much. Generally, I like dark cabinets when they’re a stand-alone feature. Plus, it’s not an overly bright room so the charcoal won’t help lighten things up.

DUCK EGG | This is really lovely. I’m just a bit concerned that the pastel tint will define the vibe of the room (it’s a little bit coastal/vintage/feminine), and limit the potential to change the general feel in the future. It will also somewhat dictate the wallpaper we can choose.

TAUPE | Nice, warm and neutral. It’s nothing amazing though it’s totally inoffensive, yet a tad more interesting than white, and I do really like it.

WHITE | You can’t really go wrong with white, but sometimes it can just feel a little ‘blah’. Don’t ya think? Still, a definite classic option which can be dressed-up if needed.

WOOD GRAIN | We’ve been leaning toward timber from the start, as a way of injecting some warmth and texture into the space, so this option did have a bit of an advantage. My main concern is that this is faux timber and whilst it looks and feels (it’s textured) great on the swatch, we haven’t actually seen it used over a large surface in real life – and faux finishes can be so risky! Considering this, I left the decision up to mum (that way I can’t be blamed if it looks crap!) and she was willing to take the gamble! Fingers majorly crossed!

So, it’s wood grain for the win!

The top will be Caesarstone (as specified by the builder) and we’ve already narrowed that down to 40mm/1.5″ Frosty Carrina, which has gentle ivory tones and subtle powdery veins.

Frosty Carrina

We’re still refining the overall design of the cabinet, but it will more or less be along the lines as previously shown – a faux upper drawer to conceal the basin and plumbing and a two door cabinet below with a recessed sunken make-up bench to the left.

Not sure if the bench can be floating at this stage. If not, we’ll need to add a panel to support it which is really no biggie.

Here are a few inspo images I found which incorporate similar-ish vanities…

Bathroom

Vanity

Vanity

Vanity

Vanity

Stepped Vanity

Stepped Vanity

Not sure on the hardware yet. I do love the idea of brass however we’ll wait and see as the room comes together.

In other extension news, we’re almost at lock-up!

The final coat of render went on the exterior a few days ago and after some (okay, lots of) self-doubt, I absolutely LOVE the colour (Dulux White Duck). Sorry, it’s a bit hard to see here through all the scaff and with the sun shining on it.

Render

Likewise, I’m also loving the weatherboards and eaves (Dulux Snowy Mountains Half) which dad has finished. The earthy white of Snowy Mountains Half works beautifully with the greige tint of White Duck, and the roof and gutters (Colorbond Monument) provide the perfect bold contrast.

Render

Inside, the plaster is up and the waterproofing is done!

Here’s the kitchenette (it’s a little dark because the windows are still sheeted up).

Kitchenette

And here’s the bathroom.

Bathroom Progress

The glaziers will be installing the window glass tomorrow, and next week the tilers start!

Then onto the staircase and flooring – among other things!

Will be sure to share each stage as we go!

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