Installing the Suite Extension Flooring

What better thing to do when stuck at home than have a go at laying your very own floor.

Arbre Floor

I mean, what a fun little isolation project to get stuck into? Right?

And surely not difficult at all? Right?

In all honestly, we decided on the suite extension flooring quite a while back (Arbre Engineered French Oak in ‘Foret’ – which is just beautiful).

Arbre Foret Flooring

And I’ve been procrastinating over installing it because, well, I was feeling a bit intimidated by the whole thing.

Having never laid a full floor before, I was nervous about getting the planks straight throughout the entire space, and had visions of everything starting out nice and square only to become a crooked mess by the end!

Compounding my hesitation was the fact we would be gluing the planks down. I mean, what if “someone” happened to stuff things up? There’s no going back with glue! That “someone” would feel pretty terrible about destroying a few thousand dollars worth of beautiful flooring!

Of course, we could have paid a professional to install it for us, but despite all my apprehension, I actually really wanted to give it a go.

Deep down I knew it was perfectly achievable. It was just going to take a bit of patience and effort. Plus I was eager to learn, and build my knowledge, skill and confidence.

And as it turns out, it was actually surprisingly easy (even if a little hard on the knees)! Which is how I find most projects we put-off tend to be (no, not the “hard on the knees” bit – the easier than expected bit). It’s generally that old “why didn’t I do it sooner?” adage.

Anyhoo, the Arbre website has a great installation guide which we followed and I would suggest checking out, but here’s a little glimpse of the basic process…

1 | Remove skirting boards and undercut architraves

The first thing we did was pop off the skirting boards. You can lay the floor with the skirting boards in place, though then you need to install quad trim around the entire perimeter. Removing the skirting boards and reinstalling over the flooring just gives a cleaner finish. We also used a multi-tool to undercut the door frames as needed so that the planks could be slotted underneath.

Undercutting the Door Frames

Here mum is undercutting the door frame in the hallway. We used a flooring off-cut to get the level right and keep the cut straight.

2 | Make sure floor is clean and level

It pretty much goes without saying, though before laying the boards you need to ensure the floor is clean and level.

3| Lay the first row

After working through the design considerations (as outlined in the installation guide), we dry laid our first row to make sure the planks fit nicely. We then applied adhesive with a notched trowel to the floor.

Floor Glue

Then we bedded the planks in place (we used a string line to ensure this first row was nice and straight).

Laying Flooring

A minimum 10mm expansion gap is needed around the perimeter which we spaced out using some moulding off-cuts we already had.

Spacers

Once everything was just right, we used a rubber mallet to bang the planks into position. We then decided to wait overnight for the glue to set so we had a nice solid base to build from.

4 | Continue laying the planks

This was the (relatively) quick and easy bit. Working in rows from left to right, we troweled glue onto the sub-floor, clicked appropriate planks in place (ensuring joins were as random as possible and staggered at least 30cm apart) and banged them down with the mallet. As needed, I trimmed each end plank to fit (with the 10mm expansion allowance beside the wall) using my drop saw.

DIY Flooring

Laying Engineered Hardwood

Laying Engineered Oak Flooring

Sorry I didn’t get great photos of each step. I always find it tricky taking pics when I’m in the midst of a full-on project (and have glue all over my hands!). I did manage to make a funky time-lapse video though.

 

I realise this overview makes things sound super quick and simple, and whilst it certainly wasn’t difficult, it was pretty physical (which I actually quite like), and a little bit messy.

I found that once we got the hang of the large open spaces, we made fast progress, but there were some more slow and challenging areas, such as the hall and doorways.

Floor Transitions

I’m not sure if there is some set formula for tackling these tricky bits. We just approached each area individually, trimming planks to size as needed using a jigsaw and slotting (slash muscling!) them into place.

All up it took myself and dad about a day and a half to finish the bulk of the installation, with a further half day to finesse those aforementioned tricky areas.

And I gotta say, I felt super proud at the end. Dad even turned to me and said, “Not too bad for a couple of amateurs”. High five!

The best part, of course, is that it looks sooooo good!

Arbre Flooring in Foret

This flooring is like nothing I’ve ever used. It has a gentle wire-brushed character, soft matte finish, and such a beautiful grain.

Arbre Foret Flooring

Can’t wait until it’s all furnished so I can take the proper after pics!

I shared a few snippets of this project over on my Instagram account and got quite a few questions so I thought I’d answer them here too…

FAQ

Why not float the floor?

Floating was my first thought, and it can be done, though gluing is the recommended method. It provides a much more solid feel and sound.

What glue did you use?

We used Bostic Ultraset HP as recommended by the supplier.

Won’t the glue cause the planks to buckle? I thought they needed to be able to expand?

Yes, the planks need some expansion room (hence the 10mm perimeter gap) however the glue is deigned to be flexible to allow for movement.

What is your sub-floor?

Just standard yellow tongue particle board.

How do you clean-up the glue?

We used Bostic Handy Wipes which worked super well.

Are the planks easy to connect?

Yes, for the most part. As with any kind of click system, some connections take a bit more ‘jiggling’ than others, though we had no problems. These Arbre planks use a 5G locking system which helps keep adjoining planks securely in place.

I didn’t want to go into too much detail with this post, because well, that would be a bit boring for anyone who has no intention of laying their very own floor. Plus, the installation guide probably does a much better job of covering all the important points than someone like me who’s just laid one floor! But, I did learn a lot and am more than happy to answer any further questions.

In other suite extension news, the bathroom is finally complete! I’ll be back soon to share the reveal. Yay!

 

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

 

DIY Stair Newel Post Update

I touched on this project a few posts back though wanted to re-visit it because now it’s totally done!

DIY Stair Newel Post Update After

And looking pretty schmick! If I do say so myself :)

If you caught the past post, I shared how this newel-post-meets-half-wall was left in a bit of a mess after my parent’s builders made some changes.

Stairs Before

Newel post before

As you can see, it wasn’t exactly ideal!

There was originally a balustrade where the new half wall is (which was added to conceal some structural steel needed for the new extension above) however the builders weren’t quite sure how to deal with the situation, so I told them to just leave it with me.

I knew resolving things was totally doable, but I also knew it wasn’t going to be super easy. Figuring out how best to tackle this was a total brain melter. There were lots of different components to work around and everything was a little off square. It took a few days and lots of playing around, but I got there in the end!

I started by bulking-up the front of the newel, so it was no longer shallower than the wall, and attaching a chunky skirt.

DIY Newel Post Makeover

So that the skirt could extend beyond the post itself I used a multi-tool to cut down the existing skirting board a bit (you can see my pencil mark in the close-up before pic – two photos above).

Stair Newel Post Update

Next I added some trim, just to give it a bit more character, and filled all the joins and nail holes.

DIY Clad Newel Post

Then I sanded away until everything was nice, smooth and even.

Sanding Newel Post

To cap the wall I thought it would be nice to add a shelf so I cut a piece of pine to fit.

DIY Stair Newel Post Makeover

I quite liked the simplicity of this, though to finish things off I decided to build and attach a basic finial – which I liked even more! It will also tie-in better with the nearby newel post at the foot of the stairs which lead to the new extension (more on that to come!).

DIY Newel Post

Then it was time to paint!

I contemplated leaving the shelf natural, or some of the trim around the top of the finial, however in the end I figured white would be cleaner and save the need to try and match all of the higgeldy-piggeldy wood.

I applied one coat of stain-blocking primer to prevent any bleed from the timber, and two top coats of Vivid White (standard untinted ‘builder’s white’) in Gloss (to match all of the other trim throughout the house).

DIY Stair Newel Post Update After

Ta-da!

I’m so happy with how it came together. It’s clean and fresh and classic, and looks as though it’s always been there.

Newel Post Update Before and After

Newel Post Update Before and After

And did you notice that I also added some trim to the lower newel? It was always my intention to have the upper newel as a ‘feature’, so I never wanted the two posts to match, however by attaching just a few simple pieces of co-ordinating trim they tie together perfectly.

DIY Stair Newel Post Update After

Here’s a close-up of the finial. You can still see some of the timber grain through the paintwork. I know this look isn’t for everyone, though I personally love it! For me, texture from things like timber grain or brushstrokes (within reason) always makes things feel more “real”. Just remember, full gloss paint is pretty unforgiving in close-up photos as it accentuates light and shadows so please be kind :)

DIY Stair Newel Finial

Of course, there were about a million different ways I could have tackled this project, and, if I’m honest, I really did just make things up as I went along, but sometimes that’s enough. And sometimes enough can be just right.

We still need to refinish the floor (can you see the strip of raw timber in front of the skirting board where the old balustrade base used to sit?), and complete about ten thousand other things, but this is one project ticked off the list!

BEFORE

Stairs Before

DURING

DIY Newel Post During

AFTER

Stair Newel Post DIY

I kinda feel like this after deserves a jazz hands emoji or something – LOL!

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I try and keep this blog as a dedicated ‘home’ space, separate from global issues we can all get enough of elsewhere, however given the unprecedented international climate, I felt I should comment.

Please don’t take my continued posts (which, casual as they may be, I know are trivial given the current state of the world) as any form of a lack of compassion, acknowledgement or understanding of the severity of the unfolding situation.

I’d simply like for this blog to remain a platform of escape for all of my lovely and valued readers, along with myself.

I hope you understand. Stay safe everyone.

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Newel Post Update Before and After

 

DIY Book Page Quote Sign…using a Peel & Stick Fabric Poster

Last week one of my daughter’s closest friends celebrated her 9th birthday.

She is obsessed with Harry Potter, and her mum is an author, so for something special I decided to make her a custom book page sign.

Harry Potter Book Page Sign

Yeah, I know it’s not the funnest kids’ gift in the world, though I knew she would appreciate it.

I’ve made a few of these signs in the past using regular poster paper, but this time around I decided to experiment with a different kind of material – self-adhesive terylene.

Not only is it more durable than regular poster paper, it has a nice canvas-like texture too, and is a bit easier to apply.

You see, although I’ve gotten pretty good with using regular poster paper, it still has its risks in terms of bubbling, waving, bleeding or tearing during the gluing process. Most of these issues can be avoided by using the ‘dry-glue’ method (where you coat your surface with adhesive, allow to completely dry, then reactivate the glue with heat – usually using an iron – to attach the paper) but it’s still not fool-proof. Plus, I just wanted to try something new.

Of course, the first thing I did was decide on a quote and design the image.

Hermione Granger Book Page Quote Sign

I’ve created a few custom Harry Potter book page signs in the past, most of them with deep and meaningful quotes, but I wanted this to be a bit fun and quirky. This Hermione quote might be a little left of center but I know it’s a bit of a favourite among the kiddoes. The page number (97) represents the year the book was first published.

I used Photoshop to design the image though you can also use a basic publishing program (such as Word) or any other photo editing or graphic design software.

My original book page quote signs are large poster size (60cm x 90cm/24″ x 36″) however I decided to make this one smaller at around A2 size (42cm x 60cm/16″ x 23″). Due to the fact I planned to build my own custom frame I didn’t need to size it specifically. If you intend to use an off-the-shelf frame, then be sure to design your image to fit.

Once I was happy with my image I had it printed through Officeworks using their Self Adhesive Poster option. My A2 print cost just $15 (which is actually cheaper than their satin regular poster paper!).

Note: Most print stores will provide a self-adhesive option. If you don’t have an Officeworks near you, check what your local print store can offer. Or you can order online through Officeworks.

To back the print I bought a 12mm/.5″ deep MDF off-cut from my local hardware store for $2 and cut it to size. I used my trusty track saw though you could use a regular circular saw or even a jigsaw. Or, ask the hardware store to cut it for you.

DIY Book Page Sign Art

I made sure the MDF was nice and clean, positioned my print in place on top, then gradually peeled the backing away, before smoothing it down.

DIY Book Page Quote Sign How To

Sorry, it was a bit hard for me to take photos of this process as I needed both hands, but it was really easy. Just like peel and stick wallpaper. And unlike conventional vinyl contact, which can easily bubble and crease, I found this super forgiving.

I then trimmed off the white excess and pressed the remaining poster border around the side of the MDF backing.

DIY Quote Art Sign

Note: Because I was making this as a gift I wanted it to look super neat and professional. As such, I didn’t want any of the excess poster fabric visible from the back. Under different circumstances I wouldn’t have bothered trimming it and would simply have wrapped the entire thing around the MDF.

To frame it, I used some simple pine trim ($8) which I cut to size and stained a warm walnut.

DIY Wall Sign Trim

I attached it directly to the MDF backing using some wood glue and fine finishing nails, which I later countersunk and filled with co-ordinating wood putty.

DIY Quote Art Frame

You can also simply colour the nail heads with a black or brown permanent marker and they should blend right in. The frame is supposed to be a bit rustic so there’s no need to worry about making it perfect.

Note: The nail isn’t centered because the trim is deeper than the backing (not because I’m ridiculously bad at lining things up – however that may also be true – LOL!).

It’s that easy!

DIY Book Page Sign Art

Because the frame is deeper than the backing you can simply hang it from the top piece of trim using a nail or two.

DIY Wall Art Frame

All up this custom piece of special wall art cost me only $25 and less than an hour to create! Not bad.

Custom Quote Art Sign

If you’re looking for some artwork to try this project out with, don’t forget to check out my Free Printables gallery.

 

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Master Bedroom Mini Refresh

I’m interrupting my regular suite extension posts to share this impromptu little make-over of my master bedroom.

Bedroom Makeover

Not having anything pretty or finished to show you guys has been bugging me (and probably you too!), plus I’ve been going a little crazy with nothing to decorate or style, so yesterday I decided to play around with some of the decor left-over from the flip house in my own home.

My bedroom has been pretty much exactly the same for the past seven years, and to be honest, that doesn’t bother me one bit! Though I’m getting to that point where I’d like to make a few big changes, not because I don’t like things as they are, mainly just because I want to experiment with injecting a slightly different feel in the room.

For now though I’m content to simply freshen things up with just a few minor tweaks. That’s the advantage of decorating in a relatively neutral and somewhat timeless manner right from the start.

One of the biggest changes was switching out the floor rug.

Bunnings Rug

Originally I had an IKEA ‘Tarnby’ rug in here.

Bedroom Rug

Above is the Tarnby rug in this photo of my bedroom from 2013!

I loved it but around six months ago one of the corners (which had been slowly unravelling for a few years) started to completely deteriorate. It was a shame however I figured I’d got my money’s worth after almost a decade of use!

I’ve replaced it with this Bunnings ‘Wemyss’ rug which I used in the sitting room at the flip house.

Sitting Room After

And it’s pretty much perfect!

Bedroom Refresh

To dress my bed I used some cushions and the coverlet from the master bedroom at the flip house.

Bedroom Makeover

Bedroom Makeover

As you can see, the two rooms definitely have a similar vibe. I think it goes to show just how powerful decor alone can be.

And to bring in the mustard from the headboard I used in the flip house, I added this textured throw from Linen House.

Line House Throw

Which also works beautifully with the gold frame over the bed.

Bedroom Refresh

Bedroom Makeover

I think someone else likes it too!

Bedroom Makeover

I haven’t done much with the decor. Just a bit of ‘house shopping’ and basic rearranging.

Bedside Table

Bedside Table

No matter what, I always come back to using layers featuring vintage books, ferns and blue-green glassware!

Vignette

Sometimes I try to be minimal and trendy, I really do, though I just don’t think it’s in my genes!

I’m sure you noticed that Cooper managed to get his boof head in almost every one of my pics! I usually like to include him in the odd shot, though yesterday he had no interest in moving so I just went with it. I also managed to get a quick snap of sweet Rose (who we are dog-sitting at the moment) though she’s not usually permitted on furniture so we won’t tell her mum I allowed this – shhhh.

Bedroom Makeover

They just looked too cute together!

 

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Suite Extension Progress

If you follow me socially (via Instagram, Facebook or through my Facebook Group) you may have seen some progress snippets over the past few weeks. I’ve been holding-off on posting here because I was so eager to have something finished to share, but the fact is we’re still between projects at the moment. So unfortunately another ‘progress report’ will just have to do for now.

Still, we’ve been doing quite a bit so there’s plenty to reveal. Here’s where things are currently at…

 

BATHROOM

The bathroom is soooooo close! I know I’ve been saying that for a while, though it’s essentially finished. I’m just waiting on some cabinet pulls, wall hooks and pretty towels to arrive in the post.

Cabinet Pulls

Robe Hooks

Towel

My custom wallpaper arrived not long after Christmas and I hung it in early January.

Wallpaper

It was tempting to share some wide-angle pics, though I don’t want to give too much of the room away whilst it’s still incomplete.

It was such a relief to open the package and see it looked just like I had hoped! Ordering anything custom, especially something you’ve designed yourself, has its risks.

After quite a bit of research, I ended-up purchasing from a company called AJ Wallpaper (they are relatively local to me though ship worldwide). They offered a very competitive price (the most affordable I came across) and had great customer service too, plus the delivery was very quick, especially considering it was right near Christmas time. I opted for their premium canvas peel-and-stick material which cost a total of around $280 for the room (about 5 square meters). As with any wallpaper, it wasn’t difficult to hang though it was a bit fiddly and time-consuming. It probably took me about three-four hours from start to finish.

For those of you who have been waiting for the free printable downloads I mentioned in my previous wallpaper post, I’ll be sharing them following the full bathroom reveal.

Wall Chart

To finish off the wall tile, mum and I attached some timber trim to the top.

Bathroom Trim

Tile Trim DIY

We were originally going to use pencil tile though this was about 20 times cheaper, plus I prefer the fact that the timber trim provides long unbroken lines. We simply painted it gloss white to match the subway tile.

I really wanted a brass oblong mirror for in here, though after searching high and low nothing I found was quite right (unless my parents were willing to spend hundreds of dollars – which, understandably, they weren’t). I considered DIY’ing something though in the end we decided this $30 Kmart mirror would suffice.

Kmart Round Mirror

It’s basically identical to what I’ve had in my 3D renderings from the beginning, and if the perfect brass oblong mirror happens to show-up, we can always relocate this one. No harm done.

The frame is a little duller than I would have liked so I might give it a coat of Gold Leaf Rub ‘n’ Buff to liven it up a bit.

 

POWDER ROOM

Like the bathroom, this little room is very close to being complete.

The only real projects are painting the walls and possibly doing some kind of mirror hack. And decorating of course – but that’s the fun bit!

Although the powder room has been designed to gel with the adjoining bathroom, I didn’t want the two spaces to match so it was never my intention to use the same wallpaper in here. That was a statement that needed to stand alone.

Instead, my idea was to unite the rooms by bringing the ‘trees’ from the landscape mural into the powder room with colour. Does that make sense? Almost like the powder room had stolen the green from the wallpaper.

I was keen to go with quite a deep olive, though my parents weren’t so sure. Dark colours aren’t really their thing.

Green Paint Colours

So I slapped a few different swatches up on the wall to help us work things through.

Green Paint Swatches

All of these colours are the result of using just two sample pots (one of which I already had). It’s a good little tip…if you’re quite unsure about the exact colour you want, instead of spending money buying a million sample pots, just get two at the extreme ends of your spectrum. If neither are right, try blending them at different ratios until you arrive at something close to what you’re after. You can even experiment with adding touches of black or white, and also other colours you happen to have on hand. Once you’re happy, you can then match your invented colour with a comparable official colour.

At this stage it looks like we might be going with something like this one…

Green Paint Choices

Because there isn’t much space on the little basin, from the start I’ve been considering using a mirror with some kind of shelf. Not sure whether I’ll be able to find something, will have to hack something, or may need to build something from scratch.

Mirror with Shelf

Mirror with Shelf

Mirror with Shelf

Mirror with Shelf

Mirror with Shelf

 

NEWEL

Another little project I’ve been working on is trying to make sense of this messy half-wall-meets-newel-post left by the builders.

Stairs Before

Newel post before

As you can see, it was pretty poorly resolved. The builders weren’t sure how to tackle it so I just told them to leave it with me.

Although it’s not part of the new build it needed to be modified following the placement of some structural steel. There was originally a balustrade where the half wall now is (sorry, I can’t find a photo of it) but here are some other pics to provide context.

Stairs Before

Existing Stairs

Now, I’m not gonna lie, working out how best to deal with this was a total brain melter. There were lots of different components to work around and everything was a little off square.

I started by bulking-up the front of the newel and attaching a chunky skirt before adding some trim (and very messily filling all the gaps!).

DIY Clad Newel Post

Then I attached a shelf to the top of the wall and built a finial to top things off.

DIY Newel Post

Clearly it still has to be painted, and the floor needs a bit of work too, but it’s looking better already.

DIY Newel Post Before and After

Aside from the shelf, which cost a grand total of $9, I just used scrap timber from the shed so it was basically free. Looking forward to sharing the proper after!

 

KITCHENETTE

We’ve finally found some time to sit down and work out a rough design for the kitchenette.

Kitchenette Design

Kitchenette Design

This isn’t set in stone though it’s nice to have somewhere to start.

 

Can’t wait to have some finished projects to share. It’s not long now!

 

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