Archive of ‘House’ category

Kitchen plans

Our kitchen at present is a mixture of 1970s farmhouse meets failed modern.

You can tell that it is the original kitchen left til last to tackle in our modernized home – the amount of rimu wood that has been used is way up there, and the maroon bench tops are clearly not something that I would pick! However, it has lovely sunshine in the morning, a great layout, oodles of space and a large pantry that you can fit a whole person inside (including all your kitchen knick-naks to channel your inner domestic goddess!)

Photo credit goes to our real estate company Harcourts, back in 2012.

Since we moved in nearly two years ago, we have replaced the old dishwasher (it was the first to go after less than a month’s use!) splashed out on a gleaming new oven and cook top, and replaced the sink tap. Gone are the white appliances, and they have been replaced with shiny new silver ones. I’ve been itching to get my hands on the rest ever since.

This is when I get the sensible voice of my husbands’ in my ear, and I somewhat agree. There is no point in fully gutting and replacing this kitchen of ours if we intend on keeping this place as a rental eventually when we move on. As you may well be aware, kitchens are the most expensive to remodel in a home, and budgets can get blown very quickly! So, we have compromised, and have sussed out what we are keen to do as a ‘mid-fix’ if you will – considering there is actually nothing wrong with the kitchen itself – it’s just plainly not my style.

What we’re thinking

  1. Remove the rimu cabinetry and sell it to someone who can put it to good use!
  2. Install new cabinetry (white?)
  3. Replace the bench top with something more subtle (Marble? Neutral and flecky?)
  4. Install splash-back with lively wallpaper behind it (if the budget permits, maybe subway tiles?)
  5. Fix the lighting in the ceiling (set in lights and perhaps some pendants?)
  6. Paint the walls to match

New kitchen inspiration

Sources: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6

I did think about painting over our rimu wood, but since it’s actually quite valuable (and I nearly gave my Dad a hernia when mentioning it) it seems to be a better idea to sell it to recoup some of the kitchen costs. I’ve pretty much settled on the splash-back wallpaper, and next on the agenda is getting quotes for the cabinetry.

Exciting plans afoot then! Has anyone painted over their wooden kitchen cabinets or have a cabinet maker they can recommend to me? I can’t wait to get started! I love to cook so this is just going to add to the baking projects I post on here… everyone wins!

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Putting the front garden back in

The biggest thing I wanted to change about our home as soon as I saw it was the frontage. The previous owners had removed the garden and replaced it with bricks (for parking reasons apparently!) and so the house seemed very abrupt against the road, and really did need some softening around the edges. It was a shame really, as the back of the section had been lovingly landscaped, so it did look a bit unfinished.

What we started with

Not a very good picture I know – but the other I had was super grainy. We get a lot of sun out the front in the morning, and a lot of shade in the afternoon – so picking the right moment to photograph it all was quite hard!

What’s actually missing from the below above are the big green planters I put on either side of the door which contained grassy flax. These will now be re-homed on our back deck. Do note the beautiful green reserve behind us (with large spiders lurking), and my lovely bright red door.

The plan

Being a designer, I am a sticker for symmetry. There has always been something in me that has craved a tidy, symmetrical box hedge so this seemed like the perfect time to bust it out. Hydrangeas are also a favourite – we have the most immense blue ones at the bottom of our property which  seem like they flower forever. And to balance out the mix and complement the door? Red camellias. Now we know they will work in the high-wind zone that is our house (and basically all of the city!) as they are very popular on our street.

Here is what I planned using a free online interactive gardening tool. It took me 10 minutes, and is great if you don’t feel like a scribble can do your new garden plan justice!

At the top of my drawing we have the house itself, with concrete steps in the middle leading down to a front pebbled area. Box hedge surrounds the garden which has been mulched, and each side features a red camellia, and white hydrangea. I also left space on the right for the letterbox!

The brick-fest

So, a couple of weeks ago we decided enough was enough and we got our shovels and spades out and had a bit of a brick-festival. After pulling out 400 or so bricks and discovering one very large worm, off we went toPalmers Garden Centre to get our plants, and a trailer for our top-soil and mulch.

Once we had laid out the mulch evenly, we set about placing the plants in their required spots. The guys got busy with the spades, and I helped, making sure everything was symmetrical with my very particular eye!

After about half a day of productive work, we finally had it all finished and it looked awesome. All we need to do now is replace the stones in front of the steps with some kind of easy paving (we’re thinking of busting thisawesome system out) and paint the letterbox!

The finished new garden entrance

We’re so happy with how this project turned out, and it has improved our homes’ curb appeal tenfold. Now to get in the routine of watering the plants every day, and willing all the hedges to grow super fast so they actually resemble what I covet!

Has anyone been busy in the garden over January? Nothing like a little bit of hard labour in the sunshine to get your vitamin D!

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Sunday bannister painting!

So it was 3pm on a Sunday the other weekend and I decided then and there it was time to paint the entry-way bannisters. Cue a sigh and a reeeeeallly right now face from my husband, but I managed to convince him somehow, and so we picked up and popped down to our local Resene to pick up some charcoal/graphite coloured paint.

You may remember our white bannisters, no? They feature here where I talk about how i’m going to redo my entryway. I’m the one complaining about how everything’s too white and boring!

The blah bannisters

A snore-fest indeed!

I’m not one usually for buying test-pots (why try before you buy when you can just get into the painting faster?!) and so I decided on a shade of nearly-black – Resene Lustacryl in ‘Ultra-Deep.’  I was back home and ready to paint before 3.30pm! Not too shabby!

I thought about sanding the bannisters down but they were in quite good condition so I skipped this step. My walls are a definite shade of white, so I made sure I taped up the wooden floor edges and put down some drop-cloths on the floor and walls as usual.

One coat later and I was feeling great about my instincts to choose to paint these in a much darker shade. There is just so much white going on in this area, and the black really will tie in my painted hall table, and all three will look great with the wallpaper I purchased for the feature wall (it’s going to be where the red art is – a big reveal post coming soon!) Exciting!

Coat one down!

Second coat down, and the bannisters were looking amazing. I finished off the railing on the wall down the stairs the next afternoon which completed the look.

Top coat done

S’cuse the shadows and exposure.. it does that when you take photos at night!

I really like the black and white. It looks modern yet also classic, and somehow really does add a certain dimension to the area.

So all in all, an easy and really cheap project which adds much more to the entry space. I only managed to get three splodges of black paint on the carpet which am not terribly impressed about… maybe this weekend i’ll have to investigate carpet cleaners…

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