Saturday, October 11, 2014

Things are greener...

On our side!!! Things we're looking grim a few weeks ago.....


But thankfully, that's all gone now as we've finally gotten rid of most of the dirt and replaced it with green green grass. In my last post, I said we'd decided on Sapphire soft leaf buffalo but after finding it hard to source locally we decided on Palmetto soft leaf buffelo. We are very happy with it. It was $7.50/sq metre compared to Sapphire which was between $8-9/sq metre. Here's a informative article about the difference between the two, which you'll see is not much.

We laid it the first weekend of September and luckily missed the last of the frosty mornings. We've been keeping plenty of water up to it as we've been having a few random HOT days. Just this past week, we've had lots of thick super green shoots, so think it's taken quite well. We dug all the trenches for down pipes prior to laying, so we don't have to dig any trenches in the future for them. We borrowed a friends rotary hoe which was awesome for breaking up the clayness of the soil and then topped with lots of lawn started.

Its amazing how grass can change the whole feel of our home. Certainly has improved my mood!!

1 day after we laid our turf, we welcomed our first family pooch!! She loves the grass and thankfully hasn't damaged it in those precious first few weeks.

Down the back we've created a 'children's playground' simply by boarding up the edges and filling it with bark. Here's to no more moving the trampoline and swing set every time we mow!! We are planning a vegie patch and a timber cubby in the future, as well as rendering that block shed.

Only 4.5 hours til 'The Block' finale!!!

Liz x

Monday, July 14, 2014

6 months on...things are progressing!

I've been terribly slack these past few months, I think having 3 young people and study has caught up with me. Anyways, we've had some big changes in our yard. We've learnt from previous renovations that completing the yard before starting the interior is ideal. We really needed a carport/shed erected so we have dry storage for when the time comes to start on the interior renovations.

What we've done.... we have had 2 HUGE tree's cut down, an Oak and Liquid-Amber Tree. It cost $1500/tree to have them removed. You'll see in the photos, that the main log off the Oak Tree had to be removed with a crane as it weighed 3.5 tonnes!! I tell you what, I was holding my breathe as they gently manoeuvred that log right past the eastern side of our house!

After the tree's were removed and grounded down, we had our bobcat man come and take away truck loads of dirt from our front yard, and completely remodelled everything leaving 4 piles of dirt that I'm pretty sure were around 4 metres high!! Kids wonderland!! My carpet has suffered, as has our white towels. 

Here's some photo's to help tell the story...

Here is the front tree being removed

A great little apprentice in the making.

And that's the Oak tree in the back yard. It sat 1-2 metres from the back wall of our house. Beautiful tree in the wrong spot. I felt terribly guilty getting this one cut down.

                                   Starting to look very bear compared to what it used to be....

(2 months earlier)


It was over 70 years old according to the rings. Major guilt trip AGAIN! We did keep some off cuts from the big old Oak to use as garden seats for the children.

This is the 3.5 tonne log. Boys were very excited seeing this!!
                                                                   Glorious Mud!


             I did manage to escape for a few days with my Mum to the coast which was amazing!!!

Doesn't every parent hose their kids off before coming inside.

Just to be sure, another mud photo! Even the rain couldn't keep them inside.
We had plans drawn and submitted for our new Carport. The original plan was to have a smaller carport in the front yard and a shed in the back yard however due to 2 main sewerage lines running diagonally across our backyard, we had to come up with a plan B. So we decided to keep the wine cellar shed to use as a garden shed, and erect a bigger carport in our front yard. I didn't want an eye sore either, so we tried to tie the carport in with the house by matching its roof pitch. Its turned out beautifully, down the track a bit we plan on closing it in with a timber roller door.

The slab all ready to be poured.

These we're top blokes from Ipswich, they were recommended to us from our family. They completed our slab and also the brick work.


Brick work time.

We also had our western side boundary retained to then put a timber fence on top.
And we have a colour!!! We have decided that our 'brick' colour will be Colorbond 'Woodland Grey'. We used that colour for our slats and gutters on our last house, stick with what your know! We will also splash Woodland Grey onto our house bricks, not going down the render path.

Thanks to my dad for helping get the framing and roofing sheets up!

After knocking down quite a large amount of blue stone retaining walls from the original front yard, we decided to keep it to use for a new much smaller retaining wall, just next to the carport. It started like this, and it seemed like a never ending puzzle to begin with, however my very clever husband kept working on it and this is how it looks today. Still a few finishing touches but its up and it's not falling down anytime soon. My husband reinforced it with a concrete behind it.

Piece by piece with small person helping.
And what it looks like today!!
And just last Friday our bobcat man returned once more, and removed 3 out of the 4 dirt piles, back filled the new bluestone retaining wall, scrapped back all the pebbles and stones, levelled the yard and dug post holes for the new eastern side fence. We have known our bobcat man for 7 years now, he has done all the earthmoving for all 3 of our renovations, he must get sick of us calling every 6 months.
Saying goodbye to our dirt mountains.

                                          Starting to look more like the picture in our heads.

We left enough room down the eastern side of the house for rear access.

Current project is this fence and retaining wall which hubby is doing himself.

That far back corner will be the 'playground area' complete with bark so we don't have to move the trampoline and swing set every time we mow. Might pop a few veggie patches in too I think!
I have major grass envy.

Future projects include:-

*Front fence- thinking something like this possibly.
*Turf - what a hot topic, so many to choose from. I think we've chosen Sapphire Buffalo. Just have to source it from somewhere not too far away. Aiming to starting laying it in August.

*Have a break...before we tackle the inside!

Hopefully I will update again before Christmas....

Liz x

Friday, February 7, 2014

Welcome to our humble domain!

Well it's been almost 3 weeks since we've moved into our newest project home. Its interesting as we've found it much easier settling in here compared to when we moved from house #1 to house #2. I think it's because it actually has internal walls, and a bath...our last house lacked those things when we first bought it. We have big dreams for this project and want to take the time to feel the house and get used to all its quirks so we can make any changes worth it. Our first main focus is out in the yard. We have two very large trees that need to be taken down due to roots uplifting house foundations and getting into plumbing. Also we have NO grass except on the medium strip, its just gravel and pavers. Not sure what the idea behind that was for the previous owners but we'll be doing away with the gravel and pavers and having grass. Kids need grass!
This home was built by Brammer Architects and Mr Brammer himself lived here with his wife for over 40 years. Anyways...enough of the rambling. Here it is...

It has quite a large front yard. We've chopped most down trees and shrubs except for the avocado and macadamia tree, as we're going to put a new double carport in right where this HUGE tree is.

 Its a Liquidamber and looses all its leaves and drops its fruit (we call them bobbynockers). So its quite messy and creates too much shade over the front half of the house. We're getting it tree lopped next week and were quoted $1650 to have it removed to a stump (excavation to remove stump will be extra and required as we'll be putting a slab down for the carport). 
Starting to chop down trees to make way for the cherry picker and mulcher, bobcat and excavator.
Here is the driveway before with privet trees. 
And driveway after without privet trees. We'll replace these with a lilly pilly type hedge we think.

Boys love to help!

 Our fur baby Mia has settled in well after a rough start. (we couldn't find her at our old house when it was time to hand the keys in...the new owners caught her for us. Awkward!)
 Getting the princess treatment here.

This is the southern wall of the house. Kids call this the 'sneaky way'.

Here are the out sheds. The one on the left was used for making pottery by Mrs Brammer and still had the kiln inside.
Most of the structural posts had termite damage but the paving floor was still in very good condition. Not sure why, but the pavers had been cut down from 1 full paver to a 3/4 size paver. Perhaps they got them as seconds and cut off the bad ends?!
This is the first and LAST time we see these kids on a roof. This was just as the shed was about to be demolished.
Here is #3 helping with the demolition.
And its down! And me looking like I did all the hard work...NO all credit to the man of the house!!
Here is the northern side of the house, which we will end up spending most of our time as the lounge room leads out to this area. We are hoping to put a timber deck flush with the "grass". Note all the gravel and pavers!!
This is the second HUGE tree we will have removed. It is also been quoted $1650. The log is quite straight so we got a discounted price as the tree man will be able to sell the log. Hoping to keep some of the bigger limbs to make garden stools and table for the kids.


We happily found these two wicker chairs inside the pottery shed. Looking forward to sprucing them up with a lick of paint and a cushion!
This is looking back down the side yard. That besser block shed we think was a drying room for Mrs Brammer's creations but also a wine cellar.
Could store a few bottles here.
Here is a front seat right at our front door. Its great for the kids to use while taking their shoes off etc. Seems a very good dumping ground also! (eye roll)
The kids have loved exploring every inch of the garden. Here they are cracking some macadamia nuts.
That's enough of the outside, here is what's inside!

The kitchen. Was re-done about 3 years ago by the owners who purchased the house from the Brammer's. Its very green! I am however very in love with having a wall oven for the first time in my life and stoked with the performance, its a Westinghouse machine and cooks cupcakes beautifully...

Here is our lounge room. It has 4 panes of glass which measure roughly 4 metres in width, they are beautiful and perfect for inside/outside living.
This place is full of carpet including the dining room. Looking forward to ripping that out. Does feel cozy though.
This is the dining room area. The lounge room is just behind that brick wall. The wall panelling is 'crows ash' and makes the rooms very dark. And you can see our exposed ceiling beams, different but I love them. Oh and #1 in her mermaid costume. This photo was taken before we moved in.

This is the hall way. Much narrower than that of our last house. It has exposed beams also but have been painted over which is disappointing.
The main original bathroom featuring fairly new toilet. We think there is VJ wall panelling underneath that timber look panelling which we will be exposing again one day. Its a good kids bathroom, low basin and easy to clean.

This is #3's bedroom. (should take an 'after we moved in' photo)

This is the main bedroom. And has wallpaper on that end wall. My favourite part of this room is the large window. 3 out of the 4 bedrooms have the same large window.

This is our ensuite bathroom. They were very 'happy' with timber look panelling. Must've been trendy. I'd like to see some timber look tiles in the ensuite to replace the white floor tiles and timber walls. One of the main reasons we bought this house was because it had the 2nd bathroom, makes it so much easier to renovate the main when you've got a 2nd bathroom to use.

Two different views of the laundry/office. And it features outdoor pavers. Assume they were once outside and the area has been built in.
Here is #1's bedroom. Her room is not legally a 4th bedroom due to the height of the ceilings. Half of her room has exposed beams and the other half doesn't, the roof there has been raised allowing for fixed glass windows above to provide much needed light.
I captured this just the other day. I wonder what he thinks when he's watching Dad.

And this was moving day. Couldn't leave it out, was so cute!

Finally here's the crew today off to the dump for load #4.
Thanks for reading. I'm hoping to keep the blog more up to date and with more specific details for this project.