Why should commercial buildings have all the fun?

After a full on, two-week block of work out bush I have managed to fit in a weekend at home; enough time to wash the clothes, bake some healthy biscuits and muesli and say hello to my family, along with checking on the build progress.

The most obvious change was the finished paint job on the walkway – it looks great.

Why should commercial buildings have all the fun, use opportunities for individualising your entrance areas after all these are the wow factor areas of your home and can make a difference to the ultimate value placed on it by prospective buyers or valuers.

When we were considering what to use on the inside of the walkway that leads to the front door, we saw a great architectural product from James Hardy called Matrix board. This product has been appearing on new build homes in the area and gives a edgy, contemporary look, much better than the old blue board and render finish. Read more

End of year round up for 2015

With the December break upon us, I finally have some time to catch up on the progress of the new build. While I have been able to manage the build process in between a very busy few months of work (sometimes I was only able to get home for one or two days between trips), something had to give and that was the documentation of the build. Thankfully, our builder is amazing and of course there is the internet and mobile phones for communication. Miraculously with all this to-ing and fro-ing, there has only been one or two errors of any significance (more on that later) which has been a real blessing.

The new build progresses

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So just how much does it cost to renovate a Queenslander?

How much does it cost to renovate a Queenslander? A lot more than I thought.

Then

Six months ago we had a two bedroom, one bathroom, one living room house. Admittedly there was also a sleep-out and an office that had been created by filling in the verandah, while these gave us extra rooms they effectively closed off the house from any breezes (not good in a Queensland summer) and made the living area very dark. The kitchen was at the rear of the house and there was a lovely rear deck however, there was no flow between the living room and the deck. Our average sized dining table dwarfed the small dining area and blocked access to the bathroom.

The original Queenslander home, all the beautiful features hidden, just waiting to be revealed.

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Rain, rain go away…

The final touches were being added to the renovation this week; slowed down only by the seemingly incessant rain we experienced over the past seven days.

The exterior paintwork is almost finished, hopefully the rain will hold off this week and allow the job to be completed.

The exterior paintwork is almost finished, hopefully the rain will hold off this week and allow the job to be completed.

The plumber should have been back to run the last of the pipework and finish off the installation of internal plumbing. Unfortunately we have had day after day of rain up here in Brisbane, sometimes heavy, sometimes just a light misting rain, but enough to keep the ground wet. Although the land drains well there has been so much rain the ground became sodden; so much so that the painter’s ladders were sinking into the mud. Hopefully the rain will start to ease off and the plumbers will be able to complete their work early next week. Read more

The problem with painting an old home

The addition of window hoods to the house - although awaiting iron sheeting - adds a decorative as well as practical element to the front of the house.

The addition of window hoods to the house – although awaiting iron sheeting – adds a decorative as well as practical element to the front of the house.

This week the exterior of the house gained a bit more Queenslander decoration; the addition of two timber awnings over the front windows. They still need to be kitted out with some iron, but you can start to see how they will look and also how they will shade the windows. The house had a metal window hood on the now upper window when we bought it, however this didn’t seem to suit the house. These new ones are more in keeping with the original style of the home and complement the single skin look I mentioned in last week’s post. Oh, and we didn’t take the old hood to the tip, we put it out on the front nature strip and when I looked out about an hour later it was gone, freecycling at it’s best. Read more

Balancing costs in a renovation

New front door has now been glazed and a lock added. The decorative single skin effect of the Queenslander house has been added.

New front door has now been glazed and a lock added. The decorative single skin effect of the Queenslander house has been added.

Kitchen cabinets, vanities, built-in drawers, a front door with glass in it and a lock, even new balustrading and front and rear stairs. It’s been all action this week!

When considering renovating the house, we decided that where possible, we would maintain as much of the Queenslander feel as we were able. This is why we opted for matching weatherboards (rather than a rendered blue board on the lower floor that I see on many renovations), double hung windows in the front with awnings (currently being constructed) and bringing back the single skin effect in the entrance and upstairs balcony areas. This is all coming together nicely. Yes, it has been a little more expensive, but we have balanced this out in savings in other areas – recycling the kitchen, sliding windows on the sides of the house and timber look vinyl rather than polished timber boards. Read more

The fiddly things

The renovation of the bathroom upstairs continues with the installation of the shower head and taps and the free standing bath.

The renovation of the bathroom upstairs continues with the installation of the shower head and taps and the free standing bath.

We seem to have arrived at that messy stage where little bits and pieces are being done by different tradies and at different times. They arrive at the house, do a few hours of work and go again, returning a few days later to do something else. I’m sure if I was one of those well-organised renovators who had a gantt chart, I wouldn’t have quite so much of this. I guess it also would also have been easier if I hadn’t gone away for six weeks while the renovation was going on! The delay in ordering some items has had an impact. We are still waiting on the the front door to arrive as well as the kitchen and vanities to be installed. This is holding up the tiler and plumber and is also causing the painter problems as he can’t start working upstairs until the old kitchen is relocated down to the ground floor kitchen space. Read more

Wash day blues no more

The old idea was to have an outside laundry, away from the main house. We've decided to return to that idea with our laundry on the rear deck.

The old idea was to have an outside laundry, away from the main house. We’ve decided to return to that idea with our laundry on the rear deck.

I have a laundry! Well, I have the space built for the laundry and two doors to close it off. The fixings are still to come.

When we were initially talking to the architect who drew up the plans for the renovation, we were all scratching our heads trying to work out how to fit everything into the small footprint of the original house. As I pondered and walked around the neighbourhood (my favourite thinking activity), I noticed that some people had put their laundries on the rear verandah. I had a chat to the architect and he decided that we could tuck the laundry underneath the outside stairs. It meant filling in the side of the verandah to make a water tight room, but the result, as I looked at it today, is fantastic. We have a neat little laundry space that doesn’t impinge on our inside living areas. I think a few other benefits will become apparent, such as a quieter living area, with no noisy washing machines or driers competing with music or the television (when I allow it to go on) and lower risk of water leaks inside. If anything overflows in this laundry, it should drain out through the verandah flooring. Read more