Welcome friends. A Jug of White Daisies is about my life and all the thoughts that come to me while I'm walking, doing the dishes, having a shower or hanging washing on the line - some of my regular activities that give me time to think. It's about all the things that make up my life - cooking, cleaning, creating, loving, learning, discovering, rolling my eyes, sighing, smiling, forgiving, making do, making the most of, looking up, gardening, hugging, being. It's about the things that I make for sale, fabulous finds, the wisdom and beauty in the world, and it's about stopping to admire the simple perfection of daisies.

And in amongst all the thinking and writing about that, I'll be doing it all, and more, so if you don't see me for a day or two, please send chocolate.

February 4, 2016

The Plan

You have to have a plan, right? Even if it changes, you have to start somewhere. It didn't take me long after first walking into our house way back in the middle of last year, to work out exactly what I wanted to do with this place. And really, I haven't much changed my mind about it. A few little tweaks is all.

Whenever we have anyone come to the house who want The Tour, the first thing they say is, "This is nice. I love the floors." They are usually a little surprised by how much we want to do to the place. They are also surprised with how big it is. She hides it well, but this little house isn't so little after all! It's a three bedroom split level (I've probably said that before) with one living room and a skinny little kitchen/dining area. But there is a downstairs, level three, with two biggish utility rooms. They make a big difference to the overall living area - or they will, once we have our wicked way with the place.

This is a rough plan of the top and middle levels of the house as is. It's not to scale. In fact it may be wildly inaccurate... I'm sure the kitchen is smaller than that, and there's six steps up to level 1 where the bedrooms are. But it's good enough for the moment.

Looks fairly straightforward, doesn't it? The rooms are comfortably medium sized - not big, but not small either. You can fit furniture in and get around it, but there's no wide empty spaces.

Unfortunately there's no real entry, you just walk straight into the living room. I've never been a fan, but hey ho, not much I can do here, it is what it is. There's a fireplace in the corner of the living room and an arch {{shudder}} into the kitchen, which is the original 80s pink laminate (yay) with barely any bench space and not enough cupboards, so we have a chest of drawers in the dining half of the room to help out there. And a teeny table. The steps lead you to the bedrooms and bathroom. Back to the kitchen and out the back door, down some rickety rusty steps and you can go into level 3, where there's a laundry, a loo and two rooms we aren't allowed to call real rooms because they're too short. They're livable though, and we plan to use them as rooms. They are under the bedrooms. Pity there's no internal access.

The plan is to knock out the back wall entirely and build an extension twice as deep as the porch. I will have a new kitchen right at the back and the old kitchen/dining area will become the new dining room. We will only be adding about 3.5 metres out, but it's a bit complicated because of the very low pitch to the original roof. At first I wanted to just continue the slope and make a skillion roof over the new kitchen, with clerestorey windows, but apparently that would add about $50,000 to the cost... and our budget for the whole extension including kitchen units, is way less than that! Oh well... Back to the drawing board. The plan for the new kitchen stands, we just need to rethink the roof. We want to add French doors and a little balcony off the dining room too, with steps leading down to our vegetable garden and opening up the whole space to the morning light, as it faces east.

The plan is to knock a hole in the wall between the dining room on level 2 and the bathroom on level 1 and make a stairwell leading to the lower level 3. There's a big cupboard in the bathroom just now so we won't actually lose much of the bathroom, just a tiny bit and of course, the cupboard. But we will gain internal access to the lower level, which will mean it will actually feel like part of the house.

The plan is to add lots of storage. At the moment it's pathetic, just the one cupboard. I want proper places for the esky, the Christmas tree and decorations, the suitcases, the tool box, etc, as well as the usual things like linen and brooms. So there will be a linen cupboard in the upstairs hall, floor to ceiling storage cupboards in the laundry area, a small walk in cupboard off the family room and more storage in the study. However, we are actually doing something weird and taking out the built ins in bedrooms 2 and 3. I know, controversial... more on that later.

The plan is to knock out the wall between bedrooms 1 and 3, and put in a new built in wardrobe for bedroom 1. At the moment the wardrobe is on the end wall, making the room short and hard to place furniture in. We have to have our bed half way across the window and I hate that. Moving the wardrobe makes a lot of sense, even if it's going to be tricky - the wall we have to remove is probably a load bearing wall.

The plan is to redo the bathroom completely and to add a bath. Bliss.

The plan is to remove all the asbestos sheeting from the downstairs outer walls and extend them slightly. We will put in new walls, and lots of windows for light.

The plan downstairs on the lower level is to make a walk through laundry/lobby area with French doors, a study and a family room, and extend the existing toilet to make a shower room. And add lots of storage cupboards.

The plan is to take out all the ugly corroded aluminium sliding windows and put in nice new timber sash (double hung) windows. And have French doors or similar leading to a balcony from the dining room, and from the laundry/lobby to the Pavilion (our outdoor dining area) and to replace the solid front door with a half or mostly glass one for some light - the house is so dark, I want light, light, light!

The plan is to remove the front porch roof and put up a nice new one, new railings too, and actually to extend the porch across the front to the carport, build new steps leading to it and make it somewhere we want to hang out.

The plan is to paint and refresh absolutely everything, inside and out, ditch the carpets in the bedrooms and refinish all the beautiful wooden floors, add lots of new power points and some nice lighting, a few sky tubes for some extra natural light, and take the whole place into a contemporary fresh modern cottage feel.

And that's just the house...

love Heather x

February 1, 2016

Reassurance and Bargain Hunting

I have been itchy to start renovating for the last two months. We've lived here long enough now to know the flow and light of the place, and to work out what the first job has to be in the long chain of events, to change our minds about a few things, and make some decisions about colour, etc. Now it's time to actually get down to it.

We like this house, but we are changing things, small, medium or major, in every single room and corner, and inside and out. Oops, poor little house, I pat her now and then and reassure her that we do love her, and that we are making things better. Yes, yes, I know it's slightly eh... off-normal... to chat to a house, lol. But houses have personalities and needs too. And reassurance has never hurt anyone, right?

We have been "gathering" in the lead up to actually doing things. Not much, but a nice start to the things we need to buy. Our local big hardware store has had a bit of a sale, and we've scored a few treasures, much to our delight and to the delight particularly, of my Scottish husband... nobody loves a bargain more than a canny Scot! He sometimes goes slightly wobbly and white when I'm talking about what I want to do to the house, but I just pat him and reassure him. Actually, several of our friends have gone slightly wobbly and white too. But faint heart never won fair maiden, so I'm willing to have the brave heart and carry everyone along with me on this fabby, messy adventure.

Background before bargains: The Pavilion (which is what I am calling our outdoor dining area) is paved with slippery ugly mottled beige tiles, definitely not outdoor floor tiles. We have been thinking of decking the whole thing in either hardwood or pallet wood. I mean, slippery, for a start... and beige? They show every little speck, of which there are many in an outdoor setting. Sweep, sweep, sweep...

Yukky Outdoor Tiles

Throughout the top two levels of the house, we have lovely hardwood floors. We aren't certain what timber it is, but Coastal Blackbutt is a favourite contender. The living room and hallway have polished floors, the kitchen and bathroom have been covered over with tiles and the bedrooms all have carpet. But the timber is under all that cover up, hopefully in good condition. It feels solid anyway, but we aren't quite ready to take up the carpets. Blackbutt is fairly commonly used for flooring, decking, etc in Queensland, and is really attractive, with a warm brown to slightly pink tone. Luckily for us, it's termite and fire resistant, which is another reason to hope that's what we actually have in place.

Living Room Floor

Now, onto the fun bit: bargains!  We went to the local big hardware store just before Christmas, to pick up a couple of punnets of flowers, and ended up having to hire a ute to bring home the plunder! While I was dithering between lobelia and alyssum, Duncan had wandered right up the other end of the place and he sent me a text, "Found some flooring for the deck, come and see". Well, I don't need much encouragement.

It was pretty. It involved no work taking pallets apart. It was cheap - reduced from $80 a pack to $28.90 a pack, oh my! We ended up buying the lot, 19 packs, each pack covering 1.92 square metres (don't ask me why they couldn't round it up...), even thought we probably only needed half that. But at that price, I was happy to fling it about in all sorts of places. Visions of a plank wall in the dining room, etc floated in my head.

The New Blackbutt Flooring

I turned slightly to the left and found stacks and stacks of tiles also reduced to clear. I didn't have a plan for the bathroom tiles, but I had a feeling I was about to make a quick decision! We ended up with big plain white tiles teamed with some gorgeous blue and green glass tiles for a feature stripe. The white tiles were reduced from $12.99 a pack to $8 a pack and the glass tiles were reduced from $20 a strip to a lovely $2 a strip! I overbought, of course. Better to have too many than to find, six months down the line, we didn't get enough. The plan (hastily cobbled together while I stood there) is to do both the upstairs bathroom and the new downstairs shower room the same. It makes it a lot easier and will give the place a sense of continuity. Also, it simplified the whole choosing tiles thing. The more I look at them the more I like them.

Bathroom Tiles

Since then, we have bought our cooker hood for $300 off, a gorgeous little handbasin reduced from $342 to $37... yes, $37! That one is the perfect size for the downstairs shower room. It wasn't what I had in mind, but sometimes the Universe knows better, lol and who am I to argue?

Little Handbasin

And yesterday, the kitchen and living room windows came home with us. Oh sooo excited about them! All the windows in the house need to be replaced, they are really disgusting old corroded aluminium sliders - ick. I'd love to replace them all with timber sash (double hung) windows. As in... I will, haha. Yesterday we went to a demolition/renovation barn to see if there was anything that would fit any of our windows. And there was, approximately.

We found two matching timber sash windows exactly the right size for my new kitchen (when it's built) and a set of three obviously from the same demolition that we can use for the living room. We will have to modify the frame for them, as they will end up wider, but that's just perfect in my eyes! I was wishing the living room window was wider, so woo hoo, now it will be :-) Total thumbs up. And the best bit is that the windows are only varnished, not covered in twenty layers of old paint. Bonus! I will be painting them, but avoiding the stripping stage suits me just fine. I forgot to take a photo of them, but I will.

It'll be a little while until all these things are in use, but I'm glad we found them at their bargain prices. Our budget is tiny for all the things we have to do, so bargains are a must.

Oh, and guess what? Excitement! The flooring we bought matches the living room floor! I can use it in my kitchen extension, and there is enough for the downstairs room too. Oh my goodness - JOY!

love Heather x To the question of your life, you are the only answer. To the problems of your life, you are the only solution. ~Jo Coudert
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