Happy Birthday To Me

Yes, another birthday is here.  I'm not big on celebrating them these days as each year just seems to fly by.  I'm happy to spend some time with my nearest and dearest and get a massage.  Anything above and beyond that is gravy.

Well, this year I have been royally spoilt!  I ordered what I hoped would be a sensational wall clock a couple of months ago and had to wait a while as it was a new product and not available until now.  As luck would have it, I got the call about a week ago to say that it was in.  I dutifully informed Handome Handy Hubby that I would be happy with this as my gift if he wanted to go and pick it up.

See it up there on the wall?  It's even more sensational than I hoped it would be.  Major bonus is that it's a silent clock.  I've divested myself of several clocks since meeting HHH as he just can't stand the noise when he's trying to sleep at night.

I was also lucky enough to be gifted with vouchers for a massage, manicure & pedicure and a pin up photo shoot.  Not to mention the lovely dinner at a fancy restaurant while my parents looked after our Little Miss, birthday breakfast at Mum & Dad's (including a pancake stack with candles), another stunning roast lamb dinner at home the next night cooked by Handsome Handy Hubby (yes, he cooks too ... score!), a beautiful rendition of Happy Birthday from Little Miss this morning, and last but not least a very gourmet mac & cheese that I've been craving for dinner on my actual birthday ... followed by chocolate cake.  Yes, I'm all about the food these days!
I've felt extremely indulged and thoroughly spoilt this birthday.  A totally unexpected and much appreciated surprise.
On the topic of kitchen progress we are inching closer.  The backsplash is in and everything except the sliding door is painted.

We can even eat in the dining room again!

Our mammoth walk in pantry has been constructed.  Little Miss thinks it's a sensational place to play hide and seek ... as long as she remembers where to push from the inside to get the doors open again.

The inside is even starting to take shape ... kind of.

Still a few things to check of our list:
  • Finish around the tops of the cupboards
  • Paint and reinstall the sliding door between the kitchen and the lounge room
  • Get a rug for under the dinning table
  • Bring the rest of the dinning chairs back in from the garage (and re-cover the seats eventually)
  • Bring the breakfast bar stools back in from the garage
  • Move the art deco buffet back into the dinning area
  • Pull everything that is stashed in cupboards, drawers, and other places around the house out and put it back where it belongs in the kitchen, dining room, laundry and spare room ... yes it's a domino situation
  • Hang some art on the walls
  • Install a TV on the wall next to my beloved clock

Did I really say we were almost done?  Well, we are much closer than where we started.
What it looked like at inspection
and what it looked like yesterday

Kitchen: So close!

Progress hasn't sped up at all on the kitchen, but we have been making some.  Our unofficial deadline is to have it functional by the end of this week.  Deep breaths!

Handsome Handy Hubby has put in another huge week both at work and at home to get us closer to the end.  He's exhausted which doesn't make it easy to do stuff.  I have so much admiration for this man who just digs in and gets on with the job.  Last week, his day job was a bit of a nightmare and he worked late every day.  Bad enough that he starts at 5am but pulling 12 hour shifts day after day isn't fun.  Then they called him in to work on Saturday ... he could have said no, but the money will come in handy so in he went.  Sunday I thought he'd want to have a bit of a break, and we did have pancakes with friends for breakfast.  But then, as soon as we got home he was into it.  Just one more reason to love that man.

Here's what things looked like at about 5:30pm yesterday.

The pantry doors are on - and the inside is about 80% complete.  The fridge is in and working.

We had to take the sliding door on the right edge of this photo off to get the fridge in.

We didn't put the screen back on the sliding door and look at the sun coming in under the deck roof and hitting the hallway wall about 5 meters away.  This is definitely a problem at dinner time but the light flooding in is wonderful.

The range hood still has to go over the cook top, and the dishwasher in it's hole.  The oven and microwave have been getting a work out though.

All the drawers are finally in.  The plumbing is also connected for the sink. Love that we've used the floorboards for the kick plates as well.
Our beautiful bamboo floors have been re-laid and look just as stunning as the first time they went down 18 months ago. 
This photo certainly doesn't do the floors any justice but I just had to capture that sunshine hitting the hallway wall.  You can imagine at dinner time sitting here sweating it out and squinting against the sun.  Any solution we've tried to deal with it also cuts down the amount of light that comes in quite severely.  Don't know what we're going to do about it but we'll figure it out eventually.

I also made my 3rd trip for this kitchen to Ikea.  I returned all the bits and pieces that we didn't use, bought a few more things that we needed, and a few that will help finish things off.  I came out about $1,000 better off than when I walked in so that was a bonus.  My Dad came with me as I had a couple of heavy items to return and he and Mum decided to get an Expedit.  I think it was a bit of a shock to him how big it was and just how long it took us to get around.  We were bout 3 hours all up which I thought was pretty good considering we did returns and collected more kitchen items as well.  He did say the lunch (he's a fish eating vegetarian) was certainly better than he would have had at McDonalds on the way home.

We've managed to cross quite a few things off the To Do list:
  • Finish painting the pantry
  • Reinstall all the pantry shelving
  • Reinstall the pantry doors
  • Put the screws in the back of all those drawers and level everything up
  • Connect the plumbing
  • Put crown moulding up so that the pantry/fridge cabinet goes to the ceiling as well as the oven and small appliances cabinet.
  • Relay the bamboo floor boards
  • Bring in the fridge and dishwasher
  • Find all the kitchen stuff stashed in various places around the house and in the garage and get it all where it belongs
  • Find all the laundry stuff stashed in various places around the house and put it back in the laundry/temporary kitchen
  • Add some styling and fancy accents
  • Clean the rest of the house which has been descending into chaos while our time and energy are focused on the kitchen.
We're certainly not going to get everything done by the end of this week, but we should be able to get to the point where it's a functional kitchen.  We'll then have to work around that to finish it off.  CAN. NOT. WAIT!

Kitchen: Shaping Up

We've come a long way ... albeit slowly ... with our kitchen renovation.

It is shaping up into our dream kitchen and we've ticked off a lot of things on the list to get it this far.
The oven, microwave and induction cook top are all installed. All the Ikea cabinets are in ... we just need some extra hinges and drawers (naturally).  This involves an 3 hour round trip + instore time.  We know we'll have some items to return at the end, so we're waiting another week or so before making the trek.

Don't you love the composition of this photo with the step ladder in the foreground ... kidding of course.  I just like to keep it real.  If you look closely, you'll see my lunch heating up in the mircrowave while I snapped these photos today.

Under the bench there you can see cupboard doors.  We put narrow depth cupboards along here for extra storage as our house has almost none.

This shows a little more of our lovely benchtops, littered with construction debris of course.  We chose Ceasarstone in Oyster.  An option that's available direct from Ikea, but it was actually cheaper for us to get it through a local stone mason who just happens to be one of the best there is.  More about that later.  The hole under the bench in the top right corner above is for our dishwasher.  Yes, it's on the opposite side of the area to our sink.  No, we don't think that is a problem.  We're not 'rinse before it goes in the dishwasher' people - unless there's a load of sauce/gravy on the plate so we don't think there will be a lot of need to drip water across the floor.  On the odd occasion that there is, there are these wonderful things called dish towels or even paper towel which can mop those drips right up.  Amazing!

This beast of construction will eventually be our walk in panty.  The fridge goes in the hole on the right there with the (already in use) wine rack above it.  There will be bifold doors (leaning against the wall over there on the left of the hallway door) right across the front of the pantry which will allow the whole thing to open up and be easily accessible.  Inside there is lots of shelves and a couple of baskets - see some of them on the floor in the fridge hole and the rest of the shelves on the bench.
I haven't shown it in any photos but the left hand end of the pantry is a big blank wall.  It's just crying out for a chalk board for our Little Miss and some art, maybe it will become her area with a chalk board and rotating gallery of art sent home from day care, colouring in and sticker collages. 
My goal today is to finish painting the uprights so that Handsome Handy Hubby can finish the shelves and reinstall the doors.  We could have made the pantry a little shallower and still been able to step into it, but we're pretty happy with how it's turned out so far.
Still to do...
  • Finish painting the pantry
  • Reinstall all the pantry shelving
  • Reinstall the pantry doors
  • Put the screws in the back of all those drawers and level everything up
  • Connect the plumbing
  • Put crown moulding up so that the pantry/fridge cabinet goes to the ceiling as well as the oven and small appliances cabinet.
  • Relay the bamboo floor boards
  • Bring in the fridge and dishwasher
  • Find all the kitchen stuff stashed in various places around the house and in the garage and get it all where it belongs
  • Find all the laundry stuff stashed in various places around the house and put it back in the laundry/temporary kitchen
  • Add some styling and fancy accents
  • Clean the rest of the house which has been descending into chaos while our time and energy are focused on the kitchen.
We are hoping to be finished by the end of this month.  I think we can do it but boy is it going to be busy.  I've got until mid April to return anything we don't use to Ikea so that's my backup deadline but honestly, we're both over cooking out of the laundry, having the rest of the house in total chaos all the time and can't wait to have this project done.

Kitchen: Slow going

It's been a while since I posted about our kitchen progress.  That's because it's been a while since there has been any.  Between work, life and the weather it's been slow going for the last few weeks.  But that's all about to change.  We have definitely made some good progress and tomorrow, the stone bench tops are due to go in.  My hope is that once that is done, the rest of the work will happen quickly.  Dare I hope that we'll be finished in another 2 weeks?  And by finished I mean not only having everything functional, but moving all the kitchen stuff out of the laundry, all the laundry stuff out of the other places I have it stashed around the house, painted, styled, and photographed.  Hmmmm .... maybe three weeks.

Kitchen: Worse

Every renovation gets worse before it gets better right?  We're definitely at the worse stage.  There's plaster missing, half built cabinets stacked up, tools littering the floor.  But there is also lots of progress.  The wiring is where it needs to be, the frames for the cabinets have been built and most of the cabinets are together.

Come on in ... that's right, we have a door ... kind of.

The old tile backsplash wouldn't come off neatly ... so the plaster had to come out with it

The frames that the cabinets will sit on ... and a couple of cabinets in situ

Rather than use the legs that came with the Ikea cabinets we decided to build 30mm MDF bases for them to sit on.  It'll make things more stable, add some strength and help hold up the hugely heavy stone benchtop that will go on the island bench.
A close up of the chaos that will eventually become the oven and cooktop

This is where the fridge and walk in pantry will be.  That's the pantry walls there on the floor.  Oh, and we'll plaster over that sliding door of course.

Looking at the dining area ... yes, we're eating in the lounge room for the duration.

Order will emerge from the chaos ... eventually!
Most of our preparation work is done.  Handsome Handy Hubby has the plumbing to move as we are relocating both the sink and dishwasher.  The plasterer will be here to set the walls on Friday which should mean I can paint on Saturday and we can place all the cabinets on Friday.  The appliances arrive on Friday (hmmm, where on earth am I going to fit them!) and the stone bench top (a drama for another post) will be measured up once that's all done.

Deep breath ... carry on!

Kitchen: Progress?

I should have taken pictures this morning!  Why?  Because this morning we had an empty room that I had cleaned.  It looked huge!  Sure, it showed us how much plaster we were going to have to remove and replace, made us think about where the light switch was going to fit and no, we haven't yet taken out the plumbing from the old layout.

But now?  Well ... here's where it's at.

Handsome Handy Hubby arrived home with the sliding door and immediately started going about moving the arch 20cm to the right and installing it, the old kitchen was sold on eBay and picked up in the afternoon, just an hour before all the Ikea cabinets were delivered and piled up in the corner.

Next up ...
  • cleaning up the mess from pulling out the plaster
  • checking all the Ikea items to make sure they match the delivery
  • unpacking all the Ikea items to check for any damage
  • ongoing work with the door way
  • putting all those Ikea cabinets together - thank you Handsome Handy Hubby for my baby drill that also came home from the hardware store with him and to my Dad who I've got booked in to help me out with this step

In residence

Some new residents have arrived at our place.  Can you see where?

Look closely at the right end of the steps
A few days ago, Little Miss and I collected a bunch of sticks from the front yard that had blown out of the tree.  I said that it was 'so Daddy won't mow over them'.  They've sat by the front door since then ... waiting.

Our collected sticks & my building supplies
Today, with the help of a little string, scissors and some stones from the garden, it seems that fairies have started to move into our garden.  At least that's what I'm hoping Little Miss will decide when she discovers it.
As soon as I can get hold of a battery operated tea light, I'm going to bury it into the ground cover that's growing up between the steps and the wall in the hope that Little Miss will think that this is the door to the fairy house under the stairs and the light peeking out is the fairies inside.
Why this sudden interest in creating a fairy garden?  There has been a fairy garden my Mum's back yard for years.  My nephew and niece have loved playing with it and now our Little Miss loves it too.  She moves the fairies and the fairy stones around regularly.  Thanks to the magic of Pinterest I recently discovered a book called Gardening in Miniature by Janit Calvo.  I also discovered two beautiful Bonsai - a Wisteria and Japanese Maple.  A Christmas Amazon voucher a few days later and I've devoured the book ... and been more inspired.
I've always planned to create a fairy garden under the 'Taj Mahal', the cubby house that was Little Miss' last birthday present.  And I've loved the idea of creating a garden under the deck when we rebuild that.  In the meantime, there are a few nooks and crannies around the garden that I can build some fairy houses into for Little Miss to discover.  I've also got some Christmas money burning a hold in my pocket that could become my first container miniature garden.
Could this be my new addiction?