Category Archives: Inside

Mini bathroom reno

The ensuite bathroom is starting to look pretty tired after four years. The paint is peeling from the roof and there’s mould in the corners. S decided enough was enough.

We pulled the fan and light assembly out of the ceiling, took the wall light down and removed the little mirror.

The walls and ceiling got a fresh coat of paint. That fan got a good scrub. The window, which was sticking to the frame due to too many coats of paint, was removed, sanded back and repainted.

We put up a new mirror that covers the entire wall, and an LED light above it to replace the old shell-shaped glass and brass one. Much better!

New shower handles

R has started washing in his own bathroom, and it was high time the taps in there were modernised like the others in the house. It didn’t take too long to swap them over, but as usual the old ones were not only screwed but glued into the wall, which made for a good helping of frustration getting them off (and some scuffs on the tile paint).

The big orange shower head is a silicone thingy from IB Rubinetti that has been sitting in the cupboard for about 4 years: it’s design means the water exit point is quite a bit lower than where the pipe comes out of the wall, so it needed the goose neck pipe to make it practical.


R’s room refresh

R spends a lot of time down on the floor of his room. It’s only natural; things keep falling there.

When we had a water leak a couple of years ago, the water got into R’s room and caused a terrible stink. The state of the carpet in there is horrifying to contemplate.

It was kind a forgotten place when the previous owners had it. The furniture consisted of a crib, a chair, and a rocking horse. Oh, and a miniature wheelie bin. We think that bed-with-bars is a crib, anyway. Not sure who’s child it was for; the kids who lived here were teens.


S decided enough was enough, and that R couldn’t wait for the grand plan to eventuate to get himself out of there and upstairs. Fair enough, too. The grand plan will take forever at the current rate.

Stuff was moved out, and the old carpet ripped up. R carried all his own old carpet down to the shed for later hard rubbish disposal.

+1 happiness, +1 strength and +1 handy ute action

Meanwhile S worked on getting all the skank off the floor. Literally scraping. The house is 30 years old this year, but it seems like that carpet has to be older.


With the carpet off it seemed like a good idea to paint the walls, also. S is finally abandoning her love affair with beige. R’s big rainbow will go, too, since he’s getting so big and all.


Paint, paint, paint.


And it’s ready for the carpet man. We weren’t going to try to do it ourselves; there’s an awful lot of banging that goes with carpet laying, and we’re not really bangers.

Ready to go. We can’t take the cabinet out without removing the wheels and the laundry door. The carpet man says it’s OK to work around it. Phew! Was considering turfing it out the window…



S wanted a shelf for R to put his books on. The only problem is that all the wall space is kind of taken by the bed, the cabinet and the built-in wardrobe. So the shelf will go above the cabinet and R will just have to climb up there when he wants a book. He’ll still have his little go-to collection at the side of his bed, so it’s not a terrible inconvenience.

The shelf is one of those Ikea “floating” ones. You don’t get a choice about where the holes go, so it’s attached to the wall with toggle screws that go through a hole and then pop open on the other side, instead of being screwed straight into the studs. As they go in the toggles grab the back of the plasterboard. The shelf slides over the long sticky-outy bits.


Pretty sure this was the effect S was after.


Then it’s all ready to have R’s stuff piled back in.


Third Christmas

Christmas is upon us once more, and it’s time to get another conifer destined for the garden and go all bling in the lounge room.

This year’s tree is a Golden Deodar Cedar once more from the Conifer Nursery in Sassafras.

R and S get to decorating the tree. M punched holes in the gold cardboard for the lights to shine through
R and S get to decorating the tree. M punched holes in the gold cardboard for the lights to shine through

The big trees are quite expensive, and they’d be hard to justify if they weren’t going into the garden afterwards. The little Picea Glauca conica trees that are all over this time of year are too small to be a real Christmas tree, and the rarely-seen big ones are way too expensive. They do make a very nice, dense conical shape though, so ideas were had to raise little ones in pots to use in future years. Not to waste them, we’ve set them up as a little Christmas forest after spray-painting their pots gold (much to R’s delight). It will take about 5 good years for the big one on the right to grow enough to use.

Golden Cedar. It looked more yellow at the shop, and has turned greener in the week or so it sat outside waiting to come in.

The journey to Christmas goodness isn’t without its bumps, though. One kind of expects the price of piceas to go up at this time of year, but in some cases it’s a bit ridiculous.

250% Christmas surcharge. Good one Garden Express.
250% Christmas surcharge. Good one Garden Express.

Maybe we should ask for one without the $15 “Merry Christmas” tag.

Last study shelf

The tale of the study shelves has been an epic one, spanning 18 months of on-again off-again construction. The last shelf went in last week.

Three pieces of 140x45mm F17 tassie oak, joined together. They’re usually not perfectly straight, so the vertical pieces of wood are clamped on tight to hold them straight while the joins set.


Then trimmed to size, planed to remove the crustiest rough-sawn bits and the conformance stamps, belt-sanded then finish-sanded with three different grits.


More boxes to go between shelves are constructed, then installation is just a matter of plonking the boxes on the previous shelf and putting the new shelf on top of those.


All the way to the roof.

Pulling up the hearth

There’s been much discussion around the hearth. S was of the opinion that the beige tiles under the fire are probably the thing that makes the house seem 80s. Black fire, beige tiles, pink carpet, erk.

They’re not going to look any better once the floorboards go into the lounge room. We did some layout testing and it was all naff. We thought about reducing the size of the area to minimise its effect, but we just couldn’t get around the Blight of Beige.

In the end it was decided that either the boards had to go all the way under the fire, which is probably a fire hazard, or the tiles had to be black to match the fire. So really only one option. And black means slate, which rocks since it’s a natural stone surface, but tends to be expensive (and isn’t that comfortable underfoot, for most areas you’d be inclined to tile).

The little square patch was also a bit naff, and a concrete plinth that extends down to the ground below was found to extend well past the tiles on either side, so it was decided to extend the tiles the full width of the room so we weren’t trying to nail boards into concrete. We’re going to have furniture boxes either side of the fire for books and twigs/wood/etc., so the tiles won’t be that visible. It’s a utility space which spends half the year covered in bits of bark and so forth.

S got cracking on Gumtree, and found some super high quality slate tiles going for a song right away. Just leftovers from someone’s project, not enough to do a whole room but fine for our purposes, and they were desperate to get rid of them because they were moving house. Black, uniform colour and very smooth. Yippee!

S fetched them (cue the ute), cleaned them up and did a quick layout to check their goodness.


That’ll look pretty neat, we reckon.

Meanwhile, S also got busy removing all the staples from the floor (holding the underlay down) and the carpet gripper from around the edge.

We tried to start pulling up the tiles around the hearth using a hammer and chisel, but it was very hard work. We needed an air compressor to run the nail gun anyway, so purchase of that became a priority.

M went and picked up a second-hand air compressor, also off Gumtree. An air chisel to go with it made short work of the tiles around the fire. S took to demolishing with gusto.


The last 9 tiles couldn’t be removed without removing the fireplace. Looking up the unit’s data sheet online, it turns out that the thing weighs 280kg. There’s no way we can even drag that thing off there.

A plan was hatched to jack it up and sort of slide it away on some beams. But the first problem was that the flue wouldn’t come out! More research online at the fireplace manufacturer indicated that the hat on top of the chimney might be holding it all in place. So up on the roof we go …


M very gingerly edged down there and it banged off with a rubber mallet OK. That roof angle turned out to be almost as treacherous as it looks – without the chimney supports to lean on it’s quite hard to get back up to the ridge. Not to mention the 6m drop off the side. Talk about collywobbles.

Anyway, with the flue hoisted up it looked a bit like Wacky Wednesday there for a moment.


To get that fireplace out we have to support the flue with something. And to support the flue with something we need to get the new tile underlay installed, at least in the corners of the room, so we can put in a couple of props.

The tiled area will be precisely 1m wide. The ceramic underlay comes in 1.8 x 0.9m rectangles. Bummer. We need to build it up a bit because the floorboards are 19mm, not including underlay, and the slate tiles are only 6mm thick.

The concrete either side of the existing tile underlay was a bit all over the place, so M flattened it out. M thought that a box with the vacuum cleaner stuck into it would serve as a great dust control method.


Oh how woefully wrong M can be. Utterly inadequate. The concrete flattener is a rotary metal thingy that goes on the angle grinder. It threw great gouts of dust to all directions, thick enough not to be able to see through it at times. Took 5 times longer to clean up than it did to do the grinding.

Anyway, live and learn.

Once the concrete was a bit flatter we could lay down the tile underlay. The manufacturer recommended using adhesive on particleboard flooring as well as nails, so we did that.


The gap between the underlay and the wall is flexible, whereas we want the front edge to be just right. It will be our reference point for the floorboards later. So we set up a fence in the right spot and put the underlay up against it before nailing it down.


With both corners getting two layers of underlay, we can prop up the flue. We chopped a bit of junk treated pine from the yard to use as props, and used one of our nice tassie oak beams to keep it up (the beams will go into a table down the track).

Then, two more pieces of tassie oak and 3 jacks allow us to jack up the fireplace.


At this point, it was thought that the fireplace might slide down the beams, if the ones near the wall were jacked up higher than the one at the front. But that was dreaming. It’s just too heavy.

Time to roll like an Egyptian! There were still 2 old curtain rails in the shed (mates to the ones serving as chicken roosts), so we chopped them into pieces to use as rollers and popped them under the fireplace.


They did a great job. We used the towing strap wrapped behind the fire to pull it forward, and as one roller disengaged out the back we brought it around to the front. Thank the gods for all those pyramid-building documentaries we watched as kids!

Gently, gently and the fire is out.


S set-to with the air chisel once again and removed the last 9 tiles in about half an hour.

Finally, we use the angle grinder to cut a line in the existing fibre board (which sticks out too far), and pry it up the old-fashioned way.


Up comes the carpet

With the chicken house pretty much done and the weather warming up, we can turn our attention to getting those floorboards down in the lounge room.

Step 1 is to take up the skanky carpet. S took to it with a knife … there’s no going back now!


Party time

You can’t turn 40 without having a party. Best birthday in ages. Thanks everyone who made it, and thanks for the fantastic presents.

S made a fantastic wind turbine cake. She spent two evenings making 40 little turbine collars for the candles.




Kristi and Dave gave an awesome hand-made camphor laurel chopping board in an awesome hand-made Cloth bag with an awesome stamped bit of floorboard for a card, and Ollie and Daisy looked after the littler kids all afternoon.