I know you’re asking, why in the freaking world did you buy a house you thought was ugly?
- It’s 40 minutes from a major city!
- It’s only 10 minutes to an island and surf beach!
- It’s on 5 acres!
- It’s only 10 minutes to 3 different shopping centres!
- It’s quiet. We’re surrounded by cattle property and state forest with only 1 other neighbour!
- It’s only 7 minutes from the motorway straight into the city!
We’re country folk, we like our privacy, space and the serenity of not hearing the neighbours flush their toilet. When we moved to the area we rented for the first couple of years in various locations and styles of homes before we purchased, and at this stage in our life, it appears suburbia and town houses simply aren’t our style.
Maybe in years to come when we’re over all the work involved with an acreage, but we’re cool at the moment. Having acreage works great for us while homeschooling, letting children build their confidence to go off and safely explore, ride bikes, build tree forts, that kind of thing.
The Planning – It’s taken us almost a year to work out a plan of what we want to accomplish with this house. Every few weeks we’d change layouts and ideas, but hey we do that every house, that’s just an indicator to us that we haven’t reached the right plan yet. This is our 7th house and our 4th renovation, the other 3 were new builds. We have a few friends that call us gypsies, some call us mad (we call us mad lol), Jason and I always know when the other has come up with a different idea, it’s a certain look… Like ummm see the sparkle in my eyes, well I came up with another idea….wanna hear it and totally change everything we’ve planned so far?? lol
The overall footprint of the house will not change, we’re just having a shuffle around of rooms. This plan hasn’t changed for the past 4 months so we think it’s a winner lol.
Let the Renovations begin!!
And the first room is…
The Art Room – The first thing we started on was creating an art room/school room. As the house is just a basic 3 bedroom home, there was no where for all our art supplies and homeschool supplies, so it was all stacked up on overflowing shelving in the poky little dining room until a few weeks ago. (I won’t even show you a pic of that, highly embarrassing lol) The dining room was of no other use to us as it’s tiny, so for now we’ve easily fitted the dining table into the living area as it’s huge.
We decided to enclose our front patio as it was pretty much useless for entertaining guests, unless we climb over the back of each others dining chairs to get out hahaha. It’s the typical too narrow 80’s design, where everyone wanted the luxury of a patio but no one thought about sizing and how you would manage to walk around a dining chair if someone was seated. Turns out it’s the perfect size for our art room.
Walls – With the exterior we both agreed we wanted the house to appear more as a cottage, something that had been there forever and was part of the surrounding, rather than an updated modern box that looked out of place. This is where it got super exciting and I was allowed to go with rough cypress cladding on the exterior walls of the art room to close in the patio. The cypress smells divine, it was the nicest smelling building site I’ve ever experienced lol. To seal the cypress I have since coated it in a walnut stain.
Windows – There was no way I was having modern sliding windows in it, I wanted my windows to become pretty frames for the view out to the tropical garden beyond them. So we managed to hunt down some very old silky oak casement windows.
At first I was going to paint them black to tie in with the rustic/industrial look I’m creating inside, then we decided we would sand them right back and clear lacquer over the silky oak, then as I was halfway through sanding we both got excited and decided we totally loved the distressed look that I had reached at that point, showing the years of coloured paint previous owners had painted them. So that is how they stayed, all we have done is apply a clear lacquer over them, we kept the original paint chipped handles and added new stainless steel barrel bolts for locking.
The Columns – As it was an 80’s patio with grecian columns (I kid you not!! We also had the hand railing to match!) that were load bearing they had to stay, so we decided we would box them in with timber so it would give the appearance of large timber columns. These I stained in what was meant to be a walnut stain but turned out too bright an orange shade for my liking, so I did as I do and improvised and made up a stain to finish it off to deepen the colour.
Brick walls – There were two small exterior brick walls which became part of the art room interior, so I mortar washed over these to give an industrial look, I am totally in love with them and Jason suggested we do the entire exterior of the house like it, as he loves it so much too, but I think it may be too over the top on a residential house exterior, but hey who knows with us, we’ll see what the future brings.
Architraves – One thing I was positive of was I did not want the architraves around the windows or the skirting boards to be the typical 80’s bullnose design which is still being built in brand new homes today!! As I do in life, I wanted simple and basic. I wanted the windows to be the feature not the architraves. So we went with a simple 68x12mm (2 3/4×1/2 inch) pine moulding and then painted it the same colour as the walls so it blended in with the wall rather than being a feature. We also ran a matching timber cover strip over the fibro wall joins to give it that old world cottage feel.
The existing windows – Between the living area and patio was again another 80’s design, except this one took up the entire front of the living room wall. A full length, full height window with that brown tinted almost peacock feather pattern in it yukkkk. There was also a massive sliding door beside it as well. It was quite a mammoth task to remove the window, but I guarantee no one would ever of been able to break in by prying the window out lol.
With that gone we were able to build a half height wall between the living and art room, high enough to hide all my stuff on my desk but low enough to be involved with what ever is going on in the living room. We’re still to finish this off and paint it, that will come later down the track when we remove the carpet from the living room.
Walls –I wanted to create a really cosy inviting feel so the typical white or beige walls was not gonna cut it! To fit with the industrial/rustic feel I’ve gone with a dark grey “Country Life”, by Valspar, we used the quality Valspar premium paint. I’ve used it previously and I love it, it covers so well and doesn’t leave any brush or roller marks. The colour also works brilliant for the dust we get here, as we do have a gravel road out front and I’m not a fan of constant dusting instead of enjoying life.
Shelving – To get the industrial feel, we’ve used garage shelving for my art supplies. I stained the mdf shelves with my homemade stain (of course lol) just to tone them down. The plastic wicker look baskets are from Kmart, I went with dark grey so they blended into the room rather than different coloured baskets making the room appear messy and cluttered.
Desks – Again in keeping with the garage shelving we used two workbenches and Jason cut the legs down to bring them back to desk height for our office chairs. The plus to this is that they have a half depth shelf running along the back of the shelf which is a perfect footrest for short people like me 😉. You can see in the below photo the half height wall unpainted behind my desk.
Floors – They were already tiled with a dark grey for the patio, so this has fitted in perfect! My last art room floor, table and ceiling were forever stained green from over excited little artists having a great time unsupervised, so easy to clean surfaces are a must.
Lighting – Yet to be completed, due to the fact that it took us so long to decide on a light lol. I finally found what I was looking for last week at Ikea. The VITEMÖLLA 3 bar spot, again it’s a dark colour, has an old world look and has directional spotlights, so next time the electrician comes we’ll get the light fitting shifted and moved from the centre of the room to directly over the desk area.
Office Chairs – Also from Ikea, After probably half an hour of trying different office chairs to suit both myself and daughter ( just so you know I fit in the kids chairs, my feet reach the floor perfectly hehehe ) I went with the SKÅLBERG / SPORRAN design in black. Considering it’s plastic, it has a great lumbar support, it’s height adjustable and I like how the wheels are actually rubber, so there’s not that crazy gliding (chair races) by children across the tiles which gives it a bit more stable feel. Savannah’s first reaction was “Mum it’s quite hard to roll” evil fun police mummy said “Yes I know sweety, it’s much safer that way”.
The results… I love it! It is exactly what I wanted. It feels open and inviting. I find myself day dreaming out my windows a little too much, the area feels lovely and I can hang in my art room and still chat to Jason while he’s watching the football in the living area.
We’re still to create a cosy little corner down the far end and build a bench seat under the window to store my fleece and felting supplies in, at present it’s just my rocking chair sitting there a little lonely. That will be my handcrafts area for stitching and needle felting.
Thanks for coming along on my little tour, stay tuned, there will be heaps more to come. Next room we’re in the process of creating is a tween sanctuary for Savannah’s bedroom. You’re welcome to subscribe to my blog to hear when the latest post is live or follow me on Facebook or Instagram.