Why Did We Wait?

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We have lived in this house for almost 14 years and made various changes to both the interior and exterior of the house.  The kitchen, laundry and bathroom have had major upgrades.  Windows, external cladding, verandah railings and flooring have all been replaced as well as the outdoor staircase.  The entire interior of the house has been painted, floor coverings replaced and built-in wardrobes added.

But apart from buying timber venetian blinds for 2 of the front windows we have never had any window coverings.  It has not really been a necessity from a privacy point of view since we live on a small acreage with no close neighbours.

However, the combined lounge/dining room has quite a large expanse of windows and we do find that it makes the room quite cold on winter evenings and I would love to be able to draw the curtains to cover the glass and make it feel more cosy.

We did not do anything about it initially as we knew that we would replace the old windows.  The upgraded windows are louvres and one section of them is quite close to the slow-combustion heater so I was unsure as to what sort of window treatments would work best.  Hence, winter would come and go each year and still the inertia and indecision remained.  This is a post on the same subject from 2011.

The combination of a few cold nights and some free time once I had finished work meant that I decided to check out a relatively local business, Custom Curtains and Shade at Beerwah.  It is barely a month since we first ventured to the showroom where we discussed a couple of different fabric and colour options  A few days later we had a measure and quote, decided on our choice of fabric and today the finished products were installed.

Here is the result and I really do not know why we procrastinated for so long before deciding to get the Roman blinds for this room.

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After almost 14 years the living area now looks ‘complete’ to my satisfaction.

Progress

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Well, the bedroom is painted and the new flooring laid.

Tonight we reassembled the bed frame, replaced the mattress and made the bed.  Now I am ready to sleep in it.

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Here is a closer view of the new floor.

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After much discussion and debate prior to making our decision, we are very happy with the finished product.  It will be much easier to keep clean.

The chest of drawers, cedar box and my dressing table will be put back on the weekend when we have more time.

 

 

One Simple Change

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A few days after Christmas we ordered a new lounge suite.  This had been on the agenda for quite some time and we finally found the time to search out what we wanted on the internet and then went to see (and sit in) it in real life.The delivery time was expected to be 10 – 12 weeks but we asked if we could make a bit longer so that it would be delivered after our holidays in April.

One of the reasons we were looking at an extended delivery time was because we knew that there were a few other jobs that we wanted to do before we had a new lounge suite in the living room.

The main priority was to have the vinyl flooring in the lounge, dining room, kitchen, hallway and study re-surfaced.  This had not been done since the flooring was first laid about 10 years ago and was well overdue.  The main problem is that since it comprises such a major area of the house it is a challenge to move all of the furniture out of the way.  This seemed like the perfect time.

So now there is furniture and contents of shelves and cupboards stacked almost anywhere I can find a space.

The guest bedroom

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The front entry

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The floors are not the only area in need of some maintenance.  The kitchen ceiling was in poor condition and was GMan’s list of jobs.  He had already noted that since the living areas of the house are open plan that he would repaint all of the ceilings.

Of course, you paint the ceiling before refinishing the floors.

The kitchen and front entry were done a couple of weeks ago.  You can read about it here.  The lounge and dining room are currently being painted.

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Our bedroom has been completely emptied and GMan repainted the walls today.  The photo is before the painting.  Tomorrow the carpet will be replaced with vinyl flooring which will be much easier to keep clean, especially since we live on acreage in a semi-rural area.

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The bed frame has been dismantled and is in the study.

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We are sleeping on the mattress on the floor in my sewing room for a couple of nights.

Once the bedroom flooring is done and that room can be reassembled things will improve a bit.  The next step will be to arrange for the resealing of the other flooring.

Moving furniture is almost as much of an impetus to declutter as moving house.  We will not necessarily be putting everything back where it came from as we have realised that times have changed and some things that were essentials 10 years ago do not necessarily have a place here anymore.  There is no rush so we will carefully consider everything as we reassemble various rooms.

There will be ‘after’ photos in due course.

Recalibrated

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This blog post has been unfolding in my mind over the past few days as the next phase of our lives – retirement – is on the horizon but looming ever closer.

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We have been ’empty-nesters’, with no children at home for over 12 years.  This coincided with our move from Brisbane to our current home on a semi-rural block of 1.5 acres.  There has been no shortage of things to do as we have developed the garden as well as undertaken several renovations to the house.  There are other projects which we are looking forward to working on once we have more time but most of the major work has been done.  Additionally, we have gradually sorted, culled, decluttered and generally streamlined a lot of stuff so the day-to-day cleaning and maintenance is becoming simpler and easier.

To add to the busyness we have both continued to work full-time, however, this will change when we retire in the middle of next year.

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I am regularly quizzed by well-meaning people as to what I am going to when I retire and my somewhat truthful but flippant answer is ‘travel’.  Of course, travel will be only a small part of what we do.  I think my comment to GMan a few weeks ago really summed it up when I said that I was looking forward to having 7 days to do what I currently try to fit into 2 days of the weekend.

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A few things recently have led me to rethink how I manage my working hours which I am fortunate enough to have very flexible arrangements.  However, this has led to me not working in the most efficient manner at times.  Even though I will still be working full-time I have decided to structure my office and working from home times so that I will only work 4 days each week with Mondays off each week apart from once a month when I will swap it for a Tuesday so that I can continue my involvement in a community project.  Thursdays will a full day of working from home and I will be in the office on the other 3 days.  There is still a degree of flexibility if I need to swap my days around for a particular reason.

I believe that having a 3 day weekend most weeks will allow me to do things I want to do at home without feeling quite so rushed and be be organised for the remainder of the week.  I am thinking particularly of cooking and meal preparation and gardening.

With only 10 months (but who’s counting) until I retire I also need to consider how I will manage the workload whilst handing over the role to my replacement in the first half of next year.

There are certainly different seasons of our lives and what was necessary when I had young children is not relevant in my current situation.  We are all at different stages of our lives and sometimes the biggest hurdle is actually identifying what is best for you and your family now.  It will not be the same as mine but by finding what works for you will help to promote a sense of calm, peace and gratitude while minimising angst and stress.

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It is admirable to strive for goals and targets but do not wish your life away.  Be grateful for what you have today because this stage of your life will not last forever.

 

 

The Grand Staircase

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I have always regarded these steps as simply the steps from the driveway to the verandah but last weekend my cousin referred to it as ‘the grand staircase’ which has a rather nice ring to it.

This project has been several years in the planning and some weeks in the execution but the entrance stairway has been replaced and is now completed.

This post shows the demolition of the old steps and creation of the replacement.

We have waited several weeks for the finishing touches which were done this week.  Instead of a swathe of fresh, grey concrete we now have a textured Covercrete finish in our chosen colours.  It provides a durable, non-slip surface which tones with the surrounding landscaping and painted wall.

The addition of the railing is primarily a safety feature but also adds to the overall effect of a grand entrance.

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A closer look.

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Looking down.

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It has taken a number of years but I feel like the entrance to our home is finally completed.

Fruits of Our Labours

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Sometimes you seem to spend ages beavering away in the background with not a lot to show for it.  Then it finally comes together.  Yesterday was one of those days.

After about 5 weeks without a door on the dining room, it is finally finished and re-hung.  However, it was much more than a 5 week job if you take into account all of the time (years) that it remained unpainted and the agonising debate over what colour to use. We are both extremely happy with the result so it was worth the wait.

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And the view when it is closed.

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Of course, GMan has identified a couple of minor touch-ups which require a steady hand so I have been seconded to do those and the glass needs a final clean as there are a spots of paint on it.

Whilst not completely finished, here are some progress photos of the entrance walkway/arbour that has been in progress for a few months.

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Yesterday we added the final cross rail as well as the wire of the lower sections.

Here is a close-up of one of the mandevilla creepers that we planted. I hope that in time they will cover most of structure.  We have planted 3 and need to buy one more.

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The lawn has been dug up from beneath the walkway and will be paved.  We also need to work our exactly what size and spacing we want for the slatted roof.

 

A Three-Pronged Approach

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Although the blog posts have not necessarily reflected it, we have slowly but surely been concurrently working on several projects around the house.  It is interesting to note that they all relate to the approaches and entrances to our home.

First is the walkway we are building which you can read about in this post.  The walkway will provide a more defined entrance to what is essentially our backyard.  It is close to the vegetable garden and the back steps that lead to the area of the verandah which we most often use for entertaining.  We recently took the next step and bought the timber for the horizontal rails.  I have painted them this weekend.

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This was not the only painting I did.  While I had the tin of ‘Woodland Grey’ paint open, I started on painting near the main entrance to the front verandah.

Yesterday I did the first coat of the wall.

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Today I made a start on the steps.  You can still see some of the original salmon colour in the section of blockwork under the verandah which is visible between the stair treads.

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Apart from the fact that I had the paint tin open, the real reason I painted this areas this weekend is that I wanted them done before the finishing touches are put to the concrete stairs.

This is the before photo which I took when we had pulled up some of the pavers.  You can see that the timber sleepers were beginning to rot.  It was a trip hazard and had no handrail which makes things difficult when we have elderly or less able guests.

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The builders weaving their magic.

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The end result.

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The concrete has to cure completely before the final step which is to have a non-slip finish applied.  This will be a similar colour to the surrounding rocks and will hopefully blend in to the surroundings much more than the fresh, grey concrete.

I decided to paint the adjacent wall as it is much easier to do before the final surface is applied.  There will be a short railing on the left hand side of the 2 steps up to the verandah so it made sense to do the steps before that is installed, too.

We are gradually painting all of the besser block base at the western end of the house and the next section to be done will be the walls surrounding the garage doors.  I will be glad to see the end of the salmon pink colour.

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I have not been the only one painting.  For the past couple of weeks GMan has been working on the door which leads from the verandah into the dining room.

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It has been bare timber since it was installed about 9 years ago, mainly because we could not decide whether to stain or paint it and if so, what colour?  The exterior of the house is very neutral and this will provide a real pop of colour as well echoing some of the tones in the lounge/dining room.  I will post some photos once the door is re-hung.  GMan has been busy sanding and painting the door frame as well as the doorstep.

There will be more updates as well as photos as these projects progress further.