Time for another house tour post! If you missed them, the first two posts are here and here.
So, I thought I’d show you around the wet areas today – bathrooms & laundry.
In the first house we built, I found choosing tiles to be such a nightmare. We went tile shopping every Saturday for 6 weeks until we finally settled on something! This time around though, we knew exactly what we wanted and our tile shopping lasted less than 1 hour! This is our ensuite. For the tiles, we choose a matte-finish grey rectangle tile and used that one tile everywhere – floors and walls right up to the ceiling (that’s why our tile shopping was so fast!)
We wanted to keep the bathrooms uncluttered, simple and open and using a single tile helped to achieve that. I always thought that showers like ours in the ensuite with a single panel of glass and no door would be cold and draughty. Now that I have been using the shower for awhile I am completely sold though. I don’t find it cold at all and cleaning the shower is a breeze. After the tiles are dry, I vacuum the whole bathroom (even into the shower) then mop the entire floor. Cleaning the tiles and shower area is really easy because there aren’t any grooves or edges on the shower door or surrounding frame, so it is really just a quick wipe down and scrubbing in the grout if needed. Then the glass is just like cleaning a big window. Bathroom cleaning is one of my least favourite jobs but this shower makes it a little bit better!
Another thing I really like about having matte tiles in the bathrooms are that they dry super fast. An hour or two after having a shower the tiles are completely dry in the bathroom – including the ones in the shower. The great thing about this is that it means that water isn’t sitting on the tiles, in the grout and the corners of the shower for as long and reduces the amount of grime and scummy buildup in the shower. I have been pretty slack at cleaning the showers in this house for that reason – they hardly ever get dirty or grimy because the water dries so fast. Big win!!!
The kid’s bathroom is pretty similar to the ensuite. We used the same vanity, basins, taps and shower heads. This bathroom has an enclosed shower with a door though (not as fun to clean! In hindsight, I probably would have done the same shower as in the ensuite) and the addition of a big bath. The kids love it.
In our old house we had a heated towel rail in the bathroom and got them again for this house. It is so nice to have warm, dry towels in the middle of winter. Some days it can be so cold and dull that the towels don’t even dry between showers and there is nothing worse than trying to dry yourself with a cold, damp towel after the shower! It’s a little luxury that we love now! And lastly, this is the laundry. We kept things all white in the laundry to help give a sense of cleanliness…because the reality is that my laundry NEVER looks like this! There is plenty of colour and texture introduced in baskets and piles of washing waiting to be washed, folded and ironed!
Because the laundry is an internal room with no windows to the outside, we decided to put a big skylight in the roof. It makes such a difference to an internal room to have a shaft of light and sunshine flowing into the room.
The laundry has cupboards galore – the top ones are hardly even filled up yet. But it is such a great feeling knowing that there is plenty of room to store everything in the house. The tall cupboard on the right is great for keeping mops, brooms, etc.
You can see the window to the left of the room which looks into the garage too. We did that to let in a bit more light and open up the room some more.
The floor in the laundry is polished concrete. Again, a really easy flooring to keep clean.
It’s taken me 3 months to get this far in the house tour so by the time we have been in here for a year maybe I will be finished!!! Stay tuned!
Let the house tour continue! If you missed the previous house tour post, you can see and read all about the exterior here. Now to move into the kitchen, dining and lounge areas. I think a lot of people were surprised when they heard about our natural, neutral palette at the new house. The first house we built was very “out there” as far as colours go. Lime green accent walls, lime green mosaic tiles in the kitchen and bathroom, splashes of scarlet red and brown tones throughout. It was a fun house with a lot of character but we felt ready to tone things down this time around and reflect the beautiful countryside and nature surrounding us.
We decided to stick with light timber, lots of stark white and concrete/grey throughout the house. Our house has a lot of North-facing windows and is really bright and fresh, which is only enhanced by the clean, neutral design and colours inside.
So, here is our kitchen. Definitely the hub of the home and where I seem to spend a great deal of my time. It is right in the middle of the lounge room and rumpus room and looks out to our front yard.
We spent quite a bit of time deciding what colours and finishes we wanted to use on the kitchen cupboards, benchtop and splashback. In the end we went safe and fresh and choose white high gloss cupboards and drawers. Underneath the benchtops we have lots of drawers, which I love and above the splashback and appliances are soft-close cupboards. I’m happy that we decided to omit the handles on the cupboards as it keeps things looking nice and clean. I’m hopeless at visualising a finished space before it is actually finished and I was a little worried that the kitchen would look too boring, but I really love how it all turned out. It feels sleek and simple and stylish. The splashback is white glass, this is the only part of the kitchen that we are not 100% happy with. It has a slight green tinge to it in some light, especially when compared to the bright white cupboards and drawers. We did think of putting timber behind glass at one stage but weren’t sure how it would stand up so didn’t go for it but if we could change one thing about the kitchen now we would have a timber splashback.
To bring a concrete element to the inside of the house, we choose a concrete-look benchtop. It is a new Caesarstone colour called Sleek Concrete. It would have been nice to have a polished concrete slab as the benchtop but also super expensive so this was a nice compromise. Moving onto the ceiling…we wanted the kitchen nice and light so put two big square recessed skylights in the ceiling. There are a few other skylights in the house and they are one of the best decisions we made when planning the build. They let in so much light and I love the direct sunlight that moves across the kitchen throughout the day. It is awesome standing underneath them and looking up during a heavy rain too!
The timber running up the wall and across the ceiling is the one thing in the house that I can take full credit for…and I’m pretty proud of myself because Jaron usually comes up with all of the cool design stuff before I do! We were trying to look around for pendants to put above the island bench and couldn’t find anything that we were really happy with, then I had a thought that maybe we shouldn’t bother with pendants at all and keep the kitchen clean and streamline without too many distractions. I’m not sure where this inspiration came from but we played around with different ways of including timber in the ceiling of the kitchen and settled on this design and it really helps to increase the interest and ties in well with other timber elements in the house. All of the timber in the house (including the floors) is Tas Oak. I was really set on having a light coloured timber and wanted to stay away from high gloss so we did some research and used a Scandanavian product called Bona Traffic HD as a coating on the timber and it is awesome! It is a satin finish and makes a huge difference in keeping the floor looking clean. When the sunlight hits the floor you don’t notice any of the dust that is really noticeable on a high gloss timber floor. It also has a soft, almost waxy feel under your feet and is lovely and warm to walk on. I especially love the light blonde colour and how it is more of a sandy colour rather than dark brown, yellow or orange. The floor is so easy to clean and hardly ever looks dirty – I’ve managed to go 2-3 weeks in between washing it and you can’t even tell it is overdue for a wash! After the white gloss tiles in our old house that always seemed to look dirty and smeary this floor is a dream!
The pantry is to the right of Harvey in the back of the picture above. It feels a little hidden as it is enclosed by two big, gloss, push-to-open doors with no handles and feels like a blank wall. It has heaps of space, actually the whole kitchen has heaps of storage. Half of the cupboards above the bench don’t even have anything in them yet! I think we are one of the few, newer houses that doesn’t have a sink on the island bench. It is just something that I have never wanted in my kitchen. I would rather have my bench clutter-free, ready for kids to sit at or people to eat at or a place to serve food and not have to worry about water and taps and dirty dishes getting in the way.
You can see in the photo above the timber posts screening off our computer nook. This area works really well. It means that the computer is still in the busy part of the home, I can always see what is going on or be close to everyone when I am using it, but also has it’s own space.
And here it is looking from the rumpus room. That door to the left of the computer desk is for storage. The computer desk is a grey laminate – it looks almost identical to the Caesarstone benchtops in the kitchen but a fraction of the price. The dining area sits directly in front of the kitchen. I love the pendant light that we choose to put here (there is another identical one in the entrance) the white gloss and timber suits the house perfectly. Our dining set is a work in progress…the table was the same colour as the chairs a few months ago. Jaron painted the legs white and used left over timber from the floors to make a new tabletop. So much nicer than what we had before and it only cost $60 and a couple of nights work! Now we need to paint the chairs white and cover the seats with something. Not sure what we will use yet…I have been looking for a grey oilcloth but haven’t been able to find anything that I really like yet (any ideas?) but am also wondering if I could cover them with some leather. Not sure how the leather will go with milk spills and wiping up food though so will have to do a bit more research.
And the last area to talk about for today is the loungeroom… The loungeroom is still a work in progress – we eventually want to get a new couch that suits the space a little better and the display shelves are ever changing and I really need to make some new cushion covers but I’m taking my time with the decorating of this room because we also spend so much time here I want to get a feel for the house first and see where it leads me! I had some Ikea shelves next to the TV in our old house and I loved how I could display photos/prints/knick knacks and easily change them around without committing to holes in walls. Because we knew it worked well for our style we had the joiner build us in some white gloss shelves either side of the TV for this purpose. It was nice to have somewhere easy to start decorating when we moved into the house too.
The timber paneling in between the shelves is the same Tas Oak as used in the kitchen. We wanted something to give a bit of warmth to the room so that it just didn’t look like a TV on a white wall and it carries on with the light timber theme we have going throughout the house.
Either side of the shelves are two big white gloss cupboards to use for storage – the one on the left is for books and the one on the right has board games, kids drawing stuff and is predominantly used for media – the DVD player, top box, amplifier and receiver are hidden away in this cupboard. Jaron’s big dream was to have surround sound in the loungeroom and he won (I wasn’t keen!) so this is where all of his stuff is kept out of view! The grey bench underneath the TV and shelves is also made up of a heap of cupboards too for extra storage (and at the moment they are all empty except for a few puzzles and kids books in one of them!) We used the same paint colour throughout the whole house – on all of the walls, trims and ceiling. It is Vivid White half strength Dulux Wash & Wear 101. This was another risk we took that paid off – we really wanted stark white walls to contrast nicely with the timber and grey elements of the house. So many people tried to talk us out of it and said that it would look too cold but we love it and I’ve discovered a great way to wipe dirty finger marks off without leaving any smears – I’ll share it next time because this post is getting too long! Not sure if you can really tell in these photos but all of the windows in the loungeroom, dining and rumpus room have Tas Oak timber reveals with a shadow line around them. To tell you the truth, I didn’t have a clue what Jaron was talking about when he said he wanted to do it but I love it and once again, it brings in a subtle timber element to all of the rooms.
The carpet we used throughout the house was something that we splurged on. It is Providence Sublime in Fog and is super soft and thick and luxurious. I figure that we sit and lounge and walk barefoot on the floor constantly so it was worth forking out a bit of extra money for. Plus it was one of the only carpet ranges that we could find that made a real stone grey colour, most other greys were too blue or too brown but this one works just right with the rest of our colours.
And this is what you see when you look back at the house from the loungeroom. That big opaque sliding door at the end is the rumpus room and my sewing area but it was a big mess on the day we took photos so I’ll save those for another day!
And if you’re a bit clueless with visualising things like I am, here is another look at the floor plan so that you can make sense of how these rooms fit together with each other and the rest of the house!
High 5 to you if you stuck with me for this loooong post! I better save the rest of the house for another time!
We have been living in our new house for 3 months now and I’m ready to start sharing some pictures of where we live! You can click on these links to see some “before” and “during” shots if you are interested. And here it is – all finished and lived in! Today I will share some pictures of the finished exterior of the house and will move inside next time. Jaron (Starbox Architecture) designed the house (the designs went on foooorever…and he has already started getting ideas togther for our next one!) and it was built by LAW Constructions.
Our block is just over one acre. Towards the end of the build, we had a digger and bobcat come in to level off the yard and create a circular bank around the perimeter of the land. It looks a bit scrubby at the moment with LOTS of weeds to get rid of and years worth of landscaping to do but has great potential.
Another benefit of the bank surrounding the yard means that we have a head start on screening and privacy as the bank sits about 1m above ground level so anything that we plant now will already be sitting higher than the yard. Plus, it looks pretty cool – once the grass has grown and thickened up we are going to enjoy some fun footy, soccer and cricket matches out there!
The grass has been a big job for us. Before we moved in we got a heap of topsoil delivered, but unfortunately we lost a lot of it in crazy high winds that we experienced a few months ago. Before sowing the grass, we installed some underground irrigation. The system is automatic so Jaron sets the timer for when we would like the grass watered and the little sprinklers pop out of the ground and turn themselves on. I wasn’t too keen on the system when we were getting started, but can now see that it was well worth the investment with the time and effort we are saving by not having to move portable sprinklers around the yard all day just to keep the grass wet! Our soil is pretty rubbish out here – we are basically living on a big sandpit! It is actually awesome because no matter how much the kids dig and roll around in it they don’t get dirty but not so good for gardens and lawns. Our grass is slowly getting there, but it is going to take a lot of work to get it to where we want it. I’m obsessed with weeding and head out for a little while every day pulling weeds but it’s amazing how much faster and stronger they grow than the grass! Because of the sandy ground, any time we want to plant anything we have to fill the area with potting mix first.
This is what you see when you come up our driveway. The main entrance to the house is actually at the back – although we still call it the front door! A few years down the track we hope to finish the driveway with hotmix, but compressed gravel is doing the job for now. We waited awhile to get the block fully fenced (it was included with the land) and I thought it was going to be such a relief when everything was finished so that I could send Harvey outside to play on his own…only to discover that he could squish is way underneath the fences and escape! We are very lucky to be only one of two houses in the subdivision so it is a very quiet street and can let the kids ride bikes and play anywhere they like without worrying about cars or people that we don’t know hanging around.
Here is a close-up of the entry. Jaron’s office is behind that timber wall. This works great because when he has clients come and see him they walk straight into his office and the rest of the house goes unseen. There is even a separate toilet right next door for them to use. One of our priorities after moving in was to eliminate the amount of dust, sand and dirt being blown and walked through the house. The garden at the entrance was one of the first things we did after the grass and we planted it out with daphne bushes, kangraoo paw, jelly bean succulents and some hearty grasses then finished it off with a medium sized stone covering. It’s amazing how much cleaner the house stays when there is grass and garden keeping the dirt at bay.
Let me try and list all of the exterior materials here in case any of them interest you. The big feature of the house is the timber wrapping around the front and a little at the back of the house. Originally we wanted to go for a grey colour, but ended up choosing a more natural brown colour, Spotted Gum from Woodform Architectural. The original colour of the timber was exactly what we wanted and then when it was stained it turned darker than we had hoped. We still like it, but are happy that the colour will fade with time and then we will coat it with a clear stain to retain the lighter colour. The ends of the house are clad with South Australian limestone from Limestone Australia. The roof and slanted wall at the back of the house are Colorbond Custom Orb in Shale Grey colour. And the window frames are all Shale Grey colour too. At the entrance of the house, you can see slanted timber posts which are laminated Tas Oak.
The building to the right of the house is a shed with Tas Oak timber posts and slats to screen air conditioning external units and wheelie bins. The shed roof is also clad in solar panels.
I think I’ve covered everything and will try and write a post in the next few days about some of the interior of the house!
5:45am wake-up. We made them wait until 7am, they were very patient watching TV whilst surrounded by their presents! Harvey joined us at 8am. Bleary-eyed, in new car heaven (although the car didn’t have wheels yet…we ran out of steam at midnight on Christmas Eve!) Paper-ripping, fists pumping, squeals of delight. Gourmet breakfast with the family followed by a lovely walk to the jetty. The smallest children swam, clothes and all. The biggest children skimmed rocks. Home for rest, movie and play time. Reunited at Gramma & Poppy’s house for a funny rendition of the Nativity story – complete with three very strange wise men. Family presents exchanged and opened followed by another delicious feast and lots of laughter and relaxing together. It was pure bliss.
Hello blog! I’m not sure that I remember how to do this, it has been so long!!! The last two months have been a whirlwind. We said goodbye to our fun home of 4 1/2 years at number 19…
…and hello to our new place which we finally finished building! This is our backyard – well, technically speaking these are the vacant blocks in our new subdivision that we are hoping don’t sell for a long time because the kids think it is all theirs and run wild through all of that grass! We have gigantic (kind of scary) hares bouncing around all day and night – there are no bunnies here, just thumping huge hares! And so many birds…much to Harvey’s delight. He is bird crazy and chases them when ever he gets the chance.
On our first night sleeping in the new house, this was the beginning of a glorious sunset – I think it was welcoming us to the neighbourhood. The sunsets here are amazing. I don’t think they are different to the ones we had in town but the unobstructed horizon and clear views magnify the beauty of the sky. Sometimes at dusk, I like to go outside and watch the sun go down. With nothing but the chirping birds surrounding me, it is so peaceful. (Until one of those scary, big hares bounds by…)
The day before we moved, this was pretty much all that was left in any cupboard in the house. When Lil woke up in the morning, she went to the pantry to find something to eat and yells out, “Mum!!! Are we poor?!” A few days after we moved, Grandie and Nana visited us from New Zealand. They were so helpful getting the old house all cleaned out and fixing things up ready for the tenants to move in. Such a relief not having to do it all on my own. Not only did they work like troopers, but they also spoiled us with babysitting, gifts and taking us out for lots of yummy lunches.
Oh, and they also brought along the biggest bag of giant marshmallows one has ever seen so we did what all newly semi-rural folk do to christen their property and had a backyard-campfire-s’mores-making session.
Upon moving into the new house, Harvey decided that he wanted to feed himself all the time. Not my favourite baby phase to get into. Especially in a brand new house with sparkling clean floors. So I pulled out the first quilt I ever made and now it is used for Harvey spill protection! He likes to tip his whole bowl of food onto the tray of the highchair and smoosh it around with his hands at every meal. And then he wears the bowl on his head like a hat. And usually walks around with crusty bits of weetbix in his hair all day long.
So, we are in the new house. There was no internet connection for 4 weeks which was actually kind of nice for a little while. We are mostly unpacked, it feels like home, and we have about 20 years of landscaping ahead of us! One day we will get around to taking “nice” shots of the house to do a little tour for the blog. It was exhausting though, children would often fall asleep in strange and uncomfortable-looking positions!
And just in case you’re wondering…the pantry is full now, but we spent all the money on food so now we are too poor to dress the baby!