Category Archives: Home renovations

Colouring in for grown-ups

Did you like colouring in as a child? I did. I remember trying so hard to keep between the lines. And the time there was a craze going around my primary school where you only coloured in the lines. And then when we were all colouring in by drawing patterns instead of solid colour.

Ah, felt-tip pens. How awesome you are. *nostalgic moment*

Anyway. I still like colouring in, only these days I colour in things that aren’t colouring-in books. Like my hair. And my wardrobe. And now, my house.

First, take one house. Fairly standard colours – off-white with dark green trim. A bit shabby around the edges – looks like it could do with a paint, doesn’t it?

Then, add one painter, and a couple of new colours, and if you’re me you end up with a house looking like this…




I like to think it will remind people of spring, even on a dreary grey windy Wellington winter day. :-)

Colours used are all from Resene paints. Saffron yellow, Half Spanish White for the trim, and Atoll blue/green for the doors.

I can’t wait for next spring/summer, when all the roses bloom out the front in a riot of pinks. I reckon they’ll look fabulous next to that yellow, don’t you?

So there we have it – my latest colouring-in project! (My apologies to all our neighbours who wake up with hangovers on a Sunday morning and have to look at this house glowing in the sun when they draw back their curtains.)

A lot of things can be destroyed in a week….

So, we’re now just over one week into the renovations I’m doing on my house. The house is chaos – stuff in boxes everywhere, and a lovely layer of dust in many areas from the builders carting bricks and timber and all sorts of other things through the house to the skip bins out the front and back doors. I’m trying to pretend the dust isn’t there – not much point in sweeping it up in the evening when it’ll appear again immediately once they start work the next day. I’m looking forward to doing a huge clean of the house once the removing-of-old-parts is over and there isn’t much more dust to appear!

They’ve done a lot in the past week – it’s going faster than I expected, actually! (Although since I’ve never done any renovations before, I didn’t really know what to expect other than everyone telling me it’ll take longer and cost more than I’d planned.) Here’s a brief summary of what’s been done so far, with some key photos from along the way….

They’ve taken down the chimney and covered over where it was.

Chimney - one third left

Chimney - one third left

Chimney - all gone

Chimney - all gone

They’ve uncovered the old brick fireplace in my bedroom, and removed it.

The walled-over fireplace in my room, before renovations

The walled-over fireplace in my room, before renovations

My room - fireplace revealed from behind the wall

My room - fireplace revealed from behind the wall

Front bedroom walled-over fireplace revealed from behind the brick fireplace

Front bedroom walled-over fireplace revealed from behind the brick fireplace

No more fireplaces

No more fireplaces

And they’ve taken off the coverings and the sarking on the walls in my room, all ready to put in insulation.

My bedbroom walls before renovations

My bedroom walls before renovations

My bedroom walls, laid bare for insulation

My bedroom walls, laid bare for insulation

The builders are back on the job tomorrow, so we’re getting ready for some more destruction! Next things that are being done – taking the wet walls off from around the shower to fix the broken mixer; removing the wall between the two downstairs bedrooms in preparation for putting in the walk-in wardrobes; replacing one of the upstairs windows with a timber-framed double-glazed window (since the one in there at the moment isn’t suitable for the room and doesn’t open).

Let the chaos begin…..

It’s official – my very first attempt at home renovations is about to begin! And I admit it – I’m slightly scared…..

For those who don’t know, I bought myself a lovely old house about a year and a half ago. The original section of it dates from the 1890′s or thereabouts (no one knows for sure) and it’s been added onto at various times (once again, no one quite knows when). So it’s a bit of a hodge-podge, sprawling cottage. Which gives it lots of character, in my opinion. :-)

However, it has four main issues with it, all of which I intend to deal with.

The first issue is – it’s all white! All of it!!! (Well, except the bathroom walls, which are a pale lemon yellow.) Every single other wall in this house is painted off white. Including the outside walls. And as anyone who knows me will tell you – I’m far more of a colour girl. I’ve actually become accustomed to the off-white walls in the hallway, lounge and kitchen (for two reasons – they’re great for hanging artwork, and my purple lounge suite looks fab against them. Woo hoo!), but the rest of the place is, well, bland. Or I think it is, anyway. Especially my bedroom. (I’ve even had friends tell me they were surprised the first time they went into my room and saw white walls.) So, clearly some more colour needs to be added!

The second issue is one common to pretty much all old, wooden houses in New Zealand. They aren’t insulated. Crazy, but true. Brrrrr! So, that also needs to be changed!

The third issue is the chimney. The cottage used to have a back-to-back fireplace in the wall of two of the bedrooms, which has been completely boarded over. However, the brick chimney is still raised up proudly a good 1.5 metres above the roof. And Wellington is in quite a major earthquake zone, so having a chimney looming over two of the bedrooms makes me nervous. Very nervous at times.

The fourth issue is the kitchen. Half 1980′s, half 1950′s, it’s an impractical mess. So much room for bench space, and someone (or a succession of past-owner-someones) has done a variety of odd things resulting in virtually no bench space. Not ideal for someone who likes to bake!

So, I’ve been a good little girl and been saving my pennies, and I’m about to get my first lot of fixes done! Exciting!

Since some of them require quite a bit of technical skill, I’ve gone with the safe (although admittedly less fun) option and hired someone to take care of it all for me. They were around today to put up the scaffolding, and the work starts on Wednesday.

So, what am I getting done first? (Not all of it, sadly, as my budget doesn’t extend anywhere near that far!) It’s focused around the two downstairs bedrooms to begin with. That scary looming chimney is coming down, the walled-over fireplaces are being taken out and nice, big, walk-in wardrobes are being added. (More storage space! More space for fabric! Yippieeeeee!!!!) The ceiling in my room is getting insulated, as are the two outside walls, and both rooms are getting painted. My room will be a nice, sunny yellow and the front bedroom (where my flatmate Sam lives at the moment) will be a deep, bright green.

All quite exciting stuff, really. :-) I’m rather looking forward to seeing the end result, especially with the warmer, more colourful rooms with the added storage!

However, the amount of work being done in my room means I somehow have to move everything out of there. And I mean *everything*. Which is quite a bit, since my bedroom is also my sewing room. Naturally, the first priority is finding a new home for my sewing machines for 2-3 weeks, as I go a bit stir-crazy when I’m separated from them for too long!

The sewing must go on, even if the house is in complete and utter chaos!!!!