I have resorted to mobile broadband at home, and have gone with Optus, although the connection is so slow, it took 45 min for my emails to upload! And it has taken about 2 hours just to get the WordPress site to load so I could write this post. The more I hear similar stories from everyone in the area suffering the same difficulties and frustrations, I realise this is something that may take years to resolve.
Anyway, I thought it would be nice to leave you with a selection of inspiring photos and some of the ideas I am thinking about for the house, and which I am adding to my new project folder on Pinterest here.
Our house is quite similar to this style, although has a rendered brick exterior rather than timber. But ours is two storey and has the three dormers on the front with the deep porch, steep roof pitch, chimneys and round columns. I’d love to know how people with this style of home cope with the deep verandah and how it impacts on the light into rooms. We are finding that the southern facing rooms are terribly dark in the daytime despite large windows, and because of the second storey we can’t put skylights in. Not sure how to get around that problem. Any ideas?
I would love the house to be painted white, or light grey, with black shutters and doors for accents.
The ceilings in our house are really high, over 12 foot, so I think the walls will benefit from paneling to make them seem less lofty, and so that we don’t need quite as much large artwork to fill up the space. Particularly in places like the entrance foyer and up the staircase.
Our staircase is currently covered in a rather drab and uninspired beige carpet, so I’d like to take it up and stain the treads dark with white risers. Perhaps a runner….but depends on whether it’s slippery or not. I didn’t find the need for one in our old house.
We have been doing lots of entertaining since moving here, with people dropping in all the time for coffee, impromptu dinners, a swim etc, so I am eager to make sure we have lots of comfy and relaxed seating to accommodate everyone. I am in need of some lovely but inexpensive armchairs, and would like a to have a nice mix of shapes and styles in the house. I had wanted to use bamboo blinds last time too, but never got around to it. Perhaps here.
Of course I have to find space for my collection of blue and white which will continue to feature in this new house. We have a couple of fireplaces with nice painted mantles, although again lots of beige travertine and cream paintwork, so have to find a way to brighten them and update them without huge cost.
Again, because we have these deep verandahs I need to find ways of lighting and decorating them so they aren’t just vast empty spaces.
We have a lot of custom joinery in the house, from the laundry to bathroom cupboards and WIR, and again they reach up to the ceiling. They are all a bit beige and dull, so a nice freshen up with some white pain and new handles will help. I’ve come to the conclusion the paint job for this house is going to eat up about half my decorating budget!
My quest for nice tapware in our last house took me months and months and lots of wasted time and effort to solve, with several sets of taps bought from the US unable to be used. So this is something I am prepared for this time around. Thankfully in the three years since we started our last renovation, a lot of US stores now ship to Australia so hopefully I won’t have such a challenge. I would love to have some beautiful polished nickel tapware this time, but I’m not holding my breath!
The kitchen is the major challenge in this house. It’s currently poorly configured and designed and in the wrong location. So I am trying to work out how to spin it around and redesign the space. I want a nice big, open, inviting kitchen, where there is room for everybody to hang, sit and mingle. Knowing how much time everybody spends in the kitchen these days, even when entertaining, I’ve learnt how important it is to have a kitchen that can cater to that.
The big question is whether to do an all white kitchen as before, or incorporate some black or dark stained timber….I do love the contrast it brings and somehow it seems to suit this setting too.
Our ensuite is wonderful in its spaciousness, outlook and storage, but it’s all rather bland in a sea of 90s beige and cream, which isn’t my colour scheme of choice (unless it’s using the above tiles from Waterworks). As it’s cost prohibitive to retile the whole bathroom, and rip up the travertine, I am going to have to find ways of lightening and brightening the room, with lots of white paint, and perhaps a lovely wallpaper like the one below. I stupidly left the new twin mirrors behind in our ensuite, which I should have had the foresight to bring with me, as the previous owners took the mirrors in this ensuite and I don’t have another pair that fits.
We enter the house through the backdoor which walks straight into an small alcove, then the laundry. It’s not ideal, I’d rather come through the front door, but we park our cars there and it seems unavoidable.
The dryer is currently sitting in front of the back door, as it doesn’t fit into the laundry cupboard where it should. This is more than a little annoying. And the back door area is a sea of school bags, boots, coats, a rubbish bin, cricket bats etc. I really want to find a way of creating a user friendly mud room that doesn’t cost the earth in custom made joinery. It can be four seasons in one day down here, so coats, boots and the like are always at the ready.
One of the things about this new country life is how much time we have been spending sitting around the outdoor dining table eating and chatting. It’s been wonderful. So I am on a mission to make sure it’s a comfy and stylish space.
One of my big mistakes and regrets with the last house, was not creating a designated workspace for me. I ended up working on the dining table and it was always a mess, and drove us all mad. So it’s at the top of my list to either make sure there’s a proper office, or a well designed work space in the kitchen or living area. The room I had set aside for the office, is likely to become the kitchen now, so it’s going to be a matter of reworking the rooms.
The Highlands has had a really warm summer, and we have spent a lot of time outdoors eating and entertaining on our verandah which is elevated off the ground and laid with sandstone paving. It has been very hot during the day, and we’ve needed shade to sit out, but it can also be very cool in the evenings, even in summer, so I would love to create some kind of outdoor area that functions well in both climates. I love the idea of an outdoor fire and built in BBQ area, but it’s all an issue of budget and priorities. We need some kind of pergola, but also a covered area (another mistake at the previous house), whether solid or retractable, I don’t know yet but I don’t want to sacrifice daylight.
We have a big double garage with roller doors. They are dull and daggy and need a bit of style, so I am thinking of painting them black, as above to tie in with the other black accents I plan. Would love some beautiful decorative touches like these corbels, but not likely!
Some of our sofas need updating and given a bit of a facelift, although recovering won’t be an option with our budget quickly running out on expenses we hadn’t counted on like replacing the pool heating and filter, the rat eaten central heating, the antiquated irrigation system, the ride on mower. Things we presumed were all working well and which our building inspection failed to highlight. So frustrating.
I’m thinking of adding some lovely trims as above to help reinvigorate them. And I’d love to use a bit of this stunning Ralph Lauren fabric or wallpaper below.
Another thing we have to consider for added privacy and security is a nice set of gates. We have stone pillars on either side of the drive, and a nice laurel hedge, but a set of simple timber gates will give provide the function we need and the decorative touch we desire.
I’ve just heard today that the article shot of our last house for Home Beautiful will be coming out in the May issue, so keep an eye out.
See you soon,
For more ideas and inspiration, visit my Pinterest page here.