Archive of ‘House Renovations’ category

June 15 update

It’s been a crazy few months, so much stuff has happened since my last update – hardly surprising considering that was six months ago! We had a baby, sent our eldest boy off to school, all the while trying to pack in as much house stuff as we could. Three children is hard work! Not in a bad way, but of course newborn babies take a lot of time and steal a lot of your sleep, leaving you with a lot less time and energy for other pursuits! Not that I mind one little bit, I’ve enjoyed the relaxing time away from renovations, our baby boy is so delicious and following in his big brother and sisters footsteps of being a fantastic sleeper and basically one relaxed and happy little man. He is perfect, we are so very blessed.


A few more rooms in our house are feeling “finished”… In that they have blinds and light fittings, we still are really lacking art on the walls in almost every single room but there is time for that.

I finally finished sewing the massive drapes in our room. In true Laura fashion I decided to go big or go home and sewed huge floor to ceiling drapes for our bay window. We have a really high stud (3.5m) so it was a flipping mission and one I won’t be doing again any time soon. They look amazing though – it was almost worth it.



We purchased a second hand sofa bed and have had people to stay in our blind-less third bedroom …



And most recently ….. we have started dealing to the disaster that is the laundry! We left this till last and have been storing a huge amount of tools and paint and just grossness in this room. Unfortunately you have to walk through it to get to the toilet and the upstairs so everyone who comes over gets to view its disgustingness … and I spent a fair amount of time in there doing just the most insane amount of washing what with Playcentre and cricket and gym and school and sports and renovations and day to day washing….


laundryThis has been a huge DIY effort on the most insanely minimal budget – and once again huge thanks to my dad for all his epic work including cutting and fitting this beautiful undermount sink. The tap was $40 off trademe, sink $140 off trademe and the bench $100 from bunnings. The cupboards came to a total of $240 off trademe as well. Unfortunately I’m dumb and forgot to take any before pics which is a shame because this was almost the worst room in the place. Still got a lot of painting and tiling etc to go but it’s so beautiful I had to share. xx




It’s the front! Update

We have been on such a mission to finish off the house! Baby number three is rapidly approaching (and I mean rapidly, it’s even measuring weeks ahead of schedule) and the pressure is on. I have said all along that I don’t want to be painting when I’m massively pregnant again but once again here I am!

We don’t actually have any great photos yet – I’ll try my best to take some soon and update this post when I do – but who has the time to take pictures when you are working so hard anyway?!


Jonno hard at work trialing the finial. This was the final missing piece and actually one of the very few things we have actually had to buy a reproduction one of! We having missed a few on trademe, but turns out we actually needed an unusually large one anyway so off we went to the first time to Bungalow & Villa and picked up this beauty!

housebeforefrontSo the beautiful before shot… keep i mind that all of this we have stripped, fixed, cleaned and painted ourselves. If you’re wondering where the window from the porch is – we’ve still got it, put aside for a very, very rainy day!



Another view, check out those layers of lead paint. I will tell you, painting those concrete stairs was one of the most satisfying things ever!

housefrontWe’ve even had time to do some – landscaping of sorts, check out our three beautiful bay trees, and hard to see as they are still babies but their is a very neat little topiary hedge growing around them.

It’s a pretty great feeling patting ourselves on the back at the moment for all our hard work!
Poor Jonno had the job of painting the top peak shingles and roof boards etc and I managed to smash out the rest in two days (I’d done the window frames previously). We finally took down our scaffolding tower of doom from the front of our house!

Next up… this side of the house… (no we didn’t get to keep the car!)…




One year on – back of the house

We have just celebrated our one year house anniversary – and it’s time for a well overdue blog update.

2014 - 1 (1)

Here’s the back view of the house, taken this morning (I painted the deck last night). As you can see, there have been quite a few changes. It’s fixed! Painted! All sorts of work has taken place, right at the beginning my Dad did a whole heap of re-piling as some of the foundations were gone, replaced the rotten deck with some plywood, Jonno painted the roof and the turret, we smashed and repaired some windows, including when I gave myself a crash course in glazing to repair a smashed bathroom window on a public holiday… Jonno covered up the rotting access to under the house with our improvised plywood panels, much of the paint has come off and of course it’s all been repainted by us – the back I did with high build Resene contractor paint that we acquired, and has worked out well because the back is in such poor condition it’s hidden a lot of imperfections.

We’ve also leveled out the lawn/extracted all of the car parts from the garden, planted a few trees and had my first attempt/learning experience with a vege garden which is tucked away behind the garage.


Sometimes it doesn’t feel like we have achieved a lot but considering we have done all the work ourselves on top of our normal jobs/mum life I think we are doing pretty well! The inside of the house is fairly close to being done, the upstairs room and laundry are still to be done but the rest we love and have done all ourselves on such a super low low budget.


Room reveal – The Kids’ Bedroom

This was the room we originally prioritised, before we all got lead poisoning we thought that we could snuggle in together in here and do up the rest of the house at a leisurely pace. That idea didn’t last for long! kids bedroom before mold centralSo the first major problem in here was the ceiling was just black with mold. Curtains hadn’t been opened in a decade or more nor had a single window been opened in the house and it was pretty gross.

20131108_144651It’s hard to tell from these pictures but the wardrobe was all kinds of wonky and don’t you just love the light fitting on the wardrobe?!

mold removal villa ceiling

Tackling the moldy ceiling was my first gross/yuck task of the broken house. The internet is filled with all sorts of advice on mold removal for villa and bungalow ceilings – most of which tells you to wipe it off with some bleach. Take my advice, do not even consider going down this route. Yeah, it does work but standing at the top of the scaffolding wiping bleach off and trying to rinse off a bleachy cloth is not a fun idea, it took me a couple of evenings and I had accomplished a tenth of the ceiling and lightened my hair a few shades.
I wandered off to bunnings and bought the most concentrated form of 30 seconds mold remover I could find, loaded it into a weed sprayer, pumped it up and covered my head in a blanket and sprayed it up onto the ceiling. It worked miraculously – the mold disappears before your eyes. The downside? The stuff is EXTREMELY toxic, you couldn’t go in the room for days and it saturated the carpet and stank for weeks afterwards.

20140110_152324Like I said, this was the first room we tackled. We ripped the scrim off and for insulating the exterior walls we had the help of a builder. He advised us that we should take off all the trim – skirtings, ceiling architraves, doors etc. At the time everyone was throwing advice at us left right and centre and we really had no clue what we were doing. So we kind of just went with it. Turned out to be such a hassle, and a big waste of time and money. Of course all the ceiling architraves broke coming down.

new scotia and ceiling architraves


The new ceiling architraves, which we had to construct from two pieces of trim to match the original. And the first coat of paint!

20131204_194123Once we ripped out the wonky wardrobe we discovered this room had the most original flooring intact, the lino square which had been protected by the carpet.

borer in floorboards

It also had a lovely dark shellac, and this ^^ a ton of borer. This room was the worst for damp (as shown by moldy ceiling) and borer sure do like damp wood. There are some old floorboard repairs not done to a great standard and some patches like what you see above, the wood in a few places is very soft. For now, we have just left it, our budget has said that his is a problem for later. We also discovered when doing our underfloor insulation that some of the piles are just floating under the house! So I pretty much just filled a few holes, stained a few light patches and danish oiled over the lot. The floor is very rustic and original!

after picture shared kids bedroom

Both our kiddies are sharing and it is working so well. So very much better than I ever expected. I don’t really like sharing these pictures yet, it’s not a finished room to me there is no decoration of any kind, no curtains/blinds nor a light fitting! But it will be fun to update the blog with progress as those things get ticked off the list.


Excuse the failed panorama!

20140710_110037-001And that’s all for now! x


Kitchen Reveal

I am so excited to share this with you guys – I am completely blown away with the amazingly positive response from our bathroom reveal thank you everyone so much!

Introducing… what our kitchen used to look like 😉

yucky kitchen

The weirdest, tiniest, dirtiest, grossest and most questionable kitchen that has possibly existed in Mt Eden for quite some time. Sidenote – when we signed the contract on our house I actually hadn’t seen the kitchen! There were too many car parts and boxes in the dining room that I couldn’t quite see it.

tasty oven

This is similar to our bathroom renovation in that it is just a short/mid term upgrade, it is back to back to the bathroom (the sink backs on to the bath) so will go in the future. As you will see, it’s far from ideal, it is small, there is little storage – you may question where the fridge is (You will see it in the dining room reveal!) but I love my little kitchen.

mold eerywhere

We removed the front of the alcove wall with the help of a builder as it turns out it was surprisingly structural! Once that was gone everyone breathed a sigh of relief and the kitchen plan began to come together. The kitchen was discovered on trademe (hello broken house theme song!)


All the surfaces were just so dirty. Decades of fly poo and grime covered everything, walls, floors, ceilings doors and we won’t even talk about the condition of the kitchen itself. Getting that in the skip was so satisfying! We somehow managed to rope in the help of my youngest sister in law and some new German friends we made to help clean it all! Amazing. Then came a bit of plumbing, from too many plumbers, and some more rewiring, and then my dad came and pretty much made everything twice as awesome than before by tidying all the plumbing and wiring up and then….

IMG_20140308_142318My Dad spent the better part of a Saturday getting this in. Have I mentioned how much I love my Dad?! Our house would be half the home it is now without him. The man is multi talented to an extreme level.

wonderful kitchen

We then perfected our tongue and groove painting skills and then we set to tackle the floor. First up we thought we were going to be able to danish oil the whole room, but as it turned out the kitchen floor was a whole new level of broken. Visitors to our dining room often comment on our rustic floor but we couldn’t have gotten away with it in the kitchen. Rot, borer and just giant gaping holes meant I chucked a whole bunch of filler on, spent way too much time on my hands and knees sanding and painting and now we have a scandi painted white floor (which I have already repainted… but that’s for a future post).

painting your floorThen we did some tiling, And my Dad did some more wiring. Jonno painted the hideous ceiling. Finally all the old was painted away into bright and clean and everything was good.

20140708_152546-ERASERAnd this is our little kitchen! Despite its size I’m finding more time every day to cook and bake for our family. Space is tight, but we stack the dishwasher (integrated into the kitchen on the left of the oven) as soon as we are done with a dish and it works.





Bathroom Reveal!

So this is the first room I will be sharing with you guys – the bathroom is still not quite finished (and will be for a while, where are you money tree!) – it was the first room I “completed” to a usable state and I hope you enjoy the pictures!

Awful bathroom before picture

I’ll just explain a little bit about our plans for this part of the house in case you are wondering why we have done so much or so little to this weird room. We are doing the absolute bare minimum to the rooms at the back of the house (north facing) as we plan on doing a big renovation to the back of the house (at some point in the distant future, when we have money again ha!) which would definitely involve busting all of this down. The bathroom is just so much in the wrong place, wrong size, wrong everything not to mention some very questionable structural work and water damaged walls/floors. It’s actually very hard to get the balance of having a nice space to live in without spending unnecessary money but I really think we have achieved it in our bathroom.

Some of these before pictures don’t actually seem that gross to me now, I don’t know if I’m just desensitized or if I exaggerated how bad it was?! What do you guys think? I think the first picture is so blurry because I was in such a state of shock at the time!


So yes. The multi coloured walls, mouldy mouldy everything, delightful bath, dirty everything, water damage and borer to the max everywhere. Safe to say this was not a high point of the house! And then we discovered that the hot water cylinder (other side of the room – behind the door) was not only not working, but had rotted completely through the floor and was now located party under the floorboards.



The above picture is where the hot water cylinder cupboard was located and where we patched the floor with some mismatching floorboards located in the attic. Unfortunately there is no more matching floorboards for our floors throughout the house anywhere nor does anyone make a similar size.


Ripping out the bath was fairly satisfying and our neighbours took it from the skip to use as a planter in their garden! The whole house was rewired around about this time and suddenly we had our heated towel rail in action haha! (Trademe: $35).

20140101_222740After the bath was ripped out I started prepping to paint the room and realised just how bad things were, layers upon layers of less than skillful thick paint, rot, borer for miles and just general suckful craftsmanship. It was a nightmare to clean, my friend Erica spent a couple of hours just filling holes in the tounge and groove walls! I started to rethink my all white paint theme. It’s no secret that I love white, but In my experience it can highlight imperfections and I knew it wasn’t going to work here. Eventually I settled on Resene Greywacke – which looks NOTHING like the online swatch – in reality it is MUCH more purple, which I have kind of come to terms with, especially as the window had textured purple glass in it so it kind of worked. Plus I considered it to be still pretty neutral.

20140409_231726After the walls came the floor. Ohhh the floor. My husband told me to just paint it – I was determined, DETERMINED that I could scrape it and sand it and finish it.. I was so wrong haha. First came the scraping, then came the paint stripper, then came my Dad helping me scrape, then came my first (and only) experience with the belt sander (OMG), then came the realisation that a white painted floor is totally scandi cool and I’m okay with that ;). So I filled and sanded the floor as best I could and painted it white.

20140418_100614Then just a couple of days before we moved in we had a storm in Auckland, which are actually pretty rare especially big storms! Our window was latched shut with a piece of wire which ripped free and resulted in what you see above. I was kind of thrilled to be honest, as nice as purple textured glass is (joking…) it was very dark. I decided I didn’t have enough on my plate and reglazing it myself would be fun (looking back sometimes I don’t know what’s wrong with myself) and it would have been … If I had got the right size glass cut first time round! Oh well. Another skill learnt hopefully never to be used again!



And here we are today. Still missing some really vital pieces of bathroom equipment – such as the elusive oval shower curtain rail and shower curtain… and showering sitting down is getting really old really fast. We need a light fitting and I’m not convinced that the floor is holding up too well to the moisture but we will see.

Bath – $400 (Trade depot second via trademe)
Towel rail – $35 (Trademe)
Shower fitting – $130 direct from China

Other expenses… paint, skirting boards, dado rail.




April fools. We still haven’t moved in! I’m lying in bed at my parents in law’s house dying from what can only be described as a severe case of man-flu.

So what’s been happening? How much longer until we can move in I hear you (and everyone else) ask?!


Well it is so close! So close now. The floors have given us all kinds of grief due to two reasons – storing car parts on timber is a terrible idea – there are all manners of petroleum and other stains on the floorboards and secondly my friend my borer.

For those of you unfamiliar with what a borer is count yourself lucky – these little critters munch on timber for up to years at a time emerging only to lay more eggs. It’s a common problem in old houses here – they like damp, untreated timber and a lot of old villas and bungalows suffered from varying degrees of damp in their early life. Our floors are riddled with them – there are a few patches which will undoubtedly fall through in time as the wood is 10% wood and 90% holes from our borer friends.


For now we have taken the approach to accept and ignore the weak patches – our floorboards (matai in 97mm widths) dont exist any more and replacing boards is expensive and time consuming and I’m a little but keen to speed the process along and move the.f in already! !!



Now for the positive side. .. there are some “finished” I.e move-in-able rooms. The lounge walls and ceiling are not painted but the room is lead free and the floor is finished! This room unfortunately had to be pro sanded – there was a huge shellac and paint border that I couldn’t shift. It’s then had one coat of stain – Briwax wood dye in a mix of antique mahogany and black and then 3 coats of Briwax Danish Oil – sanded in between with 320grit – all applied painstakingly by my hands. We chose to do the Danish oil instead of polyurethane as it is a more natural finish – the oil penetrates the wood and hardens the top layer as opposed to polyurethanes which are basically a plastic layer on top. That and cost – and best of all you never have to sand your floors again with Danish oil – any scratches you just touch up yourself with more oil. It is a very different feel from polyurethane – one im learning to love.


Our bedroom was a case of listening to everyone’s advice and everyone being wrong… it’s ok – nothing like practicing on your real floors to make you appreciate paying professionals to do stuff for you haha! This room had old cracked poly on it and again was sanded back exposing a ton of tracks. Through my internet research and afvice from bunnings I mixed the stain into the oil hoping to acheive a much darker finish. As you can see from the picture the colour is nothing like that of the lounge which was stained first. Oh well! You live and learn! One positive thing that came out of this experience is that I learned that the danish oil is extremely protective of the timber – I attempted multiple times to stain over the top of just one layer of oil – even brushing it on and leaving it for minutes and it all wiped off to nothing! Not the slightest mark.


Then there are a few floors with no sign really of borer but we know its there! The tracks stay hidden until you sand the floor. As such we don’t want to sand the floors and have just lightly  hand sanded the hallway and dining area.

That’s all the pictures I’ve got for you – cant wait to share pictures of the dining and kids bedroom because they look amazing if I do say so myself!

2.30am update


So panic time has arrived – the floors are booked in to be done on Monday!  We want to have finished as much painting as possible so our bedroom is done bar the triple sash window.. the kids bedroom needs the walls and skirting and the hall needs the walls and the ceiling prob could do with another coat. So yeah… wish us luck 😉 x


Quick progress report


Kitchen base in with the gas oven all hooked up woohoo!  The plumbing is not quite done but I’m leaving it till last.


Other side of the kitchen/dining room. … um yeah


Hall looking towards the front… frames and skirting will all be finished tomorrow ready for wall painting FINALLY! !!!!!!!!! we have the floor booked in for a weeks time and the painting needs to be done first… eeek.


Other angle of the hall….


The skirting boards…. man we have had so many issues with these. All stemming from lack of money and having to make do with the ones we already had – by far the ideal solution would have been to replace every bedrooms entire skirting but wood is stupid expensive.  Each bedroom had a different handmade botched up missing amount of skirting. Jonno has been extremely creative with making new pieces. .. basically all the skirtings in the bedroom were originally fashioned from weatherboards – I imagine the builder thought he was being amazing by creating these cool bungalow style skirtings – and so we scrounged some similar ones from a wreckers and trimmed or packed them out. Nailing them back on has been no easy task either what with new gib and plaster and old curvy wavy villa skirtings… frustration central. But both our bedroom and the kids bedroom are back on the walls and ready for painting action!! Xx

Friday inspo

Taking a moment this sunny Friday for a spot of internet shopping and inspiration while both kidlets take a much needed nap. Maybe I should take some inspiration from them too!

Last night I got fed up painting the dented door architraves, apparently the guy who hoarded car parts liked to swing them into the frames at full force while transporting them in and out of the house… meh – its taken me this long to accept that perfection in this case is not going to be smooth and straight, it will be slightly dented but still lovely.

I’m at such a loss for curtaining fabrics -you may have seen if you follow me on instagram -that I’ve checked out possibly every fabric store in Auckland and while I love a lot of fabric – maybe too much fabric?? There’s not one that is calling out to me saying pick me!

Current inspo……

Eclectic Living Room by Amsterdam Media & Bloggers Louise de Miranda
Eclectic Bedroom by Brooklyn Photographers Rikki Snyder
Eclectic Living Room by Dallas Media & Bloggers Jamie Laubhan-Oliver
Eclectic Living Room by Los Angeles Media & Bloggers Justina Blakeney
Eclectic Kids by Amsterdam Media & Bloggers Louise de Miranda

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