Bathroom – broken house


This is my first experiment with paint stripping. It was not as fun as I thought it would be – I imagined all the paint bubbling off and then me gently scraping it off…. so many layers of paint results in much frustration!! Enough paint has come off that you can see the detail in the frame so the rest can stay put.


This is the manky wood that was beside the bath…. delightful.  It’s sanded back ok – and shown me again just how much borer love damp wood!!

In other news…. all the foundations at the back of the house have completely rotted away. We can’t put the bath in nor finish the deck until we get it sorted. Xx

Progress Report – end of 2013

So work has been progressing well at the ‘broken house’ as it has become known. Jonnos been paint stripping the outside with the Paint Shaver Pro – lots of sanding and scraping has been done – the rewiring is complete, plumbing repairs are mostly done, the gas trench has struck lots of rock, the hot water cylinder is gone and floor/wall repaired.


Big thanks to my Dad for the wall repairs! This is where a cupboard and hot water cylinder used to sit.


This is where the bath used to sit – big thanks to my father in law for the floor repairs!

cveilingThe whole house absolutely stinks of bleach/30 seconds mould remover – I wasted quite a lot of my life wiping at the ceiling with a cloth and bleach solution whilst balancing on scaffolding – then I discovered the weed sprayer can be filled with 30 seconds (either version of it seemed to work fine) and sprayed on while wearing goggles and a respirator (still burns your eyes/lungs) and a old towel on my head and overalls. Magic. Yeah it still looks a bit grotty but honestly 100000000% improvement.

Somehow I imagined I had a full time nanny when we undertook this project – most of my days are spent just at home doing full time single mum duty while Paint Shaving is done. There’s a ridiculous amount of lead dust flying around the place and I’m very hesitant to have the kids anywhere about. Not to mention Charlotte is actually quite infatuated with me and me alone still! Ah well. As soon as the lead is gone we are basically going to move in and then it will be all hands on deck. Today I sanded from 9-12 and that system works well so we will just keep doing that and then swapping I think.

Night xx



Love letters to Halston Road {1930s?}

We pulled 3 letters out of the framing of the kitchen today. Letter one reads:

Miss Frances Smith
Halston Rd
Mt Eden


Another week gone and a little bit nearer home eh. Not so long eh. There has been a lot of rain honey and a fair sized flood and I’m busy today cutting up a big log into posts so I won’t be able to write too much. I went out shooting yesterday but didn’t get anything. It’s fine here today but a little bit cold. Honey it’s £40 return to the exhibition and that’s third class so how are you people going to get there. There are no reductions I saw by the __? you’ll have to get a fairy godmother or something like that eh? Apart from yesterday I don’t think I’ve hardly been out of the house since I last wrote. Some of Fielding’s geese were taken away in the flood and himself up? down at the bay or thereabouts. He’s been very lonely this week dear and wanted her oh so much. He doesn’t think he’d be lonely if she was here. It’s only since she went away that the time has dragged at all. He got all the nice letters? she sent him and they were lovely. Will thank her for them when he gets back. I haven’t got any money coming in now dear – all work and no hay. But it will be different later on. Give my regards to Tully? and Paul? the fancy? little thing. You dear old girl I only wish I were up there now and just squeeze you so you couldn’t breathe. Well my honey I’ll have to go now and get onto my days work. Bill’s waiting for me he’s home now – don’t take too much notice of this silly old letter it’s just how I feel I’ll will write discussing the week.
Fondest love darling


Quick update broken house

This post is brought to you from the bathtub in the broken house!! Its chilling out in the spare room awaiting some floor repairs. Woohoo finally somewhere comfy and clean to lie down in haha.

Old bath gone. Old toilet gone and new one plumbed in!! Woohoo! We have had an amazing plumber come in and qork magic on our old leaking original plumbing, our awesome electrician James Burns is all finished and we have finally been able to get a builder in to do some work! Our first builder totally flaked and just new showed and wasted a bunch of our time and our plumbers time… awesome… not… luckily our neighbors boyfriend is a builder and he has been helping us out – so far so good!!


Much better. My lovely father laid the ply floor for us last night at a crazy hour after the builder flaked on us so the plumber could hook up the toilet before the Christmas break.

Thats where the kitchen used to be!!! Hooray I didn’t have to clean it after all haha. I’ve now dreamt up kitchen plan mk5… lets hope this one is more successful that the past 4… haha… still depends on a lot of trademe bargains!!!

Right. Back to mould removal xx

Villa Bathroom and plumbing issues

So we are less than a week into possession and so far the bathroom and plumbing has been the biggest surprise in this wreck of a transitional villa bathroom.


All our pipes need to be replaced – they are massively corroded – which is easier said than done as they are in the walls. The bathroom has match lining which is thin strips of tounge and groove wood over the walls and I actually like it and want to keep it.  This is our medium term bathroom – we hope to extend out the back of the house in a few years time – and as such we don’t want to spend serious money on it. Unfortunately the following expensive things are kind of unavoidable…

  • replace the bath
  • replace the floor where the hot water cylinder destroyed it
  • fit new bath/shower attachments
  • paint and fix walls….

as you can see not a cheap list. Just no way around it – we’ve gone back to our original idea of keeping the toilet where it is in a seperate room as it was just too expensive to bring the plumbing around for the toilet so we have to jib up that room as well.

Here’s some of my bathroom inspo pics – all featuring gorgeous claw foot baths – of which I missed a few amazing ones on trademe and have given in and purchased a repro one – oh well not permanent I guess.

Screen Captures3


I stayed up till 3am deciding on this shower fitting – we can’t drill into the wall where the fitting is to put in piping for a shower so this is the perfect solution and beautifully inkeeping with the style I’m after. Hopefully it survives being posted from China as these retail for well over a thousand dollars here in Auckland, New Zealand and that is so not even close to being within budget!



So many decisions to make and each one seems to take me a minimum of eight hours… haha! xx

So frustrating!!!

It is so hard for me to work on the house! the past two days I’ve only momentarily popped in with 2 children in tow and popped out again. I did a few hours of late night cleaning but other than that – that’s all I’ve done! The rewiring is finished now which will make working at night much easier and with people finishing up work we will have more babysitters available. My goal for the next few days is to set up a safe baby area so I can actually do bits and pieces on the house in the day time.

There’s currently a gaping hole in the bathroom floor where the hot water cylinder used to be and destroyed the floor. A builder is starting on friday YAY and he is going to fix that and gib a couple of rooms for us quick smart – I can’t wait. My pressing job is to kill off some mould and paint a couple of ceilings and get some better window locks.
Quick update over xx

More house highlights

It’s been a while since I’ve updated sorry but there hasn’t been much to say! I’ve had a few trademe dramas but I’ll address those in my next post – in the mean time enjoy this visual feast x

2013-11-25 13.56.16

Seriously quality brick work on the garage. A few weeks ago this was being held up by a tree and a wooden brace, midly concerning that the garage may cave in before we take possession 😉

2013-11-25 13.47.43Pretty much a free trampoline on the back porch weee

2013-11-25 13.49.49To be honest until last weekend we weren’t even aware that this room existed. It’s a tiny sunroom/porch thing off the kitchen… BONUS

2013-11-25 13.58.03Time is really flying by and it’s only two weeks now until we get official possession…….. I feel like a kid waiting for Christmas xxx


Heritage Switches

One of the first things I noticed when wandering through our house was the beautiful heritage Villa switches were still all there. I knew from friends that you couldn’t reuse them but I still had hopes you could somehow restore them, apparently NOT :( Seems like such a waste but everyone I talked to almost laughed in my face, I can’t wait to see the insides of some of the old ones!


We’ve locked down an electrician so are all good to go on one of the most expensive one off items – the rewire. I’ve spent the last 5 nights browsing period switches online – there’s basically one company Clipsal that makes heritage style switches and lots of people sell them under different names. As usual New Zealand shops are ripping people off left right and centre – with only a few places selling these switches you would be mad to buy them at over $40 per switch from Bungalow & Villa or over $30-35 a switch from Recollections.


Our house is basically a small transitional villa with basic lighting needs and at those prices we would be looking at close to a thousand dollars in switches alone – possibly more – I stopped adding it up I got so depressed!


I love online shopping and stumbled across the magnificent Restoration Online website and the switches are only $19ish each – Australian – which right now works out to be just a smidge over $20 NZD. The mounting blocks and accessories are well under half the price of any stockist in NZ too and their international shipping is reasonable. Even better if you know someone who can bring it back for you in their luggage and claim back the GST at the airport! I should also mention Pales In Style who will ship your beautiful Villa or Bungalow switches to NZ GST free and are happy to call and guide you through the process.

Basic light switches in New Zealand are also frightfully expensive, The 4 electricians that came and quoted our house gave prices from $12 – 20 a switch which is INSANE – I’ve seen them as low as $3 on Australian websites selling direct to the public… we figure the extra $6 per restoration villa switch is a worthy investment.

Anyway I really need to get better at decision making – these switches alone consumed my life for the past week or so trying to decide on colour and style! xx

Ever thought to yourself…

Hey! I need a door between my bedrooms!



I could definitely do with some fluorescent lighting in my bedroom hanging off the outside of my wardrobe!!!




Kitchen conundrum


So my 3 year old Reuben had his first independent drop off at playcentre this morning – I cried my eyes out walking out to the car but distracted myself for the 3 hours by sanding all most of the cupboard doors for the kitchen. 


I’m having a little bit of a challenge trying to figure out the kitchen scenario… I didn’t realise that the windows in the room are all so LOW! Like well below the level of a kitchen bench. SIGH. I was really hoping to have the kitchen on the side of the room with the windows but I think it will just not be possible because of the window layout.. Oh well! In the fullness of time when we extend it’s not going to matter anyway! I’m also trying to figure out how to make a kitchen island without spending non-existent money on bits and pieces. 

Anyway, feeling much more confident about this renovation after my first power tool experience – I’m pretty much a pro sander – this is going to be fine. xx


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