Monday, 25 February 2013

Poor choice...

There is a reason why retail is dying...every time you go into a shop, they never seem to have what you require...At least that's my usual experience and the reason why I prefer to shop online.

We ventured over to the other side of town to buy the bathroom bits and bobs we had decided upon. Unfortunately, I didn't think to ring beforehand, (un) naturally assuming that what we wanted would be in stock.

Cue the fail buzzer sound effects:


"Just wondering if you can help me. Do you have any of the "__ __" towel rails in stock?" I enquired of the dude in the plumbing section.

"Which ones?" Plumbing dude asks.

"Just the ones on display. On that wall, over there," I said pointing to the sparkly chrome towel rails.

"Those. No, they're an order item. We don't have any of that brand on the floor. They're very expensive. You have to order them in," said the dude.

"Oh. So, that's it. You don't have anything in stock?" I asked with arched eyebrow.

"We do," he said as he took me to the budget blister-packed bathroom accessories section. 

What the? We could've gone to our local hardware to get the same stock standard products...Very disappointing indeed. 

To make matters worse we ended up buying the blister-packed items and installed them in the bathroom - towel rails, towel ring and toilet roll holder. I'm not sure what we were thinking...clearly we don't like to make wasted trips to shops. 

stock standard chrome towel ring

It's a bit 'budgety' and was a poor choice on our part. They don't seem terribly substantial and verge on the flimsy. Not all bathroom accessories are made equally. Very poor choice.

Anyway, it will just have to do... for the time being.

Tuesday, 19 February 2013

Looking for bathroom accessories

When we bought the Sow's Ear the bathroom had been done in a 'traditional' decor to suit the Queenslander style - it has a clawfoot bathtub with trombone shower fittings, shower curtains and border tile.

It's very tired and if you've been reading for the past few weeks you'd know that we're not in the position to do a major renovation at this stage. Instead, we're just doing a little makeover.

My mission is to get towel rails, a hand towel ring and a new toilet roll holder. The new bathroom accessories will replace some old timber country-look accessories which have not weathered well in the unventilated bathroom...harbingers of extra mold we don't need!

As is my habit, scouring the Internet before leaping into making a biggish purchase is a must. Even if I don't end up buying the things online, at least I have a basic concept of what I am after when I enter a store.

The humble toilet roll holder is currently under scrutiny today. Who knew the humble loo paper holder came in so many different guises? Here are some of the ideas I've been showing Jason and the boys...

Australian made Brodware Industries City
Sleek and modern...a nice contrast to the heritage features, perhaps?
Link here

Bathroomware House Bella
Plain and simple
Link here

Restoration Online Coat of Arms
This one gave us a giggle. Jingoism on the loo
Link here

Dorf Belmore 11
Another simple design with detailing complementing the heritage of the Sow's Ear...
link here
Bradley Regent double roll holder
Industrial and hardcore for the house full of mostly boys. Too practical?
link here

Decisions, decisions. It is probably the most fun part of renovating a house...picking the finishes. I'm not sure which one I like best. However, Jason is loving the Coat of Arms ...

Sunday, 17 February 2013

Painting the bathroom vanity

Our old bathroom vanity was brown and tired. And it looked even more so after we had painted the bathroom walls with nice vivid white paint.

So, with the magic that is undercoat primer and gloss white paint, the vanity is looking remarkably better. Our low-cost mini bathroom makeover is heading in the right direction.

The vanity still needs a final coat and their chrome pulls

Jason removed the tarnished brass knobs that were on the vanity. They're still in very good nick and we may be able to salvage them for another part of the Sow's Ear or pass them on to someone who may need them.

We'll be using simple chrome handles which we have used previously on other cupboards in the bedrooms. They are uncannily similar to the Arne Jacobsen Vola pulls...except made in Taiwan! The chrome will be easier to keep clean and will be a consistent look for the Sow's Ear.

Vola pull
This week I'll be shopping for new towel rails and a toilet roll holder to replace the sad old timber ones which are well past their use by date. Updating the architectural hardware will give the bathroom a real lift and will allow us to gain more towel hanging space.

I'll keep you posted about what we've chosen for our bathroom.

Friday, 15 February 2013

House history: another Zoila book...

This blog has been great for finding out historical information about the Sow's Ear which completely fascinates me.

I received the most curious email from the UK last week regarding one of the original owners of the Sow's Ear - dear old Zoila. For those of you who are new to Fun and VJs, you can read all about the house history posts here.

For long time readers, to refresh your memory, Zoila Stables owned the Sow's Ear with her siblings and was also a published author. From what I could find out, she only wrote one book called Tare Harvest ( a novel about a pioneering family in Argentina) and had a number of poems published at university.

However, this new email alerted me to the fact that there may be another book she wrote called Whom the Gods love: a romance story by Zoila Staples (note the typo) published by Stanley Paul in 1936.  The author of the email is researching the fiction writers of British publisher Stanley Paul and somehow stumbled onto my blog.

Apparently, Radom House Archives said that this was a typo and that Staples should in fact be Stables, but there was no other information to identify the author further.

Whom The Gods Love  by Zoila Stables jacket image from here

So, now my mission is to track down a copy of this 'new' book. If I put it out there, perhaps a copy will come my way...

I'll keep you posted if I have any luck.

Tuesday, 12 February 2013

Day of the triffids...kind of

I've just read Day of the Triffids for bookclub; a timely read after one of our old native trees was uprooted in the storms that hit Brisbane late last month. Trees are not as harmless as they seem... especially when they uproot themselves and try to move around!

Anyway, our tree lopper and his team came around first thing yesterday morning to remove the not-quite-felled tree. It was a pretty big job, as the tree was taller than our house and was wedged into a mango tree. It needed to be removed before it rolled over in the next storm.

If you squint you can just see the hi-vis tree guy suspended on the tree. He was swinging here, there and everywhere to cut back most of the branches. Like Tarzan!
It was an entertaining three hours for me. Before the tree was lopped I was horrified about how much it was going to cost to remove and set us back...but after watching them do their job, all the resentment had vanished.

It's definitely not a job for the DIY amateur. Each cut was carefully considered and the tree came down relatively smoothly.

Cutting up the trunk into manageable sizes
The kids can run around the backyard more freely now the tree is gone. We're also going to plant more lilly pillys to fill in the gap left by the big old tree.

Sunday, 10 February 2013

Mini bathroom makeover update

I had planned to blog about the mini bathroom makeover tonight and realised that the only photograph I had was a purely exploitative one of shirtless Jason painting the bathroom...

Oh well...Ha!

Actually, if you disregard the svelte pasty white man-flesh, you can see how dodgy our toilet cistern and bathroom fittings are...they need to be tossed out. The cistern is made of brittle plastic which has deteriorated very badly. We've been trying to ignore it for the past few years but with the new white walls it sticks out like the proverbial!

Someone suggested we paint the cream tiles white too, which is a really great idea. We may end up doing that, just to freshen it up even more. It's all about low cost projects at the moment at the Sow's Ear.

The white walls, architraves and ceiling have made a world of difference. I'll take some shots tomorrow to show you.

Tuesday, 5 February 2013

Mini bathroom makeover

A momentary flash of inspiration struck Jason on the weekend. He initially wanted to paint the bathroom windows and the inside of the bathroom door, however it has morphed into a slightly bigger crusade.

The bathroom is the last room in the house which is painted in the old clotted custard cream colours  - the entire Sow's Ear had a cream palette when we first bought the house. The bathroom was extra special because it even had a cream coloured ceiling.

bathroom in a Queenslander 

We're not in the position to do a major renovation ( ie complete gut) of bathroom just yet. We'd love to but  it's not on the cards just for the moment. For now it will be a low-cost spruce which includes new window architraves, new window fittings and white gloss paint. Most of these improvements will be kept for the bigger renovation down the track.

Traditional bullnose and scotia and new architraves for the windows

New architraves for the small window above the loo. We will try to source a new  decorative window for this spot.
The ceiling was cleaned and then painted. It was a hot mouldy mess before.

The biggest surprise about this little makeover is that Jason bought chrome window fittings... Brass loving Jason has conceded and bought chrome for the bathroom. We have been waging a brass vs chrome war for the past three years and I will finally have a touch of chrome on the windows. Ha! I'm not sure who I'm married to any more?

chrome casement window stays
the white ceiling is a winner!

There's still a fair bit to do until the makeover is done but so far it is a vast improvement to what was essentially a very tired bathroom.

Sunday, 3 February 2013

Tree business

That storm that hit South East Queensland last weekend was a doozy. These 'once in a hundred years' weather events seem to be occurring biennially.

We were lucky that the Sow's Ear was unscathed by the destructive winds. We half expected to wake up after the worst of it to find a bit of the Sow's Ear in the neighbour's yard...It really was that bad.

The tree has wedged itself into another tree
What we did find the next morning was an uprooted tree which wedged itself into our Mango tree. Yikes.

Luckily the tree was leaning away from the house
We were really relieved that it didn't hurt anyone or damage's not going anywhere (unless there is another once in a hundred years storm) now that it's entwined with the other tree.

If you are out and about, you will see lots of uprooted native trees in parks and footpaths across Brisbane. It is such a strange sight to see all these massive trees lying prone on the ground (I've just finished reading Day of the Triffids - you never look at trees the same way again after reading that).

Also, I'd never want to experience the cyclones that hit Far North Queensland every summer. This storm was nothing compared to what they experience so regularly!

Neighbour's tree which was uprooted by the storm. Fortunately, it didn't damage the fence.

Anyway our falling down tree is going to be a pain in the arse to remove...Hmmm, no Jason DIY for this little project. We've called in the tree loppers and it's going to cost a motza to remove.

In many ways, it would've been better if it had just fallen on the ground, but I guess that was not in the divine plan.

Tree pulled away from the roots and splitting the corrugated iron fence

Let's hope this tree lopper is a better lopper than he is speller.

You know, we only just noticed the spelling error ourselves. Bahahaha!
 p.s Our hearts go out to everyone affected by the floods yet again. It really is a cruel world at times.

Related Posts with Thumbnails