Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Project: Mirror

A few Christmases ago Mr Puddleduck bought me a gorgeous mirror and eight weeks after moving in we finally decided on where to hang it - the downstairs living room. You wouldn't necessarily expect it to be a decision to warrant eight weeks of deliberation, but the mirror weighs a ton and there's no going back once you've drilled those industrial bolts into the wall.


Important measuring task.

More measuring. And marking.


This is boring.

Hanging - take one.

Uh-oh this isn't going well. I'm outta here.

Bringing in specialist equipment.

Holding breath ...

Project complete.

Saturday, May 26, 2012

Look what I found

Peonies - in May! I might be an inner west convert, but I'm so pleased I made a pilgrimage to the east today. 'Twas a lovely surprise.

Of course I knew deep down they had to be imported - it's too deep into autumn even for late season peonies - so I ducked down to my local flower man to assuage my conscience (no really, it was totally to assuage my guilt. Nothing at all to do with flower greed).

And emerged with this lovely armful of hydrangeas, freesias and jonquils. Our house is now a veritable bower of floral gorgeousness. I'm going to be quite devastated when the hydrangeas eventually come to the end of their season. They've been simply beautiful this year.

Friday, May 25, 2012

A change

Now that our renovation is drawing to a close I thought it might be time for a few subtle changes to Puddleduck's Nest. I first started it as a journal of our renovations and to separate it a little from my other musings over on Puddleduck in the Big Smoke. As it turned out, the renovation left little time for musing so Big Smoke fell a bit by the wayside - rather like Puddleduck's Basket did when she started to grow up.


I've decided Puddleduck's Nest will become the new home of my random musings about our home, our life and our shopping. Well, my shopping.

I hope you enjoy!

Thursday, May 24, 2012

Before, during and nearly done: downstairs living

Our downstairs living space (should we call it a rumpus room? I'm not sure) has changed fairly dramatically, although like the upstairs living space, we haven't fiddled too much with the basic shell.

This was the internal courtyard when we bought it. Off to the right is a planter box with some rather sorry looking plants and off to the left was a toilet and a "kitchen" that bore more resemblance to a panic room than a kitchen. Straight ahead is the bedroom that has become the main bedroom.

This is just before the wall under the airconditioner got knocked through to create the new hallway to run between the living space and the master bedroom. Originally you walked through the courtyard to get to the toilet, panic room kitchen and bedroom. Even with the weird grated walkway over the top it was hardly an all-weather thoroughfare.

I quite like this show because it shows the raw space and all the levels. There's a step up from the living room to the hallway and then another step up before you get into the master bedroom area. The steps help delineate the spaces somehow, even though they all flow.

Off to the left of the hallway is where the main bathroom and ensuite have gone in. Oh, and a teeny tiny laundry.

The space outside the entrance to the main bedroom is Mr Puddleduck's study - it looks quite small in this shot but has turned out to be quite a functional space. He enjoys that he can be a little bit removed from other goings on in the house, but can still be a little bit involved. He can see straight through to the downstairs living area, but can also see upstairs into the dining room and kitchen.

I took this shot on our first night in the house - you can see that the lights still haven't been popped back into the ceiling and the smoke alarm still has it's pretty plastic coat on. But, for the most part it is finished.

This is the view back into the living area from the top of the hallway. I love walking out of the bedroom in the morning with the bifold doors wide open and the morning-ness streaming in. Although as it has been getting cooler at night we've been keeping them closed and that makes it feel far cosier than you'd expect given all the concrete and glass.

Now if only my new rug from Etsy would arrive I could post some slightly more current shots :)

A very civilised start to the day x

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Project: Coffee Table

Patience isn't one of my virtues, so it's perhaps unsurprising that while I relentless trawl eBay for the perfect chair to reupholster, I couldn't wait to do something with my new fabric.

I dug out an old ottoman that has been the victim of far too many coffee spills and tucked the fabric over the top to bring it back to life. Not a permanent fix, but has satisfied my urge to use the fabric and our need for a coffee table in the lounge.

It also inspired me to rearrange the lounge a bit. I'll try to take photos today and post them while Mr Puddleduck yells at the State of Origin. x

Monday, May 21, 2012

Impulse purchase

Look what I bought on the weekend! I've developed quite a fabric fetish over the last little while and have started to get quite a collection. Nothing to rival the collection of anyone who actually does stuff with their fabric, but a decent collection for someone who is just collecting for fun.

I simply couldn't leave without these beautiful, vibrant and velvety offcuts from Ruby Star Traders.

Somewhere out there is a chair crying out to be reupholstered in them. Or, you know, they'll look pretty lying around the house while I continue to faff around and talk about making stuff with them.

Saturday, May 19, 2012

Moral Dilemma

Ever since I used the Waterfall Ruffle curtains from UrbanOutfitters in Puddleduck's bedroom I've been in love with them. Their flouncy girlishness is all but irresistible. So it was perhaps inevitable that I would decide they were perfect for our front living room windows.

Despite being a Victorian terrace, all Victorian features had long since disappeared when we bought it - if it ever had them. As a Cartwright's workshop I guess there is every chance there was no decorative detail when it was built. Anyway, my point is, as the room and windows are very stark it became obvious very quickly that we needed curtains to soften them.

As a general rule, I hate curtains. So it became quite the dilemma. Not, however, the moral dilemma to which I refer in the title. Oh no.

My dilemma came about after I gleefully ordered several of the waterfall curtains and was excitedly anticipating their ruffly arrival. Because our ceilings are higher than standard, I had ordered extra curtains and was going to chop some up and sew them onto the bottom of others (don't laugh, Mum).

Then I received an email from UO demanding I go through an order verification process. I had been randomly selected - what fun! Order verification required either ringing them (my phone doesn't make international calls) or sending them a copy of my ID and my most recent credit card statement with my address on it. ARE THEY MAD????????????????

What tipped me over the edge, though, was the final sentence in their email "you should be aware that we are not holding your items for you while we wait for you to go through this verification". You're kidding, right?

So. I climbed up onto my high horse and let them know what I thought of such ridiculous process and told them to cancel my order and I would never ever buy from them again.

Oh dear. But I really wanted those curtains. But I said I would never ever buy from them again. But how dare they demand my credit card statement and ID (HELLO IDENTITY THEFT)? But nowhere else sells them (except on Etsy for a gazillion dollars).

I ummed and ahhed and lusted for a whole two weeks. Mr Puddleduck maintained I had to suck it up and reorder them. "But what if they have a BIG RED FLAG AGAINST MY ACCOUNT?". He laughed at me.

I contemplated creating a new account. I contemplated ordering them in Mr Puddleduck's name and having them sent to his chambers (because there is nothing a man loves more than a delivery of flounce to a very serious workplace). But eventually I sucked it up and reordered. And held my breath.

I logged into my account last night (would they notice and wreak havoc on my curtain plans again??) and the order status said "Included in Shipment". That sounded promising ... I went to sleep hoping for the best.

This morning I got an email telling me they were on their way! WOO HOO!

And we shall never speak of this again.

Friday, May 18, 2012


Forgive my numptyish somewhat artistic arranging of these images from WallCandy Wallpaper, but I thought I'd share my current shortlist of wallpaper to be hung in frames in the spare room.

Because the white we have in the room throws to mauve, I've been looking for something in a muted purple or purpley grey.

The yellow is a ring-in because I just loved it. I think even if it doesn't make the cut for the spare room it's going to have to go somewhere.

And I just can't get those gorgeous flamingos out of my head!

What do you think would look best in a frame to liven up a big white wall?

Thursday, May 17, 2012


Now that the bones of the house are there, I'm starting to decorate. It's beyond tempting to buy as much paint and prints and wallpaper as I can lay my hands on, but I'm trying to take it slowly. So I started with the smallest room in the house - the powder room.

I didn't take a before shot (I was too excited), but imagine, if you will, plain white walls (Dulux Peplum). If I was remotely technologically savvy I'd photoshop out the blooms and pretend I had a 'before' shot. But I'm not so it's imagination or nothing, I'm afraid.

I got the blooms from byrdiegraphics on Etsy and I can't tell you how much fun I had putting them up. I should pretend they were quite the decorative feat to apply, but they were incredibly easy to for an amateur like me. 

A good first step in my journey to full blown wallpapering. Did you hear that? That was the sound of Mr Puddleduck groaning at the thought of me and rolls of wallpaper and glue.

My next little project is going to be a workspace for me. Mr Puddleduck has a nook near the internal courtyard (that he maintains does not need my special touch - ha!) so I have decided to commandeer this space in the spare room.

First things first I need a chair (I borrowed this one from Mr Puddleduck - gorgeously decorated by Puddleduck in her signature colour). Do I want plush, modern, white, coloured? Do I contrast with the desk or do I complement it?

The current plan for the vast expanse of white wall to the left is to put some wallpaper in big white frames and hang them along the length of the wall. But that's about the extent of existing plans.

I'm considering some sort of small cabinet or bookcase next to the desk to put my fabric (don't laugh, Mum) and prints in. I have quite a few pinboards that I've made and collected over the years so I'm going to experiment and see what one fits the best off to the side of the desk.

I do so love a good project!

Monday, May 14, 2012

Before, during and nearly done: Living Room

We've always said the upstairs living room was the room we weren't really doing much to - although when I was going through the photos this week I realised that although we haven't changed the dimensions at all, the room isn't exactly as untouched as I'd thought.

 This is it a few weeks after settlement (and after I had started attacking that heinous green carpet). 

This is it after the builders did their first big strip out.

 This is it before the new floorboards were laid and before the new gyprocking went on the walls (oh if only that brick was in good enough condition to leave exposed!).

 This is it with the sheeting done and the floors laid and waiting to be stained and polished.

And this is with freshly finished floors.

So as it turns out, our untouched room isn't really all that untouched afterall.

Moving Day ... Kind of.

While we weren't able to move in at the end of our week in Melbourne, our furniture was. It wasn't necessarily welcomed by the builders, but as they left it far too late to tell us the house wasn't yet liveable they weren't left with much choice as we couldn't cancel the scheduled delivery. When they started to protest, I pointed out that given they knocked off some time before 3pm on Friday afternoon it was hardly reasonable of them to expect removalists to continue working after 6pm to save them from their own slackness. 

They seemed to really enjoy hearing that.

Still, at least with our furniture there it felt a little bit as though we might also get to move in too. Eventually.

Monday, May 7, 2012

The wheels come off

 Here's Puddleduck eagerly awaiting the arrival of the bus to take us from the long term carpark at the airport to the terminal so we could jet off to Melbourne to spend the week before our revised move-in date.

Revised? Yes. That's right. The wheels fell off. At this point in time things did still feel under control (despite being homeless!) as our builder promised faithfully that this extra week was all he would need to get things finished for our move. He said he could get it done for the original date but it would be pushed and things mightn't get finished to his satisfaction and he'd rather pay for us to live in a hotel for a week than have that happen.

We had a chat and agreed that rather than paying for Puddleduck and I to stay in a hotel in Sydney, he would just pay for our airfares to Melbourne where Mr Puddleduck was working for the week. In hindsight I never should have left them to it, but the work plan seemed feasible and frankly the amount of work left seemed thoroughly achievable in a week. Perhaps I've watched too much of The Block and have a skewed idea of what can happen in a week!

The day I left the tiles in the bathrooms were being finished and everything was ready for the plumber to come back and install the vanities. The vanities that had been sitting around for about two weeks despite me being sent on an urgent mission to source new ones after the ones we had originally picked out were out of stock and not due back in for weeks. A blessing in disguise as I prefer the new ones, however, a pain nonetheless.

The electrician was also hard at it installing the pendants and downlights. This is the 'snowflake' light Puddleduck chose for her room. I should note that six weeks after I took this shot he has still only just come back to finalise the electrics. Note to self: if anything goes pear shaped get a different electrician, this one does not understand the concept of time. 

All through the build I have said the three things that mattered most to me where the windows and bifold doors, the bookshelves and the colour of the floors. As long as I had that core shell right I could happily deal with any other issues down the track. So picking the absolute final stain of the floors via text message was a tad chancy, however, I'm pleased to say we nailed it. Well, I nailed it. The builder and the floor guy were extremely skeptical and spent a good fifteen minutes uttering different variations of "well, on your head be it".

For the record I chose the blend on the top right hand side - two parts teak, one part walnut and half black. I have a bottle of it in my wardrobe. 

 As it turns out, we spent about three weeks hotel-hopping. "Oh it will be done on Wednesday ... make that Saturday ... make that Tuesday ... make that Saturday ..." ran as some sort of doom loop conversation between us and the builders.

 I'm as big a fan as they come of hotel sheets, room service and a cleaning service, but nearly three weeks in various hotel rooms with a three year old desperately missing her puppies, Mr Puddleduck being beyond busy at work and my own stress levels through the roof doesn't make for an enormously enjoyable time.

Still, we all survived - builder included. Which was no sure thing, just quietly.

*the final photo is of what a room service menu described as a 'grilled chicken burger with housemade guacamole and chilli jam served with chunky handcut fries', which in reality was 'grilled chicken burger with wedge of avocado and a squirt of heinz sweet chilli sauce and some mccains frozen chips half-heartedly deep-fried'.