Monday, 24 April 2017

New Living Room Rug

We love our beautiful floors but for some time, we've been looking at large rugs to break up our living room space. After much research, we went to Source Mondial in Parnell. They have a huge selection of rugs, all beautifully presented. And the staff really know their stock. We took three rugs home on appro for a whole week which was so generous, allowing us to make a decision.

We went with a 2 x 3m grey wool rug with a chevron pattern. It pops against our dark floors. We love it!

And here's a cute one of Miss Lily and the samples, from a few weeks ago...

Unfortunately, she dumped a dead rat on our lovely new rug on Sunday morning, so clearly she likes it!

Monday, 27 March 2017

Vintage European, Greytown

My sister and I took our Mum for a girls' weekend to Wellington and Greytown last weekend. It's a place we all know well (long-time readers will know that my sister and I go there every June!).

Greytown is about a one-hour drive north of Wellington, in the beautiful Wairarapa. Worth a visit for its cafes, galleries, boutique stores and nearby vineyards.

This time we discovered a gem called Vintage European. Sarah imports English, Scandinavian and other European housewares, fabrics and furniture that you won't find easily in this part of the world. A beautifully-laid-out store, I spent ages in there chatting (and purchasing!).


Tuesday, 21 March 2017

Master Bedroom Wardrobe Fitout and Doors

Very late at posting this as the work was completed in late December! But I also wanted to wait until the floors were done so I could post a final 'after' shot.

Our wonderful cabinetmaker Dean from DL Cabinetmaking (who did our kitchen) made the beautiful doors and fitted out the insides. This wardrobe is Paul's (I have an entire room dedicated as my dressing room!). With the other wardrobe removed last year, we wanted to make the remaining one as functional and beautiful as possible. We decided to have a single shelf and a galvanised steel pole put in, and cubbyholes similar to our previous home. We also got Dean to break up the total height by creating two smaller cupboards at the top. It's a 2.8m cavity so visually, this makes it less overwhelming in what is not a huge bedroom.

As with the rest of the house, we fitted exquisite Halliday Baillie knobs on the doors (separate post coming soon!). We had these in our previous home.

We were surprised at how cost-effective it was to have bespoke doors made. Places like Boston Wardrobes and The Wardrobe Company offer a fixed selection of doors and charge extra for painting. We got a far superior result - and to our specifications - for about the same price as off-the-rack. So, don't be afraid to explore all options when fitting out your house.

Huge, heavy and ugly sliding doors which are not even in keeping with a villa. The insides were fitted out with nasty multi-level plastic poles and shelves as well as mobile drawer units more in keeping for an office.

We still had the carpet down at this stage.

Now, isn't that better?

Monday, 6 February 2017

Dark and Moody: Our New Floors

The Project

The floors were a mish-mash of grey-brown carpet in the bedrooms and front sitting room, and engineered French oak boards stained a strange yellowish colour. In addition, the boards in the hallway were running width-ways, not long-ways. We wanted wood all through the house like we had in our previous house (kauri) and to salvage as much of the existing flooring as possible.

We engaged Wood Appeal Flooring to do the following:

  • Remove all carpet.
  • Remove all existing oak from the hallway from the top of the hallway steps back to the front door.
  • Retain existing engineered oak from the steps downwards into the main living area, kitchen and dining.
  • Lay down new oak in bedrooms, sitting room and hallway (in the right direction!).
  • Sand back the entire floor.
  • Stain the entire floor.


The project took two weeks. We moved every item, ourselves and the cat out for the duration. We stayed at Vanessa's lovely Airbnb 10 minutes away in Parnell. It was like a home away from home. Lily stayed with the lovely Michelle at Pablo's Palace Cattery in Remuera. Unfortunately, despite all the care in the world, Lily was very anxious during her stay and remained in her little sleeping unit.

Before Photos

Here are a few photos that give you an idea of what the floor used to look like. You can see the odd yellow tinge and the way the carpet and floor boards did not match. In the final shot you can see how the boards ran the wrong direction in the hallway!

After Photos

We still have pictures to put up and rugs to buy but you get the idea! We love the contrast of the very dark floors and white walls. The floors absorb a lot of light so at night, the light from the street is greatly reduced. The space seems cosier (dark floors tend to make a room look smaller). To our surprise, the acoustics hardly changed despite removing four rooms of carpet. The effect is elegant, cohesive, bold and different to the normal Scandi pale boards everyone is going for. We love it!



Interior Design Consultancy
Rachel Brown from Trinity Interior Design provided much-needed guidance. She met with us several times on site, liased with our flooring installer and met me again on site as the final decision about stain colour was made.

Floor Uplift, Sub-Floor Repair and Installation
From the first time I met Kyle when he came to assess and quote the work last October, I knew that Wood Appeal Flooring was the one. This is not a small job, so you need to trust your contractor before the floor gets ripped up. We got many quotes and the key difference is that Kyle used to be an installer so he wasn't just wandering around with a tape measure agreeing to my every question and throwing a price back at me. He was honest about the unknowns of a job like this (the condition of the sub-floor and required repair and levelling) so we built in contingency into the budget to allow for it. Removing the original engineered oak from the hallway almost killed the crew as it was so badly glued on but they delivered and the project ran smoothly. We were kept involved the whole way. I went on site to decide on the options around the sub-floor and it was really nice to be consulted and shown the reasons for the required work, the degrees of perfection we could strive for and the impact on schedule and budget. As a former Project Manager, this was music to my ears. We felt very safe with Wood Appeal Flooring and I have no hesitation in recommending them.

Floor Sanding and Staining
Andrew Holloway and his team sanded and finished the entire floor. What a perfect job!

Thursday, 5 January 2017

Kitchen Makeover

We took the 'kitch' out of our kitchen.

We now have an elegant, modern and functional kitchen that works well for us. The old kitchen was not only ugly, it was also stupid. By stupid I mean it had several usability issues that can only come from a house that was renovated to sell. Once again, children: JUST SAY NO TO A RENOVATED-TO-SELL HOUSE.

Key changes we made to rid ourselves of the ugly and the stupid were:

1. Removed cabinets either side of the rangehood and above the fridge, adding open shelving:
  • Reduced the over-supply of cupboards without compromising storage space.
  • Floating shelves open up and modernise the space.
  • Allows us to be creative and add colour and interest.

2. Replaced the drawer fronts and cupboard doors and added handles:
Come on. Milky green glass cabinetry? REALLY? It looked like a hospital. And it turns out, solid glass is heavy (one door recently fell off its hinges). We liked the existing layout and cabinetry so we did a makeover. This involved getting a cabinetmaker to replace the drawer and cupboard facades, update the drawer rollers and cupboard hinges and add handles. Handles... oh how I missed you. What a difference. Everything is so light and easy to open and close. Plus the shaker style is modern but also a little traditional so it complements the villa.

3. Replaced the sink, tap and benchtops:
  • A simple, elegant gooseneck tap is all we need. The previous tap was fussy and ugly.
  • We installed a single stainless steel under-mounted sink. The old white plastic double sink was impossible to clean and not very durable. We went through tubs of baking soda trying to keep it from going grey. Beetroot, curry and tumeric were all banned. No way could you place anything hot in there. And it was slightly raised above the bench so food and crumbs would gather beneath. It was also huge, taking up about a third of the work space. And finally, the idiot who installed it put it in the wrong way around. JUST SAY NO!
  • Nasty plasticky white flecked benchtops from the 1990s have been replaced with handsome black granite, breaking up all that white.
  • We also added a double power point to the kitchen island. This allowed us to put the microwave in a cavity under the bench out of sight and we can now plug appliances in at the main island bench. Now I can whip up batches of prune truffles more easily...

4. Added bookshelves to the kitchen island cavity:
  • An easy way to add a bookshelf.
  • Similar to what we had in our previous home.
  • Adds warmth and texture to the space.
  • Great use of 'dead' space.

We had the most amazing contractors working with us on this project:

DL Cabinetmaking
Dean from DL Cabinetmaking has just been great. As a former Project Manager, one thing I really appreciate is a project plan. Dean provided all costs, schedules and timings really fast for our multi-faceted project. He also kept a pre-Christmas space open for us as we waited on other things to be confirmed before committing. He was open to our ideas, but provided sound professional advice and direction where required. We are so happy with the result and with Dean's approach to his work and clientele. He'll definitely be building our bathroom vanities next year!

Luxury Living Builders
Owner Chris Foley managed a range of contractors for us so the gib-stopping and painting parts of the job got done. Amazingly, his guys were able to carefully extract the top layer of subway tiles off the back wall after Dean had removed the cabinets and then colour-match the mystery white paint!

Sanders Plumbing
Johnny was such a professional, going the extra mile for us - and a hell of a nice guy too.

Granite Benchtop Company
Wiremu and T hauled our massive slabs of granite and set in our sink for us - all with grace and poise! It looks amazing.

Hall Electrical
We've used Hall Electrical for years and they're fantastic. Pat is our regular Electrician and he's the best. A friendly guy who knows what he's doing. We love all the changes Hall Electrical has made to our house since we moved in.

Trinity Interior Design
We needed short bursts of professional help and guidance for a number of projects, including the kitchen. We had used Trinity before for our Roman blinds in both this house and our previous house. Rachel Brown gave us concise and confident advice and worked to a close budget so we knew exactly how much time was being billed. She was always available to advise on the smallest matters.

Befores and Afters

Sit back and enjoy the amazing before and after shots. First up, the kitchen in all its green glory...

And now, the afterglow...