March 30, 2014

Pressed metal ceilings

Our first project for the year has been installing pressed metal ceilings in three rooms of the house.

We sourced the pressed metal panels from Heritage Ceilings who have a tremendous range of traditional as well as more modern styles.

We'd had a quote of $11000 to install the ceilings, so decided instead to do it ourselves. The first job was to paint all 60 panels, plus cable moulding and corner rosettes, with three coats of paint, finishing with a gloss enamel. If you have to paint ceilings, it is certainly way easier when you can do it on the ground before they go up!

Installation started with the downstairs 'powder room' as it was the simplest - all one style of panel with no border.



Next was the dining room. This presented some challenges with angles around the bay window, and the additional features of cable moulding and border panels.






The final room was the yet-to-be-completed Macadamia Suite, the B&B suite at the end of the house.




All rooms were finished with timber cornice. It pays to spend time filling nail holes and joins then painting them  - tedious, but it results in a much more professional finish.

In all, putting up pressed metal ceilings is not particularly difficult. It requires two people to hold the panels up, and pre-drilling the nail holes helps. Our main concern was that the panels should be well aligned - like tiling, it would look awful if the lines were wobbly. But the panels have ridges on the edge, which allow for a sort of automatic alignment, so it wasn't as difficult as expected.

It took us about eleven days to put up the three rooms. Given the installation quote we had, that equates to $1000 per day for our work. Better that we usually get!

February 22, 2014

Vegetable garden

It's been a long time between posts, but the second half of last year was spent almost exclusively on establishing the veggie garden.

We built long narrow beds from corrugated iron (recycled, of course!). Because of the slope they are shallower on one side than the other, but still deep enough for anything we're likely to grow.


They are filled with a "lasagna" mix of layers of straw, manure, compost, lovely Mount Glorious red soil, and liberal sprinklings of Dynamic Lifter. The whole area is netted to keep out the turkeys and larger birds like bower birds, but the netting will let through  the little birds that eat insects.

So far this year we have harvested beans, broccoli, Asian greens, capsicum, garlic, lettuce, rocket, potatoes and sweet potatoes, snow peas, silverbeet, three types of tomatoes and zucchini, as well as ten or so different herbs. I've bottled loads of tomatoes for use during winter, particularly the small Black Russians, which produced enormous quantities of perfectly formed, fabulously tasty fruit.

Behind the veggies are three bays for making compost. Further down the hill are two cut-down water tanks, which hold bananas and pumpkins. Strawberries, carrots, asparagus, ginger and eggplant are now coming on. The sweet potato will probably be moved to the slope outside, where it can run wild.






It's a constant learning experience discovering what works and what doesn't, but I never tire of the excitement of whipping up a meal that's essentially from our garden. And the bonus is I don't have to go shopping nearly as often. More time on the mountain!



June 3, 2013

Happiness is a well-organised pantry!

For someone who likes cooking, a well-organised pantry is a must. For a couple of years I had made do with an old melamine cupboard in the recess which would eventually be the pantry. All the shelves were the same height, and it was very deep, so things got lost!


Before



















We began by taking out the cupboard and lining and painting the interior.








Shelves are hardwood T&G flooring








Russell made shelves from some old recycled floorboards, which were hard and strong. He ran them through the thicknesser first, to take off the old finish. The spacing of the shelves was based on the sizes of what we usually keep in the pantry, and the shelves are in a U-shape so we can walk in and find things without them being hidden at the back.





On the front we added a pair of recycled French doors, and some architrave. The glass is lined with fabric (an old table cloth!) in case the interior ceases to be as beautifully organised as it is now!

Recycled French doors on the front


Super-organised pantry space!


















Result - one happy cook!





April 18, 2013

Recycled kitchen - continued

In January we completed the first stage of the kitchen cupboards, using recycled hoop pine. The part I was most looking forward to was the island bench, which Russell has just completed.



I've mentioned elsewhere how I prefer hand made items to overpriced commercial products (yes, I know, the economy would not survive if everyone was like me!), and how we enjoy recycling materials. Well this is the ultimate recycling project!

The legs for the island bench are made from some short scraps of the crap timber that were used to support the loads of timber we had delivered (two 90x45 glued together). The frame is made from bits of 70x35 pine framing left over from the build. In fact one bit was used by the builder in the original markout for the foundations!








The bench top is made from some black wattle slabs that we had milled when we cleared some trees for the building. Four slabs are joined with threaded rod to make the top. This was Russell's first go at doing a slab and what he learned will be put to good use for the other slab benches that I have lined up for him!





A few remaining Blackbutt floorboards from the attic bedrooms are used for the drawer fronts, (complete with hidden compost bin drawer) and the ornament shelf.















And the ends (which include a hidden rubbish bin) are scraps of the T&G pine used on our walls.
 

March 16, 2013

Junk craft

Russell is the tip and skip king. He is always picking up interesting things, particularly from the tips of dam sites which he visits as part of his seismology work.

Beeswax candles

These ceramic power pole insulators make terrific candle holders, either with regular candles, or filled with beeswax.

Insulators as candle holders


 They're fitted into a routed hole in some well-worn timber. Nice on the dining table, or beside the bath - either way with a glass of wine!







January 6, 2013

Another recycled kitchen!

It's been a while between posts, but our trip to Europe has inspired us with new and creative ideas for building from recycled materials. But first, I wanted a finished kitchen!

When we moved into the house two years ago, we put in the minimum of kitchen to keep us going - just the shells with some dodgy fronts - while we finished important things like the earth walls, and the new cottage.

For Christmas Russell promised me kitchen door fronts - or at least some of them! We've always used Ikea carcases for our kitchens. I realise melamine is not the most eco-friendly of materials, but their system is so practical, and Ikea have a few eco credentials.

Recycled hoop pine drawer fronts

 The main cupboards and drawers have been faced with recycled hoop pine VJ (wall panelling from old Queenslander houses), part of the stash we've squirreled away in the past for just such projects.

Recycled pine on dishwasher and cupboard

Russell has done his standard handles made from old silver forks, used in both the other cottages - a theme running through the place!

Fork handle inspired by Edvard Munch "The Scream"

Silver forks make great handles



















Next up will be the island bench, with a bench top of solid wattle from our property.

August 5, 2012

Not everyone has a beautiful laundry...!

If you run an accommodation business, you spend a lot of time in the laundry. For this reason, I reckoned I deserved a beautiful laundry.

Ours has earth walls, and some wonderful recycled margin light windows with pink and green glass. When the afternoon sun shines in, it is like a jewel box.

Why not hang pictures in the laundry?



Russell made these great hooks for the laundry baskets, using old weathered wood and some railway spikes (nails).