Tiled fireplace

We always fantasied about having a feature tiled fireplace. We spent a lot of time trying various tiles to find something eye catching and yet classic.And not too homestead chunky stones.

This is the finished result. Cost was around $600 in tiles and materials.



Rear deck complete

Long time no update. I guess that comes with living and life and the fact that the build is well and truly over.

But the jobs and external work continues. The rear deck has been completed (well, a few months ago, but hey!)


It was a very long four days with uncle Bob but the savings were huge. I purchased $2,500 in new wood to cover the gaps in my recycled wood from the old house deck. Well worth the salvage effort (but did seem like a lot of hard work at the time in the winter rain).

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The deck is 75% recycled wood which I think is a great result. It is a huge deck and would have cost in the vicinity of $20,000 had I got a professional deck team out.

I must say, drilling and nailing some 4,000-5,000 nails did start to get the better of me towards the end. Sore hands and knees.









Footpath, crossover and pergola

Chip. Chip. Chip.

That has been the local mantra as we close down the list of to-do jobs. Finally i sorted out the asset protection permit, bond and council permits to destroy the old crossover, put in a new one and replace the footpath that Metricon pulverised during the build. Still not sure why the home owner pays for that, but anyhow. Good luck getting this one removed from your contract. It is around $250 per footpath bay, so it adds up pretty fast if your front becomes as cracked as ours did.

It took me a while to find a concrete company that I was sure would meet the strict local standards – some jobs are rejected and have to be redone.




We also decided on a shading option for the house – now that summer is over! – and went with  a hard structure that I’ll grow grape vines over to keep the house cool. The heat hurt us a few days in summer – especially the west windows. Hopefully the pergola will make a big difference. It would have been easier to do the pergola when I had the landscape team in, but we were a tad slow working out our options. It was only when we looked at awnings and external blinds that we decided we ‘hated’ that look.



Fast running out of jobs; really just some more decking and the planting of all my fruit trees. Those two jobs are fun.

Front deck and side fence complete

We have been busy behind the scenes as we have been painting every fence around the house. We have also painted most of the external of the house. In the meantime I’ve managed to build another side fence to room up the garden a bit more. Again, 100% recycled wood.

It was very fiddly as we had two gates to recycle and install. The hinges and bits were a bit fiddly to line up and one of the gates needed a big angle grind. The gates will be painted with woodlands grey to match the fence.

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We also completed the first deck – with uncle Bob’s help – at the front of the house. It was a little bit larger than I first imagined. It has ended up around 10 square metres!

Total cost was $88 for some brackets, bolts, nails, drill bit etc. It took a day to frame it all up and a day to cut the wood, line it all up, and nail. It was a little tedious nailing the deck as I was trying to find the right offcut lengths for each piece to minimise wastage as I have another larger deck to do out the back. But this was a great practice run!

First task was to dig out the sand to make way for the formwork. This was around 20 wheel barrows of sand that I’ll use out the back. Then we added support pieces to all the walls using very large bolts. The wood is all from an old pergola. We managed to get away with only two stumps as we had lots of brickwork to hang from. We also boxed up the doorway.


Then we laid the bearers and joists. We kept the joists 400mm apart so I could match up the old merbau holes. It was a little fiddly but I think we got around 85% of the holes to match up. Very happy with that.




And the finished product. As you can see it needs a good sand and stain. Ignore the stool and plant, I was just having a relax and picking some caterpillars from the orange tree.

I will need to punch the nail heads then I’ll grab a belt sander (40 grit) and take her back to old. The timber is only seven years old so has plenty of life. I will then coat with a wood stain that enhances the merbau red without needing to apply oil every six months.




Fence me in

With the landscapers packed up, I can now focus on closing our block to the street. We have lots of lovely well wishes in our area, but I do like a tiny bit of privacy that you get with a front fence.

I love using the old and finding a second use for it. I actually cut the old fence from the old house before demolition and stored it at the rear of the block.

It was a hard job to cut the fence off at the bottom of the posts in the depths of winter. It was an 8 degree day and I remember the rain and hail. I was numb by the time we finished. I remember grumbling a lot about the enormity of the recycling task.

Fast forward a year and I’m thrilled that these fence panels made putting up the new fence easy – and cheap. I was going to use timber stirrups for the fence, but decided that the weight of the fence may be too much. Instead, I decided to get fresh posts and sink them nice and deep so the fence will last at least a few years before it starts to wobble.

The new fence has cost $220. That included five 2.5 metre treated pine posts, 10 bags of concrete, fence screws and some larger bugle screws.

Here are just a few of the old fence panels cut into 2 – 3 metre lengths.


The posts set and resting with some woodwork to keep them exactly level


More supports. You can never have too many support beams!IMG_3159

Then we cut n pasted the fence pieces to the posts.IMG_3184

A lick of coat later and we have a brand new fence.


Hard to believe it is the same fence. Very happy.

Let there be lights

This is a bit embarrassing but we’ve been the house for around 5 months and have kept finding excuses to not put up the new lights. We have been trying to get all of our lighting jobs organised so we could batch the job with our electrician friend.

We’ve been collecting our dream lights for a year as they became available or they went on sale.  We have more lights to go but we really wanted to start the journey. Then there was a four month delay with one of the lights coming across the oceans from far away.

Recent jobs:

  • 3 pendants over the kitchen bench
  • LEDs column lights outside
  • Stairwell hangers
  • Fan in lounge room
  • Hanging dining room light

It makes such a difference. It really closes in the room and reduces the ‘barn’ feel. Now the spaces feel a lot more intimate.