FLASHBACK Christmas Eve 2016

Crafting Catherine’s Cook Street Cottage

 

It is now the 22/12/2016 and I am sitting still for the first time as I am strapped into a seat in Japan Airlines economy section after a blitzing six weeks and my there is a lot to share.

Firstly, time in renovations stretches more than elastic so always allow an extra buffer, or three…especially if you get creative half way through and double the scope of works!

November started with demolition of four internal walls. After an engineer inspection we discovered that the benefit of a four-metre-wide home is that the roof trusses support the entire building! With that liberating discovery out came the removal of four rabbit warren walls in the rear of the house to open up the entire back area.

Form follows function is an age old interior designer’s mantra. The existing floor plan had the rear entry door open to the toilet, adjacent to an enclosed 1.8 x 1.8m kitchen next to a closed-in, small triangular room that really was just a walkway past the fireplace into the toilet area. The laundry was only accessible from the rear garden and the path to it uncovered.

Upcycled kitchen

Re-inventing pre-loved materials takes lots of time.. and patience, and many trips to the local Bunnings store – who mind you were a wealth of information and help.

Heart of the home

What a difference! The fireplace had now truly become the focal point of the home. One obstacle to overcome in an 1897 miner’s cottage is the years of add-ons to the home, and floor levels.

Soft on foot and budget

Working on a strict budget meant we needed a forgiving material, easy to install, warm underfoot and dramatically contemporary to create an urban aesthetic in the mountains. Gerflor Fisherman’s Ocean, dictated the kitchen palette, and due to its patterning, it is exceptionally hard wearing.

VOC free paint

The skin is the most important element of a renovation. My sons became Resene Paints converts as they discovered the intense viscosity and pigment concentration of colour – with no smell or VOC’s which enabled ALL areas – except the red and dark blue wall, to have only one coat !

Pre loved Joinery

Tip – when using pre-loved joinery – it’s worth investing in new doors and materials made by a professional joiner where it will be affected by heavy use or water e.g. plate cupboard and under sink areas. When finishing pre -loved joinery, use colour to camouflage wear and tear and age.

Quality appliances

When recycling appliances go with the well trusted brands, we installed a Miele oven, cooktop and range hood with a stainless-steel splash back and utility rod to hang cooking tools on

Directional lighting

Directional lighting works brilliantly for task areas, particularly in food preparation zones. The tubular fittings also shot the light down or across the room and not onto the ceiling – as she is over 100 years old and does not need highlighting! Track lighting is also easily adjustable for height and directional lighting needs.

Ironwood timber

The Ironwood timber inspired by our colleague Babara Hamilton’s interior at the 2017 Colour your world exhibition, was the perfect linking device for the splashback near the cooking zone.

Vintage vibe

The local St Vinnies store had a fabulous ceramic vase that was in a horrendous pastel yellow so a quick dip in Resene Paintwith a dry brush on top and it was transformed into an iron artefact to dress the historic fireplace

Functional styling

My Nanna adored Elephants, with their trunks up of course as she was born and bred in India during British Occupation. These divine Elephants found at Black Pebble in Richmond ( agreat interiors store owned by an ex interior design student of mine) proved the perfect emotional hooks! 

Cafe culture

The original home had an external toilet and laundry so we fused them together and brought them inside with the Caroma Cube basin and a double mounted washing machine and dryer – no more cold feet to the loo at midnight in the cold.

Permanent styling

Empty picture frames painted the same colour as the walls add intrigue and a playful place for renters to add their personality to the home. 

Renovate with company

 

 

Our renovation was a family affair, even Chloe our cherished Spoodle helped with cushion testing 

Saving history

We restored the pressed plaster ceilings and celebrated this fabulous pre Deco grid detail

Two tone

A two tone palette was derived from the outside vegetation and provided a contemporary fresh feel to the front bedroom.

Reflect the features

I fell in love with the gelato palette stained glass windows and use mirrors where possible to reflect the light and colour 

Old world charm

The original home had heritage and charm and styling elements added to this patina.

Push back small spaces

The hallway was painted in deep resene teal blue which pushed back the wall and made the hallway seem wider

Textile art

Julie Pattersons Banskia textile has always been one of my favourite fabrics, stretched on three canvases this permanently stays with the home 

Nothing better than a new loo

A new WC was installed indoors 

 BEFORE AND AFTER

 

Somehow, I always had the vision of this as the perfect rental for a young working mum and the worst element of that would be tottering out barefoot in ice-laden mountain mornings through the garden to get the washing or drying done before sunrise. After numerous bubble diagrams and chats with all trades on site the solution was sought – move the toilet to the existing external laundry on the opposite side of the house; open up the wall and make the room internal and connect it to the kitchen. Combine the toilet and laundry together (as there is a bathing area in the middle of the cottage) enabling an extra two square meters of kitchen space.

Once this was decided the diving wall between the dining and kitchen came out and with some exceptional on site welding of structural support iron beams in the ceiling, we had an open plan L-shaped kitchen dining space!

What a difference! The fireplace had now truly become the focal point of the home. One obstacle to overcome in an 1897 miner’s cottage is the years of add-ons to the home, and floor levels.

Working on a strict budget meant we needed a forgiving material, easy to install, warm underfoot and dramatically contemporary to create an urban aesthetic in the mountains. Gerflor Australia’s Fisherman’s Ocean, available from the local Lithgow flooring shop now dictated the kitchen palette, and due to its patterning, it is exceptionally forgiving to the wear and tear of a rental property.

 

 UPCYCLE

 Speaking of kitchens, be very careful when sourcing recycled and preloved items from eBay that your auto bid entry does not accidentally add an extra 0 to your maximum bid – for a moment our $800 pre-loved kitchen with all appliances suddenly had a thirteen second  window of escalating anywhere up to $8000!!! As the laptop key bounced thrice with my excitable touch typing!

Blood pressure dropped, the kitchen was ours and the boys were sent to Chippendale in Sydney to collect it! The same night I explored a great site called FREECYCLE, where people gift away items of value and a lovely family in Pymble were in need of their storage space again and hence we collected a second kitchen and all appliances that weekend.

The next six weekends were spent crafting and creating cupboards, benches, splashbacks and storage out of pre-loved joinery.  Re-inventing pre-loved materials takes lots of time.. and patience, and many trips to the local Bunnings store – who mind you were a wealth of information and help. Then, with a little magic late night help from Zarrella Kitchens, two new starlight wall units and silky white sink doors reinvented the entire space. The custom made units threw a brilliant contemporary white into the space and added a great contrast to the St James Whitting signature colour Mountain Haze from our Elemental Paint collection…

Resene Dark Fuscous Grey – our favourite Grey – worked a treat on the tired and heavily used areas such as the kickboard, corner cupboard and pantry. The Ironwood timber inspired by our colleague Babara Hamilton’s interior at the 2017 Colour your world exhibition, was the perfect linking device for the splashback near the cooking zone. A delightful display zone for spices, home-made jams, local honey and other delectable items of local produce worthy of display. 

BEFORE 

AFTER UPCYCLE

BEFORE 

BEFORE 

BEFORE 

AFTER UPCYCLE

AFTER UPCYCLE 

AFTER UPCYCLE

AFTER UPCYCLE

AFTER UPCYCLE

Rent with LJ Hooker Lithgow

Long term lease for a special tenant that has a love of upcyling, vintage and creative colour!

AFTER UPCYCLE

 

THE MAGIC OF THREES

 

Tip – work in threes – From the age of Aristotle, the golden triangle, religious trinities, Nike slogans and Steve Jobs, three is the number that we remember the most and that creates visual balance and anchors in our memory and our interiors!

When recycling appliances go with the well trusted brands, we installed a Miele oven, cooktop and range hood with a stainless-steel splash back and utility rod to hang cooking tools on.

The most difficult element of the kitchen was working in a house with no right angles, my teenage boys discovered a relationship with the walls of that house that not many people would endure! Our sons don’t do the fast food part-time job, but when we have projects on, which is at least yearly in our family we engage them to work, and work they did. They have their own ABN numbers and were paid well for their time. They had training on tools, learnt WHS codes of practice, created invoices and spreadsheets outlining scope of works and projected costs, work and travel hours. Weekends consisted of cricket matches followed by sleepy train rides and angle grinding, sawing, drilling, gluing and feasting on pub dinners and doing it all again the next week!

The journey has been amazing, the last week undoubtedly fanatically fabulous as demolition turned into design and construction as we renovated the rental.

Attention to detail linked the back door colour to the curtains, and the flooring and the most dramatic impact was of course the track lighting. We used commercial track lighting left over from the OHANA project and this completely transformed the interior. Directional lighting works brilliantly for task areas, particularly in food preparation zones. The tubular fittings also shot the light down or across the room and not onto the ceiling – as she is over 100 years old and does not need highlighting! Track lighting is also easily adjustable for height and directional lighting needs.

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The skin is the most important element of a renovation. My sons became Resene Paints converts as they discovered the intense viscosity and pigment concentration of colour – with no smell or VOC’s which enabled ALL areas – except the red and dark blue wall, to have only one coat – compared to retail brands that they literally threw out as three coats of white later there were still translucent in areas.

The flooring had the most impact on guests to the cottage as it celebrates colour and imperfection and the patina of age – perfect for Catherine’s Cottage – Gefloors Primetex Fisherman’s ocean and Resene Paints colour wood stain both complemented the age and character of this charming cottage.

Photos went to the agent at 9am Monday morning and she is up for rent and we hope that someone will fall in love with Catherine’s Cottage as we have. So, now I sit on the plane, relaxed, happy and waiting to explore the design details of San Fransisco and Japan!

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