September 5, 2018

Retro vanity

Well, it's been a long time coming! When we first built the house nine years ago the downstairs toilet had a 'temporary' vanity. It was made from a sheet of laminex-coated ply, four pine posts (from the original set-out posts for the house) and a second hand sink. Not a pretty thing, and after several years it had started to sag in the middle.

A few years back we bought four cedar table legs on ebay. The tops were in bad condition, so Russell removed them and made new tops from old cedar window frames.

The legs then just needed a quick run through a lathe (via a friend's Men's Shed connection).

Rails and shelf were made from the remains of the wardrobe rebuild done earlier in the year.

As we have another old marble-topped washstand in the room, we bought a Corian top in 'raincloud', which has similar colours to the old marble. The Corian is not cheap, and we had to limit the width to 930mm as this is the standard width the Corian comes in - any wider and it would have almost doubled the price.

The sink and tap are Bunnings purchases, very much on the budget end. Tiles are a mixed selection from

October 3, 2017

Cubby house renovation

There was a small cubby house, called Kurrajong Station, on the property when we bought it, built probably forty years ago and now in a rather run down condition. With a visit from grandchildren imminent, we decided now was the time to give it some TLC and an upgrade.

Before - rotten floor boards on the verandah, mould on the walls, worn battens, peeling paintwork, wobbly railings. Fortunately this job was on a small enough scale to complete in a week or two.

 We started by pulling out the verandah floor, scrubbing the walls and sanding flaking paint. We had some left over floorboards from another house to fix the verandah, and fencing wire for the ballustrade. After a couple of coats of paint it was looking good.

At our local tip's Treasure Island we found a kid-sized table and chairs that only needed a leg mended. We added some pictures inside (some of which had been done at school by my children!), painted up a piece of ply to make a blackboard, and added some toys. Last thing to be added was a slippery slide (from Bunnings).

After - ready for the arrival of grandchildren!



This was a very satisfying project that could be completed just over a week. The grandkids loved it, and it should do for another couple of decades!

April 19, 2017

Outdoor living

 If you live on the side of a mountain, having a bit of flat space is a luxury!

We've now created a small grassed area out the front of the house - lovely rock walls around the garden, a frog pond (old bath!), a 'dry creek bed' run-off, and a (still-to-be-completed!) mini waterfall with lots of tree ferns.

Maybe a suitable spot for a small wedding! Certainly a place for al fresco winter lunches, or evening drinks

And the 'dry creek bed' worked a treat in the recent storms!

September 4, 2016

 I'd had this beautiful old oak wardrobe for ages, but like many of its era, it was too shallow for the depth of a coat hanger. For years it was just a storage cupboard, too impractical for clothes.

When we moved we deconstructed it, hoping to put the doors to use again as a built in wardrobe in the house, while the base would become a window seat.

We contacted local fine furniture maker (and amazing wildlife artist!) Garry Rogers to turn the whole thing into a new, practical built-in wardrobe in the sloping walls of our attic bedroom.

Garry made up the front frame in his workshop, using the wood from the side of the wardrobe as new drawer fronts, and wood from our property for a new pediment on top.

Garry's attention to detail is meticulous. All the doors were refinished and cracks and imperfections fixed.

The finished frame was then built into the sloping upstairs hallway, where it serves as a very practical wardrobe with shoe drawers below.

We're extremely grateful to Garry for bringing this beautiful piece of furniture back to life, and cannot recommend highly enough his fine woodworking skills.

April 12, 2016

More recycled kitchen

Our kitchen has been a work in progress over the last six years. We didn't want it to look like a factory kitchen - more like a collection of interesting furniture.

The sink area was designed to look like an old marble topped wash stand. It stands out from the adjoining cupboards by about 50mm. Now at last the curtains have gone, and the door and drawer fronts have been installed.

Frames are from leftover grey ironbark, the flooring in the Macadamia Suite. The infill is pressed aluminium, from the panel used behind the stove. The lovely ceramic-look handles are from Bunnings.

The top is Corian, chosen to emulate marble and made to measure. While the top itself is great, the Corian sinks, which we thought would look like fired enamel butler's sinks, are a mistake. They stain really badly and are virtually impossible to get clean.

Drawers are standard Ikea drawer kits. The fronts simply click on with the fittings provided.

July 12, 2015

Updating White Gum Cottage - part 1

It's now ten years since we opened Turkey's Nest at Mount Glorious (we had a small B&B in Brisbane before that). When we bought the property the original cottage, White Gum - an old forestry workers' cottage moved from Beerburrum - was a little 'rough around the edges'. The best view was from the laundry, the kitchen faced a blank wall, and the bedroom had no view!

We renovated it in 2003, moving rooms and adding a new bathroom and kitchen.

The original kitchen - pretty grim!

The 2003 renovated White Gum kitchen

 Our guests love the cottage and its old world feel, but last year we decided it was now due for another makeover (aren't we all?!!) that would update the cottage without losing its charm.

The first job was to replace the flooring. There was carpet in the living and dining areas, and lino in the kitchen, with a bit of slate tile at the front door.

original flooring - carpet, tiles, lino

As it's a small area, a uniform flooring throughout this space was preferable. Unfortunately the existing timber floor under the carpet was an uneven, patched-together, un-salvageable mess, so we decided to cover the lot with a floating bamboo floor. Various finishes are available, including an 'aged' finish which suited the style of the cottage.

Bamboo is a renewable resource- it is a grass and grows very quickly. Whereas oak takes 120 years to grow to maturity, bamboo can be harvested in three, regenerates without need for replanting, and requires minimal fertilization or pesticides. The flooring can also easily be laid DIY.

Russell and a friend laid the floor in a day and a half. The foam underlay overcame the unevenness of the existing timber floor. The slowest part was getting the initial line, after which the boards clicked together quickly.

It took another day to make and add hardwood skirtings. A couple of rugs, sourced cheaply from Grays Online, completed the picture. It gives the whole cottage a finished, unified look and has maintained the old world feel.

The only hassle was a bit of swelling and lifting when the wet weather hit, which required some trimming. In retrospect, we should have left a little more space around the edges, under the skirting boards, to start with, and no further adjustments would have been required.

January 23, 2015

Drying room

I'm a great believer in all washing being hung on the line, and I rarely use a dryer. But we get a fair amount of wet weather on the mountain, and endless days of rain and high humidity are not conducive to drying multiple loads of sheets and towels.

Russell built this drying rack which can be lifted by a pulley system up to the ceiling. By adding a dehumidifier in the laundry, we have a solution that can deal with a fair amount of washing in a reasonably short time, and without the expense (and constant loading/unloading) of a dryer.

Rack in raised position

The rack is made from 25.4mm square section aluminium channeling with click-together corners, all from Bunnings.

Pulleys run across to rope down one wall

A series of pulleys make it easy to lift even a full load. Russell sourced the pulleys on the web, much cheaper than he could buy them locally.

Rack lowered for loading

In the lowered position it's easy even for short people to reach!

 Once it's pulled up, it's well out of the way (it helps to have 2.8m ceilings).

Rope rings and wall cleats

A couple of rings on the pull rope, plus cleats on the wall, mean it can be easily held at either the two loading positions (one for short people, one for tall!) or the drying position.

You need to have a closable laundry for the dehumidifier to be effective. Dehumidifiers run on considerably less power than a dryer. Buying a dehumidifier on Gumtree for less than a third of retail price was a bonus!