It's been one of those weeks. I've been suffering from extreme tiredness for the past two weeks... I think my body has decided to tell me that I've been running on adrenaline for too long this year after all the organisation of the Ball finally finished and I started to relax. As a consequence I've been going to bed rather early. In fact, very early. A little like being a granny.

Yes, it's fun times at our place.

In other breaking news, pretty much everything about the renovation has got to me this week. I'm sick of the mess inside, the piles of stuff (toys/ paperwork/ items that don't have a home until the back is finished), doing laundry on the veranda (and chatting to passing neighbours about the renovation at the back with laundry baskets full of clothes in my hands), and the thing I'm most sick of is the vermin in the kitchen.

We have an ongoing cockroach problem. It will probably only be eradicated by pulling out all the old cupboards, which we can't do until the new kitchen is built in the extension. This means that I will be living with cockroaches for a while yet. We also have a giant slug problem. This is not a common problem in other people's kitchens I'm guessing, but we have this problem because our current kitchen is over the old cellar. They're coming up from the cellar at night to feast on the contents of the (well sealed) bin. I usually remove one or two a month - they're around 10 cm long. Told you they were giant. Fortunately, now that the cellar is accessible, I'm able to put down snail bait, so their days are numbered. I guess I should count my blessings - the mice appeared to have disappeared now that the back of the house has been demolished (and the old tank stand where I'm pretty sure they were nesting). I realise other people out there have worse kitchens than me, and that they've been living with them for longer than 2.5 years, but I'm just not a fan of wildlife inside my house.

To sooth myself from all these vexing problems, I've been trying to find pleasurable things to distract. I like to admire my growing topiary collection on the side veranda....



I've ordered roses online to be delivered in another month (bare rooted). A mix of pinks and yellows from David Austin (more heritage style ones), and a few climbers to ramble over the extension and help it blend in. I started out banning roses in my garden (I wanted a foliage based garden, rather than a flower based one), but I can't help myself and they've been gradually creeping in. My mother would be pleased, she loved roses. I also did a big clean up of the front garden pruning and taking out all the dead stuff ready for Spring growth. Satisfying. Here are some that I ordered

a new David Austin release for this year, Lady of Shalott via

a vigorous climber to go up my veranda posts on the new back entertaining area, Kiftsgate via

David Austin's Heritage via


I decided that an empty vase at the entry on the hall table was possibly adding to the general feeling of despair when entering the house, so I filled it with sunny yellow tulips.

they were fashionably filling up half the vase, but they keep growing and I've given up trimming the stems

I made a big batch of Barossa Valley Chicken Soup and have had it for lunches and dinners all week. That's my name for it, because I used a Barossa Chook (Saskia Beer's excellent chooks, as I've blogged before they are worth every expensive penny), and added Wiech's noodles at the end, also made in the Barossa Valley. These are the closest thing to home made noodles you'll get. They taste a little like when I make my own pasta, and are so much more filling than normal packet pasta. A small amount goes a long way. And as you can tell by the name, they are made by one of the original German settler families, so are as authentic a European style noodle as you'll find. 


And most crucially, I changed a window in the extension that was bothering me. As we're at frame stage, it's not going to cost a lot to do this, and while Mr AV told me I was crazy to be getting so worked up over it, I knew that if it bothered me now as a hole in the wall, it would definitely bother me with a window and bricks around it, and it'd be much harder to sort out. I didn't want to look at a glaring mistake for the next 20 years. It's unfortunate that with no one else to review the plans (no colleagues/ no client) things can move on from their original intention and other things are not reviewed again. We originally were going to put the pool into the front side garden, so I'd put a large window overlooking it. Now that the pool is going into the back garden (having done away with the tennis court) we were left with a large window that didn't work with the symmetry in the room very well. After fretting over it for 24 hours, I thought of a solution by shuffling a couple of windows around, and instructed the builder. Hooray. Crisis averted, and for almost no money.

Bad window design on the back wall.... looks like a slightly randomly placed opening.


roof trusses are sprouting

So the frame has progressed, with a day lost to weather, and a day lost to a public holiday this week. No windows this week after all, but roof trusses have begun to sprout, and we've been feeling very pleased with the way the house is sitting on the site. It's looking 'right' to us -proportional and settled. Great relief from me, because I might have mentioned before that there is a reason why most Architects do flat roofs these days - it's because pitched roofs are really, really hard to get right if you're going into an existing roof. You don't get taught this stuff at University, and as most construction in Australia is modern in design, you don't necessarily get a lot of experience in it. As a consequence, working out the angles for pitches, adding the new roof into the old, working out how the stormwater system works, and where you get ridges/ hips and valleys made me a little nervous that it was going to look correct. But it does. So that's a relief.

outdoor entertaining area


dining area with wall of glass to give a conservatory feel on the left


the view out of my future (cockroach and giant slug free) kitchen


So far I think the back facade has a nice rhythm and balance to it, so hopefully that will continue... and I won't find too much else to keep me awake at 3am plotting change!

Hope you had a good week xx

39 comments:

  1. Your topiary collection is looking good.....desparate to start shaping more when I get back....as I am to plant the Kiftsgate rose over my car port.....having seen it growing in the magnificent garden for which it was named, think it would be perfect. Did you find it in a nursery in your neck of the woods? Fingers crossed I can find it in Hobart! Rx

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    1. You've had so much garden inspiration, I'm sure you'll go crazy in the garden when you get back. We have difficulty with rose purchasing in Adelaide now - the one grower of David Austin/ old world roses shut down their growing section saying it wasn't making them money. Now we're at the mercy of what comes into the local retail nursery instead. Last year I did online ordering from Victoria, with Treloar roses, and it was excellent - all roses in good condition, all have grown well. Kiftsgate was from http://www.mistydowns.com.au who also sell peonies (although I can't grow them sadly!!). Between them and Treloar I've found all the David Austins/ old world roses I was looking for and in quantity. Locally I can often only find one or another, and traipse around all the nurseries looking for 3-5 which is what I usually prefer (mass planting). Saves a lot of hassle! I also have had success ordering hellebores online - much better variety, all arrived in good condition. xx

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  2. I hope that you start to feel less tired very soon. I must say that I admire your energy and dedication to the renovations, on top of your busy life!
    W a have slugs, too. I hate the damn things, but thank the gods that they are normal sized ones. I have no idea why we have them, but I guess it's just during damp times that they are around. I particlularly loathe almost stepping on one when I go to the loo at night. Yuck!
    Love your topiary. Glad you've sorted out the window.
    Also love your tulips.
    Here's wishing you a calm and relaxing week!

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    1. Thanks Ruth! There are normal sized slugs all around the garden too - I really need to start on an eradication program. The giant ones just seem to lurk in the kitchen. Although of all the things that we have inhabiting the house, they're the least of the problems... the cockroaches get to me the most. Last week one ran on my hand, I of course squealed and jerked my hand up.... and it disappeared. Searched everywhere for it, then gave up and kept cleaning. 5 minutes later I felt something crawling in my hair. Yes, it was the cockroach. Needed a G&T after that..... xx

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    2. Noooo! That is a good (horrible) cockroach story.

      I lived in NYC and they were quite difficult to avoid and I still shudder to think about them. I used to have nightmares about them!

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    3. They're the thing I hate the most - they just turn up everywhere! I've heard the cockroaches are a problem in NY... as are bed bugs?! xx

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  3. Phew! I can see why you are a bit tired bc I feel like I need a cuppa now. You must be so pleased that you changed the window situation!! Your renos are looking so good, am sooo envious of your progress. I must say I would have loved a picture of the slugs - I can't imagine ones that big. Your topiaries and the tulips balances out all the mud and slugs so you are still managing to eek out comfort where you can. Your topiary collection is so lovely and really suit your house. Hope the renos soldier on and you have a good week xx

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    1. I'm very glad I dealt with the window now - it was bugging me so much, I think I would have had some sort of horrendous breakdown over it as the reno progressed and I thought I'd stuffed up!
      Hadn't thought to take a picture of the slugs. Next time I find one I'll take a shot. They're not very attractive though....I can't believe how big they are either, had never seen slugs so large. Clearly they're well fed.... xx

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  4. The topiaries look amazing. I am afraid they have kicked my zinc-alume beds full of cabbages into the shade...!!

    Love the colours of the Lady of Shallot rose. Gorgeous.

    I completely understand that horrible feeling when you "hit the wall" with a renovation. I can remember having to host a baby shower with half my kitchen walled off with black plastic once. (Very, very long story.) I had been hoping for a soft pastel type theme for the shower with beautiful little roses and lovely linen etc. Unfortunately I wound up with more of a "Twin Peaks" Laura Palmer Dead Wrapped In Plastic type vibe which wasn't what I had in mind.... Fortunately my Farmgirl friends thought it was hilarious.


    xx

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    1. I was thinking of your garden when you were saying you wanted hot colours for your roses when I ordered Lady of Shalott - it's such a pretty colour, and a very large (tall) rose supposedly. I can't wait to pick it to put inside. Funny as I used to hate yellow and orange roses, but have grown to love them.
      Your party sounds hilarious! I really don't have it that bad at our place, the front of the house is really quite comfortable compared to what I've been through before/ seen others live in, but it does get to you occasionally when you get another cockroach infestation.... xx

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  5. The extension is really taking shape. Won't be long now ❤
    How do you keep the round topiaries so peferctlt round? Love love love. Looking forward to seeing your garden finished.

    B

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    1. Thanks B - you're right, it's not long to go! I cut the topiaries flat across the top, then kind of shape on an angle down the side. I just keep hacking away a tiny bit at a time until they look right. There are some good tutorials on you tube if you ever get some to do yourself! xx

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  6. Heidi... you will adore Heritage... it's my favourite DA rose!. YOur pots are looking wonderful - and I adore the tiles too! I think your frame looks fantastic - and yes it sits SO well on the site - I remember years back (when Princess Diana got married) that we had numerous holes in the walls during winter - black plastic sheeting between us and the winter.... hideous!!! I can only imagine how scary it was getting the roof to work and not to have colleagues to bounce things off on. Well done and try to take it easy this week too. Jenny xx

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    1. That winter with plastic sounds horrendous! Far worse than my cockroach/ slug problem! Glad Heritage gets your tick of approval - you're my gardening Idol in blog land Jenny!
      The roof nearly sent me over the edge. I spent 2 months fretting and plotting and planning it. If a roof is wrong it's such a glaring mistake to make, and it makes everything look bad. Fingers crossed that once it's all finished it will look perfect! xx

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  7. As someone who lives in the Old Testament and deals with slugs rats possums bush turkeys spiders and cockroaches you have my 100% Sympathy.

    Love the roses.

    I've been to KIFTSGATE!!!!!!!!!!

    Love the topiary so much- gorgeous.

    You need to drink more- Romy and I are here to Help.

    xxx

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    1. Haha - I'm not sure I need much help to drink more... after the 4 months of abstinence at the start of the year you could say I've made up for lost time.

      You're so lucky to see kifstgate at Kiftsgate. I'm super jealous. While you were tripping the light fantastic on the Grand Garden Tour, I was squashing cockroaches and giant slugs and having nervous breakdowns over the kitchen plans.

      Although I'm sure you understand with all your wildlife problems as well. We don't have bush turkeys, but the parrots have really wreaked havoc in my garden this year (and the camellia eating possum). xx

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  8. Beautiful topiaries, my roses don't seem to like my garden, I never get much of a show from them.
    I can't stand slugs and snails, I stopped growing sweet peas because picking them off every morning was revolting me.

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    1. Roses like Mediterranean climates, so I'd say you'd find them an uphill struggle in Scotland. They are a good low maintenance plant here. That's v. sad re the sweet peas - I love them so, what a shame they attracted the slugs, although better that you picked them off there than off your kitchen floor... xx

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  9. Ok, Ok. I won't ever bitch about my kitchen again. Slugs!!! ICKKKKYYYY. The countdown is on to the new kitchen!
    OOhhhh your topiary collection is enviable!!! I have some buxus growing in pots that I am shaping into balls. Going well, slowly, but well. Did you buy them as balls and advanced? Or have you had them for years and years? I really wonder if I should buy some that are in a shape I want already for big bucks and just maintain.
    Good job on making the change. 100% agree that it was worth it to do it now. I hear you on not being able to get a 2nd opinion. It is so invaluable. Just have to know the right people. If you just show anyone, they will be like, ohh yeah yeah looks great!
    But I have found that if you obsess over it, you will get it right. Plan plan plan LOL. You don't need to hear my advice. You obviously do an amazing job.
    P.S have you chosen your bench top?

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    1. Hi Laura - those topiary have been mostly bought gradually from one of the local auction houses for around 1/3 - 1/2 retail price. I miss out on a lot of them, but every now and again I get lucky! I have grown some from small size, but they do take years.... you need a lot of patience!
      You're right about the obsessing over the detail - mostly it's an internal dialogue with myself! Benchtops are the composite marble that I posted a pic of ages ago... one detail that hasn't changed! xx

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  10. Those roses are beautiful! So, that's why they build those ugly buildings with the ugly flat rooves...too hard? Where has all the skill and craftmanship gone.
    When I watch "Grand Designs" U.K., I am in awe of the tradespeople , their crafts and skills who work on restoring the heritage homes shown on the programme. What's happened here?

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    1. Too hard and too expensive. We have now a fairly low skill level in most trades, and the specialist trades are few and charge a lot. We pay high labour costs as it is, so the specialists are up there with professional service fees on an hourly rate, like accountants. I wanted to do a double brick extension, but it would have taken over a year to built (just because you can't put other trades in while walls are going up, hard plastering walls is messy and expensive etc etc), and it was going to cost a bomb. In the end I had to give that up, which was disappointing.
      I watch grand designs as well and despair that our local skill level is so low - even our kitchens. No dove tailed solid wood drawers in Australia!! xx

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  11. Your topiary collection looks perfect on the veranda and I'm just admiring the colours of the tiles out there. At this time of year we have so many slugs all trying to spoil our lovely hostas. No wonder you're tired with so much going on!
    http://missbbobochic.blogspot.co.uk/

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    1. Thanks Miss B! I hope your hostas survive! We have a fairly ragged looking garden as well at the moment... very chewed around the edges! xx

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  12. Your house is really coming along though in winter I think all the reno would be a bit testing. Those tiles on your 19th C? verandah are unusual all those rounded hexagons the ones I have seen usually are all squared shapes ...

    I really like your hall table..keep battling those slugs ..yuck

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    1. I did a post on the front of the house, but I had to delete it after a few people recognised the house and then I got strange letters.... the veranda was completely restored, but the tiles are new tesselated tiles. We had only a small patch left at the front door that shattered when the builders tried to get them up (someone had liquid nailed them to the concrete). All the slate edging is original though. Hexagons were quite common in Adelaide. In Melbourne they tend to have quarry tiles, which are a different type of tile, and they're more checkerboard in design. Not sure what Sydney ended up with though? Perhaps quarry tiles if you've not seen hexagonal ones before? xx

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  13. looks like it will be fabulous! lucky you don't have any mice while you're renovating like we did and no cat- drove me crazy!

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    1. I'm very grateful that the mice have gone. We had them for the first 2 years, and I couldn't get rid of them as they were coming in through the run down sunroom. And yes, they drove me absolutely crazy too! xx

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  14. Hoping you are feeling less tired this week - chicken soup and beautiful flowers are definitely good for the soul. I love the David Austin rose Lady of Shalott, I currently have an order with Treloars for 6 to plant along a fence for a mass of orange blooms in summers to come. Thanks for a great post on kitchen design - some very clever ideas, love that you could have a pull out drawer next to the stove for oils, condiments etc. It seems so obvious to do this but its not always something you would immediately consider. Have a lovely week. Karen

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    1. Snap with Treloars! I also wanted to get the other new one, Wedgewood but left my run too late and they were sold out. I think Lady of Shalott looks so beautiful. Glad the kitchen ideas post was useful - some people might find these things completely obvious, but I think until you think of things like that, it's not obvious at all! Glad it helped you xx

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  15. Loving your garden choices Heidi, sure beats my husband's obsession with conifers!! Framing looks as though it is coming along nicely. Sorry to hear of your cockroach/slug issues - hopefully they won't like the new kitchen and move far, far away!! Have a great week. Jo xx

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    1. Fingers crossed that the cockroaches get the message Jo - the kitchen is due to become my youngest's bedroom, so they'd better have vacated the building by then! My dad has a conifer obsession too... men tend to go with the more manly trees/ shrubs it seems! Hope you have an enjoyable week xx

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  16. Hang in there! Have you tried the magic of Mortein High Performance Surface spray on the cockroaches? It contains orange oil so it smells good and the Varmints find it absolutely irresistable.

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    1. hmmm, no I haven't. I've always been a bit nervous about surface insecticides and food preparation areas, but maybe if I spray it under the cupboards it'd be ok... thanks for the tip! xx

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    2. Definitely floors and under cupboards. Trust me Heidi, you will be rewarded with legions of cockroach corpses. Truly satisfying! x

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  17. Ww, that has really gone up really quickly - I can't believe it! Yes when we did our re-model I second guessed myself like you wouldn't believe. Im decisive, then not. I had a terrible tiredness for a month, it was probaably onslaught of the big "M" for me being over 50 - but you are waaay too young for that

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    1. I'd say I'm decisive... so when I don't like something, it has to change! Lets forget about the part where I didn't make the right decision in the first place!! I'd hope I've not reached the big M just yet.... yet another thing to look forward to! x

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  18. I'm so excited to see how everything is coming along. Even though it's in bits and pieces at the moment, your home strikes me as being so tranquil and calm and soothing to look at. You will definitely need to deal with the giant slugs, though - they'll ruin the ambiance for sure!

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    1. Hopefully it will be all those things you write - I loved the house when I first saw it because it seemed so 'settled'... a bit like a country house, but in the city. Most Adelaide villas are more town style. Hopefully that ambience will remain once the builders have cleared out. Giant slugs are hopefully dying a painful death as I type... snail bait is down! xx

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Architect & Interior Designer. Mother of three. A sometimes Cook, Baker, Reader, Gardener, Fashion Lover, Renovator, Writer of random things in South Australia email me on anadelaidevilla@bigpond.com
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