Another busy week. Starting with the renovations, a lot has happened outside this week. The renderer has done a bit of the grey final top coat, however has run out of the sample bag he had, and we're still waiting on the rest of it to be made in Melbourne. Hopefully this week. 


It's nice though to see the colours coming together. We've taken delivery of the first batch of slate for the exterior paving, and it looks really good with the render, windows, roof and paint colours. 



They've battened under the eaves, and are working their way around the house. I'm very happy about that, as it will possum proof the house, and I've been very worried we were going to have one move into the roof in the meantime. They'll start on the verandah this week, which goes across the back elevation of the house. It faces West, so gets incredibly hot in Summer.


Inside the kitchen has been undercoated. We're having painter problems, and are scrambling to find another. So far it's taken the painter 3 weeks to undercoat the kitchen. Not ideal. Add it to the long list of tradies with personal problems that have impacted on the flow of work...


But they've installed the beautiful tap, which feels so nice to use, it's superb quality, and I can now use the kitchen sinks and dishwashers. They've also installed the oven (temporarily) and the cooktop, which I love. 


So guess what the first gourmet meal I prepared on my new cooktop was? Macaroni and Cheese. The children got to pick. I've had to order a couple of new saucepans and frypan to work with the induction cooktop. This morning I made the children pancakes using my Le Creuset french oven in lieu of a frypan.




I can't properly move into the kitchen as it's too dusty, so everything is still kept in the Study and family bathroom and the hall. It's getting to be a drag.



They've started installing the steel window wall around the stairs that go down to the cellar and Mr AV's office. This won't arrive until next year, so we'll have a bit of a temporary stair enclosure in the meantime. This was supposed to be supplied by the Steel window company in Melbourne, whom we are suing. Papers were lodged with the court last week. The new steel window company, also in Melbourne, have only just got started on the window wall, so unfortunately it won't be in before Christmas. We've also had the new glass arrive on site for the two missing panes of glass in the steel windows - unfortunately they made a mistake, so they are remaking them. Honestly, these windows are cursed.....



A pallet load of old bricks arrived, which will be used to build the cellar shelving. My top tip for people with old cellars is to not fiddle with them too much. As tempting as it might be line them or paint them, or put in a new concrete slab floor and turn them into a wine tasting room or something fancy, you'll ruin the natural balance. They used to use breathable paint on the wall (lime wash), and have cross ventilation in them (doors often had holes drilled in them, plus a small window on the other side of the cellar for airflow) and they'd have a brick floor laid directly on the dirt. When you fiddle with these things (replacing the door with a solid one for instance) you end up with damp problems.

The shelves will end up looking something like this, in a slightly more rustic, less fancy manner 




The builders have also put in the new door and architrave for the new opening into the guest powder room. They reused one of the old doors we'd taken out in the first stage of the renovations 3 years ago. It looks like it's always been there now.




So that's pretty much it for the week on site. Lots happening, however we have set some deadlines (carpet and lino flooring oriented) and there's a lot to do to meet those deadlines still.

So, onto other matters. The week has revolved around food. I was out to lunch with a couple of the school mum's during the week, which was so nice as I really feel like I'm working full time at the moment and have not seen friends for absolutely ages. We went to The Grace, and this was the chocolate dessert plate that my friend K ate. Yum, and I loved the little violas they'd decorated with. There seems to be a big trend in using edible flowers in food presentation at the moment. It reminds me of the 80's when my mum would make her own crystallised rose petals and violets for her fancy dinner party desserts.


On Thursday, my friend A and I made 80 cupcakes for my Son's year level special end of year celebration. The builders kindly installed the oven for me on Wednesday especially for this momentous bake off. The reason why we made 80 was because in the first double batch that were made, I forgot to put the eggs in as I was so busy talking to various builders/ my friend A. The end result was flattened biscuity looking things (which the builders ate). So, another 24 were made to make up the numbers, and after around 3 hours we had 55 of these as our finished product.


There was a dragonfly theme at the event, and I was aiming to do something tasteful with fondant. But I ran out of time, and decided that in the end the kids just want to eat lollies and icing anyway. So we used some cut down snakes for the dragonfly bodies, and white chocolate freckles for the wings. They were a big hit.


Friday night we had the big night of nights for H and his school friends who ate the cupcakes and had a disco, and then rushed home to dump him with the babysitter before heading up the hill to the Stirling Hotel's Grill restaurant for a Captain Courageous foundation dinner. I've written before on the blog about this very worthy cause, it was started by a friend of ours with a very sick little boy who has raised an incredible amount of money for a very rare condition that was previously not having any research being done, and as a reminder - buy the cookbook! It's excellent and would make a fabulous Christmas gift.



 Last night I went out with my friend K to see the Opera - Puccini's Madame Butterfly. It was excellent, we both loved it and there was a full house, which was so good to see. The reason why Mr AV did not attend with me, is that he now refuses to go to the Opera with me. And Madame Butterfly was the Opera that finished him off. 

Mr AV has gone to the Opera with me for many years, however around 8 years ago we saw Madame Butterfly in Melbourne, and they included the waiting scene - where Madame Butterfly sits in silence on the stage for 3 minutes (to represent the 3 years she waits for her American sea captain husband to return to Japan for her). Mr AV became very agitated after 20 seconds that nothing was happening. Later on, when she is tragically forced to give up her little 3 year old boy in a heart rending scene and then abruptly commits suicide for the tragic end (as all great Operas end tragically) he declared he would never go to the Opera again. When he was telling my parents about how painful it was to sit through, my Dad was in complete agreement with him, saying "Oh, Madame Butterfly - that one's the WORST"..... The reason why I love the Opera is that I was taken from the age of 8 by my Mum,  as Dad flatly refused to go with her.

At any rate, my friend K and I loved it - it does, after all have one of the most beautiful arias in Opera in it - Un bel di vedremo



enjoy, and hope you had a good week too xx

43 comments:

  1. I'm with your husband- Mde Butterfly hurt my heart too much esp the little boy bit and it would be much quicker if they SAID it. Love the kitchen x

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    1. I must say, it's quite an anti American opera... and agree with you re the little boy. They had the cutest little boy on stage, who reminded me of S as he would've been around 3. I had a few tears - it's very sad, but I love the music. xx

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    2. I love it too, after La Traviata, my next favourite. Watched wonderful production on television one night, by myself. Son appeared just as I was in floods of tears. He was a teenager at time and was shocked until I explained why. He was so impressed that an opera could have such an effect that he sat with me and watched till the end. It was my Dad who introduced me to opera (so at least one man loved it - but then his mother was a music teacher and there were many musical people in his family, including a concert pianist). I loved if from the start. But neither he nor I had inherited the family music talent.
      Would die to attend an opera starring Anna Netrebko.
      As well as Italian operas, also love Mozart. The story of Cosi fan Tutti really annoys me but the music and combinations of voices in the arias - so brilliant, and often so playful and naughty.
      Can really see now how wonderful the house is going to be. Love the sound of the cellar. You'll be able to have candlelit wine tastings down there. So romantic. Pamela x

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    3. You really do need to read the book I read the other week if La T is your favourite Pammie. I'm afraid the lead in the local production wasn't a patch on Anna Netrebko, but she was very good. I'd love to see one of the greats perform. I remember seeing Joan Sutherland playing Mimi in La Boheme on her farewell tour when I was younger (she was a rather aged and portly mimi, considering she was supposed to be starving as well...), but it was so long ago and we haven't had a big international star from Australia since - the big European names don't seem to want to come to Oz. Also saw The Magic Flute in a castle in Prague, outdoors which was lovely. xx

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    4. How wonderful to have seen Joan S performing in La Boheme! She never was sylph-like but her voice was so magnificent it didn't matter. Was lucky to be able to attend a Joan concert many many years ago in the Wellington (NZ) Town Hall. She was spell binding. But it's not the same as being at an actual opera performance. Also aeons ago went to a concert performance by Kiri te Kanawa here in Canberra. She was magnificent but I felt so cross because the old ladies behind me kept rattling their lolly packets and unwrapping noisy sweets during her arias.
      Also love "The Magic Flute" (and "La Boheme"), though find the initiation ordeal just that, a bit of an ordeal. But how wonderful to see it at a castle in Prague! We love to go to the opera while travelling too. Once saw a combined production (the Kirov and NY Metropolitan) of "War and Peace" in the Mariinski theatre in St Petersburg (just taking our seats in such a beautiful theatre with its chandeliers and Imperial box and velvet chairs was magical), music conducted by Valery Gergiev and opera directed by Andre Konchalovsky. A quite revolutionary and inspired production - the Russians in the audience went crazy at the end, jumped and stomped, clapped madly and cheered loudly. (In the interval we'd followed the Russians to the beautiful cocktail bar and lapped up the Georgian champagne, caviar etc.) In Vienna once saw "La Traviata" in the Staatsoper, superb too and received quite an ovation but the Viennese not passionate like the Russians.
      One of my friends and her husband flew somewhere far away (can't remember where) to see the full Ring cycle and both loved it. But haven't yet acquired a taste for Wagner and can't imagine G ever sitting through the full Ring. However, he is very good, though it wouldn't be his first choice of a way to spend an evening he does enjoy the operas we go to. Pammie xx

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    5. There is absolutely no chance of me ever going to the Ring Cycle with Mr AV! My older sister and Mum went to see Opera in the Outback in the Flinders ranges back in 1988 in which Kiri performed. It was amazing apparently. Would love to see Aida at the Pyramids in Egypt, however with all the unrest in that country at the moment, I suspect (aside from other reasons) that's a bit of a pipe dream. You've been to some amazing places for Opera Pammie xx

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    6. This will positively be my last comment on this. But another great Opera House - and a weird experience - was at the Teatro Massimo in Palermo (used in The Godfather Part III final scenes). For our last night in Palermo before flying to Paris we'd booked for "The Medea". It's a fabulous place and the opera company good too though it's not one of my favourite operas. Just as the second interval started there was an announcement made in Italian - we had no idea what was said. I went off to the loo (and stood in the long queue for the Ladies, as you do in almost any Opera House). The Sicilian women were magnificent, so beautifully dressed. Some in designer black (eg Armani or Chanel) with pearls and/or lots of diamonds, others in fabulous designer colours (eg Versace) and jewels. They were very pleasant and friendly as we waited. So I asked what the announcement was about. They explained there had been a lightning strike by the stage lighting people and that the final act wouldn't start until it was resolved. When I expressed astonishment they said it wasn't so unusual. So all these lovely people were heading off to nearby restaurants and bars to dine and have some champagne until it was settled. Apparently it's usually the same night. I asked how long and they explained it might only be an hour or less or could be much longer. They just shrugged and laughed and weren't at all bothered. But we had to be up early the next morning to fly out - so we never did see the final act. Pammie xx

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    7. Love this story Pammie - so Italian!! The striking there is ridiculous - I think it's hard to avoid one somewhere if you spend any length of time in the country at all. How funny to think though that it's done so regularly during a performance that everyone is used to it! xx

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  2. Glad things on moving along and am still in awe of our patience in spite of all! And glad you are having some fun as well! yay for the opera, though I have never seen it live!

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    1. It was nice to do a few grown up things - have done a lot of child oriented things for the past month!! I loved the Opera - beautiful music, glass of champagne with a good friend, good people watching and a bit of dressing up for the night. Can't understand why Mr AV is so reluctant to go?! xx

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    2. WMM- if you come over I am dragging you!

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    3. Heidi - my hubs loves going to the opera and classical music concerts - I find the latter quite wearing.

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    4. that's interesting you'll go to the Opera, but don't like classical concerts? Mr AV will still attend them with me, but he's also declared that he's not going to the Ballet again either after Sleeping Beauty a few months ago, which is so annoying as they've got Cinderella next year which I'd love to go to.... I shall have to plot and find a friend to go with me! xx

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  3. I love the opera and at one time we drove into Toronto 4 times a year to see it, we had a subscription and it was marvellous, but now MrBP refuses to go as do my daughters. Nobody likes it but me. How sad, but it was difficult getting there on time with the hideous traffic and I don't miss that.
    Your house is really coming along, I can't believe how beautiful it is! A wine cellar will be terrific, you're giving me an idea as I have a bare brick wall in my basement, maybe I should build some cellar shelves. I'm going to look into it!

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    1. I do hate the parking/ bun fight getting in aspect. We ended up so late due to parking frustrations that we ordered our pre drinks as the bells were ringing, and had to do a bit of a fast drinking of the champagne, which wasn't ideal. I felt like a teenager as you couldn't really savour it!
      You should definitely do some shelving if you have a basement! All the old houses in Adelaide have cellars as they used to store food in there during the hot summers. They are perfect for wine now xx

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  4. Those windows are surely wanting your attention! But they are fab and are such a feature so I guess they are deserving of patience....
    Love the pots I have them too but none of mine match gray and bright green I just get whatever is on sale.

    But yes the opera is lovely tho one opera I will never go to despite even getting invited or getting free tickets is German opera, that is my limit! No can do Wagner.

    Food looks good. Are peonies edible? Could you imagine a few of your pink flowers on icecream? Xx

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    1. THe windows have nearly driven me around the bend. Am sure that the legal action will have a similar effect, however now it's at court, so we'll see how that works out. It seems open and shut, but whether this company have money to retrieve from them is another matter....
      We couldn't get the colours for the longest time - only blue, red and black! Now you can get all the others, and I wish I had a more colourful range, but they're all from my wedding 13 years ago!
      Wagner's Ring Cycle is on in Melbourne at the moment and I heard somewhere that premium tickets to the whole thing were $10,000. People have travelled from around the world to attend, as it's such a big thing to put on.
      Don't know about peonies... you might want to google before trying as they could end up being poisonous!! xx

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  5. It's for the school mum's that I wish I had had kids, life is really isolated without children around these parts.
    You have such a stunning home Heidi.

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    1. I think if I'd moved home without the kids my life here would be very different. It gets you to meet all sorts of other people, otherwise I'd be sticking with old school friends as the only other way to really make friends as an adult is through work, and if you work alone, that's a problem.
      Thanks for the kind words. It's coming along - I try to ignore the piles of crap everywhere in the front of the house and focus on the end result!! xx

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  6. I love that blue trim around the cooktop and are your kitchen chairs red?

    I have to have work done at my flat and Im paralysed with fear at the thought ! (or maybe its the coffee)a lot of different things need doing such as bathroom renovation, some carpentry and possible wiring ..do I hire one person and let them sort it or.find differenr tradespeople ? any thoughts would be appreciated?

    Im ashamed to admit I've never been to an opera.... .don't know why I suppose Im waiting for someone to invite me ..!!!!!!!

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    1. The blue trim is the painters masking tape smr!! The red chairs are the kids booster chairs, which normally go around the dining table but I haven't bought the bench height stools yet - still have to work out what to get. I moved them into the kitchen over the weekend as we have been eating all our meals at the outdoor table and chairs on the veranda, but it's been so COLD some mornings!! 13 degrees last week.
      In your situation, I'd probably get a bathroom company to sort out the bathroom - otherwise you'll have to subcontract out the tiling, plumbing, wiring etc. A bathroom company will do the whole lot, and the electrician they hire could do all the other wiring you need to do. If you've got some small carpentry they could probably get their carpenter to do it too. I think, based on your previous comments, that if you do it yourself it will take a very long time, and you'll find it frustrating and feel a bit lost. One of my friends used a bathroom company in Melbourne, and they moved a wall, re planned the whole bathroom, did everything and she just moved out for 3 weeks while it was done. Much quicker and less hassle than doing everything yourself.
      My friend K hadn't been before either! You should find someone to go with and book tickets - Opera Australia do some great productions xx

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    2. see I do need help ..trim indeed,,, still I like it.. maybe red for stools !

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  7. I can't do the opera either. The Gondoliers did it for me when I was 11ish. But I do love a musical. I saw Chitty Chitty Bang Bang on the weekend with my eldest. Still singing the songs. Hope the curse of the windows gets resolved soon x

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    1. Ha! I'm picky about what I'll go and see, it has to have one of the pieces of music I love in it.
      Chitty Chitty Bang Bang was the best! S still talks about it, and he was turning 3 when he went to see it, so it obviously made an impression. Glad you loved it tooxx

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  8. The emotion of Un Bel Di Vedremo is achingly beautiful. The master of Puccini.
    Your kitchen and extension is looking divine. Such a beautifully calm, gentle space. The soft light in there looks wonderful. EVERYTHING looks wonderful! Brava!
    Oh, the frustration of renovating/building......The decision process is hard enough - but it is the execution of it all that disappointed and frustrated me the most. Hang in there!
    All the best on the "home run" - sure it will be worth it! Cxx

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    1. It is such a beautiful song, and Puccini did make the best operas.
      Thanks for the lovely comments on the house C - I'm really happy with how its coming together, which is keeping me going through all the difficulties and mess... I think everyone complains about the frustrations of building. While some of the trades and companies we've ordered through have been easy and great to work with, the ones that aren't unfortunately stick in your mind and cause the frustrations and delays... Only another month or so to go (I hope!!!) xx

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  9. It's looking good Heidi! I like the cupcakes too and completely agree about going with the lollies and icing rather than fancy pants decorating. It is annoying and tedious to do and the kids don't appreciate it anyway!

    Your kitchen looks like it is slowly coming together. I have the blue Le Creuset too. They were a wedding present and are still going strong ten years down the track. Love that you have chosen a double oven rather than a free standing stove. I have had both and, although the double oven is nowhere near as fashionable, it is much more practical as I don't have to bend down as far and can pick and choose which oven I use. Love it.

    Best go. Bit worn out here today and have 18 ladies coming to lunch on Weds so need to get myself moving and find some motivation!!

    Enjoy your week.

    xxx

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    1. THe double is definitely the go - there aren't that many on the market in Australia (definitely more models available overseas), because everyone likes the single underbench these days. Not sure why , they're so practical as you say.
      18 to lunch?? Wowsers, lots to do no doubt. Hope it all goes smoothly xx

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  10. Dear Heidi, good to see progress, albeit maybe slow and problematic for you...it will be beautiful in the end. I love steel framed windows, have seen them a bit on a few overseas blogs...was thinking of one day maybe doing the same if ever I built a new house. I am in Melbourne so if I do, might ask you for the right company.
    Re Opera, I love music, had never been to an opera, so last year my friend and I( could never, ever drag my husband along) went as part of our bucket list of things "one should do"...disappointingly, found it a tad too long. Some parts were wonderful though.
    Linda C.

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    1. Yes! Definitely ask me for the recommendation on who to use Linda - I most certainly wouldn't recommend the company we used (obviously!). Which opera did you see? Some are better than others, especially for your first it's a shame it wasn't for you. xx

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  11. Renovations seem to be coming along rapidly now (albeit the windows from hell) and looking great!! Love the dragonfly cupcakes. I am sure your builders didn't mind eating the flat ones! I found feeding my builders + making endless lattes was a great way to keep them motivated during some of the more challenging moments. Is that your dining table hidden under masses of builder's stuff? Have a great week Heidi. Jo xx

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    1. Hi Jo, things are moving, just a few niggly problems - as always on a renovation! The builders were only too happy to eat them, although I was quite embarrassed offering them around as they really did look dreadful! I have to admit, I've never made them a coffee or anything - we've been too separated from the back of the house, and I thought once I started I'd be spending my days making coffee rather than all my other jobs!
      Yes, that's our dining table under the pile of stuff. We are using our outdoor dining table on the veranda for meals at the moment, which is very cold some mornings! xx

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  12. The render is gorgeous. I hope the rest comes in very soon. Don't you just want to peel off all those dots on the windows?? Maybe it will make you feel better. (Probably have to stay for now don't they? So no bozo hits them)
    The cellar. How fabulous. Old bricks make my heart sing. I have been collecting old abandon bricks and piling them up in my driveway to use one day on maybe the patio or to edge garden beds.
    All looking really good.

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    1. Hi Laura - it's on its way thank goodness! They made it last Friday, so it should arrive today on the truck. I hate dirty windows, so they're driving me nuts, but I'm not out in the back enough for it to make me peel off the dots. Plus I'm not keen on more broken glass as it's taken so long to get replacement panels. xx

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  13. Wow, it all looks so shimmeryand white and gorgeous, the workmanship is beautiful, I can really tell on the tiles, that's a hard one to get right. Great that you are right there on the job supervising all the time, I really think that is a key to a beautifully made home. When we remodeled three years ago, I was there all day and you must have knowledge way way beyond the norm being an architect. Love the addition of the brick they you're going to do, nice texture with the sleek counters

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    1. Unfortunately you can't outsource everything! And not moving out was key to ensuring everything is going to plan. Otherwise tradies tend to make decisions in your absence, with not always a good final outcome. Love the pictures you posted of your front door today - would love to see more of your place... your dressing room is very nice though!! xx

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  14. What brand of cookware have you ordered for your new cooktop Heidi? My husband owes me a new induction frypan as he has recently ruined mine!! Jo xx

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    1. It was a Scanpan IQ set Jo, bought it through Everton online so had a hefty discount. I had to get the saucepan and frypan set, as I've only got a couple of pans that work (although, I have never heavily invested in saucepans anyway, so really, I've only lost 3 to start with!) xx

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  15. You've picked some great cabinets in your kitchen really utilizing all the space and crating a place for everything well done. You should be really proud of your kitchen and other work as it all seems to be coming along beautifully. On a different note that desert your friend bought looks mouthwatering.

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  16. Hi Heidi,
    Congratulations on your fabulous looking renovation. So many houses in Adelaide have unimaginative cookie-cutter renovations. I'm ordering some steel frames for my house in Adelaide and have not been able to find a supplier here. I have quotes from various interstate companies including the 2 from Melbourne. I/m wondering if you can recommend your preferred supplier (in order to prevent defaming the other) so I don't end up in the same situation as you have... Thanks in anticipation. Amy

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  17. Hi Amy, I'd recommend Skyrange in melbourne, they've done the Eco Outdoor windows - if you're in Kent Town you should pop by and have a look. They don't offer a one stop service, which the company we used do (you have to organise your own install, glazing and painting). We're using them for our window wall around the stairs.
    I'm happy to tell you who to avoid if you'd like to send me an email. The company we used and are suing have probably the best marketing, are supposed to be a one stop shop (they do all the install, glass and powdercoating) and have been in operation for quite a while - I used to pass their showroom frequently when we lived in Melbourne, so the end outcome has been very surprising... hope that helps, but if you'd like more info, send me an email x

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  18. The roof’s almost finished, and it looks great! The interior looks so pristine with all the white walls and such. Are you planning to throw in some dark colors in there, or just go with other tones of white or softer shades of gray? Anyways, good luck and have fun with your new home!

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    1. Thanks Missie Rice! The floor is dark, I like to have a bit of black (ish) in there somewhere to ground it all, otherwise it 'floats' a bit. Plus we have enough light, so black is good to absorb a bit of the glare in Adelaide. I'm trying to keep it all relatively neutral, and then introduce colour with a rug/ cushions etc. 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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