Today is Anzac Day, Australia and New Zealand's national day of reflection and remembrance on the sacrifice made by so many for our country. I went for a walk this morning, and part of my walk was along an Avenue of Remembrance. Each tree is an Elm, planted by the family of a soldier who did not return from WW1.



This morning there had been a dawn service, and as I walked through the avenue of trees, there were a few with photographs and rosemary sprigs left by family who still remember and honour their relatives who died so many years ago. Next to the tree pictured above is another tree planted for this soldiers brother who also never returned.

It's the tail end of the School Holidays here, and we've been busy. I thought I'd update on a few of the renovation things going on. We're really down to the last few weeks of defects and finishing things off. The builders have finished the veranda posts - they are chunky timber posts, so give a better weight to the outdoor area. If we had left the more spindly traditional posts, it would have looked strangely top heavy.



I toyed a little with the idea of making the posts more decorative, but decided against it for a few reasons, one being that I worried it would look too faux and fussy for my liking - the aim all along has been to do a stripped back version of the classical front of the house. Not imitating it too much, but complementing it in a more modern way. The posts have to be painted up this week, but they've had the outdoor lights installed on them, so I took a few photos.



I've put a micro spot uplighter on each post. They are fixed up a little off the ground so that they won't be tripping hazards. We won't add in more lighting to the outdoor area - between those and the fixed up down lighters beside the doors, there is enough ambient light to see without it being lit up like an operating theatre.






I particularly like the effect of the library wallpaper on the back wall of the stairs from outside when you look through the kitchen window at night.

Back inside, we took delivery of two kitchen height bar stools. I searched a long time to find something that would work. I didn't want a gas lift stool, as they have very heavy bases on them (which are often shiny chrome), and wanted something that wouldn't draw too much attention to itself. These "About a Stool" from Hay Denmark ticked the boxes and compliment the steel windows. Now when I cook, I often have company from someone perching there chatting to me.





 Some more wallpaper photos - here is the door to the Laundry covered in the Cole & Son's "Woods and Pears" wallpaper. The wallpaper guy is so good - he's a perfectionist and lined it up perfectly to create a jib (concealed) door. I'll show more photos of the completed playroom one the School holidays are over (I am keeping the sliding door from the kitchen shut a lot to screen the horrific mess it is in!).




 Lastly, I thought I'd leave you all with the depressing view from inside the house. This is the before series of photos of the garden... it's looking pretty bad. Most of the builders equipment and mess has gone, but we have a lot of aggregate, sand and generally depressing landscaping to sort out. Add to that we have had to poison off the remaining grass/ weeds before starting the major landscaping works, and it looks a little desert like out there. I'm really looking forward to the trees dropping their leaves in the next few weeks as Autumn truly descends, and the remaining greenery disappears (!).

depressing back garden




side garden





I've been sorting through the quotes for the pool and major landscaping. As the quotes are fairly horrifyingly high, we are going to do the back garden in stages, with the priority being to remove the gravel/sand/ clay dirt around the new extension and bring in new soil, plant a lawn, lay out the garden beds and do the pool. The planting we'll do, and I'm intending to grow as many of the plants myself as I can. I'll divide up the things growing in the front garden, like lambs ears and agaves and irises, and strike a few more Salvias, Ecchium and Euphorbias as well as planting things from seed. Plants are horrendously expensive, so anything I can save there will make a huge difference to the bottom line.

We've been renovating the back of the house for over a year now, so I'm looking forward to having no builders in the house, and looking forward to having no dirt and dust tracked in and around. We're also coming up to the 4 year anniversary of when we bought the house and started the renovations. We started work after settlement in July 2010, so we've been renovating steadily for nearly 4 years now. And we're still not finished!! The garage is on the list of things to do next, but that will be a while away yet - we have the garden to sort out first. Good things come to those who wait though, and this has certainly been an exercise in patience! But we are loving living in the new extension. It's definitely all worth it, and we feel very fortunate to have a home like this. I think the contrast between how the house was and how it is now, and the way we lived in it for so long definitely makes you appreciate it all the more.

49 comments:

  1. It is looking so, so good, Heidi! I love the posts - you're right that spindly ones would look out of place. The lighting is also looking fantastic.
    Four years! What an amazing amount you've achieved in that time, though. I'm guessing that you must be feeling a huge sense of satisfaction! The garden will make it even more wonderful once it's finished. I had no idea that plants were expensive - we have a very, very small back yard so it's unlikely we'll ever need much in the way of plants, but yours will need a fair few.
    Looking forward to seeing the garden blossom (so to speak!)

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    1. There are some benefits to having a small back garden Ruth! I've always wanted a big garden, but when you essentially start from scratch it adds up very quickly. The former owner clearly loved gardening, and had a lot of plants in the garden, but most had to go for the building works, and a lot were poisonous, so I decided to remove them due to the kids.
      I'm looking forward to seeing your renovation start though, it will turn into a renovating, rather than clothes blog fairly soon I'm guessing? xx

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  2. 1. love those big posts

    2. love that pears wallpaper ! 11/10

    3. the buxus in the pots looks great

    4. can't wait to see what you do with the garden! xxx

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    1. Thanks! I'm excited about the garden overall... and dying to see some green out there. In the meantime the buxus stands in for it! I try to ignore the orangey sand behind it all... xxx

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  3. Your home is looking beautiful, I love the way you have done the lighting. I also have a problem with the price of plants. We live on a couple of acres in a rural/country town and the only place that sells plants with variety is Bunnings. I shudder at the price of a plant there, even just a basic plant is well over the $15.00 mark. We have a bit to plant out but I have been using seeds. At Bunnings I brought a box of peat pods. The idea being that when you want to use them you put them in warm water, they expand and then you put the seeds in the top of the pod. I just used a seedling tray that holds about 8 punnets squashing the pods into it so they stand up straight, I don't let them dry out and then when the plant has germinated and grown to a sufficient height you plant the pod and all in the garden. I have tried many ways of planting seeds from seed raising mix to putting in the ground and none worked worked me. This method was such a success I'm off to buy more soon to get some more plants happening before we start getting frosts. It has worked for both flowers and vegies and certainly seems like more value for money to me and a little bit of satisfaction that I have grown it from a seed.

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    1. There is nothing better than a free plant Louise Jane, and agree with you about the cost of plants. They're around $15 a pot up to $25/ pot depending on what they are. We need to plant quite a lot of trees, so they'll be an unavoidable cost, but everything else I will try to do as cheaply as I can. The front garden has had a lot of free plants put in to fill in the gaps, and it's always satisfying to look at a garden bed and think that you've saved $250 or whatever it was.
      Thanks for the tip on the peat pods. I will definitely give them a go. I'm going to sign up to the Diggers club to get access to seeds, and was thinking of investing in a propagating tray, but these might be a better option for the mass planting I'm planning for the spring planting. Have you tried ordering other things online? I find that some of the online catalogues are good for things that aren't available locally - the roses and hellebores came from online nurseries, and they're quite good for bulbs too. xx

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  4. The lighting on the posts looks so effective. We still haven't completed our outdoor lighting and there are still cables waiting until we find suitable fittings. Your bar stools are so attractive and such a change from the usual ones. When our building work was completed after seven months it seemed strange at first and so quiet without the noise of machinery!

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    1. That sounds like our old place miss b - we had it wired, but never did manage to put the lights in. I'm looking forward to the peace and quiet, but I think we're still a fair way away from that... probably by the end of the year when the pool is finished and the landscaping done! xx

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  5. wow - so impressive! And the good thing is the garden will come back quickly with a little TLC!

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    1. I try to remind myself that the front garden is only 2 years old.. which makes it seem a bit better, but we have a long way to go Wendy! xx

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  6. Oh Heidi your place is looking fantastic! I kind of fell off my blog in term 1 as my son was having lots of school dramas but I have intermittently popped in and checked your progress and it is amazing! You should be so proud of yourself for having the creative talent and skill to create this beautiful house. We too settled our house almost the same time as you- August 2010 and like you it is a slow and steady plod to the finish line of a beautiful home. Our back yard is still largely a disaster so in that respect I can very much relate and agree with you on the horrific price of plants. We just finished painting our kitchen/lounge/dining last week and finally have a new lounge coming next week. Woohoo for progress! mel x

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    1. PLEASE post an update Mel!! I'm dying to see how it's all going... especially if you've finished the painting and the new sofa is on its way. Hope all the school dramas have well and truly settled down - that can be so stressful xxx

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  7. Your lighting choices are so brilliant! I love those little lights at the bottom of the posts, the whole house looks stunning from the back when lit up. The wallpaper with the pears is gorgeous.
    That is a big garden. I'm sure it will be perfect in the end, will you do the design? I'm going to send this post to my friend Christopher, he's a landscape architect, so talented, he designed our garden and our neighbours and I adore his work. He will be interested in your property because he was shipped off to boarding school in Australia when his parents were transferred to Hong Kong. I think that is where he first became interested in plants and design.
    Your choice of stools was also excellent, love that they echo the steel windows, you really do have a wonderful eye Heidi!xox

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    1. How interesting about your friend Dani! There are always a few who are boarding from Asia in every school I think. I'm so enjoying the house at night... for one thing I can't see the garden and the lighting inside is a good distraction. Now for the million little things to tick of the list to really finish it all off!! xx

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  8. Your backyard certainly is a blank slate at this point! I think you'll do well to complete the work in stages - better for the plants, too. PS Love the lighting on the porch!

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    1. Thanks Liene, yes.. a definite blank slate! The whole house has been in stages. I've actually lost count of where we're up to (stage 3 or 4... I have no idea now!) xx

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  9. Ambient light!! Yes. The best. Looks fab. I agree about the cost of plants. Sending me to the poor house, well my ideas any way. It will look so great when your garden is finished. I love the pic of back window with the library wallpaper. Jaw dropping. I spotted buxus balls of a nice size at the nursery the other day. Was about to splurge and realised that too much time had elapsed with my tongue hanging out of my mouth and I needed to go pick up my daughter from daycare. 4 years! WOW. You have done a great job.

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    1. Try and find the box wholesale Laura... I fear Sydney prices will bankrupt you! Just buy things small for your garden and make sure you feed them with lots of Power Feed and they'll double the size in no time. xx

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  10. That avenue of trees is very special. It's lovely that families still remember members of there family that lost there lives to war. My dad is 84 and didn't get to serve because he was too young .He gets very emotional when he talks about the men that returned to his neighbourhood after the second world war and how they came back either wounded or emotional scared. Of course at the time he was ready to sign up and was filled with the bravado of youth and the thought of a big adventure.
    Love your extension the outdoor lighting is perfect and your new garden will be beautiful.
    Kind Regards
    Karen

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    1. Hi Karen, it's so sad that it still reverberates through the generations after. I was reading today that there are over 500 avenues in Australia, many in poor shape. I think it's wonderful the local Council has made such an effort to preserve, replant where needed and keep it all looking so good. It's sad that many have been bulldozed so soon after they were planted in the name of progress.
      I'm looking forward to looking out at some greenery from inside... that and finally having clean windows! xx

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  11. What a stunning stunning home, you are your own best advert! My garden is a mess, everything is overgrown and leggy, as we lost our gardener for a while, the new gardener just suggested cutting everything down and starting again - I had to be brought back to life!

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    1. I hope you're not going to get in there with a machete??! Surely it can be salvaged if it's only 6 months worth of neglect. I quite like a jungly garden, within reason of course, but it's definitely preferable to the desert I have at the moment - definite extremes there! xx

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  12. Heidi its all looking gorgeous. Loving that pear wallpaper. And your stools are divine. We picked ours up today and I’m loving them despite always having an aversion to eating at the bench but I think that was because we always made such a thing of eating at the table with the kids. Now they are grown up and gone we are breaking all the rules! We ended up getting replica Johannes Anderson “Allegra’ stools in Ash with white leather seats. They tie in nicely with the Hans Wegner elbow chairs we got a while ago in the same colour way. Quite a departure for us having so much new modern furniture as I have always been an antique or more correctly termed ‘pre-loved’ furniture lover. I toyed with black which I think would have looked quite striking too and If I had seen your post - would have definitely looked into yours. They look very sleek and would make quite a statement. Gardenwise - how do you strike salvias? Lavenders are very easy to get going. I’ve had a lot of success, especially with French lavender. I shudder to think what I have spent on plants over the past year. In preparation for the wedding I was scaring myself with frequently spending a couple of hundred a week as we didn’t have time to wait for propagating etc and had ‘holes' to fill. We have an acre. Love lambs ears and they are super easy. I found the Margeurite daisies struck too and they spread quite quickly. And the wallflowers. Good luck with it all. Can’t wait to see how it all develops. Tonkath

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    1. Hello Tonkath - I'm sure the garden was looking spectacular from the wedding... but an acre? Oh my, the plants that takes!! Not surprised the local nursery is doing so well from you! I've found the salvias fairly easy. I actually tried it because I only had one plant, and I loved it and couldn't find more of that species at the nursery. You need to do it around mid September when it's shooting, take around a 10cm cutting, strip the bottom half of leaves, dip it in rooting gel and then pot into potting mix. Just keep it watered and so it gets morning sun and they all take.
      Your stools sound lovely - and I love the Hans Wegner chairs. I'm quite fond of black furniture now that I think of it... I have quite a few pieces in the house, considering the overall quantity of furniture we actually have. It goes well with antiques or modern furniture - sort of bridges them...I should write a post on it....! xx

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    2. Thanks for the salvia tips. Shall give them a go as I have a few. Yes! A post on black would be great a I still have quite a few old pieces of furniture that I am attached to and I think they can be mixed if you’re careful. I do enjoy your interior design posts. The garden won’t take long to grow but I feel your pain. It was actually having a scene like that when we built our previous house that got me interested in gardening, I was so desperate for some greenery and somewhere for the children to play! And now garden obsessed. Will you do roses around the back too? Tonkath

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    3. Not sure if I'll do roses, I suspect they'll sneak in, but I worry my garden is going to look too "pretty" with too many roses in it. But they do so well here, and I do love them cut inside the house, so it will be hard to resist... xx

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    4. I know what you mean. Mine crept in too! I kept with lots of greeny grey foliage like the lambs ears and lots of other silvery grey stuff for shrubbery with touches of mauve and white. Not too many roses. Tonkath

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  13. A few weeks till completion? Oh, what perfect words! The rear entertaining area is looking great, I love the 'weight' & balance the triple posts give the area and love your retraint with lighting! Electricians are so gung-ho and always want to add too many fixtures in my opinion. I much prefer well thought out, judicial placement as you have done! Plants are exy and you have such a big yard! The striking idea has merit though I dont know if I'd have the patience! One project concludes and another starts - isn't it always the way? Looking forward to watching your ideas florish in this new area.. x KL

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    1. It's the neverending project KL! I can hardly imagine a time where I won't have builders around to be honest...it will be quite surreal. Agree with you about electricians - my pet hate is the mass downlight explosion in most living rooms. Ambient light is so much nicer. Nothing worse than going somewhere with an unflattering harsh light cast from above to ruin the mood and make you feel horrifically self conscious! xx

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  14. Thank you for this blog entry, I never knew plants cost so much. We moved into a place with lots of roses and I had to get rid of a fair few fully grown hedge roses in the back garden. Roses and a small toddler don't get along very well. I feel guilty! -A

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    1. Don't feel guilty A, that's part of the cycle of a garden I think. We actually had a lot of mature things that we had to remove - a lot were poisonous, so went because of the children. We also had a couple of roses that went - they were completely feral and overgrown, and other things had to go to make way for the construction work. Plants are ridiculously expensive... and trees are another matter again! I remember watching a gardening program saying to keep watering the plants during the drought (not the lawn though), as the cost of replacement was so high - most people had no idea. xx

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  15. For some reason I had it in my head you'd have a full native garden as I love them ....but then of course no roses....

    Autumn must be coming the liquid ambers in my street are starting their colour change

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    1. Lots of colour changes around here too.. not a native garden, although a few will be incorporated. I'm aiming to do a modern Victorian garden. Plus plants that are reasonably drought/ heat tolerant. The roses do love a bit of dry heat, but I'm not sure if I'll add them to the back garden. I worry it will all get a bit too pretty. xx

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  16. The house looks stunning.
    The garden will get sorted out.
    What a beautiful abode xx

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    1. You're very kind Cilla. Love your Haiku of sorts! xx

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  17. Those columns are so chic as they are and love that pretty blue. The wallpaper looks ace from the outside, so clever. Gosh you have an enormous backyard compared to here in California in the hills where most people have pocket handkerchiefs. Best advice I ever got was not to go hard in on the play structure as very soon they will not need it. artificial grass has been brilliant for us.

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    1. It's actually quite a nice blue Jody - I agree... but hopefully they'll be painted white tomorrow! They were supposed to do that today, but it's poured with rain. Agree with you about play structures - we haven't got a cubby house for that reason. We have a pop up fairy tent for E, and that was a lot cheaper, and can be packed away when she's not playing with it (well, it's supposed to be... someone has mislaid the container it goes in. So it's currently up all the time. Yay). The garden was one reason we bought the house.... sadly a lot of the plants have had to go for various reasons, but the space is fantastic, and it will come up well (once I have enough money to actually put some plants in!) xx

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    2. I know, the Wendy House affect never gets old with the sprogs does it? And I know some adults who like a nice cocktail in a tent arrangement too...When we bought our house, the garden was full of old tzochkees (sp?) as the gardener said, scrappy bits and bobs so was okay to get rid of them

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  18. Hi Heidi
    New reader of your blog, I found you through my friend Emma from Two Little Pirates. It has taken me a month and half (in between parenting two active boys) to read about your adventures in renovating, travel, gardening, fashion & literature. I have loved every bit of it, your style of writing is witty & informative. I look forward to your future posts. And as I follow Emma on Instagram, I think I found you & if you don't mind I'll follow your adventures there as well. Wonderful blog Heidi.
    Cheers
    Engracia

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    1. Hi Engracia, thanks for your lovely comment! Goodness, you've read all the way back to the beginning? I'm still finding my way on instagram... and if you've read all the way back, you'll have noticed that photography is the blogs downfall! So I did resist for a long time, but it's a much quicker way of putting things out there, and I'm enjoying it. I found you too, so I'm following you as well (I hope that's ok!). I do miss Emma blogging. I held out hope she'd start up again for a long time, but after a year I guess that's a fairly good sign it's the end. xx

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  19. Heidi everything is coming together so well. The lighting at night looks gorgeous and those Danish bar stools look fantastic. I love the wallpaper you have used in your home - it almost tells a design story if you know what I mean. Just stunning Fifi xx

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    1. Thank you Fifi! I do love a bit of wallpaper... I think I've balanced it out so that people won't walk in thinking I've gone a little crazy with it, but I think of it as large scale art for the home. xx

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  20. Amazing lighting - I bet you can't wait to start entertaining out there in the evenings (no one will notice the garden). Looking forward to seeing your garden plans: I don't know much at all about gardening but looking forward to learning at the new house (fingers crossed).
    The wallpaper door is wonderful. What a good idea to be able to shut off the mess!
    x

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    1. Well, at night no one can see the garden, so it's definitely the best time to entertain out there!! I'm keeping my fingers crossed for you with your house too - how much longer to wait and find out Charlotte? Such a different process over your side from here. A door to shut off the mess has kept my sanity - my husband and I were commenting just last night how nice it was to keep the mess contained in the playroom, and slide the door over it in the evening!! Instant calm! xx

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    2. We will probably find out soon Heidi. Things have taken an age mainly down to getting our mortgage approved - that's been done now so down to the contractual bits. We hope to exchange in the next few weeks. In the meantime I feel slightly in limbo - not given notice for my daughters' at their nursery school but I might raise it with the head this week. Because the process is taking so long it is giving me lots of time to second guess the decision. x

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  21. Those back columns are amazing - wonderful choice, especially with the gorgeous up-lighting! xx

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    1. Thanks Anna! I'm so pleased with how the lighting came out - had worried it might be too bright, but it's pretty much perfect. xx

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  22. Your house looks splendid; it is certainly worth the waiting when everything comes out so well. Do you think you'll suffer from post-building blues when it is all complete ? x

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    1. Thank you Silver Bunny - incidentally I'm so sad you're finishing blogging (although understand). There will be no post building depression... this is a loooong ongoing project. Lots more still to do with the garden and pool, and then the garage, and decorating inside.... will take me years! Then I might just feel elated! 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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