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
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.
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