Thursday, November 7, 2019

Side Verandah Makeover Reveal! One Week Challenge - Week Six

It's reveal week!!!!

It's week 6 of the One Room Challenge which means everyone is revealing their final spaces. Did I get the space 'finished' the exact way I envisioned it?  Not quite.  Did I get an enormous amount done and am incredibly happy with it? Absolutely!  That is really the point of the One Room Challenge for those of us who aren't regular design bloggers - an external motivation and sense of community driving us forward.

I'm taking part in the One Room Challenge, a design event where 20 featured designers and countless guest participants transform a single space over 6 weeks.  Check out all the other great designs at the One Room Challenge blog.

Catch up with previous weeks of my side verandah plans
Week One      Week Two      Week Three        Week Four       Week Five

Six weeks ago, walking past the middle of the house revealed a cluttered, aimless space with concrete the same colour as the path, so there was no clear distinction between them.

The view six weeks ago, as a reminder of where we started
Look at it now! 
And the same view today!
The paint colour visually separates the verandah from the path, and the stencilling adds some character that fits with the age of the house. As for the contents, there is a world of difference between furniture that is chosen to be functional in the space, and deliberately for its looks, rather than it being a dumping ground for falling apart things and bits on the way out. 

I showed a lot of details of the work corner in the week five post, but I'll show you more now!

The revamped potting bench is already in use.
The new storage cabinet! More details on this are in the week five post.
My pretty gloves, my notebook and my amazing new seed storage box
 on the working surface of the potting bench.

My favourite new accessory for the potting bench is my seed packet box. I had a blank balsa wood box with room for photo insert in the lid which I had been planning to use to showcase a small piece of embroidery a few years ago. I ended up doing something different with the embroidery, and the box went into my craft stash.  When I was planning this ORC, I decided I would paint it and add an art-nouveau-inspired design in the lid. If the space had been square, I probably would have copied an existing tile pattern from my Pinterest board for this project. 

I'm so glad it wasn't a square, because the odd shape inspired me to commission my incredibly talented friend Leigh of Pen and Inkcap to do a charming watercolour floral design for me.  She is a brilliant calligrapher and artist, and she'd been watching my ORC progress so had a good idea of my overall vision. She drew on the colours in my mood board and the tiles I'd pinned to create this original design that perfectly fits the space. I love how well it coordinates with all my existing patterns and colours. She came over last week and took some 'in situ' shots of the box, and has graciously allowed me to share her photos here. She has more on her instagram here

It works so beautifully with all the other elements of the verandah. Photo credit Pen and Inkcap

The design before I added it to the box. Photo credit Pen and Inkcap

Moving on from the work area, we hit the sitting area where I'd planned to have a table and a chair, where I could sit and have a cool drink or a cup of tea.  What have I ended up with? Look and see... 

My sitting area -  I have a chair, but only sort of a table. 

The view from the other side
This area has caused me the most hassle, as I impatiently refreshed Facebook Marketplace and wondered why nothing was right.  I finally picked up this chair last night! Talk about last minute.  It is almost exactly the style and size I wanted, but it isn't in the best condition (and not all of the damage was evident in the listing photos) - it has lost some of its caning. However, if it was in perfect condition I might be more hestitant to have it as an outside piece.  I made the pillow from fabric I grabbed at Lincraft last week in their 40% off sale. I had been looking for a William Morris-esque print, but I saw this small flower repeat and decided it would work well.  (Also, did not find a Morris-esque print) 

I still haven't found a table which works, so I grabbed a stool from the bedroom and placed this IKEA tray on top to act as a table. I had always planned on the tray being part of the verandah scheme, just not quite in this way. 

This is just the place to sit with a cold drink and plan the next steps for the garden. The small flowers are from the garden and I've put them in a Denby eggcup from my collection. 
The 'mystery plant' I gained with my FB marketplace pot purchase has been very busy flowering over the past two weeks, and is now clearly a mandevilla or rock trumpet. I got it this fan trellis to start climbing up. 
The flowers on the mandevilla are a stunning red. 
Now normally I'd say getting an almost $50 pot PLUS a well established plant for $10 would be my bargain win of six weeks, but... I also found this amazing plant stand. While it wasn't cheap, it was a very fair price for what it is.
I love its lines and the colour - it fits beautifully in my vision. 

The new approach to the door is much nicer.  The stand is narrow enough not to impede the walk in. 

The final area is the 'gas metre' corner, where I had an ambitious plan to create a moveable plant screen. 
It moves, and screens. We'll work on the plants.
I had always intended to repurpose this old gate, and I attached it to an old, spare shelf and added castors to the shelf. I hadn't registered that the gate would be incredibly heavy and just tip it all forward. It is currently counter balanced with a chunk of wood, a brick, and held slightly leaning back with string, while I work out what to do. I had planned to hang multiple plant pots off the front, but that was upsetting the balance.  I think if I get a rectangular terracotta trough to rest on the shelf, it will be heavy enough to balance it, and then I'll plant a climbing rose, a climbing ficus or a bougainvillea to climb and grow 'forwards' through the slats. 
Lemon thyme and basil in some customised pots. 
The two pots currently in front of the gate were kindly gifted to me by a friend who was following along with this on instagram. I painted one in leftover paving paint and the other got the spray treatment with Rustoleum Hammered Copper. 

There are so many leaves still in the pictures despite my sweeping - it is all the blame of this fellow who looms over the gap between the houses. He does provide nice shade though, so I can forgive him.
The gum tree that is responsible for the leaves
I still haven't worked out if I will be storing the scooter on the side verandah - right now it is in the locked shed, and that hasn't been too inconvenient and is safer. We will see, but if it does, it will be either behind the gate screen, or between there and the plant stand. 

I'm incredibly happy with how it all looks, and I'll take my time looking for the right table for the space.  
I love everything about this space now. 
 Now on to the more boring bit: the budget.  Overall, this transformation has cost $1044.38 for the new things we bought.  (That's $717.28 US Dollars for the readers finding me through the one room challenge site, so you can compare to the others)  The bulk of that was the verandah preparation and painting - between the cleaner and concrete bog, the painting supplies and stencil, and most of all the paving paint, it came to $410.94.   I spent $250.96 on furniture - that's the IVAR, the marketplace chair and stand, and the hardware (castors, etc) for the gate screen.  I spent another $82.44 on 'other painting' - all the paint for the furniture, pots, etc. $84.99 went on accessories - but that includes a custom commissioned watercolour design! A lot of the little accessories in the shoot (notebook, eggcup, duck, glass, etc) are just from around the house and will probably not live outside. Ok, I may leave the duck.  I also spent $215.05 on pots and plants, including some soil and the fan trellis.  Some of the plants and pots (the bay tree and its pot, the mint, several of the ferns) were either free or I already had them elsewhere in the garden and decided they would better suit the conditions here. 
What a change! 

The space is now pretty and functional, and I will use it far more. 

I just want to squee when I see it now.
 Thank you so much for following my One Room Challenge journey! I am looking forward to taking a deep breath and checking out what all my fellow participants have achieved. 

Thursday, October 31, 2019

Side Verandah Makeover: One Week Challenge - Week Five

It's week five of the One Room Challenge and this has been a productive week, a nice contrast to the week four slump.  I think finishing the stenciling was a major morale boost, as I can now begin to put things back on to the side verandah and begin to arrange the space.

I'm taking part in the One Room Challenge, a design event where 20 featured designers and countless guest participants transform a single space over 6 weeks.  Check out all the other great designs at the One Room Challenge blog.

Catch up with previous weeks of my side verandah plans
Week One            Week Two          Week Three             Week Four 

Before we leap into its current state, let's have a quick reminder of where it started - the side verandah in its initial cluttered role as a general dumping ground and storage area.
Back at the start of the One Room Challenge

Now here it is with the stenciling finished. It makes a tremendous difference. 

The stenciling done, finally! The neighbouring trees did their best to disrupt it. I had to constantly sweep before stenciling a new square. 
I adore the stencil pattern. The paving paint was very difficult to work with, and because the concrete, despite my patching, is still uneven in parts, the stenciling isn't perfect and I can see a lot of mistakes. The overall impression is fabulous though, and I'm just glad that it's finished, to be honest! 

A close up of the stencil pattern
It even makes the ugly gas metre corner look smarter

The area that I've been concentrating on this week is the 'working area' of the verandah. In my initial plans, I was going to repaint two existing old kitchen units - one a cabinet and one a dresser - into a storage cupboard and a potting bench.  While the dresser has turned into an excellent potting bench, the cabinet wasn't in great shape and while trying to clean it up it fell apart. I instead splurged on a new IVAR cabinet from Ikea.   

I painted the potting bench in left over cream and Brunswick green exterior paint from the last time the house was painted. As the green was for trim, it is a glossier finish than I would have liked, but I'm happy to have saved the money.  I had seen some kitchens on Pinterest with dark green cupboards and light shelves, so wanted to try that colour scheme.  I found the baskets at an op-shop, and I'm going to keep an eye out for more that are the dark colour. 
Potting bench beginning to be filled back up with my gardening gear.
(The second drawer is being repaired; it will be back by week six!)

The IVAR I painted in the Taubmans Blue Tang which I'd chosen for my mood board based on some art nouveau tile colour schemes.  I used their Sun Proof Exterior paint. I'm not totally happy with how the colour has come out, it looks far lighter and cheerier than I'd wanted - it doesn't help that the stencil pattern on the doors is in only one coat over a cream base -  but it is growing on me.  The stencil for the doors belongs to a friend who offered it to me, and I gratefully accepted. I wanted it to look like trellis panels set into the top and bottom of the doors, and I also added handles (salvaged from the previous doors of the kitchen dresser).  The IVAR doesn't need handles because of the way the doors are edged, but I want to be able to lock the doors as I will storing tools in them. 
A brighter Mediterranean blue than I'd planned, but it looks good with the other colours still. 

The boy wanted to 'pose'. 
I'm so happy with this work area!
I still haven't found the 'right' table and chair yet, but I have some 'not quite perfect' options that I can fall back on if it gets down to the wire. Although as it is only a week to go, I might be at the wire and not realise it yet!

Thursday, October 24, 2019

Side Verandah Makeover: One Week Challenge - the week four slump

Week four was always my favourite part of the One Room Challenge when I was just an outside observer. By this point I had an idea of which designs I loved and was desperate to see finish, which I admired or liked but wasn't as invested in, and which ones I wasn't going to bother seeing to the end. Let me tell you, it is NOT my favourite part as a guest participant!

I'm taking part in the One Room Challenge, a design event where 20 featured designers and countless guest participants transform a single space over 6 weeks.  Check out all the other great designs at the One Room Challenge blog.

Catch up with previous weeks of my side verandah plans
Week One       Week Two      Week Three

Some of the inital momentum is wearing off, the six weeks I thought would be fairly 'empty' suddenly had outside obligations cropping up, and the remaining 'to-do' list doesn't seem to be getting any smaller.  This week I've had my son home sick from school for a few days, my mum arriving in the country from overseas, and a few mistakes and miscommunications. I have managed to start the stencilling on the verandah and buy and commission a few things I need, but generally it has been a slow week.
About halfway done

I have so much left to do, I really don't know what I'll have done by the week 6 reveal!

  • Finish the stenciling
  • Paint the potting bench
  • Paint and assemble the new storage cupboard 
  • Buy and spray paint some more pots
  • Finish choosing plants
  • Find chairs/table/plant stand on fb marketplace 
  • Make movable plant frame for in front of gas meters
  • Decide on how to store bike/scooter and implement that
  • Finish choosing and buying accessories
  • Put everything back on the verandah and take pictures
  • Week 5 and week 6 blog posts

When I list it all out, it still seems fairly overwhelming.  Not to mention in some cases reliant on luck.  So fingers crossed! 

Thursday, October 17, 2019

Side Verandah Makeover: Paint happens! (ORC week 3)

I'm taking part in the One Room Challenge, a design event where 20 featured designers and countless guest participants transform a single space over 6 weeks.  Check out all the other great designs at the One Room Challenge blog.

Catch up with previous weeks of my side verandah plans
Week One     Week Two

Despite keeping a wary eye on the variable weather, I decided to take the chance and get paint down. As it turns out, the forecast chance of rain didn't eventuate, so I'm glad I did. Lots of excitement here!

The change is really visible this week! I couldn't resist seeing what it looked like with plants in place. 

 I realised that I hadn't shown any pictures last week of the extent of the patching I did, only my first two patches.  Here is a close look at one end of the verandah.
My many, many concrete patches. You can see the large hole at the front,
 which I didn't think the Concrete Bog would cope with. 


When I was looking into painting the concrete, I decided to use White Knight's ULTRA PAVE® QUICK DRY, which seemed to be everything I wanted: water-based, quick drying, tintable, and they also claimed that unless you were painting a driveway or garage floor, it could be its own primer. Excellent. Their website advised doing a base coat of the paint diluted with 20% water, and then one or two top coats at full strength.

Although I had Brunswick Green as my green of choice on the mood board, one of the tintable bases available to just buy off-the-shelf was Forest Green, so I picked up 10L of that for my initial coats. I thought that as the absorbtion and colour reflection would be so different from concrete to woodwork anyway, I'd see how I liked it first. Even if I didn't like the final colour, I could get the next 10L tinted Brunswick Green and still have a fairly close in colour base coat.

I started the base coat with the diluted paint and a brush to cut in the sides and the edges of the different squares, and then went to switch to my roller. I'd bought a special roller that was for concrete/paving because all the paint rollers I had were narrow ones I've used to paint furniture and kitchen cabinet doors. It foolishly did not register that my existing paint tray would be too narrow for the new roller. I struggled to make it work for one section before giving up and painting the rest of the base coat with a brush. Then, as I had to go out on an errand anyway, I added a quick trip to a hardware store for a wider paint tray.

The base coat went on very unevenly - there are three different ages of concrete on the verandah, roughly 'original', from the house renovation five years ago, and my concrete patches.  They all had different absorption rates, and I wasn't happy with it close up. However as soon as I moved out to photograph it  - wow, what a difference!
The base coat of the concrete paint. You can see the different, patchy absorbtion.

Armed with the wider paint tray, I did the next coat with "full strength" paint and it took care of a lot of the patchiness, leaving me with a lovely strong green colour.
Second coat done! Much smoother coverage
I was then facing a dilemma. I underestimated the coverage I would get, and I have enough of the forest green for the third and final coat of paint. So if I get a further 4L of the paint, tinted to Brunswick, for the last coat, it seems like a waste of the remaining paint.  I don't think the forest green is a perfect match to the door - but what if the difference was in the relative glossiness?

In the light and at certain angles, the greens are different - but in shade and at other angles, it looks much closer.

It looks great from certain angles, not as good from others. Once the stencilling is done, and the furniture and plants in place, any colour differences won't be as noticeable anyway, so after a quick poll of some family members and friends, I decided to stick with the budget option and keep using the forest green.  Third and final coat would have gone on today, but I have a sick kid home from school. I'm hopeful that it will happen tomorrow instead.

The other project I was working on this week was beginning to turn the old kitchen cabinet into a potting bench. First steps were to give it a clean and remove all the bits I don't want - doors, cup hook, strange three armed towel holder.

Cabinet progress - one stubborn door remains in place. 

Well, I haven't progressed past that stage yet. There are some very stubborn, very rusted screws which are resistant to WD40 so far.  One upper cabinet door and the towel holder are putting up a strong fight against redundancy.  I have some more strategies to try before I admit defeat yet.

When I was taking the pictures to post, I couldn't resist moving some plants near the door to get a sense of what it looked like with something there - it looks a bit odd just empty - and I'm so incredibly happy with progress so far!  I can't wait to keep going.
This photograph represents a big week of progress for me. 

Last minute update:

Towel holder and final door - removed!

Thursday, October 10, 2019

Side Verandah Makeover: One Room Challenge - Week Two

I'm taking part in the One Room Challenge, a design event where 20 featured designers and countless guest participants transform a single space over 6 weeks.  If you missed last week, read about my plans for the side verandah here. Check out all the other great designs at the One Room Challenge blog.

Week two has been a fairly slow week for me, mostly because I spent 5 days of it traveling to and spending time in Canberra. I did get to spend half a day at Floriade, basking in the glories of multi-coloured tulips, but the rest of my tourism was firmly aimed at the child market.

Spectacular tulips at Canberra's Floriade

What progress have I made? 

As far as the actual work on the ground goes, I've patched concrete.  I know, intellectually, that this is a very important step, and the paint won't look as nice without the patching done, but it is not the most exciting visually. It also has an odd backwards quality, as part of the preparation to patch involves chiseling and widening the edges of the holes and cracks, to create a better surface to put the goop onto.  The goop in question is Turbo Concrete Bog, the only concrete patching option I could find at Bunnings that said it was suitable for outdoor use - most of them seemed to be aimed at garage floors and said indoor only. It appears to be made by a New Zealand company, so no idea what an equivalent would be for any readers from further afield.
I'm using this to patch the verandah's floor - find it at Bunnings here

When I started the first patch, I was incredibly intimidated, but it didn't take too long before I got the hang of it. I'm not getting the super smooth results a more experienced user undoubtedly could, but after a sand they don't look at all bad.

My two very first concrete patching efforts! Not perfect, but way better than cm deep holes
There are a few cracks near the very front edge of the verandah where I'm too scared to widen them, because I suspect large pieces of the edge would fall off, so they may remain unfilled, and there are two large holes near the verandah uprights where the holes are way too big to be a 'patch', especially as the front edge is missing entirely.  However filling 75% of the holes and cracks still leaves me with a 75% smoother floor, and I'm happy with that.

The other thing I've done this week is a lot of purchasing!

I made a decision about which stencil pattern I want to use for the floor.  I wanted to find one from an Australian supplier, and I found several tile stencils from Gemini Creative that I loved.  I ended up going with this design. I've reproduced the picture from the vendor's website, because it has a watermark and I feel that taking a big picture of her pattern without one would be dodgy.

Image of the stencil I've chosen, from the Gemini Creative online store

I made my final choice based partly on what would still let lots of the green show through - I was initially considering the reverse of this pattern, but decided it was too much paint added at the stencil stage.

I also bought a mixed 8 tube stock box from the Native Plant Project. While the majority of the plants are headed for elsewhere in the garden, two maidenhair ferns and a fan flower are intended for the verandah.
Tube stock of some new native plants for the verandah from the Native Plant Project's e-nursery

While I've set a fairly generous-for-me budget for this project, the truth is that a majority of it is already earmarked for paint. That's fair enough - the paint is the most permanent part of this revamp, and the part that has to last the longest. It does mean that I'm trying to save money elsewhere by haunting Facebook Marketplace.  This week I found a gorgeous, large plant pot that fits perfectly in my colour scheme for only $10, way less than new.  It comes with an as-yet-unidentified, possibly climbing, plant, which I'm still deciding if I will keep.
Isn't that bronzy coppery glaze perfect with my moodboard? 

What's up next?

I have to get through a few more days of school holidays, including my son's birthday party, and then when school starts next week I plan to get paint on concrete, start turning the cabinet into a potting bench, and source more pots.  The only thing that could mess up the plans would be rain, and given how much of NSW is in drought, that's a setback I'm happy to live with.

Thursday, October 3, 2019

Side Verandah Makeover: One Room Challenge - Week One

Welcome to the start of my very first One Room Challenge! I've been a huge fan for a few years, and I love seeing what the incredibly talented featured designers and guest participants come up with. I'm using this Fall 2019 Challenge - although it is spring here in Sydney - to make over my awkward side verandah and as a bonus get me back into a blogging rhythm. If you are coming across my blog for the first time, you won't find any other home design posts - I usually post about crafting projects and vintage recipes.
Check out all the other transformations via the One Room Challenge blog

The side verandah of my house is a bit of a problem area. It doesn't have a very clear purpose and as a result it has become something of a dumping ground, both long term for items like my son's bike and scooter and short term for things coming out of the house, or into the garden.  Our house is a fairly common design from its era in this area. It was built in the 1890s, and has two distinct sections - a wider, taller front half, and a narrower, lower back half - which means two different ceiling heights and roof lines.  This verandah runs along almost the whole back half of the house, but doesn't reach all the way to the garden.

The side verandah, looking back towards the garden. 
You can see the variety of stuff that has ended up here.

The side verandah, looking towards the front of house and the street. 
This view also shows how narrow the whole space is

I spent a lot of time searching to get inspiration, and I put together a mood board for my overall vision.
All of the images are cropped from pins on my Pinterest board for this challenge,
so if you want to check their source, look for the individual images there. 
The cream and Brunswick green are already present in the exterior of the house, and I'm also going to be using a deep blue and a terracotta-y pink inspired by art nouveau tiles, copper/bronze and dark wood. Most of those colours will come in through furniture and accessories, with the green and cream for the permanent house colours.  Of course, fun things like accessories are a few weeks down the track.

Planning the Space

The true first step was to think about the function of the space. As I said, the main reason this space gets so overrun and cluttered is because it doesn't have a real 'job' as a space.  The door into the house isn't the front door - indeed, you have to walk past the front door to get to this space, so it never will be the main entrance.  It isn't a great outdoor entertaining space - if it was the only outdoor space we had, then obviously we'd make it work, but we have a good square timber deck in the back which overlooks the garden. While the garden is still a work in progress, it is a much more attractive vista than a narrow concrete passage and a brick wall of the neighbour's garage, which is what you see sitting out on this verandah. It also has a few things that can't be moved - our hot water heater and the gas meters for our place plus the two adjoining units. It has the only exterior power point, so it is often where I do anything with my scanty collection of power tools.

When I measured it to draw up a floor plan, I realised just how long and narrow it was - 11 metres long and only 1.08m wide. The clear plan was to divide it up into three sections, each with a different purpose.

The proposed new floor plan for the verandah. 

The area closest to the back garden, and near the exterior power point, will be the 'working area'. We have an existing old kitchen dresser which I'm currently using as storage for garden supplies, and I'm going to revamp it into a stylish potting bench.  I want another low cupboard (there is another leftover kitchen cabinet that I've had dumped on the verandah which I plan to use, but there is a chance it will fall apart and I'll have to find a replacement).  I'd like to have its top be available as a working surface too.

In the next area, I want a place to sit and have a cup of tea while pondering seed selections or to take a break with a glass of water in the middle of a project. Because it won't be a general entertaining area, I will only have one or two chairs, and a small table.

Between the door and the end of the verandah, I'll be storing those things that are staying, such as the bike and scooter. I'm planning to construct a mobile screen with plants on it - I'm still torn over what form this will take. This screen will go some way to obscuring the gas meters, given that they need to be accessible and I can't wall them off entirely.  I also want a plant stand next to the door. Currently the dresser is in this position, and the gap between the dresser and the vertical support doesn't give a nice approach to the door. So I don't want the plant stand to come too far out.

At the front of the house is a small front verandah which has some nice terracotta tile work, as does the step to the front door. I can't have this area tiled, but I'm planning to paint the concrete floor dark green and add a stencilled pattern in cream and maybe also blue - I'm torn between using just a border pattern to keep it simple or going for a all-over faux tile pattern.  I suspect I'll want to paint the green on first and then decide.

The finishing touch will be plants, lots and lots of plants. Initially they'll be small, as I don't have the budget for really large plants right now, but in a few years I'd like it to look lush with greenery.

Week One Action

Apart from planning, the work for week one has been clearing the space and preparing the concrete for painting. Sadly, because Sydney is on water restrictions, high pressure hosing is right out (we aren't supposed to use any hose on a hard surface), so I've been cleaning it with teeny tiny bucketfuls of dilute concrete cleaning liquid and a lot of scrubbing. I'm also attempting some minor concrete patching, which is a new DIY attempt for me.

Cleaning in progress. It looks so much bigger cleared off. 

In terms of timing, these first two weeks are going to be the slowest parts of the challenge - it is school holidays here, so not only am I spending a lot of time with my son, but we also had some holiday plans scheduled before I decided to sign up for the challenge. The work and progress should accelerate in week 3 when school starts up again.  The to-do list involves but is not limited to:

  • prepare the concrete for painting
  • paint concrete
  • stencil concrete
  • upcycle cabinet into potting bench
  • build movable plant screen
  • find and maybe paint chair, table, cupboard, plant stand
  • find and maybe paint lots of plant pots
  • source and pot plants
  • source or make cushion for chair

I'm so excited to see this space get transformed, and I hope you'll stick around and see how it turns out.  Just a reminder, you can check out all the other transformations, whether the 20 Featured Designers or the many guest participants like me,  via the One Room Challenge blog.