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.


  1. This is going to be really cool. I love the way you're dividing the space. It seems like a particularly good idea for a long thin area. I'm excited to see how it progresses! It's very inspiring.

    1. Thanks! I'm excited to turn this space into something special

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  3. Oh how cool! I'm excited to see how this one goes!

    1. Thanks! off to check out your bedroom plans...