Making Our House A Home

When we bought our current house, 3.5 years ago, it was love at first site (see what I did there?). Sure, it wasn’t perfect, but it looked and felt like it could be our forever home. And it still is, but like every romance, the early days are very rose tinted and you can see no flaws, or in my case, floors.

Not long after moving in I began to realise that we had a fundamental problem on our hands. The flooring of the house was dog shit ugly. Mismatched pink glossy and matte terracotta tiles, broken grouting and jut plain ugly. No matter what I did decor wise, it was basically lipstick on a pig.

When I was pregnant with Carter we redid his bedroom floor and it became the nicest room in the house. I began to hate my flooring, it was cold, unattractive, pink and kitsch.

I started whining about the need for new flooring, and the more I whined, my husband, who quite frankly has the same interest in decor as he does in the Kardashians, would roll his eyes and just tell me to be patient. I also really never thought that we would be able to afford renovations. People who do are clearly laundering money or prostituting themselves. We seemed to be living month to month and I couldn’t fathom the idea of how we would ever save enough to actually fix the problem.

When I took on a second job, I knew it would be demanding, but I also knew it would financially free us up somewhat. Unfortunately, there aren’t enough photoshoots in the word that can cover all the work we needed to do, especially with my time frame (“before we have another baby”) and so we did the only logical grownup thing; We maxed out our bond. I’m telling you this, because I’ve spent the last 15 years of my adult life scratching my head and wondering how people afford nice things. I hate the shadiness of some people when they just wont tell me how they make it work. Even worse, when people are sponsored by the bank of mom and dad and then pretend it’s all their doing. So yes, peeps, our renovations are courtesy of Standard Bank and our 3 job incomes. And those random R2 coins I find in couch cushions. You’re welcome.

So, after 3.5 years of waiting and saving and praying and drinking, we started our renovations today. I am so excited I could platz. (Remind me of this joy in 2 months time when I’m sneezing dust and have no where to live, k?)

Some of the work we are doing includes finally knocking through to the cottage on the property which has been a glorified storeroom since we moved in, and turning that in to our bedroom. Redoing all three bathrooms, re-flooring the whole house (Oh yes, no more pink beauty), updating the kitchen, the patio, the jungle gyms and the garden and adding a playroom/photo editing study for me.

I think I just wee’d a little bit.

Someone ased me if I would be sharing the before and after pics, and as mortified as I am to show you all the existing tiles, I think I have to. And as someone else pointed out this morning: “The worse the before, the better the after”

So, the blog might deviate slightly from babies and booze to home stuff and decor, my other love. I’m going to be sharing and recommending suppliers as well as progress pics along the way.

So, cheers to our little family as we break new ground and begin turning our house into a home.

PS – To confirm just how excited I am, this is a photo of me and 2 taps. Because they’re bronze, and beautiful and ohmygodimfinallyredoingmyhome.

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DIY – Study Table From Fuddy To Fab

We all have that room in or house – you know, the one that looks like the application photo for ‘Extreme Hoarders’. For us, that room is the study. For years friends and guests have been convinced that we lived in a 2 bedroom home, as the door was never opened and any mentioned of ‘Ooh whats in there?’ was met with a shove down the stairs for fear they actually dared to venture inside. 

Our study currently houses the following: Two wing-back chairs, all my crafts and wrapping paper, my canvases, paints and art supplies, all our luggage, my winter wardrobe and shoes, my handbags and extra sports gear, a chest of doors (9 of them) filled with sporting gear, a study table, 3 laptops, all our filing, all our books, 2 irons and an ironing board, linen, spare cushions and pillows and about 400 random cables and cords. 

And a partridge in a pear tree.

Kinda like this…

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Over December I tackled the study like a 150 kilogram rugby player. I ruthlessly chucked about 3/4 of its contents and cleaned the place out. Look, the room is still fuller than my belly after a beer fest, but at-least there’s space to swing a cat. 

I also took on a DIY project – our old study table was a revolting hand me down and I have always hated. I decided to make this a bit more of a fun room and give it some character. I managed to convince my folks to give me an old rotting dining room table they had been storing, and to let me restore it. 

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Step 1. Get table from parents house to my house (Tip – find a father with a 4×4 and trailer)

Step 2. Sand the thing down. (Tip, ask your husband to do this, or get a handheld electronic sander.) Apart from the numbness in your hands that follows for the next hour, it’s fairly therapeutic. ImageStep 3. Prime, prime prime. This table had been sitting outside for about a year and was drier than a Savannah ad by the time I started refurbishing it. I invested in a solid primer which had two purposes – to prevent the paint from ‘leaking’ through and being absorbed by the dry wood and to ensure the paint went on smoothly.

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Step 4. Wait 24 hours for the primer to dry. I find wine helps the time pass quite well. (Tip, if you live in a ‘miggie’* prone area like we do, then either do this job inside or accept that you will forever have fossilized insects stuck to your table)

Step 5. Paint. The trick here is to use an enamel based paint (to get that high gleamy shine). I asked the man at Builders Warehouse for ‘Stripper Red’ but ‘Fire Engine Red’ will also do the trick. (Tip, take off your wedding ring, unless you like the look of ‘blood diamond’)

Step 6. Get it into study. Not an easy feat – we eventually managed (after removing half our wall) to hoist it up over our upstairs bedroom balcony. It was worth it – we have a long way to go but our study is finally looking like a part of the house. Who knows, one day we may even leave the door open for guests to actually see!

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* For the sake of my 1 international reader, a miggie is a tiny flying insect – smaller than a mosquito or fruit fly. They favour wine glasses (preferable new, full and expensive Merlots) and fruit bowls. 

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