Friday, December 27, 2013

Last Phase Underway at Last: The Studio

one of the french doors, with one of
my paintings completed in the
to-be-studio space leaning against it
Starting a business this year definitely set us back a bit in terms of finishing our renovations this year ( for info on our business see ).  Last year this time (late December !)  Ian got the laundry, second bathroom and a small dust-free workspace done (where he can work on watchmaking, in a cleaner environment than sharing with heavy tools in his shed).

I am looking forward to having studio space, so I can paint more often.  Once the weather got nicer, I have painted occasionally in this area, as the light is good, and filtered, but still true.  There are not many bad shadows near the stone retaining wall side.  I am hopeful this will make for good painting space.  It is also very peaceful to work in.

old light fitting
at the back door
Meantime, good progress has happened on the periphery of what will be the studio.  A gorgeous antique light fitting was installed outside the back door, so I did not have to return home in the dark and trip (which did happen once before the light was installed !).  A vintage light fitting was updated and wired safely and looks very smart in its new place.

Ian did up a colour bond clad wall that will be our inside studio wall out of scrap left over colour bond sheeting.  Because it was not all the same colour, he painted it with hammer-finish paint in a gunmetal colour to unify it.  We were happy to use scrap that otherwise would have been discarded.

french doors hung,
but still in their as-we-got-them
yellow paintwork
But the work on enclosing our patio space to create a studio has waited until opportunity came around.  Which finally started a couple months ago.  First the french doors got put up.  Making it actually look like it may someday become a room !  The colour of the door frames was as they were when we bought them from a salvage yard.  So they also got a paint job some weeks later, and are finished in a glossy paint in 'Monument' (a dark charcoal) to match the metal beams in the structure.

Then on one of our November Monday's off we went into the city to order windows to fit the space.   This is the most expensive last single expense of the project.  It came in a bit higher than we originally hoped, but not more than our 20% margin for over-run estimates.  So it was OK, plus we have saved on a few other things here and there.  I was quite happy to get more window light than I had expected might be the case, plus we had them all made with fitted flyscreens, which means  we will have outstanding ventilation in the space whenever we want it.  So a good outcome.  The finish for the window frames is black, which will blend well with the very dark Monument colour (darkest charcoal).

A month later, the windows arrived and are now starting to be installed, one by one.  One is in now and the next three are queued up for their turns.

Before installing the windows, Ian has redone all the grouting/sealing between the stone pavers in the patio area, because he did not like how it cured.  It took him a week and half to methodically remove the old materials, and then put in fresh better mixes which have cured well.  Then he sealed each.  This will give us a tidier finish for the studio floor. Also one that can be cleaned nicely.

 This last snapshot shows framing structure,  the first window in, and also the painted up French door on the left (looking from outside in).  This wall will be the one facing the shed, and the area on the outside is covered by the patio overhang.

 It's looking so exciting to see the progress, step by step.  Can't wait for it to be done !  Finally I have allowed a bit of indulgence of thought about how to finish the space off once construction and enclosing is finished !  I have old vintage factory style lights to put in there.  We need a few power points along the wall adjacent to the laundry.  We know this area is very weatherproof and dry inside (even without enclosure, it early gets wet, and once the windows to the west are in it won't at all).  So, I want to move the big bookcases out from the dining area to that wall adjacent to laundry.  So we will have reference materials for art and creating activities and also a bit of that nice library feel to this space.  We have two cane frame lounging chairs for the space too, and will work out something for a table near them.  Last but not least, the top of the stone retaining wall will be a seat with views to the garden, and I have saved for this area some large vintage carpet pillows.  The cats love them and will enjoy them while they watch the garden.  The BBQ will move under the eaves outside the studio, and also the round teak table, plus the chairs I still must finish painting (one of 4 is done !).  

Oh yes, I also must get rid of a lot of final boxes of things from our move, some have been boxed up for a long time.  It will soon be time to sort, manage properly or get rid of the clutter of old things I have been holding onto.  So a bit to do ! But a task I actually look forward to, to start 2014 with a bit of clearing !

Saturday, July 27, 2013

The Back Foyer Sink

the finished frame holding up the new sink,
with water filter tap on left side and GLITTRAN
tap on centre back of the farm sink
Having been so busy with launching our new business Brocante in the Barossa (, both Ian and I have been very focused on that launch.  But slowly but surely some renovations things have gotten done, inserted into Ian's workshop to do list.

The past month the key task was to upgrade to a front load washing machine, a planned refresh of an old faithful top loader washing machine.  But alas one that would not be able to open in the new laundry with the dryer mounted on the wall.  The plan was to do the washer refresh in June, at end of tax year sales.  I gave Ian the model number washer to go find and he looked around and got one of the models on the list.  Shortly thereafter it was installed.  And the dryer got moved from the back foyer to the laundry, and put on the wall above the new front load washer.  All very good !

The back foyer has been a holding place for lots-of-stuff for months, including the temporary  home for the dryer.  It looked empty when everything was taken away.  I knew we had to put the planned elements into place, or it would become a clutter magnet for sure !

I have wanted a second sink in the back foyer, in the spirit of a butlers pantry.  The sink would be ideal for flower arranging, clean up overflow when entertaining, or when eating outside in good weather.  And general cleaning tasks too.  Also, it needed to have a tap for filtered water, so we could stop buying 10 litre boxes of water for drinking water (the water out
back foyer
(sink sitting on floor)
of the tap in our area tastes horrid, and even a Britta filter pitcher does not neutralise it).

I had various ideas for the sink, as always.  But the one I keep coming back to is a fireclay farm sink...and the best prices for those are found in IKEA's fireclay white apron front farm sink.  Though it is not as deep as other models, there is a double sink model and it is very nice looking and at a fantastic price.  The design I envisioned had it installed with a new IKEA Glittran tap, which is very smart and looking, with an old fashioned vibe to its design.  However, I did not wish to see the sink mounted on a regular cupboard.  Instead, I saw a photo in a magazine with such a sink mounted on a bespoke industrial style metal frame.  I asked Ian to do a design for the sink.
closer look at the steel frame
for the sink, painted in
gunmetal hammer-finish paint

This has taken some time, as he worked on what to make it from, how many supports it would need (the sink is heavy) and worked out the specs for it.  But he just finished it and it is AMAZING !  Made in steel and a frame welded together, and to the exact dimensions to support the sink perfectly.  With round steel feet at bottom of the legs of the frame.  And the frame is finished off in a dark Gunmetal colour Hammer-finish paint.  The left side of the frame has an extra metal piece mounted along the left side, and the water filter tap is mounted there, spilling of the left side of the double sink.

I LOVE the new sink !  It looks great, works great, I love where it is.  It is perfect also to be a beer and wine cooler, filled with ice and bottles, much classier looking than an esky or a bucket !  We will have to do this in spring.

Meantime, more to come.  We have a punch list and this spring and early summer will work to finish the enclosure of the studio space.  Finally !