Archive for the bathrooms Category

That was the year, that was.

Posted in bathrooms, Renovation with tags , , on January 8, 2013 by pimpmybricks

So, 2012 was the year of Supreme Folly.  The year when we started work on pretty much the worst house in the area and discovered it was even more dire than we’d imagined!  It was the year when whole rooms were mere piles of sand and lumber, when floors collapsed, when walls revealed themselves to be nothing more than giant honeycombs of termites’ nests.  It was the year of the Long Dark Night of the (restoration) Soul when more and more and yet more damage was pulled out of a hat by some malevolent magician until it became difficult to see how the house had not collapsed internally into a pile of steaming rubble. We were stretched further than we ever have been with a restoration (and there have been seven of them) –  mentally, financially, and most of all, emotionally.  Looking back at the end of the year, we had to ask ourselves the inevitable question – would we have done it if we’d known?  And the honest answer?  Probably not.  Maybe not.

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But the fact remains that we have started, and having started, we must continue. (And besides which, we still love that bloody house).  So armed with our one solitary New Year’s Resolution, the only one we could logically make – to survive! – and with pith helmets firmly clamped on, stiff uppers in place, our hysterical gibbering selves closeted once more in the….closet?… we’re ready for the final onslaught. May it not be too bloody. At least not after the floors have been laid.

So ladies, gents and mint juleps, I think it’s time for another little snapshot of progress.

Please allow me to introduce to you the Jungle Lav.  So named because Esteemed Architect originally conceived of it as a sort of high-up, diminutive conservatory, a verdant eerie where we could take tea of a Sunday afternoon and have a natter. You know – our ears nuzzled by potted palms, our cake dusted with fern spores; that kind of thing.  All of which was a wonderfully evocative idea until the humdrum clamour of waterworks started up and it was decided the room should retain its waterclosetory function as a guest bathroom.  As they say, you can never be too rich, too thin or have too many bathrooms. Especially if you might need to sell the house in a hurry on your way to the debtors’ gaol or the insane asylum.

Here is how we found it – an utter joy to behold.

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It had a sheet lead floor which, in our enthusiasm, we thought we’d seal and keep until OH&S and the builder intervened and it was escorted from the premises under armed guard.  It also had a polystyrene ceiling.  With nary a stretch you could reach up and inscribe your name or football team with a fingernail – imagine!

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But what you can’t see from these pictures  is  that when enthroned you gaze out onto this:

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Nice, innit?

When the conservatory idea was set aside the idea of its glass roof remained, which has had an unexpected boon.  On the landing outside there is this rather handsome window which lost the bottom section of itself when the Jungle Lav was originally built (the JL being an early extension).

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You can see how it relates to the JL:

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Somehow, the exact manner yet to be determined, the new glass roof will free the window from its truncated state and allow the bottom portion to be re-instated.

And here is the jungle lav as it now is, in all its transitional glory.  We put in a black and white stone floor.  Thuper cheap.  The border is not a border but water proofing, bee tee dubs.  The hound, however, is a hound:

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The glass roof (above). And ditto the yellow – it too is water-proofing.

Here are the tiles.  I’m not so sure I like them. In fact I’m quite sure I don’t much like them. I don’t think they sing from the same song sheet as the floor tiles.  They were a decision made very quickly, in the sense of ‘let me out of here’, at the end of a verrrrrrrry long session in the tile shop.  I always meant to cancel them and think again, but didn’t because I got buried under a mountain of other decisions that needed to be made at the same time.  Lesson to self – if everyone’s screaming at you for tile choices and you haven’t made one – get a pair of noise cancelling headphones and carry on thinking.

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But that being said, I have hopes the basin might bring them together:

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It’s a little bit Biedermeier. It’s a little bit cast iron.  And it was a little bit cheap –  ten per cent of its original price.  So obviously, it was a done deal, innit?

And that, said John, is that (for today).  I need to gather myself for the onslaught of the weather – we are promised bush fires and temperatures of 40/104 degrees.  And I need to attend to my other  New Year’s Ressie (I lied) – which was to make the bed before lunch time.  Every single day.  Toodlepip.

Rush rushery and a few ‘during’s.

Posted in bathrooms, Renovation, silver with tags , , , , on December 24, 2012 by pimpmybricks

Enter stage right, a small figure scuttling beyond the spotlight to slide a wrapped package unobtrusively onto the floor .

Greets, Ladles and Jellyspoons. I know! I’m late as the proverbial plate yet again, and this is my very last chance to slide a leetle sumsing in before most of the world shuts down tomorrow.  Apols for going awols.  You know the drill by now. You’ve read the headlines so many times before – “Struggling restorers sink into pits of black despair as more termite damage and cracked lintels are uncovered in inner Sydney Regency Wreck…”  It being blogland and all, and moreover blogland approaching Christmas, I have been loathe to come and spread my glooms abaht the place.  No Bah Humbuggery here!

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But wait, because in amongst all the doom and gloom, in all the tearing of hair and gnashing of teeth (they are mere stumps I tell you),  there has been the occasional sighting of that rare and lesser spotted beast – p.r.o.g.r.e.s.s.  Which is serendipitous because I’ve received a few requests for during shots and I’m nothing if not attentive to requests (unless, of course, you require me to don tutu and dance the Nutcracker Suite, in which case I would have to demur in the cause of Public Order).

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Tubby strictly honest I’ve also dawdled a bit because progress shots are so…well… incomplete somehow and every time Ive seen said piece of modest progress I’ve had the feeling that if I only waited another day or so those tiles may have been cleaned of grout to reveal their lustrous sheen, or the showers might have arrived. Or this or that or the other.  But work has now stopped for the holidays and nothing will happen until the New Year, and so without further procrastination I offer up a few morsels for your delectation.

But because we’re in the act of flinging a few things into bags and scurrying up to the farm, I’ll spread them over a few days, if that’s permissible.  Herewith, today’s little ration.

This unprepossessing little room was earmarked by HRH Princess Pimp as her bathroom:

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She wanted it dark.  And by gum she’s getting it dark:

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Those tiles – they are tho thexy. The patch of light you can see to the left is the window in the pic above, which will be transformed into steel and glass doors onto a tiny Juliet Balcony from where, if you turn your head to the right, you’ll get an eyeful of the Harbour Bridge.  This was granted us by the Powers That Be because there was once a balcony on the back bit of the house.  Precedence – thou art a wondrous thing.

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And while we’re on the subject of tiles, let me show you this place of unaccustomed glam, which is the en suite.  The very en suite which, if you remember that far back,  may never have come to pass.  Which may have remained, if the purists had ruled the day, a mere twinkle in my eye as I hauled myself down four flights to use the bucket in the back garden.

This is it before:

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We would have preferred to keep the wooden floor but here in Uh Straya such things are verboten.  We bought the limestone tiles as a job lot for $50 a crate at a rather sad liquidation sale a couple of years ago. In the cause of full disclosure I should say sad for them, lustful for us.

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Avec crazy bath and the fireplace stripped back to metal:

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et the lav and basin:

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These are the very tiles which are still smeared with dried grout and don’t yet reveal their shimmery glory, but here’s a patch that have been cleaned:

ensuite tilesI must admit that when I first saw the bathrooms I was a little shocked.  I feared we had imposed too much on the house and felt we should maybe have found a way to minimise our impact.  But someone said the other night that they could still see the beauty of the rooms, even though they’ve been rendered functional, and  I was glad to hear that.

So anyway.  That’s the lot for today.  I sit here in my pre-breakfast frowsiness on the unmade bed while the day outside gathers itself for a full-frontal furnace assault. I must up, up and away before the roads melt and become a shimmering mirage.  Laters, potaters XX

 

On the gender of bathrooms and suchlike.

Posted in bathrooms, Georgian houses, Great Danes, Herberts, Inspiration, Sydney with tags , , , , on July 13, 2012 by pimpmybricks

“The time has come,” the Walrus said,
“To talk of many things:
Of taps–and lavs–and shower heads–
And fascinating things–
And why the bath is boiling hot–
And whether plans have wings.”

‘Pols to Mr Carroll (for not being silly enough).

So yes, here we are then –  the bathroom post.  Do you remember the en suite on the top floor, the very existence of which was in doubt for some time?  You know, way back in the gentle rolling mists of Development Applications?  Well that’s the one I’m talkin’ ’bout.

Ahum, bathrooms, I hear you thinking.  Not much-meaning-of-life stuff there, not much angst.  You’d be wrong about the angst, though, because there’s been a small mountain of it.  Verily!  Enough, in fact, to out-angst an entire cadre of existentialists.

Odd, really, isn’t it?  I mean,  would you have thought that specifying a few bits and bobs of porcelain could drive someone utterly to distraction? Could bring on a fit of the conniptions? Several fits, if the truth be told.  No, and nor would I.  But, let me tell you, there has been every shade of pink and purple madness going on over this bathroom.  Not entirely sure why.  My commitment aversion, tubby sure,  but I also suspect it has something to do with the question of whether the Regency Wreck is essentially  masculine or feminine.  Call me fanciful if you will.  Actually, call you fanciful too, because most comments on this blog refer to the house as ‘she’.  Not he or it but she.  And your lovely comments have caused me to ponder.  Because though the house has a certain lightness to it, a certain airiness that comes with  Georgian proportions,  I have tended to think of it as gender neutral.  Androgynous. But it has been occurring to me of late that maybe the house sees itself differently.  (I did warn you, early in the blog, about anthropomorphising, so no apologies there).

My taste, it has to be said, is usually quite masculine.  I tend to prefer commercial designs to domestic because, probs,  I like a bit of drama. I like a bit of big.  I like straight lines, bold shapes and no nonsense.  This is a corner of my bathroom in the last house – a well behaved bathroom, I might add, allowing itself to be  decided on in a trice.  Black marine ply, even in the shower, grain alternating.  And it was a lovely bathroom to use –  all the fun of the fair in fact.  Apart that is, from having to…ahem… recoat and stain that damned shower every six months.  But anyway, we must suffer for our convictions.  We Calvanist types.

This new bathroom, it turns out, has not wanted to be decided upon and does not seem to wish to be masculine. Nor even gender neutral. In fact I think it has distinctly feminine yearnings, which is, I have to say, outside my comfort zone. Some time back when I was trying to grasp what it might look like one day, I detected a white and silver blur somewhere just at the periphery of my mind.  It was no more than a wisp, a fluff of cumulous; more suggestion than fact.  But for a mere suggestion it has proved to be an insistent little bugger, refusing to be ignored, drifting tantalisingly across the mental stage before vaporising again before I can take hold of it.

So how it all translated into reality has been the usual mix of serendipity, frustration, blind choices and that bloody stuff, spondoolicks.  We started with the bath.  The only stipulation was that it  had to be light (three floors to carry it up and tired old floors). That ruled out stone and composite stone.  Most tin baths I found were boring and I won’t have acrylic because I do believe a person should be free to tune the wind section of their band in the bath without the whole household – the whole street! – sharing in the joy.  Forgive me, but I’m English.

So anyway, a piece of shininess, similar to above, has been ordered. Then came the basin, which caused much thrashing about because those that I wanted (modern, sleek) did not speak the same language as the bath. Many introductions were tried and failed.  It got to feeling like a dating agency for fixtures and fittings.  In the end, a basin similar to the one below has been ordered.  Not my first (or second…) love because it’s a little too ‘period’, but at least it speaks to the bath in loving terms and I got it cheap. Or relatively so. Cheapness is becoming quite a factor in our decision making these days. Just call me The Bargain Hound.

And then recently I found this, which caused a swoon or two before breakfast:

After tunnelling down a few digital rabbit holes I managed to track down the printer, but alas! alack! my quest was doomed because the original source was unknown. But undeterred and with much cunning sleuthery (you can see how my days are spent) I have sourced my own original master residing in a gallery in the north of England.  An email has been duly dispatched to enquire whether they will oblige and we are currently dining on baited breath in our house.  Makan unging, as they say.

And if by chance I should fail to secure my swathe of silk, I have another plan up my sleeve, which is far easier to come by but costs approximately two arms and five legs.  There is also the question of whether I could bear to have all those pairs on binocs trained upon my bathing self.  But oh well, there’s always loo roll and scissors I suppose.

And on the Remington front, he is now almost restored to his original debonair self.   The knee is healing, the black velvet is growing back and although he has to go everywhere on the lead, he is quite jolly.  Thanks to everyone who expressed concern.  Here he is at the farm this week, recuperating.

And that, said Fred, is that…other than to report the blue and scarlet parrots eating seeds in the pouring rain just outside my window.  Oh, and the mail which has just this moment come in to say that yet more crumbling walls have been found which require..oddly enough…more monay!  I feel a post about penury coming on.  I’ll be writing it from the Debtors’ Gaol.  Please send provisions.