Friday 14 June 2013

A study with views of the castle...

An often quipped piece of sage advice is to live in a house for at least 12 months before you renovate. That way you know where the light falls and moves to during the day, where the hot and cold spots of the house are during each season, and what functional layout works best with your furniture. Very sage advice. However, obstacle #1 = we don't have 12 months to wait before renovating. Obstacle #2 = we're trying to downsize from a 4 bedroom 2 living area home to a 3 bedroom 1 living area home; functional layout was always going to be a challenge to overcome.  Obstacle #3 we are trying to find a study in a 1950's home that, lets face it, doesn't actually have, do you see our problems??

As we finally got to shifting furniture around in the living/dining/study/entry area of the house so that we could paint the walls and ceilings, we found that while our newly found study nook started off in the dining area, it would actually work much better where the entry foyer is. When it was placed in the dining space it was on the western corner of the house, so it's the hottest spot in the afternoon. Whereas the entry foyer area has a sun shade over the windows and is therefore always cooler as a result.

To refresh your memory, the entry foyer is approximately 1.8 mtrs deep x 3.2 mtrs wide (~6 feet x 11 feet) and backs directly onto our lounge. It used to be the front veranda but has been built in sometime in the last 20-30 years.  Here's what the space looked like on the day we got the keys...

And another view a few days later once we had been sugar soaping and preparing the house for the arrival of our furniture.

The front door has two Kookaburra's painted on the frosted glass, which is quite nice (I think...Kate doesn't) considering we occasionally see them sitting up high in the back yard in one of the neighbours trees.  We are yet to do anything with the front door, Kate wants to paint it white, I am not sure.  Ideas??

The key things that needed to be tackled (apart from the painting) was to have the electrical outlets and switches replaced with modern fittings, remove the old light fitting which was both unnecessary and didn't work, and to get insect screens built and fitted for the four bay casement windows. These windows were the only ones in the house that weren't already screened.  Casement windows are great for letting the breeze in, but without insect screens they need to stay shut, to stop uninvited visitors buzzing into the house and making a dot-to-dot out of Kate.  Seriously if there are 200 people in a room and one mozzie, it will find her...instantly!

Anyway, after two months of this space being a generic holding area for books and boxes, not to mention not so fun games of 'human Tetris' moving boxes back and forth constantly just to find something, this is what it looked like before we started our renovation on the study with Castle views (we'll get to that bit later)...

The biggest key change at this stage is that we had the new insect screens custom made and fitted, the ceiling light removed, and new electrical fittings installed. As soon as the screens were fitted it was great being able to have the windows open day and night, catching the natural breeze coming by the house, one of the climate principles in the design of Queenslanders.

As with all of our final painting jobs it meant shifting the furniture around to get to the walls and ceiling panels, starting with that big bookcase in the corner.  With the bookcase out of the way it was down to the nitty gritty of sugar soaping and no-more-gapping in preparation for the base coat, and then systematically cutting in and painting each wall and ceiling panel. For this space I gleefully handed over the responsibility of painting to Kate, and I can not fully express how therapeutic it was watching someone else paint, soooooooooo relaxing!

Once Kate (yes, she is wearing Ugg the tropics) had completed the painting of that wall we shifted the bookcase back into position and started on the next section, and so on.  It is a total pain having to paint around furniture but as long as you have everything covered with plenty of drop sheets you soon get into the swing of it.  To change the room into a study meant taking out the timber sideboard with wine storage and shifting in the desk and bookshelf from the dining area. The timber sideboard will take up residence in the space formerly occupied by said desk and bookshelf. The end result will be more room to study in a designated area, and more room in the dining area as the sideboard is about half as narrow as the study it was win win.

After a lot of shifting of furniture and painting areas as they became available  the newly found study nook soon took shape, here are the before and afters of how the study with castle views turned out.  Sorry the photo's aren't that great, as Kate was working on this project mostly by herself the photo's got forgotten about to a certain extent...

Entry way, so much brighter
Adding the narrow book shelf into the corner fills in an otherwise dead space
The skirting's had seen LOTS of wear and tear, but came up good with a sand and few coats of gloss
The finished room, a much better use of space and having used it for a few weeks now, it is a lot cooler than it's previous position

And what about the castle views I keep going on about, well you may remember this previous post (here), from our front door we have a great view of Castle Hill, and now that we have moved the study to this side of the house, we have the duplicate view.  We'll call it a sweeping panorama shall we ;o)

Anyway, it's time to get back to reality and hit the books.

Cheers, Col

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