Wednesday 25 June 2014

Their HOUSE most definitely RULES..

..and, just quietly, so do they!

So those who have been following the show will know that unfortunately last night our very own Townsville dream-team Maddi and Lloyd were eliminated from House Rules.  BOOOO HISSSS!!! 

*USA and UK readers, House Rules is an Australian reality TV show that sees teams from each state competing against each other in renovation madness by doing up each other houses following five House Rules the owners leave for is all done in 7 days.  Teams that score highest with the combined teams and judges scores move up to the next round etc, with the overall winner having their mortgage paid off in full.

Even though we kinda knew what was coming (purely speculation on our part due to the fact we live 3 doors away and knew when filming was going on, when it ceased and when they came home) it was still a shock as we didn't know 100% until the judges uttered their ridiculously unfair and crappy scores.  Although we are very sad to see them go, as we discussed at the weekend every team is a winner in this competition, even Brooke and Grant, the first couple to be eliminated, have a fantastic home to show for all the blood, sweat and tears they put into the competition. 

As renovation shows go, we love it, we loved the first series and this one has been even better.  For us it's a great mix of reality and reno, we get to see different ideas and ways that others think outside the square for different tasks, as well as seeing different trends and products available.  Obviously some decisions are never going to sit well with everyone, and due to the fast moving nature of the show and extremely limited time in which they have to plan, execute and perfect each zone there are always going to be mistakes and rush jobs.  But the beauty of this show is that structurally everything is perfect, as for furniture and fittings etc?  Well...if you don't like the moss green colour (that you asked for, a'hem Brooke) then paint over it.  And if the table would look better going the other way on the new deck (a'hem Wendy) then the owner can just turn it around.  Ok, so if you don't like a tile choice then you are pretty stuffed short term but when you have just had your house fully renovated, who cares!?  When you get the opportunity change it!  Maddi and Lloyd have exactly that attitude, when we got together with Maddi (unfortunately Lloyd was working), we could tell straight up she is a 'don't stress the small stuff' kind of gal.  Their no-nonsense, get on with it work ethic has carried them through this competition and although I am soooo disappointed to see their journey come to an end I know they have gotten so much out of it, not just in terms of a freshly renovated home but also within themselves and will continue to grow from it. 

Which brings me to my little Q and A with them...I got asked the other day, how come you got to see their house...was it just because of the blog?  So just as an FYI here is the background to my house rules journey (haha)...also known as Maddi-Stalking if Col is to be believed...

Back in late March we had just begun our own reno on our new place, we had to do the bathroom in its entirety before we moved in so I was spending most of my days here overseeing the demolition and re-do of the bathroom and toilet. 

Sneak peek...!

On one of my trips out here, a letter was waiting in my mailbox from Channel 7 explaining what would be going on in our immediate neighbourhood and asking for complete discretion by keeping this information to ourselves.  Which of course we did.  (I now see how important that part is, the amount of traffic our usually quiet street has had since this aired is astronomical.  As my facebook peeps know, we call them the gawkers, they usually drive-by paying very little attention to the road itself, but generally causing no trouble, but the odd one is a little more determined.  Like the ones who knocked on our door on a Sunday morning asking where the HRH was, and the one who pulled into Maddi and Lloyd's driveway and just sat there gawking!!  Or incredulously the one that actually attempted to climb their fence last week to get a look over it into the yard...WTF!!??  *Edit* One neighbour, who is doing an amazing full renovation on his house right now, (thanks for the permission to use this pic Mr. N) even had to put up a sign to keep the gawkers at bay, which hysterically Sasha suggested to Maddi this weekend... "that's what you should do Maddi, that would fool them all!'
Not House Rules!!!
Over the course of the following 2 weeks we had every tradie, landscaper and camera crew who could possibly fit down our little street firmly entrenched as they filmed the episodes that aired this week.  (*The stage one - house reno part - had been completed late last year when we had not yet got the keys to our new home). 

This shot doesn't do it justice, the cars and utes were everywhere!

Lots and lots of extra shots are taken once all the crew leave
The huge boom (?) camera  taking all the sweeping overhead shots etc
Anyway long story short, once it had all settled and Maddi and Lloyd were back home, I dropped them a line asking if we could do a mini interview of sorts and thankfully she said yes once approval comes through from Channel 7 and the show had aired she'd love to help.  Yayyy!  (I actually couldn't wait to see Poppy's face when she was in the same room as a TV star!  Hahahaha).  Over the last few months we have emailed and written letters back and forth and finally it all aligned and we got to meet up.  The children were mesmerized by her, their gorgeous puppy dog Bronson who is just adorable and of course the amazing house.  We are so grateful that they allowed us to intrude like that and see it all up close and personal, it was great to see all the colours and styles incorporated, and also to see the things they've changed since they got back which really isn't that much, they mostly liked it all; but of course the hessian ceilings went!!!  I was also very grateful to see their kitchen as I loved what Adam and Lisa did with it and would like to take inspiration from it when it comes time to renovate ours.  The blue splashback is just perfect, I love it! So without further waffling ado, here is my mini interview with the lovely Maddi...

How did you guys meet?
Online! Lloyd and I came across each others profile on Myspace. We chatted online for a while and then he invited me to come to his mates BBQ.  We've been together ever since.

Why did you choose Pallarenda? (Funnily enough we actually looked at your house when it was on the market when we originally moved back here, but deemed it too much work for us, in time/money and expertise, having just begun renovating our previous house :)
We did our research on the property market in Townsville and found that Pallarenda was one of the suburbs with great investment potential. Apart from being on the beach, Pallarenda is only 10 minutes from the city and there is very little (if any) land left to build on so the existing land will become very valuable in time.  It's a gem of a suburb that we feel not many have discovered yet (well, I think NOW they have haha).

How and when did you originally apply for the gig, what was your audition video like? 

We applied for the show late last year.  The application process included a video, photos and a very intense application form! It wasn't easy and we never thought we had a chance!

Why do you think you got the gig.
I think we got chosen because we are different from most of the other couples in the competition and we live in the most unique place compared to the other contestants. We are the only couple that doesn't fight with each other and we never take anything too seriously - at the end of the day it's just a competition, it's not a life and death situation, so don't sweat the small stuff!

How much do they (producers) prepare you for the onslaught of the show and the pressures that come with it.  Was it far harder than you thought it would be?
Producers don't prepare you at all- it's as raw as it comes.  You fly into the first reno town and day one you are in to it.  Even if you have experience in the building industry, nothing prepares you for getting your head around renovating a house in 7 days with complete strangers. From budgets to building walls and buying furniture - you learn it all on the job in that first week, hitting the ground running.  You have to be a very fast learner.
We (general public) see what the shows producers want us to see, but for me they portrayed a wonderful group of people who looked like they had so much fun and all got along.  Was that the case? Did you all get along as well as it seemed?
The way I describe it is like being on a school camp - when you live with people for that amount of time someone is bound to get on someone's nerves. We all got along fine but towards the end of the camp :) there were a couple people on the annoying side that needed to be booted from the campsite. Carole was one of them. The way she spoke to Russell was funny to start with but on a daily basis for days and weeks on end it became hard to listen to.  In fact, we actually felt really sorry for the bloke.

How did Lisa look soooooo darn cute and fresh through all the renos!!??? 
Lisa is a trooper and I think she used to be a beauty therapist.  She is an amazing human being, inside and out!

Is stage one really done in 7 days?  When they were here, they filmed for nearly 2 weeks!?
Yep reno is all done in 7 days- it's crazy.  They film the judges at the top and tail- that might be what you saw and there's heaps of filming they do just of the house for the show and magazines but the contestants are only there for 7 days and the reno is completed in 7 days. I wish it was more days!! :)

Are all the trades used local to the area?

There's Chester the Build Supervisor - I think he is from Melbourne. But all trades are sourced locally.

What was your favourite room in the whole show for each of the following..
a) In your house  - Our kitchen.  It's stunning , practical and spacious.
b) that you have completed in one of the other houses - I loved the ensuite we did in VIC.  The hexagon tiles and greyscale look was very on-trend.
and c) in the whole competition either your work or completed by a fellow contestant.- Still our kitchen haha- it's really amazing

What did you think of all the junk in Bomber and Mel's out building when you first saw it?  (We loved what you did with the old bench...just awesome!)  Was that the hardest reno mentally and physically for you all?
Mel and Bombers reno was definitely the hardest for us design wise and physically. We basically had to smash down the entire back end of the house and re-do it. And the house rules were really hard to work with in a kitchen area - who wants a junky kitchen!

Did working in all the big cities make you realise how lacking we are in the Ville for decent home wares and similar stores

It was funny, trying to renovate in the larger cities compared to our smaller city of Townsville had it's disadvantages also. As you are running on a clock every minute counts and when you are in Western Sydney and need to get to a shop in Sydney in a hurry- good luck!! Whereas, although Townsville doesn't have as many shops to choose from, they are all in close vicinity with plenty of parking.  And when you are doing a 24hr challenge- that becomes really important.  Melk is amazing! :)

From Sasha - age 10 - What happened with your jobs while you were on the show?
Awesome Question.  We both have amazing bosses that allowed us to take leave.

From Poppy - age 5 - What is Maddi's favourite colour? (She followed it with...'I bet she says Rainbow'..the kid is so funny.)
Hahaha Rainbow - what a great thought, I may have to reconsider my colour choices.  I love pink :)
Thanks so much Maddi..we are counting down with you for the whole30 to end..hahahah!
So that's all folks, we would have loved for team Qld to be going further in the competition but now it is down to one team and one team only...
GO VICTORIA - Adam and Lisa for the WIN!!!

* source photo's gratefully borrowed from Maddi and Lloyd's Facebook page (with prior permission of course!)


Friday 20 June 2014

The day I thought I was going koo koo...

I meant to post this article on Monday, but time just got away from me.  Something a little bit different to our usual stuff, but unless you live here in the Ville you would know nothing about this, so I thought it was worth sharing...purely as a 'well I never' type piece.

Last Saturday as soon as I got up I could smell an odd odour in our house.  I said to Col, what is that smell?  To which he replied...what smell?  I asked the kids and Col's mum also, and although they thought they could smell something they weren't sure.  For me it was soooooo strong it was giving me a headache after an hour of being up.  I described it as a petrol-y/gassy smell.  But not like gas from a gas cooker and not like petrol from a petrol station...hmmm can you see why Col thought I was going bonkers?!  I moaned all morning about this smell...ALL MORNING!!  It wasn't something that you just got used to, it was so strong it was just horrible.  I checked our lawnmower in case it was leaking fuel...nope.  I wondered if it was the neighbours who have recently sanded their floors and maybe they were using a strange smelling chemical floor stainer...nope.  We left the house, as I couldn't stand it any longer and we went out to the Innovation House, (Mount Low, close to Bushland Beach).  I got out of the car and low and behold, I could STILL smell it, prompting Col to conclude that it must be me.  (How very dare he!)  But in all honesty I was beginning to think the same!  By mid afternoon, with rain still in the air but with the sun shining through occasionally (this is important) it had completely gone and we forgot all about it.

Fast forward to Monday morning, I get a text from Col saying "check out the Bully" (Townsville Bulletin newspaper)

Excerpts taken from Mondays Townsville Bulletin:

Bad whiff: foul smelling tree prompts fire crew call-out

Queensland Fire and Rescue Service crews responded to 10 calls in Cranbrook, Kelso, Kirwan, Bushland Beach, Ayr and Charters Towers.  Concerned residents also called police and Origin Energy to report the suspected gas leak between 3.55am and 10.30am on Saturday.  Firefighters responded to every call but declared the areas safe shortly after.

Botanist Betsy Jackes said the smell likely came from Indian almond trees, or other terminalia varieties. 
...“It’s not a pleasant smell and if it (terminalia) is the thing (causing this smell) it’s to help attract its pollinators …moths and bats at night, ones who rely on smell.  “The smell is very important. It’s guiding them at night when they can’t see well.”
...“Probably if we hadn’t had the current weather pattern people might not have been able to smell it,” Ms Jackes said.  “It’s probably been hanging down with the clouds, the moisture might have been making it worse."
 … "the smell would have dissipated as soon as the sun comes up and we haven’t had the sun."

The terminalia trees are native and are scattered across North Queensland, including at Pallarenda, Cardwell and The Strand.

You can read the whole article here

Unbelievable...!!  I was so relieved that I wasn't going la-la, but also so intrigued by the tricks nature plays on us unsuspecting humans.  Pallarenda has many of these trees dotted around, and I had never so much as taken a second glance at them.  But it has brought to my attention another wonderful part of our area that usually goes un-noticed and taken for granted.  I found out that the terminalia, more commonly known as Indian Almond Tree's grow big and deliver wonderful shade but also their leaves, fruit and bark have been used in traditional folk medicine for years.  To heal/aide numerous ailments from liver conditions to babies with colic.  Their almonds can be eaten raw, straight from the tree (unlike commercial almonds), and on further investigation I found out that the leaves feature on numerous eBay sites being sold as a water conditioner for aquariums, apparently making the fish live longer, healthier lives...who knew?!  I didn't, but I do now.  And it couldn't have come at a better time with Col and I only discussing last night our need/want for an aquarium of sorts in this house.

So there you have it!  Another life lesson that echoes that old cliché line, sometimes it really does pay to stop and smell the roses, or in this case, the gassy/petrol-y/chemical-y type whiff of a local, flowering, native tree, you never know what you might find out.

K x

Saturday 14 June 2014

Bringing a little history home...

... as a miniature (read: 'teeny tiny eeny weeny miniature') part II to Col's post this week (here) I thought I could do a little piece on how we have bought a small bit of history home with us to this new house. 

We loved our last home, but as we've said umpteen times, it was a little too far from the ocean and a little too small, but we miss it none the less.  Even though it was only built in the late 50's it was still rich with local history.  Our next door neighbor had lived there for 50 years and had grown up playing in our house and yard as her best friend's family had owned our house back then.  Her house, which was to our left, burnt down when she was younger and so the whole neighborhood came together to build a new home for them, including the mini 'humpy' building at the back, in which she still lived.  Her wedding photo's were actually taken in our main bedroom.  Unfortunately we never got to see the wedding pictures, she forgot to bring them from her other house to show us, and she moved out just as we moved to here so I never got to ask again. 

Even though the house lacked the more traditional features of an original Queenslander, (ornate internal fretwork, wraparound verandahs etc) it still had the most beautiful thin laid floorboards so indicative of that era, and as many tradies have told us, are becoming more and more rare to see in houses these days, (thicker width original wooden floorboards are still seen a lot). Gorgeous casement windows and the 1950's style wrought iron handrails, and old plumbing pipe fences.  It was a cute little house that has stood modestly on that land and has seen many kids grow up in it and the street change around it. 

Col and I have always bought things to remind us of past locations where we have lived, mostly in the form of artworks by local artists or of the local area.  Obviously this time we were only moving house and not location, it was tricky to know what we could take with us for our little bit of history.  So far we had found a few coins and an old glass bottle buried in the garden, but nothing of great interest.  If I could I would have ripped out every floor board and re-laid them in our current house, but that clearly wasn't an option either.  Then one day we stumbled upon an unlikely memento that we could definitely take with us and definitely use.

A vintage milky white glass ceiling lamp fitting! 
The only photo I could find of it in its original setting is the one above on the left.  A reflection in the mirror of our pre-renovated bathroom from when we first moved in.  (So that you can see it a bit better I have altered the brightness in the image on the right).  When we changed out the light fittings, Col was about to throw this old thing in the skip but I just couldn't do it, I thought it was such a waste.  So Col suggested we keep it to use it as a vase or something.   And I am soooo glad we did, I LOVE IT!!  Up on the ceiling (as you can see) it looked totally boring and lost in the expanse of white.    But with it's new lease of life as a centrepiece for our candles it just glows!  Ha...literally.

It is just gorgeous and simple, and can enjoy its new life for many more years to come!
K xx



Tuesday 10 June 2014

Location Trumps History...

...otherwise known as how we ended up going from the desired ideal of a historic high-set Queenslander to a more modern, low-set, masonry block home.

Let me explain, you may remember on our FAQ page we said this about our previous reno:
"Is This Your Dream House?"
"Nope! We call it the learning house, where we are learning all the tricks and validating our tradesmen, so that we are ready to move quickly when we spot our dream house. While we now live a mere 5 minute drive to the ocean, we would rather be a 5 minute walk, and live in an historic Queenslander (this one is a post-war Queenslander), preferably with a sea view :o)"
Well the best laid plans of mice and men sometimes go awry. In amongst doing those early renovations, we knew that the post war Queenslander we were renovating wouldn't be our forever home, within a few weeks of being back in Townsville we knew we somehow had to live closer to the beach. As a result we ended up going to the odd open home (very dangerous), and also looking at new builds in local display villages to see what our options were.
It soon became very apparent that price would be a significant factor in buying closer to the beach, (our sea-view would have to wait) and looking for the worst house in the best street might be a contributing factor to getting a foot on the ground in one of our three desired suburbs. Not that this worried us, we know what can be achieved with sound design ideas and a little bit of elbow grease.  We visited a couple of display homes that we really liked and immediately remembered a house in our favourite suburb that had been for sale on and off for a while.  We had been through and looked at this place and knew that while suffering from an extended period of neglect, it had great bones that could be renovated to give us what the display homes offered but in a great seaside location. (You can see the two show homes we really loved on the following links for the Machan 247 by Jazz Homes and the Magnetic 14 by Grady Homes).
And that's how we ended up buying our forever home and changing our ideals slightly, because location always wins when you can walk out your front door and three minutes later be standing on the beach taking in this view...
You may have seen a couple of people being interviewed on a certain Channel 7 reality TV home renovation show recently with this as the backdrop, but more on that another time... for now let us introduce you all to what is our forever home, our little cabin by the sea, and what has been consuming much of our time recently and preventing us from sharing more regular blog updates.  Don't get too excited, we know it's not that appealing to look at just yet...but already it is beginning to evolve on the inside into the home we have always wanted...



So there you have it, and this marks the beginning of our next journey, which we look forward to sharing with you. Hopefully after some more hard work we'll end up with something a little more like this in our seaside paradise.

Cheers, Col