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Thursday, 9 February 2012

Striking it Lucky . . . Awesome Old Finds

So this last weekend we were planning on stripping tiles out of the bathroom. But as you can see, we didn't get around to doing it. We didn't actually do anything D.I.Y or house related. We have decided to take the rest of this month off and chill out a little and then hit the D.I.Y again hard in March. . . But don't despair, I still have quite a bit of stuff to share with all you lovely people who are actually following our blog . . .

Check out all the rad stuff we have been finding over the last few weeks . . . 


Starting with this awesome old clock that is in need of A LOT of TLC. It belonged to my great grandfather, W. A. Russell. I actually found it under my parents house. From what we can see it needs to be sanded down, re-varnished and have a few holes fixed and then the working parts need to be made to work again. It has a plaque on it that says it is from 1928. So that makes this clock 84 years old. Is anyone in the clock business and have any helpful tips on restoring old clocks like these? I wonder how much it would be worth now? 


While I was under my parents' house, all covered in dust and sand, I also stumbled over this old oak ball and claw chair that belonged to my mother's grandmother. It also just needs to be sanded down and varnished or sanded down and painted in a nice glossy white enamel paint? We are still deciding what look to go with . . .  It originally had a wicker/cane back but we aren't really fans of the wicker look, so the plan is to make a nice backing out of plywood and then cover it with a cushion and also have a new cushion made for the seat part. We are thinking stripes, maybe cream/white/grey/navy blue stripes. We will just have to go and scout out some fabric and see what is available.
Maybe something along these lines? What do you think? We will be doing a charcoal/grey feature wall in the dining-room so I am thinking top-right if we want to keep it neutral, or maybe the top-middle if we want to bring in some blue/navy to the room. Bear in mind the chair will be painted in white enamel paint . . .


Next up on the list of cool things we have found is this kist. It is nice and big and also just needs a light sand and varnish/wood sealer. There are lovely brass handles on the sides and a brass latch on the front that needs to be polished up to reflect its former glory. I had the perfect place under the window in our dining room just waiting for something like this to be placed there . . .


Up until December we didn't own a dining room table. We have never really had the need or space for one. After we moved into the new house the area that was the 'dining room' was so bare and in desperate need of a nice table. Although we have never had a nice big table, I have always had a picture in my mind of what it must look like but I had yet to find it in reality. One weekend around Christmas time we were window shopping and browsing in a couple of shops and we saw this table and both instantly fell in love with it. We had no intention of buying anything, let alone a dining room table. We didn't really have the money for it at the time but as always we came up with a plan and thanks to Mom & Dad Strydom we now have a lovely dining room table . . . 


BUT we didn't have any chairs. Ever since then we have been on the chair hunt. We have seen some lovely chairs for around R500-R800 each which doesn't seem too bad if they are real wood (We have also seen some for this price that aren't even solid wood and made really badly). So thanks to Gumtree, we now have two chairs to add to our table and the two of them together only set us back R350. Yes, they are completely different chairs, but that is the point. I am wanting to get 6 completely different old looking chairs that are made from real wood. I want the whole mix-n-match vibe. BUT my challenge is to get them for under R200 a chair, or free if that is at all possible. So, two down, four more to go . . .  

*Side Note: If you are reading this and you have something similar hanging around full of dust and unwanted, we would gladly take it off your hands. Drop us a mail and we will make a plan to get it from you. :)

This first chair looks like it has already been 're-done' and although its got a few bumps and scratches, we love the way it looks and are going to keep it just the way it is.

And here is the second chair we picked up today, like all the other pieces it just needs a bit of attention. We are thinking of just sanding it down and putting a darker stain on it so it matches the colour of the other chair and then getting some nice cushions for them . . .


This lovely old wingback chair wasn't really part of our search for dining room chairs but while browsing Gumtree, I found this lovely old chair was going for R150! I felt like I had struck gold when I found it!! I couldn't pass up the chance. So off we went all the way to the Bluff last night to pick her up. Don't get me wrong, the old lady, as she will now be called, needs to be fully re-covered and needs a makeover but for R150 it is well worth it. The legs also have a few holes in them from borer bugs but nothing that can't be treated and fixed . . . I have got a few quotes to get her recovered but I am really toying with the idea of us trying to re-do and re-cover her ourselves. Maybe another 'Step-by-Step' in the pipelines? Has anyone ever done any furniture upholstery before? Feel free to drop us a mail with any helpful hints/comments . . .

Last, but not least, check out this rug we got for a bargin and a half (R200). This is one of those natural fibre woven rugs. It is massive and it weighs a ton. (The width of it is slightly longer than the length of our 6-seater dining-room table. It also needs a good clean and a little TLC but I think it's going to look just fine in our new lounge . . . Compliments of a lovely co-worker and friend . . . Thanks Raapie . . .
*Side Note: I have no idea why there is an arrow on the right pic :). 
Sometimes weird stuff just happens . . .

What do you think of all our lovely finds? Let's hope we can fix them all up and make them look really good. We will keep you posted as we go along. Not sure when they will all get done, the en-suite bathroom looms . . . but maybe they can just be side projects when we have had enough of the big projects :) Has anyone else got any D.I.Y, home projects, furniture restoration they are busy with?
Let us know . . .  Send us your before and after pics with a short write up and we'll pop it up on the blog. We are very keen to get a South African home renovation vibe going where people can get a chance to show others what D.I.Y / renovation jobs they have managed to pull off on a small budget . . . and even if you not from S.A, drop us a line and say Hi, we would love to hear from you :)
Until next time . . .

Friday, 3 February 2012

A Sneak Peak at Our Bathroom...

So next on our ever growing list of things to do, and the thing we would LOVE to get done ASAP is our en-suite bathroom. Currently as far as we are concerned, IT IS DISGUSTING. . . it is so outdated and has been done really badly and the entire thing needs to be completely stripped out and re-done. That, and the fact that we have two bathrooms and neither of them has a shower. . . We NEED a shower. So that is the plan for this bathroom. To make a shower and make it nice.

This is what it looks like now. (We actually don't even go in there if we can help it.)
It actually doesn't look as bad in the photos as it really is.
A couple of months ago I downloaded Google Sketch Up to see if I could play around a bit and do a quick mock up of how I saw our tiny en-suite bathroom working. I made everything to scale so I could figure out how we were going to fit everything in. Having never used any kind of 3-D/Modeling program before it took me a very long time to figure out enough of the program to do what I wanted to. There were some things I couldn't figure out, like how to take the path lines off so you could just see the shapes and not the points they were made up of. But after I had figured out the sizes that everything had to be, and how it all fitted in, I gave up on trying to make it look pretty and just left it with the lines on. This is what I ended up with:
Now you have an idea of what we are aiming at and you can see the amount of space we have to work with. As you can see from the sketch, our shower isn't going to have a door. I don't think the water will splash out too much because we are going to have a small row of bricks which should solve this problem but we will only really know once it is done. We have already bought all our materials and accessories, the only thing left to get is the shower glass and brackets.


Now that we had an idea of what we wanted to do, the fun part was buying everything. 
Let's back track a little to October last year, even before the house was registered, straight after we got bond approval we saw a really nice bamboo toilet seat, then our eyes moved slightly up to the next shelf and we saw the bamboo towel rack and then we saw the soap dishes and toilet roll holder and and and... Basically every bamboo accessory we could see in front of us went straight into the trolley! 
We have a couple of really nice bamboo kitchen accessories and really love them, so we are suckers for bamboo stuff. 

The next thing we got was some floor tiles. Originally our idea was to have mosaic tiles in the shower only BUT because our bathroom is so incredibly small, 1,73m x 1,73m, we just decided to do the whole floor with the same tiles. We found these really cool natural stone tiles from CTM. They definitely weren't the cheapest ones but there were only four boxes left and thats exactly the amount we needed. So we just bought them. It was R49.95 per sheet and there were 11 sheets per box so it did work out a bit expensive but you can do the maths if you really want to :) The awesome thing about these tiles is that every sheet (30cmx 30cm) is completely different and random. I am so glad we bought them when we did because even though we were told they were getting more in, we haven't seen them again in any of the stores we have been into and there are similar ones but none that are quite as nice as these ones.
I could not wait to lay some of the tiles on the floor to see what they would look like. This is what it looked like after I laid them out. Like I mentioned earlier, every sheet is different so when they are laid down there is no specific pattern, which we love!


The next things we bought were some taps for the basin and the shower and a shower head and arm. We spent a little more money on the taps. All the taps and the shower head and arm we got from Bathroom Bizarre. The total we spent on this was about R1,800.00. We could have got cheaper ones but these are the ones we wanted...


Finding the basin and the table happened at pretty much the same time. Originally we wanted the basin to sit on top of a nice concrete counter but after more thought we realised it wouldn't look so good in such a small area and the 'heaviness' of the concrete counter might make the bathroom look even smaller than it is. After a couple of weeks of thinking and looking around for just the right thing, we can came across this table. The only thing wrong with it was that it was completely the wrong size. So I snapped a quick pic in the hopes of sending it to someone to have it made up in our dimensions.
 The basin we ended up buying to was a Trio 3-in-1 Drop-in Basin from CTM. Initially I was a little hesitant to buy it because it looked a bit funny. But when we saw it 'dropped-in' to a table/counter, it looked really awesome. It was also really well priced at R249.00, compared to all the other counter-top and stand alone basins we had seen that ranged between R500-R900. There was one basin I really loved but I couldn't justify paying R900 for a basin.

After we had bought our 'drop-in' basin, we then figured out the dimensions of the table we wanted, including the size of the hole that would have to be cut into the top of it to allow us to drop our basin in, and sent it to a furniture company in Greytown called Traditional Furniture.

This is what we got back after a few weeks . . .
 It was made of Saligna rather than the usual Pine. I can't explain how happy I was with the finished product. When I sent the pic as a reference I wasn't expecting it to be EXACTLY the same, I would have been happy with something similiar, but as far as I can see, it was exactly as per the pic we sent them! Normally when I have asked for stuff to be custom made there has always been some problem and it is not exactly right the first time round but this was the exact opposite. Thanks so much Graham and Charmaine from Traditional Furniture. We love it!! We asked for it to be unvarnished and we bought some Matt Wood Doc sealer and sealed it ourselves. We have done 3 coats of Wood Doc so far but want to do another two or three coats to be extra sure it is properly sealed as it is going to be in the bathroom. The total amount we spent on the table and the basin together was about R650.00.

Here is the finished table with the basin placed in the table and the taps balancing very carefully on the basin.


This is the toilet we picked up for R399 from Builders Warehouse. This is as close as the toilet will be to the basin because we don't have too much space to work with. The only major thing is going to be changing the plumbing to allow for a shower instead of the bath that is currently there.

We are planning on doing most of the work ourselves except for the plumbing. After the bathroom is complete we will be able to add a whole lot more skills, including plastering walls and tiling to name a few, to our ever growing list of things we can do. We realistically only see it being completed in a couple of months time, as it depends a lot on whether we have budget for the plumbing to be done and when you are doing it yourself after-hours it obviously takes way longer than if you just hire someone to do it for you. 

And the stripping begins . . . (We did this small amount of tile stripping about a month or so ago) 

This weekend we are planning to spend most of the day on Saturday knocking out tiles . . . Check back next week to see if we actually managed to do what we have planned and hopefully we will have some more progress pics to show you all . . . 

If you have any thoughts, ideas, helpful tips we would love to hear from you. or if you have done something similar before send us your before and after pics, we would love to put them up on our blog.
Drop us a mail: or leave a comment . . .

Wish us luck :)