June 12, 2013

Denis's Studio Reno - Part 2

If you haven't already, why not check out Part 1 of this blog post...

Home made infinity wall!
Besides our kitchen renovation, our garage conversion would have to be one of the biggest transformations we have seen at our place. It took a couple of months, working on weekends with a few late nights thrown in here and there, and now I am happy to say Denis's new photo studio is fully functional!

I am so amazed with Denis's stamina, fitting this in and around his photography work, as well as general life stuff. But this is his reward, an amazing new space to share with his customers.

The white wall you can see in the corner of the photo above is a special seamless wall. Denis cleverly constructed this area - the perfect backdrop for portrait and product photography.

All decked out with his fave collection of retro camera gear!
In the end we decided to line the garage for a clean fresh look, but also incorporated a lovely marine plywood feature wall. This adds a bit of warmth to the room, and I love love love the sweeping wood grain. Yes, I had Denis going through the whole stack of ply at Bunnings to pick out the best sheets!

I am happy with the results... The design and layout for this space has worked out well, and it has me thinking about my own studio and what I am going to do to it!

We already owned the furniture, apart from the white industrial 'Tolix' stools. A great solution for a space that must be flexible - we can stack the stools and also fold down the trestle table if we need a bigger area to work in.

Some retro delights around the studio...

The original Instagram?
Wooden shelving, an amazing score off Gumtree for $40!
Every guy needs a colour coordinated fan!
The original windows are super cute! Shelves made from recycled floorboards.
Vintage camera cases - could double as a stylie man bag!
A giant slide rule for very complex calculations.
I covered our chairs in this vintage inspired Mini Moderns fabric.

Ok, now a quick run down of the nuts and bolts...
  • Wall painted in Dulux Pale Tendril (Half)
  • Plywood from Bunnings
  • White stackable (Replica) Tolix stools - eBay
  • Wooden shelving unit - Gumtree
  • Vintage green trestle table - eBay
  • Retro cameras from various op shops, garage sales and vintage shops.
  • Airest Teak armchairs - TradeMe (New Zealand)
  • Linen fabric on chairs - Mini Moderns UK
  • Sisal floor rugs, brushed silver light pendants, lamps, white cabinet & file drawers - Ikea


June 3, 2013

The Furniture with a Future!

These would have to be my favourite chairs! I bought them about 6 years ago in Auckland for $12 a piece. The brand is AIREST - 'The Furniture with a Future'.

They are definitely keepers, not only because they are sooooo comfy, they are also the easiest design to recover for a completely different look. So when we moved back to Australia they had to come for the ride!

The first time I recovered the chairs I used IKEA fabric, and it was my first ever attempt at recovering anything and I was pretty impressed with the transformation. This time my friend Moyra offered to help me recover them with my new Mini Moderns fabric from the UK. I totally welcomed the offer with open arms, as I found the whole cutting the fabric thing quite stressful... I didn't want to make any errors as it wasn't a case of just popping back to IKEA for more.

Moyra carefully measuring and cutting our 3 meters of Mini Moderns 'Whitby' Linen.
So on Saturday we set to work, and I let Moyra work out the best use of the fabric making sure the pattern was up the right way! I was very happy to not think too hard about this part and leave it in Moyra's capable hands!

We each sewed a back cushion cover, and then while I was busy doing the staple closure, Moyra set forth and finished the seat cushion covers for me.

Tools - flat head screwdriver, pliers, and a staple gun.
The seat back... all old staples removed.
I used the staple gun to close the cover at the base of the back cushion where it is not seen.
The best way to approach a job like this is to firstly remove the old covers and cut a new template from this. It also helps to remove all old staples etc from the frame to prevent future hooks in the new fabric.

Sewing compete, now time to focus on the frames.
With the sewing complete, my next focus was to spruce up the frames. Since owning these chairs I realised I had never shown the frames any love, so now was the perfect time while the chairs were sitting in pieces.

Wax and grime build up.
Warm soapy water does the trick.
A light buff with a scourer along the grain for stubborn spots.
Looking a bit closer, I noticed there were patches of grime / wax build up on the teak frames. The simplest solution for this is to use some warm soapy water (I used dish-washing detergent) and a bit of elbow grease. And for the stubborn spots, a light buff along the grain using a scourer did the trick.

A drink of Danish oil.
The result - the beautiful rich teak now revealed!
And finally, I gave the teak a nice coating of Danish oil with a rag, let it soak in, repeated this step and then gave the frame a quick buff with a clean rag revealing the beautiful richness of the teak.

Alternatively, if the frame is really dry and rough, then I would lightly sand the frame with a fine sand paper before applying the oil.

Scotch Gard from the supermarket to protect the fabric.
The re-assembled chair ready for it's new home. Love it!
The Mini Moderns linen fabric is a lovely oatmeal coloured base-cloth that has been screen printed. The texture will hide any dirt/dust build up pretty well, but Moyra suggested that I should scotch guard the cushion covers. Considering this fabric was a bit of an investment, I liked the idea of making it easier to clean and extending it's life!

So I ended up doing 2 x light coats today, waiting 1.5 hours in between coats. I recommend doing this outside in an open space so you don't inhale the fumes.

The original chair brand - AIREST.
The strapline for AIREST... 'The Furniture with a Future' is so true to it's marketing word! These chairs are now up to their third life, and I see them having many more in the future! The furniture manufacture probably had no idea they would be still going strong well into the 21st century!

A life long shell collection.
And something terribly cute to finish off. When my Mum heard that I was going for a retro beach-side theme in Denis's Photo studio, Mum decided she had the perfect gift for us - her life long shell collection!

When she gave it to us, I looked at it and thought how amazing it is to think that these shells were individually picked up and carefully carried home and stored in this bottle by my Mum who is now 75 years old. Lot's of memories in this jar - and I am sure if I asked her, she probably knows the story behind most of these shells! I also recognised some of the shells that I collected when I was a kid on our annual West Beach holiday. I would often sit and stare at this jar in wonder, looking at the colours, shapes and their beauty.

It is Mum's contribution to the studio, which is very near completion (more about that in another blog post). Oh how special and cute!


April 19, 2013

Denis's Studio Reno - Part 1

Visual Storyboard - the overall look and feel of the space!
Exciting news, we are currently half way through our garage renovation to convert it into a photographic studio. Denis and I both work from home, and we are lucky we have enough space to have our own dedicated work areas! I currently work upstairs, and this wonderful space is going to be Denis's pad. Lucky boy!

When we bought our home, it was always in the plan to convert the garage, so 2 years on it is exciting to see the transformation taking place. I have to take a moment to thank Denis. He patiently worked with me renovating our kitchen, laundry, den, bathroom and bedroom first before starting this - which made me a very happy and content lady! :)

So while Denis is doing the hard stuff, I have been starting to design the interior. Trying to incorporate touches of a 1950s beach side theme to suit the studio location, working within a strict budget and utilising our existing furniture, second-hand and hard rubbish finds!

I'm totally in love with the vintage inspired beachy fabric from Mini Moderns. I have a couple of teak chairs to cover, so better get onto that soon!

Mmmmm, the state of the garage before we started!
Our cute shed found on ebay
Being a collector of 'things', first we had to decide what to do with our 'things' being stored in the garage. I found this cute shed on ebay which was dismantled and delivered to us all for the bargain price of $500. At first I thought it would be too big, but now that we have transferred all of our 'things' over to the shed it is actually the perfect size. And yes, the french doors came with it too!

Elevation 1 - gorgeous original windows
Elevation 2 - the front of the garage
The little room on the right is actually a bathroom. While the house was being built, the garage was home to the original family who lived here!

Walls framed and ceiling going up. Mmmm the wall is not straight!
Ceiling and gib complete, planning the ply feature wall.
Denis spent heaps of time repairing the wooden frames to retain all of the original windows. He also decided to line the original block walls with Gib - a quick, easy and cheap way to prep the space for painting. And for a bit of extra character, we decided to work in a feature ply wood wall.

Ply up and undercoat complete - looking mighty fine!
The amazing seamless wall (to be used as a photo backdrop).
I'm really happy with the ply sheets we sourced from Bunnings. They have such a lovely wood grain, and mounting them in large long panels helps to give the illusion of more space and length to the room.

And check out the amazing photo backdrop Denis built. It's a seamless white wall (no sharp corners) that will be used for product and fashion shots, and also video interviews.

Come back again soon to see the finished product. Click here to check out more progress photos >


March 30, 2013

Keeping it Original

We kept the original light fitting. The walls look so much cleaner with the wallpaper removed.
When we bought our 1950s home, I was so pleased to find that the original bathroom was still intact. I love 1950s pastel bathrooms, and even though I would have preferred 'mint green', yellow was much better than pink! (I am simply not a pink girl!)

So considering the original tiles, pedestal basin, big bath and terrazzo floor were still in great condition, it was an obvious decision to retain all of these features. The classic thing, all the elements that needed replacing were the 1970's updates... toilet, taps (yuk), shower screen and the tired old 70s wallpaper.
Love love love the original floor!
Even though I liked the original yellow bath and basin, this combined with the floor and wall tiles really was a bit much for me. So to break up the sea of yellow, I decided to lighten the room by having the bath and basin re-enameled in white. This also helped to make our new white toilet blend in better!
Ahhhhh, a nice new toilet that doesn't leak!
Where the original 1950s toilet was positioned there was an area of concrete exposed at the base of the toilet. I hunted around for a toilet that had the deepest base and this was the best I could come up with. A bit of the concrete can still be seen, but hey, it all helps to add character!
The original shower configuration simply did not work for us.
Removing the 70s shower screen made the world of difference to this space. The original shower configuration was quite odd, with the shower head up one end of the bath and facing outwards there wasn't a lot of room to wash. The other end of the bath was kind of a void, so we decided to have the shower head shifted around to the other end making much better use of the space! A simple glass screen mounted to the wall above the bath finished it all off.
Cute original feature window etching, seagulls and waves.
Bathroom Cabinet from My Modern Nest
We had quite a few hand rails to remove that left holes in the tiles (they were put up for the previous owner - an elderly gentleman). I was hoping I would find some matching tiles from a salvage yard to replace them, but no joy. So in the end we bought some off white/ yellow grout and filled the holes where all the rails were. I think even if we did find tiles to replace the ones with drill holes, it would have been a very tricky job removing only a couple here and there without damaging the surrounding tiles!

We also had two tiles missing that needed to be replaced, but like I said, I just couldn't find these tiles anywhere. Then I had a light bulb moment... I discovered this cute vintage bathroom cupboard at a local retro store (My Modern Nest) which became the solution to our problem. 

We bought some light yellow vintage tiles from a salvage yard, removed two original tiles where this cupboard was going to go, replaced them with the yellow tiles, and then used the original tiles to fill the spots that were missing tiles. (Make sense? A big mouthful I know, but hopefully you get what I am trying to say!) The cool thing is, you would never know that we have tiles that don't exactly match under this cupboard. 

Denis and I learnt a lot during this renovation. It would have been far easier to just gut the room and start again... matching tiles, finding a toilet to cover the floor, delicately fitting taps to the old threads in the wall, moving the shower head, working around the original fittings were all challenges along the way. But it really is a wonderful feeling to know that we have successfully made this old bathroom like new again, bringing it back to it's former 1950's glory.

To see the renovation in progress and more photos click here >


March 13, 2013

I'm doing the retro twist...

April Issue of Inside Out Magazine 2013

Seriously, Denis and I are over the moon. I ducked over to our corner deli early this morning and the latest hot of the press Inside Out Magazine was sitting there looking all bright and colourful saying here I am, I'm over here...

'Quick, DENIS IT IS HERE'... I waited for him to come and join me as we both sat in our lounge so excited about this moment. We have patiently waited for this very day since the whole process began in August 2012.

Mums green bottle found at the rubbish dump got a look in!
To see our lovingly renovated retro abode featured in Inside Out Magazine is a massive achievement for us! We sat there drooling over the 6 page spread, reminiscing about how much we have actually done to our place within less than 2 years. Totally chuffed that our renovation is stylie enough to grace the pages of a glossy interiors mag!

Denis and I posing for the camera!
It is so interesting to see how an interview translates into a story and how the photos pull it all together. I really love what Clare wrote... she captured our story and the personality of our style and renovation process so well. I particularly like the opening paragraph, and I really do wish I had magical powers like Samantha Stevens from Bewitched!
Our little Hestor also did some modeling for us! He has lost a bit of weight since this photo was taken!
Anyhow, if you have made it to retrodelights.com.au after reading our story, welcome! We still have lots to share with you, bathroom reno, converting a garage into a photographic studio, and a new master bedroom suite and living area upstairs. Yes we have decided to re-configure our place so the renovations continue!

Click here to see a little behind the scenes post about the day the Inside Out team came to our place for the feature shoot... 

Thanks for following our reno journey,

Kyrie & Denis