5 things I learned living in an unrenovated 1950s house

We’ve been living in an unrenovated 1950s house since May this year. Not only do we save lots of money on rent but we’ve discovered there’s actually some really cool things about old houses ๐Ÿ˜Ž

  1. Open plan is overrated – being able to close the doors between rooms – particularly when you have screaming kids – is a godsend
  2. You don’t need so many mirrors – modern houses have built-ins with full length mirrors galore – these aren’t necessary – just learn to look at yourself less
  3. Hanging ceiling lights are fantastic – we have different hanging lights in every room, heaps cooler than downlights which mean you can’t even change the bulb yourself
  4. Your house should be smaller than your garden – modern houses have this the opposite way around and it’s all wrong
  5. Shower curtains and a bath tub are easier than glass shower screens – it’s a pain to clean glass shower screens when shower curtains do the job well and you can just put them through the wash.

cat & fish

We love the Cat & Fish books by Neil Curtis & Joan Grant: they have the most amazing illustrations and words.ย We bought two ex-library copies from BetterWorldBooks and Kitty cut out some of our favourite illustrations and framed them for the new sleeping room that Junior Pixels and Little Bear are now sharing. They look fantastic.


โ€œFor some of us, a hobby is a wonderful way to pass the time. For others, it quickly curdles in the sun of our curiosity until it becomes a disease.โ€

~ Helen Razer on hobbies (The Big Issue 8 Nov)

This is rather relevant to my arid plant hobby, quickly becoming an addiction. I’ve got six weeks off work to help with the little bear, and seem to spend every spare moment hunting rare, old or unusual arid plants.

Papier mรขchรฉ wall trophies

On a recent trip to Los Angeles and San Francisco, I saw these ‘wall trophies’ on sale at Kitty’s favourite store: Anthropologie. They’re quite large, so we could only bring one back to Australia, and we chose the gazelle. Each trophy is hand made in Haiti from recycled materials including old literature written in French. The gazelle looks great on our living room wall.

subway ikea

From 10 to 24 March 2010, IKEA develops an interesting event in four important metro stations in Paris. Furniture collections are currently displayed in high-traffic spots, giving the potential customers a chance to interact with the brand by checking out the products. The subway walls are also filled with prints that showcase IKEA interiors.

~ via freshome

What a great idea! I reckon they should leave the furniture in there permanently at the end of the promo for general use, or else at least donate the items to homeless people.

our urban paradise

Despite the negative connotations about city living, we love it, especially because of our urban balcony garden which has been extra special this past summer. Our frangipanis are continuing to flower into autumn, our succulents are thriving, and we’ve got two birds who visit about once a day to say hi. One of the birds is a beautiful shiny Australian Raven (we don’t have crows in Australia), and the other is a Grey Currawong. I found a shiny black feather from the Raven today when taking some photos of the frangipani flowers.

courtyard centric brisbane home design

I like some of the design elements in this place in the Courier Mail yesterday.ย  I particually like the use of wood, the plumeria in the courtyard, and also the L shaped pond with water lilies. The house is at Fig Tree Pocket (although I am not sure where that is in Brisbane, I think out to the West), and it was designed by Bligh Graham Architects.

Courtyard Brisbane Home

Courtyard Brisbane Home 2

Click for larger images.

flowering succulent in a swan

I recently mentioned the awesome succulent (Kalanchoe Longiflora Coccinea) my sister-in-law gave us as a gift that we planted in a ceramic swam. For the last couple of weeks it has been flowering with beautiful miniture yellow flowers, too hard to resist taking a photo.

Flowering succulent




ikea fusion

We spent the weekend reorganizing our apartment in anticipation of junior pixels. We managed to sell just about all our excess stuff to people in our building (awesome reuse), and got a few new IKEA things that are a bit more practical.

My favourite new item would be our IKEA fusion table and chair set. I love the retro styling and rounded corners, plus the chairs have backs and padded seats which is something our old stools didn’t have.


I will post some pictures of our redone rooms in coming days.

beautiful succulent in a swan

When we were in the USA last month we purchased an awesome white swan planter from Anthropology and, thanks to Kitty’s advanced packing skills, we managed to get it home in one piece.

A couple of months back my very thoughtful sister-in-law gave us a succulent similar to one I commented on at their place. I decided to plant the succulent in the swam two weeks ago and since it has begun flowering. It’s a visual delight.

Swan with succulent

Bonus points if you can name the type of succulent.

weekend roundup

We had a pretty fun-filled weekend in Brisbane:

  • Friday Night: I had a friend over from work and we drank a couple of Cascade Greens and ate some Texan Beef sausages with fried onions;
  • Saturday Lunch: Kitty and I had Dim Sum at Yum Cha in the city;
  • Saturday Afternoon: We went to see Yes Man at Myer Centre Cinema with some corporate vouchers we got for Christmas: quite an enjoyable movie;
  • Saturday Evening: We went for a drive to Mount Coot-tha. We sat and watched the stars and city lights while drinking our BYO tea and pineapple;
  • Sunday Morning: We went for a walk through South Bank and right along Boundary Street, West End. We spent some time looking in shops including the great Avid Reader store;
  • Sunday Lunch: We cooked burgers. Mine looked so great Kitty took a photo:
Beef burger with free-range egg, beetroot, lettuce, pineapple, cucumber & grated carrot.
Beef burger with free-range egg, beetroot, lettuce, pineapple, cucumber & grated carrot.
  • Sunday Evening: We met K’s little sister for takeaway in the park on Bowen Terrace looking at the Storey Bridge.
  • Sunday Night: I hung the canvases I made last weekend with fabric and frames from IKEA.
Canvas on frame
Canvas on frame
Canvas on frame
Canvas on frame

Canvas on frame
Canvas on frame

They cost $8 each to make, and I still can’t decide on a favourite.

Good times.

stone cairn candle

Kitty bought me a really cool stone cairn candle for our 12th anniversary (of dating) last Friday. It’s made by A Little Light and she got it at Brunswick Heads in NSW. I think it looks so great that I am too scared to actually burn it.

A Little Light Stone Cairn Candle
A Little Light Stone Cairn Candle
Stone Cairn Candle Instructions
Stone Cairn Candle Instructions

our succulent garden

I spent some time this afternoon doing some gardening on the balcony which inspired me to take some photos of some of my favourite plants.

christmas tree

Because we live in a small apartment, and because I like to concept of multi-use, our white tree shaped coat/washing rack becomes our Christmas tree each December. We have a small box of decorations and some dragonfly lights we use to decorate it.

Our Christmas Tree
Our Christmas Tree

I’m actually really getting into Christmas this year. I bought my first ever Christmas album a week ago. It’s called This Warm December: A Brushfire Holiday Vol.1 and features Jack Johnson, Money Mark and Zee Avi. My favourite track is Money Mark’s Stuck at the airport.

This Warm December
This Warm December

his masters voice

We wandered around East Brisbane this morning. We had a great brekkie at The Brown Dog Cafe. We sat outside under a tree with beautiful yellow flowers and had scrambled eggs on turkish toast with loose leaf english breakfast tea. We then browsed all the second hand furniture and home design shops.

One of the second hand furniture stores had an old His Masters Voice wooden cabinet with in built radio,ย  turntable and speakers. It was pretty dirty, but I got it for $30 and I cleaned it up when I got it home.

It came up really nice. I polished the dials and they sparkle. It lights up, but I don’t have any vinyl to test it with. We’re going to use it to rest our TV and creature speakers on. I’m really happy with it.