Monday, June 1, 2009

Question Time

The Guest Room - After

In one of last week's posts I threw in a picture of our old house. I really enjoyed all your comments, but one in particular has caused me to do a lot of mulling over the weekend.

'Ok Millie what do you prefer your old place or new. How about posting some photo's of the interiors then we can get an idea of your style. I know it's going to be classy. What you like is hard to pick from your blog. Kind Regards Karen.'

Well Karen, it's true confession time - I just don't have a definable style, I used to but no more! This weird & wonderful house c.1972 has thrown any chance of that out of the window. Despite extensive research, that one fantastic reference book 'Decorating & design tips for bringing a 1970's house kicking & screaming into the 00's' has eluded me. We purchased for the fantastic location & the big rambling garden, & we always knew the house was going to be a 'challenge'.

So in looking for an answer to the question, I thought it may be time to post the pics on our very recent Guest Room renovation. I haven't added all the final touches (large mirror still at the Framers, comfy chair for the corner still not found, but I know what I want & a few more prints waiting to be attended to ). Oh, & a padded headboard for the bed on the sooner-than-later Wish List- so please be kind! Unlike our previous house, where because of its 1899 vintage it very much dictated to us, this time it's our turn to dictate our needs & wants to this house.

Regular readers at The Hedge know that this renovation is ongoing & huge - with every room needing major work & the kitchen & 2 bathrooms total gut & replace jobs. We have a strict budget to work within, so I've tried to reuse furniture from our old house, most times stripping, repainting & adding new hardware. However, our main objectives are:
  • To banish the dark, cave-like feel that all the rooms in the house had due to the dark exposed brickwork & varnished woodwork.

  • To let the grounds & garden be the star of each room. The large expanses of glass allow for this, so we wanted to create simple, unfussy interiors.
And we're doing it ourselves without any outside assistance (other than electrics & plumbing)MOTH's done it all when he's had a spare moment from work & with me acting as his builder's labourer.

I'd like to revisit the question in another year, with more rooms complete it will be interesting to see if my answer is more definitive & maybe even half-pie sensible!

The Guest Room - Before (as we saw it on the first day with the previous Owners stuff.)

MOTH's first job in this room was to pull up the disgusting carpet!

Dark, grotty & cave-like.

Like all the other rooms, it had a 1970-style sloping ceiling with exposed beams.

While pretty ugly, the built-in wardrobe was functional & very well built, so MOTH saved it, but relocated it to another wall.

MOTH had been pondering the ceiling for some time, & about a second after I took this pic, he turned to me & said "That's it, I've decided to build a new frame, drop the ceiling & install down-lights.' And so he did!

So here it is almost complete, with new curtains & carpet. The blanket box (a must for chilly Hills living!) on the left has received a Millie make-over. It was the boy's toy box for ever & ever & I just repainted it from a yukky reddish-brown.

I picked the first camelias for the year from our garden yesterday. A padded headboard will set this wall off a treat.

I gave these prints from our old house a make-over with simple black frames from IKEA. The bedside table is nearly 30 years old, was a light brown with doors & scrolly-things which I ripped off in a fit of pique one day. It held the sound system in our old house & I hated it, but once I stripped it & repainted it, I think its found its niche. The external shutters will get a paint once we get to do some outside renovations.

The wardrobe relocated by MOTH. Once he'd moved it, the whole room changed for the better & I was really able to place the furniture exactly as I wanted. He built a bulkhead at the top & is still thinking about how to finish it off, so it's still a work in progress.


  1. fab reovation -looks like a first class luxury hotel room and so restful!

  2. Hi Millie. Lovely makeover! I'm loving the paint colour, neutral but not too stark and the mulberry lamp and cushion just set it off!! Someone gave me a teddy bear that mulberry colour and everytime i spy it i want to decorate with that colour. I quite like the painted brickwork too, adds some warmth and texture. Such a beautiful relaxing room. Does breakfast come with the overnight rate? And do you have a vacancy for next weekend?

  3. Thanks Karen for your lovely comment!

    Oh Julie, my camera is real worry, as the colour on the lamp & throw cushion is actually chocolate. I've been on at MOTH for a while now to upgrade my digi camera, now I have irrefutable evidence thanks!

  4. Hi Millie,

    What a fabulous transformation!
    That is one of the first things we did in a house we renovated a while back, removed the horrid shag pile carpet to find lovely kauri floorboards.

    Love your new guest room and you and Moth must be loving the new room, after all your hard work.
    Great job.
    My camellias are not flowering yet.
    Love them and I have white ones also.

    have a great week

  5. Hi Millie
    I knew it would be classy and it is.
    I must admit one off the reasons I'm so interested is because I too live in a 70's house. Lots of natural light and that's what I love about it
    I'm sure that despite the challenge you'll rise to the occasion We've been here for 34 years always updating for us it's the place that keeps us here not so much the house
    Kind Regards
    PS Look forward to your progress reports

  6. Hi Carolyn - yes in total agreement with you that old shag pile carpet & its 'inhabitants' should always be the first thing to go in any reno.

    Karen, that's such a sweet comment, thank you. Nice to know I have another bloggie friend trying to 'negotiate' with a 70's house. Thanks again for posing the question.

  7. What a transformation! You did so well seeing the potential that lay behind all that brick and varnish, it looks like a completely different room. Your MOTH is just so handy... I could quite do with borrowing him for a week or two. I would say you do have a style, understated chic. You should be writing the book that so eluded you.
    Clare x

  8. I mean better be careful...MOTH just might have to start his own design blog. It could be called the MOTH HOUSE or the Dog House...depending on how happy you are at the end of the project. He is a handsome genius with regards to the ceiling fix & storage solution.
    Bravo to your man designer!

  9. Millie - your guest room is absolutely beautiful, simple and stylish. You've turned a sow's ear into a silk purse! You have such gorgeous taste. I think you need to pop over here to Melbourne & sort out my house now. Lee :)

  10. Are you sure that peaceful, tranquil guest room is the same space as featured in the after pic?? I can't believe it Millie - a fabulous makeover and can I come and stay please.....xv

  11. Just beautiful Millie - on your next visit to Sydney you can visit my house and give me some of your style tips! Leanne

  12. Millie, it looks fabulous. We have just finished the bedrooms of our latest project - very similar in colour to yours, great minds think alike!

    I will post some photos today, let me know what you think!

    Bon semaine


  13. Clare - MOTH says thank you, but he has a number of clients baying for his blood at the moment, as he's so far behind, but he'll put you on his Operating list!

    Dear Lisa, you are a hoot, MOTH with his own blog, what next! Remember this is the man who once said
    ' A blog is like one of those light, airy, souffle, spongey cake things Millie - it can start off really good, but if you're not careful, it can end up a real mess.'

    Oh Lee, you are just so kind & generous! Thank you so much for your lovely comments.

    Gorgeous Vicki - you know you'd be a most welcome house guest any time, but I do have 3 important words for you NO SECOND BATHROOM! Soon my dear, soon!

    Leanne A., you don't need my help, from what I've read & seen, your new house will be absolutely fantastic!

    Mon ami Leann, wow isn't that amazing, but I'm pretty sure you've got more style in your little finger than I've got in my whole body! Looking forward to seeing your pics.

  14. Sensational! Especially once you stroll down and look at the hideous before pic! You have certainly succeeded in turning it from a dark cave to a beautiful, light and serene room. When can I come up and stay?

  15. Ok Miss Millie, can you send your beloved MOTh to my place to give Mic a kick up the tush to finish our painting. I am SO showing this to him. It looks superb and the headboard will finish it lovely. Thank God you two could see past all from the last owners! argh!!
    Ness xx
    great job MOTH.xx

  16. Wow it...Well done, a lovely place for guests to come and stay and enjoy your beautiful area...Dzintra♥x

  17. WOW!!! That's some very beautiful transformation, congrats on that great job :D Totally impressed ...

  18. very serene and peaceful. I am sure your guests will feel at ease and pampered.

  19. I love the guest room. It's beautiful and serene. And the before and after photos are great!

  20. That is a FAB redo... and did you say GUEST room? May I book a reservation please?

  21. unbelievable !!!
    this came brilliantly ! i really have a great affection for exposed brick, painted white or cream.
    you both did a killer job.


  22. How doth one book a reservation, through you or Moth.

  23. Oh Millie, I'm late getting here... this guest re-do is FABU!! What a great team you and Moth are!

  24. What a Beautiful the Neutral shades...Well Done.!!
    Could Moth be Clonned.

  25. lovely.... whew... i am sure you are so glad it is all over... i would come and stay awhile!! he he

  26. just linked this article on my facebook account. it’s a very interesting article for all.

    Shag Pile Carpets


And none will hear the postman's knock
Without a quickening of the heart.
For who can bear to feel himself forgotten?
~W.H. Auden

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