Raging Ambition: Renovation 2015

I have completely been MIA and I must apologise for it. But when you’ve got a new year’s resolution that you haven’t fulfilled in probably over 2 years, it’s probably time to do it. (No) thanks to my mild OCD and obsession over order, I’ve been stressing myself out to get things done once and for all.

In 2014 I wanted to do home renovations but as you all could gather (contradictory to the amount of posts I generated cough) 2014 was a big year for me.

It was the upcoming Australia Day weekend and after a casual chat with my boss about what we were going to do for the long weekend, I put my foot down once and for all and very spontaneously asked my mum that we go to Bunnings and buy a whole heap of painting things. The best part and the worst part was that I needed to do all this pretty much all by myself for I have no siblings and my mum is too old.

Stage A: 10L can of paint for bedroom and living areas (including hall ways and kitchen)

Stage B: 4L can of paint for bathroom, toilet and laundry

Stage C: Revamping existing furniture and replacing old furniture with new furniture

Stage D: Repainting door trims and doors – possibly replacing door handles with new lever type handles

Stage E: New curtains and cushions (DIY)

Stage A – living/  bedrooms

Project A is complete. It took me maybe about 7-8 days off (only working maximum 4 hours each “day”). Split over the weeks it probably took me about 3 weeks. I even spent time after dinner on work days to paint trims and even paint the wall entirely using a paintbrush. This included painting the kitchen, 2 bedrooms, one pretty long hallway and one pretty long living room.

It was the first time ever using a paint roller and I must say, painting is a tough job if it’s something you’re new to. Your arm really gets tired and you may need to ice it (which is what I needed). A lot of time it’s not really overexerting your arm muscles for the paint, but rather sealing gaps and trying to get the sealant level to minimise sanding.

As a beginner, using or rather wasting too much paint is a given because you don’t know how to paint properly/ evenly. When we did our walls several years back, I was not the one to do the rolling – I only did the edges. Even so, the edges were thin and we barely had enough paint to cover everything. From memory there was a spot that we missed because we had no paint left. We only kept complaining how thick the paint was and how quickly it dried. This time after a bit of research and thinking of cheeky ways to stretch my paint as far as I could without it drying so quickly, I decided to dilute my paint with water (I was using water-based acrylic). When doing trimmings, most likely you will use a small container with a bit of paint – when paint is running low in your container, you will find it dries onto the container and you “waste” the paint. Solution: get a spray with some water and just spray onto the paint inside your container to stop it from drying out.

The good thing about this is that you can spray a bit of water on your roller or paintbrush and get out heaps of paint you never knew was on your utensil, onto the wall somewhere so it would make cleaning easier since there is less paint to wash. Diluting the paint also means that I needed much less paint for the roller or whatever I needed, because even a thin coating makes a difference.

You will also need to be alert and not dilute too much or the paint will drip. In any case, I don’t recommend diluting because it’s not the proper way, but it is an option if you’re running low on paint and on a budget. It’s alright if you are using a quality paint that has proven to hold up. We’ve used the same type and brand of paint for many years and never experienced fading or peeling.

I was lucky because the colour I chose for the walls is quite similar to the previous one, so I could get away with painting thinly and without a base/ primer coat. Well, mission accomplished – I ended up with about 2 or 3L left over and even did two coats on selected parts (one coat by brush, one coat by roller). I still have paint left over to paint say, the inside of our built-in wardrobes (which by the way, we haven’t painted before ever since moving in more than 10 years ago). The paint is even, and the colour has successfully changed to the one I chose.

Spend a bit of timing choosing your paint colour by comparing similar ones and eliminating as you go. This is the first time I ever chose paint/ wall colour, and I think I did a good job. Previously we always got colours that were too strong or just not what we expected (you know the feeling when you get home and you find your parents have gone shopping and made some strange strange decisions? It was like that before). This time though, going for a nude/ peach/ blush colour was a good choice as it has brightened up the walls tremendously.

It also helps to be obsessive compulsive because I tried to get everything perfect so that I could avoid touching up later on.

Stage B – bathroom/ laundry

Project B is also complete for now. It took a while because I was doing other stuff in between but it took me maybe 5 separate occasions.

Bathrooms are harder to paint for some reason, but in this case it was due to the paint. We didn’t add any colour to our paint so it is the whitest white available (which isn’t bad considering it will “last longer” and take longer to look really really shabby). We should have tinted it to give it a bit of colour/ thickness/ coverage, but because we didn’t, two – or perhaps even three coats is definitely required. Having said that, I’m happy with the results because it looks a lot brighter and literally brand new. I’m considering painting the tiles (yes, tile paint exists) but that can be at a much later stage.

Stage C – furniture

I’ve simultaneously replaced furniture along with painting walls because I recently rediscovered Ikea. We used to have an Ikea store like 3 minutes drive away from my place, but they shut down and moved somewhere pretty damn far away. Then we just forgot about Ikea because we’re not the open type to drive to strange places we’ve never been before.

It was only very recently that I stumbled across an Ikea store (open literally for so many years) just around the corner from the Bunnings we usually go to – actually so close and easy to get to it was almost embarrassing why we didn’t go there earlier.

I’m not saying that Ikea furniture is the best quality, but it is pretty good for its price and lasts for a reasonably long time. Our Billy bookcase held up with no problems even until the time I took it apart and that must be at least 15 years. We got these bookcases from another store that looked like the Billy case but the quality is so bad even though it’s almost the same thing (they were more expensive as well). In any case (lol what a pun), while we painted the living room I was contemplating painting the bookcases to renew them, but after seeing how shabby they were, it was probably a better idea to get new ones and make them all the same instead of having different ones.

A lot of furniture at home is over 10 years old – some 20, some even close to 30. I never really had much say in what furniture to buy when I was younger since my parents made the decisions. About 95% of the time we just went into one store, saw something that functionally did the trick, had a good price tag and just bought it because my parents weren’t bothered shopping around. Now though, I can take my time and slowly choose or design what I want.


I’m currently now up to Stage D – currently waiting on a new mattress and a bed frame and I can get that project underway.

In the past 2 weeks I took some time off work to get things done and assembled about 10 pieces of furniture, cleaned carpets and glass and tiles and painted 3 storeroom sized areas. Needless to say, I’ve been busy and I’m completely beat. The worst part is probably using a crappy screwdriver and trying not to wreck the screw or the screwdriver while trying to get the screw into a very tiny pre-drilled hole (seriously why can’t you drill it larger?). My record was doing 20 of those in one sitting – and it’s pretty damn hard.

On other matters I’ve suddenly been busy from extended family things (weekly dinners, lunches, etc). I probably can’t afford the time or social expenses involved in the long run, but we’ll see how this goes.

Sorry this has been a huge chunk of text – I would have pictures but I haven’t completely finished (that would be end of Stage E), so I’ll leave the pictures out for now. Just letting you all know I’m still alive and around – just focusing on renewing the home and giving it that much needed update that has been long overdue.

And last but not least, Sydney weather has been crazy lately – I’m super lucky to have taken time off work – I cannot imagine hailing a bus down in that knee height water on a super busy road… those cars drive so fast and water splashes up to your face. Fingers crossed it’s the end of this wet madness!

I’ll be back next time, with pictures.


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