When I first started this blog I promised myself that I would never apologise for not posting more often or from taking breaks altogether. I had noticed a tendency in many bloggers towards guilty confessionals whenever the regularity of their posts dropped off. Passionate vows to get back on the wagon were also commonplace and I resolved to be kinder to myself by avoiding such self-imposed pressures. Life gets (extra) busy sometimes, inspiration ebbs and flows, and at the end of the day, this blog was meant to be an outlet not work. But here I am logging into wordpress.com for the first time in ages, finding it too strange to pretend that I haven’t been around for the last four months. This first paragraph was hard work. I’m a little rusty, and I can’t quite shake the feeling that I might have missed something important. I’m not going to apologise for being away, but I do think it’s important that we spend some time catching up. Maybe that will help us get back into our old, comfortable rhythm.
One Sunday in mid-January Colin and I took a day trip to Boonah and explored the south-west Brisbane hinterland. Driving through a landscape at times scorched and at others, lush, we talked about many things, as you do, but particularly about the apartment we were renting. Although it had filled its purpose and allowed us to ease into life in Australia, we were at the point where we were getting sick of rent rises, tired of the dated aesthetic, and craving a greater sense of ownership and personality in our living space. It was time for a place of our own. That night Colin trawled through realestate.com and noticed a funky-looking apartment in a great location…we viewed it the next evening and bought it two days later. Sometimes I could just hug the universe.
We had negotiated a lightening-speed 30-day settlement, so the month that followed was a frenzy of planning, packing, research and more spending. Our previous apartment was fully furnished so we needed to get everything from lounge and dining room furniture, through to appliances, cutlery, pots and pans, buckets and mops. Much energy was spent tramping through furniture shops or scrolling through websites, weighing up style, functionality and price. Most of the time we managed to balance Colin’s tendency to Buy Now! with my tendency to …wait and see what the space tells us it needs… so that we at least had the essentials like a fridge and washing machine on the day we moved in. We did eat out of coffee mugs using the ironing board as a table for the first couple of weeks, but hey, the big screen TV and sound system looked great.
For six week after we moved in we continued to refine our ideas (60s/70s inspired), finally purchasing furniture then moving on to homely little details like pot plants, cushions and artwork. We also undertook some renovations, repainting the ceiling, putting a rust-effect paint on the steel beam, and inserting an injection of colour by painting the curved mezzanine wall a rich brown, the exact shade of dark chocolate. We replaced the dated light fittings with bulkhead-style lights ($11 each from Bunnings, rather cleverly jazzed up with a textured charcoal powder-coating), and installed replica Tom Dixon pendant lights in the kitchen. The kitchen itself had been recently replaced, but we weren’t keen on the buttery yellow cabinetry, which took on a tinge of lime under the halogen lights. We decided to repaint it a bold burnt orange to top off the retro vibe.
Repainting the kitchen was the last job to do, and despite the fun we had been having we couldn’t wait to relax and simply enjoy our beautiful new home. We engaged a painter, prepared to be kitchen-less for a week, and went away for a few days to escape the worst of the fumes. And…here’s where the story takes a bit of a turn, because unfortunately we returned to a big mess. I’m actually well over talking about it so will give the barest details only: the kitchen cabinets are far from the glass-like surface we were promised, resembling orange peel at best and coarse grit sandpaper at worst. Masking errors abound and, for example, even extend to the inside of the oven. Somehow, paint escaped the spray tent, and all our brand new furniture is coated with a film of paint, as are our polished timber floors, and all the kitchen appliances that had been placed in the lounge during the paint-job. Over the last three weeks we have been working hard to contain our dismay, and focus on gathering photographs, advice, quotes, and receipts for the insurance claim. It turns out that epoxy polyurethane is near-impossible to remove without damaging most surfaces.
I am positive that all will be well, one way or another. It might take a little while, and there will certainly be more upheaval ahead when repairs are done, but for now it’s important to stop noticing every heart-breaking detail, and focus instead on every beautiful line, every rich colour, on the satisfying tension between coziness and expansiveness, and my growing collection of retro knick knacks. It’s important to listen to jazz at night, to invite people over despite the disarray, and to realise that I still can’t help smiling every single night when I walk through the front door. This is the first place we’ve lived in that feels like it reflects who we are. I wanted the space to feel warm, relaxed and fun, and I think we’ve done it. It is that already, and will be that even more.
So there you go, I’ve been busy creating something else for a while and riding on the little roller-coaster of life. But I have missed this space. I’ve missed the challenge of wrestling with words, the thrill of hitting “publish”, and each and every comment. It’s nice, very nice, to be back.