Monday, December 22, 2014

The trouble with blogging and renovating: or "Damn you Pinterest!"

I say "Damn you Pinterest!"

As an engineer and a highly pragmatic practical person, I've always believed


I want things to work well.
And if it worked well, I didn't really care how it looked.

I appreciate how things are made, their function and good engineering.  I love DIY and I love being capable and able to sort things out for myself. I really wished I could build our house myself  - Seriously! I really spent a lot of time watching Grand Designs and wondering if I could do a lot of the work myself. That is, until I hired a very skilled builder and saw just what was involved and how much knowledge (and strength I just don't have.

So it was always functionality I was a fan of, but since I started painting furniture and blogging and especially since the advent of Pinterest, I have fallen in love with the aesthetic of things more and more.

Oh, Form, how tempting you are.

This is a major problem when you are renovating.

For example, with our major renovations, I was stressing about our new laundry and if it's going to be pretty enough.

I found myself wondering - but how will it look on the blog?

I know, right? Smack me.

It's a great sized room (I'd even say it's huge for the Inner West) and if I didn't blog or ever look at Pinterest, I'd be thrilled about the functionality and space. Now I'm second guessing myself and wondering if it's going to be pretty enough.  Good grief.  I almost planned to hang a chandelier in there.  In the end, I opted for a couple of downlights and a skylight (there's no window in the room as the external wall is too close to the side boundary). I find myself worrying that when you walk in you can see the clothes dryer and wishing it was going to be hidden away somewhere from view. But it's going to be on the floor under a bench right next to where the washing machine will go and where it will be highly practical.  I've been tempted by a beautiful (and expensive) tap but my practical side kicked in to choose a tap with a pull out nozzle so we can wash the dog's feet without wetting the whole dog.  But man it's hard to make decisions, when you care about how things look!

I keep reminding myself that it's all going to be so much better than what we currently have. 

On the flip side the closer the house gets to being finished, I am finding that I'm letting go a lot of my initial renovation ideas and making the house somewhat simpler than planned. There'll be no wall paneling in the lounge room, I have downgraded my plans for the staircase and I've chosen very simple bathrooms with relatively inexpensive tiles (the white subway tiles I've chosen were only $9 a sqm). And I I can't cope with the idea of marble in a bathroom no matter how attractive Pinterest makes it look. Marble is just so impractical.

I did however find this fabulous chandelier for the stairwell this week. Imported from Egypt, it needs rewiring to meet Australian standards and I'm freaking out about how many globes it will require. I got it for an absolute bargain (approximately 10% of what they sell for in shops). It's huge and I am tempted to not wire the centre ring but I'll see how I go. It weighs around 30 kilos so luckily the builder installed a big block for it to hang from. 

What do you think of the chandelier - is it OTT?
Oh but wow it will look good on the blog! :)

What's the most tempting thing you see on Pinterest? Does it up your expectations of how your own home should look?
It's all a bit crazy isn't it.
Especially in light of this week. 

I'll blog soon about my thoughts on dream houses and other problems I've found with renovating.

Have a great day - excuse me while I go admire my new chandelier. So sparkly!

Fiona xx


  1. BaHaHa, that is such a funny post from someone I consider to be one of the most practical people I know. Whatever decision you make re PC items for your home I am sure they will be perfect.
    Love, love, love the chanelier, I have light envy. I cant wait to see it glowing.
    After watching your posts about your reno I am truely impressed by the whole thing, from your choices to the build and everything in between.

    1. Thanks so much Shelley. I am getting more and more excited day by day. It's so amazing to have so much space and light.
      Merry Christmas to you and your family.
      Fiona xx

  2. Totally agree with you! I try to follow 'form follows function' ruling, too..... but it is limiting. I love the chandelier, especially in your lovely old house.

    1. thanks so much Elisabeth. I am thrilled with the chandelier and even the builders think it's beautiful
      have a great week and merry christmas.
      Fiona x

  3. The thing I like about Pinterest is their outdoor areas - I can see the whole effect and details. I know what I like when I see it but have trouble putting it together myself. I can (will) just copy a pic I like and know I will like the result! Good decision re wall panelling, too fussy! Simpler finishes will make things like your chandelier (which I love BTW) stand out.

    1. The outdoor areas are fabulous!. One thing about wall paneling I realised is that it really limits the art work you chose. and too much time and money for something I can live without.
      thanks for all your lovely comments this year and merry christmas
      Fiona x

  4. Oh my goodness, Fiona! Can I just say, you have absolutely hit the nail on the head!!! (How appropriate of an expression considering your current renovation process!) I love Pinterest, but really??? An all white room with white floors, white upholstery, white everything? It's gorgeous to look at, but who lives there? Mr Clean? And these homes with all of these vintage accessories around...They look great, but how practical are all of those 'things' and who dusts all of that stuff? :) And how do young children feel about living in a showcase house instead of a 'relax and be comfy' home? What can I say, Better Homes & Gardens was never knocking at our door to do a photo shoot! So I say, go for function! And I'm sure whatever design choices you make that fit your lifestyle will be gorgeous!

    1. Function and a place to paint!! Oh I just can’t wait. Merry Christmas to you Robin. Love Fiona xx

  5. I laughed my head off when I read this blog, Fiona you are so right on the money! Handing over to a set of builders great builders, but other people nevertheless was probably the hardest thing I had to do...suffering a tad of OCD...will they do the painting right no runs, will I find paint flicks on tiles, then of course there is there is the what they do here in Portugal as opposed to how they do it in the UK, all so different! Oh and then there is the "principle door" what the hell is the principle door I said to myself? I now know that although its hard on both parties to live in a house that is being has to be are you to know how you are going to use the space until you live in it? I have 11 soon to be 12 bathrooms to tile...bought the tiles for two bathrooms, then someone said why don't you do them all the same...but by doing that surely it will look like a hotel (which is what it was)! I wanted them all to be different so that I could paint and decorate each room with a person/s in mind (children/grandchildren/friends). Pinterest is a great tool but seriously how many of us have bathrooms the size of living room...all our bathrooms are small in fact 3 of the bathrooms will be shower/wet rooms because the original baths that were removed were only 1400mm, I didnt even know you could get baths that you can imagine trying to sit in a bath that small when you are 6 feet tall was totally out of the question. (thats my son and grandson not me by the way). I have put into pinterest searches for small bathrooms you should try it...if those bathrooms are small then god only knows what big bathrooms are like! Then we come to your question of the chandelier..I think its beautiful fabulous gorgeous all those and more but then I am a chandelier girl...I love how they sparkle and its just a little bit of bling to brighten up our lives albeit that you will take down the national grid every time you turn it on...we have 11 hall lights to buy...I didnt want to buy all the same lights because again that hotel look thing going I came up with this idea of having different chandeliers on each on our living room floor I need 3 hall what do you think of 3 different chandeliers on the 1 floor...too OTT or what?

    Anyway I just wanted to say I know exactly what you are going through and I think that Pinterest must be used for what it is a tool for ideas only...then have a reality check because as RPK Interiors says who really lives in those rooms...white rooms with dogs and cats, kiddiwinks with sticky fingers, all that dusting around vintage accessories..seriously would we have enough time in the day for all that dusting and would you really want to be dusting all day...nah of course you wouldn't you would want to be painting another beautiful piece of furniture or out hunting for that next bargain! As long as you love the space you have created that's really all that matters!

  6. Hi Fiona,
    Like the other commenters, I'd just like to add my support. I think a lot of it comes down to the pressure of decisions - that you will have to live with for a long time..... We are 'lucky' in that the pace of our renovation is so slow it gives me time to do the research and then make the decisions. I can't imagine what it must be like making all of those decisions for a house at the same time. I think that's why so many new house turn out so vanilla - they have to make ALL of the decisions for paint, carpets, tiles and everything else all in one sitting!!!! Pinterest is great for ideas and to be able to picture how things may look, but you have to find where you fit into it all. Mostly you need to be comfortable. My only tip is "simple". If you start simple you can always add your individual touches over the top. Too much tizzy in tiles, wallpaper etc. can be hard to modify to suit your changing tastes. Good luck with it all - you'll be done before me (4 years in and counting) ;-).
    I hope you have a very happy Christmas and that 2015 brings you heaps of success in your new venture.
    P.S. Hurry up with the renos so I can come along to one of your courses :-)

  7. No I totally agree. A laundry definitely has to be functional first. But that doesn't mean it can't be beautiful too. There are definitely products out there that can fulfil both needs.


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