bespoke bureau

Having finished the back room renovation, our thoughts turned to furnishings. We searched for a suitable sideboard but couldn’t find anything that was just right, though we did get a few ideas. The answer was to create our own. We had some old timbers lying around and supplemented our supply with a visit to the salvage yard where we also found four wooden crates (there were two A.B. Tonic ones).

I cleaned up the crates while Michael slaved over the frame using various reclaimed hardwood timbers

and some old fence palings. I found a recipe for rusting nails and it worked a treat.


A few coats of Cabothane brought out the natural hues as well as the perfect defects.

We kept changing our minds about what to use for the centre front and side panels so Michael experimented with rust effects on steel. The polyurethane coating has preserved the colours well.

9.rusted steel panels

Precision placed finger holes and felt lining completed the crates.

Over the years, we have accumulated some beautiful timber slabs and we selected a Huon pine for this project. Trimmed and prepared,

it was fixed to the frame


and the steel took its place in the front and sides.

Some more Cabothane on the top highlighted the grain.

We are very happy with the result.


renovation ruminations: part 7

Once we finished the renovation of the back room, we moved straight on to the decking of the outdoor space. We removed the old pavers

1.removing pavers2.pavers gone

and, under the watchful eye of the foreman,

3.the foreman

built the frame while working around existing obstacles as best we could.


After much research, we decided to use Ekodeck, a composite material that (this is the best bit) requires no oiling, painting or maintenance.


It didn’t take long to cut and lay the planks, we used the CAMO hidden screw system so there are no screws visible on top of the boards.


We laid a metre wide strip to connect the doors with the garden


and then added the edges.

12.deck13.decking done

For completeness, we laid a border of white pebbles

14.deck finished

and planted six dwarf camellias at the barbecue end.

15.deck finished16.deck finished

Next is the outdoor kitchen area….

fencing fun

Last weekend we completed a project that has been on the list for years. The fencing along the driveway was atrocious but we had to build the retaining wall (see “wonder wall” post) before we could fix it.


We started by putting in extra posts.


Some of the old ones came out easier than expected

others needed a bit of encouragement.


Our old drill had finally retired after 15 years, no more swearing with the new one.


After running two lines of straight wire, we rolled out the wallaby.


It comes in 100 metre rolls so we had to do it in two sections. We held it loosely upright on the posts

11.wire up

and secured one end


then strained it tightly and fixed it to the posts.


Then to the other end. We strained the bottom

14.straining bottom

then the top

15.straining top

until it was nice and tight. Fixed to the posts, three more lines of straight and clipped the wallaby to the straight lines.


We then tackled the fenceline at the entrance to the property. Barbed wire is dreadful stuff, it should be illegal.


We dug in some new posts

18.hole digging

took the old wire down and soon had the new one up.

19.wire up

We are very pleased with our new fence but a little sad because it is probably the last fencing we will ever do. fence

broken bridge

Our latest project was a bit daunting, we’d put it off thinking it would be difficult and time consuming. There is a bridge over the stream at the bottom of the hill in the rainforest


and the timbers have been deteriorating since we moved in. No longer was it safe to traverse in a tractor…….


……the time had come. Michael had sourced hardwood from a local sawmill and it was already stacked and ready to go. After cutting them to length


we laid them out to make sure we had enough

4.laying out5.laid out

and drilled the nail holes in preparation.


The old boards were easily prised off


and the new ones were dragged down the hill a few at a time.


One by one, they were set in place ones

and nailed to the supporting beams (old telegraph poles).


We were pleasantly surprised at the progress we made


and the old ones were stacked for future use.

13.old ones

The last of the old ones came off

14.last one off15.all old ones off

and the new ones were all laid.

16.all laid

It was hot work but the surroundings made up for the discomfort.


Side rails finished off the edges and Poppy was on hand to give advice.


We thought it fitting that she should be first to test the strength of the new bridge.


After that hard work in the heat, there was only one way to get back up the hill.

23.up the hill124.up the hill2

wonder wall

Last month, we completed a project that we had been working on for a few weeks. There was an area along the driveway where the land dropped away to the paddock and the driveway was being undermined.

We looked at all sorts of retaining wall solutions and decided used tyres were the way to go. The fellas at the local tyre service were happy to help and put aside any tyres of a specific size for us. Each week, we would collect them


place them in position


fill them with soil (we had a truckload of clean fill delivered) and stomp the soil to pack it down.

Of course, Poppy was on hand to help.


The dead tree close by was removed in case it came down on the new fence line. It will be next years firewood.


The posts for the new fence were positioned

and stabilised as we went.

The grasses didn’t take long to start growing in the new soil.


Finally, we were up to the top row


and more soil levelled the tyres with the driveway.

Once we get some rain, we will add grass seed to the top level and the wall will be complete.


Now for that fence…………


A big thank you to the guys at Tyreright. If you need new tyres or are thinking of building a wall, you’ll find them here