Before and After – The parlour living room after the big makeover!

dark navy walls fireplace and carver chairWhile I was painting the parlour at RedAgape last week, I remembered that I hate painting! I painted the entire inside of my home a few years ago, and I swore I’d never do it again. I guess, like childbirth, the pain of it disappeared quickly and my promise to never paint again was forgotten. The pain of it started to return when i began preparing the parlour for its makeover. The prepping and cleaning time involved with painting is easily equal to the time spent actually painting. Prepping is very important, crucial really, and it’s a big part of why I hate painting. The taping up of skirts, doorways and windows, as well as covering furniture and floors, is super time consuming.

parlour makeover before and afterHere are my top tips for painting –
1. If you can afford it, hire a painter to do the job for you. No, i’m not joking. 🙂
2. If you choose to paint yourself, prepping is crucial for a quality finish and less mess. Use drop sheets and take the time to tape up properly.
3. Don’t paint at night, especially dark colours. After an undercoat and two coats of navy I thought I was finished. Unfortunately, the next day in the morning light I could see a few patchy areas and I knew another coat was needed.
4. Use a cutting in tool for the edges. This saves soooo much time and gives a nice clean edge. I used one of these when I painted years ago, but I forgot this time around. I used it for the final coat and i was kicking myself for not using it sooner.
5. Wear old clothes and a head scarf. I’m still picking blue paint out of my hair five days after the final coat.
parlour makeover before and after

Okay – whinging over. As much as I dislike painting I do love how paint can completely transform a room. I love the new colour in the parlour.  It really feels like it was always meant to be a dark and cozy room. I’m planning on adding more wall decor behind the lounge, but for now I’m completely happy with the outcome. Not to mention, just plain thrilled I’m finished.

parlour gold wall decor hung on dark walls gold antique framed painting

I really love the gold wall decor against the dark navy. There were so many beautiful rooms on pinterest that used the gold and navy combination. You can see other rooms here. I’m going to add more wall decor behind the chesterfield (as i find treasures) to create a wall display.

plate display on dark wallsThis old gold framed convex mirror is definitely one of my favourite things in the room. I love the way it reflects the opposite side of the room almost in entirety. antique gold framed convex mirrorI was pleasantly surprised with how the chesterfield looked against the dark navy. I think they compliment each other nicely. With the gas fire now installed the parlour is now a cozy and inviting room to relax in during the evening.
parlour before and after chesterfieldparlour makeover dark navy walls

Antique Mannequins and Vintage Ladders

new antique mannequin

A few weekends ago my husband and i spent a day in the Blue Mountains searching for treasure! There are loads of antique places in the Blue Mountains and every time we pass through we want to stop, but don’t because of time issues. So we decided to set aside a day and just do it! It was a bit blustery and cold, but still heaps of fun. My favourite treasure from the day was this gorgeous old antique mannequin. I already have two mannequins, but as they are a practical addition to the house i thought one more couldn’t hurt. Right? And this one is different to the others. The base is more decorative and the ageing of the fabric more severe. In fact, i’m going to attempt to fix the fabric down with a fabric adhesive to slow down the deterioration. This mannequin has character! And the beauty of mannequins is they serve a purpose. One of my mannequins hold necklaces, another holds an old irish guard jacket (more on that later) and this one will be good for hats and coats in the parlour.

antique mannequins stop sign
three antique mannequins

After a day in the mountains we returned to Millthorpe where i found two vintage ladders at the shop down the road. I always seem to find the best stuff in Millthorpe! And these ladders are perfect for the bathrooms. There is one larger ladder for the main  bathroom and a smaller one for the ensuite bathroom in the loft. Perfection. I really love when vintage finds are useful and beautiful… favourite kind of treasures. vintage ladder as towel rack vintage ladder towel rack

Aseptic Dental Cabinet – My Newest Antique Love

Aseptic Dental CabinetI didn’t know that I needed an antique dental cabinet, until i saw it. NEED. Two weeks ago I came across this Aseptic Dental Cabinet in an local antique store. I knew it was special, but the price was far and above what I have paid for any of my vintage finds. So, I reluctantly left the store and tried to forget about. Of course, I went home and did some googling, hoping to find that these cabinets are a dime a dozen and not worth anything near the price of this one. Wrong. They are quite sought after and rarer here in Australia, than in the States.
PlaqueonasepticdentalcabinetIt is hard to believe that such a gorgeous and well constructed piece of furniture housed the implements of torture of early 20th century dentists. This particular cabinet has a plaque that states “Aseptic Dental Company, Lee S. Smith & Son Co., Pittsburgh USA”. In its original state it also would have had a plaque at the bottom that read “The Bown Steel Dental Cabinets/Patented April 13, 1909”. Apparently, they are the ‘holy grail’ of dental cabinets and it is easy to see why. Medical cabinet USAAfter two weeks of contemplation, I decided that I wanted it regardless of the cost. I went back to the store this week to see if it was still there. I was trying not to get my hopes up, as such unique pieces don’t last long on shop floors. But there it was, in all its glory when I walked back in. I spoke to the owner who assured me that I wouldn’t find anything else quite like it. She was quite emotional saying goodbye to the cabinet as her husband, who passed earlier this year, had received it in pieces and lovingly restored it over the course of a month. It has three keys that lock each of the different sections securely and a beautiful marble lip underneath the double glass doors. A mirrored and glassed section at the top of the cabinet can also be locked securely. There are 14 drawers that open and close with such smoothness and ease. Finally, a large door at the base is perfect for storing larger items.Lockable dental cabinetIt must have been difficult for her to let it go, but I reassured her that I would love it and cherish it. It is my favourite piece of furniture bar none. There is nothing in RedAgape Guesthouse that even comes close to this cabinet. It is special. Very special and I love it.
MarbleonantiquedentalcabinetThis purchase has really clarified what I want to focus on collecting in the future. I don’t want your typical antiques or fashionable vintage finds. I want unique and special. This cabinet is the perfect start for me to begin serious collecting for RedAgape. Aseptic dental cabinet features

Treasure Hunting in the Hunter


Babies grow quickly, right?! They don’t stay perfect little newborns for long, so when my new niece was born last week, i knew we had to visit as soon as we could. The kids were very keen to meet her too, so we made a quick visit over the weekend. It really was a beautiful drive to the Hunter Valley as everything was so very lush and green. The last time we traveled there it was quite dry and a bit sad looking. I managed to get a little bit of treasure hunting in and a generous visit to see the new baby. She was simply perfect, as newborns always are. Such a sweet little baby.

My first find is an assortment of old bobbins as seen above. I found these in Morpeth, just outside Maitland. I have NO idea what i’m going to do with them. I just love the shapes and colours, and being a sewer i felt an instant attraction. Aren’t they neat!

My second find are these old map and state stencils. Unfortunately, NSW is missing and poor old Tassie has to be hand drawn if you are using the one piece map of Australia.

IMG_1097IMG_1096 IMG_1102

My last find is this decorative wall ornament of two gold swans. My husband didn’t see the potential. 🙂 But i’m sure they will look great hung outside at Winterfell on the back patio.



Ebay Bargains and Garage Sales

I have found some great buys on ebay and at garage sales! I have saved an enormous amount of dollars by shopping carefully and i don’t think the quality of the furniture or accessories has been compromised in the process. Here are just a few of the bargains i have found.  I will let the pictures do the talking. 🙂

We found this chaise on ebay. It was still in the plastic! The owners were moving interstate and didn’t want to take it. Hooray!

We scored two carvers and ten regular chairs from the same ebay seller that was selling the chaise. We managed to get the chaise and twelve chairs in total for an absolute steal! And they are all gorgeous!

I bought this table and two bench seats at a garage sale….the same place where i found the cool bottles. The owners were lovely and generous people. I LOVE this setting.

Gold vintage frame found on ebay.

Happy Thursday!!   🙂

Red, the inner critic and a sneak peak of the parlour…

We drove to Millthorpe again today. The short 2 hr drive makes a day trip quite doable, without completely wearing everyone out. Johno planted new hedges in the front garden and hung some more pictures and mirrors in the house. He had to use a drill today! For anyone who knows my husband, this is a big deal. I’m talking masonry drill bits, wall anchors and hooks. He did a great job and it looked exhausting, so i was really glad it was him and not me. That said, i didn’t spend the day lazing by the fire (i wish!). I made beds, unpacked kitchen gear, reorganised the parlour and helped measure out drilling points.

I discovered today that i might be addicted to red. I knew i liked red, but after looking around Winterfell today it’s quite clear that an addiction is forming. There are splashes of red throughout the main living area and parlour. I’m quite conservative, so i guess this is my way of adding some colour. I really do LOVE it. And it was the red door of Winterfell that got my attention in the first place.

My inner critic was louder than usual today, so i had to try extra hard to squash it. Sometimes i wonder why i am so critical of myself and the things i do. I question every little detail in the house and i want it to be perfect. Of course, nothing and noone is perfect, so i reassured myself today with this logic. And really, i’m not an interior designer. I have no skill in this area, so it’s time to lighten up and not be so hard on myself. With all that said, i’ve been completely unhappy with the parlour. It was too busy and was full of vintage and antique gear, which is great, but there was too much of it. So today i did a reshuffle and moved stuff out of the parlour and into the bedrooms and stuff out of the bedrooms and into the parlour. I’m feeling much happier about it now. I just need a nice coffee table….

Here is a sneak peak of the parlour. And where did the kids spend the day?…..lazing by the fire. 🙂

Second Furniture Trip to Winterfell

So we headed to Winterfell with another small truck filled with goodies. My Mum and Dad joined us for the day trip, which was a wonderful way to combine work and pleasure. And just quietly, my Dad is super clever and multi talented in ways my husband is not. Don’t worry, my husband has his own gifts, but Dad was so helpful sorting out the gas hot water and how to start the heating. I was worried Mum would be bored while we unloaded the truck, but she enjoyed my favourite red chair on the porch in the sun and also spent some quality time with my children. All in all, it was a great day!   The red chair above was another fabulous find from the Molong junk shop or treasure trove as i call it. I think it was a wrought iron bed in a previous life. I really love this chair. And RED! My favourite colour for more reasons than one…..three in fact! The initials of my children  – Rose, Eilish and Daniel. xo

Here is a sneak peak of some the spaces in Winterfell that are coming together. Overall, i am happy with the progress so far. Some of the spaces are not coming together as i planned….remember my scrapbook? Who knew that things wouldn’t go perfectly to plan? *insert sarcasm here* But i am not disheartened.

Please note replica antique or fancy pants chairs (as i call them) in the background behind the black stools. I really love these chairs and they were a bargain found on ebay, but i dislike them intensely (my mother always said hate was a strong word) in the main living area. NO MATTER! They will be dispersed throughout the house in the bedrooms and i will find something else for around the dining room table.

And finally, some photos my daughter Rose took from the car on the way home. My husband and other children were following in the truck. Ahhh…..the beautiful Australian landscape is hard to take for granted.


There are five bedrooms in Winterfell to furnish and decorate. Each room will have a different theme or style. I thinks it’s important to cater for all tastes, so i’m hoping that every guest will find at least one room to satisfy them. My children have been helping me with ideas for the rooms, which has been lovely. It means that all the rooms will have a different feel and personality…..just like the kids!

So, my middle child, Eilish has decided she would like GOLD in her room. This is perfect because we purchased a stunning watercolour from a local artist a couple of years ago which suits. The painting of a child with her cat caught my husbands eye at a local market. He is by NO means an art critic, but it reminded him so much of Eilish we bought it. It has never really fitted in our home, but will be a perfect fit for Eilish’s gold room.

I have also managed to find some gorgeous old lamp bases at some local junk shops. They certainly don’t make them like these anymore. And the gorgeous gold square pictures were only $7 each at a secondhand store.

And tassels!! i have found tassels to hang on the door knobs throughout the house. So pretty!

Family Finds

Family finds are more special aren’t they? These treasures both belonged to my father’s parents, now passed. Dad has a collection of their old stuff and he kindly let me have these. They need a bit of cleaning up, but i’m actually reluctant to remove the old dust. The buffet belonged to Nan too and it will go out to Winterfell in the next truck load. I’ve always loved this buffet and have it in our current home, but it will suit the old place so much better.

And finally, my Dad’s box brownie.

Ahhh family finds. They didn’t cost me a cent, but so very valuable.

First Furniture Trip to Winterfell

We took our first load of furniture to Winterfell in June. We hired a little truck for the 2hour trip and it was FULL to the brim. But even with a full truck load the house still looks sad and empty. We have a long way to go, but thats alright because it should be a process. I like the idea of starting with a few pieces of furniture and building on them.

I stopped at Molong at a magical secondhand place. This place is packed with goodies and antique dust. Ben or Stuart (he answers to both) is a lovely bloke who said, “The more you buy the cheaper it gets”. I love this motto. My almost 14yr old daughter Rose was almost hypnotised by the place and i had to drag her out in the end. Rose usually hates shopping, but i think i may have just discovered my junkyard partner in crime. She was also able to get a good deal on some old pocket watches, so i may need to take her along next time to help with negotiations. That said, the prices are so fair here that i would feel right asking for a discount.

leather covered stool $70

This will be perfect in the upstairs bathroom as it doesn’t have a mirror $35