Snug as a bug in ….

At the living end of the house we have the new studio/family room, kitchen and then on the southern end of the kitchen is what would have been used as a dining room. We decided to make it a snug two seated livingroom/tv room.

It has a puky blue mantlepiece above fake fibro sandstone open fireplace and nothing much else. What was going for it was two good sized windows on both the south and west side letting in plenty of light

First up we removed the mantlepiece and fake sandstone.

Old fireplace with fake sandstone

Old fireplace with fake sandstone

Then rendered the brickwork and painted the whole lot with a yellow textured paint that we used in the office and what was the sitting room but has now become our bedroom.

rendered fireplace

rendered fireplace

Then the research into fireplaces started. I was looking for the most efficient insert woodburner that I could find. The legal rquirement in Australia is for a heater to emit less than 4g of particles per kilo of wood burnt. We found all the heaters did this but few were less than the maximum and fewer cared to mention their emissions testing. After much looking around we came across a brand called Aranbe made in Victoria (not China like many) very approachable I gave them a call and asked about the emissions etc. Their insert woodheater emits a very low .7g per kilo. That was great. We had it fitted by Newmans of Devonport who arranged prompt and efficient and reasonable priced fitting.

After the normal washing and sanding of walls, ceiling etc we repainted with clay paint, added cornice to match the kitchen, redid the skirting, repainted window frames and commissioned a new cupboard from Michael Thomson who built our kitchen.

That left the question of a new mantlepiece.

new mantlepiece

new mantlepiece

My mate Lee had left the state and when he did so he gave me some great off cuts of cypress pine. they were the splits left after cutting planks. One made the front of the mantlepiece and the shorter one made the two returns. teamed up with a large mirror frame given the metal and rust treatment and the whole room came up really well.

Michael arrived with the new cupboards, we clear comforted the windows and re-installed the leadlight lampshade.

new cupboard

new cupboard

new fire and log box

new fire and log box

On the right hand side of the fireplace was another nook. It was just the right size for our  log box on wheels. This means that we can easily wheel our logbox out  onto the deck and load up with firewood without too much manual handling. Above this is a shelf that I constructed from left over pieces of LVL beams which I biscuit jointed together and sanded back and waxed. Quite a different look with all the layers of plywood showing.

The hearth was a nasty piece of concrete with brown tiles. We replaced it with a piece of polished granite from Dunnstone in Launceston who do a great range of polished stone, grannite and marble.

Green cred:

  • Low emission fireplace
  • Recycled mantlepiece
  • Re-use skirting and arhcitraves
  • Clay paint on walls
  • Volvox hard wax oil on floor and skirting
  • recycled off cuts of LVL into shelf
  • Recycled mirror above mantlepiece


SoFa so good!

Mandy & I decided that we would like one big piece of furniture in the studio. Everything else is on wheels and can be packed away when not needed to  make the studio very adaptable.

We use it mainly as a working studio creating puppets, mosaics, textiles and anything else that our work dictates but thought  it might be nice to have somewhere to be able to lie down and reflect on stuff.

So one day Mandy says that she has just been to the Deloraine tip shop and found a sofa for ten bucks. Very long and kinda nineties with faded floral fabric and overstuffed top cushions, but in good condition and hadn’t got wet or mouldy.

sofa before renovation


So in it comes. What to do with it. We looked online for eco fabrics and found linens and hemp and organic cottons. All very expensive and in fairly mundane and drab colours or very light colours which would not work with Jade the Jack Russell who would of course claim it has her own!!

Mandy took apart all the cushion covers and used them as patterns and started collecting pairs of jeans from the op shops. If you bought them on the right day you could get them for $2 a pair and Mandy bought the largest sizes she could to get the most denim. Denim being a great furnishing fabric. Tough, hard wearing, recycled and adaptable. She also kept an eye out for cord trousers and jackets as cord tends to come in brighter colours.

Jeans from the op shop

Much cutting, patching, sewing and trying later and the sofa came into fruition. Cost was $10 for the sofa, $50 for the jeans, and approx $10 for thread and needles. It is very comfortable and Jade thinks it is hers!!

Sofa finished