A Sofa Bed Sleep Solution

White Pine Timber Daybed

Being parents is a challenge especially if your kids are young and like us, your family support network is overseas.

When the kids are sick, life in this household seems to grind to a halt.

With my husband working full time, I take much of the nursing duties upon myself.

I recall one particularly stressful time soon after we moved into our new home.

My family seemed to come down with colds followed by a bad round of gastro shortly after which brought vomiting along with it.

My son in particular had great difficulty during this period.

Being a child with special needs means that he can’t adequately communicate what he’s feeling.

While my older, typically developing daughter could wake me up in the middle of the night to reveal she’d thrown up all over her bed and bathroom, I would often get up in the middle of the night to check on my son and find him covered in vomit. Yuck.

My solution of course was to bring him to bed with me but after a couple of sleepless nights and no clean sheets left, we found ourselves sleeping on the couch.

Our couch isn’t the most comfortable to sleep on so my husband and I decided it was time to invest in something comfortable and practical for the living room at times where one of us is left sleeping on the couch with one of our kids for whatever reason.

It’s not hard to imagine that there are several different options for such a purpose.

The range of different sofa beds and futon beds is endless both online and instore.

We had tried the leather futon option before but were left disappointed when we found that it was very uncomfortable to sit or sleep on for long periods.

post-41-pic-2-futon

PU leather futon sofa bed

Another option is a fold out sofa bed.

This is generally more expensive than a futon bed but the issue for us wasn’t so much the cost as the style.

The new contemporary style of furniture we often come across isn’t really to our taste.

We’ve always wanted to have a house with plenty of character and rustic charm. Our style is a blend of traditional and rustic.

As usual I looked to Pinterest for reference and came across a picture of a timber day bed and was immediately inspired.

The concept of a daybed is a piece of furniture which functions as a sofa by day with a seat long and deep enough to sleep on at night.

There are several options out there that come in several different materials and styles but these things aren’t cheap. Daybeds seem to cost anywhere from AU$200+ here in Australia depending on the style.

After much research and internet sleuthing I was able to locate a daybed which fit within our style and budget.

The answer is this wooden timber daybed and trundle which we picked up from Crazy Sales online department store for which at the time of purchase (May 2016) was around $230 plus approx. $49.95 shipping to Sydney metro.*

White pine timber futon and trundle with mattresses

White pine timber futon and trundle frame with mattresses

This is fantastic value for what is essentially 2 x timber single bed frames.

This particular style of daybed and trundle package has also been made available on other sites including Real Smart and My Deal at varying prices.

It comes in a classic white and is made from solid pine and plywood.

White pine timber daybed side view

White pine timber daybed and mattress side view

 

Daybed back rest

White pine timber daybed – back rest

 

White timber daybed base slats

White pine timber daybed – base slats

The trundle can be raised off the ground on fold out legs. Speaking of which, the fold out legs are attached to the trundle with bolts that are provided with the frame. The problem is that while they are the correct length according to the instructions, the bolts provided are actually too short.

The hardware provided allows for 4 x 40mm long bolts to attach the fold out legs to the trundle when you actually need 60 – 80mm long bolts to slot through the thickness of the legs and secure them properly into the trundle base.

White pine trundle legs and wheels

Trundle legs and wheels

Luckily we had some longer bolts spare from another project and was able to attach the legs without too much hassle.

I have found that the trundle does sit slightly lower than the daybed when it’s raised so while the internet listings indicate that the two can be put together to form one large king bed, they actually function better as two separate singles.

Overall, the assembly is at least a two-person job and it took my husband and I a couple of hours to work out the instructions and put the whole thing together with our kids climbing on top of us.

This is one of the most affordable timber daybed options I could find and it fits in with a classic, country interior theme.

The daybed and trundle bases fit full single size mattresses. We chose to purchase 2 x foam mattresses from Fantastic Furniture for $49 each.*

This is how it looked after all the assembly.

Daybed assembled

Assembly complete

Finding blankets and bed dressings wasn’t all that difficult. We used fitted sheets, duvets and blankets picked up from Kmart.

Finding cushions was perhaps the most difficult part because the seat back is higher than an average cushion so finding affordable cushions big and plush enough to be supportive wasn’t easy.

My solution was to buy square European pillow cases from Kmart and stuff them each with 2 x European pillow inserts. The same was done for the long pillow that lies across the front of them.

This is just a long body pillow case with 2 x long body pillow inserts.

Having two inserts in each case fills them out and makes them more plush and supportive.

The rest of the smaller cushions were picked up from Masters on sale at 5 for $10. Bargain!*

So far this piece has been a real lifesaver.

We use it for during those unfortunate nights when our kids are sick and it will work out great for guests who sleep over.

And if one of us should end up “in the doghouse” and sleeping on the couch, he could hardly complain about having to sleep on this could he? *wink*

  • Lady V xoxo
*Prices are correct at the time of purchase and are subject to change without notice and may not be available in all areas. Delivery times may vary depending on your location.

Teeny Tiny Master Suite

Master Bedroom Entrance

Since my husband and I bought our first house I’ve been obsessed with watching home building and reno shows on tv. Not the game show competition-type ones but the shows where families go about finding and creating their own family dream home.

I also love the ones where families who have suffered unimaginable hardship for whatever reason and find themselves living in derelict circumstances are rescued by the help of very generous qualified builders and tradespeople to transform their houses into functional and beautiful family homes.

There’s nothing more heart-warming than watching a community rallying together to help a family in need as is the case with DIY:SOS The Big Build and Holmes Makes It Right.

However, my all-time favourite home reno show is Fixer Upper hosted by Texas couple Chip and Joanna Gaines. The country style definitely speaks to me and I’m always blown away by the transformation of their property projects.

The thing I notice with American and Canadian home shows in particular is they have this concept known as a “master suite”.

The idea is that the master bedroom is a grown up sanctuary and features not only a queen or king sized bed but also a walk-in wardrobe, master bathroom and a sitting area to relax in.

This isn’t necessarily a concept exclusive to those parts of the world but it’s not something I have come across very often here.

I’ve haven’t lived in a house that has ever had enough space for what could be described as a “master suite” with a seating/lounging area in the master bedroom to relax in.

I do love the idea though and wanted to somehow incorporate a master suite concept into my own home.

Our master bedroom is 3.5 x 3.75m with a built in wardrobe on one of the shorter sides with a depth of about 620mm.

Given the small footprint of my master bedroom and the layout of my house, there’s no way I could achieve a true master bed/walk in robe/master bathroom combination without knocking down walls, building extensions and installing new plumbing. Absolutely out of the question on a modest budget and with no time or patience for major renovations.

Instead I’ve chosen to incorporate some elements that make our master bedroom feel more like a grown up space and sanctuary for me and my husband to retire to.

In truth, it’s more a space for me seeing as how every other part of the house seems to have been overrun by children including the kitchen and bathroom. Even my husband has his separate office/media room/man cave.

I’ve chosen to make the space calming and romantic with very muted tones. There is still heaps of room for improvement. I further envision drapes, wall mirror and repainting of walls. Shelving will also help with storage.

Our queen sized bed takes up most of the space so in order to gain some extra storage we got rid of our queen mattress and base ensemble and replaced it with a queen timber bed frame from RealSmart.com.au

It’s a solid pine timber queen bed frame in white and it follows the romantic country theme I had been going for. It was a bargain at just over $214 plus about $32 for delivery to Sydney metro*.

The frame allows for around 32cm of height underneath the bed which is great for storage tubs which we picked up from Kmart for about $8.00 each.

 

White pine bed frame head detail

White pine bed frame head detail

White pine bed frame end detail

White pine bed frame end detail

 

We replaced our tired old mattress with a new Luxo Selene Pocket Spring and Latex mattress from DeluxeProducts.com.au. This too was a steal at $289.95 plus $20.50 for same-day delivery to Sydney metro*.

There are so many different mattresses to choose from at DeluxeProducts.com.au and same day shipping to selected areas is a plus. To be honest the mattresses seem to have very similar specifications. I chose this one in particular for its depth. It’s a 30cm thick medium-firm mattress which we got to help with our neck and back pains.

The thing we realised though was that due to the extra height of the bed frame and the mattress, the bed sits quite high in the room and it took some getting used to climbing in and out of bed.

Our 4 year old son struggles to climb up which I suppose is good seeing as he loves to jump on it and mess up my made up bed and sheets.

The mattress itself is very comfortable and it certainly has helped my husband and I with our neck and back pain but the latex layer on the top doesn’t hold the heat very well and while this will be great in summer, in the winter it makes the bed very cold.

I would recommend using a thick underlay to help contain your body heat and keep the bed warm on cold nights.

I picked up the quilt cover and pillowcases from Kmart for about $22 for a queen set. The pale beige and damask print ties in with the existing wall colour and adds to the romantic feel.

Damask Quilt Cover and Cushions

At the end of our new bed we had approximately 950mm of unused space which is where I decided to place our “seating area”.

To follow along with the plush, romantic theme I chose 2 French provincial style Lorraine chairs from RealSmart.com.au.

Lorraine Chairs

Lorraine Chairs in amber taupe

You would think with the amount of money I spend shopping at RealSmart.com.au that I would have shares in the business, huh? Lol. No, but they do have some great stuff at really good prices.

Two of these lovely chairs sit at the end of our bed with a white faux lambskin rug and cane basket full of magazines and newspapers in between them.

Master Suite Seating Area

The chairs sit quite low; the seat sits just 38cm off the ground but that’s fine if you like to sit back and stretch your legs out and if like my husband, you just need a place to sit to put your shoes on in the morning.

They were very easy to put together and at the time cost $154.36 each plus about $8.00 shipping to Sydney metro*.

It’s a space where I can retreat to if I need a moment away from the kids. I can read my magazines, listen to my iPod and collect my thoughts. It’s also where I come up with a lot of drafts for my blog posts.

It’s exactly what I envisioned a “master suite” to be for. I do intend to add some further touches down the line. I would love to find a unique piece of artwork to hang above the bed, add pops of colour to the room and come up with more creative ways to add storage.

I the meantime this teeny, tiny master suite is a pretty sweet space.

  • Lady V
*Prices are correct at the time of purchase and are subject to change without notice. Delivery times may vary depending on your location.

Our First Place – Part 2 – The Search

SoldSignRed

Finding the motivation to write can be such a struggle sometimes.

There’s seems to be so much going on in this household it’s hard to find the energy much less the time to put thought down on paper (or screen).

This is a continuation of my first post on July 22, 2016 called Our First Place.

In this series of posts I jot down my thoughts about being a first time home buyer. It is by far the biggest purchase either my husband or I have ever made to date and one that has made a lasting impression on us both.

We took this journey in large part, on our own. We didn’t have family or friends to guide us through the experience.

All of our family is overseas and many of our friends are busy with their own lives and don’t own their own homes yet so much of our knowledge of the process was earned from researching articles on the internet, reading books and very brief conversations with people we know.

Needless to say, it was a steep learning curve.

My husband and I have different approaches to doing just about everything.

You could say that we are opposites. My approach is to think things through practically. To prepare for the worst and set realistic expectations.

I’m the one in the relationship with the tightest grip on the purse strings.

Surprising given that I also author a shopping blog.

I’ve always believed though, that money should be spent wisely and it is possible to have nice things on a tight budget if you’re willing to shop for the best deal…that was, until I was faced with house hunting.

I have heard that it is best not to allow your emotions to get in the way of your judgement when purchasing a house. After all, parting with such a large sum surely requires that you have your wits about you, especially if you’re going to be committed to that investment for a very long time, right?

I have seen several examples on TV of people having extraordinary expectations for their next property purchase without being sensible of what their budget will actually allow.

I was determined that we not be one of those couples who bought well beyond our means and told myself that I might have to settle for a house that was a little less than perfect for my first family home and over time make the improvements and build up some equity.

Being in a position to buy at all is a rare gift and I was determined to remain humble about my expectations.

Oh but how the search did test me.

While I told myself to keep an open mind and to see the potential in every property I couldn’t help but be disappointed, even surprised at how little you can expect to get in this city for what used to be considered a generous sum.

To us, spending over half a million dollars even on a house seems like an enormous amount of money. Clearly that’s a naïve attitude when you’re looking at buying a 3 bedroom freestanding house in the western suburbs of Sydney.

It was clear that despite my best efforts our wishlist was unrealistic for our budget and as the search continued we decided to cull the list of must-haves to the absolute basics:

  • Freestanding house with some yard space for the kids
  • 3 bedrooms
  • A 4th bedroom/study/office (heck even a walk in wardrobe) to set up a home office
  • Close proximity to our kids’ schools (within 10 mins drive)

The emotional effect on us during the house search alone was astonishing.

We’d go through a continual cycle of excitement whenever we’d find a potential listing, hopeful optimism when meeting the agent to inspect the property and then painful disappointment when the property fell short of what we were hoping for.

This was always followed by an exhausting in depth analysis of each property’s merits between my husband and I along with input from our daughter, who was determined to have a rainbow-coloured unicorn theme in her bedroom. Then further assessments of our wishlist and must-haves.

On and on it went with each house we inspected. The whole saga is draining mentally and emotionally.

In general, my husband and I have a reasonably harmonious marriage and we work hard to maintain a peaceful household but house hunting definitely tested our bond and our patience with each other.

Where our differences would usually provide balance, in this case it just created conflict. Then when we actually found a house that we agreed on, the process only tested our limits even further.

I often felt like I was playing tug-of-war with him. Some kind of weird battle of the spouses.

The Budget vs. The Wishlist. Functionality vs. Style. My practicality vs. His dream.

It may not seem all that surprising. It’s almost cliché how often couples fight about buying a house. I mean, you see it all the time on TV.

For us though as first time buyers and as usual allies it was difficult and confusing.

I don’t regret buying this house at all but we made some obvious rookie mistakes.

If I could go back in time I would have avoided bringing my kids to the inspection of the property.

The problem with bringing the kids is they get way overexcited or unsettled when they’re in an unfamiliar place.

While hubby and I were trying to inspect the house the kids were running up and down the back yard, running in and out of rooms, opening and closing doors and we were torn between inspecting our future home and preventing our kids from damaging anything.

I would have liked to inspect the house when the kids were at school and take my time to look at everything including inside cupboards and wardrobes, flush toilets, turn on taps and light switches. Open and close doors, check the water pressure and even check the mobile phone reception.

In theory that’s the ideal way to inspect a house.

However, in our case the agent who listed the house was pressed for time and couldn’t stay with us long. His only available time slot for a private viewing was on a Saturday (when both kids were home) and for a max. of 20 minutes.

It was clear there was a lot of interest in the property. Several people attended the open home and by the time we managed to meet with the agent there were already multiple offers.

Me watching the kids in the front yard so that my husband could look at the house first meant that I missed a lot of what he saw.

We don’t usually leave our children with friends because our son who has special needs gets very upset so we had no choice but to bring him with us.

The other thing I wish we had done was arrange a conveyancer or solicitor before embarking on our search.

Hiring a conveyancer at the last minute after our offer was accepted and our 10 day cooling off period had started was a mistake but I’ll go into that in the next post.

In the end my husband and I found ourselves very much attached to our first house when we found it. Throughout the whirlwind of house hunting we had committed not only our money but our hearts into the transaction.

Our emotions became entangled into the deal and we did spend more than our initial budget.

It’s precisely what I’d been preparing myself not to do all along. And yet, we’re happy.

I love this house for its uniqueness and character.

I love that I feel instantly at home the moment I walk through the door.

I love that it’s a permanent stable home for our children and I hope to see them grow up here and come and go at various stages throughout their lifetimes.

Well that’s the plan anyway.

My husband believes all houses like ours will be knocked down someday to make way for higher density dwellings like townhouses and apartments and that “the Australian dream” will evolve into something that requires lower maintenance and less space so who knows what life will bring next.

They say home is where the heart is and our hearts are definitely at home here.

  • Lady V
*Disclaimer: Please note that all experiences related in this post along with all others are personal to the author and make no claim to offer professional advice of any kind on the subject matter. For further information regarding purchasing property it is recommended that you make enquiries with the relevant professionals in your area.

Creating More Kitchen Space

Coffee Bar

As previously mentioned, a few months ago my husband and I purchased our first home and much of our time has been spent settling in and trying to best utilize our house’s cosy 92 sqm footprint.

It’s a small space for a small family and we’ve loved making it our own.

One of the first things I went in search for after we moved in was some extra space in our kitchen.

We have a small U-shaped kitchen which, while updated and in good condition was still a little small for our needs.

What I never realised until we moved in was how many gadgets I have.

It’s very fortunate our new kitchen has a large pantry and several pot drawers but I still found that my benchtop space was cluttered with appliances, jars and canisters.

I have a small alcove at one end of my kitchen which is technically described as a “dining area”. It’s essentially an empty space for a dining table which makes it an eat in kitchen.

To be honest the space is only big enough for a small 4 seater table at best so instead of placing my bigger 6 seater dining set in there I decided to fill it with extra bench and storage space.

I like the rustic, country and industrial looks and while I would have loved to have purchased a beautiful kitchen island bench made from reclaimed timber and a solid timber top, my budget simply wouldn’t allow such an extravagance.

You can get beautiful timber kitchen island benches from places like My Deal and Living Styles. If only I had a spare $1000 lying around. *wistful sigh*

My budget friendly alternative came in the form of a stainless steel kitchen workbench from Real Smart online department store.

These are similar kitchen benches to the ones you might see in a commercial kitchen.

Stainless Steel Kitchen Bench

The design is simple; a stainless steel rectangle top, 1524mm long x 610mm wide.

It stands at 890mm high with a shelf at the bottom which can be set at whichever height you like for storage.

I love that it was easy to put together, even on my own. You might want to get someone to hold the bottom shelf at the right height off the ground so you can secure it to the table legs.

As I was assembling this piece by myself, my solution was to rest the bottom shelf on a box that was roughly the right height off the ground before slotting the legs in and bolting them in place, although I imagine you could also use G-clamps for this purpose too.

The end result is sturdy and practical. I love that I can rest a hot pot or baking sheet straight out of the oven right on top without having to use a trivet.

I’ve prepared pastry, bread and cookie dough on it and it works a treat because it’s a colder surface to work on than my laminate kitchen benchtops.

I love that the surface of the benchtop is starting to show little scratches and marks from consistent use. It adds to the rustic industrial charm.

The grade of stainless steel in this bench is 430. The grade apparently relates to the metal compounds in the steel and affects things like corrosion resistance. You can search for descriptions of the different stainless steel grades for further information.

In terms of cleaning there are several resources on the internet about how to properly clean stainless steel worktops which tend to involve things like baking soda, vinegar or dishwashing detergent.

If find that if I’m in a hurry then wiping the bench down with a damp cloth will do and I find glass cleaner is good at getting rid of fingerprints.

For the purposes of kitchen prep it’s holding up quite well and at the moment the bench serves as our tea and coffee bar which I’m absolutely in love with.

Lady V Shopping Spree - Coffee Bar

It was an absolute steal (no pun intended) at less than AU$150.00 plus delivery and one of my favourite purchases for my house to date.

I have great plans for this space including under bench storage baskets, rustic wall shelves, a splashback and wainscoting to the wall behind.

I’m looking forward to sharing this with you so watch this space!

  • Lady V xoxo

Our First Place

LadyVSoldSign

Earlier this year my husband and I made the biggest purchase of our lives; our very first home.

It may have come a little late by traditional standards. In fact, we started the process much earlier on in our marriage when we were expecting our first child but a lack of confidence and the magnitude of the looming debt filled us with anxiety and stopped us moving forward.

Little did we know the financial market would take a drastic turn just a short time later and stricter lending criteria combined with a huge leap in Sydney property prices meant that the dream of owning our first home was snatched away before we knew what hit us.

Sadly such is the story for so many people struggling to set foot on the property ladder these days.

Almost a decade later, a little older and wiser and being now a family of 4 we were fortunate enough to be in a position to set down roots.

The house buying process is a daunting and stressful learning curve for a first timer and it goes without saying that preparation and research are crucial before even starting the house hunt.

We learned the hard way that despite our best efforts, mistakes and unforeseen events can and do occur and I reckon it takes nerves of steel, plenty of deep breathing and a sympathetic ear or two to get you through the process without completely losing your mind.

While being happily settled in our new home for almost 4 months I find myself reflecting on the experience quite often and wondering what hurdles others have experienced during the process and how they coped.

Overall I found the whole process interesting to say the least. I have heard that there’s no better way to learn than by doing and I have to say after diving head first into the deep end I feel like I’ve learned a lot and aged 5 years! lol

At this point I want to make clear that I am NOT here to give you advice about buying property. I am hardly qualified or experienced enough.

I do however want to share some of the obstacles we faced and how we got through them in the hopes that others may be able to relate as home buyers – past, present and future.

I will continue this thought as a series of posts because honestly if I wrote it all down at once, this post would go on forever.

I hope you decide to follow along and please feel free to share your thoughts and experiences in the comments sections.

Stay tuned!

  • Lady V
*Disclaimer: Please note that all experiences related in this post along with all others are personal to the author and make no claim to offer professional advice of any kind on the subject matter. For further information regarding purchasing property it is recommended that you make enquiries with the relevant professionals in your area.