5 Tips For Renovating Your House

…….without tearing it down!

Last year saw big changes for our extended family.  We have had both our parents downsize and move into new houses.  Funnily enough, in two completely different states and towns, they both made a similar move.  Downsizing the size of the house, but also upsizing the size of the land.  For one family it was so that they would have room for a shed (to house retirement hobbies) and a For the other it was for more room to accommodate our grandparents.


For both families it meant one thing, RENOVATION!   So what can you do to bring your home into the 21st century and make it suit your needs? Before you bring in the wrecking ball, follow these five tips to help renovate your home without starting from scratch.


1. Create an outdoor living space

Oh how I dream of an outdoor Kitchen

Oh how I dream of an outdoor Kitchen!

Building a dedicated area for you and your family to enjoy the outdoors adds another space to entertain, relax and spend time in. You can lay concrete and cover it with a shade cloth to create a patio or erect a deck to overlook your backyard. An outdoor area that connects to your home creates a highly sought-after indoor/outdoor lifestyle that will add significant value to your home. Its also the perfect place for those big family gatherings and celebrations.


2. Add extra living space

Teenage Retreat? From Pop Blocks.

Teenage Retreat? From Pop Blocks.

Many homes have unused backyard space that can fit a separate area to work, live or even sleep in. For growing households, or those with a number of generations living under the one roof, modular buildings such as a granny flat can add significant living space and even be rented out separately. Expert companies such as  Pop Blocks  can erect a modular granny flat and other self-contained living spaces on existing land, adding much-needed square footage.


3. Renovate the kitchen and bathroom

Paint your tile splash back.

Paint your tile splash back. Great how to post HERE

For dwellings that need major renovations, the best rooms to start improving are often the kitchen and bathroom. These rooms have more utility per square metre. This means that your kitchen and bathroom may become tired looking faster than the other rooms in your house. Think about replacing old, peeling or dated bench tops and cabinetry with new doors and easy-to-clean surfaces. New tiles and splashbacks can also go a long way to make your rooms feel fresh and new.


4. Update your window furnishings

White Plantation Shutters, if only they weren't so expensive!

White Plantation Shutters, if only they weren’t so expensive!

It’s time to tear down the tired curtains or dusty roll-a-blinds and invest in some fresh, new window furnishings. Venetian blinds come in a variety of colours and materials, including timber, PVC and aluminium. Thick curtains afford privacy, and transparent window shears filter light into the room. Windows can make or break a room, so remember to match the window treatments to the style of your home and its existing decor. Always consider installing new window furnishings if existing options are damaged, faded or dirty.


5. Repaint

Screen Shot 2015-07-23 at 12.42.47 PM

Often your home gives away its age most in its paintwork. A fresh coat of paint can take years off and help to brighten both indoor and outdoor spaces. A more contemporary colour scheme can bring your home into the modern era; replace those oranges, browns and olive greens from the 70s with something fresh and current. In fact, after a real estate agent recently went through our own home (which is only 10 years old) she recommended we update our walls from cream to white as it was ageing our home!   Here I was thinking we were going for a classic look!
If the structure of your house is sound, the good news is that renovating your home really can be a delight—just like the real estate agent said! Happy Renovating.

“One Space At A Time”

Sometimes running an organised household is positively overwhelming.  But this year we have been on a mission to…..

Some months we have been successful and others, not so much, but all that matters is that we are trying.   We are not aiming for picture perfection but practical.  What has helped has been the inspirational words and pictures from other bloggers and of course the “My Pigeon Pair” flock.  

“One Space At A Time” we have been organising and decorating our home.  But it’s not fair that I should have all the fun and be motivated by YOU!  

So introducing….

“One Space At A Time” will be a new regular feature on  “My Pigeon Pair”

Together we can motivate, inspire and challenge each other to transform our homes and lives “One Space At A Time”

How it works?

When each space is announced, a deadline will be set.  We all need TIME FRAMES! During that time we will tackle just one space.  This allows you to feel a sense of accomplishment without being overwhelmed.  We will motivate each other with the progress we are making by using the My Pigeon Pair Facebook page or Instagram feed to;

  • post your progress pics
  • share storage container finds
  • motivate others with words of wisdom
When the deadline is HERE!!!!!


send in your pics to mypigeonpairblog@gmail.com


Can link up their post in our link party!


Progress is Perfection!

We will then publish all of the spaces in one giant BLOG POST!




So are you in???

The Christmas Table

Forget about the food, what’s a Christmas meal without a beautifully set table!  Stick with a simple colour scheme, use what you already have, even let the kids help decorate your masterpiece!  Here are some simple and divinely effective ideas you can try at home!

Such simplicity can be so effective.  White napkins tied up with a sprig of rosemary and some red ribbon.

I love that this table is Christmasey without sticking to the traditional red and green.  So fresh and modern.

Of course “House of Smiths” had to make it into this list!  I love this wintery table centrepiece and decor.

Handy with the sewing machine?  Turn some pillow cases into chair covers with a Christmasy theme!  Love that even Rudolph gets a seat!

Yet again simple red and white with some basic candles decorated using some ribbon and candy canes cut up at the place cards.

The Kids Table!  This one is all set up ready to decorate some ice cream cones! How cute are those snow men!

Dessert tables are always a winner and this is no exception!  Love the colour coordinated stockings!

Feeling crafty?  Get the kids to help you paint some pine cones!  

A Winter Wonderland with what looks like plastic plates!  You have to love anything that requires less washing up!

Do you decorate your Christmas table?

You can find out more about these ideas and many more on PINTEREST

Tina Gray {dot} Me

5 ways to display Christmas cards

If you are anything like us the Christmas Cards have already begun to roll in.  We are pretty boring when it comes to displaying Christmas Cards and we simply hang them over a line of Christmas Stars.  If only I had of discovered these simple and creative ideas for displaying cards last week!

Simply blu tac on a wall in the shape of Christmas Tree! This would be great for the kids cards in their room!

Hang off some branches to create a gorgeous card tree

Usin a wreath base peg cards on creating a Christmas Card Wreath that can be used every year.

A few pieces of ribbon tied onto a door serves as a gorgeous and effective way to display cards!


We have the perfect banister for this clever idea!

and then when Christmas is over what do you do with all those cards?

Cut out some of your Christmas Cards into circles (a round paper punch would be great for this) and create a Christmas Wreath for next year!

How do you display your Christmas cards?

 You can find these and many more great ideas on my PINTEREST Boards HERE

Tina Gray {dot} Me

Organisation Project – Sneak Peek

Today we hit the shops. Me, the two little birdies and one big idea.  We have returned home with a trolley full of goodies and a head full of motivation.  Can you guess what our next organisation project will be?  Here is a sneak peek

If you follow us on Facebook you might have already caught on to what our next project will be!

So what’s your guess?

Let’s Get Sorted ~ An Organisation System for our family

 We are busy!  Especially this week.  Juggling full time work, end of term assessments, 25 five year olds, 2 of my own children, the “nanny”, the husband and the never ending pile of mail, emails and washing is CRAZY!!!  But luckily we finished our new “command centre/organisation station/LET ME BE ORGANISED” area just in time!!!!  So here’s how it works……it’s all about the SYSTEM. 

1. Mail in.  We actually receive very little traditional mail!  Most of our important dates and events come via email.  Even our kindy and school newsletters are sent via email!  We also pay most of our bills using direct debit, which means we have drastically reduced the amount of paper we receive.  Once we have opened the “mail”….

2. Diary.  The event, date, appointment is recorded in my Inner B Mum Organiser.  Each member of the family has their own section on my week to view page, which means I have plenty of room to record all the details.  I also add little reminders a week ahead of events such as birthdays, anniversaries etc so I remember to start organising cards and presents.  See how my Inner B Organiser works HERE

3. Calendar.  A brief note of important appointments and dates is recorded on our gorgeous new calendar!  The ladies at stuck on you were so generous that they sent me two calendars!  One for 2011 and one for 2012.  I love that it is large (A3) easy to read and of course who couldn’t love those divine little birdies! Now this is where the system becomes a bit like a choose your own adventure!

4. Noticeboard.  Birthday invitations, thank you cards, local event calendars or things not directly related to home or school go to the noticeboard.  Because our noticeboard is also a whiteboard you can also record little reminders on it.

5. File.  Bills go onto the bill clipboard.  School notes into the school binder.  Home information such as bank statements, bills that have been paid, general information received from telephone companies etc go in this binder.  At the end of the financial year the home binder is emptied into the filing cabinet.  At the end of the calendar year the home binder is emptied into the filing cabinet.  THIS MUST HAPPEN.  or the binders will self destruct/explode/get very messy!

So here is a close up of our little organisation station.  I have done a massive cull.  We now have (hopefully) a more effective, streamlined area. From front to back,  my Inner-B Organiser.  School Binder divided into sections.  Home Binder divided into sections and our bills clipboard.  Bills are placed onto the clipboard in the order they are due.  There is even room for mail in front of my Inner B Organiser and pens, glue sticks, highlighters etc.  Can you see my little highlighter with mini post it notes attached?  It was soooo expensive at $2!!!!  I just love it!!  Great for going through notes and bills and highlighting important parts and the sticky notes are great for my IKEA catalogue!  Oops did I just admit that?  

So we have progress, we have a system and hopefully it is the answer to our crazy schedule becoming a little bit easier to manage!

A Dreamy Reading Space…..That’s Pinterest-ing

You know those days where it is raining outside and you would love nothing more than curling up with a good book?….well whilst we are dreaming that, that could possibly happen with work commitments, two busy kids and a house to clean I may as well imagine, I have these dream reading spaces in my home!


What a clever use of space under a stairwell.

Love the colours and LOVE the cushions.  Makes a small space so inviting.


Couldn’t you just sleep here all day!  


What a simple and gorgeous idea for babies or toddlers.

and my favourite……especially for the little people in your life!


Isn’t this drool worthy divine, This one is going into the dream home file!

Linking up today for the first time with the incredible Tina Gray’s

OOOH That’s Pinterest-ing 

How to Build A House ~ Things I Know


With the recent wheelbarrow full of building and renovating shows we have been spending a lot of time starting sentences with….In our next house…..

We have never renovated but currently live in a house that we built a few years ago.  It was our first building experience and was a steep learning curve! 

I know…. that the more you buy yourself, the more you save.  We sourced and purchased everything we could ourselves and literally saved thousands.  Don’t just rely on the costs and items the builder specifies.  Ask if you can provide your own items and they can deduct them from the build cost.  Internal and external doors, lights, floor coverings, bathroom fixtures including towel racks and toilet paper holders even the kitchen sink.  Not only did we save money on the actual “builders cost” for these items but we got exactly what we wanted and not the limited range the builder provided.

I know….that the more you do yourself, the more you save.  We did all the landscaping, mailbox, retaining walls, driveway, clothes line and even some cleaning ourself.  This also meant that we could delay some costs until the end of the build time. For example, instead of outlaying for turf months before we needed it and whilst we had a lot of other expenses, we could wait until we had the money and were ready for it.

I know….sometimes bigger isn’t better.   We really did our homework when it came to choosing a builder.  Lots of the larger builders had beautiful display homes and cheap prices on display but underneath the fine print were long build times and hidden costs.  We went with a smaller, family owned builder and had our whole house finished in under 5 months.  Whenever we wanted to speak to someone we could speak to the owner of the company and not get referred to a random middle manager.

I know….little things matter.   If that crooked tile is bugging you when it is laid, it will still be bugging you eight years down the track.  Fix it before you move in!  

I know…there are some things better to buy now not later.   Putting in airconditioning was going to cost us a small fortune.  With all the other budget blowouts it just seemed like too much money at the time.  Now, a few years later, it is going to cost us double the price to get half the size airconditioners.   What would have been a simple job whilst building is now almost impossible.  The initial cost whilst building would of cost us a few extra dollars a month in our mortgage repayments and now if we want it, we have to find the money upfront!

I know…I loved every stressful, exciting, proud and exhilerating moment of it.  

I know… don’t want to move house but

I know…I would do it all again.

Linking up with “Things I Know”

I know…that the house above is not mine.  I know…that it is for sale if you have a spare 58 million dollars here 




Capturing Memories – Creating a family photo display

We may be away, but naturally

my thoughts are never far from finding inspiring ideas to fill our lives!

I have spent many precious moments going through old family photos, 

admiring the classic shots of days gone by and frantically scanning them all so I can take them home!

So…..I am looking for some ideas on how to display these precious memories in our home!

Love love love this one as it mixes quotes or other memorabilia with the photos.

The matching frames tie all the pics together!


simple straight classic


Different frames, different sizes but still matching!


so elegant, love the ribbons!



Do you have a family photo display?

I would love to see it!!!!