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The Facelift team has never worked on a farm before, or tackled quite as huge a job as we did when we arrived at Toby and DJ's rural acreage. The main farmhouse is surrounded by a number of barns and sheds, and it was the milking shed that was to be transformed into a peaceful oasis, unlike anything the owners and animals had ever seen.
The milking shed was originally built to store milk, and had a hayloft above, still loaded with hay. There was an interior partition with window openings cut out for the cows' heads to poke through as they would stand while being milked. We gutted the interior to open up the cathedral ceiling and make space for some seating and tables.
The concrete floor was cracked and filthy and would need some serious attention, but the lumber from the ceiling and floor was thick and still very solid, so we recycled these heavy old planks to make the furniture and doors.
The front door wasn't adequate for what we had in mind, so we made a series of double doors on the side of the shed that open up to a large deck and views of an Asian-style garden.
The milking shed is aptly named Woop Woop, which Australian-born Toby told us means 'middle of nowhere.' The exterior shell is all that is left; it is now designed for a completely different purpose as a retreat for DJ, Toby and friends to party or relax after work in the big city.
All the hay was forked out of the loft and the ceiling removed--a horrible, dirty job made worse by the heat and rain. Once cleaned up, the interior was primed and painted a wild citrus green. Cobalt blue makes a cool contrast on the exterior of the building and the decks. These two colors are not your common country shades, but they work perfectly to set a young, lighthearted mood.
The shed floor was in dismal shape, but a company that specializes in decorative concrete came to the rescue. They unrolled a huge stencil and sprayed tinted concrete over the pattern to produce the look of flagstones. This product, first made for driveways is extremely durable and weather resistant.
Three double doors were cut into the side of the shed and open up flat against the wall so that everyone gets an unobstructed view of the garden. A cobalt blue deck outlines a perfectly designed space filled with a water fountain, fire pit, pebble paths and plants.
We had a good supply of lumber from the old ceiling and partition, which was cleaned up and recycled for benches and day beds, a table, and as part of the new double doors.
Lively colored pillows decorate the handmade benches that double as beds, and as a final whimsical touch, we fashioned an oversized chandelier from tree branches and tiny white lights. It makes a magical display.
Click on the small photographs on the right to view each of the different angles of the room.
To view pop-up info about DJ's Garden, move your mouse over and around the image below.
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The old concrete floor was acid-cleaned, the cracks filled and a skim coat of concrete was trowelled on to even up the surface. We used a decorative concrete stencil system that is applied right over an existing concrete floor. There are 30 colors and 28 patterns, circles and logos to choose from that include cobblestone, flagstone, basket weave, herringbone, serpentine, and fans, or you can design your own. The pebbly finish can be rough or smooth, depending on the slip-resistance you desire. Visit the website in Resources for more information, and to find an applicator near you. Due to the necessary surface preparation, and the skills and equipment required for laying this floor, it's not yet a DIY project.
Fittingly, all the furniture is made from wood. The bench frames were built from new lumber, but the seats and backs are planks recycled from the shed's original ceiling. The large coffee table has tree trunk legs, with grooves cut into the top for the table base. The table top planks are 5" to 6" wide and have been laid in three sections so that the table can be taken apart and moved easily.
There is space enough within this rural landscape to play with bold and beautiful colors. The acid green and cobalt blue share a yin and yang quality with the Asian inspired garden designed by the masterful Kim Nakawatase. Cement pits were dug for the water fountain and fireplace that sit side by side. Colored pebbles are raked and hand placed to form a decorative pathway. And custom built, stepped lattice walls keep the area confined but open to breezes.
Armloads of flexible branches were collected and trimmed to form a crafted lighting alternative. Plaster of Paris was brushed onto the clean branches. Once dry, the branches were wired together to form a crown shape, and the mini-light wires were sprayed white and tightly entwined around the branches.
The mirrors have been given a decorative coating to reflect the natural beauty of the outdoors. Lay the mirror flat and place long leaf branches to cover most of the surface. Spray frosted glass paint over the leaves, and spray again with a coat of silver paint. When the branches are removed, a beautiful pattern is left behind on the mirrored glass.