Saturday, 17 May 2014

Reno - Week 40

OK, so I've finally managed to find some time to complete this on-line journal of our renovation. My baby that used to sleep a lot of the time has now grown into a very demanding two year old, so it's fair to say that as a mum of four small boys, spare time is definitely not something I have much of these days.



At Week 40, the house was finally completed - well almost. The builder is working through the defect list but that's pretty much about it as far as construction goes. Initially 40 weeks seemed like an eternity to wait for the house to be built, but looking back on it now, it all seemed to happen rather quickly.

A short stay in hospital at around this time put a halt on the unpacking and my ability to carry on with some much needed faffing around the house, but we are slowly, slowly making the house a home. From past experience I would say that it takes a good six months until you fully settle into a new house.

The old Kitchen

Now a WIR in the Master Bedroom
Don't judge me - but until just the other week, our WIR was still full of boxes. I can now comfortably get to my clothes.

Some of our existing furniture didn't suit or fit into the new house so we sold it before moving in. Most of our new furniture/homewares were selected and/or purchased during construction, but there were a few big ticket items (e.g. the sofa) that had to wait. In fact we still don't have a sofa in our living room or furniture for the front verandah, but all in good time.


Dining Table from Original Finish

After a recent cold snap we lashed out and bought a new rug for the Sitting Room
It's actually been about three months since we moved into the West End Cottage and we've definitely settled into our new home now. All in all it's turned out wonderfully - beyond our expectations in fact. I was planning on doing a post on the things I really love about the renovation and things I would consider doing differently next time (if there is a next time that is.) If you have any questions about our renovation or renovating in general I am happy to answer these for you - so feel free to ask away.

Our fireplace on the terrace has been getting a bit of a workout of late
As far as the construction went, we did go a little over time (and budget). So here's a few tips about money and renovations. If you're planning a renovation, definitely factor extra costs into the equation - there are ALWAYS going to be unexpected costs so put away approximately 5-10% of the total renovation budget as you will need it. For example, halfway through construction I changed the bathroom tapware selection which cost us an extra $4,000 alone. In total, we outlaid an additional $30K on variations to the contract.

Additional funds were also required for landscaping - after the final site clear the only vegetation remaining was one heavily damaged frangipani tree (unfortunately it lost a number of major limbs) and two old camellias along the side boundary. I sketched-up a general landscape plan so it was just a case of sourcing the plants/materials and dedicating some time to put it all together. We spent approximately $20K on landscaping (some of which we did ourselves) that included site preparation/machinery hire, fencing and garden edges, turf, plants and mulch.

To date we have planted 13 trees and 130 shrubs and ground covers. I'm hoping that by next Summer, the gardens will be looking a little more mature than they do at present. The tropical birch trees that we planted along the fence line (for shade and privacy reasons) have already grown at least a foot since planting them.

I have also made several attempts at growing a kitchen garden in our old concrete laundry tub located in the backyard but the possums around here are a force to be reckoned with! I've found a spot out the front of the house where they don't seem to go, and I've planted a small range of herbs and vegetables (e.g. carrots, chillis, tomatoes and lettuce and of course, parsley, sage, rosemary and thyme to name but a few) into some self-watering garden boxes that we constructed after finding some instructions via Google. So far the plants seem to be doing well. We should have our first crop of tomatoes on the table soon.





30 comments:

  1. A dream come true it must be in that stunning new kitchen of your cooking with herbs that you grew yourself.
    I'd love to know which websites/blogs inspired your design the most; and how you best renovated while keeping many of the traditional features of your old house. x

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    1. Hi Z, I love the new kitchen for it's aesthetics but it also functions beautifully for our family. There are too many sources of inspiration to list here, but I will do a follow-up post on this soon. xx

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  2. I love it! I love all of your built in storage. Looking forward to your post about what you love, and what you would change. I'm also interested in the websites you used, esp because you did a lot of online shopping for big items. How did that go? A room by room would be good too (when you get the time! :) Enjoy your boys and your gorgeous house! x

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    1. Hi Ness, thank you - there is so much to say about all the things you mentioned above, so I think I'll do a room-by-room account about what works, what I would change (very little I might add) and a breakdown of the fixtures, fittings and furniture that we purchased. xx

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  3. Your house looks just gorgeous and somewhere that I would absolutely love to live now that I am (practically) an empty-nester. I'm committed to a MCM house for a few more years as we do some developments to an adjoining block of land, but I still dream of doing what you've done - taking an old house, staying true to it's integrity, introducing some beautiful design elements, and making it into something that works perfectly. I could be wrong here, but I get the feeling that perhaps this isn't the last stop for you. What would you do differently if you were to move on to another house? Would it be a bit bigger? In a different location? A different style? Did you find it difficult to be 'restrained' by the oldness of the house when you obviously have such a 'modern' aesthetic? I hope this isn't the end of the blog. I'm looking forward to seeing the new sofa when it arrives and all the other things I'm sure you'll add as you go along. (I also miss the weekly photos of you gorgeous boys.)

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    1. Jane - thank you for your kind words:) I plan on doing a room-by-room breakdown of the renovation (keeping it in small chunks like this will hopefully jog my memory of some good tips to share and other things that may be of interest to other people embarking on a renovation/remodel.) Much of the design came about due to the constraints of the site, so I don't know if I would have done anything differently - particularly in terms of the size or style. I think we've struck a happy balance between the charm and character of the original worker's cottage and contemporary architecture. Is this the last stop for us? Can't say for sure right now, but we are definitely enjoying living here for now. xx

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  4. I'm interested in what you have inside the terracotta pot, that appears to be lining?

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    1. Hi Sharon - our self-watering garden boxes (all our others are constructed from those polystyrene boxes from the green grocer) are first filled with a layer of perlite. This is then covered/lined with a layer of shade cloth (which is the stuff you can see) and then filled with potting mix and planted out. Polypipe is used for drainage as well as a watering funnel at the top.You only have to water the boxes once a week. Everything we've planted so far is growing beautifully. Just hoping the possums and turkeys stay away! xx

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  5. Well congratulations on the birth of your 5th child! Is it a boy or a girl....?
    I have no questions for you, seeing you answered them all so kindly for my blog.
    I've loved watching the evolution of your home, especially so as a long time admirer of the Architects and of course, as a major home renovation devotee/sticky beak.
    I have a feeling you have at least one more build in you!

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    1. Thanks Elizabeth - it's been a crazy/fun ride. Thankfully since starting this blog I've connected with many others who are in the middle or about to start a renovation of their own so it will be good to sit back and watch how these other builds progress. You may be right - I reckon I could do one more:) xx

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  6. Well done Caroline. How you juggled this with 4 boys, I don't know! All your hard work and attention to detail has paid off in spades - your new home is clearly well designed and well executed. I particularly like your decorating aesthetic and hope that you will continue to IG or blog. You have been very forthcoming and honest about all things 'reno' which I imagine has been of enormous guidance to many of us 'reno addicts'!! Thank you and well done again.

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    1. Hi Kate - it's been so good to connect with you through blogging. Pity it was towards the end of both of our renovations - we could have had some fun bouncing ideas between each other seeing we have very similar aesthetics/style. It was certainly tough juggling the kids and doing the contract administration but we got there in the end. xx

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  7. I am a bit sad that the reno is over…I hope you keep sharing snippets here and on IG!
    I absolutely love the house…every detail is perfect.
    One question…on on earth have you lugged your concrete tub around? We have a three basin tub that I would love to turn into a garden but I am pretty sure we would need half the neighbourhood to move it!
    Thank you again for sharing your journey…I have loved following along!

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    1. Hi C - thank you! I'll be popping back to do some post-reno debriefs soon. I certainly have some tips to share. As for the laundry tub, ours is only a double - but it's still flippin' heavy. Carefully consider where you want to locate it (i.e. so that it gets sufficient sunlight, close to the house/kitchen and a water source) so that you don't have to relocate it. Once it's filled you won't be able to budge it. I've had zero luck growing anything in mine so far - it seems to be located smack bang in possum territory and they have chewed all the plants back several times now. I currently have bird netting over the top of it which seems to be working. I'm having more luck with the herbs/veggies I've got growing out the front in garden boxes. xx

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  8. Hi Caroline,
    I'm a librarian at the State Library of Queensland and I would like to archive your blog in the National Library's web archive PANDORA at: http://pandora.gov.au
    Could you please contact me so that I can forward a formal request for permission to archive your website?
    My email is: gina.tom@slq.qld.gov.au
    Cheers
    Gina Tom
    Queensland Memory
    State Library of Queensland
    Phone: 38407826

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  9. Hi Caroline,

    Wow - what a journey - we have all learned so much from your renovation/build. There are so many aspects of this home I love, and I think the storage you have created is a great use of space. Congratulations on a fab finished home!

    Cheers, Col

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  10. Just loving all your reno's and the progress! Especially love the black bentwood dining chairs! X

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  11. Oooooooo I've just started my own reno blog for my own terrible memory because my husband and I were debating facts the other day and realised with horror that neither of us knew...wish I'd read your blog earlier ! Nothing like renovating...please post more!

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  12. p.s. do you know any other reno blogs (waaaahhhh you've just finished!) as I have a zillion questions to ask and would LOVE some opinions on decisions I'm making etc etc - seems that there are no actively renovating blogs out there at the moment! Help!

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