Happy New Year – 2017 marks the beginning of our next big renovation project. I would like to say it will be the year of renovating however more realistically it is the beginning of years and years and YEARS of renovating.
Our next home renovation is quite different to the first. Not only is this project bigger and involves considerable amount of work it is also an emotional one as well.
We will embark on renovating an early 1900’s Workmen’s Cottage Queenslander but it is also my dearly loved Grandparents house. We are currently going through the process of buying the property after my grandma passed away in April 2016.
This post is not so much about the practicality of buying and renovating a house (family one at that) but more so trying to eloquently articulate our feelings about the house.
We never set out to buy my grandparents house, in fact it was something we never thought we would or could do. Mid 2016 we were talking to one of my aunts and uncles who are in real estate about potentially selling our house in early 2017. Their recommendation was to sell our house in October/November 2016 and ride the current wave of fast selling housing market. This than commenced a crazy-stress filled ride of completing our final renovations and putting our house on the market. Around this time the prospect of buying my grandparents house flourished and we couldn’t pass up this once in a lifetime opportunity.
Not only is the house in our dream suburb but this house was (and we hope will continue to be) the epitome of a loving family house. I spent a great deal of my childhood with my Poppa and Grandma.
I moved in to the house on a part time basis not long after my Poppa passed away. I spent nearly every school holiday at grandmas playing with my cousins, Mercy (the dog boxer), my 12 mice (note gma disliked these little critters), climbing trees (another thing gma did not like) and all imaginary games an only child can get up to.
I would walk home from school with my older cousins where we would be given afternoon tea (normally BBQ or pizza shapes and cordial). When they left school and I was old enough I continued to walk home where the afternoon ritually quickly become Milo and custard while watching Bold and the Beautiful with grandma at 4:30PM followed by the 5PM News and than a 5:30PM dinner before my mum would pick me up.
Once I left school I continued to see Grandma nearly every weekend. Needless to say I spent a lot of time at my Grandmas house.
My Grandma was a very special lady and someone who was always there for you no matter what. Although there was a small amount of being spoilt she didn’t have to speak to get her thoughts across. If she didn’t like what you were doing or saying there were several ‘looks’ that she would give you if you were miss behaving, acting out or worrying her. I did get a lot of these looks from her throughout the years but all in all there is no one who can give a hug like Gma.
Grandmas house was a solace, a place that no matter how your day was or how you are feeling you would walk in the front (which is the back of the house) and instantaneously feel the endless love and comfort. There were 3 places you would either find her; in the kitchen, in the ironing room or in her chair praying.
As you walked up the stairs you would yell out Hi Grandmamma and wait to hear what she would say next. Would she get your name right with the sound of your voice? For me always! There was never a ‘what are you doing here?’ because she loved visitors, you never felt intrusive and was always greeted with a big smile.
When Pat first came along if memory serves me correctly he met Grandma before he met my parents. She instantly liked him and quiet early in our relationship started referring to him as her grandson. I than found that he quickly took over her visitor preference from me. If I turned up to see her without him I would instantly get a where’s paddy?
Needless to say because of Grandma and Poppa we have very strong affection for the house, just like many others. So given this opportunity to renovate and restore this house to its former glory is a daunting yet very exciting venture we are about to embark on.
Although the house needs; coats of paint, new floors, bathroom, and kitchen, a bit of demo work, additional support and landscaping. When it is done and moved in it will look different however one thing I never want to change is the house to not feel like a home. For it to continue to ooze as much love, support, solace and comfort it has always had. My grandparents worked so hard for what they have that to be able to go down this path is a great privilege one that we will never take for granted.
2017 is the commencement of a new journey, new beginnings and a very large project.
We will use this platform as a way of documenting the renovation and share our experience with you.
Xx L & P