4 words, 13 letters….After 6 months I thought I would never be typing these words ‘we have moved in’. Yes you read that correctly nearly 6 months after settlement we are officially residence of Scanlicott 2.0. We still don’t have a kitchen and a proper front door so are essentially ‘glamping’ but wouldn’t have it any other way.
The house settled on the 27th February 2017 and over the next 154 days we undertook our biggest challenge to date and couldn’t be happier with the outcome. So rather than write an essay thought I would share some before and after photos of what we have been up to over the past 6 months.
To recap we have done everything from asbestos removal, framing, sanding, bamboo removal, gardening, fencing, sheeting and painting. It’s hard to believe all that we have accomplished.
Don’t worry we haven’t finished yet. Our next priority/to do are:
· Internal paint touch ups
· Skirting boards
· Front door
· Exterior painting
· Finish bathroom
How does it feel? It feels monumental to achieve everything we have and (sappy part of the post) I am extremely proud of my husband who really went outside his comfort zone and took DIY to the extreme. He has learnt sooo much and has come away with all his limbs, fingers and toes intact. We of course wouldn’t have achieved what we have without eith the physical or emotional support of family and friends so are very appreciative to all those have supported us to date….i think they will be in for one hell of a house warming party!
Now where is that cocktail and tropical island…..I think we need a holiday!
Before I start the triple B post I first want to acknowledge that we 100% knew EXACTLY what we were getting into when we brought our house and the bamboo that came with it.
We knew it was going to be a big job and it wasn’t going to be a small feet to completely get rid of it.
Firstly let me set the scene. We are currently perched on 500m2 block backing on to an easement and a dog park. We have 3 massive clumping bamboo trees, 2 smaller clumping bamboos and 1 palm tree which is hybrid bamboo. They had, to an extent over took the yard.
Over the course of several months we cut the bamboo down either over the weekend and in afternoon after work. This was a 3 people job alone person had to lasso (bamboo cowboy) the individual bamboo pole, the other had to cut with a hand saw, whilst the third person watched to make sure when the 40foot bamboo pole came down everyone and everything was clear.
You can’t use a chainsaw, initially due to how tightly compacted the bamboo poles were and also because you needed them to come down individually and safely. We nearly had had enough and started looking for a tree lopper however we found the majority of tree loppers wouldn’t touch it.
After a very successful weekend with a great crew all the bamboo was cut down and gone!
However the bamboo variety we had grew super-fast and literally overnight more sprouts would pop up. How many times have you heard don’t trust everything on the internet? I can confirm from personal experience that the below Wikipedia is an accurate account.
One all the bamboo was down we had to get the root system up. This took a bobcat and a 14 tonne excavator to not only dig up the bamboo roots but the concrete base of the fence. My grandfather never built a fence as half pace – in true Poppa fashion the concrete fence was not reinforced with rebar but steel posts. Our excavator driver said he had pulled up airport landing strips easier than this.
We have now had the ground levelled and smoothed so that the land falls away from the house and not into it.
It has now been several weeks later and whilst out in the yard what did I come across?!?!?! Oh just a bamboo shoot in the middle of the yard! Pat was at Bunnings so after some coursing I thought I better dig it up. The shoot was nowhere near where the bamboo was planted and it turns out that it was a piece of root that had come off when the excavator had to break it up to put it in the tip truck.
As Pat was out I thought it would be hilarious to plant the bamboo shoot in a pot plant in put it in the middle of the driver……needless to say he was not amused!!
The moral of this story is not to never plant bamboo, it does look very nice in a lot of gardens just never give us any.
There is something utterly personal between a wall, an orbital sander and 100 years of paint.
We are now up to day (who knows) and I have realised the renovation has sent me crazy as I embark on a deep and meaningful blog post about sanding walls….yes you read correctly.
Up front I will say that I do not like the thought or logistics of sanding. The biggest reasons being the uncontrollable mess it makes. Plus regardless of the protection clothing you wear (gloves, goggles, long pants, shirts, and masks etc) sanding dust seems to go everywhere and when I say everywhere I literally mean EVERYWHERE. Ever blown your nose after sanding? If you have you will completely understand the everywhere comment. PLUS PLUS your body hurts quite a bit and it feels like the bones in your hands are uncontrollably shaking/vibrating for at least half an hour after you stop. The moral of this is the thought of sanding is not appealing; I am yet to jump out of bed in the morning and excitedly exclaim IT’S SANDING DAY TODAY.
We are finished sanding! I repeat we have finished sanding! (probably my famous last words)!!!
During my most recent (and last) sanding I reflected as to what I really love about renovating an old house. In my mind I am not just sanding walls and applying a fresh coat of paint to brighten and modernise the house. I would be lying if I said this wasn’t a big part of it but it isn’t the really reason I am loving the journey we are taking in DIY renovating this house. It turns out in sanding back the paint on the walls I get deep satisfaction and joy of uncovering the stories the wall tells and providing the house with much loved TLC that it so deserves.
Whilst sanding I think about the number of different hands that painted each layer of paint, the reasons why and the colour choices. It is as if sanding back the paint on the wall is pulling back the curtain of history and getting a glimpse of the past. With each rotation of the orbital sander we uncover a different decade, a different style which inevitably tells a story. Whilst stripping back the years to expose the original timber in all its aged beautiful glory I imagine the person who would have originally built the house. What were there intentions in building this exact house? Was it for family? Work? What about the land? Why did they decide to buy here? Why did they decide to build the Workers style cottage? Who was involved with the build? Why was the pink paint colour chosen? Who choose it? Was it simply for cost? Was it the style?
As you can see there are numerous tails that could be told. We are very lucky as this is a family house numerous questions can always be answered but in sanding back these walls it is as if we are starting our own personal journey with this house.
Of course after sanding comes painting. With each and every paint stroke we are creating our own story within this houses story, giving these walls the new lease on life that it so deserves. With every paint stroke we are making our own piece of history as we are literally painting our lives and entwining our story with the stories of the past, present and future.
We have sanded back years of old paint, dirt and dust on these walls and provided it with the chance to start again. Not only for added cosmetic appeal, but if these walls could talk the stories it would tell and the love that they shared. After all, this house has been a pivotal home for anyone who has walked through its doors. The home has provided a lot over the years, to be able to give back to it by sanding back the years with our own hands giving our home a new lease on life is a wonderful feeling. Apparently this is something that is quiet common when renovating a Queenslander, that utter delight in begins apart of restoring Queensland’s history and moving it forward into the future.
This isn’t the first time the renovations have sent me a little crazy, I felt the same way about our last house. Prior to us purchasing it, our last house was a rental property for 10 years, prior to this it was the family home of an elderly couple who had to sell due to illness. Being a rental property it was trashed. It looked very tired, exhausted and utterly sad. I again felt immense joy of renovating it and providing it again with some much needed TLC by stripping back the walls, painting and creating our own lovely home. This is a stage that I can’t wait to reach with our home, nearly finishing sanding feels like a major milestone achieved and one step closer to move in day.
In summary I love the connection with the house our DIY renovation provides me, the sense of accomplishment. It’s almost like a deep cleanse with a new lease on life, a therapeutic clean that leaves you feeling absolutely exhausted but no cutting corners, no cheap and nasty surprises just a complete fresh start.
When we are finished the paint colour might just be a pale grey but to me when I eventually look at those painted walls it will be as if I am looking at the most exquisite painting….I did forewarn you that the renovations had finally made me go crazy.
I’m sure there are people reading this who now truly understand how crazy I am but maybe there are a few people reading this who have experienced the wonders of renovating…. I mean every now and then I wish I could undergo a complete sand and a fresh coat of paint (oh wait that happens every 6 weeks at the hair dressers).
The idea of buying a vanity for close to $3000 seems ridiculous especially when the original budget was $250 (yeah we were dreaming) but how much is too much? If I save on the cost of a toilet and maybe go without floor tiles surely this will cover that cost! This is a blog about finding the perfect vanity, falling madly in love with it only to click on the cost and realise I could also spend the money on a small car.
Like all good hope-crushing-stories this one starts out the exact same. Pinterest. It was a summer afternoon in late November. A young good-looking couple were filling their heads about all hopes and dreams for what, at this stage seemed like a distant future of renovating. Wine and beer were drunk while plans were being made. Note paper came out whereby terrible drawings were made of the future house. Styles were picked and like all initial renovation discussions practicality had not yet taken hold and hours were spent discussing and dreaming of where mirrors were to be hung.
As the one drink turned into a few more the alcohol cloud epiphany hit and with some clarity came insight – Silly us! We realised we were not being very practical and were skipping many, many steps and needed to think more practically. Therefore we set off planning our bathroom; layout, functionality and style.
The bathroom was moved from the original location which was a narrow long room off the kitchen into the ironing room (see earlier post about what the ‘ironing’ room is). This gave us a bathroom of about 2.4m x 3.2m so a fairly decent size, although we did need to fit a toilet in here as well.
We want our house to be classic, timeless and ooze comfort in a well organised, personalised, customised, luxurious way – think very much Hamptons Style… You know that effortless look that normally takes a lot of time and energy to look a certain amount of dishevelled in a very non dishevelled way. Ohhh and one more thing……this all needs to happen on a shoe string budget. Hampton’s style and a shoe string budget don’t go hand in hand but we will give it a good ol’ shot…what’s one more challenge.
We wanted to encapsulate this style into the bathroom. This bathroom is for all intensive prepares our ‘forever’ bathroom (*** see below definitions of forever). This means the next time it gets renovated is in 20 years’ when it is due to a makeover.
Anyway we Pinterest all variations imaginable for bathrooms to find the perfect design and what elements we wanted to incorporate and what could work. It was in this Pinterest search frenzy zone that I stumbled upon the most gorgeous vanity. It than became my life’s mission for the next few weeks to find where it was from. I went to bed thinking about this vanity and woke up dreaming about it…..this is not an exaggeration!
It wasn’t until one day I somehow stumbled on it…..only to see the price……THAN only to see the price in American dollars. I could surely not justifying spending that much on a vanity!
We than looked at being thrifty and finding an old vanity, paint it and replace the top. After trying to buy a couple on eBay and Gumtree with little to no luck we parked the vanity to the side for a while and concentrated on more pressing issues like asbestos removal and organising walls for our house.
Like all good fairy tales not long after the heart break my knight in shining armour arrived. He was perfectly rugged (legitimately we were mid renovation) when he found our new perfect vanity. It was just what we wanted…. Even more perfect than the last PLUS it was at a very reasonable price…we couldn’t even buy a small car for the cost of this vanity!
It arrived in 24 hours and WOW! I can’t wait to get it installed. If you have been to my house since the vanity has arrived I probably have made you touch the marble counter top.
The bathroom story isn’t over just yet so I can’t finish with ‘and they lived happily ever after’ as work only commenced last week with a few minor hiccups but we will be back on track after today.
But for now see below for a few ‘sneak peaks’ of what we have so far.
Can’t wait to share with you the end result!
Xx L & P
***Note Lou & Pat’s Reno Terminology broken down
Forever – the location/layout/design will remain exactly the same when we raise regardless of the layout we choose for the rest of the house
Temporary – Used very loosely temporary means it will be what it is for the next 10 years until we raise. When we raise we have no idea what this space will be.
Feature image is an image found on Pinterest when searching Dream+Luxury+Bathrooms I felt it was a fitting image for this post.
Last week the real renovations officially commenced. Whilst previously there was a small bit of demo and clearing work here and there the big task of asbestos removal commenced and has now been completed!!!!
The original predictions were for the job to be completed within 6 days however it took 9. Mainly because once they started removing asbestos more and more and more was found!!!! We have had over 350m2 of asbestos cleared from the house.
The ‘original’ house is really the only rooms that are not affected by internal asbestos, although one of the rooms did have asbestos applied over the VJ walls. This was a win for us as one less room we need to get a new wall for.
The internal asbestos walls that were removed will be replaced with imitation VJ plaster board to continue the ‘Queenslander’ feel. The biggest walls for replacing are the exterior. Now that exterior asbestos has been removed there is a small part of the internal house that has been left quiet exposed.
We are using a composite chamfer board on the exterior of the house, one that mimics the original chamfer board (found inside). This will re-inject some curb side appeal to the house again. The chamfer board started going up on Wednesday and is predicted to take close to 2 weeks.
The removal of asbestos was important for us to as parts of it were cracked and broken. It also makes coordinating other trades that much easier as a lot of tradesman such as electricians and plumbers are very reluctant to drill into asbestos.
We did find some very interesting finds when the asbestos was removed. We found the old hot water system (tin rubbish bin) in the ceiling AND a tow bar in a wall cavity.
There were a few sadder things to see going, for example a little bit of family history went with the asbestos removal. On one of the walls there were drawn waterlines for the 1974 floods in the days leading up and just after as the water resided. We did transfer these onto a nearby post as reference. Also the ceiling in my grandma’s room went (refer to Instagram post about ceiling).
So what’s next you ask? Well here is the list:
• Insulation of external walls
• New internal walls and ceilings in some areas
• Front door
• New front windows
• Balustrade of front landing
• Sand all walls
• Clear the yard/garden
• New fence (dog proofed….did I mention our dog escaped from this yard on our wedding day yet?)
• Polish floors
Thannnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnn move in! Can’t wait to finally be in and living in our new (old) home. So if you have a free weekend coming up don’t tell me otherwise you will be allocated one of the above jobs!
In concluding this blog I realise I have spent 90% of the time talking about asbestos. It is a massive job and a massive milestone. Anyway hope you have a fantastic weekend and if you are looking for us I’ll give you 2 guesses where we will be.
FYI – when measuring a house make sure your measuring tape is longer than 5m!
Scanlicott Renovation 2.0 has officially commenced with the change of the calendar year. All the excuses of ‘ that’s future Pat and Lou’s problem’ are now actually Pat and Lou’s problem.
The house is essentially a blank canvas. We have our budget and an endless string of ideas. So what should we do first? Lets measure of course.
Measuring the house will allow us to see what is a dream and what is the reality. One of the initial things we would like to do is move the current small narrow bathroom that is off the kitchen into the ironing room. (note earlier post of grandma constantly being found in the ironing room due to her ‘love’ of clean pressed clothes and pressed linen). The only way to establish if this is possible? MEASURE!
Due to the number of children Grandma and Poppa had the original configuration of the house was changed multiple times to allow for the ever-expanding children and than grandchildren.
The original deck was enclosed for more internal space and the original hall way removed. We would like to revert the front of the house to the original design with opening the front of the house and reinstate the hallway. The only way to establish if this is possible? MEASURE
A new kitchen is required, adding in additional features that the kitchen doesn’t currently have such as an oven and dishwasher. The only way to establish if this is possible? MEASURE
I think by now you get the picture that to progress all these grand ideas into reality is to MEASURE, MEASURE, MEASURE! With preferably a larger measuring tape as I don’t think our current 3meter one will do the job, so off to Bunning’s we went.
By no means are we computer geniuses or drafts-man but we are pretty impressed with our initial drawings. We created some basic shapes in Microsoft Word to represent the rooms than using pen and paper (I know crazy in this day and age) wrote down the measurements.
Now that we have the measurements we can see how out of scale our original drawing was so next step will be a to complete a drawing to scale. In taking these measurements has allowed us to have a clear vision of basic design principles and what of our dreams can be achieved.
We have confirmed the ironing room will have sufficient space for a bathroom. The bathroom will consist of a toilet, vanity, shower and bath.
In moving the bathroom from the original location will allow an extra 900mm of space in the kitchen by removing the wall. We had hoped the original bathroom could become a butler’s pantry with a fridge inside. However our fridge is 778mm deep which will not leave enough room to open the doors.
We have a large family so need to be smart about designing the new kitchen. We want to ensure that when having the family over for a meal we can all fit around one table, this is providing to be challenging as we also want ample bench space which would need to be an island bench. I am open to any suggestions on how I can fit these 2 ideas in!
While we were measuring the house we also had a sneak peak at the floors under the carpet. And guess what??? We LOVE them! We can’t wait to get in and ripe up the carpet and see what condition they are all in and what they will eventually look like. Here’s a sneak peak.
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.