Finished – Beginning at The End.


Small touches remain, but essentially as of July 2008 we have finished.

6 years of renovation, rebuilding and restoring come to an end. Not one wall, floor, ceiling, doorway – nothing remains of the late 40’s fishing shack that we started with.

The journey was long, arduous and eventful. I hope you enjoy touring the house with me and reading the stories of our renovations – the links on the side bar will take you through the house, room by room from before to after. And as a side, you may find some of the ‘letters home’  to be a bit of fun. Anyone who has ever done a major renovation will raise an eyebrow and nod furiously whilst reading these pages.


July of 2009 we have SOLD our lovely home.
The world thinks we were mad. Maybe we were?
Email me here if you would like to be directed to our next renovation project  – Rhu xx

This page is a sticky – and will appear at the beginning of my web site each page load. Use the links on the side bar to navigate through the house and letters. Cheers!




July 2009 we decided to sell our blood sweat and tears and listed them on the market with 2 wonderful agents, Kathy and Adam. I can not speak highly enough of Kathy and Adam’s approach, from the initial appraisal through to finishing the sale. Locals, if you are looking for an agent, I highly recommend them.


Here is the listing, pilfered  from Real


And from the newspaper   (PDF, click to open)   (Thanks Adam for sending me this!)

You can see the agents photographs inthe renovation photo album.


This was once a bedroom. It was wallpapered in a hideously old floral and someone had done a *very* dodgy job in trying to turn it fom a bedroom into a seperate ‘retreat’. Believe me, you needed a retreat to get away from the retreat…. A ‘doorway’ of sorts had been cut through from the master bedroom, and the original doorway from the hall to this room, closed off. 

 This photo was taken *after cleaning* but before we did any work to the room. A very bad attempt at a built in robe was across one side of the room, at the rear.

Since these shots were taken, we have removed the robe, ripped off all the wallpaper and sealed off the doorway. Downlights replace the awful light fitting. The room has been replastered, had an new robe that coverts to office storage fitted, and timber blinds at the window. The old doorway has returned to a wall.

Now we can run the business with some order!

Pool Excavation

Time for the pool people to do the pool thing.
See the lines on the grass? That’s the pool.
Soon, it starts to look like a REAL pool.
Well, a hole in the ground, at least.
Who pulled the plug out?
Ready for a fence and water.
Fill ‘er up!

Vanishing Act

They are gone. With a puff of emphysema and a one eyed knee twitch, they have moved to their new abode. I just wish they had taken their stuff with them!   With the anticipation of having 2 full days to clean up before our own van arrives, it was only natural that we thought we had stacks of time. We really did not count on them leaving so much of their own stuff here. Isn’t there a law against that? There is no way we can get all of this out in 3 days, let along clean it – and trust me, it’s absolutely filthy.

I can’t believe the crap they left behind. Rocking chair, a roll top desk, a wardrobe, a dead leather chair, dead bedside tables, tools, machinery, clothing, dishes, a lounge suite, a wall unit, bookshelves…  just to name a few.  I just wanted to bury my head in the sand. 

Some left over treasures for us – a lounge suite, a dart board, piranha teeth (!!!!!) dead carpet, old grungy shoes. Ergh. Even the pot plants. The dog poo. All here for us.

More treasures – a knife and fork in case you get hungry. A wall unit to store your own stuff in, in case they didn’t leave us enough.  A dilapidated laundry trolley, fence pickets sitting atop besa blocks (tasteful!!) to keep their dogs out,  fly screen doors with no fly screen. This awful old bar (see there is a ship in a bottle!) was still laden with empty sticky spirit glasses and empty bottles. (Yes that’s me reflected in the broken mirror tiles) And see the extension cord? That operates the porch lights!

Or, below – how about a tasteful, real Aussie authentic barbecue? There are even left over chop bones in the grate – instant flavour! 

I always hear of people finding ‘treasure’ in old houses. The only ‘real’ treasure” we found, was a genuine wall mounted oil lamp.   We kept that :)

A sample of the food, grime and dirt left behind. This is cooking residue under the cupboards.

A sample of the food, grime and dirt left behind. This is cooking residue under the cupboards.

Roll up the sleeves and jump on in. This is the laundry shed, the only way to remove the grime was let the walls soak in CRC and sugar soap and then blast them off with a gurni.  That’s the best way to tackle any job that looks daunting isn’t it? Attractive look!

And the state of the art carport, (That’s a roller door rolled on the side there, left for us. Did they think we would actually install it on this? It would fall down!)

Can you see yet why I am thinking this was a baaa-aa-aad idea?   By the end of the 2 days, we have filled 6 (six) skips with their left behinds. You can see here, this one was specific to old car parts. The real estate sign is still up behind it. Great advertising, Harcourts!

We have yet to move our own stuff, and an extension on our own settlement is now too late to arrange. People move into our (clean, immaculate, modern brick) former home the day we move out.  I’ll write again soon.

Diarised end of September, 2002

You can find the finished photos here, if you are impatient to see how the renos finished up :)

Letter Home: Christmas 2002

Letter to  mum, December 2002.

Jingle bells, jungle bells, jingle all the way, oh what fun (??) it is to have to find a Christmas tree and deccies not seen for 12 months and packed away before moving….

‘Tis the week before Christmas, and all through my house,
the creatures are stirring, and we finally killed that mouse.
Our stockings are shoved under the corner of the combustion heater with no care
and by the time Santa finds them, they will be coated in pet hair.

We sleep exhausted, unaided, snug in our beds,
while visions of renovation and demolition jangle round in our heads
and me in my daggy clothes, he in his cap
with projects half finished, no time for a nap.

All through the house and the lawn, such clutter and clatter
No point jumping up to see what’s the matter…
someone will have fallen over ‘important house stuff’
or the dog in his ambition to catch the ball of fluff
will have knocked it all askew once again, and just guess
who will have to collect it and pick it up, and… oops…  I digress…..

away to where the window should be, (mind your leg, on the sash)
peer through the curtains, (mind the broken shutter, if you are not careful, it will gash)
The moon, shining brightly, on half finished plumbing
reminds me of why, in this house, I am slumming…
when what, to my wondrous eyes should appear,
but a miniature sleigh and 8 tiny reindeer!

My neighbours! His lights! Oh no – the Christmas bus tour!
Oh god help me now, I just spread fresh horse manure
on the roses out the front that I planted with care,
and odours are singing the tourists nasal hair..

and the little old driver, so lively and quick,
has turned a ghastly pale shade of green and looks like he may be sick,
and my neighbours are staring at my house with such sheer hate,
I think this weekend we will build a fence with a gate.
The tourists whistled and shouted and called us rude names
My relationship with my neighbours may never be the same.

Now front wall, and garden, and plumbing need fixin’
and the floor boards needs sanding and the roof needs uplifting
and we need to build on the porch, and knock out that wall,
and find a new kitchen and remove that old hall…

As dry leaves that before the wild hurricane fly
you can see through sections of the roof, right up to the sky,
when the wind blows you hear such a great creaking sound,
Convinced that the carport may soon be on the ground
and patching the roof seems such a long way ahead,
this is getting way too hard, let me go back to bed.

And then, in a twinkling, I hear on the roof,
good lord no, not rain? Is this place weather proof??
as I drew in my hand, and I turn myself around,
sure enough – what’s that – a puddle on the ground??

When was the last time I wore make up – a skirt?
and our clothes are all tarnished from renovators dirt
a permanent pony tail stuck on my head,
and phone calls from visitors, something I most dread

My eyes how they wrinkle, -and wrinkles, how many
new ones this week, with threat of any
new ‘surprises’ I may find in this old cottage shack
How I wish Santa would supply 3 airline tickets in his sack
and a small lotto winning, so I could  finish this shack
without nervous breakdown or mild heart attack.

This poor house is ready for much needed help
and I laugh when I see it, in spite of myself
and a wink of the eye and a toss of the head,
I resign myself to cooking on a frypan instead
of the gourmet kitchen complete with open fire
and a shower instead of the bath I desire

and hanging out laundry on a tilted Hills hoist
and preparing the walls for the new little joists
and smiling at the those neighbours, for soon they will be
jealous of my shack, and all it will be.
And take myself off for a walk to the beach,
and dream of completion, not too hard to reach…

So dash away, dash away, dash away all,
I have to go off, remove dry rot from my hall
I am really quite happy, here in my plight,
I will accept gold coin donations, though – letter box on the right –
and in a flurry of wood shavings, I am out of sight…


R’s Room

Mini’ R’s room –  2 years.

  workroo   hpim4101

Little boys, with lots of toys, love to make a lot of noise…

Mini R’s room was a strange old room. It was bright sea blue with flaking white ceiling and genuine 50 year old Axminister carpeting on the floor. Such a shame it was full of fleas! 

 goingroo    workroo

Even at 5, he was great helper!. So we ripped it up and washed it down, and for the first 18 months, mini R had to have this room as it was.  This room was an odd ‘L’ shape, as there was a back door at the end of the hallway, right opposite his own doorway. This doorway was useless, as you had traverse through the bedrooms to use it, so our plan to remove it, block it up and remove the internal walls around it would mean a big bedroom for him down the track. Big enough to incorporate a playroom as well as bedroom needs.

hpim3480   hpim3481

You can see here on the unpolished  boards, where the back door and internal wall used to be.

After 18 months, we were able to put him in another room whilst we set to work. We ripped out the ‘L’ shaped internal wall and closed off the old back door.  Put in a new set of double windows made from silky oak, built in a floor to ceiling wardrobe and desk area. Now it’s a real boys room.

He loves it!

   img028   hpim4101


Of course, it usually looks more like this! BOYS!