This is our house. She’s been an absolute labour of love, conflict, perseverance and evidence that if you whinge and moan enough (sorry Leo) and put in a LOT of elbow grease you can ‘flip’ a house, as our American friends say, in less than 12 months. On pretty much no budget.
Let’s not be shy. She was a dump. A total dump – but with great bone structure and a lot of heart.
So here she is. In all her recycled glory.
The verandah is my favourite spot
When I first saw the enclosed verandah that runs along the front of the house, she had rotting floorboards. But the sun was streaming in and I knew she’d make a great spot to enjoy a cuppa.
We were going to leave her until last (ie never) but when the plumber went AWOL one week, Leo and Dylan had a little time up their sleeve.
I begged, I pleaded.
So out came the floor sanders, nails and after some serious re-cladding and painting, she came back to life.
This is Penny’s room.
My plants are recovering
These plants are my Maroubra survivors. Many of their succulent peers were killed during the blood-freezing Kandos winter frosts. City slicker lesson learned.
But these toughies love their new warm, sunny spot and are thriving again.
The marble-top coffee table they sit on was nabbed off the streets of Bellevue Hill last year in a throw-out. I can’t believe we managed to squeeze it into my friend Kylie’s hatchback (thanks Kyles, you were the first person I thought to call).
A little bit of Bondi is in the house
Dad is sending me lots of plants from his Bondi garden too. After nearly 50 years, he is dismantling his sacred place as he and mum prepare to move. His closing sale is my new opening and I am handling his cargo with much care.
This is 1 of his fragile orchards. I will see how it goes in this spot over summer. We plan to resurrect the old stove before next winter. She works perfectly but needs a new flu.
Dad has given me a few knick knacks too – like this working oil lamp. He knows I appreciate the old things that no-one else wants. I clearly get my Vinnies gene from him.
It’s so much brighter now
When I first came into the house it felt like a dark, claustrophobic coffin. I couldn’t believe that Leo actually agreed to buy it. He said it was a no brainer. We could afford it, it had paying tenants, and we were never going to live in it. Huh!
There is so much more light now. We were going to put in skylights but they were expensive. Turns out we didn’t need to. Another lucky break.
The art is up
We’ve hung a lot of art. Much of it Leo’s, many of it friends’. The elephant below was painted by one of Leo’s refugee students who gave it to him. It has very intense eyes.
The green pantry in the background is part of the original house. It’s the only thing in the whole building that’s completely unchanged.
This print by Quercus and Co is right next to the toilet door which is my favourite door in the house! Thanks Uncle Adam.
I love the bathroom. Our rain shower (salvaged from a demolition site) is the best thing ever.
We’ve tried to make the kids’ rooms feel cheery, happy and safe.
Just like every kid on the planet deserves.
I love cooking in my new kitchen. Food tastes good again.
The garden is erupting
After weeks and weeks of rain the garden is coming to life. Spring is 150% here.
The wisteria has burst out. Lots of little nesting birds have made it home. They wake me in the mornings.
After a vigorous prune, which I was very nervous about, my roses are about to explode. Yes, cutting off a third of the plant does work.
The fruit trees have leaves again. Next stop: preserving!
Needless to say, Penny is completely at home.
I think we are too.