Renovation rescue

Finally, after too many years of talking about it, we’re going to get extensions – renovations – done.

We’ve got a building design company working on the plans, have already handed over a pile of money to them, and back in July they got the unofficial nod from council to go ahead with the concept plan that involves putting a double garage in the front yard. You have to get special approval to put a building closer to the boundary than the required 6m – but we look like we’ll get away with it because we will improve the street view of the house – something that well and truly needs doing.

Whoever built the place plonked a kit home on the block, and decided to flip it around and face the front towards the east- the ocean – but into the backyard, which backs onto another block between us and the ocean view. (Noone has built on it yet – but it will probably happen one day.)

So the front of the house was really supposed to be the back, thus the laundry is right next to the ‘front’ door, the first floor bathroom window faces the street, and the top floor has tiny windows facing the street. Truly, it doesn’t look that good. (When we were house shopping, I was disinclined to even inspect it, and it was only the unique insides that sold me on the house (despite the fact that it had 3 bedrooms and a carport when we were looking for 4 bedrooms and a garage!)

As well as indiscriminately rotating the house on the block, they didn’t consider making use of the northerly aspect, so we have no windows facing north. (Why would you put the carport on the north side, and kitchen/dining, with windows, and a wider passageway on the south side? (If they’d thought about it for 5 minutes they might have come up with the idea of flipping the plans – mirror style!)  So, anyway, we have a light issue – with the kitchen plonked on the south side, and you currently need the lights on in it all day.)  Skylights, and high windows on the north side are figuring greatly on our plans.

OK, so we are also going to add a fourth bedroom (so two out of three kids don’t have to share), a study, a new laundry (with loo – so one can go to the loo on the ground floor),  a new bathroom on the middle floor,  and a big new living area out the back. We are solving (we hope) a lot of storage problems, and we are going to do some major changes – like rip up the godawful black slate on the ground floor (and be rid of it in the two upstairs bathrooms.)


And we’re now at the stage where we’re pretty happy with the plans. Next BIG step is to find out how much it is going to cost – ie. getting some sort of ballpark quote from some builders.  And hope that we don’t have to make too many compromises.

It is exciting, yet so daunting I am starting to feel a bit freaked out.  At times we wondered if it would have been cheaper and easier to move – but we like our location, and we didn’t like our chances of finding a 4 bedroom house with a double garage that wasn’t also going to need work.

We also contemplated knocking it down and starting again – but decided that it would cost more again (money that we’d rather spend on something else). And we would lose some of the unique characteristics of this house – namely the third storey with exposed rafters, and the sensation of living space that isn’t hemmed in by other houses.  The three storeys give more floor space all up, and we would never get the three storeys through council again.

So. Decision made. Scary, scary!  When I start contemplating the cost of new kitchen, flooring, bathroom stuff (never mind all the actual building work) my eye starts twitching. When I contemplate the fact that we’ll need to find somewhere to rent, and to move out for the duration – hence forcing me to deal with a major culling of all our Stuff – I’m heading into hyperventilating territory.

No – it will be good. It will be exciting. It will be bloody fantastic when it’s done. (I just hope our marriage survives it!)  And so overdue it’s not funny. We’ve been talking about this more or less since we bought the place 11 years ago – and it would not be a lie to say that because of so much of the shabbiness, I’ve not been as houseproud as I might have been.  I would be embarrassed to admit all the cleaning issues I have not dealt with because I had the shits with what was wrong, and what was well overdue to be replaced.

I might even come out the other side of this a new woman, rejuvenated by pride in her abode. Meanwhile, I wouldn’t mind sharing the trials and tribulations, before and after shots, and harvesting everyone’s ideas and experiences .. so stay tuned for more Renovation Rescue.



Filed under renovation rescue

7 responses to “Renovation rescue

  1. Oh, I can NOT WAIT! I am such a sucker for renovation posts! Photos, photos, photos, please!

  2. Never give up a good location.

    You could start a whole new blog segment and keep your sanity by letting out any frustrations on us.

    It does sound exciting and yes…photos please.

  3. I can’t wait to follow this! We’ve always renovated houses but never to this extent.

  4. Linda Dalrymple

    oh my god are you crazy………………………….

    sorry I just wanted your attention, good luck.
    18 months ago we renovated our kitchen after waitng for 14 years and I love it. I cook more and everything. To do a whole house would be too daunting for me. I do love that first colourful sketch of the new house. Your council is much more relaxed about the plans that are submitted than they are here. Colour plans are a no no, ha ha

  5. Tracey

    After owner building a whole house from scratch, I’m hoping that I’ll find this.. um.. doable…

    Ah, Linda, Linda… u so funny! Actually the kid (who drew this many years ago) took artistic licence, and forgot the carport on the other side, and a roofline over the front door. Otherwise it’s a pretty good likeness of a BEFORE shot of our house!

  6. Linda Dalrymple

    I think that you are all very brave, good luck and I hope that dream house is finished quickly!

  7. I have given it much thought and these are the 3 most important things to keep in mind when picking materials and fittings.

    1 Is it easy to clean?

    2 Will it show dust and dirt?

    3 Is it durable enough to never need replacing? Who needs to go through a reno/refit a second time.

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