Whilst our house was being renovated, I was posting photos and comments on the progress. I only got halfway through the progress blog posts before we got to move back home and, well, I’ve been a bit busy since then!
I do hope to finish the more involved step-by-step posts, as I find them really interesting to look back on. It’s quite amazing the level of detail that my memory just does not retain. I enjoy being able to look back and be reminded of how a particular period of my life was, or, in regards to the renovation, all the thought and effort that went into our house. However, this post is just the finished product. I’m really embracing the motto “Better done than perfect”. It would be more perfect if I finished the detailed posts about each room, and then had the big reveal post – which is not so much of a big reveal as it is nearly two years since it was completed – however it will get done if I just do the final the post now. Better done than perfect!
The cost and time blew out on our renovation with discoveries that could not be predicted. These are the joys of renovating very old properties. We needed part of the house re-stumped, and that in itself was an unknown as the builder could not know exactly what the land underneath the house was like, and therefore how deep the stumps would have to go; as it turned out, we need five, very deep stumps in our room to stop the lean-to happening. So there were those sorts of unknowns which we knew to expect going into the project. Then there were the things like the bathroom framework being completed ruined from water damage, and the concrete lintel above our window which WAS NOT anchored into the wall. That particular discovery cost us extra money to fix and extra time as the safety requirements of the job then changed and amendments had to be made to the building permit – I think that was how it went at least…it has been a long time.
Anyway, everyone told us that it would take twice as long as quoted and cost twice as much. We laughed and secretly thought, “Not for us”. Well, it didn’t take twice as long as quoted but I did wish that I hadn’t packed all my winter clothes in storage! It did cost more, due to unexpected discoveries such as the above-mentioned (they were just the two things that sprang to mind), but also because we would go and pick beautiful lush carpet and underlay that was twice the allowance in the quote. As the original quote had come in under our budget, we felt okay with making these choices which ultimately led to a renovation without compromises which we would’ve regretted later. Also, it was hard not to get excited as we saw things coming together and then wanting to add just a little thing here or a little thing there!
The builder that we went with was Ange who runs Estate Building and Renovations. We chose him because we liked his manner, he seemed like a person who took great pride in his work and wouldn’t cut corners and he really listened to us and worked with us to achieve what we wanted. We worked a lot with Joel as well as Ange – most days one or the other was at our house looking after everything. Joel came up with the idea of installing a pool latch on our front gate when I was asking for help to make it child-proof. Both Ange and Joel were great at coming up with practical solutions for issues around the house and we definitely gave them some challenges. Double glazing for our windows was one of the biggest challenges; there was a lot of discussion as to the best way to do it considering that we have leadlight windows which have to stay (council heritage overlay) and do not react well to being double-glazed, and sash windows which leak a lot of air. Ange’s solution of installing a separate, double-glazed internal window was brilliant.
We have more things we want to do further down the track. As Ange said, when renovating, you just have to draw a line somewhere otherwise you can just keep on going. So we still have things to do, and I look forward to getting Ange and his team in again.
Patrica La Torre, of Outside Inside Building Elements designed our bathroom and laundry. Ange works with her regularly and directed us to her services. She was fantastic. When we said that storage was a priority, she delivered SO MUCH storage in the design and still managed to make the bathroom feel larger than it did before. She was excited when I picked the bright striped laminate for the laundry as it is the sort of bold colour that most people will steer away from. Shamefully I still haven’t had her around to see the finished house, because I want it to be all perfect and tidy and looking its best, which it does for a couple of hours every fortnight or so! The rest of the time it looks, well it looks like a family lives here; a family who have work, kinder, playdates, like to cook together and will follow their whims on weekends rather than their “shoulds”. I guess I need to apply that “Better done than perfect” motto here too.
The more time has passed, the happier I’ve been with the renovation and the job done by Estate Building. When we first moved back in, we felt like the house was too good for us! We have grown accustomed to our cosy, comfy, luxurious house now (oh the carpet, the bath, the insulation!!!) and I feel so incredibly lucky that we got to do it when we did, rather than having to wait for 20 years as we thought we would. It is beyond divine to have a proper laundry and no longer have all our piles of washing lining the hallway to greet friends. It is so wonderful to have a house that does not maintain the same temperature as outside, in all seasons. Insulation is a glorious thing, truly glorious.
I also love that instead of putting all the money into building up (which was our original idea), we put it into a reasonably small back extension and renovating the existing house (except the kitchen – that one is waiting a while). By choosing a smaller extension, we got to do things like renovate the bathroom completely, have built-in robes installed in our bedrooms, re-carpet and paint the whole house, get double-glazing put in. These are all things that have a far more positive impact on our daily life than a parent retreat and balcony upstairs would do. The way our house is, it is a lovely size now; it will expand to capacity with the planned Sibling, and then it will still be a very comfortable size once it is back to just us two again. I really like being in a house where I feel like I won’t need to upsize or downsize somewhere down the line.
The before photos are in this post. It’s been a while since I’ve looked at them and I had forgotten how bad some of the internal cracks were!