in which we decide that the stinky house is not for us

And not because of the smell, because that could be fixed. So I am told. Not because of the utterly disgusting condition either. Although that was a factor, both Gerard and I had nightmarish moments about that. But mainly because of the room size. I find it hard to judge room size without furniture, but these were definitely very small rooms. Dad took one look at the plans and said, those rooms are a bit small. I agree, you can't fix small rooms. Small bedrooms we could live with I think, but we would like a bigger living area and I couldn't get my head around a good extension either, not without moving the position of the kitchen and the laundry. Or substantially altering the nature of the house. I quite like this style of house (especially with the additon of a front verandah which the neighbours had done to great effect). Melbourne suburbs are full of houses like this. I'm wondering about the history of this design, there's a site about small houses in Australia but this style of house isn't on it. Anyway it's a pity about the room size, because the location was good, the street was nice, there was good access to transport and it had a north-easterly aspect at the back with a side drive along the north of the house. And I think the stench will lower the price somewhat.

There were some nice features and I quite liked the tiles in the bathroom and the originally cabinetry, even if it was a bit mouldy.

The light came into the bathroom from the north side of the house, which is where the driveway was. It glinted onto the seventies blue plastic taps. And the blue bath. I'm not afraid of using paintstripper and white king, it would be amazing to see the transformation some paint and patching would bring about. The bathroom I could see. But check out the kitchen....

It is hard to describe how bad this smelt. And this room didn't even have carpet. Just unsealed floorboards. G was undeterred and had some pretty good ideas about how we could live in the house, stage one. He could see it, bless him. We had a chat with the next door neighbour and I asked him if there were animals in the house and he laughed. What sort, I asked? She had all kinds of animals, he replied. That along with the paint spattered bedroom with the northerly aspect made me like the house a little bit more, peversely.

We looked at three other houses. One that backed onto the railway and a reserve, but that looked as though it had been quickly renovated. It was light and airy but the polished floorboards were rough, the doors didn't close properly, it needed restumping and as G said, you'd be scared of what you might find once you got into the guts of that house. It had that dodgy feel. Then there was a big post war house out near Fawkner, but it was a fair walk to the station, quite a bit along a big main road. Then there was a small house on another block abutting the railway line further out, which G liked but I didn't. I saw it a couple of weeks ago and the owners glared at me as I walked through. G said that it wasn't a share house interview but I found it hard to get a good look at the house. What I did see, I didn't like anyway. Then there was another house which I saw by myself in the afternoon while Grace was napping and G was watching the footy. Pretty from the outside but dark and gloomy inside, with an odd shaped back yard filled with the sound of trucks on the way to Sydney. But it did win wallpaper of the week award....

The missing sheets were on the dresser. It was a bit sad really, because it looked as though this was once a family home and now just one person was rattling round by themselves. The backyard was full of squiffle from a while ago and I could see a young couple with a baby getting excited about this house, the man was showing the woman how he would lay out the garden.  In a different location, I would have seriously considered this house. But it wasn't the one for us. No doubt there will be a whole new batch of houses to look at next week. Now that the footy is over. Right, off to bed. Actually, I'm quite relieved that we're not going for the stinky house. Although I think it might end up being quite a reasonable buy...


  1. Strangely, a really bad smell doesn't necessarily lower the price. I remember an old lady's house over the road in St Kilda. Her dog had been defecating inside for years. The smell made people run outside and vomit. It was incredible. The new owners had to take the floorboards out.
    It sold for almost a million dollars. For a semi-detached. 10 years ago.

  2. Oh, we're doing the exact same flip-flopping and yo-yo-ing over here! Funny, I've noticed a few blogs I read have suddenly plunged into house-hunting posts, and I don't feel so alone! This is an amazing post and account of your journey so far, you've inspired me to start documenting our process in finding our first home. So far it hasn't been quite as colorful as yours, but I'm sure we'll have our moments... Such an emotional rollercoaster it is, isn't it?
    Anyway, the bathroom cupboard scared me because that looks like mould. Is it do you think? Mould problems are evil (coming from a resident of the wet Canadian west coast) and I would recommend running (screaming) from any sign of mould or mildew. Paint will not touch it, the underlying problem (leaks!) have to be fixed which can be extremely costly and difficult. Mould spores are really bad for your health.
    That wall paper is absolutely divine. My first thought was did she ask if she could take the extra sheets home? I would have! Priceless!
    Good luck on your journey and I'll enjoy watching from the other side of the world..

  3. on second thought, did you mean the extra sheets were pasted to the dresser...? I've seen wallpaper-plastered dressers before. Not a pretty sight. Oh I do love that paper though...

  4. Krista, the extra sheets were just lying on the dresser, but the owner wasn't there to ask - which is really common at open for inspections here. I wouldn't worry about the mould, it's just that the house has been neglected. I would only worry about rising damp which shows as bubbles in paint and mould down near the skirting boards. It's such a dry climate here that mould like that could be easily dealt with. I like reading about others househunting too, it's such a roller coaster... Good luck to you too!

  5. That's bullshit about the smell - we had a 'smell' in Collingwood, and we restumped, had to get new floorboards, plumbing, all sorts of things. But after a rain ... I could smell the old house.
    And it wasn't even this bad, IMO.
    This house looks like a 'mow down and start again' jobbie to me, which means developers. With mucha moolah.
    BTW - I have a book on 'House Styles in Australia', and none of my 3 homes have 'technically' been in it.
    This is a 'post-war' house.
    1950's I would say...

  6. Janet, I went through this process late last year and ended up buying a very cheap and much adored house in a suburb nowhere near Brunswick, but nonetheless really nice to live in, as long as 17km from the city is not considered too much of a drawback. Since finding out how much work it really is to fix up a house I am so relieved we didn't buy any of the houses we looked at which were like this one. I shudder to think about how airily we walked around saying how easy it would be to gut a kitchen or replace wiring or fix rotted skirting boards. It took us five weekends of swearing just to replace two internal doors.
    I wish I'd had the energy to take photos of wallpapers. One place I actually wanted to buy had a bedroom that was painted orange with black gaffer tape diagonal stripes.

  7. They had to sell that one cos even renters wouldn't live there, I reckon. I do like the wallpaper.

  8. They had to sell that one cos even renters wouldn't live there, I reckon. I do like the wallpaper.

  9. Good lord - that kitchen......
    Hardcore renovating is only for the extremely brave or completely insane, I think!
    (that is, unless you have millions of dollars to pay someone to do it all for you!)
    Good luck with the house hunting, though!
    Thanks for dropping by, I've had quite a few visitors via Kim!

  10. ...I quite liked the tiles in the bathroom and the originally cabinetry, even if it was a bit mouldy
    You're hilarious.

  11. now Kim's pointed out one of my writing in a hurry spelling mistakes.... so I can't fix it. I did like the mouldy cabinets, they had good lines.
    Can I just say too, I've lived in some rented houses that were like this before the White King and paint?

  12. House hunting is hard isn't it? My husband and I looked for one weekend. We liked the last house we saw on Sunday - so we bought it the next weekend!
    People are amazed when I tell them that but it just seemed right for us and the location was perfect so we did it :) We've been there for two years now and don't regret a thing (although we are planning a renovation now).
    I hope you find the right house for you soon.

  13. eep ... the mold scares me and i have such a sensitive nose so that would scare me off completely, its too bad because it does look rather charming ... house hunting is soo hard but i am sure you will find something wonderful .. xox

  14. Janet, I think you're being monumentally restrained. I get so nervous with househunting that this is going to be the only house we'll ever be able to afford so I am not as picky as I know I should be, I'm always trying to talk myself into unsuitable things (like - weak laugh - how about we go and live a million miles away...when I can't actually drive? Mm, good idea). I think it's great that you're thinking so solidly about the bones of the house and taking your time to really get a feel for everything that's around.
    I love railways. I really do. Martin and I lived next to the trainline in Brighton, in a big upstairs flat. The trains whooshed right past our bedroom. We both loved it, it was such a comforting world noise, such a nice rhythm to dream by. We lived in that flat twice, years apart, when we were first married and then again for about six months when Fred was one.

  15. Janet I agree - a hardcore clean and some cosmetic touches can make the world of difference! Room sizes are indeed hard to get past, unless you want to knock down walls to open plan the living areas.
    And our house smelled really bad when we bought it (old lady sleeping too far from the bathroom - you get the idea). Two weeks into renovation when all the floors were stripped and the back half of the house pulled down a (very polite and reserved) friend came around and commented on how shocking the smell was. But it went and left no trace without any action on our part.
    And D renews his offer to look at anything or any floor plans.

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