renovations begin

We had a grand renovation plan from back when we first moved here. It's been refined and improved and we even had an interview with an architect. It was an ambitious plan and one we were not sure we would get approved by the council as it involved shifting the front door and building a hallway along the side of the house. Our house, indeed the whole estate in which we live, is subject to a heritage overlay, being one of the most complete returned servicemen estates in Melbourne. These houses while cute, are very, very small, with minimal sized rooms - think a small workers cottage but with more windows. Sometimes it feels a bit odd that there is so much restriction on what you can do with them. On the other hand, they are well built, quite light if you have a good aspect and just big enough.
. Our original plan would have given us a hallway (I really miss having a hallway), a big kitchen, a separate dining room and a sizeable lounge room. There would have also been a guest room, a revamped study for me and a big covered deck. There would have been room for most of our furniture and it was a killer plan, if I do say so myself. We would have needed to borrow quite a bit of money to do it and while we'd worked out that we could afford to make the repayments on the amount we wanted, the banks didn't agree. Then I quit work, so that was off the agenda for this year at least. About the same time we started talking about what we could do if we didn't any borrow money at all. And so plan B was born. We have gone through each room and worked out what we could do to make it meet our needs better. For example in the lounge room we need space for an extra armchair now that Grace is bigger.  Mainly so we can all watch telly or movies together. We need big bookshelves so we can get all our books out of the shed. The kitchen is not so easy. I can fit the fridge in the kitchen, as opposed to in the laundry, but then I can't fit a dishwasher. People seem to think we really need a dishwasher but it comes at the expense of cupboard space either in the kitchen or the laundry or sun room so maybe we can do without. I still have some thinking to do on that one.
We're going to open up between our kitchen and lounge room (but with cavity sliding doors for extra flexibility), improve and enlarge my study/sewing room, build a guest room which will also be Gerard's music room/study and then there will be a big covered deck with a sink and pizza oven/bbq. There are also plans for a new linen press, a preserving and bulk food storage cupboard, a camp equipment locker as well as various small ways to improve the bedrooms and laundry. If it all works, it will be good. Maybe not as fabulous as the original plan but a substantial improvement on the current space. We haven't drawn proper plans yet but have been wildly imagining each space. However as we know the direction we'll be taking, Gerard has started on some on the jobs to fix up parts of the house that we had delayed because they would have been affected by the big plans. Like fixing the front porch. He has repaired rotten timber, filled cracks, mended brickwork, added some wood work and basically made it look whole again. There is still a way to go, some more rotten timber to be repaired  some glazing and painting to be done and some tiling and lining. I'm also going to have a go at removing some crappy old paint from the bricks and concrete. Not quite sure how it's all going to go this year but feels like a beginning.


  1. sounds fab - we are in the "renew the house" throes too. Lots and lots of getting rid of stuff too....makes more space. I do not need so many things....

  2. I love lots of windows and light.. i'd love to see your plans when you do them ( or even a rough sketch ) so I may visualise.

    Bummer about the grand plans. We had heritage listing at the Collingwood house, but luckily is was more about "frontage" and external paint colours. Would you consider going back to the architect with your limitations and seeing what he could pull out of his hat?