Monday, 15 August 2011

'What's my scene'...sung to the Hooroo Guru's song, of course!

'...and another thing I have been wondering I crazy to believe in ideals?' 
Yah, well, that's how it feels for me at the moment. I came here years ago from a great brick veneer house, all decorated in my style and also the era (late 80's early 90's.....gak... I shudder now!) and I was happy with that. This place; Fibro cement late 1950's cottage. I had ideas to make it a kind of a get-away cottage style. Make you feel like you had left the hardships of life and run away to a little almost English style cottage. Then came the illness, and the drought. Pffft! My enthusiasm waned. The garden, lovingly planted out by the original owner all roses and geraniums and herbs, all died in our longest drought on record. Time for a rethink. 
  I found that my soul craved being close to nature. I always hated paying big money for fresh vegetables. I figured this garden could cope, being on a hill and quite large (15 metres wide by 50 metres approximately, and that's just the front yard!) I decided to rip out the front garden which was basically heavy clay and no drainage, and put large retaining walls in. Then all back filled with agricultural piping, layered with large scoria and covered in geotex. Then the walls were stapled with black plastic to avoid any possible contaminent from the treated pine sleepers. We have been told by the CSIRO that there is little risk, but I am a perfectionist and don't need the extra stress of a 'maybe'! Then we filled the lot with 'Drought Master' soil. A mix of composted material with organic matter and soil wetter. Excellent stuff!
 Ok so that is all good. But my main thing is; Now what is my scene? My style inside the house? I am finding too many ideas are going round in my head and looking on the internet and through magazines is making my brain turn into slush! I love Art Deco, but this house is 1950's. I love French provincial but that style is abit pretentious for what this cottage is. I really want a Modern Country style but where to begin without looking too plastic yet too rustic? The lack of room and the stupid layouts of the rooms doesn't help with a good solid design. Maybe I should just move elsewhere...... sigh..........
Ok a few photos of the front garden for you to view!
 This is the front garden when I got here in 2004. Nice,the clay was causing issues and the rain would just fill the front grassed area like a bog.

 This is the garden redone. Long way to go till finished. This area  will have large pavers leading to a brick paved courtyard with a water feature.
 Fruits of my labours. This harvested over 80kgs of different varieties of tomatoes. I had Butternut pumpkins, basil, and spaghetti squash. Early 2011.

Wednesday, 3 August 2011

Some pics of the challenge.

Here are some interesting photos of the place when we first got it back in early 2004. I hope in time the gaudy holiday house back in the '60's look will be replaced with a modern country style. Hasn't been an easy journey so far, but we seem to have broken the back of the main disasters and look forward to seeing this old girl turn into a blushing bride real soon!

Tuesday, 2 August 2011

7 years later........

Here it is now for all and sundry to view, my blog experience of the renovation. I moved here in July 2004. Went to USA for 4 weeks in August 2004. I fell in love with this place. It sits on a hill overlooking Mt St Leonards. The garden was picture perfect cottage garden. The decking lovely for drinks on a summer's eve. BUT! I was ill, very ill. It took many many years to convince any doctor that I was ill! I had moved here to get away from all the stressors of life. I had lost my energy, my job, my social life, my 3 beautiful young children. They went to live with their father, my ex-husband. It took till 2007 to be heard by a doctor. He believed in me and sent me to a surgeon. Turns out I had undiagnosed Hashimoto's  (an auto immune disease which attacks the thyroid) and nodules on my thyroid. I had thyroid cancer. Life sucked big time. My intent to do this place up within 12 months and sell on for a profit has now long gone by the stuff of dreams. I am still after 18 years struggling with this rotten thyroid disease, and live on a low income. My friend owns the house, not me. I can't afford the mortgage.  He is a good friend, albeit one who drives me nuts most of the time! We have a good friendship and he understands how important it is for me to do this place up as I intended years ago. 
  I wish I had started this when I first moved here. I will try to show you regularly before and after pics of the previous works we have done. In 2007 we discovered termites had been using my place as a McDonald's drive through. Well, when I say we, I mean I fell through the workroom floor that I had hoped would finally be usable for me to start making some money. ( I do beading and craft work amongst other things!)
   Did I mention we live on a 22 degree sloping hill? That the drive access is at the back? The front has no road access? There are no fences? There is no drainage? Oh golly, the list goes on!
  I always wanted to do my renovations as cheaply as possible and have as small a footprint on this planet as possible. I have always been a bit of a greenie. I want to reuse as much as possible. On my low income it becomes even more an issue to not spend. I really do not like the modern houses of 'designer this' and 'designer that' which go out of fashion in a week. I want warmth, both physical and for the soul. A house is a house till it has a personality from the owners then it becomes a home. So I shall endeavour to entertain you with my progress. It will be an interesting journey, that I can guarantee you!