The house is ours so we own bricks and potential.
In part 2 we move in with builders and the transformation begins.
From a small three bedroomed townhouse to a medium sized three bedroomed house, we sure have a lot of stuff. More than 100 boxes of stuff to be exact – so when two youngish, smallish pommy backpackers turned up to move us we were worried! But six hours, three truck loads later and lots of Red Bull had by all, we were at our new place and our pommy lads did my home country proud.
I collect the kids later that day from their respective school and childcare centre and take them to their new home. A surreal experience and one that seemed to have no real significance to them… until the cries of ‘Where’s my ….?’ begins (and never really stops).
My husband Mark was sat at our kitchen table in our new dining room (ahh, the space!) when I arrive home, with our new neighbour who was also our newly signed up builder. We had extended our mortgage to cover the substantial building cost. It was a cost we are comfortable with, knowing the outlay would modernise our home and increase its value substantially. The list was simple, but required extensive works: the fascia boards were to be removed and replaced, the balcony removed and replaced, in addition to more minor internal structural changes.
We moved in on the Wednesday, the builders moved in the next day, and at the same time Mark headed to South Africa for a work contract. The kids and I found ourselves living in our new house with unknown sounds going bump in the night!
Whenever you move there is a transition period as you retrieve your belongings from each and every well packed box. And with each item, elements of normality returns. But moving into a house where every floor and surface needed renovating in some way, it delayed the settling in period substantially.
A huge clean-up began for every surface. Our beds were set up and some cupboards placed in the bedrooms, but even this was temporary, knowing everything we unpacked would have to be packed again as the walls were painted and the carpet or new floor laid. Far from being a transient home for clothes, my suitcase settled into life on my bedroom floor and there it remained for some weeks.
The kitchen, in many ways, was beyond a clean-up. We had already decided on a new kitchen, particularly as every appliance looked like it originated from when the house was built in the 1960s, giving us no confidence in its ability to be switched on and not self-combust. Needless to say I didn’t turn anything on, and the camping stove came out, together with a camp oven kindly borrowed from our new neighbour.
Scaffolding goes up
Our builder Wayne devised a plan for the building to begin and the fascia board to be replaced. But first, the termites!
The pest inspection had stated there was evidence of termites and it was a huge concern. It was a brick house but with lots of wood as part of the structure. If we had termites, our costings would be out the window and perhaps food too for the next few months! We were elated when Wayne’s first reassuring suspicions were correct – we didn’t have termites.
Over the next few weeks we became used to living with builders. The scaffolding went up and looked as though the house was being held up with a massive splint. We became used to ducking under the poles to get to the front door and making sure the kids were wearing shoes, given screws, wood and many other builder’s detritus splayed permanently outside the house. I also made sure we were all up and dressed before the builders arrived at 7.15 every morning!
Our new reality
As the builders began stripping the fascia board from the house, five year old Will and I began scraping off the old window film that had aged and was peeling. As we stripped the windows clean, we felt the full force of the sun on a hot day, and realised the film was something that needed to be replaced.
The Fascia board was replaced and painted gun barrel grey which instantly seemed to modernise our home. In the process the builders found a clamp left on the roof which looked as though it had been placed there a decade or two before for no other reason than to keep the possums out, and then forgotten about!
With limited crockery (where did I put the plates?), limited cupboard space and a recently plumbed in washing machine (thanks Wayne) we had semi normality. We were settling in and helped in every way by wonderful new neighbours who if they weren’t rebuilding our house, were lending us camping equipment or unlocking Will out of the bathroom. Without them it would have been 100 per cent harder.
Read Part 1: Buying potential
Read Part 3: All for a balcony and a view