I’m indulging in a moment of sentimentality because, well, it’s a conspicuous month. A certain birthday. I’ve been reminiscing about the 21 houses I’ve lived in, being amused at the decorating fashions that have been recycled over the years and hypothesising about the influences of my history on my current choices for House By The Water.
My first House By The Water.
The A-frame rental.
1980 – 1984
The humble Australian weatherboard house.
On the eve of my 7th (?) birthday, once I’d gone to sleep, my parents moved me into my very own bedroom. I pretended to remain asleep, but really I was peeking at the newly pine-lined room (thank you Dad), complete with custom made soft furnishings (thank you Mum). Their renovations had been top-secret until that moment.
Was it 2 hours before or 2 hours after settlement of this house that Dad started wielding the sledge hammer? This old farmhouse needed some work. My room was pink and black (ergh!) with a barre and gigantic mirror for ballet practice, but my favourite spot was on a wooden platform up a tree where I would write my journal. Slowly Mum and Dad beautified this country house and large garden.
The garden, with its mountain view, was the perfect place to return to for our good ol’ fashioned country wedding several years later.
Double story English brick houses.
On student exchange to England, I had the privilege of calling 4 different English houses my home. All were double story and each had a great sense of cosiness. For the first (and only) time, I experienced the luxury of a bedroom basin. I thought it was decadence to have my own basin for teeth cleaning. The grand home above was extra special with a beautiful outlook over a massive garden and a hidden veggie patch keeping my hosts in stock with fruit for evening crumbles. Yum.
Melbourne – student digs of various descriptions.
So long as a tram rolled passed the door, there were no holes in the floor and the price was right, then we were happy tenants. Even so, I managed to secure a cute old semi-detached house (not pictured) to share with friends – you know, the kind of house that is one room wide. It was in Melbourne that the Nice Wolf and I had our first home together. We rented an apartment in Carlton with a great city view. Yes, it was best appreciated with the lights off! But, ooh, what I could do, if only I could get my hands on that apartment now!
Bendigo character house.
The Indian Ocean. Mandurah brick and tile.
Two full-time incomes for the first time and freed from Melbourne rental prices, we decided there was only one place to be. By the beach. These houses are typical of Mandurah, but with amazing views. We swam in the ocean most afternoons after work, and watched a pod of dolphins take their daily trip North. When we moved from the first house to a second house in the same block, we loaded our white goods onto a trolley and wheeled them down the street. The second house was built by a builder to be his holiday/retirement home. We rented just one level. The workmanship was fantastic. Without a doubt the best feature was the upstairs, outdoor spa, just right for serving cocktails as the sun set.
This house was our first purchase. A 1970’s brick and tile do-er-upper. We spent 3 years renovating on weekends – rendering the outside, restoring the roof, installing recycled wood floors, completely gutting the kitchen and 2 bathrooms. The Nice Wolf is pretty handy and put in a new kitchen. We did most of the work ourselves and a lot of it the hard way. It was a good project to “cut our teeth on”. My favourite place was the back yard.
This was a beautiful townhouse in a beautiful area, walking distance from Lake Ontario. Wood floors, high ceilings and a wood-look, gas fire place for wintery nights.
The source of much inspiration. Plantation shutters, wood floors, white kitchen. Our first pool.
City high-rise monstrosities with views. China, South-Korea, Brazil.
House By The Water…..never move again.