4 decades of houses

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.

1974-1980

My first House By The Water.

1980

The A-frame rental.

Memories of itchy chicken-pox as I lay under the pitched roof.

Memories of itchy chicken-pox as I lay under the pitched roof.

1980 – 1984

The humble Australian weatherboard house.

Weatherboard house interior.

Wood lined walls may be perennially popular, but what about lace curtains?  Who cares?  The inhabitants were happy.

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.

1985-1993

Farmhouse.

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.

Our wedding - with my husband's parents.

Our wedding (in the year 2000) – with my husband’s parents.

1992

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.

1994-1997

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!

1998

Bendigo character house.

Some lovely heritage details in the historic city of Bendigo.

Some lovely heritage details in the historic city of Bendigo.  My room had wooden floors, a fireplace and stained glass windows.

1999-2002

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.

2003-2006

Renovators’ delight.

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.

2006-2009

Canadian townhouse.

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.

2010-2011

The Queenslander.

The source of much inspiration.  Plantation shutters, wood floors, white kitchen.  Our first pool.

2011-present

City high-rise monstrosities with views.  China, South-Korea, Brazil.

2015….

House By The Water…..never move again.

 

Old place sold! Yee-ha!

At 2.15pm today our old place became someone else’s.  I’ve been sitting on the news of the sale for quite sometime for fear of “jinxing” the whole situation.  We’ve been very lucky to have gone from on-the-market to settlement in less than 3 months.

While we are definitely celebrating, it is the first home we owned and finding a few old photos of our renovations left me just a tiny bit sentimental.

Landscaping the front garden assisted by my Dad.  Payment in meals and baby cuddles.

Landscaping the front garden assisted by my Dad.

Putting in bifold doors, slightly handicapped by the "helper".

Putting in bifold doors, slightly handicapped by the “helper”.

Laying a limestone path. Labour payments made in beer and BBQ. I hope you boys are available for the next one??

Reaping the rewards of a kid friendly back yard.  That's what I love about Australia!

Reaping the rewards of a creating a kid friendly back yard. That’s what I love about Australia!

2.99 children (A.K.A. 3 little pigs) helping Papa make pizza on the granite bench top.

2.99 children (A.K.A. 3 little pigs) helping Papa make pizza on the granite bench top.

I’m so glad that we are going to build now.  A new construction is very exciting, but there are a few things from the old place that we loved enough to repeat:

  • wooden floors
  • bifold doors
  • stone bench tops
  • a lemon tree
  • a big grassy patch for kids

Our best wishes to the new owners.

The backup plan

The cost of building a house has been a bit of a shock to us.  Although our old place is on the market to help pay for a new house, I thought I’d better come up with a few alternatives in case the old place doesn’t sell quickly.  Here’s a few stylish, but lower cost, options:

The Opera.  Not your average camper trailer.

The Opera. Not your average camper trailer.

Suzanne Husky -

Sleeper cell by Suzanne Husky

The sleep box by

The sleep box by Arch Group.

Photo from Pinterest - unknown original source.

Photo from Pinterest – unknown original source.

Of course, Igor’s preferred temporary home is a little more predictable:

An old sailboat attached to the jetty.

An old sailboat attached to the jetty.

For sale!

A sign is up at our old place and the first “home open” is tomorrow.

Moving on to bigger and better.

Moving on to bigger and better.

It is our first home and we spent 3 years renovating with the help of family and friends, but after 7 years of being irritated by tenants and leasing agents, there’s not much sentimentality going on here.

Bring on the sale, I say, so we can get on with the next bit.

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