Moving In

After nearly a year and a half of renovation and building, and a few weeks of frantic activity, we have finally settled into the new house. We are discovering all those things that were either buried in the move or have been packed away in boxes for the duration – it’s a wonderful discovery of how much you don’t need after all with the Op shops around us being blessed with a number of items that we obviously couldn’t part with 18 months ago but have now discovered otherwise.

The old Queenslander and the new Queenslander side by side.

The week before the move was filled with activity. At one stage we had plumbers, tilers and painters all working around each other; it’s amazing what a deadline can do to get things moving.

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So just how much does it cost to renovate a Queenslander?

How much does it cost to renovate a Queenslander? A lot more than I thought.

Then

Six months ago we had a two bedroom, one bathroom, one living room house. Admittedly there was also a sleep-out and an office that had been created by filling in the verandah, while these gave us extra rooms they effectively closed off the house from any breezes (not good in a Queensland summer) and made the living area very dark. The kitchen was at the rear of the house and there was a lovely rear deck however, there was no flow between the living room and the deck. Our average sized dining table dwarfed the small dining area and blocked access to the bathroom.

The original Queenslander home, all the beautiful features hidden, just waiting to be revealed.

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Deciding on Door Furniture.

I decided to talk about door handles this week, partly because it is an important aspect to consider when building or renovating, and partly because I’m a little disappointed to return home (very briefly) and find the vinyl still hasn’t been laid in the house and therefore we can’t move in. Mind you with only a day at home that is probably a blessing in disguise.

It's important to choose the right door handles for your houseOn the up-side we now have running water and operational toilets, very important. The painter has also completed the internal and external paint job including varnishing the internal staircase – it looks great.

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Rain, rain go away…

The final touches were being added to the renovation this week; slowed down only by the seemingly incessant rain we experienced over the past seven days.

The exterior paintwork is almost finished, hopefully the rain will hold off this week and allow the job to be completed.

The exterior paintwork is almost finished, hopefully the rain will hold off this week and allow the job to be completed.

The plumber should have been back to run the last of the pipework and finish off the installation of internal plumbing. Unfortunately we have had day after day of rain up here in Brisbane, sometimes heavy, sometimes just a light misting rain, but enough to keep the ground wet. Although the land drains well there has been so much rain the ground became sodden; so much so that the painter’s ladders were sinking into the mud. Hopefully the rain will start to ease off and the plumbers will be able to complete their work early next week. Read more

The problem with painting an old home

The addition of window hoods to the house - although awaiting iron sheeting - adds a decorative as well as practical element to the front of the house.

The addition of window hoods to the house – although awaiting iron sheeting – adds a decorative as well as practical element to the front of the house.

This week the exterior of the house gained a bit more Queenslander decoration; the addition of two timber awnings over the front windows. They still need to be kitted out with some iron, but you can start to see how they will look and also how they will shade the windows. The house had a metal window hood on the now upper window when we bought it, however this didn’t seem to suit the house. These new ones are more in keeping with the original style of the home and complement the single skin look I mentioned in last week’s post. Oh, and we didn’t take the old hood to the tip, we put it out on the front nature strip and when I looked out about an hour later it was gone, freecycling at it’s best. Read more

Balancing costs in a renovation

New front door has now been glazed and a lock added. The decorative single skin effect of the Queenslander house has been added.

New front door has now been glazed and a lock added. The decorative single skin effect of the Queenslander house has been added.

Kitchen cabinets, vanities, built-in drawers, a front door with glass in it and a lock, even new balustrading and front and rear stairs. It’s been all action this week!

When considering renovating the house, we decided that where possible, we would maintain as much of the Queenslander feel as we were able. This is why we opted for matching weatherboards (rather than a rendered blue board on the lower floor that I see on many renovations), double hung windows in the front with awnings (currently being constructed) and bringing back the single skin effect in the entrance and upstairs balcony areas. This is all coming together nicely. Yes, it has been a little more expensive, but we have balanced this out in savings in other areas – recycling the kitchen, sliding windows on the sides of the house and timber look vinyl rather than polished timber boards. Read more

The fiddly things

The renovation of the bathroom upstairs continues with the installation of the shower head and taps and the free standing bath.

The renovation of the bathroom upstairs continues with the installation of the shower head and taps and the free standing bath.

We seem to have arrived at that messy stage where little bits and pieces are being done by different tradies and at different times. They arrive at the house, do a few hours of work and go again, returning a few days later to do something else. I’m sure if I was one of those well-organised renovators who had a gantt chart, I wouldn’t have quite so much of this. I guess it also would also have been easier if I hadn’t gone away for six weeks while the renovation was going on! The delay in ordering some items has had an impact. We are still waiting on the the front door to arrive as well as the kitchen and vanities to be installed. This is holding up the tiler and plumber and is also causing the painter problems as he can’t start working upstairs until the old kitchen is relocated down to the ground floor kitchen space. Read more

Professional versus DIY

A simple painting job to tidy up one of our rentals.

A simple painting job to tidy up one of our rentals.

There is always a toss-up about whether to do something yourself, and potentially save some money, against getting a professional in to do the job.

We have completed a fair bit of cosmetic renovation work over the years. I am a mean hand with the paint sprayer, painting the inside of a house in a couple of hours and husband extraordinaire has learnt many tricks over the years in hanging doors and finishing those fiddly corners of the skirting boards so they sit neatly. In the past we have always done the majority of the work ourselves. It has been enjoyable and saved us money at a time when we weren’t earning a lot and had more spare time. Lately however, we have found there are other things we would prefer to do rather than spend our weekends painting and tiling.

This latest project is vastly different to others we have tackled, those past projects were cosmetic renovations, where we focused on improving the look of a place by painting, replacing floor coverings and tidying the gardens. Over time, we have took on more complex renovations, employing tradesmen to install new kitchens, revamp bathrooms or polish the floors in some of our rental houses. The more we have used outside tradesmen, the less profit there is in the deal, or at least that is what it looks like. Read more

Framing stage completed

Ok sorry, I have been off enjoying myself whilst leaving the builder to get on with the renovation and others to take photos for me and I got a little sidetracked.

Snow show walking in far north Norway beats renovating in 40 degree heat any day.

Snow show walking in far north Norway beats renovating in 40 degree heat any day.

Now, I enjoy a good reno but when it’s a toss up between walking the canals of England or house-painting, the canals will win out any day. Add in a side trip to Norway to view the Northern Lights while the temperature in Brisbane is soaring to 40 degrees and it’s a no brainer.

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