Sunday, 8 February 2009

The Outside Story....

I promised you the insider story on our home reno.... I thought that it would be best to start with the outside and work our way in over the coming days.

 You've probably worked out by now what a fan I am of old weatherboard homes - there's something about an old home that evokes a soulfulness that I don't find in newer spaces - to me, weatherboard houses feel as though they are alive and connected to the earth in a way that I don't feel in a brick home. However, they can be a lot more work in terms of maintenance!! When I envisioned our move to the country, there was no question that I wanted to live in a weatherboard house - however finding one, let alone one that was in reasonable shape was not an easy task. Can you imagine my delight when we came across this old girl. Beautiful and majestic, I fell in love with her in an instant - but she had been neglected and was sorely in need of a little TLC...


What was lovely about the house is that it had great bones - however it had been tampered with over years with most original features removed and replaced with a 1980s internal renovation (that included a brown and orange kitchen), a building in of the outdoor verandahs and inclusion of aluminium doors - none of which did bode well for the house aesthetically. When faced with a house in this kind of compromised state - I find that you have two choices. The first is that you go all out, gut the place, spend up big and get yourself a whizz bang new house. Or you work with what you have - tinkering away to improve the spaces but essentially giving the house a face lift rather than a whole new face!!! Neither Michael or I felt comfortable with the first option at this stage of our lives. Always mindful of funds and careful not to extend too far beyond our means we decided to go for cosmetic work instead - working within a strict budget to keep costs down. With two middle sized kids in tow - and a desire to avoid the stress that comes with a big reno and finishes that we all felt too scared to touch -   we worked with what we had, trying to bridge the gap between what had been done and what we needed to do to create a space that felt like ours - with flow and good energy! 

The first thing on our list was re-levelling the house to make sure that it was in balance, after all, a balanced house is a happy house. Once achieved, we moved onto patching up the existing boards which were mostly in great shape. Those that were rotten were sanded, primed and filled to their former glory or replaced where needed. Our biggest dilemma was what to do about the aluminum doors and windows that surrounded the house on every facing. Replacing them seemed like the most obvious option - however would costs tens of thousands of dollars. We decided to keep them for the minute (we could always change them later and they weren't too offensive) and see how we went living with them before investing in that added expense. 

It was painting however, that really made the difference to the exterior. Naturally, white was my colour of choice - to go back with the grey corrugated rooftop - and I went for Dulux Antique White USA - bright enough to give the house some zing but not too bright to overwhelm. The white and grey colour scheme matched the colour of the sky above the house and seemed like the most sympathetic palette given the environment that surrounded us. The fascia boards were treated to a soft blue/grey tone to blend with the existing roof. A new deck off the back would give us some much needed entertaining space. Some outdoor lighting would give us the ability to see our view at night - and the lovely outdoor furniture (table from Porch, chairs from Tolix) and some potplants made the space usable. And with that,  the outside story is complete... Very simple!

7 comments:

Lee said...

How wonderful to give such a grand old lady a beautiful, much deserved facelift. She obviously had good bones to build on! Your home looks quite beautiful.

Devon said...

I love a good house renovation story and yours is inspired. I'm hooked. Can't wait for more posts.

Barb Fisher said...

It warmed my heart to read this story Shannon. It seems the majority are intent on ripping beautiful (and even not-so-beautiful) old places down and building a McMansion. It's so wonderful that you respect the history and beauty of a place and work with that. I love seeing a place that has evolved over time. So much character! And as we can see from your pictures, so much love.

The Shabby Cottage said...

Hi Shannon, we too have purchased an old weather board queenslander and I have really enjoyed reading your story about the house having great bones. I agree old homes just do it for me too and I am looking forward to one day renovating my old girl. In the meantime we have it rented but I know she will get my touch one day. Sandy x

Primrose said...

Aah, that great old lady must have been shaking with joy when you bought her, Shannon. I love this post! Weatherboard old ladies don't do it for me as much as brick old ladies. But really any old lady is super. I agree with Barb that the McMansions should be outlawed. I've seen too many beautiful old ladies knocked down in Sydney and grotesque McMansions built in their place.

lily-g said...

A timber home is my choice too but your right not that easy to find. Renovating a home is so much more rewarding and look at what you have achieved, a beautiful home filled with character and great style.

Sabine said...

Wow, your 'old girl' was in bad shape. She's looking good now though!