This month's calendar page inspired me to write today's post as we have had a few questions about the reasons for our reno, 'was it our dream to renovate a house', 'are we turning this house into our dream home', and so on. I could easily answer these questions in about 3 lines but that would be as boring as bats**t (why do Aussies say that?) so here's the lowdown on our current dreams, past goals and future hopes...
I personally have never had any burning desire to renovate a house, I bought my first property when I was 20 in my hometown of Cambridge, UK. It was a brand spanking new, cute, (yes, I obviously mean small) 2 bedroom home and much like this one, I bought it sight unseen. Everything was already done for me, all I needed to do was move in, paint it and furnish it. It was awesome I had a bright yellow kitchen and purple bathroom....the people who bought it from me were probably cringing as they walked around on that first inspection, but it was my first home and I wanted it my way. So, no although I had never 'dreamed of renovating', those who know me well know I love to create stuff. Not always successfully but I love to give things a go. A home reno is all about creativity, vision and giving new life to an old property...making your mark. So when we began thinking about a home reno it was an amazing and exciting opportunity for me that I couldnt wait to get into.
Col has always been interested in real estate, he also bought a unit a year or so before we met but had only lived in it a short time before being posted. So that left us renting from a friend until we found a house of our own. We did buy ourselves a home, less than a week after I arrived in Austraila. It too is a cute, old Queenslander, far older that this one. It had just had a bit of updating done by its previous owners so didn't need much doing to it. The block it sits on is small, so although it could do with some updating again now, there is not really much room to change or renovate up or out. So after being away and adding 2 little ones to our family we knew that original house wasn't going to be big enough for us to move back into.
During the nomadic years that followed we began to realise how vastly different people's tastes and needs were. When you are forced to move house every 18-24 months and have to spend weeks unpacking boxes, sorting belongings and reorganising furniture to fit into new areas and obscure room layouts it gets a tad boring, but on the upside you also get to be quite the expert at it (all our military friends will be totally relating to this post). From the moment we moved in together we began filling a scrapbook with all the things we liked, from magazines, and houses we had lived in, to showrooms and open houses. More recently we have gone 'techy' and although we still have the original scrapbook, we also have an account with Houzz (see our 'Sunshine Favourites' on the sidebar if you haven't heard of Houzz) where we keep our more recent additions to our idea book. As I said before, we pretty much have the same taste so this was, and still is, an easy task. The more we added to our book, the more we realised that we deserved OUR own house, not someone elses plan or dream.
After the fourth move, we knew we were at the point where we wanted to settle down. So we began looking more seriously for a home...the old 'worst house - best street' scenario. Something we could build on, do up, renovate, change around. Something with room to move and something we could make our own, to have it how WE wanted it. Col would often get up and see to Poppy when she was a baby on Sunday mornings and together they would browse through the real estate pages on the Internet. It was there that he found this house and our journey began. We knew it would need work, the sellers actually gave us all the architects plans that they'd recently had drawn up, before their circumstances changed. (We didn't actually end up using them but it was nice to see what could be done). We had planned to move in at the end of 2010, but our circumstances then changed too, as we were offered a posting to the US for 2 years, so our plans were put on hold.
In the time we were away we kept adding to our idea book and following other people's reno blogs too...some of which are just incredible, (again, check out the sidebar). But it was also during our 2 years in the US (after living way too far from the ocean for the previous 4 years) that we began to realise that although we liked the area, the house and the block had so much potential, we really wanted to be nearer to the beach...so that's our ultimate dream.
In an ideal world, this house will be our 'project' home, our first reno but not necessarily our forever home. We want to live where we can see the sea, or maybe have a view of the island, or at the very least feel the sea breezes wash through the house.... At the moment we are close but not quite there yet, so for now we are 'keeping calm and dreaming on'.