It’s been a labour of love for Janice, who has injected warmth and personality into the 10-year reno of her charming cottage.
Janice and Mark’s 10-year reno of their charming cottage continues, with plans for more work!
“SINCE WE BOUGHT our 90-year-old weatherboard cottage 12 years ago, my partner Mark and I have taken our time to get a feel for the home. We have renovated gradually, slowly filling it with things we love.
Initially, we loved the fact that the property was old and had heaps of potential. A couple of years after we moved in we got to work and have since put in a new kitchen and laundry, built a studio/cabin for our son Angus, and have done extensive landscaping, including the installation of a pool – and we still have plans for lots more!
WINING & DINING
When it comes to decorating, my style is definitely very eclectic. I like to take inspiration from travelling, magazines, Pinterest – and, of course, my imagination! The decor is a collection of things I’ve gathered over time. I love collecting vintage glasses to drink Champagne or beautiful wines out of. We don’t keep them for best, so I’m always on the lookout for new ones as we get through a lot.
My favourite space in the home would have to be the kitchen. It’s a wonderful place to cook while looking out over the river. We have a large Provincial table where our friends and family often gather. We also have a beautiful grapevine that grows around the windows on the exterior, which is a lovely warm colour in winter and provides shade in summer.
“In winter, we love to light the old cast-iron fire in the living room, play music and read.”
“My favourite buy in the living room is a vintage globe bought from a market.”
We’ve also done a lot to the outside of our home, too. We have a north-facing, covered verandah that we use all year round, and on the west side of the house is our pool and deck. This space was never used, nothing grew here and it was always too hot in summer, so I asked a landscape gardener to come over and give me some ideas. He suggested installing the French doors off the bedroom opening onto a deck. It was just the inspiration I needed and, although it cost $80 just for him to come down to suggest this, I think it was well worth it. From the small deck off the bedroom grew what is now a large entertaining deck and pool.
Mark built the deck around an old frangipani tree and you can sit in the pool while being shaded by the tree. We wanted the decks to look like a wharf with big, heavy, rough-sawn weathered timbers. For the pool, we dug out the rock and soil then project-managed the relevant trades and tiled it ourselves after watching a YouTube video to see how to do it.
We also love entertaining, so Mark built a pizza oven from leftover bricks that we bought off eBay. It has been the centre of many great afternoons. We line up all the pizza toppings on our long kitchen bench and let people make their own.
Although it’s taken 10 years to renovate so far, we’d still love to enlarge the main bathroom. We’re also planning on utilising the large roof area and turning it into another bedroom with an ensuite and balcony to make the most of the river views, which is one of the things we love most about our home.
Brooklyn is a wonderful place to bring up kids. It’s full of tourists on weekends, but because of the position of our house, we’re completely hidden away, so it doesn’t affect us.”
Handy man Janice’s partner Mark made the table and benches for the verandah and the lightshades were picked up in Vietnam.
A white potato vine climbs the beautiful Indian Jali gates that Janice found at an antiques barn in Wollombi.
On the menu
Janice often invites friends and family over for pizza, baked in the outdoor pizza oven.