It’s been a labour of love for Jan­ice, who has in­jected warmth and per­son­al­ity into the 10-year reno of her charm­ing cot­tage.

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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!


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.


Se­cret gar­den

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.

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