CON­TEM­PO­RARY COT­TAGE

Ex­pe­ri­enced ren­o­va­tors Giac­inta and Mitchell fell in love with this run­down Fed­er­a­tion home at first glance.

Homes+ (Australia) - - CONTENTS -

A Fed­er­a­tion home need­ing at­ten­tion was the per­fect project for sea­soned ren­o­va­tors, Giac­inta and Mitchell.

About me Hi, I’m Giac­inta, a na­tional in­jury man­age­ment ad­vi­sor, and I live in a Bris­bane sub­urb with my hus­band Mitchell, a build­ing ser­vices con­tract man­ager, and our dogs

Rosie, a Rot­tweiler, and Harry, a Cocker Spaniel. Best tip Hav­ing ren­o­vated three prop­er­ties to­gether, we think liv­ing in while work­ing on a house saves time and gets bet­ter re­sults.

“MITCHELL AND I WERE LOOK­ING

for a house to ren­o­vate when we came across this lit­tle gem. We’d al­ways dreamed of liv­ing in a home that had char­ac­ter and were re­ally at­tracted to the Fed­er­a­tion style of this house, es­pe­cially the high ceil­ings, tongue­and-groove panel walls, the beau­ti­ful arch­way at the en­trance and the gor­geous orig­i­nal floor­boards. On the floor plan it ap­peared quite small with only three bed­rooms, but the high ceil­ings and built-in wardrobes made it feel a lot big­ger. And the lo­ca­tion was fan­tas­tic, within walk­ing dis­tance to shops and cafes, in­clud­ing Mitch’s favourite ice-cream shop! This house sim­ply ticked all my boxes!

LIVE-IN RENO

Pre­vi­ously Mitch and I had ren­o­vated two other houses cos­met­i­cally, but this one was by far our big­gest chal­lenge. The house was al­most in its orig­i­nal state when we bought it, apart from a kitchen ren­o­va­tion about 20 years ago. How­ever we de­cided to move in straight­away, as we’ve found that al­though you have a sense of what a house needs when you first see it, you re­ally get a vi­sion of what needs to be done when you live there for a pe­riod of time. We knew it could be stress­ful, with plenty of late nights and weekends as we both had full­time jobs, but we had worked re­ally well to­gether pre­vi­ously. I think I have the vi­sion, but we ex­e­cute it to­gether. I’m lucky I have a hus­band who likes to be in­volved.

HOUSE WORK

Our over­all plan was to re­pair any struc­tural dam­age, lighten up the in­te­ri­ors with paint and ad­di­tional light­ing and up­date the kitchen, bath­room and win­dow fur­nish­ings – all within a six month time­line! This meant I had to be very or­gan­ised. There were many nights where I sat on the couch with my lap­top putting a de­tailed plan to­gether for what we needed to do that week or that month.

Paint­ing the tongue-and-groove ceil­ings and walls was a huge job which in­volved plenty of prepa­ra­tion. They were orig­i­nal – as in stained tim­ber, which made the in­te­ri­ors so dark we al­most needed torches dur­ing the day. Luck­ily, we got ad­vice from my dad, who’s a painter, and ended up sand­ing the pan­els, fill­ing gaps, prim­ing twice and paint­ing twice. Lots of ef­fort, but what a trans­for­ma­tion!

Mean­while I ne­go­ti­ated with and sched­uled in con­trac­tors for the struc­tural work. The orig­i­nal roof was rusted and leak­ing, so that had to be re­placed. We also had to re­place some beams on the front ve­ran­dah due to ter­mite dam­age, re­pair the front and rear deck due to weather dam­age, con­struct a roof over the rear deck and put in a front fence – which Mitch built.

OLD AND NEW

Where pos­si­ble, we tried to keep the orig­i­nal feel of the house, but one area we had to mix old with new was the

bath­room. The gor­geous van­ity, one of my favourite pieces as it’s nearly

100 years old, had a wa­ter-dam­aged top so we re­placed it with a piece of Cae­sar­stone. Now it should last an­other 100 years! We would have loved to keep the orig­i­nal four-footed claw bath but re­spray­ing was go­ing to cost more than buy­ing a new bath. So we sold it to a buyer who planned to ren­o­vate and use it. In the kitchen, we de­cided not to paint the ceil­ing, as the stained tim­ber gave the space depth and re­minded us of the home’s char­ac­ter. New slim­line white cab­i­nets, built by a lo­cal cab­i­net­maker, along with a mar­ble-look Laminex bench­top and white tiles, have cre­ated just the kitchen we wanted: white, light and clas­sic, with lots of space and stor­age.

OUT­DOOR LIV­ING

I don’t re­ally fol­low trends or styles,

I’m all about con­nect­ing with the fur­nish­ings, the tex­ture, the colour and lots of plants. I like to have green­ery in­side to help pu­rify the air and bring the out­side in. In fact my favourite place now is the front ve­ran­dah – af­ter we ti­died the gar­den! It has a great view of the street and is per­fect for early morn­ings or late af­ter­noons. It’s where our dogs love to peo­ple-watch, and where Mitch and I can en­joy a glass of wine. Dur­ing the week our street can be quite busy, as we are near a school, but on weekends it’s qui­eter.

QUAL­ITY TIME

We tried to do much of the hard work our­selves, as that’s what we both love do­ing. It’s ac­tu­ally the things out­side an ac­tual ren­o­va­tion that are the hard­est to main­tain – sleep­ing enough, eat­ing well, fit­ting in ex­er­cise. Cook­ing meals up in batches and freez­ing them to make sure we stayed healthy was a real help. Ren­o­vat­ing as a cou­ple can also take a toll on you per­son­ally, but we’ve found that it’s a mat­ter of stay­ing con­nected. And we en­joyed this project so much that it in­spired us to start Etch Prop­er­ties, which show­cases places we’ve ren­o­vated and/or dec­o­rated.”

Al­fresco liv­ing

A shade sail over the rear deck was re­placed with a new roof, cre­at­ing a spa­cious out­door room.

Paint­ing over dark tim­ber walls in white is an instant bright­ener.

Find a sim­i­lar antler lamp on Etsy.

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