Tuesday, 9 October 2007

My (very) humble home

I’m almost embarrassed to say where I work. I mean, I LOVE my job, but when I say I work at real living magazine, I kinda feel like a fraud. Why, you ask? Well, because while I write about fabulous homes and decorating ideas and have a hand in their planning, my own place looks, sadly, like this (see below)

The original front door

The main bedroom.

Our kitchen from the living room.

OK, so we don’t really live like this (although there were a few days there…). This is actually the result of ripping out previous-owneritis - approximately 50 years worth of extremely bad planning, bizarre design and fittings obviously bought at The Hideously-Ugly Décor Shoppe. So while it doesn’t look like this all the time, the bedroom is, unfortunately, not too much better. Even after close to four years. Because living in the place you’re renovating while working full-time in what sometimes seems like another state, you don’t get very inspired to do hard labour in the few hours a week you have to yourself.
When my husband Steve suggested we buy our house I thought it was time to have him to committed. I figured he’d gone insane. “Are you seeing what I’m seeing?” I asked him. “Yep - look at all the potential,” he replied excitedly. Ahh potential. I’m all for it - see it in a lot of things. But in this case all I saw was hard work. And I’m not adverse to a little hard work. But this was going to be a LOT of hard work. We’d planned all along to get a house that we could make minor changes to to make our own. We wanted something near the water, with a big yard and near transport - seeing as we were going to be living 80km away from our jobs in the city, we needed it to be close to the train line. And he wanted to live here. With my nose turned up at the granny décor, neglected yard and shabby exterior, I exited stage left, figuring we’d continue our search. But then Steve started describing what we could do: move this door here, add a window there, put a deck on here, add a floor there for water views… and soon enough I too saw its potential and added my own suggestions: oooh we could paint it all white and add a deck and convert the cabin into a guest room and add French doors off the bedroom… Sold!
But like many renovators, our enthusiasm to strip, build, paint and polish started to slow and soon we found ourselves living with bare walls, unsanded floors and a mess that a dumpster manager would be proud of. Then we met a builder and got him to do some construction work and then fell pregnant and it was time to turn the spare junk room (we have a few junk rooms!) into a liveable space for a baby. So the reno began again. And it’s still going… I’ve been documenting what we’ve done and for some odd reason am sharing it with the world! But that’s kind of a good thing. For one thing, for those feeling down that their own renovation isn’t going to plan, it’s proof that creating a home take time, money and effort - and not everyone can dedicate their whole lives to doing it all in one hit. And not everyone can afford an interior designer to help either. So in case you thought the people behind magazines lived in fabulous homes with designer furniture or follow trends to the letter, this may come as a delight or disappointment, but we don’t. Not all anyway. And certainly not me. I AM the real living reader. I’ve a young family, have to balance work and home time, I need inspiration for my home, I have too many ideas and not enough time to put them into practice… Sound familiar? So, we’re in the same boat. Hopefully my own trial and error will somehow help you with your own. And please, feel free to share your stories.

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