Project Laurence


I can safely say that with one day down I totally understand how renovations end in divorce. In fact, I already want a divorce. From who, I don’t know. I’m not actually married so, I guess that’s a little awkward.


Going back a step, in early 2012 it was time for a new house and the options were fairly simple – a newer build another 15 minutes out of the city or a renovation closer to where we already lived. As the house doesn’t belong to me it wasn’t my decision. However, seeing what was on offer, I made the rather foolish promise that I would see a renovation through, as it wasn’t something my mother particularly wanted to tackle on her own. Well now, we live we learn, right? Best of all, I get the pleasure of living in the house while this is done. Oh and did I mention the menagerie? No? Two rather interesting but much loved cats and one incredibly spoilt not-so-miniature-schnauzer. Sound like the beginning of a horror movie yet?


The three amigos!


Anyway, off we go, looking at houses…




That’s a bit shit…


No potential…


Not sure about that location…


What the hell is that smell?!?


Doesn’t feel right…


Who lived here before? A blind monk?!


I didn’t even know a house came with those…


Then BOOM! Stepped in the front door and both knew it was THE house. With my promise to help and the great location, a fixer upper won in the end and after all the usual ladida, the deal was done!


 Even the sold sign was exciting!


This fabulous find is a small post-war place with a super welcoming vibe and built by the owners, right down to making their own bricks! We definitely don’t do it like that anymore! Sadly the gentleman owner had passed away, leading his wife to sell, before she too passed away mid-sale. The stories these walls could tell –a much loved family home for the best part of 66 years, well over twice my age! Beyond that, walls so solid they’ll break any drill bit you care to try, luxuriously high ceilings, a good sized corner block and some amazing neighbours!


So the place has solid bones but some less than stellar extensions (a granny flat of sorts and the usual lean to out the back) and to say it was dated really doesn’t do it justice! Not one part of the much needed renovation had been done, not even that glamorous avocado bath tub or the simply gorgeous wallpaper! Perfect, I said, that is just how I like it – starting from scratch and we can give this all the decadent touches it can handle!


 The granny flat, aka a dressed up tin shed – as advertised at sale vs before demolition



And now after demolition! (We’ll talk about that brick room another day)



I did, in fact, take a bath in this – wasn’t so bad with the lights out!


Fast-forward to today and, after an exhausting amount of planning and selections and, oh yeah, cramming what once filled a 6 bedroom house into a space that now barely passes for 2, D-Day has arrived! Here I am, having convinced someone who really didn’t want to tackle a big renovation to take on this behemoth of a job, having heavily guided a lot of the decisions and selections because I have a bit of a knack for these things and know my mother’s taste well and spending more (of someone else’s) money than can be adequately conceptualized by a girl who’s largest purchase to date is her little second-hand Yaris!

Remorse. So much. Soooooo much. Not even tequila can save me now. I don’t care that I need to find a new contract in 6 months and could be unemployed, I’m going to build a house. Right now. How much would it cost to get that done in 24 hours, robbing a bank is absolutely an option, so name your price! Probably shouldn’t have put that on the internet and ruined my own plan. Crap. Fine. Tequila.


If I’m honest, it may be that the day would’ve been exciting and only vaguely inconvenient (toilet coffee, anyone?), were it not for the 2 cats and a dog in the remaining half of the house. Demolition is a loud, violent, fairly horrific process. Someone rips out a chunk of fence with an excavator then rides on in and takes giant bites out of the house. Like, excuse me? What horror movie am I in here? And can I please get out? I found it surreal and somewhat disturbing to see such a big part of the house just torn to pieces like that. So I guess that part was a little bit unsettling but, otherwise, not so bad.



Toilet Coffee; Coffee purchased in order to use the toilets due to no water at home. Somewhat self defeating, when you think about it…


“Excuse me, miss, I’m just a bit peckish so I’m going to devour your house with you in it, if that’s ok?”

 “Dude, where’s my house?”






Not so bad except demons possessed the cats. I am talking exorcist level crazy. I am literally talking foaming at the mouth. It was horrific. The dog bears the wounds from one demonic kitty and I bear the wounds from unhinged kitty number two. I look like I’ve been in a fight with wolverine and I lost – ahhh, so that’s what movie we’re in! Well I do have a soft spot for Hugh Jackman! So here I sit – exhausted from stress and minimal sleep, beat up, itchy from stressed cat shedding all his fur on me and a mushroom cloud of dust, sore from epic cat scratches and feeling like a pretty horrible person because I didn’t think ahead and see the vet for advice before this all started and scarred the poor cats (and possibly my shoulder) for life.


Charlie & Smirn – BFFs, in better times.


Mercifully, tomorrow will be a day of rest but Wednesday it’s time to shake the earth once more and rip up some foundations. Could be a good day for me to go back to work…


So if you’ve ever wondered what it takes to get a major structural renovation done, hang around and we’ll find out together!


It’s going to be a long, hard year but I know the ending will be truly spectacular and definitely a little decadent! And for anyone who has managed to hang in there and get through this post with me (even if you just looked at the pictures), I think next time I post we might talk about one of my favourite things – Vietnamese iced coffee!






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