Old House. New House.

May 16, 2011

Our House

I was going to write a long and rambling post about how excited I am about our renovations, but then I realised… most of you have no idea what our house is like now, so you aren’t really going to understand why I am so gosh dang excited about the changes. So, indulge me if you will, as I take you on a little tour of the Pickle House – as it is now.

Our house is beautiful. It’s an old Californian Bungalow that was cut in half and moved out here a few years before we bought the property. It is a little like the house I grew up in, it even has the same stained glass windows at the front. I adore our house, but it is small. It is around about 11 squares if you include the veranda, so it’s not teeny tiny, but when you have six people all trying to share one bathroom and two bedrooms, well it’s a bit squeezey.

house plans

There are few things about this house, that make life a little tricky at times. Lack of bedrooms is probably the biggest. We have two bed rooms and a ‘study’ (ie tacked on freezing cold room out of the back). This is our big boy’s bedroom… I mean, corner. Yep, he sleeps in a toddler bed that he is almost too big for in the corner of our room, because we have no where else to put him.

toddler bed

We have a lovely lounge and dining area (though we could use a little more space there too) and a ‘functional’ kitchen. That’s what the real estate agent said when we first looked at the house almost 7 years ago. The kitchen was a lot better than what we started with in our old house, but it could use more than the 6 cupboards it has (yes in total) and all the usual things like more bench space. But over the years the biggest problem with the kitchen is that it is a separate room, away from the living area, so while I am cooking I have no idea what the kids are doing. This spells trouble for us!

bathroom renovation

We have an very old bathroom. Again, it is ‘functional’ but the shower tiles leak (so we currently have a large sheet of plastic taped around the shower end of the bath) and we have and old sink that has a separate tap for hot and cold which is not very user friendly. It’s also in the middle of the house with no outside window (due to the late but still more than 50 year old tack on out the back). And why is that when one child needs to wee then suddenly the other two do as well?? A second bathroom has been a dream for a long long time.


One of my big bug bears with this house is the lack of laundry. The current ‘laundry’ consists of a washing machine, sink and some over head cupboards squeezed into the tiny hall way that leads to the back door…. and yes that is our back door that the sink is in front of. It is a constant pain in the bum, but at least we are saving some electricity since we have no where to put the dryer and haven’t used it since we moved in.

When we bought this property we did so with plans to have another baby (or two) and knowing full well that we would grow out of this house pretty quickly. We’ve been dreaming of and planning for these renovations for almost seven years. Of course we were supposed to begin them a long long time ago, but life doesn’t always go to plan and we’ve had to be patient (and sometimes not so patient). But now… now I have floor structure going in as I type!

house plans

When the renovations are done our house will go from 11 squares to 20 squares (not including our huge back veranda). We will have four bedrooms (though we will probably keep one as a sitting room/spare room), two bathrooms, a real proper laundry room, a new kitchen (with a walk in pantry) that over looks a family living space and a study. The house won’t be enormous by some standards but it will be big enough, and after years of planning we are confident it will work for our family, which is the most exciting part!

So now when I say how excited I am that the renos have started and how desperate I am for them to be done… now you know why.

Have you renovated? Tell me it will be worth the hassles and waiting in the end… please!

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pixie May 16, 2011 at 4:17 pm

how exciting!!!!

Rebecca May 16, 2011 at 4:17 pm

Your current bathroom is *just* like the bathroom in our house. The faux-tile board on the walls… tee hee.

I like your plans for your extension… I love how you’re keeping it pretty modest while making it big enough for your family. I hope it all goes smoothly for you!

Shae May 16, 2011 at 4:27 pm

Oh. My. God.

Those plans look amazing!!

umatji May 16, 2011 at 4:51 pm

oh it looks amazing – you won’t know yourselves! we have done bits and pieces but generally have been quite lucky – my current gripe is that the kids outside play is not anywhere near the kitchen so I rely heavily on listening whihc is no good at all in cold weather with all the doors shut. arg. oh well – that is life really isn’t it – all good and luckily i do beilieve in unobserved play!

katef May 17, 2011 at 5:55 pm

Yeah I know that gripe well. A lot of people think I am nuts putting the study off the family room and over looking the back yard… but I really want to be able to work and see/supervise the kids a little at the same time.

Sif May 16, 2011 at 5:02 pm

How exciting for you guys!!! Your plans look good! Personally I’d just love one toilet inside the main part of the house (rather than on the enclosed back porch – so cold in winter!!!)… How long will it take?

katef May 17, 2011 at 5:56 pm

How long will it take? Um…. who knows! LOL Depends a lot on weather and Si’s heart, but the hope is to have it mostly finished by christmas… well at least to a point where the new kitchen is in and usable.

Leah May 16, 2011 at 6:29 pm

Kate, it is going to be beautiful and Ill have bedroom 4 please! The views out the main living area will be lovely I am sure :) Sooo exciting!

katef May 17, 2011 at 5:57 pm

Bedroom 4 is our currently dining room, with the lovely bay window with the lead lights. It would make a lovely bed room but for now will be a spare room/sitting room. So maybe you can come and have a holiday at our house and come stay in it! LOL

Super Sarah May 16, 2011 at 6:48 pm

I have no renovation experience but just want to say how exciting this is! What a change in life you will have when its complete!

Tracey May 16, 2011 at 7:37 pm

I am sending down a name plaque with my name on it for the 4th bedroom!

katef May 17, 2011 at 5:58 pm

Fourth bedroom is reserved for special guest only… ;)

katesaysstuff May 16, 2011 at 7:39 pm

Ohmigosh plans look amazing! You’re not going to know yourselves!!

So exciting :)

Megan at Writing Out Loud May 16, 2011 at 7:52 pm


Yes, it will be worth it!

Mandy Ferry May 16, 2011 at 7:59 pm

renovating is exciting. and worth it. we too extended after looking to buy elsewhere. and like you we were fortunate to be able to live out of all the exisiting rooms but one! when it’s finished you won’t want to ever go out! enjoy.

Martine May 16, 2011 at 9:19 pm

I am so with you on this….just in the middle of packing our house up as we need to move out to do our renovations, which whilst is a little overwhelming at times, (it is amazing how much stuff you accumulate) I am so looking forward to it all being done. Having 4 soon to be 5 kids means there were some things on the top of my list apart from generally more space. First was a bigger pantry, second a bigger laundry and for myself…a bigger wardrobe!

katef May 17, 2011 at 5:59 pm

I’m not sure if I am happy or sad that we are staying while we renovate… but truth be told there is no way we could afford to do it if we had to move out so we’ll be making the best of things!

Karen May 16, 2011 at 9:29 pm

We’ve been renovating on and off since December.
I hear your pain re lack of laundry room. I now have a laundry room, and it makes life a lot easier. We still have one ensuite, floors, a splashback and a big inbuilt toy cupboard to go in. But yes, all the noise, mess, drama, stress, money … it’s worth it. Like you, I love our house and with the reno, it’s going to be a great fit for our family.
Good luck.

katef May 17, 2011 at 6:01 pm

Oh so glad to hear that you are coming to the end of your renos and that it’s been worth it for you! Gives me hope!

jenny May 16, 2011 at 10:36 pm

I am so excited for you and hereby re state my promise that Morgan will have a quilt by the time you are in.

katef May 17, 2011 at 6:03 pm

He will be so excited to have his very own (green I hope) quilt in his very own room…. with luck maybe even for Christmas!

PlanningQueen May 16, 2011 at 10:39 pm

I am so looking forward to following the renovations! We have never renovated ourselves, so it will be great to get a bird’s eye view from you. Fingers crossed it all goes well!

Nee May 16, 2011 at 11:08 pm

So exciting! You know we have extended and it was the best thing we ever did! Can’t wait to see your end result!

Susan, the Book Chook May 17, 2011 at 7:36 am

I can hear your excitement bubbling through the cyber waves! It will be totally worth it, although I bet some of your greatest memories will stem from all that squishing time in the old house.

We are slowly renovating as we can afford it. It always seems to take three times as long as I estimate, and cost at least twice as much.

Andrew May 17, 2011 at 10:04 am

coldest winter in 10+ years :))

(if S needs any help, we are only a short drive away, i can do lifting)

Sarah May 17, 2011 at 2:31 pm

I totally understand your excitment.
We live in a 2 bedroom shed, and are seriously running out of space. We had planned to build this year BUT not so sure now, maybe thinking of extending the shed to buy us for a few more years???

It is especially exciting when you have been waiting so long for it.

Good luck with it all

katef May 17, 2011 at 6:06 pm

Oh it’s so hard when you know it is the right thing to do to wait a bit longer to build… but you so badly want and need to do it right now! I feel your pain and hope the right time comes around for you really soon!

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