Rest, relaxation and renovation

Instead of having to rush back to work after the long weekend, I was a little bit sneaky and took a few extra days off. The quiet time has been very welcome, and combined with beautiful rainy days, lots of DVDs to watch, and two very snuggly animals at home … well, it’s been bliss.

Aside from indulging in some rest and relaxation, another ‘r’ has been first and foremost on my mind … renovation. It’s about this time I should ‘fess up and tell you that for the past two-and-a-bit years I’ve been living in a relatively ugly house. Oh, her bones are good and she has some rather lovely features, but on the surface let’s just say, ‘she needs some work’.

This week we’re doing a major clean-out of all the things that have been waiting for just the right time to be thrown away … it’s going to be wonderfully liberating. Once we get that done, we’ll be able to see more of the space we have available and will be better able to make more than just cosmetic changes. But perhaps you’re wondering what sort of ugliness I want to address?

Look at poor Jones the cat … no one wants to see him grow up in a house with such hideous green carpet. I think he looks a little embarrassed sitting there amongst it. And what about the delightful clash of blue tiles with that ugly green carpet? Is that a winning colour combination or what? (I think it fits more within the ‘what’ category).

Then there’s the ugly yellow window panel at the front of the house … I wanted this gone pretty much straight after we moved in, but there you have it … over two years later and it’s still there. Worse yet, there are actually two of these panels to change. I look forward to a day where sunlight streaming through the window isn’t tinged a sickly shade of yellow.

As for the back of the house, well I think Baxter the dog would agree that the pot plants could really do with some water, and the back garden really needs some attention. He prefers his grassed areas to be green, freshly mowed and for the garden beds to be free of weeds (fussy doggy).

I also really need to turn my attention to framing some of the lovely artworks that I’ve been buying over the years. At the moment a lot of them are safely stacked on top of my bookcase … but that’s no way for art to be displayed. Speaking of things on display, something else we’ll be changing throughout the house are the blinds / curtains / bare windows which do nothing for us or the house.

So there you have it. Instead of spending these days off work in some exotic location and exploring unknown new territories, I’ve decided to spend my time at home making the kinds of changes that will make me far happier on the day-to-day. As for the real holiday? Well that can come later in the year … for now, I’m content to live and breathe the ideals of ‘home is where the heart is’.

Dear reader, I hope you are not also suffering from ‘ugly house syndrome’ … perhaps you’ve already remedied the situation and could offer me some tips? Or perhaps you took a more sensible course of action and just bought a house that was pretty from the very beginning?


  1. Makeminemidcentury

    I really like the tiles and the carpet and the glass! I wonder if you could sell them to a demolition yard or something?
    I really like them! I have no use for them, unfortunately.

    1. tracey (Post author)

      Hi MMMC – Oh the tiles are OK and I think I’ve made my peace with them, it’s that green carpet that I don’t like. Perhaps my photo didn’t show the true nature of that carpet? It’s what I’d best describe as ‘renter’s carpet’ … I’m looking forward to polished floorboards instead of the carpet! šŸ™‚

      The yellow glass just casts the most awful coloured light through the house, and when it’s combined with the yellow honey coloured stain on the lounge room floorboards, I just can’t stand it! I want to replace it with a ‘cleaner’ kind of look. I’ll definitely try to recycle and reuse anything and everything I can .. I’m like you, I hate seeing things go to waste.

  2. hila

    my house has god-awful ugly carpets too, although I do think Jones the cat is happy he has such lovely owners, despite the carpet. He’s soooo cute! Look at those big eyes …

    1. tracey (Post author)

      Hi Hila – Oh my … why do so many previous owners or occupiers of our houses put in such ugly carpet? I wish they had slightly better taste! šŸ˜‰

      Perhaps you’re right about Jones … maybe he won’t hold that whole ugly carpet situation against me forever. I think he’s super cute too … and I can’t believe how quickly he’s growing up.

  3. Sonia

    I must confess to loving blue and green as colour combination. Indeed I think it should always be seen! I agree though your carpet has past it’s use by date. I remember when those blue tiles were all the rage. What will you replace the yellow glass with? It will look great with something different in there. Good luck with the reno projects. I’m at the point where I want to run far away from mine and in dire need of a holiday, but the reno keeps eating up all the holiday money. šŸ™‚ So yes I do suffer the same syndrome! My only advice is “Rome wasn’t built in a day”.

    1. tracey (Post author)

      Hi Sonia – Oh I agree, I love blue and green as a colour combination. It’s just the icky green carpet in my place that I object to … I want to feel floorboards beneath my feet, and perhaps a rug or two if necessary.

      It’s funny how you can see houses of the same era with exactly the same features that were considered ‘so hot’ at the time … haha! šŸ™‚ … As for the yellow glass, I’m not too sure what I’ll replace it with yet … I’m not sure how white opaque glass will look … it’s still something I’ll have to work out, but that yellow must go!

      Thanks for the good luck and the advice with the renovations … I think it will be a long road, but one that I’m very much looking forward to embarking upon. I can imagine you eventually reach a point where you’re completely over it … so you’ll have to check back in on me down the track and see how I’m travelling! šŸ˜‰

  4. Gabrielle Bryden

    The cat looks mighty unimpressed with the carpets. I gave up on carpets years ago – too many dustmites, no matter how much you clean them. I am sure you will do wonders with your house (ps. I have a big pile of things that need hanging up šŸ˜‰ ).

    1. tracey (Post author)

      Hi Gabrielle – Haha, I know … Jones doesn’t appear to be the most subtle of cats when it comes to ugly carpet! I’m going to join your ‘no carpet’ club … I’ve lived through too many rentals with icky carpet, so it’s nice to finally have my own place where I can make whatever changes I like. I much prefer the feel, look and cleanliness of floor boards.

      I’m terrible with getting art and bits and pieces hung up around the place … I never seem to have the right sort of frame or equipment on hand … and the thought of going to IKEA for such things can be too much to handle. šŸ˜‰

  5. Christine

    I love this post – you are so funny šŸ™‚
    We moved into an ooold appartment way back when, so there is always something that needs to be done.
    Sounds like you took time to relax between it all – I’m happy you did šŸ™‚ And I quite agree — all weekends should be stretchy and looong and mellow. With time even to be house-practical šŸ™‚

    1. tracey (Post author)

      Hi Christine – Thanks so much, it’s always nice to find people that think I’m funny! šŸ˜‰
      Oh I know what you mean about that ‘there’s always something that needs to be done’ … though I do have a soft spot for homes with character, sometimes brand new homes are missing some of that ‘history’ … or maybe I’m just too much of a romantic idealist? šŸ™‚

      I certainly did find lots of time to relax, and the house is feeling well on the way, even if you never quite get everything you intend to get done. I think we need to find a way to get these stretchy weekends introduced for every weekend … just imagine how much we’d be able to accomplish?!?! šŸ˜€

  6. sofia

    well me it’s the whole appartment that I don’t like anymore, it’s small and I have no space and I’m a collector so you see it’s not a good mixture I’ve tried to do my best but it no longer works, we need a new home but it’s hard to find something in this very expensive town, so I keep on waiting for better days ahead… sorry I have no tips for you but your idea is great !

    1. tracey (Post author)

      Hi Sofia – Oh that’s frustrating having an apartment that feels too small to ‘fit’ your life into … I know just what you mean, I’ve had similar experiences in the past. I hope a wonderful new home comes up for you sooner rather than later … it can be a challenge when everything seems so expensive. I’m sure the right place will come along at just the right time for you.

  7. ejorpin

    Sometimes a not-really-a-holiday at home can be the best thing! A big clean out, a few minor or major changes and voila – you can feel just as refreshed and reenergised as after a real holiday (and no suitcases to unpack or piles of washing to catch up on)!

    Being expats, we currently live in a rented apartment that’s brand new and pretty darn swish. But back in Sydney we have just purchased our first house, and like yours it’s bones are delightful but the inside – yeuch! So at some point in the next few years we will be embarking on a big renovation, a first for us – I’m both excited and petrified!

    1. tracey (Post author)

      Hi Emily – Yes, there is much to delight in when enjoying a ‘holiday that is not a holiday’ … it feels so fantastic to clean things out, reorganise other things, and just assess what you need or don’t need to do. We made a fantastic start over these long weekends, and now feel more energised than ever to continue with making changes. Haha, and that’s so true about there being no need to unpack suitcases or catch up on washing, because you never had to leave the house! šŸ™‚

      Oh your rented apartment must be lovely … I bet you’re making the most of all that swishiness while you can! šŸ™‚
      But sometimes it’s so much more wonderful to come home to the place that is really yours … I think that balance between excitement and fear is perfectly normal before embarking on a renovation (at least I hope it is).

  8. louise

    I’m sure Jones and Baxter will be very happy no matter what fine improvements you make to your home. xolj

    1. tracey (Post author)

      Hi Louise – Oh you are too kind … I hope you’re right and the lovely animals don’t judge our interiors too harshly … after all they are the most precious and most spoilt things within the home! šŸ˜€

  9. Valerie

    I’m afraid that I do have a bit of ugly house syndrome at the moment. Although I refer to mine as 80s house syndrome. Unfortunately prettifying is at the bottom of my list for a little while. But good for you – I hope you love your reno!

    1. tracey (Post author)

      Hi Valerie – Oh well, all of us ‘ugly’ house people should stick together! šŸ™‚
      80s house syndrome is a much nicer way to refer to it.

      Thanks for your renovation encouragement, I hope it comes together relatively painlessly … even though I secretly know the opposite is more likely to be true! I guess it’s all part of the fun! šŸ˜‰

  10. Caz

    I’m in much the same boat. One of the reasons we chose our house was because there wasn’t anything we absolutlely couldn’t live with – the carperts are cream, there are no wierd design features and it still has many of the original 50s weatherboard features. Having said that, the bathroom is pretty appalling and the kitchen could do with an update. We also had the house re-stumped last year in anticipation of doing a bit of reno so we now have cracks in the plaster of each and every room so some plastering and painting is in order too.

    The problem with home renovations is that once you start you sort of have to keep going as one thing leads to another! So I’ve booked the builder and I’m sourcing a shower, tiles, cabinets etc as we speak but I’m actually finding it a bit daunting. After a while everything looks much the same and I’m terrified that I’m going to choose something I’ll later regret. It’s easy to laugh at previous owners style choices but I fear it’s probably much more embarrassing to have to live with your own!

    Anyway, it’s nice to know that I’ll be in good company this year with you as my fellow renovator and I look forward to many more updates…

    1. tracey (Post author)

      Hi Caz – I think we had the same feeling towards our place when we bought it, sure there were things that could be changed or fixed, but there was nothing major wrong and nothing that needed immediate attention.

      Re-stumping the house is certainly a big thing to do … and it sounds like the plastering and painting might be next on your list? We have a two-storey house, and we really need to do some work on our lower level … it’s just become a bit of a storage space rather than a useable space, and that’s something I really want to change.

      I can definitely see that ‘addictive’ nature of home renovations, because there will always be something else to fix or change as one thing is completed. How exciting that you’ve booked a builder and you’re starting to source tiles and things … WOW, you’re certainly well on the way to making some big changes. I think I’ll put off all the major stuff until after we have a holiday, but until then I’ll be tinkering away on little bits and pieces.

      I know what you mean about almost fearing that the decisions you think will be classic, may turn out to be horrible down the track … I worry about that too, but I suppose it’s the risk we have to take?

      I’m looking forward to sharing the renovation journey with you this year Caz … I can’t wait to hear how everything goes with the first few stages of your project. šŸ™‚

  11. Erika Lee Sears

    One of my big goals this year is to really make my home my home.. šŸ™‚ and make my back yard a fun place to lounge.

    I am so glad you are enjoying your stay vacation- your home should be a sanctuary. šŸ™‚

    PS Hello from HK!

    1. tracey (Post author)

      Hi Erika – I’m so excited that you’re living the wonderful artistic experience in Hong Kong … I’m really looking forward to hearing more about your adventures and of course, I can’t wait to see the art you produce! šŸ™‚

      Making your home more of a home is a wonderful goal to have … I want to do just the same. Then perhaps I’ll follow your lead and think about making the back yard a better place to lounge … one step at a time I think! šŸ™‚

  12. Camila F.

    It’s renovation time! I’ve been living in the same house for 3 years now and there’s still some work to be done. But I love to think about all the changes I want to make and get inspired by all the amazing blogs and sites out there!

    1. tracey (Post author)

      Hi Camila – Renovation time is an exciting time indeed … I think sometimes it’s best to live in a house for a while before deciding what changes to make. I agree with you, it’s wonderful to be inspired by all the amazing blogs and websites … we live in fortunate times to have easy access to such things! šŸ˜€

  13. fairchildstreet

    Well done but I wouldn’t use rest and relaxation with renovation. They are opposite ends of the scale I reckon!. I find renovating stressful. Enjoy. Charmaine

    1. tracey (Post author)

      Hi Charmaine – Haha, well that’s probably true that rest and relaxation don’t go hand in hand with renovation … but I’m so excited about making changes, that it feels very energising! šŸ™‚

      I think the process of renovation is stressful, but I love to dream and plan for what I want to do … you’ll have to check in with my stress levels a bit further down the renovation track. šŸ˜‰

  14. Lynne

    I’m afraid we are in an ugly house. We’re just biding our time though to see if we’re going to stay. THen we can lavish some attention on it.

    1. tracey (Post author)

      Hi Lynne – There seems to be a few of these ugly houses going around … I think we were much like you in trying to decide whether to stay or whether to move. At the moment we’re leaving both options open, and just trying to make the place a little ‘prettier’ in the meantime. Your part of the world looks wonderful, so I hope that if you do move, it wouldn’t be too far away. šŸ™‚

  15. woolf

    my wish, pretty from the beginning…. but like you say, shell wise okay.
    i’ve been renovating since last july. no floor downstairs, bathroom recently divided from make do kitchen.
    but! second floor quite alright now, painted white and right into the nook. son is happy, i am.
    so with lots and lots of hard work, wheelbarrows full of patience, and loads of letting situations take their course, we are slowly progressing, which is good. jolly good.
    renovating does tend to entail more than you think from the start. the good news is everybody’s saying that, so it is true, and you will find you are never alone with possible misery. good, good luck and do try and keep your quiet corner well fed too. it is often the sanctuary you need to find peace again…
    i sound too harsh. renovating is also F U N !!! i promise that too.

    1. tracey (Post author)

      Hi Woolf – Goodness you have had a lot of experience in renovating your place. You’ve certainly devoted a lot of time and attention to making things more like a home. It sounds like the second floor is wonderful! šŸ™‚

      Slow progress is still progress, and I’m quite happy for my own renovation to follow such a timeline. I can definitely see that renovating would take a lot more effort and time and everything than is first expected, but I think it’s good knowing that before I get started. Hopefully then it won’t be such a rude awakening.

      I’ll definitely be keeping a quiet sanctuary to escape to during all the renovation madness. Thanks for your encouragement and for your insights …. I don’t think you sound harsh at all, I think you sound honest.

  16. katiecrackernuts

    I think the thing is to just start. We had pictures in a cupboard for years and one day I just went and dragged them out and banged holes into the walls (they’re my walls) and hung my pastel nudes. The teens, mere innocent children at the time these works were bought, were horrified, but hang them in the living room we did. And other things. And we’ve painted bits and I’ve sewn bits and dug earth and planted and potted and it all starts to come together, somehow.

    1. tracey (Post author)

      Hi Katie – Yes, starting is definitely the key I think, otherwise I just spend many more days, weeks and months talking about what I want to do. I love that you just snapped one day and hung your pastel nudes (I love your children’s reactions … Ha!). Painting bits here and there, and getting things done where they’re needed sounds like the perfect approach to me … I am never going to be one to make everything happen perfectly overnight.

  17. Narnie

    My house has quite literally been wrapped in plastic since March. The plastic came off last week and the outside rerendered and painted brilliant white again. Just a bit more to do and I will have a brand spanking new house on the outside. The inside however, hmmmmmm. Did you DIY weekend go well?

    1. tracey (Post author)

      Hi Kiersty – Oh how wonderful that your house is painted brilliant white again … I do love the fresh feeling of white.
      Oh well, the inside of your house can wait for another day … at least the neighbours will be jealous now! šŸ˜‰

      We did a few bits and pieces over the weekend, but of course we didn’t get all the things we wanted to do done … we did a lot of lounging about, and that was all rather satisfying in itself. šŸ™‚

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