Early renos at the New Town house

Through the 1990s and into the early 2000s, I gradually wrought changes. What could be improved with paint and polish was; what would ultimately be demolished and replaced when funds allowed was made as functional and attractive as possible for the time being.

As mentioned in the previous post, a priority was removing the chimney and fireplace that took up a huge proportion of the kitchen. My sister Kiri and I spent a happy day, me pulling down bricks and throwing them through the window where she gathered and stacked them in the yard. The hole in the wall was patched and painted and that kitchen served me for more than 15 years.

Removing the fireplace and fuel stove resulted in a lot more space in the kitchen
Bright paint and chequerboard lino brightened the dark kitchen
It doesn’t look much, but many memorable meals were cooked in that kitchen – somehow.

The lounge room was small, but in winter could be heated reasonably easily, so transforming it from a damp gloomy dump was a priority. That vinyl wallpaper concealed persistent damp spots resulting in large areas of plaster which came away when the paper was pulled off, including this huge patch which took several days and about 20kg of fresh plaster to repair.

Damp had caused large areas of plaster to fail in the lounge room
Fixing the plaster took about 20kgs of spack filler and days of drying

I’m reasonably confident with colour, and I created a scrapbook with mood boards and colour palettes for each of the rooms. Each room had its own colour, with a single trim colour and white ceilings visually linking the various rooms.

It’s a technique I used again when I was working on the major renovations in 2010-11 and I would recommend it. On that occasion, the scrapbook and its mood boards became an incredibly useful means of communication between me, the builder and the various tradies he was engaging, enabling them to produce the results I was imagining.

Fireplace in the freshly-painted loungeroom
Taming the beast
Polishing the floorboards provided an early win and boost to the aesthetic appeal of the home
Polishing the floorboards provided an early win and boost to the aesthetic appeal of the home
The lounge, furnished and looking lived in, complete with sleeping cat

The long central hallway became a picture gallery, and the office, bedrooms and study eventually followed, each with their own deep colour.

Central hallway

Outside, bits wore out and fell over, including the picket fence. Dad again came to the rescue, creating a beautiful steel fence that has become overgrown with roses and is still in use today.

Dad welding me a new front fence

The house dates from approximately 1905, and after a century or so of keeping the rain out, the iron roof started to leak and was looking very tatty, so in 2002 it was time to replace it with a new one. Professionals were called in, but naturally Dad couldn’t help but get involved.

Replacing the roof
Replacing the roof
Dad couldn’t help but get involved
The house with its new roof and the front fence overgrown with Iceberg roses

Dad again came to the rescue when that old water heater finally gave out, which of course it managed to do on a holiday (Boxing Day, from memory). Fortunately K&D was open and Dad grabbed a new cylinder and had it installed in short order.

Dad celebrating the successful installation of a new water cylinder

The biggest project we tackled together was the bathroom. It had been tacked onto the back porch, probably during the 1960s, and was lined in cheap masonite. Protected only by gloss paint, the lining around the bath/shower lasted years of the low-pressure water supply, but the new mains pressure tank proved too much and the lining soon turned to mush. The assorted green fittings were also in need of updating, so we stripped everything back to the frame and started again.

New bathtub
New washbasin and vanity
Finished vanity

The result was a vast improvement.

The back passage, which had once been an open back porch (hence the window on the right into the study) just had to be tolerated, as did the back door.

Back Porch
Rear entry with water heater
A few potted geraniums always cheers things up

I always knew that eventually I would undertake major renovations, and while some of these interim measures were temporary, there was a master plan at work to ensure that as much as possible would fit with and contribute to the ultimate outcome.

Stay tuned for a look at the garden through the years.


4 Comments Add yours

  1. Taswegian1957 – Sisters Beach , Tasmania – I was born in England in 1957 and lived there until our family came to Australia in 1966. I grew up in Adelaide, South Australia, where I met and married my husband, David. We came together over a mutual love of trains. Both of us worked for the railways for many years, his job was with Australian National Railways, while I spent 12 years working for the STA, later TransAdelaide the Adelaide city transit system. After leaving that job I worked in hospitality until 2008. We moved to Tasmania in 2002 to live in the beautiful Huon Valley. In 2015 David became ill and passed away in October of that year. I currently co-write two blogs on WordPress.com with my sister Naomi. Our doll blog "Dolls, Dolls, Dolls", and "Our Other Blog" which is about everything else but with a focus on photographs and places in Tasmania. In November 2019 I began a new life in the house that Naomi and I intend to make our retirement home at Sisters Beach in Tasmania's northwest. Currently we have five pets between us. Naomi's two dogs Toby and Teddy and cats, Tigerwoods and Panther and my cat Polly. My dog Cindy passed away aged 16 in April 2022.
    Taswegian1957 says:

    I like the deep colours. I often see these older houses done out completely in grey on real estate sites. I get that neutral makes rooms look bigger but grey walls, carpet, curtains and furniture is just too much for me.

    1. My exterior is done in shades of grey, and the interior of the new extension is white, but colours still dominate the old rooms😁

  2. Mappie Pyper says:

    Enjoying this journey Andrew. You are a man of many talents, like your Dad. Still have the green bath in my bathroom lol 🌷🌷

    Sent from my iPad


    1. Funnily enough Mappie, so do I, although it’s white now. After several years in the garden it was resurrected during the big renovation. It’s a great cast-iron bath, so much better than the tatty plastic ones generally available. I put a plastic bath into the interim renovation shown here – after just a few year’s, it was worn out.

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