This year marked five years since we first mowed our way to the back door of our ramshackle farmhouse and slowly but surely made it our family home. For those not playing along at home, we actually only lived here for 14 months in 2010-11, then traveled around Australia on our honeymoon and lived in South Australia for two years until returning to Brindabella (unexpectedly!) in 2014. Still following?! Me either…
With so much blood, sweat and tears put into restoring this old house and garden I thought some retrospective before and after comparisons were in order. It’s only when you look back at the before shots that you realise just how much we’ve done and what’s changed! Warning: this post is photo heavy, hold on to your hats. Apologies for some of the before shots, they were taken very hastily on Matt’s phone when we first came to look at the house! Here are some before/after’s from the day we moved in, to today…
The first major change was the removal of 17 cypress trees which stood on the western side of the carport. A huge job, not just to get the excavators in to remove them, but the weeks and months afterwards every night after work walking up and down raking stones and roots and general rubbish that was in this area. Once the trees were removed we could see the potential of extending our yard out this side, originally it was unfenced with the paddock boundary being our actual house (you can see in photo below, the fence extends from front corner of house). There was also an assortment of an old hot house, incinerator and mish mash of fences here which we removed.
We re-fenced the yard to encompass this western side of the house, and bringing our driveway inside the yard rather than out in the paddock. The Great New Fence build was across a week of high 30’s-40 degree temperatures – ’twas hot!
We brought the big guns in to sow down the new yard, although five years on we’re considering doing it all again, such is the state of the lawn! Unfortunately now made extra tricky with the trees we’ve planted, not sure the big tractor will be quite so accommodating anymore…
Lots of pulling out of old well established plants, which was a shame but they had become a bit of a jungle. I’ve saved what I could and tried to retain the essence of Mrs Roach’s garden who used to live here. The horse chestnut trees and established camellia’s were definitely welcome! The pro’s and con’s of not starting a garden entirely from scratch have been weighed up and down, it’s a love hate relationship. A lot of the established plants have well outgrown their position, or just don’t make much sense anymore in the new layout of the garden. We definitely try and work with what we’ve got though, and little bulbs I certainly didn’t plant are still surprising me popping up in unexpected places each Spring.
In our two year absence the old outdoor laundry, toilet and garden shed were demolished and a fence put in their place. When we lived here in 2010/11 the house also got a well needed coat of paint – Dulux Colorbond ‘Dune’ with ‘Surfmist’ on the windows/doors. A lot of deliberation went into this as I wasn’t quite sure how to work with our red roof, I saw a similar red roofed house in a nearby town and knocked on their door to ask the paint colours! Ask and you shall receive. A complete fluke that a certain little black dog is in almost the exact same position a few years apart…
We are forever writing enormous (ridiculous!) to-do list’s for the garden and house – it is a never ending mission! But stopping and looking back on what the house was like when we moved in has made me realise just how far we’ve come and how much we’ve achieved. It certainly is a labour of love, and all good things come to those that wait. It’s a test of patience, hard work and a definite marriage strength building exercise! Thankfully we both have generally the same ideas and plans of how we see our home evolving and growing with our family in mind. Time, money and effort are our main issues. But, Rome wasn’t built in a day…or so we keep having to remind ourselves! I’m so, so, so incredibly proud of my very hard working (very humble) husband who is just a tireless worker bee, a perfectionist and visionary for creating our idyllic family farming life. He’s a keeper.
But at the end of the day, we well and truly realised when we went away from Brindabella that home most definitely isn’t a roof over our heads (often it’s canvas!) And now with Blossom on board it’s just wherever the three of us rest our heads at the end of the day. Hopefully though this funny little house on the hill is that place for awhile yet. Small on storage and insulation, but big on memories, hard work and love.
Oh you guys have done SO MUCH! I too am a lover of before and after photos. It’s so easy to forget how things were before once they’ve been improved. We’ve only got a little suburban block to fix up and I’ve been really taken aback by how much work it is. So I truly understand just how much has gone into what you’ve achieved.
Haha and oh do I know those ridiculous to-do lists well!! We have written a few – and scaled them back – already!
Thanks! Looking at this has only just made us realise what is still YET to do – so much! Ha!
wow all looks so good…We have been renovating our house for the last 12 years and still not finished.Im like you I make lists but then I add and add.I also love to take photos just to look back and see the difference-love dee x
I think it is never ending, which is a good thing 🙂
Love this. What an inspirational reno/revamp. Returning the home to her former beauty!
Well done Emma! Your house and garden are just gorgeous! I love looking at your before and after photos, Matt certainly is a hard worker and a keeper!! Xx
Amber Rhodes says
Amazing the difference and love what you have done. Having these before and after shots is the best. Keep them for future generations to appreciate. It looks gorgeous.
I love seeing before and after’s and these are no exception. You place is looking really great and I’m sure each year you will improve on it all. Regards Kathy A, Brisbane
Emma - a simple living journey says
Your little house is looking just beautiful! Well done guys!
Love the before/after shots! You guys have done SO good! xx
Thanks for the beautiful post…so inspiring! Especially as we have a house that looks very much like the ‘before’ version of yours! Was wondering about painting the outside. Did you strip the weatherboards or replace them? If you stripped them how? And did you need to worry about lead abatement? Thanks!
Our weatherboards were salvageable, they weren’t in bad condition, just the paint hadn’t been touched in 30-40 years! They were sanded back and repainted by the painters…although unfortunately it was not done very well and the house (especially the western wall which cops all the sun) is in need of repainting already. This wouldn’t be the case if the job was done properly in 2011 though. We didn’t worry about lead abatement, but perhaps we should have? Definitely check if you’re not sure.
You’ve done so much and achieved so much. You’ve got a lovely home and garden. One day we hope to have that too. Your hard work is paying off, that is for sure. The before and after photos are interesting. It is always good to go back and see how much has changed. I’m guessing the demolition of the outdoor laundry means it is now indoors.
Yes the laundry is now in the little room off the back porch. When we had the outdoor laundry this room was my sewing room, which is now in our third bedroom. So we’re down a bedroom from when we lived here in 2010/11 and up 1 person to house!
Thanks for sharing photos of your home, I love before and after shots! I was under the impression from previous posts about Brindabella that you are renting. Or do you own it? You’ve worked so hard, the results speak for themselves. Well done!
Thank you. The house is on my family farm, so ‘we’ don’t own it – my Dad does! But we’re pretty free to do whatever we like to the house/garden, as hopefully this is our forever home.