When we were just one year in Australia, we purchased our first house, a highset Queenslander with an outdoor toilet and laundry. The laundry faced our next-door neighbours. There was no front to the structure, leaving it open to the elements and the curiosity of our neighbours. The toilet also faced our neighbour’s house, so it was imperative to close the door when using it, regardless of the urgency.
Four years later, having installed a new laundry under the house and enlarged the bathroom to make space for a toilet and remodelled the kitchen, we decided to sell the house and book a sailing trip to Ireland via South America. No regrets.
Then came an unplanned pregnancy and thus an equally unplanned longer stay in Ireland. Living with my parents-in-law was not an option, so we purchased a house in Dublin. It was in a very posh area but in an appalling state of repair. We set to work restoring it and when it was back to its former glory and our baby was several months old, we sold our home and set sail again for Australia. No regrets.
Back in Australia we bought a house close to our business and in our spare time we again completed renovations on the house. Having sold our business and because our children were getting older, we decided a home on acreage would be the best environment for our girls and boys. House number three was sold and a lovely old farmhouse on 25 acres was bought at auction.
We now had five children and we felt an extension was needed. An architect friend designed an extension. My husband wanted a room for a pool table and rumpus rooms were all the rage. We had installed a swimming pool, so a separate shower and toilet was necessary. A new laundry could be included, and we had bought a jersey milking cow called ‘Sally’, so I felt I needed a dairy. All these were part of the extension.
A few years later we saw a nice 12-acre block of land for sale and bought it to build a NEW house for our family.
Once again, we sold our current home, but the Queensland summer rains came early. It was impossible to access our building and the building of our planned new house was delayed. We had to vacate our current house two weeks before Christmas and now with six children had nowhere to live.
In desperation we bought a large, sprawling block house, not something we would normally choose, gaining permission to move in before settlement. It was a nothing style house built by a man from Holland with nine children. Lots of space was his priority. The building blocks needed camouflaging. Plastering them in the white Spanish hacienda style worked well with the terracotta colour roof. A veranda was added across the front with arches – nine of them. It became a lovely home. Each of our children had his/her own bedroom and our bedroom had an en-suite and sitting room. We lived there for longer than usual. We lived there for longer than usual. Eventually two of our children left home and we decided it was time to move back to the city. Again, we sold our home. Still no regrets – time to move on.
Years earlier we had bought an investment house beside the Brisbane River. It needed renovation and was in a lovely area with the river, parks, transport and shopping. We moved in, redecorated and refurbished, but it never felt like home. It too got sold. Good riddance.
Then a big old colonial house that had been converted into flats came up for auction and we bought it. Restoring it to a single residence and renovating it was a major project. It was a labour of love. The years passed. We now had just two children living at home, so we decided to downsize. Our house sold the evening we were having a party. Mostly no regrets.
Our next house had a quaint appearance, two bedrooms with a small lounge and kitchen. This was fine until, one weekend, all our children came to visit. We were like sardines in a can. Something had to be done! The Answer—Extend. Out came the pens, ruler and paper. Ideas were tossed around and finally we came up with a plan. The extension, when completed, was more than twice the size of the original house, much to the amusement of friends who knew about our desire to downsize. A couple of years later we decided to move to Victoria. If I could have taken the house with me, I would have, but that was not an option. House sold. New adventure outstrips the love of a house.
Three years later we moved back to another investment house in Brisbane. It was built by a Russian cabinetmaker. It had beautiful timber and timberwork. With a bit of redesigning and a courtyard it became a comfortable home with a secluded garden. We enjoyed living there, but it was time to move back to Victoria. House Sold.
Where to buy in Victoria? We liked the Gippsland area but settled in the North East for family reasons. We bought a house, not really to our liking but there was not much to choose from. With a lot of work, we made it our own and lived there for nine years—the longest we lived in any house. Age was catching up with us and we needed to live somewhere with better services, so again we sold. No regrets.
We bought the house we are currently living in. It needs a few renovations, but we have neither the stamina nor the will to do them and it goes against the grain to pay a contractor to do things we used to do ourselves without any hesitation. Where to next?