Renovating – an old Queenslander

We are renovating and I always said I would never live in whilst renovating but it doesn’t seem to be the option every time we do it. Our house needs a facelift after 15 years of living here and we do need to be around to ‘supervise’. The main role of supervising falls on me and most of the time it is reminding the workers to cover furniture, wipe up paint marks left in places not intended to be painted, and generally avoid disasters as they work around your precious possessions. We have tried very hard to be good clients and box up many items that would hinder them all but there is limited space to store it away.

A huge skip for the rubbish is in the front driveway so there is no mistaking driving past and knowing who is living in chaos in our street. That said, the next door neighbours are also adding another floor to their house so workmen are dominating the parking spots in our street. There is quite a lot of activity in our neck of the woods, the house across the road just sold and another around a side street is getting a new deck and addition. When you live in an old suburb close to the city and where there are lots of historic houses there is always room for improvement and generally you don’t waste your money capitalising on your property. That is the good news, the rest is a nightmare. John takes our two cars out before dawn so the workers can get in and so they don’t spray paint, cement or dust over our cars.

We are keeping the view

John has even decided it is time to polish all the brass on window catches, hinges etc. By the way the legs in the photo to the left belong to a woman, an apprentice our painter has taken on for a couple of days.

We have been eating out most nights and at least that has presented a couple of places we did not know existed and that we would return to. Last night we ate at a Thai restaurant in the suburb of Graceville known as Siam Sunset and since I will not eat Thai food in Brisbane because of bad experiences in the past (I just cook my own) it passed the test. The night before we went to a Vietnamese restaurant in Nundah. I barely know anything about this area as I never have reason to go there but the restaurant was recommended and the surprisingly it only took us 20 minutes to get there, leaving home at roughly 6.35 for a 7pm booking. The couple who own it worked at the eponymous Vietnamese restaurant Green Papaya (it sadly has closed) and they now have a modest storefront in the heart of the regenerated Nundah Village high street. During the day they serve western cafe style meals and at night it reverts to Vietnamese with the husband/chef taking on the cooking. The name of the restaurant is DUO and that makes sense since they switch the menu in one day! The couple are from the north of Vietnam and they have adopted the stylish almost French way that Lien Yeomen used to serve her food when she owned the Green Papaya.

Back to the renovation, we are completely renovating our ensuite bathroom and painting the house inside and out, considering it is a wood house inside and out that is a ton of paint. A new colour scheme on the outside but I have repeated the all white interior as we have so many paintings that add colour and movement. There are new light fittings, new ceiling fans and even new carpets replacing the old to give this house a well deserved facelift.

It is a time to assess what we own and decide if we want to keep it and that goes right down to the clutter in our offices. Just how long must I keep my records I asked my accountant, great answer from him, so there are a few boxes I can toss. I have like most people thousands of photos from the pre-digital era to sort through. Clothing and all kinds of now useless knick-knacks have gone to the charity shop. I used to collect masses of props for my food styling and food journalism days and they are just stored in cupboards so they now can have a new life in another home.  I tell myself that housekeeping will be a breeze once we have de-cluttered.

Sanding, sawing, cutting tiles, painting, banging but I can still hear the painters wonky paint splattered portable radio as I write. Roz


  1. #1 by Celia @ Fig Jam and Lime Cordial on May 13, 2010 - 11:30 pm

    Enforced decluttering is hard! But I’m a grateful beneficiary of the cleanout – thanks, Roz! 🙂

  2. #2 by Debra Kolkka on May 14, 2010 - 4:53 am

    We have renovated an old Queenslander, but thankfully we were not in it at the time. Keep up the good work!

  3. #3 by Roz on May 14, 2010 - 5:31 am

    Grazie we need all the encouragement we can muster. Roz

  4. #4 by clarkrealestate on May 16, 2010 - 3:31 am

    Good Vietnamese food in Brisbane is definitely hard to acquire. I might go check out Duo; it’s only just down the road.

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