This gorgeous cottage style home has a wonderful story to tell. It’s not obvious from the contemporary look it possesses now, but this house was an extremely compact forester's cottage built in the mid sixties. Featuring a rotten carport tacked on the side of a concrete verandah, and a driveway that cuts diagonally across the block.
Originally a very small and cramped three bedroom home, the dwelling consisted of an odd bathroom, a dark purple and yellow kitchen with only four cupboards, a sink, and no drawers or benches at all. Furthermore, the previous owner had an obsession with hoarding plants in the garden!
Lili and Tim knew some serious work had to be done to make this house a home for themselves and their two boys.
“The first time my kids and I set foot in the house, on a mid winter day, it was absolutely filthy. It stunk of cigarettes and dog and was bitterly cold." Lili | Home Owner
Lili went on to say "that day we spent 10 hours cleaning and pulling up the carpets. My son still talks about having sore fingers from all the sugar soap and scrubbing. We found a perfect square of mouse poo under the stove!”
Aside for scrubbing and cleaning the home, the first thing Lili and Tim did was paint the entire house white. They then renovated the bathroom, including knocking out the middle wall to create one large space that contained both the toilet and shower.
“We were on a total shoestring budget and bought most of the bathroom fictures and fittings from Bunnings, junk shops and ebay. The whole bathroom including removing the wall, replacing the rotten sub-floor, fixtures, fittings, paint and labour cost us just under $5000 so I was pretty chuffed.” Lili reminisces. Having never renovated, Lili does recall she felt a little out of her depth.
“I just chose things I loved which has pretty much remained my reno philosophy ever since.” Lili | Home Owner
When it came time to completing the more substantial elements of the renovation, Lili would try and imagine what her finished home would look like and it became very apparent that retaining a sense of the old house within the new renovation was really important.
The renovations took about 10 months as they knocked through from the old house to the new, retaining the old chimney breast and installing a new double sided, freestanding fireplace to link the two spaces. Some specific design choices were made that added to the consolidation of the old and new spaces. these elements included matching the new flooring with the old and then entirely resurfacing it and using the same french doors throughout the whole house.
During the renovation process Lili and Tim recall times when all those decisions about fittings and plans were overwhelming. However, they can say with pride that the concept for the home was 99% their doing.
“Another challenge was the constant and immediate decision making. Towards the end when we were having to choose fittings and fixtures, location of light switches, bench heights, etc all in rapid succession, it was difficult not to just say to our builder 'I don't know, you decide!’” Lili | Home Owner.
The house is now wonderfully light and bright with four bedrooms and two bathrooms. Whilst Lili and Tim don’t feel they have a certain interior style, there is certainly a flair for making this home look cozy and inviting with an added element of sophistication.
The open plan study/library displays beautifully their collection of books, magazines and special pieces, whilst the living room with the floating shelves are furnished in an ordered fashion. Vintage finds are mixed with modern pieces to give an eclectic feel to this country cottage.
“I guess our design style is heavily influenced by budget. While part of me would love to have an unlimited budget to buy whatever my heart desires, I think that our budget constraints have helped create a lovely feeling of ease and interest in our home which might otherwise not have happened - a happy accident if you will.” Lili describes.
Some of Lili’s favourite items are the echidna artwork by friend Reko Renni and the the Abbesses Print taken on their holiday in Paris.
Now that the renovations are done, Lili and Tim love to host friends outside in their entertainers nook in the warmer months or snuggle by the double-sided fireplace in the winter time.
Lili’s favourite room is the kitchen (and pantry) as being a chef she loves to cook and, having a well planned kitchen is just a joy to spend time in. “Although it is an IKEA kitchen it doesn't feel like one. We have installed bespoke bench tops and left some of the old cupboards and put a massive old butchers block in the centre,” Lili explains.
Now Lili and Tim have a house that is an absolute delight to live in. Spacious, airy, luxurious and generous.
“It still has the same feeling of kindness and cosiness that had been evident in our tiny old house” Lili | Home Owner.
Lili admits that every time she comes home "it's like walking into a beautiful box filled with awesome stuff - and I still cannot believe it's mine!” We can certainly see why she feels this way.
Brenda and the House of Home Team would like to thank Lili and Tim for having us visit their beautiful home