Tuesday, February 6, 2018

Saying goodby for the last time

Warning: Long winded, melancholy post coming up so if you're not in it for the long haul, close your screen now.
Still with me? OK...read on.

I finally finished moving and cleaning everything out of the house at 1am on a Sunday morning, just hours before settlement. I'd been on holiday in Agnes Waters and by the time I got back I had just four days to pack up everything that was left, move it into storage and clean up. I wanted to leave the place in the pristine condition that it was when it was handed over to me, so the new owners could start their new chapter on the clean slate that I did, and hopefully it would set the tone for happy times in the home just like we had.

When all was packed away in the car and I was ready to go, I sat down on the floor in the lounge, for the very last time. It was completely and utterly empty, not a single item left in the house, yet it still felt like home. I thought about all the happy times we had in this very spot and could literally see the scenes replayed out in front of me...just like in the movies. Friends over for dinner, family Christmases, birthday celebrations and even the more mundane, but still special times - Harry Potter marathons, TV dinners and just sitting around chatting. It all happened here...for almost five years.

But while I was thinking of old times as I was preparing to say goodbye, I was also thinking of the reasons we were here when we were and the reasons we were going...

I bought the original house at the end of 2009, when Josh was just about to start grade 6. We had moved around a bit up until this point and I wanted somewhere stable for him now that it was just he and I. Somewhere he could truly call home, somewhere he knew was always there, just for him and no one would dictate how long we could stay or what we could do with it. The house was perfect and on a large block and in time, I thought I could subdivide it. The flood threw a curveball we hadn't anticipated and we were out for a couple of years, but we still arrived at the same place.

It seems a strange reason to have a house, but because Josh is an only child, I wanted him to have somewhere that he could have all his friends over, whenever he wanted. And looking back, that's exactly what happened. The house became the hangout for his friends before school, after school, on the weekends, public holidays, everything! He was always having his friends stay for dinner, overnight, the weekend, whenever and I lost count of the number of times I'd have to step over a room full of crashers on Sunday morning to get out to the garage. He had his epic 18th birthday party in the backyard with some questionable antics in a paddle pool and I was still shooing out hungover guests the next afternoon. Then there was the time he and his mates had the best Australia Day party ever, with cricket and a BBQ and the infamous paddle pool. They chased the dog around the yard after it jumped up and stole a sausage off the grill.

Good times. Unforgettable times. And not just for him. Our place was the go to place for regular dinner parties for my friends and family and the guest room got a good work out by out of towners. It's been a really great house for a really great time.

But it was always the plan that after Josh finished school and didn't need to be within walking distance anymore to sell and start another project. And when that time arrived we did exactly as we had planned.

So now I find myself in the next stage of looking for the next house and hoping it will be just as amazing and special as this one was.

Watch this space and thanks for coming with me on this journey.


Sunday, January 14, 2018

The House Project has sold!

So this has happened and I'm happy/sad.

Everything has happened so quickly I've hardly had time to process it all. I really hesitated about putting it on the market just before Christmas as it's a traditionally difficult time of the year and many advised to just leave it and list it in February when the market generally picked up again. But we'd moved out and the house was cleaned, styled and all ready to go so we thought we'd just give it a go and see how it went.

It was literally the week before Christmas and the house had hardly been on the market and the couple that matched our target demographic PERFECTLY walked in. People always say you only need that one perfect buyer that loves the house exactly as it is and that's just what happened. They put an offer in within the hour of inspection waiving cooling off period, building and pest and finance. It was a done deal by that afternoon.

They wanted a quick 21 day settlement OVER CHRISTMAS which was super tight, especially as I was due to fly to Townsville for Christmas and go up to Agnes Waters for a holiday, but we made it work. By the time we got back we only had 4 days to pack everything up, organise removalists and storage and clean up. I think I finished at 1am on the day before settlement.

They have intentions of finishing the downstairs as well with a kitchenette and deck out the backyard and this makes my heart happy. But it's only just now I'm processing it all.

Sunday, December 31, 2017

First open house

First open house is done and dusted and we had a pretty good turnout, given it's the Christmas period. The realestate.com.au people sent their gelato cart, giving away free gelato to visitors that came to the open house. It was good publicity and loads of people stopped (who wouldn't for free gelato). Don't think they were buyers though.

I had the rose milk and pistatio. Delicious!! But back to the open house...here's a few more pics from the photo shoot. Everything looks so...neat!

I can't believe how open and airy the dining room and balcony look with all the windows, doors and blinds open. One of the selling points of the home is that it has loads of natural light, but that also fades the floors, so I generally keep the blinds down in the morning and I always have the screen doors shut. This just looks...weird.

The guest bedroom looks like it always generally does. Aside from a few staying guests over the years (and some of Josh's drunk mates), this room doesn't get used that much.

We styled the room that Josh uses as his study/media room/mates hang out, as a baby's room. It's a family home after all and it looked really lovely.

Ohh the ensuite is so sparkly! And I love that you can see the new charcoal curtains in the background. I love this house so much...I'm still a bit sad to not be living there, especially at this time of the year when we used to have the beautiful Christmas tree up and people around for Christmas Day lunch.

Saturday, December 30, 2017

We are on the market!

Yep, Karina's House Project is up for sale and it's a mixture of sadness, excitement and looking forward to the future.

There's so much love I have for this house, so much love that's gone into this house and so much love that's been in this house. I really believe you can feel it and saying goodbye makes me sad. On the other hand though, it'll be interesting to see exactly what the property is worth. There is nothing like it in the area - 4 bedroom, 3 bathroom and 2 living areas on a 506m2 block. Most small lot blocks are 405m2 and because the house and the bottom level are incomplete, there's still potential to extend the house and have loads of outdoor living under the house. So actually getting to a price is exciting. And finally, once we move on I'll be looking for a new housing project - either reno or build new again and that really makes me look forward to the future.

The real estate photos have come up amazingly and the house looks showroom perfect. We've moved out so we don't have the hassle of needing to clean up every week and so it looks pristine at a moment's notice if the agent wants to bring someone through outside of open home times. I also hate the thought of people rifling through our cupboards and stuff while they're there - not to sticky beak, but if I was a buyer I'd be looking through to see what sort of capacity there was and configuration of drawers. So moving out was an obvious decision and also depersonalises the spaces so people can more easily imagine themselves in there.

It was also a great opportunity to see the home (and have it photographed) without all our crap in it. Not that we were messy or hoarders, but you know, we had to live. Without all that, it's a house, not a home, but still a nice house :).

And now it's really like a brand new display home. It wasn't that old and we've taken really good care of it,  but just because of general wear and tear we gave it a good spruce up. Jansen resiliconed all the showers and we had all the grouting in the bathrooms cleaned, the house washed from head to toe and all the windows and window tracks cleaned. The place is sparkling and I'm so proud. I hope someone falls in love with it like I did and wants to buy it.

Sunday, December 17, 2017

This sweet little tea set ❤️

I'm SUPPOSED to be decluttering and downsizing the house in preparation for sale, but I saw this sweet little tea set about six months ago and I kept seeing it whenever I was in Kikki-K.

Then it went on sale....

It's sooo cute isn't it? And in my defence I don't actually have a teapot, so I WILL actually use it. There was a little tea cup and saucer in the set as well but it's sold out. Sad face.

Monday, December 11, 2017


I was watering the gardenias the other day and noticed this not-so-little fella. And then another, and another, and another until I lost count. There were hundreds and they were HUGE!!! They were devouring the leaves at a rapid rate leaving (pardon the pun) not much in their wake.

While they are slowly killing what I've spent so, so many long hours tending to, I really didn't want to kill them. They become beautiful butterflies and help pollinate other flowers.

So I'll be picking off these little suckers one by one. I'll never get them all but I can reduce the impact somewhat and they should be happy munching on the mulberry tree in the vacant lot next door.

Friday, December 8, 2017

Backyard Update

Thought it was time to give an update on the backyard, five months after the makeover where we put up the fence, laid turf and created some garden beds.

You'll see that the turf is well established, and believe it or not, no one is more surprised than me! We did this on a super tight budget, with the cheapest (and possibly nastiest) of materials and zero hired labour - just me! A recipe for disaster really, but months on, here we are and the grass is lush and thriving.

While we didn't start with the best of materials, I did spend a LOT of time tending it, like copious watering, fertilising and applying weed and feed, in an effort to get it established. It worked, but certainly cost me - I only just got the water bill for those two months and it was DOUBLE what they normally were. Oh well, hopefully it's a one off.

The plants haven't fared quite as well, with all the cordylines succumbing to too much direct sunlight. The bromeliads are still OK, but I feel will always look a bit sparse.  While I did set myself the challenge to get all the plants for free, I really think I may need to spend some money to get some plants, shrubs and trees that will have more height and create more shade and privacy, especially given next door will start building any day now.

However, I always try and look back to remember how far I've come and given this was the backyard really not that long ago, I'm super grateful for the progress we've made so far.