Week 1: The Transition

Waratah Street: Week 1 - This is My Family

New Keys + Super Wallpaper

The week kicked off with Settlement on Monday, picking up the keys and heading straight over to the house. The real estate agent gifted us an Italian cook book and the previous owners had left behind an extra roll of the very special wallpaper featured in the hallway. Any ideas how we can use it?

A 2.5 Hour Move

We booked 2 men and a truck from Little Red Trucks. Our 2 bed + study house fit snugly inside, and was swiftly shifted less than 2km away, all with a smile.

The Pup

He’s been a bit sulky – probably still trying to work out where he is and isn’t allowed to go.

Sleeping in the Dining Room

We kept the bedrooms empty because they were first in line for the sledgehammer. We’ve set up camp in the living/dining room, away from most of the dust and with a generous amount of storage in the makeshift bed head.

That Stove

The state-of-the-art Whirlpool Chancellor and Robinhood 2000 are but a few of the treasures the kitchen holds. I think my favourite part might be the sink-to-shed intercom…

Feet up!

Heating our lounge/bed/dining zone is surprisingly effective. After days of shuffling boxes around, the best spot is right in front of it, on the couch – feet up and bubbles in hand. Now the fun really begins!

This Week: In the Box

There’s a nervous pup in the lounge room. A couple of bags packed is enough to make him suspicious, but start filling boxes and he gets mighty worried. So much so, he started lying on the pile of flat, empty boxes, hoping to put a stop to all this nonsense.

Packing Up

With Simon in charge of the Shed, I got the rest of the house. We were lucky to move not long after a couple of friends and inherited a decent amount of boxes. Rather than try to work out which texta scrawls were ours, I ‘labeled’ our stuff with pink gaffa, which is easier to spot in a stack of cartons. Fragile tape was put to obvious use, and any boxes marked as such were off-limits to the removalists.

Packing Up
Packing Up

I put aside one Essentials box for each room, to be packed up last and unpacked first, ensuring we had things like toilet paper, washing detergent and the TV remote handy when we arrived.

We sold a few pieces of furniture that would have been a pain to move or didn’t work in the new place, and the rest either went in our car or the truck.

The nervous pup finally realised he wasn’t being left behind and cheered up on seeing his backyard had tripled in size.

Packing Up

Hello Yellow

It’s not too hard to work out what my favourite colour is – a quick scan of my recent pins gives a pretty strong clue. I have no doubt there will be a few pops of yellow in our new place, but keeping it to just a few pops and not allowing it to take over completely will be an exercise in restraint.

hello-yellow

1 low wire basket ++ 2 hello mat ++ 3 bench ++ 4 sunny bathroom ++ 5 floor lamp ++ 6 lampshade ++ 7 rug

This Week: Stradbroke Island & Brisbane

Stradbroke Island - This Is My Family
Stradbroke Island - This Is My Family
Stradbroke Island - This Is My Family
Stradbroke Island - This Is My Family
Stradbroke Island - This Is My Family
Stradbroke Island - This Is My Family

Above: 2 days escape on Stradbroke Island. Whales, dolphins, turtles and palm trees, plus prawn rolls for lunch. Melbourne winter can get stuffed.

Stradbroke Island - This Is My Family
Stradbroke Island - This Is My Family

Above: Joey & Rob shows us the ropes on the pottery wheel, beneath their gorgeous Queenslander.

Stradbroke Island - This Is My Family
Stradbroke Island - This Is My Family
Stradbroke Island - This Is My Family

Above: A particularly spotty sausage, Jock blends in with the leaf litter.
Below: Sitting around a fire takes us back to our NT camping days, where friends were made between cans of XXXX and ukulele tunes.

Stradbroke Island - This Is My Family
Stradbroke Island - This Is My Family
Stradbroke Island - This Is My Family

One Month & A Dream Pantry

Yesterday marked one month until Settlement on our new home so I’m putting on my Organised Adult Face. Certain behaviours come with the Face, like emailing mortgage people and signing Stat Decs and getting quotes on new carpet. The first 30 days since we purchased have flown and Organised Adult Face only made a brief appearance on two occasions – when I booked the removalists and when we decided which wall to knock down first.

Simon and I have moved house 3 times together (not including the day he moved in with me) and probably 30+ times collectively – we should have this system down by now, right?

Dream Pantry // via This Is My Family

Image: EmersonMade Home Tour on Design*Sponge

One thing we have learned along the way is that it’s easier to get rid of things than move them. When I opened the pantry at breakfast time today all I saw were jars and packets and sachets of stuff that I will have to put in a box and unpack at the other end. I decided then and there on No More Buying and a lot more Using Up. First to go were 3 half-packets of lentils and barley, hiding halfway to Narnia at the back of the pantry.

That’s the thing about pantries – our current one is narrow and deep, perfect for stuffing full of things and then forgetting about most of them. In our new home, we get to design a new kitchen from scratch and I tell you what – it makes me happier than a spoonful of peanut butter in the middle of the night.

pantries

Images: Light Locations | Oh Happy Day

My dream pantry would be either walk-thru or walk-in, have wide, shallow shelves and a step-stool for accessing the upper storage areas. I’d be able to keep semi-useful appliances and big pots in there so they didn’t take up bench or drawer space. And judging by my Kitchen Pinterest board, it would need white subway tiles on the walls. I’d have to buy shares in a glass jar company but I’d be ok with that.

What are your pantry essentials?

A House, A Home

waratah-street
When I was in primary school, and my parents spoke about things like Mortgages and Insurance and Superannuation, it made me wonder when I would start learning how to do grown-up things like buying a house. Was it part of high school? Or university? How did they work it all out before Google?

We’ve been looking at houses for three or four months now – we’ve even bid on a few at auction. There was one we really wanted but someone else really wanted it more than us, thwarting every effort we made to make it ours. I think you should probably really want any house you bid for, but there were some Simon just practised on (apologies to the people who actually wanted to buy those places). You can read about auction techniques on countless websites, but we found the best way of learning about them was to go to them.

We didn’t hire a luxury vehicle and park it out the front to intimidate other bidders, as one site suggested. We didn’t even “dress like we could afford the place”. We just watched people as they inspected a house, muttered to each other in the laundry, and chewed their lip when the bidding got too high. And they always got too high – one place we had our eye on sold for more than $200k over the advertised range. It gives you little faith in the numbers and even less in the agents, but the more you attend, the more you learn about the process and the better you can predict the outcomes.

When we walked into this property on Waratah Street, we could immediately see ourselves living there. Sure, there was work to be done but the location was ideal and the price seemed reasonable. We wanted to avoid an auction so we decided to submit an offer at the upper end of the price range, thinking it was a fair price and assuming with all our local market knowledge that it would go around $30-50k higher in a bidding frenzy. The vendors received a second offer, both above the reserve, and the agent called a ‘boardroom auction’. Yet another learning experience.

Unlike the emotional rollercoaster of a crowded footpath on a Saturday morning, a boardroom auction involves just those parties with an acceptable offer, in a room at the agent’s office, duelling for victory. There’s no guessing who’s serious and who isn’t, and no dramatic time-wasting techniques on behalf of the auctioneer. Ours was the highest offer, so the other party bid first.

$500.

In a move I think should be illegal, they raised us by $500. So we matched it. $500.

$500, again.

And again, and again. For $11,000 we played ping pong like Forrest Gump, until they gave up and we won. We had survived the game and avoided a circus and in 60 days we’ll be holding the keys. In the meantime, we’ll be learning how to Apply for a Mortgage by being thrown into the deep end. So far the bank is doing a good job of being patient while we compare Standard Variable Rates with No Fee Loans and Special Economisers.

I think this journey is worth recording, and this blog is where I’ll do that. There’s a lot of work between the Before and After but between an architect and a colour-crazed photographer I think we’ve got things covered. We’re starting from the ground up, and this is ground we’ve got to work with.
A House, A Home
Have you bought a house at auction before, and lived to tell the tale?

Images: Nelson Alexander Real Estate

Tesselaar Tulip Fesitval

Did you know that only 2% of floral species have their own dedicated festival? And that 48% of all statistics are made up?

What isn’t made up is the Tesselaar Tulip Festival – it’s for real and it’s lovely. Not quite as many tulips as the website illustration would have you believe, but enough to satisfy any self-respecting tulip-lover and her mother visiting from interstate.

Over for the weekend, I suggested a drive through the Dandenong Ranges to Mum, and together we enjoyed a few hours of Irish Weekend, complete with wandering Irish bagpipers. We pondered how successful a tulip angel would be (like a snow angel), dodged the lovers crouching down among the blooms and taking serious selfies with a tripod and remote, skipped the dutch pancakes and snipped our own bunch from the dedicated area.

Here’s a few of the varieties on display, plus some bonus non-tulip varieties.

Tesselaar Tulip Festival Tesselaar Tulip Festival
Tesselaar Tulip Festival
Tesselaar Tulip Festival Tesselaar Tulip Festival
Tesselaar Tulip Festival Tesselaar Tulip Festival
Tesselaar Tulip Festival
Tesselaar Tulip Festival Tesselaar Tulip Festival
Tesselaar Tulip Festival Tesselaar Tulip Festival