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Tell me about the dumpy house you bought and slowly did up

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#1 audrey09

Posted 02 December 2012 - 05:36 PM

I've recently bought a house that needs a lot of work.
It's definately liveble but is in need of a lot of attention.

I'd love to hear or see pics of what you've done with your dumpy house!
Are you happy with the outcome? Glad you bought it?

I need reassurance and inspiration...btw i don't know any builders, plumbers, electricians to make things a bit easier but i'm still keen to turn it into a beautiful home.


#2 FiveAus

Posted 02 December 2012 - 05:48 PM

We're doing it at the moment, and it's doing my head in. I hate the mess, the unfinished tasks, I hate that after 2 years I'm still living in what feels like a temporary dwelling.

On the other hand, I love seeing the progress and comparing it to the original.

The house didn't look dumpy when we bought it, but it clearly needed updating and once we'd moved in we realised it also needed a fair bit of repairing.

We're at the stage now where parts are almost done, some are started and are a big mess, spare rooms are filled with stuff from the other rooms that are being renovated, and I'm at the point where I'm over it.

Also, it's hard to renovate the inside and keep up with the outside maintenance so that needs some work too.

#3 niggles

Posted 02 December 2012 - 05:49 PM

Our house was an ex-public housing home so built strong but very basic. It had old faded verticals, lino floor tiles in every room, leaky bathroom, kitchen with tiny, shallow benches and not enough storage and dirt around the mature overgrown trees. We've been here 6 years now so it's taken us a long time to save a little money and do a little more each year.

We started with the floors before we moved in - floating laminate floorboards we laid straight on top of the line tiles, and carpet in the bedrooms.

We then did wooden blinds on all windows. We used Spotlight ones when they had a 40% storewide sale. They've been excellent, easy to install and hard wearing.

Then light shades and new light fittings.

We then levelled, reticulated and put in a hard wearing shade resistant lawn which does much better than the old lawn under all these trees.

Then some guttering and water damage work on the ceiling.

Then a new toilet.

Our most recent projects are the kitchen and bathroom. The bathroom is done and we're using the kitchen but still a few finishing touches to go. These have made a huge difference to our storage issues and functionality as we've managed to open both spaces up significantly without taking up any more actual floor space.

Our next project will be stripping and painting eaves, gutters, fences and carport to give the exterior a lift. And installing a patio out the back to increase our daily living area a little. There always seems to be something that needs doing.

#4 cameo

Posted 02 December 2012 - 06:02 PM

We bought our house in 2001 and it was livable so but so ugly and dated.  It actually featured in n advertisement in 2002 because it was so unusual.

Kitchen was peach coloured and had an old style cooker, it also had a fake vinyl booth to eat in plus a wet bar with fake vinyl padding - all in brown of course)

Bathroom was absolutely awful, tiles felt revolting underfoot, tiles on the walls were falling off.  DH taped a garbage bag to the wall to stop tiles falling off.  I showered in thongs for a long time cause it really made my skin crawl.

Carpets were horrible and peach coloured.  Bedrooms had massive built in wooden bunks that took up the whole room.  Front living door had an accordian style door which was particularily attractive.

Apart from the feel of the house, and the location, there was not many redeeming features really.

Since then we have completely changed it.  First we painted the whole house, ripped up the carpet and polished the boards, got rid of the booth, and the bar.

Then we had new kitchen put in, continued painting etc.

Then we decided to completely renovate the house using a builder where we added a deck, an ensuite bathroom and demolished the laundry/back room to make a larger back room with laundry.

Since then we have also replaced the front metal windows with wooden ones.

Next we will get our builder to replace the car port as it's rotting and birds are nesting in it.

In between this we have been constantly painting and working on the house.

So it'ss that it's a great achievement to renovate, it's so so so much work and it has never stopped.  It is depressing and we have lived in the house through the whole thing - including washing dishes in the bath, all of us sleeping in one room, us sleeping in back room etc.  It's hard and dirty and expensive but we have added a lot of value to our house and it's a huge sense of satisfaction to have done so much work ourselves.

#5 Fluster

Posted 02 December 2012 - 06:03 PM

Oh, you mean the ugly besser block duplex that, excluding a recent coat of lovely mustard colour paint, hadn't been touched since it was built in 1962?  wink.gif

We've done the kitchen, bathroom, repainted, the carpets, wooden venetian blinds and the landscaping.  We still have the ugliest cyclone and barbed wire fence running down one side, the falling to bits carport, two strip driveway and the retired concrete septic tank in the backyard to deal with.  It's been a bit expensive, but we've been lucky with tradesmen, and time consuming and difficult, but we have a house we like, with an easy-clean kitchen and bathroom.  We also have a low mortgage.  We're repaying about $280 a week for a house that's 11k from Brisbane CBD.

#6 CafeCat

Posted 02 December 2012 - 06:04 PM

We turned an 80+year old 2 bedroom single level house into a 7 bedroom two storey home. The house evolved into the bigger home. We started with a flat roof extension out the back before we had kids. This gave us an additional bedroom and a bigger lounge area. It served it's purpose until four years ago when we decided to add a first floor addition and create an open plan living area downstairs.

There are still things that need to be done but we have been at it for 16years. For the most part it is finished - the outside needs landscaping but it is the least of our concerns as the lawn is neat and tidy.It has not been too onerous as the first floor addition was completed by a builder.

#7 Escapin

Posted 02 December 2012 - 06:04 PM

The house we bought was so full of the tenant's crap, and smelt so bad, that most people just walked straight out again. And then the building inspection suggested $50k work was required, some of it urgently - balcony about to fall off, that sort of thing. However, it's in a great street, has great bones and we could see the potential.

We've been here nearly 4 years, and the inside is just about finished. We ended up with restumping, new floors, new electrics, new paintwork, new kitchen, new balcony, new side walls out the front. We lived without any floors in the front two rooms for a couple of months. It's been quite a journey so far!

But now we have a gorgeous home and (including reno costs) we're currently about $250k ahead in terms of value. We now have a group of trusted tradies (and a few we wouldn't recommend using!). If you're in Sydney I can PM you any details you need.

#8 FeralLIfeHacker

Posted 02 December 2012 - 06:05 PM


Edited by lifehacker, 13 January 2013 - 12:19 PM.

#9 BetteBoop

Posted 02 December 2012 - 06:38 PM

I bought a highset 3brm x 1 bath chamferboard and brick house. It was dingy and dark with lots of small rooms, and an asbestos roof that was black with mould so it was unbearable in summer. Underneath the house was a concrete slab.

We have over 14 years:
* Replaced the roof with colorbond
* Put in insulation in the roof and walls
*Put whirlybirds skylights in the roof
* Painted it outside and in
* Put 2 decks on the back of the house - top and bottom
* Installed french doors to lead out from the lounge to the top deck
* Removed 2 walls to make the lounge/dining/kitchen into an open plan area
* Built in under the house (now has a rumpus room with a kitchenette and shower/toilet, plus a soundproof room and garage)
* Put in a sliding glass door from the rumpus room to the bottom deck
* Put up a double carport
* Got a 6 foot timber fence
* Put in a new kitchen and bathroom
* Got the timber floors polished and boards matched to look all the same
* Put crimsafe on all doors and windows
* Landscaped the whole yard, except for a grassed area for lawn after removing a massive brick bbq area

We've spent around $120K. We saved a lot by doing work ourselves and paying cash.

Now it's a bright, cool house with far too much space for 3 people. What I love about having done all of this is that it feels like it's my home.

#10 Canberra Chick

Posted 02 December 2012 - 06:43 PM

We bought a 1970's ex-govie that hadn't been updated since the 80's. it had orange cork tiles, terrible kitchen, pink verticals, mission brown front door and that off white paint everywhere.

It's still not finished, but so far we have installed evaporative cooling, ducted gas heating, white roman blinds in the living areas and wooden venetians in the bedrooms, DH  replaced the white plastic ventilation grills with blue gum grills, the kitchen has been gutted and replaced with a more open style with large island and island range hood over the gas top, pull out pantry and gloss paint doors. Every room bar the laundry has been painted, light fittings replaced, the front door replaced, rear and front railings painted, a new mail box, fresh plantings (including removing the roses with lethal two inch thorns!). The floor in the kitchen, halls and dining areas is now Australian hard wood. Next on the list is ripping out the threadbare grey nylon carpets from the living room and bedrooms and DDs bedroom, as she needs a built in robe installed and it could do with not being sunny yellow any more, which is what we painted it before DS was born and it was his nursery.

#11 Cat Burglar

Posted 02 December 2012 - 06:52 PM

Doing it now. We bought a fixer upper in a nice area to be able to afford a larger block in a non-dodgy suburb. We (DH mainly) renovated our last place - a 2br unit which we sold to afford this 3br house.

We enjoy doing it most of the time although it can be frustrating and will always take longer than you expect!
I think you either are the sort of person that enjoys/ is good at rennos or you arent. For us we dont mind that it takes a while, we do things as we can afford it, we plan to be here a long time.

Actually maybe dump is a bit harsh as I love my house but it does need A LOT of work  wink.gif

#12 Romeo Void

Posted 02 December 2012 - 07:06 PM

We've been doing ours up for 20 years. It was a solid, big old QLDer but had been subdivided at one stage into two flats then sort of opened up again and tenanted by uni students for 10 years so you can imagine the state it was in.  The old lady next door told us about the punks who would have giant bonfires in the back yard and sit on the roof throwing stuff into the yard and smashing it.

The garden was an overgrown jungle.  We found a motorbike frame and a fishtank in the undergrowth. One of my favourite 'finds' was the footpath that ran beside the house just out side the bathroom was very cracked and broken so we pulled it up.  Underneath we found about 50-100 shampoo bottles and toothpaste tubes etc.  The window for the bathroom opened out and obviously people would just throw the empties outside.  Someone then came along and just concreted straight over the top of them LOL.  The roof leaked terribly, my dad patched it with tar to get us by till we had money to replace the roof (10 years!)

It's been exciting opening up rooms that were enclosed by fibro to find lovely coloured glass windows and pretty fretwork on previously closed in verandahs.  I think whoever owned it previously had done the 'converting' to flats himself so we've had interesting finds in that department.  I remember many times waking in the night to what sounded like a gunshot only to find another tile had fallen off a wall in the bathroom and smashed to pieces on the tile floor.  The wiring horrified the sparky who came to disconnect some stuff for us and it turned out our toilet floor (and toilet itself) was sitting on a beam that had been cut in half and propped up with a half brick.  Not even a FULL brick LOL.

One thing I would suggest is taking lots and LOTS of photo's of everything now and as you go.  It's great fun to look back at what we've done over the years.

Anyway, we've enjoyed the process so much we've just bought another rundown house LOL.

#13 BurningBright

Posted 02 December 2012 - 07:36 PM

We have recently purchased a 50+ yr old fibro cladded cottage that lets's just say was never  updated.
We did a few of these before moving in:
  1. Stripped the old carpet
  2. Got the floorboards polished
  3. Painted 2 of the rooms ( will do rest as budget allows)
  4. Got a new bathroom put in
  5. Polished all the beautiful timber doors and wardrobes
  6. Got ceiling fans put in
  7. Changed electricals

I still have following to do (depending on budget)
  1. New kitchen
  2. Changing hot water system
  3. Installing air con
  4. Renovating laundry
  5. Getting plantation shutters

Best thing is I have started on my veggie garden. I feel like I am on roller coaster ride but its so worth it!!!

#14 Riverchick20

Posted 02 December 2012 - 07:54 PM

My house is a young house that was basically trashed. So far we have

1. bogged up all the holes ( at least 6-10 in every room)
2. Painted the house
3. replaced the oven ect.
4.changed the light fittings
5. replaced the carpet.
9. added roller shutters
6. fixed up the verandah
7. dug up the front yard, built a retaining wall (my DP) and have redone paving, redone drainage.
8. ripped up all the paving out the back
9. fixed the roller doors, and redone garage roof and painted
10. put flyscreens, and security doors up
11. put up outdoor lights in the front and the back
12. installed ducted gas

Things to do:
1. dig up the back yard (build up of dirt)
2. pull out the palm trees, and other plants
3. finish concreting and tiling under the verandah
4 . add our outdoor roller shutters and sliding doors, brick footings (making our outdoor area into a outdoor/water proof entertainment room)
5. add plants to front and back,
6. pave the 3rd access
7.erect our new shed

It is super hard work, we have been going for a year . Have been doing the work ourselves. But is so worth it , and got our house for a great price due to the work that needed to be done. Make sure you take lots of photos from before and after each project.

Edited by Riverchick20, 02 December 2012 - 07:58 PM.

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