Renovating, dream home, Queenslander, Wooloowin, leaky roof, kitchen, Brisbane house

Renovating, dream home, Queenslander, Wooloowin, leaky roof, kitchen, Brisbane house

HAYLEY McGill and Cameron Bird’s home renovation experience is the stuff of nightmares.

After living for months with a leaky roof, an unwanted house mate and no kitchen, it’s a miracle they are still together.

The young couple’s journey has been a whirlwind from the start.

They were looking to buy their first house when Mr Bird’s mother called him about a 1930s Queenslander that was going to auction that day in inner city Wooloowin.

“She said; ‘Go and check out this place’,” Mr Bird said.

“We went and had a look and half an hour later, the auction started.

“I thought, ‘Oh well I’ll have a go and yeah we got it!”

Mr Bird said buyer remorse kicked in soon after because they had gone over budget, but he knew they could afford it.

They spent about a year living in the house in its original state before starting the renovation.

“It took months of constantly redrawing layouts to figure out how we wanted to configure it,” Mr Bird said.

The house was in a desperate state of disrepair.

“Because I’d bought it that day, I didn’t have time to inspect anything!” Mr Bird said.

The first thing that needed replacing was the roof.

“It was so bad when we first moved in that when it was raining, we’d have over a dozen buckets, pans and pots around the place,” Mr Bird said.

“It was terrible.”

Then they had to replace the asbestos ceilings.

“We did a lot of the (renovations) ourselves, but we paid someone to do that because you don’t want to mess with that stuff,” Mr Bird said.

Then they started gutting the inside of the house, which involved knocking down four complete walls and shifting others to create a large, open plan living, dining and kitchen area.

They gutted the kitchen and employed a contractor to redo it, but he pulled out at the last minute, leaving them high and dry.

“The day before he calls up and says he’s not doing it,” Mr Bird said.

“We’d given him a $5000 deposit!

“That was pretty devastating, but we ended up getting the money back.”

The couple had to wait six months for a new kitchen to be installed.

“We lived in the second bedroom at the back of the house during that time — it was crazy,” Mr Bird said.

“We were cooking on the barbecue every night and washing up in the bath tub.”

The drama didn’t end there.

When it came time to paint the outside of the house, Mr Bird asked the painter who was working on his neighbour’s house.

He asked if he could camp in their backyard for six weeks while he did the job.

“He’s a lovely bloke and so we said; ‘No worries, it’s only six weeks, go for it’,” Mr Bird said.

“I thought he’d have a tent in the backyard, but I came home from work one day and he and his son had built a six post shed in the backyard!

“It had a Colorbond roof, timber decking boards, lights in it and everything.

“Six weeks turned into nine months.”

It’s been a learning curve for the couple, but they couldn’t be happier with the end result — particularly given all the hard work they put in.

“I’m an electrician so did all the electrical and we did all the carpentry inside, with a bit of help, as well as all the sanding and painting.

“We put in all the new cornicing on the ceilings ourselves.”

They wanted to preserve the heritage of the home, but add a modern twist.

“We wanted to be a little bit different because so many houses are all the same,” Mr Bird said.

“So we did things like adding black fixtures and walls to traditionally white rooms like the bathroom.”

The old has been retained in the refurbished grey weatherboards, French doors, polished pine flooring, high ceilings and VJ walls.

Modern touches have been added through the artistic pendant lighting, contrasting tile splashback and modern stone benchtops in the kitchen, which features a statement blue island bench.

The couple have decided it’s time to move on to a new project, but will take six months off first to enjoy having their weekends back for a while.

But Mr Bird has some parting advice for budding renovators out there.

“It’s the Bunnings trips that kill you,” Mr Bird said.

“Every time you go it’s $200, $300 or $400 that you can never account for because they all add up.”

The property is being marketed by Patrick McKinnon and Will Churchill of Place – Ascot and is scheduled to go to auction onsite on Saturday, February 16, at 10am.


Time taken: Two years

Total spend: $250,000

End valuation: Going to auction so cannot give a price guide

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