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Year 1 house tour: the foundation year

We bought our house last July. We moved into it in October. I’ll split the difference for this one-year-in look at what Jamie and I have done with our new home and what our future plans are.

It’s a good house, this one. It’s our little piece of Australian suburbia. It’s been well maintained, the layout and structures are solid, and most of the updates it needs are strictly cosmetic. Before we moved in, we repaired the cracked plaster walls, removed the carpet and refinished the underlying floorboards, and gave most of the rooms a fresh coat of paint. The bathrooms want full renovation, but that’s it for hardcore reno plans, really. Lots of projects to keep us busy, but not so much that the house begins to own us.

Now. The tour. I haven’t shared one since the first walkthrough, so I’m going to be reasonably thorough.

living room - before
living room - current

living room - before
dining room - current

Living room

My preferred spot in the house when it’s cold outside, thanks to the cozy couch and the gas heater. The big workbench-like table has worked well for parties, games nights, and when I need to spread a project out somewhere. Look closely, there’s piles of sewing stuff stacked around it right now. (I’ll also note that Don Draper’s ashtray has moved position in these photos; a potted kentia palm is in its place by the heater now.)

– Fixing the walls and re-painting a pale aqua (Dulux White Box)
– Sewing linen curtains
– Buying a dining table and chairs (yeah, they’re replicas)
– Adding a refinished sideboard that sits in the corner and holds nerdy board games and sewing gear
– Replacing my record cabinet for a more functional one.
(In progress: Installation of a heat transfer kit. Let’s hear it for making the rest of the house less of an icebox.)

– Furnishing replacements — new TV stand, new floor lamps. I’d really like to exchange the bulky loveseat for a couple of armchairs, but only half of the household is into that idea. So far.
– Replace chandeliers for something more modern, eventually.
– Install a faux fireplace column (it sounds far more hideous and tacky than what I’m imagining, I promise.)
– Hang floating cat shelves — Jamie’s idea, he’s adorably into pro-cat IKEA hacks and cat ramps and all that stuff.

kitchen 1
kitchen 2


– Paint (Dulux Grand Piano quarter)
– Laminate cabinet makeover — paint on top, contact paper below
– Spice and tea organisation (we like our tea!)
– Small golden sassafras shelves
– Adding a cute sideboard along the long charcoal wall
(We also moved the dryer out of the kitchen and mounted it on the laundry wall — progress!!)

– Slate tile flooring
– Lighting: replace fluorescents for recessed lights and a pendant over sink
– Replace window blinds. One day, add rolling panels to cover sliding glass door at night.
– Add stools around kitchen bench
– Add bench and furnishings (hooks, etc) to make a secondary foyer by door
– Install a skylight — this room is rather dark, especially in summer.
(Dream reno, if we’re going all out: new benchtops, timber cabinets, vaulting the low ceiling.)


Laundry / WC (shown at move-in)
(shown at move-in)

Accomplishments: N O T H I N G. Yay, we finally mounted the dryer on the wall in the laundry?

To-do: We want to renovate both these spaces top to bottom, particularly the laundry. One day, we want to expand the w/c into a small, full second bathroom with a shower and sink, as well as designing a functional laundry cubby to neatly store the machines and all the cleaning products and junk. I’ve been modelling layouts and I’m pretty sure of the configuration I want, but we’re not ready for the financials of a proper room reno at the moment. (We’re also happily busy working on other areas!)

spare 1
spare 2

Spare bedroom

Accomplishments: Wall repair, painting a deep blue-grey (Taubmans Thundercloud); stripping the texture off the ceiling; replacing the mismatched, carved-up old baseboards with new ones.

– Transition from foosball parlour and junk storage to guest room.
– Finish off corner nook — it still has sections of missing cornice, yikes.
– New light shade and window treatments. We’ve got a light-filtering roller blind, now it just needs curtains.
– Pretty up the fireplace.

study 1
study 2


Accomplishments: Wall repair; paint (Dulux Beige Royal half); cleaning up and getting a workspace set up. I have been working on bits and pieces for this room, as it’s my workspace, but I’m waiting until I have a few topics to post about before sharing, if that makes sense.

– Procure workspace furniture — filing cabinet, flat file, workbench
– Hang shelves
– Hang posters and stuff. (It doesn’t take long, I’m just being slack.)
– New blinds — I’m thinking day/night roller blinds?
– Refinish desk top and organise all the electronics and cables and junk
– New futon cover, desk chair and coffee table
– Pretty up fireplace, possibly paint white
– Transfer futon to spare room and transfer foosball table to curb (I wish.)

master 1
master 2

Master bedroom

Accomplishments: Stripping texture off the ceiling here as well; painting the walls a desaturated navy (Dulux Signature). It looks okay, really. I’d like to decorate this room further, but the base of it didn’t need much work — well, aside from the window! (I’m real glad that’s over.)

– Furnish window — light-filtering privacy roller blinds and curtains.
– Finish the quilt I’m working on.
(Maybe: switch layout so bedhead goes against window? As it is, the room is a little awkward to move around.)
(Maybe one day: new wardrobe doors? The giant mirrors are a little unnerving.)

hallway 1
hallway 2


Accomplishments: repaired walls, paint (Dulux Grand Piano quarter / Beige Royal half); stripped doorway trims back to varnished timber, hung a few fun prints.

This is also mostly done, but for a few things:

– Replace light fixture with three pendants, which will need wiring in.
– Relocate phone cable to under the house.
– Maybe: add wallpaper or a stencil, either above or below the picture rail.
– One day: skylight.

entry 1
entry 2


Mostly finished, but for a few tiny tweaks.

Accomplishments: Painted walls (Dulux Grand Piano quarter); painted trim (Taubmans Winter Mood) and door (off-the-shelf satin black); new flush-mount LED light fixture (not pictured); functional decoration including hooks, shoe racks, a large mirror and a blackheart sassafras landing shelf.

– Weatherstripping
– Replace deadbolt for one that matches the doorknob
– More substantial, modern hooks? Like I said, big decisions.

exterior 1
exterior 2

front garden 1

front garden 2

Front yard

Accomplishments: rosebush/rhododendron removal, gravel bed removal, planting out the front and side hedges, planting hellebores in the brick planter by the doorway.

– Remove arborvitae by fence
– Add edging around beds with narrow charcoal pavers
– Create new paver paths
– Create new bed where arborvitae currently are; plant more bottlebrushes for screening
– Create new bed under bedroom window
– Aerate and overseed lawn
– Take out low cinderblock wall and build a similarly low, modern-looking fence
– Replace mailbox for a less janky-looking one?

border 1
border 2



It looks worse before it looks better! I had to clean house in the mixed border due to the overgrowth, and I wasn’t real keen on all the invasive ivy either.

Accomplishments: cleaning up and extending the mixed border; planting heaps of native plants and fruiting trees, removing the wall of ivy off our carport and sharply cutting back the terrifying tree ivy. (These photos were also taken before the gum tree lost a third of its canopy in a windstorm. This is how he’d like to be remembered, I’m sure.)

– Continue filling in the mixed border with native plants, with attention given to each flowering season.
– Paint carport wall charcoal and plant another vine
– Remove and rebuild veggie garden beds
– Remove crumbly old concrete walkway
– Add more screening along back fence
– Aerate and overseed lawn
(One day: add small paver patio, firepit and benches.)

deck progress

Deck / Exterior

Here’s an image that shows the tiny changes that can happen over the course of a year, from season to season — it doesn’t look like much until you compare the first and last photos.

Accomplishments: Cleaning, staining, and sealing the deck and the overhead beams; painting the deck rails; adding some furniture and a heap of potted plants; cleaning up the scrap heap horrorshow underneath the deck.

– Finish my live-edge slab benches
– Build a long coffee table for the deck
– Fix shonky guttering
– Run power out to the deck
– Run power out to the carport and enclose sides with slat screening
– Paint the house exterior
– Install gates on either side of house

Well, that’s the lot. Whew! Bless you if you read all of this.

I have to say that I’ve really enjoyed maintaining this house diary over the past year, and I’m grateful to everyone who reads, follows, comments, or shares my posts. It means a lot to me and I’m looking forward to sharing more of the same in our second year as homeowners. <3

6 thoughts on “Year 1 house tour: the foundation year”

  1. What a great idea to do a round-up like this! Who cares if people read every word or not – it was worthwhile to see the list of accomplishments for yourself. You’ve done so much. And I’m glad you are maintaining your enthusiasm because you’ve got plenty left to do. Your photos are so good. My favourite little spot so far is the entryway. Quite unassuming but it’s got something about it!

    1. You’re right, it was worth putting the list together for myself. Thank you so much for all the comments along the way. Jamie and I love working on our house together and I like having the diary to look back though.

  2. Wow! You & Jamie have accomplished so much in a year. I especially like all the furniture pieces you’ve acquired, refurbished, or repurposed along the way.

  3. Pingback: House walkthrough, year two | Saltbush Avenue

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