That will be several hundred thousand dollars, thanks…

Channie goodbye

We were Christchurch bound to help Chee and Annie move into their new, OWN, home. There had been much effort perusing available properties with pros and cons weighed carefully. Under floor and roof cavities inspected carefully with a builders eye, and no stone unturned when the decision was made. Offer was accepted and suddenly it was time. We were ready to pack and clean, unpack and admire.

They give cakes with mortgages now!

The new house has the requisite veg garden and a potting shed, glass house, slash tool shed made from old window frames. The very best kind. Outdoor spaces for summer shade and winter sun. A large new garage, with a door opener no less, almost brings tears of joy with its beautiful floor stretching metre, after metre into a long driveway, providing hours of fun to two little girls on their bikes.


Time to find new homes for everything

Tara n Sifa’s move into their city house was the same, but different. Fresh paint and new carpet with the promise of beautiful floorboards beneath it suited them to a T. A tiny footprint meant careful planning inside and out. Engaging a landscaper’s advice first giving clear instructions and in just a few short years, the outside looks amazing. An architects advice for the inside also meant a clear way ahead, and a budget.

Both homes with some room for improvement, they will do just fine for the next part of each whanau’s journey.

I remember well the homes we looked at to buy for our first home in 1979. Some were new and tiny, with their low ceilings and boring layout, skinny halls and no storage. Then there were the ones that had been remodeled to the point of not being sure where the front door was or how you accessed a lounge through a bedroom. Oh there were beautiful ones too that we could never afford, but then we were always drawn to the older homes. The bungalows with good bones and a top line of lead lights, solid timber doors and brass fittings. In our price range these mostly needed work, but they were loved family homes and spaces we could see ourselves in.


An old photo of our first home forty years ago

Our first home was built in 1940, had two huge bedrooms and a large sun room on the side with windows that pulled right back to make it a veranda and sat on a quarter of an acre with plum, feijoa, apple, pear, lemon, grapefruit and a walnut tree. The kitchen had pull down flour bins and was painted in mint green with brass handles and a speckled green bench. The lounge was beautiful with a semi circle window seat with lift up lids for storage and every room had jewel like multifaceted lead light windows that lit the room up with the lower afternoon sun. It cost us $27,500 if my memory is right!


Piano lessons in the hallway

The master bedroom was so huge, apart from our King size bed, we had a bassinet on my side, a single on Gilbert’s side and a cot in the far corner. Children came and went from various sleeping arrangements as they wished. Not every one’s cup of tea but it worked well for us. We completely renovated every part while retaining its originality. We oiled timber, repainted sills, re carpeted with a patterned axminster wool, and built a new rimu kitchen. Then Gilbert decided we needed to move. We were expecting our fifth baby and had always said if we moved, it would be to the country. With my new kitchen and double oven, at first I told Gilbert he would have to sell me with the house, but soon became excited at the prospect of a new beginning in a new space.

We gathered up our jars of feijoa chutney, plum jam and guava jelly made from our very own trees and moved to the country, to a house that resembled a bit more of a house ‘for removal’ as it had not long been plonked there, than a loved family home, and we started again. Also built in the 40’s but with sheep grazing right to the door, both inside and out was a bit of a mess. Thirty years later and only the lounge ceiling remains the same. Everything has been improved and for now it still meets all our needs. We have created some great memories here. Lets see what the future holds…

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