Part 6 is the last chapter of this short renovating series in Australia, during COVID-19.
Just when you think you’ve finished renovating – although deep down, you know differently – you discover that there’s still more to repair and renovate.
A little background
Initially, we set 6 weeks to complete a mammoth renovating project, after flying from Italy to Australia, at the height of COVID-19.
You may like to read Part 1 (the reason for so much renovating), Part 2 (internal and external house painting), Part 3 (Replacing the patio and enclosure), Part 4 (kitchen renovating), and Part 5 (renovating the bathroom and en-suite) of this series, before continuing.
As COVID-19 intensified around the globe with many aeroplanes grounded, we continue to add more tasks to the already huge renovating project – we have more time now…
Clearing the Amazon
The garden requires major clearing with overgrown trees and dead leaves throughout the property.
Tree loppers prune the very tall trees – expensive – and we work on the rest.
A plethora of bins later and the yard is looking much tidier. Also take the opportunity to fill vacant garden bed spots due to dead plants, with new varieties.
All of this Amazon clearing takes a lot of time. Although, with COVID-19 and Australia’s restrictions in full swing, time, is what we have right now. And so, continue to find issues to repair, improve, or renovate.
A little gravel
Besides clearing the Amazon in this renovating series, later decide to gravel the back of the yard and top-up gravel on one side of the house. The back is a dead spot and prone to tenants using this area as a rubbish dump.
So, laying down black weed mat, one tonne of river stones’ later, and loads of back-breaking shovelling, this part of the work is completed.
Much prefer this cleaner look than weeds and damp mossy grass. Over the years, tenants have taught me to keep areas as maintenance-free as possible.
On first arriving at the house, seeing the sorry state of my 20-plus-year-old Cycads (Sago Palms), nearly brought tears to my eyes. Only 7 are left from more than 20 mature plants that were flourishing.
The Blue Butterfly, which is more a moth than a butterfly, also attacks new shoots. Laying its eggs in the heart of the cycad, when the lava hatches, the caterpillars set out busily chewing through any new fronds. This weakens and eventually kills the plant.
I’m learning a plethora of horticultural skills just to bring my plants back to life. Especially, as a small cycad is very expensive. The size of these mature cycads run in the hundreds of dollars to replace.
After 5 months of love, care, spraying with White Oil every fortnight, 1 of the 6 remaining plants still in a very sorry state, is starting to regenerate.
Most of the plants in the garden are diseased and weakened in some way, as they haven’t received much care in 14 years, so I’m ecstatic that one is growing again!
Besides the 21 internal doors and one external door that needs repairing, filling, sanding, undercoating, and top coating, the entrance door is also in a sorry state.
The leadlight is cracked so badly that replacing the door crosses my mind, but it’s costly. And, I really like this design of the Australian Waratah flower, in case you’re wondering about the design.
Many phone calls and a couple of quotes’ later and I finally discover through word of mouth, an excellent leadlighter, which is a dying art.
Thinking of taking classes to start creating my own leadlight art…when I have a little spare time.
The repair is faultless. The coloured and patterned glass is a 99.9% match of the original glass. The leadlighter also completes the repairs within the promised time for me to give the door a new lick of paint and life.
Have you heard of carpet raking? No, me neither, but a quick online search and all is revealed.
A little background for you, when the carpet isn’t vacuumed or cleaned over many years, the pile flattens. If it’s really dirty, this also flattens the underlay. The first carpet cleaner advises of this dilemma, then later, the second cleaner gives the same verdict.
This is a problem as the carpet needs ripping up, new underlay installed, then re-laying the carpet. Just imagine all the nasty bugs living in the carpet that has rarely been disturbed for years? Something lived in the carpet when I was bitten, resulting in the plague!
One way to bring the flattened pile back up is to dampen the carpet using water in a spray bottle (I used carpet shampoo), then fork the area with a kitchen fork or a carpet rake. As I don’t have a rake, I fork the carpet on all 4 bedrooms with a kitchen fork, on my hands and knees.
Taking a room at a time with rest days in-between as this is a slow boring job, it takes around an hour each room. The large main bedroom takes almost a couple of hours.
The result is that the carpet looks and feels much better. Ready for the second carpet shampoo/steam clean and hoping that this does bring the pile up even more.
The fascias of many light switches are replaced as they’re either too dirty, old or painted over, during the decades of tenants.
A little sightseeing
Even though we’re exhausted from renovating, there’s always a little window of time, for a spot of local sightseeing.
It’s always great to wander the streets of Brisbane. Especially, after years of being away and check out what’s new. Typically, this involves trying to find some street art, which is never too far away…
The Brisbane City Cross River Rail Project displays every-changing street art in its pedestrian tunnel during the building and a pleasure to stroll through…
This is The End
Renovating for 6 solid weeks enduring countless hours – 12 to 13-hours each day, 7 days each week – the main renovating that we set out to do is finally finished. Although now, we’re throwing in many extras, which keeps us busy for the next couple of months.
With Australia imposing COVID-19 restrictions, closed borders, travel only allowed within a 50-kilometre-radius, international travel only allowed on compassionate grounds, what else is there to do? Renovate or get a job, of course.
Although, as with many countries around the world, many people in Australia are also out of work. The job market is tough with a plethora of applicants for each job. Employers are also offering lower pay rates than usual. The rumour is that it’s an employer’s market, but then again, everyone is hurting in 2020 due to COVID-19.
For now, it’s back to our house to start renovating all over again. But first, we clear out our garage that’s been storage for our home contents for 6 years, while we travelled around the world.
Here’s to hoping that 2021 will be a better year for everyone and not another Pandora’s Box!
Sincerely hope that everyone stays safe during this pandemic. 🙂
I’ll leave you with this virtual tour of the house to end the renovating series.