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  • gillianvann

2013, we enter our renovating era

We had already renovated quite a few properties, mostly timber Qlder homes and some apartments, and I think being naive and confident really helped us. We didn't think the job was too big for us, but of course it was. The main house wasn't really liveable, there were animals living in the ceiling, plants growing through eaves and windows, bowed floorboards, rotten floorboards, gross 70yo carpets, and a general mess everywhere. The home hadn't been lived in for well over a decade. We moved our clan of 5 into the smaller cottage (eventually named The Shepherd's Cottage because we ran sheep in the paddock above the cottage) and started the long task of prepping the home for a major renovation. oh, and we started the girls at a new school. As it turned out, we went to 4 different schools in the Hills, it seemed like every year from 2013 to 2021 I was buying new uniforms.

driveway tax: when a tradesperson visits your home and decides you are very rich and so should pay more, and the original quote gets inflated

The list of jobs to do was overwhelming, and we had zero contacts in SA so we started the process of interviewing tradies and getting quotes. As we had discovered in Qld, good old driveway tax is alive and well in SA too, and the prices we were quoted were outrageous. I even caught one man telling his crew that it's a big job so we need to make sure to stay on budget, and then he winked at his men, thinking I didn't see it! He was not hired.... We have managed to make one lasting friendship out of one of our trades, but the rest have come, done the work, then charged us a small fortune and we parted ways, always seeking someone more reasonable (ngl, there have been some squabbles and disputes along the way as well, we were told by our current fave electrician, a UK immigrant, that Adl is the most litigous city he's ever lived in, that would have been good info to have learned in 2013). The high note is Rob the tiler, who has done all the tiling here, his work is excellent and still looks amazing to this day, he did a few jobs for us interstate as well, and is basically family at this point. We realised there was a mountain of demolishing work to be done, and we were just two people, it was going to take too long. I can't remember now who told us about wwoofers (Willing Workers on Organic Farms - yeah, dumb name) but it's the next chapter, we had a year of hosting wwoofers and that's how we got the bulk of the gritty, messy work done.

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