DIY: Mama’s house Part 1

Mamas house

A few weeks ago, an intrepid bunch of Hardy all sorts descended on my Mum’s house to give it a bit of a makeover. With just seven days and $5000 to get the job done, it was a challenge to say the least but we’re a determined bunch, some with DYI skills in the blood and some who just had sheer grit to make it happen.

It seemed an impossible job. 60 minute makeover it wasn’t. More like a week of incredibly long days, washing out of a bucket and dodgy meals. It involved acres of wallpaper to be scraped off, buckets of paint,  a massive amount of tidying and organising, a garden rendezvous and a whole lot of love to get the job done.

The end game is to help my mum sell her house and move into a lower maintenance one. It’s on a corner section with heaps of garden and it’s a 1947 ex State House (a very much loved style of house in ol’ NZ).

Before I go any further though, I have to clearly state the purpose of the makeover wasn’t about turning it into the Taj Mahal or being on the cover of Homestyle mag or anything. It was simply to make it look fresh, clean and inviting and make it enticing to would be buyers.

So, let’s start with the lounge, dining and kitchen shall we? Here’s a little idea of what they looked like before.

Mums dyi house grid

I flew into Palmerston North on a Monday (where my mum lives) and our family Handy Andys were already hard at work demolishing a very unfashionable arch and squaring that off into a much nicer light filled square opening. Boom. Years of dislike demolished in a few minutes. I straight away got stuck into wallpaper scraping in the living room. But I have to ask why, oh why, were there five layers on some walls and only three on the others? I’m still groaning on the inside.

But after hours of scraping, sanding (instead of muscle memory I have ache memory), a bit of plastering, and a good undercoat, we were ready to paint the ceiling and walls. I use the proverbial we, but I really mean the Handy Andys. Apparently painting is a bit of an art form so we left it to our resident DYI’ers. We used Resene’s ‘Quarter Tea’, a colour that is soft, simple and you really can’t say anything bad about it. In fact we used it throughout the house.

We also capped off an ugly gas heater that was no longer working (thanks Gas Man) and boarded, plastered, painted over it etc.

We binned the curtains and nets (ugh) in each room including the curtain rail alcatrave thingys, and bought simple thermal lined curtains from Bunnings (or it could have been Mitre 10) – they blur in my mind after a 1000 visits in one week. For the lounge I bought a simple bookcase from The Warehouse which was on sale, added a few new cushions and packed up a zillion of mum’s possessions. The carpets were also cleaned. Some beautiful rimu floors live under there, but we simply had no time or resource to bring them to life plus we didn’t think they would add too much value to the house overall for where it’s located.

Mums house Lounge
Hi mum!

Here’s a look back from the kitchen to the dining.

Mums dyi kitchen dining

In the kitchen, along with some fresh paint on the walls, we decided that to keep within budget we had to keep the vinyl floor (not my cup of tea) and the retro style cupboards. But we did end up replacing the oven, tearing out the old wall fan (last worked in 1947 I bet) and installed a new wall extractor. We painted the endless cupboards in a semi gloss white and tried out some new knobs but no one liked them so it was back to the old ones (they looked much snazzier against the freshly painted cupboards anyway).

The fridge was originally located next to the pantry but we moved that into a perfect space by the counter and installed new shelving in the space left behind to house the microwave and other kitchen knick knacks.

Mums dyi kitchen pantry-2

My niece and I found a lovely wooden countertop at Bunnings for a whopping $99 and replaced the old vinyl countertop. Cut down to size and with the leftover wood made into a chopping board, it’s one of my favourite makeover do overs.

Mamas kitchen

Clean, tidy, simple and decluttered. Yee har!

Next time I’ll share the rest of the house. It’s home improvement baby. Tim the Toolman Taylor would be proud.



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