It’s been 12 months since we moved back to our freshly renovated farmhouse. Boy does time fly! Not a day goes by where I don’t feel so lucky to live in a beautiful light-filled house. It feels both very new, and also like we have always lived here. Talk about a paradox! Life really has become easier since we moved back. C and I were talking about how beautiful the living room is in winter. In the middle of the day, the light streams in and the whole house is so warm that we often open up a window or door to let a cool breeze in. It’s so different from the old house with it’s dark, small, draughty rooms. I know I’ve said it before, but having warmth and natural light makes winter so much more bearable. The house is much easier to keep clean as well – having a cupboard to put things away in, and floors that are easy to clean makes this clean freak happy!
On the June long weekend, we had a bonfire in the paddock and I looked back at the house and could see into every room. Our house is not one you could have in the suburbs – the large windows (with no curtains or blinds) are fantastic, but if you had neighbours, they would see your every move (definitely no nudie runs!). Fortunately, here on the farm, our nearest neighbours are my parents in law who live a few hundred meters away, and there are a few big trees that block the view from our house to theirs, so we have plenty of privacy.
When we moved in, we knew that our project was far from finished, and reflecting over the last 12 months, we have done a lot! We have painted more of the outside of the house (though there is still more to do!) so at least from the driveway to the house, it all looks the same colour – just don’t look around the western side of the house OK??!! It’s still yellow. I think I will be tackling that in the October holidays!
While we are talking about outside, we have also pulled out the old yard fence and C is in the middle of installing a new one. We’ve repainted the old gate and built an arbour over it, on which we want to grow some vines. The wooden fence needs to be painted and then chicken wire attached to keep the chooks out of the vegetable garden. Once the fence is finished, we will be getting the front path in (we’ve already got pavers ready), and the gardens edged and planted out. Hopefully, in another 12 months, you will see a big transformation in the front garden.
Nearer to the house, the garden between the front veranda and the deck has been planted. C hauled two large rocks into the garden with the tractor and then pushed and pulled them into place. They make a nice stepping stone between the two platforms. Around the rocks, he’s planted large mondo grass which is shade-loving and requires little maintenance. While the rest of the garden is looking a little ramshackle, this little oasis is just perfect. We’ve also pulled out the old box airconditioner which was in our bedroom (the original lounge room) and patched the walls. It’s lovely not to have an ugly hunk of metal sticking out in front of the front door, and the bedroom also looks a lot better without the 1970’s brown fixture in the wall.
In the back garden, we’ve got a new path running from the gate and meeting with the old one which now leads up to the mudroom. Friends and family helped us get it started over the Easter weekend, and I love that we now have a way of getting in and out of the house without trampling dirt in everywhere! We have also bought plants to fill the garden in front of the window. Last spring we planted an ornamental grape on to grow on the trellis on the north veranda, and although it’s still too small to provide much shade, I can see that in a few years, it’s going to be a beautiful green canopy shading our northern windows in summer.
Inside, we’ve got the upper shelves of the pantry installed and have finally got all those jars off the floor. In the bedrooms, we’ve installed curtains (though I still need to steam them straight). The ones in our room and the little two’s bedroom came from Pottery Barn Kids, while Hannah’s came from Spotlight. All the hardware also came from Pottery Barn Kids. We’ve deliberately hung the curtains high and wide to make the windows feel bigger and so that the curtains don’t cover the window panes at all. We’ve also had air conditioning installed in the living area – brilliant in summer!
Over the last few weeks, I’ve had a bit of a push to get some pictures on the walls. We finally got our giant world map framed (it was a present several years ago) and on the study wall. Perfect for planning our next adventure, or answering random questions about the location of Peru or similar. I found some old french horticultural prints I bought a few years back and whacked one in a frame near the fire, and I’ve also downloaded a few free printables I’ve found online as placeholders until I find something we love.
Before Christmas C built our beautiful outdoor table for 10 out of the timber from the old house, and we bought chairs to go with it. Over the last year, we’ve also bought a firewood box, a rug for the hall, a new tv cabinet, and have picked up several other pieces of furniture second hand. I’m constantly stalking Facebook marketplace, just in case.
There’s a lot more we’d like to do inside with furnishing. I would love new lounges and a rug for the lounge area, and if the right dining table came up, I wouldn’t say no to that either, but as I tell our kids often, you can only spend your money once, and at this stage, we are choosing to spend it elsewhere. When we come back from our big adventure next year, I will focus a little more on getting those bits right. In the meantime, I’m loving having our few bits and bobs out, and appreciating what we already have.
So far as the actual structure of the house there are a few things that I would probably change if I were to do it again – nothing big, but a few little niggly things like caulking the skirting boards properly (much easier to do it before painting). We missed putting a light switch in the hallway which makes it awkward at night (you have to turn off the light before you walk down the hall – oops). Such minute little things.
Of course, when we moved in, it really was just the beginning. The best bits of the house are not the beautiful windows, or the mudroom (which is pretty awesome) or even the kitchen that is a joy to work in. The best bits are sitting at the dining table playing board games on cold afternoons, having friends over for dinner or to stay for a weekend and knowing the house will hold everyone. It’s having my extended family for Christmas and watching the kids play while relaxing on the veranda, or lazy winter weekends when Toby lies in front of the fire playing lego. It’s cooking together in the kitchen and having enough space for us to spread out. The best bit is being together and feeling like home.
*for a look at what the house looked like soon after we moved in, check out this post for the outside and main living area, and this post for the rest of the house.