Archive for the 'House Renovation NZ' Category

House Renovation – A Cautionary Tale

Things are progressing at a great rate of knots here at the Pump House Cottage – though I am not sure that we are going in a forward direction. Plus there is a bit of a mystery – Where has the cottage gone…..????? 

Hey! Someone has left this building shell where the pump house cottage used to be....

No matter how hard I look – nothing here even slightly resembles the little zoo cottage bought back in september – confusing… 

Anyone seen a little blue cottage? 

Hey Pax! Can you spot the pump house cottage?

 Even Pax and Laurie are confused. And the IT guy has gone into hiding…… suspicious….. 

I am positive there used to be a little workingmans cottage here! Help!

And just what is burning???? 

Suspicious Fire

Oh well, maybe I came to the wrong address – lets go for a ride on the cable car and forget about it! 

Cable Car Caper!

From Laurie’s smiling face you would never guess that the first five attempts at this photo on the cable car caught her with a finger wedged up her nose. My quiet suggestion that she remove it resulted in her shouting back, for all to hear, I’ve got a BOGEY mummy! The laugh that she got from the surrounding passengers only made it worse! But I finally got a nice picture – she is all class! Pax, is just his usual ‘photogenic’ self….


Just Another Demo Day at the Pump House Cottage

I have always said that the IT guy had a ‘scorched earth’ policy – he does not muck around either! And what has been going down at the pump house cottage proves my theory.   

Beautiful New Piles!

But first – it is not all sledge hammer welding here, we have new piles and a new retaining wall!   

Look at the beautiful new piles in the picture – awwwww – well, maybe you had to be there…

New House Height - up One Meter!

Funny thing about the new foundations for the house is you now need a ladder to get inside the house! The distance from the ground to the back door used to be about 30cm and is now a meter! So now the view from the cottage has improved! There is a lovely vista down the valley.

There is still a lot of floor missing – and some more got ripped out before the floor assault ended (the picture of the bubs room minus floor says it all!).   

The Floor in the Bubs Old Room is Gone!

New Floor in the Bubs Room! But Now GIB Free..

Floor seems to reappear as quickly as it is taken out thanks to big beautiful sheets of ply! Sacrilege! I hear floor board lovers shout… Don’t worry we are keeping the floor boards where it counts.

A lovely rustically wooden floored kitchen, lounge and hallway is planned. Though I am really liking the ply – maybe floorboards so yesterday!  

Slight Problem with the GIB Post Repiling

Notice the GIB stripping going on in the new floor photo? Well the repiling of the house caused a bit of havoc with the GIB. Some was coming off anyway, but after the repiling there was not much point in keeping the small amount that was salvageable or that’s what the IT guy says anyway – scorched earth and all that…  

We had quite a few ‘alien’ bulges in the walls – seriously disturbing – looked like something was about to erupt out of there – perhaps one of those infamous portals to another dimension everyone’s been talking about – perhaps the scary washing machine and the pump house cottage should do lunch.  

The Whole House is Bare of GIB...


So the whole cottage is stripped bare – ready for new GIB and insulation.  The place is a bit of a shocker! Grant has been hiring poor unsuspecting students to haul all the demo rubbish away – one poor boy slinked away before even starting after being told what he was supposed to do for the day – maybe the hill doesn’t help..  

Ceilings Hanging Out for Some GIB!


Check it out – even the ceilings are bare! It is actually a lovely sight – a nice clean slate.   

So just who is going to do all this work – well the builders have arrived – yay!  And the IT guy is working with them to get the house back to its former glory – prehaps…  


P.S. I am holding out on you – there have been major developments on site – the carnage continues! Stay tuned for the next episode of the ‘The Pump House Cottage Sympathetic Redevelopment’

Repiling! Pump House Cottage Style

The old lady has been stripped and jacked up – not one shred of dignity remains – and the repiling hasn’t even started yet!

The pump house cottage – thanks to her repiling antics – is currently starring in an article about repiling on the Propertytoolbox website! We are famous… Sort of….

 Before you go on – I have to warn you – it is not pretty – view the following pictures with caution!   

Hang on PHC - your already looking sad - but you are about to head skyward!

The house is already a shadow of its former self here – the lavender has been dug up and the bottom of the wall demolished – ready for the big move to a firm foundation. 

Perhaps not the PHC's best side

The jacks are in position – plug that baby in! So now the fun starts. Let the repiling begin!  

Just fresh air under here - and some old beer bottles....

Over a couple of days the PHC moved about 1.2m off the ground – I didn’t expect it to get that high! These repiling dudes make it look easy! It is fairly entertaining watching people walking about under the house… I think if I ventured underneath the house it would just tempt fate…. 

Ready for the close up!

 The bare bones exposed – all ready for a good clean out – this house repiling thing is cathartic. 

Now for the classics…

The ‘before’ and ‘after’ shots…… 

Up close and personal with the driveway - Before

IT Guy: Hmmm – dilemma – our house is holding up the neighbours driveway 

The tea lady: Hey! Lets move it over! 

The IT Guy: Yeah – good idea! 

The general public: You guys are insane. 

Moving a metre - all in a mornings work...

And viola! Done! Not a problem for the experts! Now we just need some new piles… 

Around the back - my lovely, serene toilet.....

I loved this little toilet room off the end of the house – there was something serene and peaceful about it – good feng shui (or something) or perhaps it was the only room in the house with a lock… 

Bye bye toilet - what a lovely toilet you were....

Anyway bye bye toilet – you are unfortunately collateral damage of the ‘big picture’. 

Sigh! The IT guy says he will get me a relaxing cubical for my next birthday. 

The inside has had a revamp too….. 


So much for the $23 trademe kitchen...

Now you can see why a $23 kitchen was the order of the day at the time – a dollar more would have been a waste…. 

I personally think that the repilers get a lot of satisfaction cutting holes in people floors – they are brutal!

Total distruction inside - now I agree - it is not habitable!

I think you could say that the whole place is ‘open plan’ now… 

And some really scary stuff just to put everyone off buying a 100+ year old house, re-piling & renovating in general….. 

The inside is unrecognisable – wall, floors, doors, toilet, windows – all keep disappearing indiscriminately – I try not to look too hard or ask too many questions.
Is that daylight I can see through that rotten wall

This was not a surprise – and not as bad as it could have been – hey but we still have some extra ventilation for now. 

Piles of dirt in the house - and holes in the floor - hey its progress!

This is the bubs room…. hmmm not sure that this is a worse mess then I have seen them make.

The old piles - whats left of them - how was the house holding up!

No wonder walking around the house was like traversing uneven terrain, the piles were a mere shadow of their former selves – but you have to marvel that untreated native timber lasted so long anyway. Go totara!

That floor was no good anyway…

 Now this one was a surprise – for me – not for anyone else – seems I was out of the loop on this floor ripping up decision… 

So anyway – the big renovation has started yay! Step one – repile – step 2 – everything else….. hmmmm…

And incase anyone is wondering – no we are not currently residing in the pump house cottage – we are temporarily living in some very small digs in Aro valley – a bit too close to Aro cafe for comfort. 

But we have pitched a tent in the garden of ‘the broken house’ as the bubs call it and camped out last friday and plan to camp out again – if the weather cooperates. 

To find out how the repiling pans out and the renovations progress – watch this space…

Whats Happening at The Pump House Cottage

Clearing the Garden - Room for a Garage?

Clearing, clearing, clearing – and clearing. Funny thing has happened – the garden just got a lot bigger! We have been going crazy clearing out weeds, and we have been regaining a shocking amount of space in the garden – the place is huge. Check out the photo! Unfortunately this newly cleared space is now harbouring piles of wood (bought from the dump – yes you can buy stuff from the dump!) and piles of greenwaste (seems the laws of conservation of energy apply in the jungle and the weeds do not magically disappear once you have pulled them out). Not sure what is going to happen to this space – wood pile? Mulch pile? Sheds? Or maybe a garage? Watch this space…

IMG_3182I cleared all of this garden island during one of Lauries afternoon sleeps – any spare moment is spent in the garden! I have now planted a couple of vege in here to see how they get on – have bare dirt – will plant!

The Vege Garden - 16th NovemberThe vege garden is making progress too – seeds have sprouted – though I am still awaiting the appearance of the elusive Lebanese cucumber – I haven’t given up hope yet… The patch looks pretty green from the photos – but don’t congratulate me yet – most of the greenery is weeds – being the novice gardener I am I don’t want to go crazy pulling them out until I know which ones are my sprouting seeds!

Potatoes! (Not Just Weeds) GrowingSome wanted growths are pretty obvious – check out the potatoes! But the potential scatterment of the cucumber seeds by the cats has even stopped me from weeding the potato rows – excuses, excuses! OK the weeding is on the list!

I think a lot of the weeds sprouting are borage – maybe I could start a cottage industry selling borage seedlings – anyone for borage??



The $23 Trademe Kitchen Installed!Up at the house – not much is happening – but the “new” kitchen is in!  And it is awesome! One small prob – we only have a hot tap at the moment – the cold tap doesn’t quite line up with the sink (???) but that is OK – Apparently there is a new cold tap in the “pipeline” courtesy of Al Brown again – thanks! But even this Logan Brown kitchen karma will not make me like their paua ravioli. The rest of the $23 trademe kitchen ended up being freecycled, and so did the scary stove – freecycle is the new black – or maybe green….

Even Trademe Won't Take This One!But trademe – and even freecycle – wouldn’t take the old kitchen – here it is in all its ripped out glory – exposed on the front lawn…. and now disposed of and in the big rubbish tip in the sky… somewhere near Brooklyn Wellington….

Don’t Run! It’s Just a Kitchen!

Seems not just the stove, but the kitchen is scary too… As mentioned in the previous post, part of the $23 trademe kitchen is revisiting trademe – but on the dark side – i.e. the gratuitous money making side.

All was looking good, a keen purchaser had bought the few cabinets and bench that were surplus to requirements for $100 – serious profit!  Pick up was arranged for saturday – and all going to plan I would soon regain some room to move. But no! Things are just not that straight forward, seems the trademe kitchen likes the pump house cottage – seems the trademe kitchen is breeding and multiplying in the pump house cottage, seems there was undisclosed reasons the trademe kitchen was basically thrown at us for the paltry sum of $23 – it wont leave!!

Here’s how it went down – a petite bespectacled man with frail mother in tow comes to pick up the kitchen. First question “Is there another way to get to the road?” – not a good start – obviously the dude is daunted by a mere 60 steps…

Then he looks around and notes the kitchen cabinets towering all around him – the colour drains from his face – I start wondering if I have a bucket handy… I helpfully point out that it is only the few cabinets “over there” that he has purchased – but it is too late – his glasses have fogged and I can tell his brain is playing the tune from mission impossible. Excuses are mumbled and $10 is thrown at the IT guy (for his troubles) and the little man and mum are high tailing it up the 60 stairs in quite a spritely fashion – arrgggghhhhhh…..

So the $23 trademe kitchen is still clogging up the cottage. Ho hum.

But there is good news – the IT guy is going to rip out the old kitchen and replace it with some of the other bits of the $23 trademe kitchen today! Yay! Floor, you and I can get reaquainted – hopefully… But I am a bit worried – is there just something going on with this kitchen – something beyond my control…. watch this space.

$23 Trademe Kitchen

Yes! A $23 trademe kitchen – Bargain! Yet a curse…. The $23 trademe kitchen has taken over my house!
23-Dollar-Kitchen-2As you can see from the picture it is huge! There was only one little picture of two cupboards and bench on trademe so when about 10 cupboards, two benches, a wine rack, fridge unit, 2 shelves and a pantry turned up everyone was a bit surprised – false advertising to the max! As you can see from the picture – there is not only snakes in the garden, but in the kitchen too…. The bubs are struggling – not much play area left with a big bazzoka kitchen hogging the floor area, all a bit percarious too – everything is leaning againist everything else – one wayward sneeze and a bub could be caught in a dominio effect type situation!

So why were we buying a $23 kitchen anyway? Well we have a very manky bench and sink at the pump house cottage – and a second kitchen in the back (have I told you the pump house cottage is in fact two flats?) So we were after some quick fix cabinetry to kill two birds – cabinets to demankify our kitchen that we could prehaps re-use for the back flat (ohh the plans we have for the cottage – watch this space!)  But now we have enough cabinets for both kitchens and some left over to sell on trademe – check out the trademe leftovers.

But wait! There’s more – literally! The IT guy can’t resist a bargain and when offered other renovation cast offs at the pick up location of the kitchen – he could not say no. So in addition we are also now trying to find room for an oven, a cooktop, 2 windows, shutters, a firebox, a bathroom sink, and an extractor fan. Aaarrrgggghhh!

Treasures from bygone times

Things found in nooks and crannies around the house

Things found in nooks and crannies around the house

With the pulling up of the carpet and cleaning, pulling down of some cabinets and cleaning up of some surplus to requirement partitions we have made a few historic discoveries. Here is a photo of the booty – looking very authentic with the tarnish, cobwebs, dirt and rust!

I need to get out the silver polish and some other serious cleaning impliments but it looks like there are some old coins, an ancient baby bottle, someones comb collection and a kitchen sink – aka the cutlery drawer complete with a new zealand army knife. Of course I am thinking that I hope some of it is worth some money so after the clean up you may see some items on trademe – more money for fruit trees!! Watch this space…

Gossip Over a Cuppa

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Feed me the Tea!