Friday, June 12, 2009

A Brand New Life

'Abelia Cottage' - previously 'The House Before A-M Built'.

I was delighted to receive an email yesterday, from the lovely couple (Fred and Janette) who answered our "Free House" advertisement, all those years ago, when we first bought this block of land (with house). The deal was, "you can have the house for free (actually it was a $1 contract) as long as you leave the block clear, for us to build our new house on". I could not bear to demolish the original house. We had previously lived across the road from a home that was demolished in the early hours of the morning. I still remember the sound of the demolition... it was horrific.

This little place had been built in 1947 and had remained in the one family until the last parent passed away, just before we bought it, in June 2005. It had history and the potential for a whole new life. We even had a moment in the front bedroom soon after we bought it, where we all held hands as a family and thanked the previous owners for their home and land and informed them of our plans to build our family home.

Poor Fred and Janette spent many weekends clearing our block before the house was relocated. The little old man who lived and died in the house had been a bit of a 'Steptoe and Son' and had a penchant for plastic pot collecting. I swear, the whole top part of our block, which is now lawn, was covered in pots, sheets of fibro and general rubbish. A belated sorry, Fred and Janette, for what we left you to clean up!

The original house on our block, before it was moved. Is that you Janette?

The house was moved in the early hours of the morning and arrived on Fred and Janette's lawn, on the outskirts of town, at 3am. They are actually living in the house, while their main house, on their large property, is rented out. I thought you might enjoy some before and after photos of the original little house and the wonderful transformation Fred and Janette and their son (carpenter) have done.

Ready to move

In position at Fred and Janette's Place

A work in progress

Her name is 'Abelia Cottage'. She is just so beautiful. It brings a tear to my eye to see her in her new life. Thank you Fred and Janette for sending us these photos. What a wonderful ending to such an exciting journey for all of our families..... yours, ours and little 'Abelia's' previous family!

Now that's what I call recycling! Isn't she beautiful!

PS. I have cable now. I'm coming to visit you all this weekend!


  1. You would never have guessed. Thanks for sharing!


  2. Bravo to you for giving the house away instead of tearing it down! When we lived in Dallas I would literally cry when I would drive by and some fabulous house was torn down... The cottage is lovely, they have done a beautiful job! I love that the house gets to go live another wonderful life!! Love happy houses!

  3. ..........and what a great job they've done at renovating it! It's just gorgeous with the front verandah.......well done to them !!

  4. Wow, it's so wonderful to see a home well-loved. What a fabulous job they've done. You must be utterly thrilled - and how's the timing? Just after you've moved in and are loving your beautiful new home - serendipity!

  5. oh a beautiful story, what a gorgeous little home so perfectly settled into its new position!

  6. What a gorgeous story! Thank you for sharing.

  7. This is just brilliant A-M. I love how this home has been safeguarded and kept alive. just lovely. xv

  8. The joys of Queenslander's (houses not people). You just can't do that with Sydney homes. A beautiful touching story. Who would have thought of recycling back in 1947!!

  9. Abelia Cottage is gorgeous. Fred & Janette did a fab job in the moving her to her current address. Glad that you decided to pass her on rather than tearing her down.

  10. Bravo! That was such a great idea that you had. Imagine if more people did that. It's so fun to see your house as your decorating/moving it, etc.

  11. I've only just begun reading your lovely blog. What a wonderful way to document the building of such gorgeous home...and the history behind it which is sweet Abelia Cottage. Simply beautiful. Ingrid x

  12. She is a beauty. She has quite a charm about her and I love her new facade and verandah. What a lovely story. I agree it is heartbreaking to see a charming home pulled down just for a concrete block to go up (sydney all over). Your new home is almost a big sister to this one. Maybe I should be looking in Qld for my new home! Charming post A-M

  13. She looks great. It is a real kiwi/aussie thing - it is huge in NZ.
    Here in France nearly all the houses are made of stone hence they are not movable:-)

    Bon weekend;

    L x

  14. That is a beautiful old house, so glad it could be saved and replanted. You have so many lovely & inspirational things going on in your blog space.

  15. Wow that is an amazing story...What a generous lady you are!!!! I sooooooooo love old homes there is truly nothing like them....Love ya C xx

  16. What a great thing to do! That is an amazing story. I am glad they kept in touch.

  17. What a wonderful story!!

  18. I've just come across your blog via Blog This and I love it. I'm so glad you gave your original home away as opposed to tearing it down. I've seen so many old homes torn down in Sydney and it is heartbreaking. We've been busy renovating too and are currently putting the final decorative touches which I've been blogging about too.

    I love all the work you have put into your home. It looks magnificent.

    Viv x


Thanks for stopping by and taking the time to leave me a comment. I love hearing from you. A-M xx