Thursday, March 22, 2012

Clearing A Block

 I think that's my youngest brother having a sticky beak there. He originally contemplated taking the house off my hands.

Bit lazy today. This post is a 'reprint' of a post I did a couple of years ago. Lately I have received a few emails from new readers, who are looking at buying a knockdown or who have recently purchased an old home and are wanting to remove it, in order to build. They have enquired as to how I went about demolishing the original house from the block I built on and how much did it cost to do so. Well I chickened out of a demolition... for the trauma of it all and the cost... and the whole removal project cost me $1.

I am looking for a similar project to kick off now. Now it costs more for half the size of this block! I wish I'd bought the house 2 doors up, when it came on the market while I was building. I wish, I wish....

Ok, original post:

There was an old home (above) on the block when I purchased it. The block was 782sqm, 31 perch, with a natural 5 metre fall from the back down to the road. It was in a 'Demolition Control', 'Character Code' precinct and because the frontage was less than 15m (14.9 can you believe it, 10cm out), I also had the 'Small Lot Building Code' to abide by. Lots of codes, lots of restrictions.

The new owner sizing up the project!

Aerial photographs of the land in May, 1946 show no house. Aerial photographs in May 1947 show the house built. That's all that is required to prove the build time frame for a demolition. Anything built before 1946 had to remain in this 'Demolition Control', 'Character Code' precinct... it just scraped into the demolition approval year by the skin of it's teeth.

I couldn't bare to demolish it (or part with $20,000). It was a deceased estate, only one family had owned it, built it, grew up in it, passed away in it.... and despite the fact that no house removal company would touch it, due to asbestos, I knew someone would want it. It still had another couple of generations in it. Have you ever witnessed a house demolition? ..... very traumatic and horrifically noisy. Not good for the soul.

It was a very basic home inside (very typical of homes built post war, when money was tight) - one lounge/dining area, 2 small bedrooms, a sleepout, original 1947 kitchen, with 1947 newspaper lining the kitchen drawers, outside toilet, out amongst the spiders (redbacks). Oh and the top third of the block was a rubbish tip (144 sqm of it). The little old man was a bit of a 'Steptoe and Son' and collected black plastic garden pots.... thousands of them, not to mention sheets of fibro (more asbestos) leaning up against the asbestos fence (that I promptly had removed as my first project).

So I advertised in the newspaper 'Free House. House for removal. Clear land required for house build.' ....and the offers came in. The deal was done through a $1 contract - "you can have the house, as long as you leave the block clear for us.... and you have this long to do it". 

I used to drive past the house on weekends, whilst the new owners were working to clear the block... of all those pots! I felt so guilty as it was so much work. I think they filled 6 skips. Often I wanted to stop and help them!

The roof tiles were removed and the house was cut in half, with asbestos management all the way. It left the block in the dead of night, on the back of 2 trucks, and it arrived at it's new home on the outskirts of town at 2.30am. The new owners sent us an email the following day saying that their neighbours were still speaking to them, despite the ruckus!

Here it is the following day, waiting to settle into it's new life.

Her new country view

New roof, verandah and sleepout opened up, extensions to the back and paint.

Her new owners even gave her a name, as they love her so much.
'Abelia Cottage' - I am so glad you were saved sweetie!
A-M xx


  1. Hi there. As a new reader of your blog it was so fantastic to read this post. Abelia Cottage looks like it's being given the house love it deserves. What a great thing you did in not demolishing. More sookiness to you!

  2. Preserving old homes is a multi-dimensional wonder..It means recycling, treasuring the past, providing for the future. I love seeing this happen. Sounds like it wasn't easy..well done to all involved.. Rxx

  3. that is a happy story!

  4. WOW! The ultimate in recycling. This warms my heart. Emma

  5. Lovely to see this old sweetie enjoying her new life in the country!
    K xx

  6. very nice story. So glad she became someone else's loved home.

  7. I am so sentimental that I, also, am just so happy she was preserved and is being loved by someone else now. Looks beautiful!

  8. What a great story! So wonderful that she was saved and I must say, looks fantasic in her new home!

  9. Lovely to hear the storey of Abelia Cottage - I'm glad it was saved. xx

  10. That is so lovely that Abelia Cottage was saved and is now someone's home. How wonderful that you could see her in her new spot! xx

  11. I am glad you saved her, she is lovely. I love these stories. It's nice to know she is looking after another family and has a beautiful outlook. A bit like house retirement in a good way.

  12. What a sweet home. I bet she is well loved and well tended.

  13. That's so cool. A few neighbouring farmers in the district where i used to live went down this road to get a new house on their farms quickly and cheaply for sons that came back etc. Worked a treat.

    They've done a great job with it!jxx

  14. When I discovered wonderful abelia someone said it had been called, Poor Man's Boxwood.

    Indestructable, beautiful, blooms all summer, attracts honey bees, butterflies, lady bugs.

    Praying Mantids adore laying their egg sacs in abelia. (Note: sacs look like dried chocolate mousse)

    Several types of abelia surround my tiny home. Nice knowing others love abelia too.

    Garden & Be Well, XO Tara

  15. such a fab idea, for seller and buyer... just a great way to preserve what we already have! awesome to see

  16. This trip down memory lane was so much fun A-M & I had to slide both the original and final photos onto my desktop so that I could do a proper 'B&A' comparison.

    I love the vision that people have when they look at homes and see the potential - she really deserves her lovely new name.

    Happy day!

  17. I love this...she looks perfect in the country!

  18. Thats so magical & dosnt she just look lovely in her new setting!! :)

  19. bless that sweet little house, so pleased to see it loved by its new family :)

  20. What a successful transaction for everyone involved.
    I LoVe to see recycling on such a grand scale......
    Tania Maree xx

    Scandi Coast Home Australia

  21. Thanks for sharing this again, I wasn't reading your blog back then so this was lovely to read! (and amazing how they can lift a whole house, here in Europe people don't do this).

  22. I love this post even more the second time round.
    Karyn x


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