rubbish removal

The unexpected romance of rubbish removal

Not long after JD and I started seeing each other, he told me had something special planned for a Saturday morning. He’s not one for hugely romantic gestures so I was excited by the thought of breakfast at a new cafe or perhaps a morning massage followed by lunch by th eocean? No chance. He told me to put on my Blunnies and hop in the 3-tonne tipper – we were off to the tip!


What it takes to build an award-winning home

A couple of years ago my father and his wife sold their stunning property in a little town in Tasmania, and moved into a hay shed on 40ha of land they’d bought just down the road. Their plan was to build their dream home and maybe a little guest house. Collectively, the family thought they were nuts with a capital N, given that they were in their late 60s and already lived in a house that had been included in Vogue Living’s Top 20 country houses not too long ago.

dream design

When a dream design becomes a real-life nightmare


Let me tell you a story. It’s a cautionary tale and one you should pay attention to if you’re thinking about a renovation. Especially a big renovation. 


Once upon a time, we were watching Grand Designs (well, just the other night) when we suddenly realised the featured house was currently for sale, in fact, my sister had pointed it out to me a couple of months ago. You see, in addition to cooking, sewing and reading my other hobby is looking at real estate – usually in Hobart, where we have vague dreams of retiring one day. One of my sisters lives down there and she occasionally flicks me houses I might be interested in. This one was listed at $5million plus, putting it not only in “total fantasy” territory for us but also at the top of the range for Tasmanian real estate in general.

builders quotes

What's the story with builders' quotes?

Congratulations – you’ve decided to renovate! If it’s a decent-size job you’ll have plans drawn up, your DA approved and you’ll probably be getting a couple of builders quotes. Ideally, these will be builders that friends or colleagues or maybe your designer has recommended. As you’re navigating your way through this strange new world you’ll be coming across lots of new words and phrases that you may not of used before. Two that you’ll definitely be hearing are “fixed price” and “cost plus” and they’re to do with how the builder charges for his work.


So, what’s the difference?

The reverse curve of happiness

I stumbled across this blog post while trawling the interweb recently and it made me smile (in a pained kind of way). You see, it’s the customer’s version of what JD likes to call The Reverse Curve of Happiness (henceforth known as TRCH).


TRCH is easily represented on an XY axis where X represents time and Y represents happiness and the cosin is oh, never mind, I was hopeless at calculus at school and TRCH is really simple to understand without any maths at all. Think of an upside-down bell curve.



Why don't builders like architects?

Do you know about Amelia the Undercover Architect? She’s a totally fab woman who offers really down to earth and very practical design advice – she won my heart the first time I came across her when she wrote a story for Reno Addict about why you shouldn’t use an architect. Coming from an architect this was powerful stuff! She ruffled a few feathers but I thought it was a great piece.


renovate to sell

How to renovate to sell

Not surprisingly, I love watching real estate and renovating shows – really, it’s the only reason we’ve kept Foxtel (well, that and the golf). Give me a marathon viewing session involving Andrew, Charlie and Shayna from Selling Houses Australia and I am one happy Builderette. Time and again they show us what you can achieve if you make some sensible decisions about what to renovate to sell your house quickly and for the right price (step one – tidy up FFS!).



It's all you can eat at the termite buffet

JD recently visited a customer who needed a beam put into his living room. The customer had jumped the gun ever so slightly by having the wall removed and installing an acrow-prop (you know, those ugly sticks you see holding up awnings while they’re being repaired. A nice touch in your living room.) He’d had some engineering plans drawn up but JD and his structural engineer pretty quickly established that they were pretty useless and that was $750 down the drain. Whomp whomp.


diy, renovating, building

Why doing it yourself might not save you money

If you’re looking to do a renovation or building project, at some stage in the process I bet you’ll think to yourself, “Hmmm, where can I save some money?” You might read a few magazines, watch a few renovating shows on TV and then think, “I know! I’ll do some of the work myself!”


What to do when someone else's poo comes up your shower drain

First things first – call an emergency plumber because having poo floating around the bathroom (whether it’s yours or anyone else’s) is not a good look.

My alternative title for this post was (the much less eye-catching) “Why buying off the plan is not always a good idea”. It’s a cautionary tale that involves my sister and the house she purchased recently as part of a fresh start after her divorce. On the face of it, this place (one of eight new terraces) looked great – plenty of space inside, three outdoor areas, in the right catchment for the high school she wanted her sons to attend. It even had a lock up garage. Tick, tick, tick.