Thursday, October 21, 2010

a cottage investment

We purchased a little cottage a couple of months ago on Brisbane's bayside. Right now, it'll be rented out and once we have finished our 'home' renovations we intend to look at a renovation on this. Originally a Railway Cottage based in Nambour, she was relocated in 1949 and has had two additions made over the past 60 years. The same family resided in it over this time so it does have a lovely bit of history about it.

It excites me alot actually. I'm head over heels. The street is lined with magnificent Moreton Bay figs and bay views are to be had out back. I feel so at home here and during our very cheap reno ($2,000) became more and more attached as the days went on.

I think it's a cutie. A guy i work with who is just as obssessed with property as me said "so are you just going to bulldoze that?". I told him he's void of vision. Harsh? possibly, but this is my new baby. Nobody puts baby in a corner! I see an incredible amount of potential. It's a narrow block and in a couple of years we plan to keep the orginal cottage, which makes up the front of the dwelling, lift and alter it slightly to reflect a terrace style home.  I wandered the streets of Chippendale with a friend last year, so many fab properties, and am confident we'll make it work - somehow. The back - well my brain has a massive compartment with ideas for that - too many it's beginning to hurt.

I guess the purpose of this blog entry is more of a record for me...and to share a couple of before and afters  and maybe some ideas for others investing who want to turn a shabby property into a livable one fast and cheap. This is not a Belle Living cover story contestant let me tell you. Not even close!  This is just an instance of how we did it with a teeny little budget.

$2,000. May have been a bit less and we worked on it ourselves. Thankfully we didn't need any trades for this one. It was all cosmetic. Painting, new flooring, lifting off wall sheeting and an upgrade on the kitchen.

The kitchen - Before and After

and ...

plus this kitchen cabinet which was already there which we repainted for storage .. love! 
The kitchen was worn., this has been here for 50 years plus and i didn't want to take away the 50's vibe for 2 reasons. I really like the era and cabinetry and secondly, we didn't want to spend $4k on a kitchen when it wouldn't reflect in the return. We repainted everything, picked up another wall cabinet trio for $50 at Underwood Demolition for storage, (Great demo yard- will negotiate) purchased timber from Ikea for benchtops and workspace next to the oven (it was in their seconds area or whatever it is $230 for all of it), some vj sheeting was used to replace water damage above the stove and we grabbed lino by the meter from bunnings together with the blind. Done and Done. $500.
This another angle through from the kichen to front door 
Madam Restotra over at, gave us the hot tip on carpet tiles. Intially, it was only going to be for the bedrooms. Unfortunately we had some troublesome floorboards which were easier to cover. So we went all out retro and carpet tiled the lot in mismatched tiles. $300 for the WHOLE HOUSE. We have spares for damage caused by tenants. Too easy to replace. Ideal for a renter.

The bathroom was in good condition so a paint was all that was required. Due to the colour on the walls we used a bucket load of paint about $600 worth, may have been a touch more, and could have done with more again should it have been our residence. We had the strongest shade of coral pink i have ever seen to cover in most rooms, and a set-in cream in the kitchen.  There were extra bits and pieces like skirting boards and general areas that were mended. I wish i had more befores but i don't. The sleepout was blue which now has more accents of black gloss and white - one good coat of high gloss black and your done.

This is  funny little room off the kitchen which was originally used for as a storage and linen room ... and anything else that didn't have a home.

That's our girl.
'The Haven' is her real name. A tidy up of the gardens and a few touch ups to the front facade and she's ready for company. We worked hard pulling this together. OK, fine - my partner worked harder, but we did do the labour ourselves. Totally worth it. Cannot wait to revisit in a couple of years. She'll be a cracker!


  1. This is one fabulous make-over on one tight budget. It would be sacrilege to get rid of this baby. I'm glad you're not.

  2. Raine and Sage, I know would be total sacrilege, have a real soft spot for this one. Can't believe we managed to do it for that amount, amazing the difference paint makes - happy to have my weekends back!!!

  3. OMG... what an amazing job you guys have done!

  4. Cottage investment can be a both great thing and luxury. When going on vacations it will be a great place to stay.