Waking Sleeping Beauty: the ‘befores’

Perhaps I’m being a little mad, but I couldn’t wait any longer to share some images with you.

Things are moving along with the purchase, I can’t see any major impediments unless the building and pest inspection comes up absolutely horrible, which I doubt. I’m casting doubt aside.

So, meet Sleeping Beauty, who’s waiting to be woken up from her nightmare of dirt, horrible cracking paint, filthy floors, foul beetle-infested kitchen and frankly scary bathroom.  One day, this will be the new Chiconia. Oh, and there’s 760sqm of garden… We all know what I’ll be doing out there.

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The front. The palm has to go, that’s our bedroom behind it. There’s quite a large and beautiful window, believe it or not…

Screen shot 2014-08-01 at 7.53.02 PM

Looking from the dining room through the living room to the front lobby and the round porthole window beside the front door. Everything you see is original.

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Original stained glass windows in dining room, kitchen and bedroom 2

Screen shot 2014-08-01 at 7.55.07 PM

From the living room, a glimpse of the sun room at left, which run the length of the house down the left hand side, and is designated my sewing area….

Screen shot 2014-08-01 at 7.53.19 PM

Original windows, including the tilting one at the top, and moulded pelmet box. How fabulous is that floor? There isn’t a hole, missing board or gap anywhere.

Screen shot 2014-08-01 at 7.53.34 PM

Ah, the heart of the home, the kitchen. Foul, isn’t it? Yes, those are original 1940s cabinets, and no, I’m not going to try and restore them – but I will save the handles, which are gorgeous. I have big plans for this room, which involve a sledge hammer, crowbar, scraper and spraygun…


40 thoughts on “Waking Sleeping Beauty: the ‘befores’

  1. tialys says:

    Ooh, how exciting. I do love a house with original features. Some however, as you say, are not always worth saving. What is that on the floor of the kitchen – tiles or lino?

    • katechiconi says:

      That’s lino with a thick layer of grease and dirt. Unfortunately, it’s not floorboards underneath, so not worth spending time on. I shall scrape up the lino and we’ll lay fresh vinyl. Fortunately, most of the paint on the wooden door frames and skirtings was applied over varnish without preparation, and has crazed badly. It’ll make it very easy to strip off and restore the original wood with sanding and varnish.

      • Instead of vinyl, how about ceramic tiles? Our present home and all the other houses we’ve lived in in France have had ceramic tiled floors and they are a joy to keep looking good, and they are great for bare feet.

      • katechiconi says:

        Unfortunately, the Husband and I are both very clumsy and drop things frequently. Vinyl makes it just slightly less likely that we’ll be wading around in broken glass in our bare feet… Plus, as it’s an old house, the floor is not quite even, and laying tiles would be very hard. But I do appreciate your thoughts on the subject!

      • I understand your reluctance. Tiles certainly are unforgiving of dropped china and glass.

  2. Carine says:

    Now THAT looks fantastic! Love the high ceilings and the floors and the shape of the windows – how old is old here? And hmmm the bathroom is even scarier than la cuisine? My sledgehammer is itching too… Hope this comes through veloceveloce!

    • katechiconi says:

      It’s a lovely calm, gracious house. It will be beautiful when we’re finished, but just now, it’s rather sad. Old is probably late 1930s to early 1940s, judging from clues here and there. The bathroom has been scarier than it is now, as the current owner put in a new loo and bath and shower. Unfortunately, there’s just a hole and pipes where the basin should be… And it’s minute, so we will make it bigger by stealing some space from another room. We’re hoping to own it by the end of the month, at which point, I’ll be spending some quality time planning the new bathroom and kitchen so we can move in and I can start playing with it!

  3. It looks rather colonial… I envisage you in the garden in a little floral number, sipping a g&t!

  4. She is a beauty, look forward to seeing her spread her wings 🙂 Love your sewing room, sun and warmth, perfect 🙂

  5. rutigt says:

    It looks like a lovely house to be!!!! I´m sure you´re gonna make the best of it 🙂 Good luck with all the work!
    Gun, Sweden

  6. Congratulations!! You can tell she’s a beauty that was just waiting for the right restorer to come along. Can’t wait to read about your progress 🙂

  7. W O W Going to be fabulous 🙂

  8. The sewing room will be fabulous – so much light.

    • katechiconi says:

      I know – I’m going to be so spoiled. Although it’s narrow, it’s a very long room with lots of space for shelves and a really big design wall, and I have a huge choice of windows to put my sewing table under!

  9. Love it!!! The lay out, the room sizes the funky windows above the doors…. Even the kitchen!!!

  10. is it far from where you live now ? you’ll have your work cut out !!!

  11. Classic Queenslander! I can see how with a lot of elbow grease this will become beautiful.

    • katechiconi says:

      I’ll have to acquire some barrels of elbow grease, I think… But yes, she’s got heaps of character, the rooms are nice and large and airy and the wood is gorgeous. The plan is to get the bathroom sorted, the master bedroom sorted, and then move in. We can do the kitchen while we’re there, and the rest of it will follow.

  12. Kaja says:

    Oh she’s lovely. You can see the quality at the core. Can’t wait to see what you make of her.

    • katechiconi says:

      They used decent stuff to build houses back then: hardwood floors, silky oak door frames, solid brass door and window furniture, and that’s why she’s lasted so well. It’s going to be a joy to bring her back.

  13. Kirsten says:

    I am very envious – she is a beauty and will look stunning once she’s had a bit of a make-over! Will we see a close up of the kitchen unit handles? I’m a nosey parker!!

    • katechiconi says:

      We’re over there in the morning to do a mammoth measuring session whilst the building and pest inspection is being done. I’ll be taking a lot of photos, I hope, and I’ll try and make sure the handles are included! I’m desperate for bathroom and kitchen measurements so I can start costing the re-do, particularly the kitchen.

  14. katechiconi says:

    Not quite… Any pawing of the ground is strictly metaphorical! But I am focusing very tightly on this job; I want to come in on budget, which means maximum bang for minimum buck, so no self indulgent purchases of designer taps or phenomenally pricey Italian tiles, etc.

  15. Emmely says:

    Oh wow, I can see it could become really lovely one day, but the amount of work that needs to be done first…

    • katechiconi says:

      … is not that bad. It’s mainly cosmetic. I will spend a lot of time with paint stripper, scraper, sandpaper and paintbrush in my hand, but I don’t have to do anything major.

      • Emmely says:

        My boyfriend and I are not very good at completing diy tasks. When we moved into our current house we said we’d paint the stairs one day. Never happened, never will…. So I think the safer option for us is a house that doesn’t need so much work. If you’re into it I totally get that too because you’ll really be able to turn it into something that suits your taste and lifestyle!

  16. EllaDee says:

    Great pics. There’s nothing like watching a wonderful reno of a lovely old house unfold… via my computer screen 🙂

  17. Cinderella house! I particularly love the tall ceilings. Not only cooling but gracious. Architecture is meant to inspire and those ceilings do.

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