Thursday, April 10, 2014


Hey there. We're baaaaack!

Can you believe that it's been 18 months since we purchased this beautiful little 1850s bluestone cottage located in the cutest little town on the south-west coast of Victoria, Australia? Most of last year was spent renovating the Port Fairy cottage, and the later part of the year and this year has been purely dedicated to the extension (read concrete foundation, framework, plumbing...) Oh, how rewarding it's been so far, rediscovering the beauty that has been hidden for the past 50 (or so) years.

This post is all about the rear wall of the cottage, and in order to appreciate where it is now (photo above), it's good to see what it looked like when we first saw it. Are you ready?

That first photo. There's almost no words. Except for these: lime wash, sickly yellow paint, blue concrete floor, louvres, indoor gutters...

When we first bought this little cottage, the rear wall was covered by the lean-to which contained the cottage's original kitchen (left), bathroom (right), laundry (behind the bathroom) and toilet (behind the kitchen), let's not forget the indoor/outdoor gutters. (And yes, we've been hiding that lovely louvre window until now!)

Now that the kitchen is in the original cottage, we decided that the old kitchen space would make a great back entry with an outdoor shower, and a European Laundry on the inside (photos to come). The morning sun comes into where this beautiful wall lies, and so it will be a sun room, or a second living space (photos also to come).

If you're interested in the details, here is how it was done:
  • The lean-to was completely removed to make way for the concrete slab.
  • Once the concrete slab was laid, and the framework up, the lime wash and paint was chipped away from the rear wall using a chisel, hammer and some scrapers (this took about a week, and a few helpers too).
  • Each stone was scrubbed with a wire brush to remove the leftover lime wash. Some was kept for a little effect that we quite liked.
  • The old lime mortar between the stones was crumbling so we scraped it out and re-pointed the wall.
  • New mortar was mixed and placed between the gaps. The collapsed stonework was repaired, and the mortar trimmed.
  • Any mortar that wasn't quite removed from the edges of the stones at the above stage, was scraped again. The whole wall was scrubbed with an acid solution and then rinsed with water.
  • The walls were painted with three coats of FeastWatson Paving & Sandstone Sealer.
  • The hearth was painted with two coats of FeastWatson Slate & Pebble Sealer.
  • The louvre window was take out and replaced with a second hand window that suits the era a little better. It was sanded, and then painted using a 3 in 1 undercoat, then British Paints H20 Enamel in Dulux Antique White USA.

This job was as biggie. I think that for a month (between other jobs) I just chipped. Friends came to stay. They chipped too. But here we are - starting to do the finishing bits. It's really so exciting now.

This is part of our renovating series. If you would like to see all the renovating posts, you can do so here. I wrote about living without a bathroom, toilet and laundry, and also talked about surviving renovations with kids. We hope you enjoy seeing the process as much as we have enjoyed doing it!

Are you a fan of exposed walls? So... what do you think?

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Thank you for your thoughtful and positive words and taking the time to comment. Love Kymmie. xx