Former pub now home sweet home for family of nine

DEENA COSTER
Last updated 05:00 10/03/2014

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The Swansons are a family who don't do things by halves.

The super-sized family of nine moved into Patea's Albion Hotel last week, and brought with them their 12 seater van.

The former pub is just the ticket for David and Catherine Swanson's seven children, who now each has their own room.

And as the couple still plan to have three more children, the no vacancy sign may yet go up outside the 11 bedroom building.

The Swansons said they already feel at home in Patea after moving from Kihikihi, near Te Awamutu.

"We fell in love with the community here," said Mr Swanson, who owns his own soap and body care business.

However, it's the space of the family's new digs that might take some getting used to.

Fourteen-year-old Zeb, who is the eldest, said he liked having his own space.

He said he used to share a room with his three brothers before the family relocated.

"That often meant there was a lot of mess and a lot of noise," he said.

Mr Swanson said he and his wife were "awestruck" by the size of their new home and its facilities, which they found for sale on Trade Me.

Along with the bedrooms, there are eight toilets as well as four bathrooms.

Mr Swanson said they only had one toilet in their old place.

"You can imagine the queues first thing in the morning," he quipped.

With the bedrooms all upstairs, the downstairs area will be transformed into the family's living space, including an exercise room and library.

But the property's possibilities are still being discovered, including a trap door leading down to the cellar.

"I'm learning more about this place all the time," Mr Swanson said.

The property was sold fully furnished and remnants of its old life as a working pub are still evident.

From the old chalk board bar menu, to the well used dart board and the floor's worn carpet, it's a building which holds plenty of memories and more than a few stories to tell.

The history of the building is also something Mrs Swanson is keen to hear more about.

"If anyone would like to tell us about the history of the place that would be good," she said.

But it's the next chapter that the Swansons are in for the long haul to complete.

Mr Swanson said they wanted to do what they could to restore the building to its former glory.

"It's a beautiful old girl," he said.

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- Taranaki Daily News

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