Home Sweet Home

Press journalist and first-home hunter Georgina Stylianou shares the highs and lows involved with getting a wobbly foot on the great property ladder.

Forking out for the fence

05:00am 19 Oct 2014

GEORGINA STYLIANOU

If something broke, I'd call the landlord. Such was the beauty of renting. 

Whether the kitchen tap had sprung a leak or the heat pump was blowing cold air instead of hot, the solution was only a phone call away. I was always blessed with good landlords though. 

As a homeowner - as blindingly obvious as this statement might seem - every single fault lies at your feet.

As the owner of an older home in dire need of an overhaul, the list of fix-ups seems endless but some are more pressing than others ... like our broken fence.

It needed doing before we got a dog but now it's urgent. The norwest gales of the last few weeks have really finished it off and now one small gust of wind is enough to send a whole section of the fence flying backwards into our neighbour's garden.

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Be careful: it's a DIY jungle out there

05:00am 13 Oct 2014

GEORGINA STYLIANOU

Renovating can be pretty tough on the body. So tough in fact that I've allowed myself to skip many a gym class in favour of smashing things and painting.

The way I see it, smashing things is an overall cardio and muscle-building workout while painting is like the yoga of the renovating world.

It turns out that standing on a trestle table and twisting your body in peculiar directions while tilting your head to paint a ceiling is the equivalent of an hour's boxing session, and you're the punchbag.

In fact, I learnt a couple of health and safety lessons during phase one of our laundry renovation last weekend.

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Laundry envy prompts reno action

05:00am 05 Oct 2014

GEORGINA STYLIANOU

It might not seem like the laundry is a renovation priority, but it is in our house. You have to walk through the laundry to get to the loo, the back door opens into it and our house-trained bunny lives in it.

I had major laundry envy watching The Block last week and I'm crediting the painfully slow television show for giving us the extra boost we needed to start our next room.

Last week I wrote about how important it was to finish a room before starting the next and publicly scolded my partner Robbie for not sticking to his word and finishing the kitchen.

''I read your column and I've taken it on board,'' he told me one night this week.

''I was going to play Battlefield but I didn't,'' he added.

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The 100-item-long list of odd jobs

05:00am 28 Sep 2014

GEORGINA STYLIANOU

I was warned not to let it happen. By more than one person.

Always finish a room before you start the next, people told me. Sounds easy, but evidence would suggest it isn't.

Robbie and I moved into our dated, smelly home in June and made quick work of overhauling the living room, bedroom and kitchen. All three spaces are completely liveable now - the kitchen is beautiful actually - but they're only about 80 per cent finished.

It's driving me a little crazy. All I want to do is start on the laundry and toilet area (the darkest, dingiest part of the house) but instead we've got a 100-item-long list of odd jobs that need doing in the other rooms. My sensible side tells me I need to tackle the tedious jobs and fight the urge to start on something new and exciting, but . . . I don't want to!

I'm talking about patching up bits of damaged plaster, scraping paint off the aluminium windows (yes, I know, should have used painter's tape) and repainting the skirting boards in the kitchen after installation of the kitchen floor left them looking worse for wear. We were planning on turning the wardrobe in the living room into a television cabinet, but we only got as far as buying funky wallpaper off Trade Me. The toe kicks in the kitchen still need doing and the laminate floor still needs sealing. We desperately need to replace the $2 curtains - and their tacky, shiny gold backing - in our bedroom. From the road the shabby-looking house and silky curtains exude seediness.

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New home leads to puppy love

10:00am 21 Sep 2014

GEORGINA STYLIANOU

A driving force behind buying a house, instead of continuing to rent, was so we could get a dog.

After years of wanting my own dog and months of spamming my partner Robbie with puppy photos, this weekend we're adding another fur baby to the mix.

I love animals. Nothing makes me happier than being greeted by our cat and two bunnies when I get home and watching them grooming happily and running around playfully. 

We made the executive decision to adopt a dog about a week ago after a discussion with friends made me realise there's never really a perfect time.

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