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.

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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No excuse for cold, damp homes

05:00am 14 Sep 2014

I know first hand how living in an unhealthy home can affect your health.

A weatherboard house I rented on Bealey Ave a few years ago was damp and mouldy no matter how much we opened the windows. My doctor attributed a bout of pneumonia in 2011 to a reaction to cleaning mould off the windows and walls.

The rental property in Dallington that my partner Robbie and I lived in for more than a year caused me to wake up with cold-like symptoms most mornings and I only felt better once I left the house.

Knowing the general standard of New Zealand's older houses - and knowing where on the affordability ladder we sat - I had resigned myself to the fact that our first home would be cold, draughty and damp.

We talked about slogging it through a miserable first winter in our Spreydon home and then looking at insulation and heating options for next year once we had saved a bit of money.

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Overhauling a kitchen on a tight budget

05:00am 07 Sep 2014

GEORGINA STYLIANOU

Two colleagues stood around my computer as I scrolled through before and after photos of our kitchen. 

''Wow . . . that's amazing,'' one said. The other was silent for a few seconds before looking at me and saying: ''Honestly, that's incredible. Well done.''

A big smile beamed across my face and, as I took another look at the pictures, a huge wave of pride washed over me. 

My partner Robbie and I have invested an enormous amount of time, and a large chunk of our budget, renovating our kitchen.

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Parties wooing first home buyers

05:00am 31 Aug 2014

GEORGINA STYLIANOU

I've been a homeowner for two and a half months now and while renovating is a mission, it beats the endless open homes and disappointment of Christchurch's housing market.

I was driving up Selwyn St the other morning and, sitting in traffic, I found myself feeling saddened by the standard of the housing stock around me. Condensation on every window, poorly maintained weatherboards, rusting roofs and visible earthquake damage, even in a relatively undamaged suburb.

Being a journalist and a new homeowner, I'm aware of the housing problems facing Christchurch.

Being a 25-year-old with friends and family who aren't as immersed in current affairs as I am, I'm also aware that political policy announcements can be a bit of a minefield.

So I thought I'd deviate from my renovation rant this week to lay out some of the housing policies parties are promising, focusing particularly on first home buyers and affordability.

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Laying floor no walkover task

05:00am 24 Aug 2014

GEORGINA STYLIANOU

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

ugly floor

I never thought a kitchen floor would be the bane of my existence, but such is life. #firstworldproblems

Laying a new floor in the kitchen has become something of an unattainable enigma, made worse by weekly scraps with my partner about when it is going to get done.

The thing about being a first-time renovator is that you take everyone's opinion as gospel because surely they know better than you, everybody does.

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