Real Homes Movement House Tour: Kristy’s House

One of the best parts of having a blog is being able to peek inside people’s wonderful homes and lives. Today we peek at Kristy and her family’s house in Beaumaris, Victoria. They built the federation style home 10 years ago after knocking down the old house. Kirsty said they looked at renovating but the house would have needed to be practically rebuilt, as it was literally falling down around them! When they first moved in, the new house just didn’t feel like home, but as the years have gone by, Kristy has added bits and pieces, all of which have a story, memory, or good feeling attached; and the scuff marks have increased – which will happen when you have a husband, 3 children, 3 dogs, a cat, a couple of birds and assorted family and friends tromping through, not to mention a compulsive crafter who nearly always has some project or other at some stage of completion sitting on the table! So the house became a home slowly.

About 28 square meters over 2 floors, on a standard suburban block, when the couple were deciding on the style of their new home, they spent many many weekends looking at the types of homes that were on offer by local builders.  “I grew up in Tasmania surrounded by beautiful old heritage buildings and I really wanted something along those lines, that my bits and pieces would look at home in” says Kristy.  They eventually found a builder who had a series of heritage style home designs and chose a federation style house, out of a clinker look brick, with timber fretwork around the porch and balcony.  The timber was painted Brunswick green and cream which looks lovely against the red/blue of the bricks and contrasts with the terracotta tiles. The house itself was built from new materials as there was very little that was salvageable from the poor old house they had lived in for the first 10 years of their married life, however, they did save the bricks from the old chimney and front fence, and after hours of chipping them clean, they built their garden edges with them.  They also saved the wrought iron house number and it now takes pride of place on the new home.

Most important of all are the people who live in the home, who include Kristy’s daughters Erin and Megan, her son Josh and her husband Burke. The family home is also filled with feathered and furry friends, including 3 rescue dogs – Taz (abandoned on a farm), Gypsy (saved from a country pound) and Dusty (saved from a life in a concrete cage where he had been badly starved and was not able to exercise); their rescue cat Coco (who found them!); their cockateil Wally ( rescued at the side of the road from being eaten by a crow) and their galah, Phoenix, (she was handed in after being found wandering around near a road, no one wanted her and the vet couldn’t keep her anymore, so she came to Kristy). That sounds like a home full of love.

How have you furnished and decorated your home?

Our house is furnished top to bottom with restored, recycled, rescued furniture, and bits and pieces.  I could bore you for hours with the stories behind where I found each piece, or who gave it to me, or what I made it from.  My favorite shop is literally the side of the road and I’ve rescued lots of stuff from there and found a use for it, or even just used it for parts.  I LOVE op shops and tip shops, markets and garage sales.  I inherited my love for old, vintage and antique items from my parents – both very creative people who have also collected stuff over the years, and in fact ran an antique shop for many years.  Dad still restores furniture and sells it in Tasmania. Mum has the best eye for quality treasures. I have a weakness for depression glass which I’ve collected since I was 14, and I love timber, especially boxes.

How did you originally find your home?

We’d lived in a 12 square metre,  3 bedroom home with our three young children for 10 years.  It was originally built as a veterans home and was a weatherboard house on timber stumps.  It had never had any work done on it until we moved in and painted it.  The stumps were rotting and subsiding, the back stairs collapsed and Burke built a make do ramp for access to the backyard.  The wall in the lounge had such a large crack in it that at the right time of the day, the sun shone through it.  The bathroom… well I’ve blocked out the horrors in there. The house had moved so much that none of the windows opened or shut properly, it really was beyond salvation, so we made the decision to demolish it and start again.
It wasn’t love at first sight! But I’ve grown to love my house more and more as the years have gone by. I’ve always loved the style of the house, but it’s as we’ve made our mark on it (often in the form of scuffs, dents and divots!) that I’ve come to love it as our home. The newness of the house was very intimidating to me for a long time.  I still haven’t put up many pictures.  It’s always been a lovely house, it’s taken me a while to make it feel like a home. I truly believe a home is ever evolving – if I had my way I’d have pot drawers in my kitchen and would redo my bathroom, but let’s face it, that’s first world problems.

Can you tell us something you like about your local area or region?

We are lucky enough to live close to the beach and I go there every day.  I pick up shells and twisted bits of driftwood all the time, I’ve found some really beautiful pieces of timber to use in my craft work.

What are your thoughts on sustainability and how is this part of your home?

My dad said years ago that we don’t own antique furniture, we are just it’s caretakers for a while. It’s probably based on somebody’s famous quote about something, I don’t know, but I like that idea.  I’ve got a cutlery holder made of timber that was a wedding gift to my grandparents, the first table I ever restored was one my great grandfather had been using in his workshop for many years and had been in a house before that.  My parents have bought and restored or rebuilt hundreds of pieces of furniture over the years and I’ve certainly given new life to lots of thrown away pieces.

Do you have any tips for other people wanting to own or build a similar style of home?

Have a home you can LIVE in and have furniture that can stand up to LIFE.

What is the inspiration for the decorating and design of your home?

Wow, tricky question.  I’m not sure I have a style, I guess emotion is the answer.  Just about everything I have has a memory or feeling attached to it, a color combination or texture that makes me feel something.

Your favorite part of your home?

Depends on my mood – at the end of a long, stressful day (I’m a nurse/discharge planner in a busy hospital) it’s often when I can curl up in bed! If I’ve got time it’s my little work shed squished in behind the garage, when I want to relax it’s my armchair and a good book, if it’s sunny, it’s my garden.

Biggest Challenge in designing or decorating your home?


What do people say when they come to visit you?

Have you got the kettle on? What’s in the biccy tin this week?

Do you recommend any particular materials, processes or ideas for people wanting to create a more sustainable and mindful home?

For me, I like things that will last, that feel good to touch, that can be renewed or restored easily.  I’m not a big fan of plastic stuff.

What do you do to relax and unwind at home?

I do lots of woodwork, making things big and small, but have also played with mosaics, patchwork, metalwork and various other mediums and combinations.   I particularly like pulling apart old light fittings and remaking them.  I love restoring old furniture, but these days tend to stick with smaller pieces.  I find lots to work with at the side of the road and in tip shops.  I’ve recently bought myself a lathe – secondhand of course and am teaching myself wood turning.  My kitchen table nearly always has a project in some stage of completion sitting on it.  I give lots of my stuff away to friends and family or put it around my house and garden.

Anything you want to add?

My house is not perfect, I couldn’t live with it if it was. There are regularly chewed up dog toys, and books left lying around, sometimes there are circles from cups on tables that stay there a week, and please don’t even get me started on my kids rooms. I’m sure there’s carpet down there somewhere but…….. anyway, what’s most important to me is that my friends and family feel welcome here and that they accept me for who I am because, well, this is me.
What a wonderful story, attitude and philosophy 
Helen x

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