Back to basics: renovating on a budget

Issue 13 Words: Verity Campbell Photography: Rhiannon Slatter
Coburg, VIC
  • The light fitting in the kitchen uses CFL bulbs. Lucy chose black cabinets for longevity and to match her eclectic furnishings. Rather than installing overhead cupboards she bought a secondhand hanging shelf unit which she turned into kitchen shelves.
  • Lots of the home's original karri pine floorboards were ruined during the restumping so Lucy and Darren opted to lay bamboo flooring over the original boards.
  • Lucy and Darren bought the shelving unit from a store in East Brunswick for $600. Here it works as a display cabinet for Lucy’s treasures and as an informal room partition. The couple bought a stove on a weekend visit to Bright.

A routine restumping transforms an old weatherboard in inner-suburban Melbourne into a charming home.

Transforming a ramshackle home into a delightful, inviting haven on a budget of under $50,000 takes talent, but that is exactly what Lucy and Darren have in spades.

Lucy’s flair as a ceramics designer and illustrator obviously inspires the aesthetic of the home, but both members of the partnership worked hard at the renovation. Darren took time out from his Masters in Renewable Energy to turn his hand to carpentry, painting and more – much more than they initially expected!

Lucy and Darren bought their home four years ago knowing that it needed some surgery. The front corner of the timber house leaned right down to the ground, and obviously needed restumping, but the rest of the house seemed fairly solid.

The couple had lived in the house for a year before getting started on the restumping. Then, a few days after the stumpers began, Lucy received a phone call at work: “We think you should come and look at this”. When she returned home she was told that the straightforward restumping needed on the front corner should involve extensive work on the whole house. The stumpers also suggested the lean-to kitchen at the back be demolished, being an add-on structure clumsily connected to the home’s original foundations. Signing off on the extra restumping was a must, but Lucy and Darren decided to keep the lean-to.

When the restumping was finished the couple were left with a house needing replastering, rewiring, replacement of the original floorboards damaged during the restumping process, and repainting. Their simple restumping had turned into an epic undertaking which would have them renovating on the weekends over a year-long period.

ShareShare on FacebookShare on Google+Pin on PinterestTweet about this on Twitter
Cover of Issue 13
You can read more about Back to basics: renovating on a budget in Issue 13 of Sanctuary magazine.

Buy it now at our webshop!

Sanctuary: modern green homes is Australia’s premier magazine dedicated to sustainable home design. More...

Subscribe to our newsletter


Builder: Owner Builder

View houses by state