Real Estate

Hawthorne, hovel, family home, renovating, deceased estate, extension, first home

Written by The ReReport
As seen in the Source link, written by on 2018-12-17 06:17:27

HER father told her to burn the house rather than buy it, but Helen Roebig still thinks it’s the best $30,000 she ever spent.

It was 1981 and high school sweethearts, Helen and her husband, Terry, were newly married and hunting for their first home when a rundown, two-bedroom cottage at 64 Philip St, Hawthorne became available.

“My dad said; ‘Oh love, yes, buy it and put a match to it, will you?” Mrs Roebig said.

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“That’s been our family joke.

“If only dad was around to see it now!”

Built around 1910, the original house was in bad shape when the Roebigs bought it.

“We had friends who were renting the house and we used to go there for dinner and sit around the fire,” Mrs Roebig said.

”One day they said the house was up for sale through a deceased estate and I said we wanted an old Queenslander.

“It had such an ugly facade, but when I went inside to the heart of the place and saw the veranda, then I could just see it.

“It all became a picture for me and all that ugliness was just superficial, so we went ahead and bought the house for $30,000.”

Mrs Roebig said her husband worked seven days a week, so they would work on the house together at night.

“We filled a tip truck three times on the first weekend,” she said.

“I started taking skirting board off the walls and I’d find there was VJ panelling underneath. so I’d take a piece off and that night, my husband would come home and take more off and there would be a big pile of it in the morning.

“They’d cladded over everything — it was horrible.”

Everything was painted in Mission Brown, which was the colour of choice in the 1970s and 1980s.

Gradually, over the years, the renovation process became more involved.

The house was restumped and re-roofed and a concrete slab laid downstairs to create two levels.

“We dug out instead of raising the house because of the fireplace,” Mrs Roebig said.

“We weren’t game to touch it.”

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The major renovation happened in 2004, when the kitchen was converted into the main bedroom, a new kitchen was created as part of a back extension and a large, back deck added on.

“That was the most exciting thing because we weren’t doing it ourselves,” Mrs Roebig said.

“To see some professionals come in and renovate was just awesome!”

In recent years, they connected the downstairs level with the upstairs by installing internal stairs and put in a new front veranda.

“We’ve been renovating for 37 years, bit by bit, because we’ve done most of it ourselves,” Mrs Roebig said.

The end result is a four-bedroom, three-bathroom classic beauty with city views.

As you enter the house, a formal lounge awaits, featuring one side of an original double-sided fireplace, with the other side in the master bedroom.

This leads to the living and dining area, which is an open-plan space backing on to a wide-set deck.

The new kitchen comes with a double sink, rangehood, gas cooking, dishwasher and island bar topped with white stone.

Two of the four bedrooms have direct access to bathrooms and walk-in robes, while a fifth room can double as a study or guest stay.

Downstairs, there’s a rumpus room, a work shop, a home business, a storage space and a separate living area.

The downstairs living room comes with its own kitchenette, patio and bathroom — doubling as a guest or teenage retreat.

Other features include polished timber floors, high pressed metal ceilings and wide archways.

The Roebigs have decided it’s time for a tree change, and another — less intensive — renovation project now awaits them in Boonah.

“It’s a very hard decision to leave,” Mrs Roebig said.

“The house has been such a big part of our life, and for all of our family, no matter how horrible it was.”

The property is for sale through Shannon Harvey of Place – Bulimba.


Time taken: 4 years for major reno plus bits and pieces over 33 years

Total spend: Over $1m

End valuation: $1.5m – $2m