THEY lived through a six-year home renovation with two young children, so it’s little wonder John and Cathy Cook have decided to throw in the tools.
The couple is selling the family home they have completely updated themselves at 183 Raeburn Street, Manly West, after transporting it from the 1970s to the 2020s.
Mr Cook said they fell in love with the size of the block of land — 2300 sqm — when they first saw the property.
“We had a house on 400 sqm down at Manly and had just had the two kids,” Mr Cook said. “We were looking for a bigger block of land and found this property online.
“It had been on the market for quite a while because it needed a lot of work.”
The house had not been touched since 1974, but that did not deter the Cooks.
“It had good bones, hardwood frames and was beautifully built,” Mr Cook said.
The Cooks and their two children, aged four and six, moved in straight away and set to work.
As Mr Cook was a painter, decorator and plasterer by trade, he chose to do it all himself — apart from the electrical and plumbing work.
“It took six years from start to finish,” Mr Cook said.
He decided not to change the configuration of the home, which was already spacious enough with its four bedrooms and two bathrooms.
He began by stripping the internal linings of the walls and ceilings and replacing the old plasterboard.
The kitchen was the first room to be renovated and the most challenging to live without.
“We had a lot of barbecues!” Mr Cook said.
The cupboards and benchtops had to be redone, all new appliances were installed and a striking glass, red splashback added as a feature.
The flooring is unique, with the Cooks choosing commercial vinyl over more popular materials.
Mr Cook chose a light grey, metallic vinyl and cut and welded black circles into it for a point of difference.
Embossed wallpaper was used to create feature walls in the living areas and Mr Cook added built-in cabinets, fireplaces, and niches and nooks for storage.
“We wanted it to be modern, but still have a nice, homely feel about it,” he said.
But it was the outside that required the most work and money.
“We had to replace the structural steel around the decks, and the retaining walls in the yard had to be removed and granite boulder retaining walls installed,” Mr Cook said.
Just clearing the yard in the first place took months.
And then they also decided to put in a pool.
The Cooks are downsizing now their children have finished school, but have no plans to do another renovation.
“Never again,” Mr Cook said. “Absolutely no more renovations.”
His advice to home renovators planning to do most of the work themselves was to think about how much time and effort was involved in the process.
“You work 40 to 50 hours a week and then have to motivate yourself to work on (the house) every weekend,” Mr Cook said.
“As a tradesman, even I went in with rose coloured glasses thinking I’d get it done in one or two years, but it doesn’t happen that way.
“It’s a massive amount of work by yourself.”
The property is being offered for sale through Ian Walkley of Place - Manly and has a price guide of offers over $1.19 million.
RENO FACT CHECK
Time taken: 6 years
Total spend: $200,000