A special housewarming gift

A suburban house
Our house

Once upon a time, in 2011, we embarked on a thrilling journey when we became the proud owners of a quaint suburban Melbourne house. It had its charm but needed a touch of our personality. Our very first task was to revamp the kitchen, a typical DIY job from its rental days. Little did we know, this was just the start of unraveling the house’s hidden secrets.

As we delved deeper into renovations, our contractor stumbled upon weatherboards lurking behind the plaster of an exterior wall. Curious, but initially shrugged off as a peculiar quirk.

We did not think much about it.

However, fate had more surprises in store for us.

A few months down the road, combating Melbourne’s sweltering summer nights led us to install a split system in the master bedroom. Again, behind the brick, the contractor found those elusive weatherboards. A pattern emerged, arousing our curiosity.

It was time to investigate.

House wall, with bricks partially removed revealing the wall is actually weatherboard underneath.

A loose tile under a window revealed the hidden truth: weatherboards quietly residing behind the brick facade, unbeknownst to the world. Intrigued, we probed further, uncovering that a previous owner had cocooned the original weatherboard house within a brick shell, disguising it with a stucco-style rendering.

And so it begins.

The decision was made. We were captivated by the idea of restoring the house to its former weatherboard glory. Thus commenced a colossal undertaking: the meticulous removal of each brick by hand.

Hindsight is 20:20

If there’s one advice I’d wholeheartedly offer, it’s this: hire professionals for such an endeavor. What would have taken experts a mere week, consumed our months. Nevertheless, the satisfaction derived from knocking out bricks with hammer and chisel, the tedious task of clearing rubble, and the joy of witnessing the house slowly unveil its original form was unparalleled.

The weatherboards, adorned with lead paint from a bygone era, thwarted our plans of refurbishment. Undeterred, we abandoned the idea of sanding and painting, opting to strip them completely.

Enter our friends, our unsung heroes.

What started as a solitary endeavor transformed into a communal effort when we discovered the joy in the process. With the support of our DIY enthusiast friends, we organised a working bee. Armed with tools, safety gear, and unwavering enthusiasm, they joined us for a day filled with camaraderie and at the end the sight of our house stripped to its bones. We bid farewell to an unexpected possum tenant and even removed an abandoned beehive. The process of insulating and preparing our home for new weatherboards commenced.

A possum hides in the wall of a house
Evicting an uninvited guest

So what’s the point of this?

Fast forward through the years, encompassing a significant extension that became a focal point of subsequent stories. Amidst the challenging times of the pandemic, we finally gathered our close friends to celebrate our “new” house.

A wooden frame containing old, rusted nails and a piece of render-covered brick collected during a renovation, presented as a gift
A beautiful, heart-warming gift

Little did we expect the overwhelming gesture from our friends Kerri and George. Their thoughtful gift, a piece of art crafted from old, rusty nails and bits of rendered brick, encapsulated in it the history of our home. Tears welled in our eyes as they unveiled this precious token during our housewarming.

The artwork now stands proudly on our sideboard, a tangible reminder of the not just the history of our home but the essence of love, friendship, and the promise of a future brimming with beautiful moments within these walls.