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The Garage Sale Cottage (and Giveaway)

Posted Tuesday, July 29, 2014 in: Home Envy

I love hunting through secondhand markets - and I like to think I’ve nabbed a few vintage treasures for our home over the years. But I’ve never had the same luck with garage sales. I always feel like I leave a bit disappointed. So when I meet a couple who not only visit garage sales frequently but have absolutely mastered scoring amazing things from them, I am very impressed!

This is the home of Kim and Chris French, who live with their granddaughter Ruby, 4, their West Highland White terrier Griffin and their cat, Sophie. Kim and Chris have lived in their 90-year-old little Mosman Park cottage for 30 years. And almost everything they have put into their unique house or incorporated into the garden is secondhand - bought from a garage sale, or picked up from the side of the road (and saved from landfill). They are like the original upcyclers – long before upcycling was a hipster buzzword!

GARDEN CORNER: One of the things I like about this house is how random it is. The old stove in the front garden was from a house in Peppermint Grove. Photos by Heather Robbins of Red Images Fine Photography.

Kim and Chris love old things – and in their house, they use secondhand and discarded things in clever, original and funny ways, buying lots of things from garage sales, but also finding things on the side of the road and even amazing things in skip bins. For Kim, growing up in predominantly newer homes developed his fascination with anything old, or with a story behind it. “Most of the houses I lived in were modern, but there were old things in my dad’s shed that I remember,” he tells me. “My father had this old ashtray from Nepal – I still have it now. I love anything that’s got character.”
“Do you ever buy anything new?”
“Uhhh… not much.”
“Why do you have a leg in your chimney?”
“My wife found it on the verge… she came home and told me I had to put it on the roof.”

Jutting alarmingly from the red brick chimney that pokes out from their tin roof, the chimney leg is a perfect indication of the people who live beneath its roof –

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10 Tips to Brighten Your Home With Flowers

I don’t know if it’s because of winter, but lately it seems like a whole bunch of my friends have been feeling a little flat. A bit uninspired, demotivated, overworked, lethargic or blah; at night more in the mood to slump lifelessly on the couch than go out or do projects around the house (I have quite a few unticked boxes on my home to-do ...

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The Church Conversion

I have always loved church conversions. Every time I pass one, or to be honest any time I see any sort of church that looks vaguely permanently inhabited, I stare really hard at it in a creepy fashion and probably scare the people who live inside.

Whether you are religious or not, you have to admit there is something very cool about a church ...

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Nearly Done! Our Bathroom and Laundry Renovations

“What?!” I hear some of you cry. “You’re still not finished?”
No, we are not. I wonder if we are achieving some kind of record for the longest bathroom and laundry renovations. (You can see some of our before pics here, if you haven't already). We started gutting in March… it is now July. Three months is a while to go without a washing machine.


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Nerd in the Country: Cranmore Home Winter Workshop

Yesterday was the inaugural Cranmore Home Winter Workshop and it was one of the most beautiful days I have ever been a part of. It sounds ridiculous but honestly it sort of felt like something in a dream. A pretty much perfect day.

Cranmore Home is the online homewares range of curator and owner Tracey Lefroy. Last year I wrote a story on ...

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I'm Going to Be Writing a Column!

My dad used to always harp on at me, “Don’t count your chickens before they hatch.” It was one of those childhood lessons brought out if I would say something like, “I’m going to win the colouring-in comp!” etc. The chicken lesson was reiterated in a much-loved Enid Blyton book later (The Children of Willow Farm, anyone?) but even that didn’t ...

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House Nerd on TV!

So on Monday night the Today Tonight segment I was in went to air! Mr Nerd and I sat down to watch it, him happily, me with great trepidation. I was all jittery and twitchy. But I only screamed out loud a couple of times during the watching, once when I first saw myself at the beginning (you don't understand, our new TV is REALLY big, and my ...

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I'm Going to Be on Today Tonight... Yes, TV. Eeeeek!

So recently a lovely Channel 7 reporter called Chantelle Toohey asked if she could interview me for a segment she was putting together for Today Tonight on beautiful Perth houses. Yes, I am going to be on TV! I know. I definitely had my freakout moment already. You know how last week I was talking about things that come your way when you start ...

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12 Things I Wish I’d Known About Blogging When I Started

Lately I have been floored by the number of people who have talked to me about wanting to start their own blog. These people want to blog for numerous reasons – as an aid to establish their start-up, diarise their home renovation or build, enhance their freelance career prospects or just for fun.

I don’t feel like I am a blogging expert – at ...

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Marimekko House

Architect Ariane Prevost is not what I had been expecting. I’ve gone to chat with her at her famous home, Marimekko House. I’ve been there less than two minutes and already am realising that this is an architect very different to most I know.

You can freely accuse me of stereotyping an entire profession here, but when I first meet most ...

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