The Hilton Fibro Cottage Renovation

I love this house. This is the former home of our friends Tim and Caity Phillips, it’s a cool renovation and a house that I like because it suits its owners down to a tee. You guys may already know Tim’s name from some of my earlier posts; he and his TJP Carpentry team put up the cladding as part of our Scyon Walls makeover, and they also recently completed our new deck. It was actually through House Nerd that I met Tim and Caity; I got Tim’s name from a House Nerd reader who recommended him as a carpenter years ago, and completely by chance we were looking for a carpenter that week – and it randomly turned out Caity already followed my blog! Now we’re lucky to call Tim and Caity friends. Little Nerd in particular worships them with the kind of awed reverence Mr Nerd and I only dream of attaining.

The first time I visited Tim and Caity’s house was when they opened up their backyard for a gig as part of Parlour Gigs, an initiative where people can host musicians to play in their homes. With their huge oak tree and deck, it was an awesome setting for live music and I fell in love with the house as a whole. I could 100 percent see why they were sad to sell it (and yes they sold it not long after we did our shoot – more on that later!)

GREEN ENVY: Plants at every corner pay homage to the home’s roots – the house was rumoured to have once been used as a plant nursery. Photos by Heather Robbins.

I feel like I have to pop in a disclaimer here, because we all know I am a terrible blogger but this is particularly embarrassing. Heather (Robbins) and I shot this home AGES ago, just before Tim and Caity put it on the market… at the end of 2017, I believe. WHAT THE. Insert monkey emoji covering his eyes. In my defense, we had a limited amount of time to shoot the house quickly before Caity and Tim styled it to sell, because I just knew a house like theirs would be snatched up quickly (and it was – it spent only two weeks on the market before the Phillips accepted an offer).

Shortly after Heather and I visited, I got pregnant and spent the next ten months throwing up as fun, unsponsored posts like this one took a backseat for a while, as pretty much all my energy went towards doing the bare minimum of sponsored posts to get me through. Obviously I have no qualms about doing sponsored content, but home tours like these (and personal ramblings) are still the stories I love to share the most. That said, they’re also the ones I tend to put the most into. Whenever a house like this crosses my path, I feel this funny sense to ‘do it justice’ and to write it as best as I can. And when the owners are my friends, or when I meet them and they turn out to be people I really like (which, if I’m honest, tends to be pretty much all of them) then I feel this even greater need to put together something I hope they’ll be proud of.

I can’t even say this is just a House Nerd thing; I was this obsessive back when I just used to write features for the paper and magazines. I’d spend WAY more time and energy on the stories of the houses I loved (and the home owners I liked) than the ones that I was indifferent to, which I could dash off and shoot through to my editor in half an hour. The downfall of the overcommitted, procrastinating perfectionist, people. Sometimes it feels like a fault; like everything I do must be my full effort or I feel dissatisfied. I don’t even think it’s about trying to do something ‘perfectly’, it is just about effort. I can’t do anything half-arsed. I must put full arse into everything. That sounded wrong and will probably bring me some unsavoury SEO. (2019 New Year’s Resolution – stop being weird. Finish what I have in my folders before enthusiastically committing myself to more and more and more like I’m still a-20-something-uni-student-with-no-kids).

Anyway – back to the story. Tim and Caity met years ago through mutual friends – Caity was best friends with the drummer of Tim’s band (“We had a real love-hate relationship in the beginning,” says Caity, but the thought seems laughable now; they are one of the best-suited couples we know) and were living in a share house in Attadale. They had just returned from four months travelling through Europe when they decided to start looking for a place of their own, feeling like it was time to have their own space.

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