Dreams into Reality

You will never forget buying your first home, thats for sure. Once you've got that foot in the door, there's no looking back. My husband and I were no different to any other first home buyer, we wondered how the hell are we even going to do this. Luckily, my Mum was a property developer and she knew the importance of getting on the property ladder. So we put our heads together and managed to find a way of securing a property, with no deposit, and using her own equity and property as security. Yes, we had a 100% mortgage, but we were living in her granny flat with minimal rent and had only just had out first child.

I like to think of our first home as our lottery win. Little did we know that the market would suddenly IMPLODE and we would walk away 11 months later with not only a deposit for a "real home" but to pay off all our debt we had incurred (yup, a whole other story!).

All my husband did was add a nice front fence, built a sturdy front deck and I put some lovely new blinds throughout. We also took the initiative to have an architect draw up some sample plans of a granny flat that could possibly be put up the back of the property, as it was 796sqm (4sqm shy of the required 800sqm to subdivide (at that time)). We also met with council and put some wheels in motion.

We didn't sell the property with promises or false hope, we simply took steps in the right direction to help plant a seed and explore the properties possibilities. Well it paid off and we made 3x times yearly salaries.

It was a pretty exciting but also very stressful time. We had a nearly one year old beautiful baby boy, but we were still living in my Mums 2 bedroom, tiny granny flat. We didn't want to move into the area that our house was in so it was rented. The rent pretty much paid our mortgage and once we sold, we were ready to buy.

I can tell you what, the heartache and anxiety you go through when you're trying to buy a house can be absolutely destroying. You finally find something you love, and then nope, the dream gets ripped away from you.

I started to learn to take my heart out of it and stop imagining my furniture in the rooms and my little boy running around in the back yard. It was just to painful every time we missed out. We had cash, a loan approval and we were ready to buy! Why wouldn't it happen!?

One thing you will learn about me, I'm somebody who believes in fate, who believes that things happen for a reason. I believe if your clear about what your want, it comes to you. Sometimes with hurdles and questions along the way, but we always seem to end up where we are meant to be if we follow our intuition. So don't fight it, stay positive and focus on what you want. It will come.

After months of looking, I had an instinct to look at an area I would usually have overlooked. And boom, I found a gorgeous (but horrendous) little beach shack in a beautiful part of Auckland called Clarks Beach. We had never really thought to look in that particular area but once we did, we wondered why we hadn't sooner. I knew why, this house wasn't on the market yet! But now it was.

If you can imagine a jungle, with a total wreck of a front deck, dirty brown walls and ceilings, holes in the floors, different ceiling heights, botched extensions and additions, a pink bathroom and green kitchen and bora in the foundations (not to mention the used tampon I found in the bedroom upstairs, OMG!), then you could picture our "Dream Home".

Basically the house was an a mess and no one wanted it, except us! We LOVED it! My husband and I walked onto that property and we were home! There were fruit trees galore, a seperate building to convert to a photography studio for me, an outdoor fireplace and just enldess opportunities. The energy was perfect and I was simply in love.

I have never wanted something so bad in my life! And that moment when our offer got accepted, I cried!

Before we moved in, I had a painter come in and put a fresh lick of paint on all the rooms and new carpet in the bedrooms! We immediately changed the layout to our master bedroom as unfortunately the 2 other bedrooms were upstairs and ours was down, so I wanted to be closer to the stairs and our son. We also had a pretty fair idea of what we would do with the layout of the house and knew that this would work well down the track.

We also immediately renovated my "studio" so that I could get stuck into work. It was everything I had ever dreamed of. We were both in our zone and so happy to be working on something that meant so much to both of us!

We couldn't afford to do the renovation as soon as we moved in, we needed to save and see what happened to the market. Lucky for us (once again) the prices went up and our lovely neighbours sold their house for more than $250,000 more than what we paid. Fair to say, we had some equity and the banks were happy to lend.

Then the fun began! A few months before the renovations were going to commence I found out that I was pregnant with our second child. Super exciting but also super daunting. We were about to start a major renovation, move into my Mums lounge (her granny flat was then rented) and have a toddler and newborn (shoot me now!).

So we decided to leave the major work to right before I was due. So 3 weeks before our daughter was born, I moved into my Mums lounge room, set up our bed and the nursery and tried to make ourselves at home for the next 6 months! I was tough!

The renovations we planned, weren't just changing a bathroom decor and painting walls. We completely changed the layout of the house, we added an additional powder room, bedroom, bathroom and rumpus room upstairs, and essentially took it down to its stud. New foundations went in, new joinery, new roof, you name it, we did it!

We turned our dreams into a reality and it was the hardest but most rewarding project I have ever done! When you put so much soul and passion into your property, there's nothing else quite like it.

6 months later, the house still wasn't quite ready, but I was! I needed to be home, I needed my babies in their home, I needed to nest, to settle and to start our next chapter.

It's fair to say that the project continued for months if not years. That's the things with renovations, they never really end as you're always trying to add more, or do more.

But one day it did end as we realised we had really done all we could do, without over-capitalising, and it was time to just enjoy it. Well, that only lasted a year or so, I think we both realised that having projects to do, projects we were passionate about, are what we need to thrive. We aren't the type of people who like to sit around and just relax on the weekends (of course sometimes), but we were at a bit of a loss. The energy shifted, our goals changed and we had done it. We had achieved our goal and it was now time for what next? Well, as you would of read in my first blog, there was a lot next.

We are currently towards the end of our second renovation, which I will of course also be sharing, and we feel like we have that passion and energy back. I look forward to sharing it with you!

I hope you enjoy the gallery of before and afters and our story of turning our dreams into a reality! If we can do it, so can you! xxxx

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