When we purchased the property in 1987 there were a number of skeptics feeling that we had taken on too big a challenge.
The house was in a poor state of repair urgently in need of a new roof with numerous leaks. The real estate agent we used to buy the house advised us to demolish it and start over.
During our first winter in 1988 we froze, the only heating we had was the open fires which didn’t stop us from getting ice on the inside of the windows. The following summer we installed a wood burner to heat at least part of the house. Over the next few years we had to patch the roof with every thing ranging from body filler to fibreglass to tank seal. We even had a few midnight repairs on the roof.
Our biggest priority was to keep the water damage to a minimum until we were in a position to replace the roof. By the time we were ready to replace the roof we had leaks in three stories of the house. Jan 1997 we scaffold the entire house and began the restoration work on the exterior of the building as well as giving access to the roofers. We removed the only 2 aluminium windows in the house, returned the kitchen to its original position, replaced the missing cast iron stove which we sourced from Dunedin and relocated the modern bathroom facilities. We did discover some serious water damage under the shower but were able to repair it. At this time we installed a boiler and radiator system to cope with our heating issues. Our first serious budget blow out was with one of the big front bay windows. What we expected to be a repair job became an expensive replacement job.
The biggest transformation happened in 1999 when the front and side porch were built. The finishing touches were done by remote control as this was around the time we left for Africa. Thanks to our craftsman builder Bruce Smith, friends and family the interior restoration and decorating was completed from notes we sent from Africa. As it turned out, the house was rented for 5 years before we got to live in the restored house! In 2007 we rebuilt the wooden conservatory with a small addition in keeping with the period.