Most people would have run for the hills on seeing the rundown state of this 1880s stone cottage, but not our favourite renovator Naomi Findlay! Her years of experience and can-do attitude, meant she saw the potential to rescue and restore ‘Carrington House’ to her former glory, and she’ll be sharing the step-by-step process with us over the next few weeks and months. Over to you, Naomi…
Carrington House is a little old house on Carrington Street in the Hunter region of NSW. What first attracted me to this property was not just the obvious need for it to be rescued, but the property felt like it was hurting. It felt like it had a story to tell, and no one to help tell it. And once I visited it once, regardless of how graphic and disturbing the property was, I couldn’t not have it as mine.
Step-by-step, I’m showing you everything I do, room by room, to transform this 1880s stone cottage that has been butchered and cut up over decades, and completely neglected, into a modern country, comfortable, classic, cosy cottage for me to work from.
Today I am pumped to be able to share with you the first finished room. I could go on forever about all of the things that were wrong with this room. There were rotted waling plates, destroyed bearers and joists, unstable floors, damaged multiply-lined walls, no character, water smells, mould and a dropping ceiling!
Oh gosh, the list goes on and on and on! Let alone not being weathertight, waterproof, insect-proof, or even secure. If you want to see more, you can here with behind the scenes videos of every single step in that journey.
My inspiration for room one was a strong, feminine, classic feel.
You’ll notice that even though the walls are adorned with the most audacious floral wallpaper, it is in a very deep navy blue which gives it such strength. I’ve ensured that space medicine is integrated as the light and outdoors are brought inside with amazing French doors and side lights. These doors are then made super practical for the Australian environment with French security doors layered internally, meaning privacy and security as well as no flies!
To add that next level of detail, I’ve installed broad trims, bulky cornices, picture rails, chair rails and custom wainscoting. It’s like jewellery on the walls.
I totally get that many people love spray painting everything white nowadays, but for me colour can be so therapeutic and so nurturing when it’s used correctly. So I used this wallpaper as my jumping off point for all of the colours in the room. From the wallpaper, I pulled the deep blue for the door and the playful soft blue for the wainscoting, as well as a crisp but warm white on the rest of the walls and the ceiling.
So the floor that was here was in disrepair but never fear, I have renewed and recycled that and taken it to another project, it’s certainly not in the skip bin. Given this may become my office, I needed to make sure that the floor was really hardy and so I’ve actually gone for a wide plank on the floor. Wider boards were often used in years gone by and were certainly what was underneath this existing floor. Here I have chosen to go on with a very, very hard-wearing, very wide, vinyl plank, which is laid with a heavy adhesive. This means it’s waterproof, dust proof, scratch proof, you name it, I can do pretty much anything to these floors and they will tolerate it.
My biggest challenges in this space were the subfloor (it was non-existent) and the repairing of the existing gyprock. It was my choice to keep the gyprock on the walls and not strip it. But in doing that, it was a really tough job for the gyprockers to repair the walls.
My favourite part of this room varies day by day as I sit in the space. However, the door is still a winner. The finish on the door and the colour of the door blow my mind.
I hope you enjoy seeing the transformation, and if you would like to know more about any of the specs or products that you’ve seen, you can find them here.