Apr 3, 2019


Hey kitty cats. Clare Connelly here and I'm on the prowl for advice. 

In a few months, my husband and I are knocking down our house and having a new one built. 🏡 While this is incredibly exciting, it's also WAY outside my wheelhouse. I have no experience with anything of this size and I also have a very busy year of books and deadlines, so I won't really have much energy to give to managing the move and build. 

So, I want to pick your hive mind! 🙏 I'm looking for any tips you can share that might make it run a bit more smoothly - in terms of packing, storing, unpacking, making the transition to a rental easier. And I'm also keen to hear what you think we NEED in the new house! Our final plans don't have to be firmed up for another month or so - it's definitely not too late to include some modifications. So far, we've got a bedroom for each of the kids, one for us, and an office for me (Yahoo, how fancy!). There'll also be a media room because we LOVE watching movies and I don't really want a TV in the main living area. I figure it's going to be a nice experiment to try to keep the screens confined to one space. What else is essential!? 

The original 1950s kitchen when we first moved in
As for this old dame of a house, I have such mixed feelings about knocking it down. The house was built in 1954 as a returned serviceman's bungalow - what I grew up calling housing trust, in Queensland. It's sweet, but very, very small (two bedrooms, one bathroom) with floors that creak non-stop, plumbing that is woefully insufficient for a family of four, and very little aesthetic interest or appeal. With that being said, it's a good strong house and it's made us very happy, cosy and content for the nine years we've called it 'home'. 

That's water in the bottle, promise.
When we bought this place, I was seven months pregnant with our first little one - we had no idea what to expect and we most definitely had a ticking time bomb! To make that all the more urgent, we'd been kicked out of our rental because the owner wanted to move in, meaning we had to find somewhere to buy ASAP. Fortunately, I fell head over heels with this little place, and it all fell into place pretty quickly.

Crazy, exhausting and so fun!
It's the home we brought both our babies to, where they took their first steps, ate their first meals, where we've kissed away their owies and listened to their first words - and the many, many, many, many, many, many words that have followed since. It's also where I found my feet professionally, discovering that the writing I've always loved could become what I did for a living. I have written over eighty books in the four walls of this place - no office, no space, no privacy, and for a very long time, just a second-hand computer my husband bought for eighty dollars when his office no longer needed it. 

No idea what the champagne was for. 

While I'm thrilled to finally be expanding into a house that will fit our fam bam a bit more comfortably, I'm also filled with nostalgia and gratitude for all that we've enjoyed here. I'm going to throw this place a very suitable send-off to make sure we thank her for all the memories and care, before the walls fall. 

Though the house is tiny, it almost always
carries its body weight in flowers
Okay! Hit me with your tips, pretty please! I need to streamline this process as much as possible and I definitely don't want to end up living in a house that doesn't quite tick all the boxes!

Input very gratefully received 🍄


  1. How exciting for you all, and you will always have the memories to keep, as to what you may need as much storage space as possible is on of my main things, although I have never done this, it is what I would love to do now I am thrilled for you

    Have Fun


  2. How thrilling, Clare! Is there something from the current version of the house you really like? A tile or two, a colour on a cupboard door? If so, save it and incorporate it in the new version. If not, then rely on those lovely photos for memories and move on. My advice is not to believe that it's going to be finished on the date the builders say. Bank on it taking longer. If by some chance it's done on time you can celebrate. :) Good luck with the changes and having more space - what fun! It will definitely change the way you live as a family.

  3. Exciting news, Clare, but also slightly daunting. I imagine ... but then we've lived in the same house for over 30 years with only room by room reno's. I love that you're including a media room and restricting screens in the rest of the house. Great plan!

    My immediate thoughts have been covered: I'm with Helen on storage. How much depends on whether you're a family of packrats or if you've embraced Marie Kondo. But it's often overlooked or underbudgeted.

    Also I agree with Annie about considering incorporating something from your starter home, whether the literal (tiles, cupboards) or the metaphoric (style, colour scheme.) Maybe it will work; maybe it won't. I have a friend with a kitchen splashback made using the pattern/artwork from elsewhere which is super-cool and meaningful.

    My advice: be ruthless when packing (esp if you're inclined to hoard like me.) Much easier to toss stuff (and by toss, I mean thoughtfully recycle) when moving out so you have less STUFF to move in. New house, new beginnings, think hard on what you want to incorporate and what you want to replace.

  4. That's great news, Clare! It will be wonderful to have a new house that will suit your needs as a family. There's nothing like a new kitchen and new bathroom! As a veteran of several renovations, I agree with Annie's advice. Definitely allow for the build to take longer than anticipated! Also make sure you have all you need in your temporary accommodation. You don't want to have to buy something you already own that's in storage. Good luck!