Thursday, March 25, 2010

Destashing - Our dream-home

In the past week I have destashed myself of my Realworldland job, my Interwebland job, my main PTA job and my voluntary job all in an effort to concentrate on the biggest destashing job on my To Do list: selling our house.  The trouble is, the more time I spend at home getting rid of stuff, tidying and cleaning, then the more I fall in love with it.

When we moved to Christchurch ten years ago, our children were aged 18 months and six weeks old.  Ken Oath! was either travelling overseas or working every waking moment in his exciting new job. I didn't know a single person here. Our rental house was in a great neighbourhood (St Albans) but certainly wasn't dream-home. (It had one room I always went into with my hand over my eyes because the curtains were so nasty and another we referred to as Antarctica.) I had only ever been to Christchurch once before; that was a decade earlier and I'd spent that entire visit trapped in a training room.

In short, I needed to get out, get exploring and get myself a life.  I bought a double buggy and went out on hunting expeditions.  First I hunted myself a collection of Rare Birds, i.e. the best collection of friends you could ever hope for. Then I hunted myself a collection of places I loved going to, including parks, opshops, libraries, galleries and walks. Finally I hunted myself a micro-mini short short-list of properties in the neighbourhood that I was potentially interested in should they ever come on the market.

A year later I was wheeling 60 blocks of butter worth of children home from my Plunket mothers' group, when I spotted one of my short-listed houses getting a For Sale sign installed. No time for muckingaround!  I rushed home and got straight on the blower.  That night, under the auspices of doing the grocery shopping, I met the agent and inspected this architect designed, modernist but modest, sun-soaked beauty.  Within 5 seconds of walking in the front door I told the agent she could can the sales pitch because I was already deeply in love;  I was home.

So then I had to go and fess up to Ken Oath! what I'd done.  After he'd recovered from the fact that I didn't actually have any chocolate for him, he too arranged to see the house.  I waited nervously, then when he got home I excitedly demanded "What do you think?  Shall we buy it?"  He said what he says best: " 'KIN' OATH!"  Soon afterwards the easiest property purchase ever was completed and ownership was transferred from the son of the recently deceased original owner to the happiest little family in StAlbansShirleyMairehau.

We have absolutely loved calling this house home.  Over the years I've ogled many other cool homes on Christchurch Modern but the reasons to stay put always outweighed the reasons to move.  While our address probably won't impress those peculiarly Christchurch people who go to posh parties and ask grey-haired grown-ups like me what school they went to, this home certainly has numerous other impressive features.

We stuffed it with our eclectic collection of mid-century furniture, retro fabrics, kitsch collectibles, thousands of books and some New Zealand art - otherwise known as miscellaneous-stuff-we-love. Even though I greatly admire sophisticated, contemporary interiors in magazines and on blogs, my own decorating style could only be described as like a magpie on speed.  Our interiors make Todd Oldham's look minimalist and will probably make some potential new owners' teeth hurt.  Just as both our children's names are in the "What not to name your baby" books, so I suspect that when our interior shots are loaded onto real-estate sites, they'll quickly make their way to various "How not to furnish your home" blogs to be sniggered at by people far cooler and more restrained than us.

Ah well.  I'm not scared of being sniggered at.  What I am scared of is living in a house so bland that I'd have to leave a trail of crumbs every time I went out so I could find my way home again.  I'm scared that someone who really wants to live in Italy will buy this house and do a nasty Italiente makeover on it.  I'm scared that the new owner will rip out our huge, tui-ready, native garden and replant it with roses and pansies.

OK,  too much idle chitchat and not enough action.  I should really be scared of still being sat here in my PJs in four weeks time, still hemming these jolly curtains (that I should have hemmed five years ago) when people arrive for my first open home.  Back to work for me.


  1. Oh, your house looks mighty interesting, any idea who the architect was? Lil.

  2. I have my suspicions and am finally working on clarifying it. The floor plan is almost identical to a Pascoe and Hall house I've seen so I'm starting there.

  3. Deidre, I had no idea you'd already left until Wednesday of last week when I met your replacement! All the best,

  4. Thanks Anne, yes it was very speedy. Hope she likes that job as much as I did. See you around.

  5. Well that was very interesting.
    Thanks to everyone who has been in touch about our house sale. So here are answers to all the questions I've received in case other lurkers are also wondering.
    Yes that is our actual house in the picture. Yes it is in StAlbansShirleyMairehau. It was built in the early 1950s. Not sure of the architect yet but I have leads and suspicions and am working on it. It has three bedrooms, one bathroom, kitchen/dining, sep lounge, large study, large laundry, is 178 sq m and has a double garage with internal access. It is on a 932 sq m flat section planted with natives and with an extensive vegetable garden. Many original modernist features including plywood panelling, inbuilt shelving, polished floors, crazy fire surround, sloping ceilings, perfectly oriented and designed for sun (catching in winter and avoiding in summer). GV as of 2007 is ... $387000. Yes I am selling privately and it will be going on the market in 3-4 weeks time. If you would like to be added to my list to arrange a private viewing before the first public open home, then please just email me at
    And yes I do really like roses and pansies - but just on my frocks.

  6. Just had it confirmed that the house is indeed a Pascoe and Hall built in 1950.