Guidelines we made for ourselves with renovating Fairy Wren Cottage:

~ Support Local Trades people.

~ Support Local Businesses.

~ Buy manufactured, produced and made in Australia where possible.

~ Use natural building materials where possible. e.g. using sustainable, salvaged or local timber. Using timber shelving instead of MDF or white melamine.

~ Make what we can. Some of the things this has included: internal doors, double glazed windows, beds, kitchen pantry, cabinetry and bench tops, wardrobes, coat racks, bathroom cabinet, shelving, book shelves, mirror frames, kitchen table, cubby house, hen houses, fencing, linen press, curtains, cushion covers, table clothes, bread bags, dish cloths, simple baby quilts, clothes, garden gates and raised garden beds.

~ Reduce Reuse Recycle: After watching his Dutch Grandfather collect all manner of building materials over the years Michael has adopted the same practice of you never know when something will come in handy.

Michael is a carpenter, clients often want him to replace something that they feel is out dated or remove something they no longer need. He always pays for the building materials clients are replacing even though the building materials originally were going to be delivered to the tip shop, burnt or thrown away by the previous owners. For us it is establishing a sense of good will, trust and recognising that pre-used materials still have value.

Collecting 2ndHand Materials to renovate with:

When we have a project in mind e.g. a hen house, we draw up a design, make a list of items needed and start collecting the materials, keeping them stored together.

Sometimes it has taken us eighteen months to collect everything necessary  but it is worth the wait to keep costs down.

Usually during that time we tweak the design or we realise what we had planned wasn’t necessary after all and come up with a better option.

Step by step, slow and steady wins the race:

To keep up to date each day we try to spend an hour working in the garden or on the house.

The hours quickly add up, at the end of the week equivalent to a day’s work.

Knowing that the weekend is full of gardening and renovation jobs we have all the meals and snacks organised, eating outside as much as possible, even if it is just a picnic lunch on a blanket in the Kitchen Garden.

Yes renovating is hard work and can often be stressful but it is also a privilege to be able to create a cosy home and grow food for your family.

Until next time,

Jude x




Our Renovating Guidelines.

October 24, 2022



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