jean kittson


We are building a granny flat.

Although, because my mother wisely married a man some years younger than herself it is, in reality, a flat for Grandpa too. They are both moving in as soon as we finish.*

Isn’t the word “finish” lovely?

Much nicer than the word “bankrupt”. Or “homicidal”.

jean kittson

We all know the dangers of renovations.

My husband and I have always agreed – noticing our decaying bathrooms and the doors falling off the kitchen cupboards and the sag and strange stain on the ceiling just over the bed – that were it not for the certain knowledge that our marriage would not ...

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  • Reply March 29, 2013


    Love it! We renovated and put in an IKea kitchen! Nearly destroyed our marriage and the money hole?!?! Omg!
    Lovely to see Jean writing for The Hoopla!

  • Reply March 29, 2013

    Nel Matheson

    Welcome to Hoopla, Jean! Great story (ongoing). I can see this becoming a series, complete with intimate details of your family counselling sessions, wonderful descriptions of the negotiations with the bank re mortgage extensions, and tearful conversations with your significant other over a few beverages late at night, surrounded by enormous mounds of invoices. Ah, the joys of renovations. The house shall crumble about my ears before I venture there. My heartfelt condolences to you and yours, and I sincerely hope you survive the trauma!

  • Reply March 29, 2013


    Welcome to Hoopla Jean! We are just emerging from the dark tunnel of a 6 month home renovation – during which time we only moved out for a week while the floors were sanded and varnished. I wondered whether our marriage would survive – thankfully it did – as he went to work and away on business trips and I made the decisions, bonding with the builders over coffees and doughnuts. There have been plenty of hour long discussions while staring at holes and poles and I have learned to like hard rock played alarmingly loudly so they can hear it over their hammering.
    I have also gained invaluable knowledge of plumbing, plastering, how many shades of white there are and also 15 pounds (of doughnuts).
    My ‘vision’ was an artistically styled house from Home Beautiful. I have ended up with nothing similar.
    Compromises were made. I am never watching ‘Selling Houses Australia’ again.

  • Reply March 29, 2013

    Valerie Parv

    60 Minute Takeover has a lot to answer for.

  • Reply March 29, 2013

    Janet G

    It’s not a renovation it’s a sink hole. You know those holes children used to dig to get to China? We now do it as adults.

  • Reply March 29, 2013


    Actually, renovation aside its a great thing to do for your parents.
    May it be a happy and rewarding experience for you.

  • Reply March 30, 2013

    Fiona R

    My BIL built my pergola, verandah and window awning. My local Council were helpful and made the process easy. Sometimes, choosing who you work with is the most important part. Bearing in mind how shonky the building industry can be, you’re probably still on the winning side seeing as how you haven’t had to ring ACA yet.

  • Reply March 31, 2013


    It is a good thing you are doing Jean. Ka-ching. Better than ego-enervation when all that was there before you to decide, plan and build whatever the conflict, tiredness and trouble , is well, disappointing…and just beyond reach..

  • Reply April 2, 2013


    Young homeowners besotted with the idea of renovating—beware! Every word rings true. We just built our own home and thought we were clever factoring in a 20% over-budget allowance. ha ha ha ha ha. You will never, ever, do a renovation or a housebuild on budget and if you factor in an over-budget allowance the building gods (or demons, depending on your point of view) will know and they will factor the over-budget allowance into your budget, meaning you’ll need to find another 20 to 30%. Without fail.

  • Reply April 2, 2013


    Hubby and I did up an old rural government building- no toilets but a toilet block about 30 metres away- yea Gods. My friends could not believe that a woman who used to have all home comforts and lived ( be it rented) in a lovely part of Melbourne would make the adjustment. Well I (we)did and it took 10 years of making do-as we lived in what was really a lovely large bedsit- in a gorgous setting, but now we have a home that we always thought would elude us. With not a huge amount of the home being owned by a bank.

  • Reply April 3, 2013


    How funny, as my hubby said “go and shake that money tree and fill that bloody hole”. It never ever ends and you also need a contingency fund over and above the original contingency fund.

  • [...] Jean’s (Ka-Ching!) Granny Flat [...]

  • [...] with a pencil.“I’ve spent years telling my girls that what’s inside is important. Besides, the granny flat I’m building for Mum and Dad is costing me a fortune and I’d rather get new garden paving than a face [...]

  • Reply January 2, 2014


    Hi Jean,
    An enjoyable and funny read! If I could ask if project management was a consideration for what was perceived a small project? I’d be really interested to hear/read your thoughts.

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