6 May 2015

Renovating the verandah

Before we moved into our home here 18 years ago, we owned the house but had tenants in it. While we were still living up north, we contracted a concreter to jack-hammer out the old very small porch at the front door and then build a very big verandah. I like the old style of Australian living where houses in the hot areas had verandahs all around the house. That gave everyone a place to sit on hot days but also stopped sunlight falling on the windows, making a hot house even hotter.

The lesson we taught ourselves doing that was to never get a tradesman in when you're not there. The old little porch was left in and he concreted around it. We asked for tinted terracotta concrete and he lay grey concrete and painted it a strange colour somewhere between orange and pink. On top of that, Hanno asked for the concrete to fall away from the house and instead it falls towards the house. To pay for our stupidity, we lived with that colour and what he'd done for 18 years, then we noticed concrete cancer in two spots in old porch and decided that we had to do something about it.

In the old days we would have knocked this job over in a couple of days but now things take whatever time they take. We're okay with that because along with slowness, age also brings patience and understanding, and after 18 years we wanted the job done well.

Here are the new cushions Tricia sewed for my birthday. They're rabbits! The colour scheme blends in perfectly with the new floor colour and helps create a place we can all relax.  How's the serenity. 
;- )

We couldn't afford the ridiculous price for tiling the entire verandah so we settled for a tiled area at the front door. That cost just under $300, plus the cost of a tiler, the paint cost $200. It feels safe because the paint is non-slip and even when I water the plants out there and it's wet, I feel fine wandering around. I think Hanno did a really good job and I'm pleased to live with it for another 18 years. I'll be 85 years old then and I'll happily lift my skirt and dance a jig to celebrate not only my birthday but also 36 years living in our beautiful and simple home.

This is the little bench seat that sits right at the far end of the verandah.

It's such a peaceful place to sit and think or have morning tea and talk. I love having a shady outdoor area where we can gather to socialise or just rest between jobs. Have you had a job like this that you put off fixing for years?



  1. That looks just lovely Rhonda, I could sit there with my morning coffee no problen at all

  2. Job well done by Hanno and the cushions are cute and how it's decorated and all of your plants do make it a place of serenity.

    Enjoy for many years to come ~ FlowerLady

  3. It looks so inviting and such a clever way to add another useable area that suits your climate. I just love the cushions such a thoughtful gift, one made a given with love. Which are the best kind.

  4. Beautiful! It looks so relaxing and inviting!

  5. Love the serenity Rhonda! We have a paved courtyard area which serves a similar purpose but unfortunately pavers are hard to clean because all the sand and dirt works its way up through them. Part of the area has been concreted but not all, Eventually we hope to either get it all concreted or build a deck over part of it. Also there is a bit of a gap in the roof overhang for some reason and if we get lots of rain water gets in. I think I've worked out when I moved in here I was the same age you were when you moved into your house - so maybe it won't happen for another 18 years! I love having lots of plants around too

  6. Dear Rhonda.
    I love what you are doing and am doing somthing similar myself. I have hording tendencies and recently began to adress them and stripped the house to almost bear from what it was. You are right there is something very soothing in making sure what you have is what you need and pleases you. Soon I will have a room where I can sit and sew surf the net and store my craft stuff. mY HUSBAnd very kindly bought me a new to me sewing machine and it will alow me many many years fo preactical pleasure.. I have renewed my interest in cooking it started to wain fro som reason and I love the days when you take the "odds and ends" finding you have made a good meal.and posibly somthing for the next day or to go in the freezer for another time.I love this reconection i AM HAving with myself and my home. Also as I know my finances when I am older will be very tight this gives me a chance to re lean some skills and make them a daily habbit.Books can be soursed from the libary and there is a good local bakery which I am happy to support all good traditionaly baked goods and nothing is ever wasted. There is much I have learnt a lot from you and your readers about ways to cut a coner and not compromise on sertain aspects.I can see the howard streach in front of me and I am looking forward finaly to be able to enjoy who I am and what I have been blessed with.
    thanks for all you share
    Regards Rachel(plymouth england)

  7. I have two nagging jobs that pester my mind...oiling our rather expansive timber deck AND treating the leather lounge with a conditioning treatment...both jobs are well well overdue, (as in years), but they both daunt me so much I just can't face them!

  8. Rhonda your porch is beautiful! Well done, I admire your perseverance and attitude. I've just turned 35, and we're trying to sort out house to sell, and there are oh, so many jobs we've put off. So many. Some things we can do ourselves, some we can't, but I'm impatient and want them all doing *now*. I think I'll take a leaf out of your book and relax a little. Mind you, I should probably stop putting off fixing the roof since it was leaking in the rain last night...

    I'm excited about moving though - we have hardly any garden here, and no privacy, and no space, and I'm so much looking forward to room for chickens!

  9. Oh 'so much serenity' Rhonda. What can I say, I just love that word. he he.

  10. Hanno and Rhonda, you've done well, it looks stunning.

  11. I am just so fed up with the terrible quality job most of the tradesmen do and get away with... My husband now does pretty much everything around the house himself, because we've learned the hard way that simple truth. Now he is not only a biochemist by his true degree, but also a wall painter, wall and ceiling insulation specialist, terrific plumber, floor sanding and polishing expert and he also found a mistake a certified electrician made while we had a major electricity fault earlier this months and made electrician to redo it (electrician was surprised and confessed his mistake, then later asked if my husband IS an electrician, which he is not). I am just so lucky to have such a talented man in the house, so we can skip paying three-times the wages we receive to a supposedly professional service. It comes, unfortunately at a price, of children not seing their dad on most of the weekends and a declining health, that comes from the lack of rest, because there is always something to fix in our house. In an ideal world tradesmen should do a quality job when they charge THAT amount of money, I just hope they will at some point. ;)

  12. ....wondering what concrete cancer actually is? I can imagine from your description that it probably is a breakdown of the lime that creates a powdery patchy section on the surface of the slab - maybe.

    1. Hi Phil. It's a general term that covers a range of problems. Ours appeared as a patch of flaking concrete that started spreading.

  13. Sorry Rhonda! They are HARES, not rabbits--even better as far as I am concerned.

  14. You folks always keep so busy.. Wonderful... Enjoy...xo

  15. Your porch looks beautiful. You are blessed to live in a place where you can use it year round. Enjoy!

  16. What a gorgeous space you've created. I really wish I had a space like this to enjoy a good book or Bible study or just an iced tea :)


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