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Plan B

Do you have a wish list of the type of homes you'd like to live in?

Mine would be inner city terrace, weatherboard farmhouse, art-deco apartment, preferably in Paris, scandi barn-style house,  historic commercial building.  Never a brick veneer in the suburbs, I've done my time in those growing up.

I've always fancied living in an old commercial building, drawn to the gracious architectural details, soaring windows and generous proportions. And now we're here I do find myself wondering what the hell we were thinking.

We've long had a tremendous affection for this building, known as the Bowmont, it's a precious survivor with a colourful past that I'll share another time.  A regular haunt when it was an antique shop, we spent many an afternoon exploring the dusty rooms stuffed with furniture, paintings and knickknackery.

When it came up for sale I did think how wonderful it would be to own such a place, not really giving it serious consideration.  But as the farm project grew more and more difficult, I started to think about a Plan B.

The Bowmont had sat on the market for almost a year, and I couldn't understand why it hadn't been snapped up. This gem of the Huon, with river views and so much potential. What was wrong with people? Who wouldn't want to rescue a tired ex-bank, ex-hospital ex-employment agency and pour some love and money into the poor old girl.

Too big, too much work, no land, on a busy road, there were plenty of reasons why no one had bought it.  Not one to let such trifling realities stop me, I sent a cautious text to the agent to organise a visit.   I couldn't wait to see inside again and as the agent pushed opened the heavy old door I was a little underwhelmed to be honest, it was cluttered, and cold, and stuffy.  We walked through the building that was now part home, part backpackers, part closed antique store, and I took the photos, posted below.  Yet despite the bad curtains, shit paintwork and fluro lights, it still felt a little magical and dear reader, we bought it.

It's almost exactly a year since I sent that first text to the agent, and it's been quite a ride just to buy the building, it took forever (well, six months forever). Writing this now fills me with angst ridden memories of that uncertain period, of the many times we almost walked away from the deal. Wondering if indeed our only option was a brick veneer in the suburbs. But you know, she's an alluring mistress this one, and in my heart I knew it was meant to be.

So here I am in this draughty cold house, 22 rooms, eight open fireplaces, with no heating or insulation, a blanket on my shoulders as I type wearing fingerless gloves, chipboard covering the missing floorboards. Having the renovations finished seems like an impossibly long and ridiculous journey.  

But still, we're here, plans are afoot and as the sun streams through those glorious windows, honestly there's nowhere else I'd rather be.

* Sorry these photos are rather crappy, I'm still trying to remember how to post images properly!


  1. It is fascinating Michelle. Good on you for following your heart and taking the plunge x

  2. I love that you follow your dreams :) First the Farm house in Tassie (i LOVE your book - gives me the warm and fuzzies every-time I read it) and now this beautiful beast. You are an inspiration, thank you x

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