Thursday, 12 April 2012

The Little Church on the Hill

Yesterday Ewan and I went to church. We drove the winding roads towards Ben Lomond, Tasmania's biggest mountain and there at the foothills of this mountain is our "church", the shack (which coincidentally is a former church.)

The church is clad in weathered timber cedar shingles.
We put in all the gardens as there was nothing when we purchased the place.
Ben Lomond
We brought the church along with some land back in 2004. It still had the red strip of carpet up the middle and the alter at the end. There were no amenities, just a shell of a building ripe for some creativity injected into it. Roge and I wanted to turn it into a residence so we embarked on a labor of love that has taken us 8 years to complete.

Open plan living
Looking back at the Bunnings flatpack kitchen

The vestry has been converted into the bathroom
It has taken a long time because there wasn't any urgency to get the renovation done and we did all the work ourselves. It didn't cost us much in the scheme of things because we found a lot of the supplies second hand. The skirting boards and architraves were salvaged from a burnt house that was to be demolished, the claw foot bath was pulled out of a paddock and cleaned up with a bit of paint. The ballustrade to the mezzanine was made out of myrtle, huon pine and blackwood scraps that we dug out of various people's sheds and fittings were found at the tip shop.

So yesterday I was sitting inside our little home away from home, it was 3:30pm and I was bored out of my brain. No internet, no mobile phone reception and no one to talk to, I was seconds away from packing up and going home to the city only hours after we had arrived. I couldn't believe it, I realised I'd lost my ability to just sit and do nothing. I think the last 8 months I have just been so busy with a new baby and everything else that I fill my life with that I have forgotten how to sit and enjoy the quiet times.

Determined to stay I realised I needed a change of scenery and hopefully that would lift my mood. I moved onto the deck with a cuppa, plonked Ewan down with an apple and sat back with my feet up. I found some old editions of the Country style magazine in the cupboard and read. Within half and hour I  was exactly where I wanted to be, enjoying the quiet, gorgeous views and not being distracted by Facebook or a mountain of washing!

Love our deck, perfect afternoon hang out.
Ewan and Tonto, best of pals. 
Sunset from the deck, ahh the serenity.
After that we really got into the flow of country life. Ewan and I played with the horse, chased the chickens and later that afternoon, lit the fire and stared into the flickering flames. Ahhh, relaxed Alex was back. That was until the next morning when one of the neighbours kids started up their motorbike and insisted on riding it on our adjoining road, grrr, serenity over!

With that we packed up and headed on home to the city because I missed my husband, my home and lets be honest, Facebook!


  1. WOW! It's so beautiful, Alex. I'm in awe. What a sweet little church on the outside, and inside it looks gorgeous. I love the kitchen! And the bathroom. And the view!! Stunning.

    Such an amazing retreat. I haven't had a moment/day like that in a long time. When we escape the city to Georgian Bay there's still Adam's family to contend with, and his parents aren't good at relaxing. Um, that's an understatement really.

    What are your plans for this property? (What does Roger do, is he a construction guy or is this a side thing for both of you?)

    1. Hi Shan, The church is lovely isn't it but I haven't spent enough time there for ages, I forget how therapeutic the place is. Roge is a nurse (and a DJ on the weekends)!!!! A far cry from a tradie of some sort, we just renovate for fun. His dad and my granddad are old tradies so we've leant a lot from them.

      So the future plans for the property, I registered a name for it and was going to set it up as tourist accommodation but then my mum turned around and said she's like to buy it so as of the end of this month, it will be all hers. I'm glad really, it can stay in the family and we could use the cash. Plus we weren't using it enough and w've had the luxury of a "weekender" for 8 years, not a very practical business decision but one that was good for the soul.

      We love our home in the city though, I don't really feel like I need a retreat any more so we move on. Plus we're on a mission to pay off our own mortgage on the city house hence why we're selling the church and our place in Geelong. The capital from both of those places will do that for us. I feel pretty lucky that we made good decisions when we were younger and it's meant that we are now in a pretty good financial position.

      Anyhoo, that's the story in a nutshell!

  2. Ohhh Alex that picture of Ewan and Tonto is priceless! So glad you were able to relax for a bit.. I'm exactly the same.. Sometimes I dream of a world with no social networking!
    Love x

    1. I know Laura (aka "Troudy"?) how cute is the pic. Ewan LOVES Tonto, I even put him on his back for a while and he was super excited. A future horse lover maybe...

  3. So apparently my name is Trouty.... Old blogger... Laura here!

  4. So lovely to see the little church that I've heard you talk about so often. What a gorgeous, stress-free locale and an ingenious renovation. I think you and Roge both qualify as "construction guys". Ewan is so cute!

    1. Construction guys by weekend, nurse and mother by weekday! Ha! Yes it is a lovely place to be Sheryl but alas it will be my mother's by the end of the month. Not to worry, there might be another little project in the sidelines....will keep you posted!