We moved in about 10 years ago. We were not even looking to move from the inner west but fell in love with the house. We had outgrown our small semi in Birchgrove after we had Charlotte and when this house came up it was such a great opportunity we jumped at it. We are only the 3rd family to live in the house. The two old ladies who lived in the house were spinster sister who moved in as little girls and lived here all their lives. The house and garden were in original condition when we bought it.
It was a blank canvas and a huge project. It was like a big old country house but in the city.
Oh yes! We have changed so much. The garden, other than lots of mature camellia trees, was untouched and very basic. We have added hedges, a pool, tree houses, cubby houses, herb gardens and bees! The house was in original condition – we ripped up the carpet, polished the floor boards, painted throughout (a lot of the older timber was painted in shellac which made the house very dark) in white. We have added a veranda 1/3 of the way around the house and reconfigured the back end of the house where the kitchen is to make it more family friendly. We reconfigured upstairs, changing what was a bathroom and linen cupboard into a bed room, a verandah room into a bathroom and a bedroom into a bathroom.
I love all things French (when we bought the house we were lucky enough to be going on a trip to France for the rugby world cup and we bought back a container of furniture for the house) and I like white things. I love linen and I like clean elegant lines. Plus I love flowers, there always has to be lots of flowers in the house.
We are on a busy road but we really don’t notice it any more. I am not sure if it is the great big wall we put in, the hedging or the fact that the house always has so much going on and is noisy that we simply don’t notice it any more.
I love the kitchen, as a cook I love how everyone can congregate in the kitchen with me and do their own thing while I cook. Homework is always done at the dining table and at dinner parties all the guests end up in the kitchen.
In life before children, Alison worked for Vogue Entertaining and Travel in the food department. At Vogue, Alison wrote recipes, tested recipes and worked as part of the team to create amazing food stories that graced the magazines pages.Â Along with raising her busy family, Alison is the owner of The Little Grocery Service;Â a premium boutique fruit and vegetable home delivery service.