highlight, renovating
Comments 9

Making a Life or Debt Decision

I’m a strategist by trade. My professional brain thrives at 30,000 feet.  I can develop concepts. I can see the big picture. And I watch in awe as teams of people bring ideas into reality.

And that’s my problem right there. In my personal life, there have been no teams of people swooping in to create the home I want. Lately our family motto seems to have been “why do today what can be put off indefinitely”.  We’ve been busy building our careers, raising three kids and working on a multitude of other excuses.

Whatever the reason it’s fair to say my home is more student flat than “House and Garden”.

A while back we’d decided to undertake a massive renovation that would have given us the big, beautiful home you see in all those magazines. You could say we were about to make a life or debt decision.

We chose life

In line with our family motto, we chose to do nothing. Well actually, we chose to do everything – overseas trips, camping holidays, ski trips, horse camps, weekends away. We chose life over debt.

So there’ll be no big, beautiful house for us. Instead there’ll be a small, well thought out home that uses smart, space saving ideas to fit this growing family of five and all the memories we will be creating together.

That’s the big picture. But I need you to be my team of people who ‘make it happen’ by sharing your ideas, your thoughts and your encouragement – by helping us make decisions along the way.

So here it is. My house. All 110m2 of it. It’s not going to be easy but then nothing worth having ever is.

Renovation, decluttering, interior design

My house, as it is now.

Pin ideas on my Pinterest boards, share them with me on Facebook or post them in the comments below. After 17 years of procrastination, I need all the help I can get.


  1. Well done, Polly. I love this, and have a totally similar approach to my life, too! I just bought a wee place in Whakatane. Is it big? No. (Oops, probably gave that away when I said “wee”, didn’t I?!) Does it need to be? No. My daughter and I now have a quaint-but-cute dwelling to call “home” that WON’T take 1,3373726273 years (or hours at work per week) to pay off, which is just as well, because I’d much rather be spending my time travelling and showing her the world! Great post.


    • I feel a bit like I’ve stumbled on a ‘best kept secret’. Over the last year I’ve met so many people who think and feel this way. To be honest I sometimes feel a little stupid that I’ve only just discovered all this in my mid forties. Still, you don’t know what you don’t know, until you know it!

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Carl says

    Hi Polly. First thing that jumps out at me is switching lounge with Master (Ensuite would go by side entrance corner). Then you have the potential for a big open plan living area all flowing out onto an extended deck, probably covered like ours if your site coverage allows. With soor to old bedroom gone you can now create a hidden laundry cupboard against the kids bathroom wall in a slightly larger foyer. All this would need a small hall eating into where girls currently are. But move Tom to new smaller room and put girls in front room and consider extending it out 1.5m just from the French doors back so there’s still room for the trailer. Will sketch a drawing and scan and email through. Carl


    • Hi Carl. Great ideas! We’ve thought about that as well, but we’d then have to create a corridor through the girls bedroom to the front room, which would make that room very small. We’ve also thought about the big open plan living at the back – but that’s the south of the house (sorry, should have put a compass on the diagram!) and so would be quite cold and dark. Would love to see your sketch – we’ve been living in this house so long it’s hard for us to come at it with a fresh perspective.


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  5. You had me at camping, horse camps, trips away….. how love to create those experiences and life long memories with your children! Life is so much more about this than keeping up with expectations and everyone else. We’ve loved this small former state house of ours allowing the kids to be involved in the demo and renovation process. Our oldest son is now 11 and he takes great joy at looking through our reno album and pointing out something in the house that he knocked down. Moving on next year will be sad in a way. Lovely to have stumbled on to your blog!


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