Neil Briscoe has worked hard to get his home just the way he likes it.
Neil Briscoe has worked hard to get his home just the way he likes it. Georja Ryan

Home renovation requires commitment

AUSSIES love a good renovation, it seems.

But seeing the project through to completion is a whole different story.

Four out of five Australians undertook home improvement projects last year, but finding the time, money and motivation proved tricky with 53% saying they had left the renovation unfinished, according to a Masters Home Improvement survey.

Warwick resident Neil Briscoe understands the predicament. He has been renovating his home for the past 15 years.

"I still have some things to do and some plans to finish, but the house is very comfortable now as it is," Mr Briscoe said. "I still call it my work in progress."

Renovating a house is not only time-consuming, but can cost bucketloads if the job is done properly.

"When I first bought the house I gutted it almost straight away and I never had a bedroom to live in," Mr Briscoe said.

"I made sure I had running water in the bathroom and I had a mattress on the floor in the dining room along with my TV and stereo and it is a good thing the wood fireplace is in there, too, or it would have been very cold in winter.

"But the biggest thing for me was to learn what I could do without and what I could not afford to be without and learning the difference between the two."

He said he sacrificed a lot in order to create his dream home.

"During some leaner times I lived on apples and Weet-bix for a couple of weeks and even now I cannot look at an apple without feeling a little grateful for what I have now," Mr Briscoe said.

"Any of my friends that knew me when I first bought the house will tell you that the house now is pretty much the way I described it would be 15 years ago: Four bed-rooms with open-plan living space, rumpus room out the back and the deck out the front to watch the world go by ... when I have the time."

He said his advice to anyone else thinking of renovating was simple.

"Do what you can with the money you have and always look at the big picture."



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