Our first home on the property was loved (and lived in) by many; including mice, rats, huntsman spiders, humans, dogs, and even a micro bat! It was our humble home on the land while we built ‘The Nest’, and beat living in a caravan any day!
It was originally a work shed predating three owners before us; the bushfires of Black Saturday in Feb 2009 however changed this. The main house at the time burnt down and this shed was eventually turned into a makeshift home by a latter owner. This ‘man-cave’ boasted a lounge, kitchen and two modest bedrooms when we purchased the property. The bathroom was taken down due to breaching council regulations, but it was clear that a family of three or four lived here prior to us. We suspect that the two bedrooms were added in 2013 as the timber studs removed from here had the year marked on them.
Back in 2016, Matty and I spent about eight weekends at Cooinda prior to permanently moving here. We would spend weekends tweeking up the shack and making necessary modifications such as adding a bathroom and a makeshift composting toilet. The outside dunny was a 50 metre walk from the shack, as it was connected to the septic tank that existed from the old house on the property. A brave pilgrimage given that temperatures can drop to -7 degrees celsius in the middle of the night.
Our project is to turn this ramshackled living space into a much more attractive one. This shouldn’t be hard given the fake wood panelling, fraying filthy carpets, graffitied walls and blue coloured corrugated iron don’t stand as much competition. The layout will remain pretty similar, except for the kitchen and lounge areas swapping over and we’ll add another sleeping space, the new bathroom will also be slightly larger. Hopefully all our efforts in sealing the place will ensure that creepy crawlies can’t stray inside.
La Shacka Grande will become our self contained guest house, complete with 2.5 bedrooms (one bedroom is just big enough to house a single bed), full kitchen, bathroom and a proper composting toilet. Like any renovation project, our journey begins with stripping out all the unwanted crap. This means removing everything except the metal frame, the roof it supports and the solar panels that sit on top of it.
On Monday 20 July 2020 (on our four year engagement anniversary), we began with stripping off the floor coverings, internal wall coverings, cabinetry etc. We had power to the shack disconnected (for obvious reasons) prior to any work starting. The next month was spent stripping off all the layers that made this space up; including years of mice/rat poo laden insulation bats, termite eaten timber studs and all windows and doors. We will reuse any timber and corrugated iron sheets where possible, depending on their condition.
We have a rough schedule of 6 months to complete, and a budget of $25K. This project is a quarter of ‘The Nest’s budget with half the time to complete. This time around, we are making sure to stop and smell the almond blossoms. Here’s some photos (a bit too many) to show the progress.
Main living area and kitchen – views to the front
Front wall view
Main living area and kitchen – views to the back
Internal partition wall
Guest bedroom 1
Guest bedroom 2
South-east views of the eastern wall
South-east views of the southern side
All windows and doors