‘Extreme Glamping’

Similar to Extreme Sports, which are defined as “recreational activities perceived as involving a high degree of risk” I would like to share our experience of Extreme Glamping, which is when you replace “recreational activities” with “camping” and “high degree of risk” with “bluestone mansion accommodation with the comfort of new amenities”…

Extreme Glamping – Camping perceived as involving  bluestone mansion accommodation with the comfort of new amenities.

Similar to the addictive nature of Extreme Sports, so too is Extreme Glamping, and moreso for some (ONE) than others (ME). While staying in the house on a weekend amongst all the changes and improvements that are now rapidly unfolding before our eyes is fun and exciting, I am not so keen on waking up to the rustling sounds and subtle tones of builders, cabinet makers and painters daintily clambering up and down the stairs at 7.30am. However, after many discussions on the subject it appears I am alone in my opinions because once in, some (ONE) has not left!!!

These being just a couple of the reasons why …….


Colour Me Nostalgic!

Colour selections are so confounding, and I don’t mean in the statistical sense! Although that could work too, it just depends!!!

Anyway, I have tried every colour combination know to human existence. Oh and by the way I am talking about the kitchen en-sem. What will go with the floor boards, what will go with the AMAZING pressed metal ceiling, what will go with the stone bench, what will go with the oatmeal old but new oven (and I have to say … lovin’ the oven!), what will go with the copper (on stainless) sink … and more.

Finally I settle on a colour “Velveteen” … it even sounds right, let alone looks (I’m hoping) right. Decision made! Thank goodness!


It only took approximately the best part of this year so far and most of my sanity … Fast forward two days and Charles the builder sends me a photo with the following message “Found in ceiling …. April 1896 …. The word velveteen appears on the front page :)”

How uncanny!!! 1896 to 2018 and ‘Velveteen’ rings true.

Other interesting pics from the Advertiser of the day include the ‘Onkaparinga Races’ to be held over Easter, the ‘Cycling Carnival’ to be held at Adelaide Oval (could it be an early day Tour Down Under I wonder), shipping information, food advertisements and even ‘Marshall’ was a prominent name of the day!!!

Now … what to do with this paper? Suggestions welcome.

Meanwhile, back home, cleaning my own oven (which I am definitely not lovin’!) I discover under the oven door is a tray draw…. after living there for two and a half years … thankfully it was empty, otherwise I would have real cause for concern. Gave myself a real grilling … and speaking of grills … desperately in search of ceiling grills … but that’s a whole other story for my fans … extractor fans that is!!! …

A ‘Rosebery’ by any Other Name!

So … when embarking on this mad, nuts, crazy and yet ever so loving journey we often wondered if this extraordinary house previously had a name …  because here was no evidence of one. I fondly remember “THE” family home, my grandparents home, being called ‘Ellingly’ which I always thought was a beautiful name and homes of note deserve an equally notable name.

Initial novice research into the history of the house revealed that it was built by Property Developer  Emanuel Cohen in 1883 who was on the committee to promote and develop, the Adelaide Arcade, among many other Adelaide city icons, and this was how we (possibly me) came up with the name ‘Arcadia’.

Emanuel Cohen was born in the Uk, and at a very young age (by todays standards) of 17 in 1852, he boarded a boat to Australia to make his mark on the world as a merchant. He arrived in Melbourne and quickly made his way to Adelaide. He soon returned to Victoria during the gold mining era in the hopes to make his fortune in gold, however, that venture was not looking to be successful so he took to running stores in several small mining towns returning back to Adelaide in 1856. He married in 1858 and proceeded to have eleven children (five daughters and six sons), no wonder he needed such a big house … in fact I imagine it was a tad small for his needs. During his time he invested over 50,000 pounds into the restoration and development of several Adelaide properties and businesses.

Although Emanuel Cohen built the house and lived there between 1883-1886 the land title of the property was actually in the name of his brother in law Samuel Moss Solomon who was a store keeper and auctioneer (I wonder if there is any connection to my beloved Scammells there!). Mr Solomon sold the house in December of 1886  to a William Barsham Hunter who was a prominent boot manufacturer and retailer at the then well known emporium “Hunter’s City Boot Palace’ located at 67 Rundle Street Adelaide.

Hunter's Boot Palace

Sadly, Mr Hunter died in April of 1889 at the young age of 44 years, however, Mrs Hunter continued to reside there with her three daughters, May and Maud, who did not marry (their full names were Ada May and Evelyn Maud, but they preferred to be known as May and Maud), and Florence who married and lived in Berri and later at McLaren Vale. It was during this period of residence that the house was first given a name, which was ‘Rosebery’, however no insight can be found as to the origins of the name.

When Mrs Hunter passed away in August of 1930 Maud and May continued to live at, the then named, ‘Rosebery’ until February 1946 when the house was purchased by Dorothy Fisher and later in 1949 the title was altered to include her husband Noel Russell Fisher. And this is very interesting, if not a little voyeuristic, because they were actually married back in 1918 and both came from fine upstanding families of note …. Seemingly there is more than just two stories in this house … ok three if you count the cellar … my point remains.

Noel Fisher died in March of 1966 at the age of 70 and in September of that year Dorothy sold the house to Jack and Marjorie Williams and their three children. What we know here is that Jack died 20 years later, approximately 1986, and since then Marjorie had been rambling around in that huge house on her own until she moved to an assisted living facility in 2016 at the age of around 95 years … and she is still alive today. I can only imagine she whiled away her hours in the huge garden that screamed Nana’s touch.

The current owners Byron Sharp and Jacqueline Peters, along with teenaged children Lilith Sharp and Conor Peters intend to create many lovely and quirky stories of their own in their time in Arcadia … and if fact have done so already because it’s complete madness!!!

Is this the Key?

So a continuation of the piano practicality saga … these things weigh 150 kilo, therefore transportation remains in question … yep I hear you all loud and clear and have already expressed my practicality failings here.

So … Byron has a trailer and we have our trusty builders Charles and Mark, who manage to find an answer to any challenge set before them. However, when I arrive at the house prior to piano collection I sense a little trepidation … caution …. or is it frustration … either way I knew my impulsive Scammells purchase was likely to couple my name with one or two (predictably more) expletives so I decide that I would be useless here and my pending dentist appointment was probably the preferable place to be right now (and yes … I used the dentist as a refuge!!!)

While in the waiting room I get a text from Byron “Piano only has 3 legs/wheels!” … my reply was “****!!!” (because I’m a friggen lady) … and then another text comes through “now 2” … WFT??? (yep the lady left the waiting room!) … That’s just nuts!!! I toy with the idea of just putting it back in the following auction because the weight of the thing will probably mean a professional piano removalist will be required and will definitely cost more than the purchase price… and while it WAS only $110 admittedly I did only check three keys … and clearly not ALL the legs! So I am torn in my deliberations … but then I get this video sent to me …

…. and oh my goodnessCharles can play that thing!!! … while Mark is lying on the asphalt fixing the wheels … all in the Scammells car park … in extreme 35 degree April heat … and I wonder who else was in the carpark at this moment to witness this freaky contrast before them and then I realise … some moments are gold and our impulsive piano purchase has been worth it for this moment alone … but I am pretty sure there will be many more!

I Do Like Mondays

So Monday is Scammells-day …. And this just happened …


It was only $110, what is a gal to do?

I am becoming increasingly aware that I don’t always think of the practicalities of these purchases when I get on my bidding high because we are running out of space to store all of these Scammelly things … which seems ridiculous with a less than modest seven bedroom house. However, the house is required to be empty in order to prepare and paint the walls, and sand ALL of the floors. Meanwhile I need to find a place to store this gorgeous musical instrument, and actually pick it up (and this is not something you can just ‘pick up’) … so I call on our trusty builder Charles, who has helped with the collection and storage of many a Scammells purchasing spree, and his text response was


… He has a point!

Meanwhile back at the house we have a door way between the kitchen and butler’s pantry where the wall is about 300mm think of stone and dust …. so much dust.

…. and the kitchen floor has been sanded in preparation for the kitchen install later in the week. This plus the fact the tiler is installing tiles in the ensuite as I type, this week is shaping up to be one of great excitement and progress.

Totally Smashed It!

Post settlement and pre smash was a whimsical time of pondering and pottering, plotting and planning, that involved wandering lovingly and futuristically through the many rooms, followed by picnics and drinking wine under the warm glow of a setting sun in the back yard. However, note to self (and by self I actually mean anyone reading this), carefully consider dogs when picnicking in the back yard, and probably wise to really carefully consider the inclusion of phone obsessed eye rolling teenagers too, total buzz killers!!!.

Another post settlement plus (well actually initially pre settlement … but that is strictly between us) was the weekly arrival of the rewards reaped from hours spent at Scammels Auction House … and their website. Here we have acquired some amazing pieces of furniture at ridiculous prices. Slight digression, pre-Scammels and pre-settlement, we were  investigating furniture options and how on earth were we going to fill this massive house, so we went in to a furniture store and were ‘conservatively’ quoted a large length table and eight chairs … at a cool 10K!!! At Scammels we purchased an authentic style table and six tapestry chairs for $80!!! Oh yes … you read that right … $80!!!! This is just one example of the many fabulous purchases we have made (apparently we are gaining a reputation there … but I’m cool with that!!!). I have two fave pieces so far … one being a gorgeous sun bench and the other being a vitrine table … these were not so cheap compared with the dining suite, however compared to normal retail …. well really this is where unique items are worth hitting three figures for. I also fell in love with a gorgeous telephone table (with seat) that we purchased for $45 and desk for $70 … please keep this to yourselves … we would not want knowledge of this gem getting out!!!

So this has been our lovely post settlement and pre smash experience … then came the demolition daze … and it quickly looks like a construction come demolition site … and is so very depressing … as are the invoices that follow!!! All of which are normal, however, they are all based on prep and under floor work , electrical and things that disrupt the visual aspect of the house. Although we are forward thinking it is a little difficult to love with gaping holes in the floor and walls that look like a scene out Stranger Things … and it’s been a month … so far!

… and there have been lots of lovely (aka … definitely not lovely) surprises along the way such as layer upon layer of ceilings, layer upon layer of paint/wallpaper/paint … in that order! …odd pipes in the wall.

But it’s not all doom and gloom … tiles were not going to pick themselves, nor were taps, a vanity, a bath, a stove, fridge … three sinks (!!!), … and paint … but, to quote Scarlett O’Hara …. “tomorrow is another day”.

Novice Designs ….

So it’s design time … first call of duty … visit what seemed like 1,000’s of kitchen and bathroom websites …. cue the Libran decision making anxiety. Next was to start designing the kitchen layout (seems easy enough … 2am!!!), then meet with the builder to discuss said layout, and then … realise it was all a waste of time because, long story short, probably should have worked out a design to scale!

Second call of duty … a design to scale!!!

Tick … tick …tick …2am …. 3am … possibly later … maybe a glass of wine … or two ….. and way too many design (and software program) options ….

Thankfully these were not the finals, just examples of the journey  …… but at least now this novice was getting her head around … stuff.

Meanwhile there was a suggestion that colours might need to be considered, and then someone mentioned appliances and bench tops … seriously??? more decisions!!!. So I consult our trusty builder who suggests going to the Homemaker Centre  to view a selection of options in situ … cabinetry, splashbacks, appliances, bench tops … don’t even get me started on the bench tops! …

When Siri advises “the destination is on your right” I discover this place is busy and crowded, and I don’t mean ‘people’ busy and crowded! Weaving my way through endless displays and options I finally see an array, a collection, a gaggle, of stone/caesar  benchtops that set my Libran head in a spin … walls and draws of samples with supermodels of all people promoting their ‘go to’ kitchen product….and I wonder ‘are supermodels the kitchen ‘bench’ mark these days’… that has to be the last draw …. really??? Puns aside, out of the vast selection  before me I find a couple of options that I feel could work, within the parameters I was set.

…. and what were those parameters you may wonder? Well, I guess with two people having input, … and by two I mean me but lets just see where this goes … one of us wanted “not white but not dark” and the other of us wanted… “ummm … just dark”. So I availed myself of some samples and that evening we (and by we I actually do mean we) put them to the red wine test and low and behold the darker option rosé to the occasion …  that was a win, one decision down, only 4,386 to go …anyway very pleased with myself I took this to Charles the builder and what do you know (weeks later)??? … it, of course, is from the most expensive range, and maybe I could consider some cheaper options …. sadly no I cannot! So the gal has taste … what can I say?

Up next …. demolition day … week …. month!!!





From the beginning ….

So when you first consider, or even embark on,  your first (and possibly your last) renovation/restoration project it is wise to start small, something like a chair, or a table, possibly a cubby house, a bedroom or even a kitchen if you are totally mad. So … we chose, to quote the realestate agent, “A MAGNIFICENT MASSIVE CHARACTER BLUESTONE RESIDENCE“, oh and let us not forget the word “imposing” and “some eleven rooms” with two living levels and an underground cellar to boot!!! … Well actually to store copious bottles of wine (which will be well deserved thoughout this journey) but you get the inference.

This massive (un-named at this stage) house has eleven rooms as previously mentioned, two bathrooms (one on each level, and both small), as well as a relatively modern ‘out house’, hallways large enough to house a small community and some strange lean-to tacked on to the back of the house.

Prior to selecting properties we (and in this scenario by we I do not mean me) had a selection criteria, the first being a house that has too few bathrooms for the number of bedrooms and the other being lots of room for improvement. It is this kind of specificity that the novice renovator sets before them (that’s a NOT by the way!). So this house clearly ticked all (two) of the boxes.

There is, however, a lovely story attached to the house that resonated with me specifically. The house was purchased by a couple named Jack and Marjorie, and their three children, 50 years earlier. Jack died after 20 years and Marjorie continued to live in the house on her own for some 30 more years before moving to a care facility 18 months ago. The lovely part of the story (although I am sure there have been many in the 50 odd years prior) is that my own wonderful grandparents were also named Jack and Marjorie … so it was a sign … what could possibly to wrong??!!!

Settlement day … how daunting, I mean exciting! Having explored the house several times we have already made many plans and even selected our builders, and we (and by we I do mean me) have started to design an up stairs ensuite, kitchen and butlers pantry … as you do, so it’s all systems go.