Old kitchen and bathroom but very limited budget

pportrushApril 12, 2013
http://images.domain.com.au/img/201343/6407/2010379052_7_FS.JPG?mod=130411-092025

We are considering buying this property but the kitchen and bathroom are very old and decrepit. There is only an outside toilet. We would need to place one inside, probably by going to know down half a wall of the walk in pantry as there is a cellar below.
We would not be renovating for another five years but not sure if we can live with the current arrangement without spending a little on modernising the set up.
Any inexpensive but effective tips? I will try and send more pics. Not exactly sure of bathroom dimensions approx 2m x 2m! The kitchen area is open and a dining area opens out to the left of this pic.
Thanks!
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    Bookmark   April 12, 2013 at 1:42AM
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pportrush
http://images.domain.com.au/img/201343/6407/2010379052_8_FS.JPG?mod=130411-092025

Another view of the kitchen. Btw the ceilings are approx 12ft.
Thanks
    Bookmark   April 12, 2013 at 1:43AM
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pportrush
http://images.domain.com.au/img/201343/6407/2010379052_12_FS.JPG?mod=130411-092025

And here is the floor plan with approximate dimensions only.
    Bookmark   April 12, 2013 at 1:51AM
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charleee
What do you mean an outside toilet? Like an outhouse?
1 Like    Bookmark   April 12, 2013 at 3:17AM
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shelleyuk
Will you keep the bathroom in its current location? Is the toilet the other side of it? If so cold you knock through? If not surely the space is big enough to add a toilet?

I couldn't live with the only toilet being outside!
2 Likes    Bookmark   April 12, 2013 at 3:22AM
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PRO
OnePlan
get a Porta loo,
just to make do,
when you want a poo,
and outside wont do !
...sorry couldn't help myself there !!
2 Likes    Bookmark   April 12, 2013 at 3:31AM
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PRO
OnePlan
it looks like, on the plans, that you have space to install a loo in the old pantry - have you contacted a pro regarding installation - see if its feasible ??
    Bookmark   April 12, 2013 at 3:37AM
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pportrush
Yes, you heard right the toilet is outside or as we say in Australia an outside "dunny"!! Hard to believe, right? The problem is that legally to have the toilet off the kitchen you should have two doors to get to the toilet. If you look at the plan, there is certainly room for a toilet where the pantry is. The other alternative down the track is an en suite in one of the bedrooms as well.
Thanks for your questions. :-)
    Bookmark   April 12, 2013 at 3:37AM
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pportrush
Yes, thanks oneplan, it is feasible as long as there is a door. Essentially u have to access the toilet via the current bathroom and then there'll be another door to the toilet...
1 Like    Bookmark   April 12, 2013 at 3:39AM
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pportrush
Yes, I agree Shelley, I couldn't live with just an outside loo either, hence my desire to get your input. Not sure about knocking through to the existing outside toilet. It's so old anyways. The pantry idea sounds more feasible.
    Bookmark   April 12, 2013 at 3:40AM
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PRO
Through the Woods Fine Wood Floors, Inc.
What is the age of your house, please?
1 Like    Bookmark   April 12, 2013 at 3:50AM
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pportrush
It's about 115 years old. A symmetrical cottage in Adelaide, South Australia.
    Bookmark   April 12, 2013 at 4:17AM
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soberg
First of all, the outside toilet actually doesn't look that inconvenient to me. It's just a few steps outside on the veranda. Can I assume there is a roof or awning so you don't get soaked in the rain? It's far from ideal, of course, and should eventually be modernized, but I could live with this if I had to.

Second, the pantry is the overwhelmingly obvious choice given both the floor plan and the two-door rule. You probably could use just part of the space for the toilet and leave room for a pantry cupboard opening to the kitchen so you don't lose all your storage. Although this gets the toilet indoors, it still isn't the preferred layout because the bathroom should open near the bedrooms. However, with your floor plan, there appear to be few options unless you can expand to the sides and/or consume a bedroom. Right now there is no bedroom hallway and therefore no "ideal" place for the bathroom to open to. Your house basically wastes no space at all on explicit hallways so you're getting more useful space for your housing dollar. I wouldn't want to disrupt that.

In older houses with similar problems, I've often seen half baths or small full baths with shower only, opening to one bedroom and built as an addition of square footage, sort of clinging to the side of the house. Not sure if zoning would permit this for you. If you could do this, a bath that opens off one bedroom is preferably used by the occupants of that bedroom only, so it shouldn't be your only bath, but in conjunction with the off-kitchen bath, it would actually be adequate for most family configurations.

Sounds like a charming house, I'd love to see the exterior. Sometimes we accept the old house issues because all the plusses of charm, warmth, quality construction, mature landscaping, central location etc. outweigh the quirks and this may be one of those cases.
    Bookmark   April 12, 2013 at 4:46AM
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pportrush
Thanks soberg, I really appreciate your input. One advantage is that we can go all the way to the boundary to build a bathroom off one off the bedrooms. But that is an expense we won't be able to manage for a few years. Here is the front of the house FYI http://images.domain.com.au/img/201343/6407/2010379052_1_FS.JPG?mod=130411-092025
    Bookmark   April 12, 2013 at 5:00AM
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pportrush
http://images.domain.com.au/img/201343/6407/2010379052_6_FS.JPG?mod=130411-092025

And another showing the entry. Where this photo is taken is the entrance to the kitchen which is the original back door.
1 Like    Bookmark   April 12, 2013 at 5:01AM
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soberg
Right! A house so charming and gracious with its high ceilings, gleaming hardwood floors, period detail etc. can get away with metaphoric murder when it comes to modern standards for floor planning. Thanks for the pix!
    Bookmark   April 12, 2013 at 5:09AM
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handymam
I can't help you with a floor plan for the toilet placement, but I just wanted to say that I don't think your current bath or kitchen are really that bad at all, certainly not decrepit! I think some paint would go a long way toward making it more"you" until you can do what ever it is you wish to do later. Best wishes for you and the new home!
1 Like    Bookmark   April 12, 2013 at 5:14AM
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olldroo
What a lovely clean fresh looking home. I was raised with a REAL outdoor dunny, 30 yards from the house with no cover, spiders and the mandatory choko vine growing over it. Your's is quite civilised in comparison. The thing is WE SURVIVED!!!! If going out at night is an issue then get a porta-potty or a camping toilet and make do till you can afford your renovations. Installing a toilet and connecting to the sewer is not a cheap exercise and if you can't be sure where you will put a permanent toilet, it will cost you more down the track to relocate it.

These days, everyone wants everything NOW. When we first built our house 46 years ago we had no money left over for anything and credit cards were non existent. No lounge, no TV, a second hand fridge, no dining setting. Friends came to visit and brought their own folding chairs and we did likewise when we visited them. Dinner parties were picnics on the dining room floor and we read books instead of TV or had card nights with friends. Amongst our friends, we all look back and consider those times the best years of our lives. Look on this as fun and think of the stories you will have to tell.
6 Likes    Bookmark   April 12, 2013 at 8:45AM
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pportrush
Thanks to you all for your ideas and encouragement, much appreciated. I enjoy all the valuable contributions you have all shared in other discussions as well.
The auction is next Saturday so then the real planning will begin!
    Bookmark   April 13, 2013 at 12:02AM
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maz177
My mother still has an outside toilet and her guests prefer to use it, rather than the one inside the house, because they feel it is more private!

You could consider a Saniflo. Another option might be to move the bath to opposite the door (they come in smaller sizes) and install a small sink and toilet behind the door. Or remove the bath altogether and install a shower and toilet in the space?
    Bookmark   April 13, 2013 at 1:20AM
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Sigrid
You probably want to go over the floor plan and think about your whole house plumbing needs. It will be cheaper in the long run, even if you don't do everything at once. You really don't want to be suffering from a fever diarrhea on a rainy night without an indoor toilet. A portaloo is lousy, because you want to wash your hands afterwards and you need to haul the waste and clean the loo, not fun.
    Bookmark   April 13, 2013 at 2:57AM
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leecy
Wow the house is beautiful, I would want to live there even if the dunny is outside. I was trying to explain this on another thread a couple of weeks ago, why I did not see a problem with walking through the house to take a load of washing to the laundry when I come from a country where so many houses still have toilets outside! Hehehe ;-) At least this one is under cover, and it looks like a decent veranda so I doubt you will get wet, cold yes, but wet no. Totally worth it for the charm of the house for sure. Toilets indoors are relatively new thing here aren't they? ;-) I'm sure there is something you can do when you renovate the bathroom to include a dunny in the house. Have you actually been through the house? The pantry is really cool, your kitchen space has so much potential and at the same time looks workable as it is which means you can live with it while you figure out what to do. Have a look at as many photos as you can to get idea of what you would like, from what would fit in the space to colours you like, you might see a photo of a kitchen that you hate but the layout might be perfect, save it in your ideas folders, you can make the kitchen and bathroom as charming as the rest of the house.
I hope you get it at auction and if you do I hope you post photos of your progress even if it is just a little paint or some furniture. I love these types of old Australian houses. :-)
1 Like    Bookmark   April 13, 2013 at 3:41AM
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pportrush
Thanks everyone. Some very interesting suggestions. the idea of moving/removing the bath interesting tho we still have the 2-door issue whereby we have to legally have to go through two doors to access the toilet, so it will need to be separate if we do not change anything structurally. At least the house is kind of a clean slate and what I like best about this house is that we can live in it first and then sort out exactly what we will do once we've lived in it. Although I have to say...not sure how my over active bladder will cope with the midnight treks outside!
In the kitchen, I thought even just changing the taps and the knobs might brighten up a bit without needing to put in new cupboards. A smaller vanity in the bathroom should be easy to find second hand as well but not sure what the floor will look like under the old vanity.
Thanks again everyone, I hope to be able to share more if we get the house at auction!
1 Like    Bookmark   April 13, 2013 at 4:08AM
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apple_pie_order
Any photos of the toilet room, laundry area and veranda? Great house.
    Bookmark   April 13, 2013 at 5:35AM
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leecy
If you can move the bathroom around maybe you can knock through the bathroom wall & put a sliding door through to the toilet, then move the wall between the toilet & laundry so the wall goes the to where the step is in the laundry (I hope that makes sense) then you can fit a small vanity in the toilet room you might need to move the toilet around a bit, I'm not sure how easy or expensive that would be though. But it's just an idea. I would still keep the door to the veranda from the toilet if you made these changes though. This way you have your two doors between the kitchen & toilet & if someone is using the bathroom you can still use the toilet by going through the outside door.
    Bookmark   April 13, 2013 at 3:06PM
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lilion
I realize this makes the only entrance to the toilet through the bedroom...but could you do something like this? It leaves you a small closet-sized pantry. Not suggesting you do away with the dunny. Two toilets are always better than one! I just cut it from the photo to reuse in the other spot.
    Bookmark   April 13, 2013 at 6:35PM
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lilion
Played with it some more. Maybe this? Keeps the small pantry, gives you the two doors, puts a window in the WC for light and ventilation, and leaves the outdoor toilet too.
    Bookmark   April 13, 2013 at 6:55PM
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olldroo
I looked at that possibility too lilion, and it does make a great solution but an expensive one. Just the plumbing and drainage alone would cost thousands and then there is matching tiles, making the existing flooring suitable for tiling, waterproofing all the area, plus reconfiguring the pantry and new shelves. The walls in homes this age would all be solid brick so knocking holes in them and shoring up is not as easy as gyprock. You could be looking at at least $8,000 and if the owners decide to reconfigure or extend down the track, then all this would be for nothing. Better they make do and save their money to hopefully start renovations earlier.
    Bookmark   April 13, 2013 at 7:12PM
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pportrush
Wow, this is great input, thanks! There is quite a lot there I had not even vaguely considered. It really makes me wary about bashing down walls without thoroughly considering the implications down the track for more major Reno. Btw lilion, how do u cut and reconfigure the image like that....it's magic!
The sliding door is simply a genius idea too, such a simple one but ultimately very space saving in such a small configuration. So grateful to you all
1 Like    Bookmark   April 13, 2013 at 7:32PM
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lilion
$8,000! Yowsa! What I drew was what I thought the original poster said they were considering. Knocking down 1/2 pantry wall and putting the toilet there because there is a cellar underneath. Wouldn't that make the plumbing much simpler? The interior walls would be brick? Well, I'm neither Australian or an architect, so I sure wouldn't know.

Not magic...just Paintbrush. :) It was kinda fun to play with the plan and see what I could do. LOL
    Bookmark   April 13, 2013 at 7:36PM
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olldroo
pportrush - there is a lot of homework to be done before you attempt anything in a house, especially one as old as this. It is obvious that this home has recently been renovated. Google the address and check out the home's history, when was it last sold and for how much? Did the previous owners renovate for their own use or is it the work of a flipper. Flippers can do amazing jobs or they can take cheap shortcuts that you may not discover for years, or can cosmetically hide problems that can become expensive repairs.

When it comes to bathroom renovations, you have to look for existing piping and sewerage lines and how much work is necessary to extend them or connect to them. How much crawl space is under the house to access.

I trust you have had a reputable builder of your choice prepare a report on this house for you.

Just a tip on sliding doors too - they are great space savers, but over time they can become very noisy.
    Bookmark   April 13, 2013 at 7:44PM
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artemis1
I have lived with uglier kitchens and baths. That house is lovely. I think I could deal with it for such a house.
1 Like    Bookmark   April 13, 2013 at 7:48PM
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olldroo
lilion, I have just renovated 2 bathrooms so can only guestimate costs based on the things I learned getting quotes for my work. I missed the bit about the cellar underneath, but if you look at where the bath and vanity is, water and sewerage would be there so you then have to extend the pipes and drainage to the toilet. Just because there is a cellar does not necessarily mean ready access either. A lot of homes of this era were built with solid sandstone, especially foundations. The flooring in the pantry is probably timber, so generally it is necessary to place a fibrous sheeting over that for stability to lay tiles and we have very high standards where waterproofing is concerned. They would also need a building permit to carry out this work when they are changing the use of the area, and they aren't cheap.

Pity we can't just "paintbrush" our homes, isn't it. Fun and no mess.
1 Like    Bookmark   April 13, 2013 at 7:56PM
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pportrush
I'm so glad I put the pics up for you all to comment and advise. Ive learnt a heap but It is clear I need to do nothing until I have done A LOT more research. Olldroo, what is a "flipper" - never heard that term before (lol). Sounds like I need to check no "flipping" has been going in!! Still waiting on our building inspection report which we should have early next week. Should make things a little clearer... :-)
    Bookmark   April 13, 2013 at 8:11PM
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olldroo
Sorry pportrush, I picked up the flipper from this website seems to be a US term we don't really have an equivalent for - someone who buys a house needing repairs, renovates and then sells usually at a considerable profit. A lot of people in the States are doing this with homes that have been foreclosed on. The introduction of Capital Gains Tax here had a bit of impact on that but I think as housing prices are mostly rising, it is not much of an issue anymore. I think people are becoming more time poor too and not doing as much DIY and are happy to pay for a fully renovated home.

I don't know where this home is or what price range the area but another thought too, this house has been beautifully renovated, the kitchen is certainly very modern although not high end, so a little light is going on as to why the toilet has not been brought into the house by now. There might be some perfectly valid reasons, but it just seems a little weird, you think that would be the first thing anyone would do. In an upmarket area it would be absolutely necessary to sell the house, but in a lower priced area I'm wondering if there is an expensive problem, more than the previous owners could afford or in the case of a flipper could reduce his profit margin. Could doing more work to the house overcapitalise? I do have a very suspicious mind.
    Bookmark   April 13, 2013 at 8:47PM
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pportrush
Yes I had wondered the same thing. Apparently the house was last sold in 2001 for 268k. The house is In the inner east of adelaide 2.5km from the city centre/parklands. I've been told that it has mainly been used as a rental property since then, so I guess the owners were not bothered by the outside dunny coz they didn't live in it. Current asking price mid-500s. The builders inspection should tell us more hopefully. But in the mean time i'll be sure to be on the look out for flippers!!
    Bookmark   April 13, 2013 at 9:29PM
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olldroo
I found a website the other day, I think it was a Government one that gave the history of homes and the prices paid, but I cannot find it now. Google can be a pain sometimes.

Well it obviously isn't being flipped if it was last sold in 2001. Could have been run down then, but being so close to the city for leasing purposes it wasn't an issue especially if it was convenient or attractive for students. Had a very quick trip to Adelaide 25 years ago and really only saw the Hills area, which was beautiful, so I don't know much about Adelaide at all. Your location sounds very good, so close to the city, and obviously the owner has glammed the place up to sell, obvious now why there is no furniture in it, and $300k over 12 years with the way property prices have gone, doesn't suggest a big budget for renovations, so it does make sense now that nothing has been done about the loo.

You will still want to do your homework before spending too much money on renovations, compare other houses in the area and what owners are doing to them, suburbs can have a habit of suddenly becoming trendy and prices take off. If you are planning on this being your "forever" home, then comfortable living and convenience comes before resale, who knows what will happen 20-30 years from now.

Any Heritage Orders on it or on other nearby homes?
    Bookmark   April 13, 2013 at 10:02PM
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pportrush
A quick thank you to everyone for your input. Unfortunately at the auction we were outbid by 70k!! Everyone present was shocked by how high the bidding went. Ah well, I guess there must be another place waiting for us to claim it as our own. Thanks again!
    Bookmark   April 25, 2013 at 5:12AM
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PRO
OnePlan
Ahhh ! Well it wasn't to be then ! Don't be disheartened ! You may find something better !!!!! Indoor dunny would be a start !!!!
    Bookmark   April 25, 2013 at 5:52AM
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olldroo
pportrush, sorry to hear you missed out. Auctions are crazy these days, even the most experienced agents can't pick them, but $70K is huge and sounds like it might be coming a demand area. Maybe the next one will have an inside dunny and you will be one problem down. Do let us know when you find something, once you come on here you are suddenly part of a very big family. Good luck.
    Bookmark   April 28, 2013 at 10:58PM
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pportrush
Thanks olldroo and OnePlan, you guys have been fantastic. Will be sure to update u once we finally find a place to call our own....inside dunny or out! :-)
2 Likes    Bookmark   May 1, 2013 at 7:40AM
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leecy
Sorry you missed the house, probably for the best, I hope you find something else soon. :-)
    Bookmark   May 1, 2013 at 3:14PM
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