Jacqui & Gene’s Healing Haven


RUDE’s friends Jacqui and Gene, just like Jack and Jill went up the hill.  But instead of collecting a pail of water, Jacqui and Gene renovated a house on a hill at Red Hill.  As for falling down, well some walls fell down!

This week’s guest blogger is Jacqui.  She shares with us, her and her husband Gene’s renovation story, that involved a huge commitment to reusing and recycling.

This is their ‘Healing Haven’ story as told by Jacqui

Less than a year ago, shortly after finding my way onto Facebook, I discovered the Rude Record Blog. I had no idea that there were fellow T.I.P. Boutique (tip shop), and Roadside Scavengers out there.

I’d had discovered two fellow travellers…..RUDE Girl and RUDE Boy.  These two had a frugal philosophy which they described as Scavenger Style.  A political statement against textile waste, a throw away society and planned obsolescence.  These two radical Eco Warriors were passionate recyclers, who maintained a very thrifty and modest lifestyle by making do, restoring and mending.

At the time I’d discovered Rude Record, Gene and I had just finish a long journey.  A journey out of the wilderness of serious illness and the resultant poverty.  At the end of our journey we’d found a wealth of good health and self sufficiency.

I’d like to share part of our story because I have found these RUDE Guys so inspirational in the light of our journey.

We needed a house.  We had big dreams and a small budget.  What we found was a dirty neglected slum with “good bones”.  It nestled in a rain forest with the village atmosphere we were looking for.  We rolled up our sleeves and set to work.


Before renovation


Because it was so very, very dirty and neglected, we couldn’t move in at once.  It was a solid cedar cottage with hardwood floors and concrete stumps.  This is what I meant by “good bones”.  I needed to use our small budget to pay tradesmen to sand and re-polish the filthy floors.  I needed a painter to come in and spray paint the entire interior.  Gene was still pretty frail and had very low immunity.  He needed protecting with loving care.

Before the painters and sanders could set to, I had work to do.

I gutted the crumbling kitchen and threw it into a skip strategically placed below the crumbling front porch.  I threw every bit of dextrose within the walls of that disgusting interior.  I looked into the bathroom.  Sadly l decided that we’d have to live with that until I could get to work and clean it.



Kitchen before renovation

My first journey into secondhand and make do, was to find some big doors. A tiny window needed to be a big sliding door to give access to the back garden.  I located a door through a builder for almost nothing.  I thought people would want to grab something so cheap and available.  But no, this sad reject became a big, light filled exit into our large, green, overgrown back garden.


I thought Gene who was still recuperating, could remove the window and cut the remaining wall down to the floor.  He put in a frame to make a nice space for my big door.  I hefted every bit of that wall and the crumbling window into the skip. We slid in the “new” sliding doors.  How delighted my lovely man was to find himself back in the land of “Yes I can!”.  He’d gotten used to being an invalid.  We were healing a house, and ourselves.

Back to our rented house and in with the sanders, polishers, and painters.

The floors, walls, and ceilings gleaming clean, finally we were able to move in.  We “camped” in our new home.  We proceeded to rebuilt our home around us.  Cooking with a microwave and camp stove we built the kitchen and I scrubbed that bathroom. Yuk!

We found an auction house which sold everything from floor coverings to electrical appliances.  We went, we raised our hands to bid, we discover gold. Stuff at knock down prices.  An oven, cook top, range hood, even a toilet and a kitchen sink.  We decided IKEA could provide new kitchen cupboards.

We’d get up each morning and set to work.  I’d haggle and negotiated with plumbers and electricians, to do those things that my very talented man was not allowed to do.

We built.  Hefted things into place.  Painted.  Pulled down small unnecessary walls.  We put in new doorways. We closed off others.  We made a doorway into the small extension.  We closed off the original doorway into this same extension.  We used the door from the old doorway and put it into the new doorway.  We filled the old doorway with a cupboard.  This cupboard then became the pantry in our new kitchen.  Look at the photos.  See if you can pick the new pantry and the new doorway.  I did all the cleaning up, heavy lifting and painting.  And Gene applied his expertise.



Kitchen after renovation

So, we continued along these lines.  We moved on to the bathroom.  We have very little money by now.  But, I wanted a hygienic, light, bright bathroom….hmm.  We pulled down the wall between the toilet and bathroom.  Zero cost.  We pulled up the dirty vinyl, off the hardwood floor.  Gene disconnected the toilet.  I took it all, and threw it into that skip.  Zero cost.  Remember that toilet from the auction rooms?  My lovely, now best friend, plumber, he installed that.


Out with the dirty, rusty hand basin and into the skip.  In with a gifted secondhand vanity unit I’d painted.  Zero cost.  I looked at the old stained bath.  What to do?  I got the professionals in to re-enamel it!  I finished the whole lot off by painting the old wall tiles with a specially developed painting system designed for exactly this purpose. Cost around $50. That’s very expensive paint!  Those tiles were still perfect 7 years later.  My beautiful new bathroom gleaming and on a shoestring budget!


Finally, outside those sliding door in the kitchen.  Remember those?  I won’t give a blow by blow description of the delightful back porch, my now,  fit and healthy man built. I’ll let the pictures do the talking.  Take a look at the walls.  They are built from the decking off that crumbling front veranda.  I de-nailed them.  I scrubbed them.  I painted them.  The before and after pictures tell a tale of the lovely back porch that Gene built!


There was a lot more that went into the rebuilding of this delightful home of ours. This is just an outline sketch of two years work.  Remaking, reclaiming, roadside scavenging, and visits to tip shops.  Gifted stuff that other people rejected, and buying secondhand.  A story of a journey where we found a wealth of good health and self sufficiency.


Thank you Jacqui and Gene for sharing all your hard work that made this house your cozy haven at Red Hill.  It is testimony to your resilience, in the face of adversity, that shines through in your story.

Beat the Man and find wealth in good health, self sufficiency and like-minded friendships!



Left to right:  Gene, RUDE Girl, Jacqui & RUDE Boy


15 thoughts on “Jacqui & Gene’s Healing Haven

  1. Wonderful, heartfelt story Jacqui. I love how when ‘the going gets tough, the tough get going’. Good for you and thanks for sharing your and Gene’s journey. Glad Gene made it through the rough patches and is enjoying ‘wellness’.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you Yvonne. I will let Jacqui know you have commented. As with you, we have had the pleasure of meeting Jacqui and Gene, and then have stayed in touch via Facebook. It is my experience that social media does bring like-minded people together in beautiful ways.


    • Thank you very much for your kind comments Yvonne. We were never helpless but pretty much under the pump. I’m very lucky to have the resilience to carry me throu this sort of thing. Of course we are both lucky to have the insight and skills to do this sort of thing.
      Always nice to get recognition though, and I hope it inspires others in similar situations.

      Kind regards Jacqui

      Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you for your lovely comments Yvonne. We are both very lucky, we resilient and able to do this kind of thing. I hope it inspires more people to do this kind of thing. We are very keen on repair and reuse. I love the original house and felt sorry for it. Lol

      Liked by 1 person

      • Jacqui, RUDE Girl is hoping that RUDE Boy gets inspired by your renos and Vee’s too. I want us to re-tile the shower recess this summer. I am happy to reuse mismatched tiles we have collected from TIP SHOPS. I just want a fresh clean look with new grout.


    • Hi Vee, and thank you for your comment. I will let Jacqui know you posted. When Jacqui said she would like to post about her reno, I immediately thought of you and Mr Restyle. I had a feeling you would enjoy their story.


    • #Restyle4Life Thank you for your kind comments. I hope our story can inspire others to take on the challenge. We are very lucky in Australia to have the freedom and resources to live a comfortable life. I dislike waste and will always recycle and repair where possible.

      Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you so much for your lovely comments. I would have replied earlier but couldn’t work out how. I also love to read about this sort of thing and take inspiration from the world around me. I think we are very lucky to have skills and resilience to achieve our goals. It’s rewarding and good for the spirit.
      Recycling means we can almost have it all in Australia. I just wish more people realised this.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Fantastic job Jacqui! I hope you and your husband are happy and healthy in your new home for years to come. I too, wish that people would recycle more. I cringe every time I watch a home renovation show where the only answer is to rip everything out. Yikes!

        Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you for your kind words Sue. I grew a great deal during this project. Like so many who have succeeded through adversity Gene and I are the winners. Another benefit was to the street of this lovely village. I would love to do it again, but alas I’ve accepted the fact that energy wanes. I must adjust to less energy intensive lifestyle. We have one such project in the making at the moment. I’m hoping to report on that when it’s finished.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Pingback: Guest’s Show & Tell | Rude Record

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