The story of the ‘shack’

The phone rang; it was Easter holiday weekend; we were enjoying the peace of the four-day break.
“Keith, I think the tenants have done a bunk,” said Jamies’ friend John.

He also has a holiday property in the same area. Next door in fact.


Our day plans changed, and with our son Jinda and his family, we made the ninety-minute trip up to the ‘shack.


I had only been there twice before, even though Megs and Jamie had taken possession of the house several years previously. Somehow I had it in my head that this was a place for your younger set.
Jamie and Megs now lived in Colorado, and the house had been let for almost five years.
It was in the hands of a local letting agent who sent us reports of the general condition of the house—no red flags despite a turnover of a couple of tenants.


We had no idea what to expect.


None of us had been near the house for five years.

As we pulled into the driveway, we saw that the house was in terrible condition.


It’s a 1950s shack elevated above the 50’s flood level. It had been well loved, and when we visited it previously, it was very ‘holidayesk’ (my word) with a mish mash of furniture, colour schemes and generations of holidays and general occupancy.

We didn’t know what to say; First impressions, the front garden that Megs and Jamie had worked so hard in was now a tip, full of rubbish. Not having a key, we found a window unlocked, and my Daughter in Law was able to get in.


The smell was the first thing to allay our senses. There were animal deposits in every room. The carpet and the curtains were disgusting; I don’t know how anyone could have lived in there.
The fridge was full of rotting food, and the oven had food on the baking tray and grill.
There was nothing left. It was heartbreaking.


The backyard was even worse; they had broken into the shed and helped themselves to anything of value and the rubbish including 14 mattresses covered every inch. Of course, I’m glossing over our emotion and anger at the agents who had given us a ‘glowing’ report just three weeks earlier.

So before I go further, In the next couple of posts I’m going to share almost a year of hard work to bring the house back to life.

In saying that. I have to be honest and say that after the initial shock and the rubbish and health hazard cleared I was thrilled to be able to bring this old house back to life.

It’s a year and a half of hard work and it’s not finished.

The lake at the back at sunset.

10 Comments Add yours

  1. Jan Rhoades says:

    Thanks for taking us along on your heartbreaking journey. From heartache to joy. You’ve all done an absolutely amazing job. It looks fabulous. I’ve loved sharing your vintage purchases and the changes you’ve made. Beautiful. Thanks Pam🥰

    Like

    1. Pam Holland says:

      It’s been fun most of the time; the benefits out way the sadness.

      Like

  2. Linda Jones says:

    After very unfortunate circumstances, and tremendously hard work, you now have a wonderful place all your own. It has all turned out for the best. Congratulations!! Thank you for sharing this story. Enjoy the shack for many years to come.
    Linda Jorgensen Jones
    Antioch, California

    Like

    1. Pam Holland says:

      It belongs to our son and daughter-in-law, but it’s used for the family while they are away.

      Like

  3. Jean says:

    Pam, Oh my goodness me, what a surprise. I hope the property manager was reprimanded, obviously enjoying the proceeds for doing ‘their job’ (yeah right!), but just sitting on their bottom in comfort!.

    Like

  4. Carol says:

    Good for you Pam. We purchased a holiday “shack” that had fallen into disrepair – the back yard was so overgrown we didn’t know there was a rotary clothesline underneath and we have been at it for 9 months so I know what the hard slog is all about. But it is a good feeling when it starts to come to something great and it is beginning to be a great place to escape for a few days of undisturbed stitching . I have also had experience with rent agents who do not report things accurately and that can be a real bummer as they don’t take responsibility for the costs and damage that has occurred under their watch. Hats off to you

    Like

    1. Pam Holland says:

      Yes, it’s been a bit of a saga, but the benefits of having a place to retreat are wonderful. It’s a lovely getaway for family and friends.

      Like

    2. Pam Holland says:

      I forgot I had a video of the house as we walked in. I should have shown that to the managers of the company. I do believe that there was some action taken over the situation.

      Like

  5. Gwen Jackson says:

    Congratulations to you for sticking it out and to doing the repairs and renovations. You have a lovely place for your family
    Blessing to you and your family. Enjoy enjoy

    Like

    1. Pam Holland says:

      Yes, we can enjoy it and it will be lovely for Jamie and Megs to come home to.

      Like

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