moving back into the sleepout

We have a sleepout, which I use as a studio/making space and is also our guest room. The previous owners, when they converted the old garage into a sleepout, laid carpet directly onto the concrete garage floor – so by the time we bought the house, the carpet was mouldy and damp and the room smelled bad.

Late last year we hired a friend who is a ‘wood whisperer’ and building artisan, who has built his own house with only his innate skills and imagination (in other words, he is not a trained builder) to source some second-hand wooden floorboards and build us an elevated floor in the sleep out, to fix the damp problem and also make the space more attractive.

We could have gone the cheap route and used a composite product like mdf for the floor, but I felt strongly that I wanted to recycle and I wanted a floor that would be beautiful by itself and not need another product (paint or carpet or lino) to cover it up. This strong opinion lead to much more work and money, but I think it was worth it!

When Dave first showed up with a pile of rather unpromising looking wood from the building recyclers, I had a doubtful moment – but I needn’t have. He did an incredible job with what was initially some pretty poor-looking boards, full of staples and nails and holes. He is amazing at bringing old wood back to life! He did a wonderful job.

Then, Fraser patiently and lovingly puttied holes and sanded and sanded and sanded (this took many weekends), then together we varnished it with a combination of linseed, wax and varnish.

Now we have a beautiful floor and because I know the history of the floor and the work involved, I love it all the more.

I’ve just moved back in over the last couple of weeks. It’s been wonderful getting re-aquainted with my stuff, which has been in boxes in our hallway for nearly six months.

And the first thing I did, was to make up the guest bed in the room:


9 thoughts on “moving back into the sleepout

  1. The new floor looks lovely Helen, but lovelier still, ‘The Comforter,’ which I have just finished reading.

    It is the most engaging collection of poems that I’ve read in a long time. Maybe it’s because we’re a similar age, so all your references are so very familiar to me. The poem ‘Wainui next door’ absolutely cracked me up. Dad bought me a blue Raleigh bike for my twelfth birthday, but the sleek, narrow framed Ten Speeds had just come on the market. I had a big pre-teen sulk (which I’m not proud of) and he returned the Raleigh and exchanged it for an emerald green Ten Speed.

    Anyway, it’s a rare thing to find a poetry book that is a page turner from beginning to end. By the time I reached the final poem I had experienced every kind of emotion. Each poem is polished until it shines, but the rawness and honesty of the thing felt and the situation being responded to has not been rubbed away. A wonderful book. Thank you.


    1. Wow, thanks so much, Bronwyn for taking the trouble to get in touch and say such lovely things. Getting this message from you really made my day! I’m so glad you enjoyed the book. Thanks again, Helen.


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