Marnie Kelly thrives on projects, and after four house builds as well as a commercial refurbishment, she’s already visualising what she’ll work on next. Sitting inside her new sunny ‘modern colonial' home, tucked in behind Touch Yarns in Clyde’s historic precinct, Marnie shares details of her latest venture.
The backyard of the business - which faces Miners Lane, used to be filled with “rumpty old fences,” but well before that was home to the first Bendigo Hotel’s stables. The Touch Yarns shop is on a heritage site, and it has been a four-year journey organising archaeological assessments, uncovering and re-using history, and building something appropriate for the site.
After renovating Touch Yarns, Marnie started thinking about what she could do with the backyard. Selling the business to her son and daughter-in-law, she needed another project. Designing a tall weatherboard home with a verandah, it reminded her of the old houses from the 1890s, in places like the West Coast, Wellington, as well as in France and Italy. The house features an attic ceiling, a single garage with loft and a separate loft accommodation space above the main ground floor.
A whole lot of house on a small 410sqm space - building high has not only given her privacy but views as well. “I really enjoy the process (of building). But I would probably never build anything twice…” The main entrance divides the two levels of living space, marked by a huge steel and fabricated rust door, just to top off the “oldyworldly” look. Southland Beech stairs lead up to the 2-bedroom loft, with a tiny balcony overlooking the Clutha River.
The house-build was only one part of her four year journey. The history she uncovered along the way was significant. The archaeological assessment uncovered hand blown drinking glasses, crockery, horse shoes, torpedo bottles, and old shovels encrusted with barnacles. Anything worth salvaging has ended up in some shape or form in her garden. And anything from Marnie’s life has ended up in some shape or form in and around her home. An old kauri door that she has carried around for about 30 years has made the perfect surround of the gas fireplace.
Filagree has been carefully restored and placed along the edge of the verandah, which just ages the house perfectly, she says. Above her bed are 200-year-old gas lights from Melbourne attached to hand-made pottery lampshades. It really is a museum worth visiting. Especially the outside bath. “I like making new things out of old things,” she said.
And Project Manager Paul Derham’s team at Breenhomes had this project all completed (except the garage), right on lockdown.
Aimee Wilson, Miss Wordsmith
Project Manager - Paul Derham
Foreman - Andrew McGregor
Carpenters - Tony Tohill, Brett McEwan
Designer - Timothy Walker
Sales - Melinda Tweedie