Making Descansos

Renovator Delight

Everyone has seen the house sales advertisements describing a home as a renovator’s delight. In loose terms this means it is absolutely falling apart and needs serious restoration to achieve any of its former glory. Well, when we bought Carnforth we really did buy the original Renovator’s Delight. I am not sure what swayed us but looking through the slide photographs that Darryl took I cannot help but wonder if this poster, plastered in what was called the laundry did not influence us.


Great Spirits Have Always Encountered
Violent Opposition
From Mediocre Minds

Everyone was stunned when we turned our backs on the ‘doll’s house’ we had at Mary Street Essendon and bought what they felt was a tumbledown ruin in a dubious part of Melbourne. At the time when Darryl’s father’s family ran a printing business in Brunswick Street Fitzroy it was a seedy part of Melbourne and associated with the crime figure, Squizzy Taylor. Anyone with ambition sought to leave the area and here we were, spending a small fortune for a semi derelict house.





My brother did say that he was sure Darryl could turn it into something very special. His words have proven prophetic. Darryl did create something amazing here.

Carnforth today stands proudly and with a resilience that we found a need to adopt ourselves.

9 Comments so far
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At the time you bought it, it could only have been described as a crumbling Victorian heap (I love all that ornate stonework and ironwork) but restoring it so obviously became a labour of love. It is a long-lasting tribute to Darryl and his creativity and must be a wonderful place in which to live.

Comment by Traveller

Oh Heather, these pictures are priceless. I do love the original fence detail and it’s patently obvious the place has “good bones” you and Darryl would have recognised. How exciting, too, to share a project like this, to fix a place that would become what it is today. I remember people warned my friends and I about moving to that area in the early 80’s, but we went there anyway and lived in some of the most amazing looking Victorian places. It really is an area full of history and culture. Thank goodness you two preserved what you did, when you did! I love Victoriana.

Comment by imogen88

Forgot to say I can’t quite get over the poster on the laundry wall. This is so current today, it feels like the “twilight zone”.

Comment by imogen88

You and Darryl are to be congratulated for saving such a structure. It’s like saving a person’s life.

Comment by Lori

Your pictures, Heather, are amazing. There is so much to be seen and gathered in the seedy parts of town if one has the foresight to its possibilites. You and Darryl are to be commended.

Thank you for sharing these images with us… they really are an experience in time travel.

Comment by Vi

Heather this is absolutley amazing! My goodness what vision you both had!! A vision you dazzle us with evry day here in Soul Food Cafe!!

Comment by soulsister

I’m in awe of you both for having such vision! What you and Darryl did with it is simply amazing.

Comment by Robin

Darling ….
as Estate agents always say
” Location, Location, Location…………..

As we look at Carnforth today opposite your beautiful park
we could also say
” It was in the eye of the beholders” at the time of purchase.

Lois (muse of the Sea)

Comment by lois daley


What can i say your pictures are so inspiring, to a young photographer like myself you are an inspiration, keep up your fantastic work and i will visit often
Regards Geoff UK

Comment by geoffrey urch

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