Renovate Australia

Home improvement blog about renovating our Queenslander house in Townsville, Australia, and our home in Adelaide, SA

Make A Cardboard Castle for the Kids

May 27th, 2013 by Bill Hutchison · 1 Comment

Kids Cardboard Castle

Even though we have been in the house for six-months already we are still unpacking some of our belongings. We finally unpacked the last few boxes a few weeks ago and I was due to toss them in recycling bin, but then we had a better idea!

My daughter is learning about knights, castles, princes and princesses, and the Middle Ages. I figured that those boxes would make a great castle for my kids …

I took three different boxes and used them to make the above castle.

The corners were attached to each other using small zip ties and the outer two boxes were attached to the the centre box using both the zip ties and some No More Nails (same as Liquid Nails). The draw bridge was attached at the bottom using some zip ties so it could be raised up and lowered with some simple twine.

The kids have had a blast with it, and it was a good use of an hour or so of my time to cut out the cardboard and put it together.

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Should I Install A Home Solar Power System?

April 30th, 2013 by Bill Hutchison · No Comments


Since moving back to Australia I have noticed a huge trend of homes installing home solar power systems. As it turns out 10% of homes actually have solar power systems installed, and they are producing about 1% of the nation’s power.

Solar Panel System Installation

At the end of 2012 the rebate from the Australian government dropped by half of what it was. The funny thing is though that the price of systems has not changed significantly based on the flyers that I had from December 2012 and one from March 2013.

One benefit of having solar power is the electricity feed in tariff. Here in South Australia there are two feed in tariffs that you can receive; one from the government and one from your energy retailer. The one from the government though is set to be eliminated if your system is installed after September 30, 2013:

Solar customers who received approval from SA Power Networks for an upgrade prior to 1 October 2011 will be permitted to carry out and complete that upgrade before 1 October 2013 to remain in the feed-in scheme, however, they will only be entitled to receive 16c/kWh for future electricity fed into the grid for¬†the whole of their system until 2016 …

So with that in mind, should I install a home solar power system before September 2013? I would LOVE some advice as it is a large investment, but it could have some real benefits down the track …

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3-Steps to Prevent DIY Injuries

March 13th, 2013 by Bill Hutchison · No Comments


Injuries suffered during DIY renovations and repairs is becoming increasingly common, especially in connection with sedentary life styles. There are a few things that we can do however to lower the chance of injury.

After spending a week on crutches after I pulled my¬†iliopsoas / hip flexor I started thinking about how common DIY injuries are and what I could do to prevent them in the future …

In hospital with a Pulled Iliopsoas inner hip flexor

Below are three simple things that you can do to help prevent injuries during DIY projects:

  1. Stretch before starting your work
  2. Get help when needed
  3. Don’t work beyond your ability

Links from the podcast:

The Finished Workbench

How to stretch the Iliopsoas

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Photos of our Old Backyard

February 2nd, 2013 by Bill Hutchison · 1 Comment

It’s a bit strange to find one of our old houses on-line and up for rent, but my wife found our old Queenslander in Townsville up for rent. It was up for rent for $650 per week, which is quite a bit really!

The inside of the house looks pretty much the same. They actually used some of the photos from when we sold our house for the online advertisement for renting our house this time. That was kind of weird …

Here are some photos of the backyard and the rear deck. They put a lot of work into the backyard including:

  • New pool
  • Back Deck
  • Storage Shed (under deck)
  • Removed all the trees
  • Paved path

The main deck looks very similar to the one that we had originally planned except that they didn’t build the stairs and waterproofed it so they could have a shed and patio under it.

Back Deck on the Old House

I love the back deck, it’s what I always wanted on the back of that house.

Old House Tiled Back Deck

It’s a great size with a nice roof and space for a large table and of course the BBQ.

Old House Back Yard Pool

We aren’t really pool people, so we had never planned to put in a pool. Actually the pool is over top of the main sewer line so I didn’t even know it could be done.

Kind of neat to see what they did with the yard…

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