A little dream I dreamed

Growing up, I always envisaged the house I would bring my children up in. It would have a real “heart of the home” kitchen, where I could cook, and create with my children, gather them all around me, make memories they would have forever.

I bought this house in haste 5 years ago. I was raising 4 children in a charming but chaotic 12 square house, and I was really struggling. The one living room was always filled with airers, trying to get nappies dry (I did cloth nappies for about 7 years, as I was really concerned about the environment, filling the bin every two days with nappies), toys everywhere, not a single place I could call my own, I was just constantly stressed. So, when we decided to get a bigger house, and I viewed this one, I said “THIS IS THE ONE”, because it had five bedrooms, 3 bathrooms and 3 living area’s. I didn’t really care about anything else.

We moved in in winter. Immediately I regretted not taking longer to choose the right place. The kitchen was pitch black dark from morning until night, winter and summer, all three sets of downlights had to be on for you to be able to see. Even though there was a lounge area right next to the kitchen, there was only a doorway connecting them, and when I was in the kitchen, and the rest of the family were in the lounge, I felt completely cut off and isolated from them. The whole gathering the children around me thing never happened, I just wanted to get in there, cook something and get out.

In November 2013, I had Bunnings draw up a kitchen, and we were in the process of working out where to start, when I got diagnosed with cancer, and everything went on ice. It was just another thing I lost, and I’ve never really been able to get over it.

Then I fell in love with my dream house, a 105 year old house, on an acre, with leadlight and fretwork, and oodles of charm. I had it under contract, subject to sale. It was pretty much everything I dreamed of, and although the kitchen was the room that let that house down the most, it still functioned in the heart of the home, and I would have lived with it. Four days before I was to go in for the liver resection that had a 50% chance of me not coming out of alive, the subject to sale clause was over. We also received an offer on this house on the same day. It was a bit low, but we could have done it. But I let it go, as I realised how selfish it would be to saddle Gaz and the kids with an old (and very expensive) house that he wasn’t that fussed about, if I didn’t make it through. Letting it go was one of the most heartbreaking days of my life. I had it in my head that if that house worked out, then everything would. I would live, I would be cured, I would go on with my life. Another thing I lost to stupid bastard cancer.

Things work out the way they should. They always do, I should have had faith. Because my Bunnings kitchen would have looked like arse. It would have lightened up the space and it would have looked better, but then, I hadn’t met the amazing Jen Clark. Jen designed my book cover, and she did my incredible study, and when I made the 2 year mark, something that was never promised to me, I decided that I must have my kitchen. There are still memories to be made, still precious time to make them, and I am a MASSIVE homebody, so my space is so important to me. Just over two weeks, I started with this:


Today, I have this:






I would never have been able to do that. I would have put in my Bunnings kitchen, and loaded all this massive furniture back into the room. I picked the kitchen and the stove and the sink and the benchtops, but Jen put it all together.

This has fair dinkum changed my life. It’s given me back so much of what I felt I lost to this fucked up disease. I am going to make some happy in there, every single day.

Thank you so much Jen Clark of Jen Clark Spaces www.jenclarkspaces.com.au I just love you so much, and thank you Shannon and Iris for all the work today. To turn this around in 2 weeks and make my dream of having it for Christmas come true was absolutely incredible.

I’m off to make some memories, and I think they are going to be BEAUTIFUL.

11 Comments on “A little dream I dreamed

  1. So excited that the new treatment is going forward! I am thrilled the doctors didn’t continue to assume vein assessibility was gone and actually LOOKED! You might be opening up hope for so many that follow you through your sheer determination and will — AND YOUR ABILITY TO WRITE ABOUT IT! Hold the doctors accountable to a wider audience than family and friends.

    Sooooo I was thinking you ALSO NEED those medical professionals to make an APPEAL FOR AN EXCEMPTION TO GET THE PROCEDURE PAID FOR!!!! Seriously this treatment IS LAST GREAT HOPE how can it REQUIRED to be I. Worst position than what living a few months???? Why wait to have worse chances of it working if you were not willing to pay? Makes zero sense. Any patient able to jump through these uber stringent medical criteria should get it covered. Why NOT???? It makes no sense at all that you should now NOT get this treatment sooooo you should have it even if you were homeless. Any human facing your challenges and meeting their criteria should be provided the treatment with standard REDUCED costs.

  2. Wow Julie…love love love your new kitchen and living space…it is indeed beautiful…MERRY CHRISTMAS to you and your little family…only 2 sleeps to go……. xxxxx

  3. Looks fabulous!!!
    Fantastic job …… And from the words of Nigella Lawson
    “I am not a trained chef, I’m not even a professional cook. My qualification is an eater!”
    To many wonderful memories licking the bowl with your girls❤️

  4. What a fantastic gift to yourselves. Great pick and wonderful work. That’s a true family space. Enjoy it. :)
    Merry Christmas and Happy New Year to you and yours. XXXXXX

  5. Wow it looks fantastic. Have a very merry Christmas and a fabulous new year.

  6. I’ve been following your blog only since your article appeared on the Fairfax website earlier this year, but have since read through all your posts. Just wanted to wish you and your family a merry Christmas and happy new year, and thank you for unselfishly sharing with us. Thanks for your writing advice, and thanks for being you and letting your light shine. xx

  7. Geez- how backwards when a story about KITCHEN can reduce me to tears!! I am so incredibly massively chuffed that another mega dream of yours has come to fruition. Especially this one that is so connected to the heart of who you are. I want ALL yours to come true, but I’m glad this one has. Merry Christmas to you all, and wishing you a l-o-n-g and happy 2016 xx

  8. The house looks lovely, I hope you have many enjoyable years together.
    I have just joined your blog page, and I think it might be helpful to me in so many ways. My beautiful niece bought me your book, and I am really enjoying it.
    I need something to help me through this year, I have a battle on my hands! The Friday before Xmas this year’15 I was told I might have another 6 months left. So it is still sinking in. I’m stage 4 lung cancer diagnosed on the 19/3/14 (non smoker). Drugs were shrinking the Tumour’s, but then the drugs stopped working. Radiation of 6 weeks worked in August’15, but now I have 6-8 Tumour’s in my brain. Radiation starts again next week, chemo won’t work on the brain. I don’t even know why I’m putting all this down, maybe just scared of the unknown. I just wish this cancer would piss off now, so I can annoy my beautiful grandchildren. I look at them and think I don’t want to go yet. Anyway thanks for your honesty I find you very inspirational and uplifting. Regards Marie

  9. Pingback: Melbourne Living Room, Dining and Kitchen Interior Design - Jen Clark Spaces

  10. RIP Mum. (20/01/2016) Unfortunately Marie didn’t get her 6 months, she only got 6 extra weeks. She was greatly inspired by your book that was purchased for her by Jo Cookson. We continued to read the book to her in hospital as she was determined to finish it, which also unfortunately didn’t happen as it was too upsetting for her during this time.
    Marie was extremely strong and fought a good fight. She made us all proud of her with how she went about life with Cancer.
    She has certainly left a legacy within her family with her children and grandchildren, all of who miss her greatly! I hope we can do you proud.
    Love you always, miss you forever!

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