When Wes O'Donohue and Kamisha Refalo bought their home in Tighes Hill in 2017, it was to be the fifth house they had renovated.
The house needed a lot of work, but they were up for the challenge.
When they first saw the house, Refalo described it as "unbelievable".
"We generally buy houses that aren't very aesthetically pleasing," she says.
It was built in the 1920s and one of three miner's cottages on the block.
The house was falling apart, but it also had ornate details.
They couldn't keep much of it.
"There were still cracks in the walls from the earthquake," she says.
There were a few fireplaces, but they had been covered up.
"We completely stripped it back to the bones because there was no insulation, or heating or cooling," she says.
Now that the house is finished, Refalo describes it as modern, industrial, recycled and rustic. Its finishes are textural.
Refalo, O'Donohue and their two teenage boys lived next door in a rented house for seven months when they started the renovations.
Then they moved in and continued.
The renovation took the house from one storey to three storeys. This involved digging, adding levels and taking out walls and redoing them.
"I was a bit embarrassed by the house because it's so massive, but I have to remember where we came from with it," Refalo says.
"We were in desperate need of space at that time."
While they lived there, the upper level was the "adults level" and the kids spent time below.
She said that living in the place during the renovations was pretty intense.
"It's a good way to live in the space and make decisions and also save money. You can do it a lot slower. Once we moved in, I don't think anything happened very quickly," Refalo says.
The house remained a three bedroom, but the pair added more living spaces. They got rid of one of the bedrooms to make a kitchen and they added a study and a room upstairs and downstairs.
They levelled the yard to put in a pool.
Everything is matte in the renovated house.
Deciding on the stairs took a long time. They were built last, so everyone had to use a ladder to get up and down.
"Wes looked at that empty void for two years, and I was like 'can you just build the stairs?' and at one stage we had metal guys going to fold steel, but we weren't into it; it was too heavy and too much," she says.
"Then we found some recycled timber in a yard and Wes was like 'this is perfect for the stairs!' It's such a big piece in the house, it's so in-your-face. I think for him, being a builder, it was big thing. I just wanted to be able to walk upstairs."
The kitchen and the top veranda is their favourite place, with views to Stockton. You can see Throsby Creek and the bridge that crosses it from Tighes Hill to Maryville.
"I think the other thing that we really were stumped with was the railing out on the deck. We had chicken wire there for two years. We were just going to put mesh; we were actually going to get stronger wire. Then we went to look at it; it wasn't right. We just ended up using steel rods that we oiled up," she says.
All the windows were made in Melbourne and double glazed. The house doesn't have air-conditioning but it has a fire and ceiling fans.
They didn't plan to move out until they had finished, and by the time they had completed the renovation they were over it. Refalo still can't get over the crazy amount of work and time they put into it.
They'd been living in Tighes Hill for the past 12 years until earlier this year when the family moved to Bungwahl. They kept their newly renovated home and rented it out for short and long-term stays.
They're loving their quieter life by the ocean now, but Refalo enjoys looking back at when they lived in Tighes Hill and their crazy project.
If you want to see more of the before and after journey of their house in Tighes Hill, visit their Instagram account instagram.com/67elizabethstreet_/