NEW LEASE ON LIFE: Ken Smith and Sofia Savoff have given their family cottage a new lease on life in Amiens.
NEW LEASE ON LIFE: Ken Smith and Sofia Savoff have given their family cottage a new lease on life in Amiens.

COVID inspires decision to call Granite Belt home

THE implementation of coronavirus restrictions in March presented Ken Smith and his partner Sofia with a chance to return to their roots, and bunker down on family property in Amiens.

Five months on and almost a complete renovation of the family’s cottage later, Mr Smith said there was a renewed love for the region and motivation to stay.

“We came home (from Melbourne), not really with the intention of stay but it’s only been in the past month that we’ve made the decision to stick around,” Mr Smith said.

“I’ve done an outdoor veranda, insulation and ceiling, and there was an old wood stove which we’ve ripped out and put a gas oven in.

“I’d never really completely looked at coming home, because I was never set on farming sheep but after living here, seeing the advantages of it and looking to the future, it’s good.”

Having both lost their jobs at the start of the pandemic, Mr Smith said the project was initially a way to keep busy.

The completely renovated kitchen in the Alum Rock cottage.
The completely renovated kitchen in the Alum Rock cottage.

While Mr Smith said he wasn’t qualified in the industry, he said the transformation of the 1950s cottage continued to be the driving force behind the renovations.

“It’s been great doing it, a lot of this stuff I haven’t done before but doing it once and realising that I’m capable of doing the great majority of the work is pretty rewarding,” he said.

“And we are saving a hell of a lot of money by doing it ourselves but also getting a high-end finish.”

With the renovations close to complete, Mr Smith said he could see more people picking up a hammer to flip properties in the region.

“Anyone who has some sort of practical ability or knowledge about how to manage contractors or do a lot of it themselves could,” he said.

“I think there could be a shift that way especially if the whole working from home thing is hear to stay, if people feel like they don’t need to stay in the city so to speak.

“So, there could be more of a shift to lifestyle friendly locations.”

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