This might seem like an odd 'soul food friday' post...seeing they're the ones where I usually get all philosophical on you! But it's kind of like that...because while these pictures are of my friend Susan's wonderful house at the beach, where Richard and I have just spent a few days... it's mostly about making changes. And generosity. I'll let Susan tell you her story...with just a little Q&A and a few editorial comments by moi...just can't help myself!

Why have your home at the coast when you have a full time job in Canberra? (roughly a two hour drive away over a particularly difficult mountain and therefore not a daily commute bloggy peeps!) 
I have long held the desire to return to live by the sea;  I was born by the sea and lived by it as a child.  Canberra provides me with the income to live my dream; it's a trade off.  The drive twice a week is usually fairly easy and I enjoy the scenery and sometimes I have the option to stop at one or two of the lovely country towns along the way. I am a glass half full person. I have the best of both worlds; a stimulating work, social and cultural environment in Canberra and the beauty of the environment and the gifts of small community living by the sea.

What does the name you've given your house signify to you? 
Toujours Libre - 'Always Free'.  I found the name in a beautiful book about French country houses.  Freedom is such an enormously wonderful thing;  freedom to think, freedom to be, freedom to express myself creatively, freedom to sit and watch the waves for hours and then all the great freedoms that living in a democracy brings, especially an Australian democracy (led by a strong woman PM) [K: go Julia]:) 

What gives you the most pleasure about Toujours Libre? 
Coming home at the end of the week to see its smiling face; my garden growing, a wave from the neighbours. I always, always drive by the beach to see the sand, rocks and the waves.
[That's Murphy the talking cat...much nicer and slightly less annoying than the vampire slayer...]

What was your inspiration for making the changes you made? 
I like a challenge!  I had been talking and talking about the idea of living at the coast and working in Canberra for a long long time.  My family and friends were a bit over hearing me talk about it [K: no really, we weren't] so I thought I had better do something about it.  The inspiration was getting clear about what I wanted and finding it and then selling my Canberra property for a good price - the $$ enabler.

Would you do anything differently? 
I'm still not sure about the blue house colour.  Unlike you my dear [K: who, me!!] I think I might be a bit afraid of colour, or rather too much colour.  I am a very peace loving person and love the effect of a neutral palette in a home. [K: I won't mention the raspberry colour sofa you once owned then?? And I love the's so surprising when you walk inside and see all the pale colours as a contrast]
This was what it looked liked before Susan moved in and worked her magic. Eek!
What's next? 
To enjoy the next summer.  I have more vegetable gardens to make and I want to put in a fitted wardrobe in the dressing room/study, with a whole floor to ceiling rack for shoes.  This is very funny as I live in rubber thongs [flip flops] almost all year round.  I have way too many shoes [K: I'm saying nothing!] although I have culled a lot.  I also want to renovate the laundry to make it more serviceable and neater.  I want to be able to use it as a butler's pantry when I have friends and family around - which, blessings, is often.

So, there you go. A woman who made a dream come true. And best of all...for those of us lucky enough to know this lovely person...she shares it with us. Lovingly and generously. Thank you my friend.
Richard earning his our keep!
And to you lovely people...have a wonderful weekend when you get there. I'm going to be plotting and planning for my very first four day work week...hooray and a happy dance!
all images by me except the dodgy before's claiming credit for those.
...and the artworks you see are all by local artists (I think). If you want to know any of the details send me a message and I'll find out for you.