Friday, July 29, 2011

Welcome to the neighbourhood

On a recent visit to the house we found this beautifully written note in the letterbox. I must admit I was a little nervous when it first tumbled out of a huge pile of catalogues - especially as it arrived just after our DA was lodged and the notification went up on the house. Turns out though it was simply a welcome to the neighbourhood and some suggestions for our renovation.

Obviously from a long-time local, they pointed out some local landmarks that were a similar style to our house and that had colour schemes that might complement the outside of our place. They even pointed out another old shop not far from ours that had clever incorporated a third level behind the parapet on the roof.

It was a lovely surprise and a lovely welcome to the neighbourhood. I really hope we bump into the author at some stage so we can thank them for their thoughtfulness.

Friday, July 22, 2011

Cool discovery

One of the best bits about this old house so far has been peeling back the layers and finding out what's underneath. It helps us piece together a bit of its history - or at least some snippets from which we can imagine a history.

Like most renovations of buildings this age, we've found faded wallpaper and peeling paint, but the coolest thing we've found is this note on the plaster underneath the wall that was hiding the fireplace.

It's a note from an apprentice carpenter spruiking for future work. He writes:

"I'm an apprentice carpenter and in ten years time ring me up and I'll build your house"

It's dated April 1988 - so twenty three years ago (interestingly, almost to the date of when we signed the contract). I've done some research and - if I have the right Malcolm Monk - it seems that his enterprising and entrepreneurial spirit didn't leave him and he became quite a large property developer. Unfortunately, it seems the GFC wasn't too kind to his business and he's shut up shop.

But still - what an esoteric and charming find. I hope there are more as our journey progresses.

Friday, July 8, 2011

Kitchen - use your imagination

This is the outside of our kitchen. Well, it's the outside of the bedroom that is going to become our kitchen. Picture, if you will, folding doors leading out onto the terrace and a wall of louvers that will send light flooding into the kitchen and the internal courtyard downstairs. Struggling? Never mind. I understand.

See that hole in the wall (no, not one of mine)? Behind there is the kitchen. That's not where the entry will be (it will be slightly off to Puddleduck's right) but our builder had to knock through there to get rid of an ugly feature wall. I do like being able to peek through from the living area though - it gives me a little bit of an idea of how it will flow when it's all finished.

This is where the room currently opens to the terrace and where the bifold doors will go. I'm already picturing summer barbecues on the terrace...

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Gutted - fireplace

Our fireplace has emerged from behind the stud wall and what a *gorgeous* feature it is too. The tiny brown tiles seem to suggest the current surround is the product of the fabulous 1970s and its obsession with 'autumnal' tones for decorating. It would complemented my parents original kitchen beautifully.


So now we have to decide what to do with it. Initial investigations suggest it is probably capable of functon - subject of course to council approval (sigh). But do we want a wood burning fireplace or should we convert it to gas? Also, do we put a mantle above it or do we keep it a little streamlined? I'm fond of a mantle for putting vases and big pictures on, but will it take up too much of the room given we're planning that entire wall to be covered in bookshelves?

Decisions, decisions.

Sunday, July 3, 2011

Gutted - downstairs

And we've begun! Our builder and his highly efficient team moved in this week and ripped out all the crazy shelves and leftovers from our house's time as an office. All of a sudden it's starting to look a little more like it could be a home. This is where our downstairs living space will be - they've pulled out the ugly orange shelving, the carpet and destroyed the stud wall that hid this faux fireplace.

This is the downstairs living space looking onto the internal courtyard. At the moment it's a tad hideous, but when we enclose it with some lovely glass louvers and create a hallway around it I think it will be simply stunning. As the downstairs has very few windows and no real ventilation, it will also be an incredibly practical element of the design.

This is Puddleduck's room without the desks and shelves and cupboards ... let's call it a blank canvas!