Monday, April 26, 2010

I managed to get to the house this weekend and take some photos of the work in progress. It's quite the mess, but remember you can't make an omelette without breaking some eggs.
 This is the new main bedroom. There was a window here but it has been removed to make a doorway leading into the walk in wardrobe, and through there into the ensuite.
 This is general garden variety mess with timber on its way in, lying next to timber on its way out.
This is the view from where our kitchen will be looking into the dining room on the left and the lounge on the right hand side.
The photo above is taken from where the dining room will be, looking through the kitchen, and into the walk in pantry. You may not be able to see what I'm talking about. This reminds me of when I was pregnant with my children and I would go to get ultrasounds at the clinic. The radiographer would be telling me what was what, and I'd nod along, but really it was like looking at a lava lamp for me. I couldn't tell which was up and which was down.
 Finally, to finish on a more upbeat note, this is the view from our new back verandah. While it's not a water or city view, it is certainly uplifting all the same.

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Phoenix rising
Apologies for not updating my blog for many weeks. We have now moved out and work has well and truly commenced on Euphemia's facelift.
I plan to take some photos of the work site when we are there on the weekend and I'll post some on my blog. 
While there is floor to floor rubble and power tools, walls have been torn down, new doorways cut open and windows boarded up, and amongst the ruins the new look Euphemia is taking form. 
At the moment she's got a face only a mother could love, but it's so exciting to see the transformation under way. 
By the way, someone left a comment asking why we are doing our floors black. The reason for that is that some floor boards are rotten and need to be replaced, making the floor patchy, but mostly we just love the look of dark floors.
We have found a great Porter's Paints product called Palm Beach Black. It's a dark timber stain for floors which has a sheen similar to charcoal. 
I've decided to do the walls white, with white doors, window trims, ceiling and white skirting boards - we're not exactly breaking new ground. The effect will be that of a blank canvas, Gallery Domesticus. Our new home.

Friday, April 2, 2010

Good Friday
Just as we spent Good Friday last year moving into Euphemia, this year we have spent it moving out.
For me, this hasn't come soon enough. While the children have coped very well, I am getting weary of cleaning my teeth at the kitchen sink, preparing dinner without the advantage of a cooker, drying clothes without a clothesline, and spending half my day, bottom up in the air (which is becoming bigger by the day thanks to takeaway dinners), digging around in boxes and bags looking for whatever it is I need.
Our cutlery is currently stored in an old beer box.  We have packed and broken so many drinking glasses that we're now down to two - total.  It seems in nearly every corner of the house there are little campfire sized piles of miscellaneous items waiting to be packed. A typical pile may consist of a pair of socks, a screwdriver, a copy of Winnie the Pooh, a piece of the vacuum cleaner, some junk mail, and an ipod recharger. All too hard to sort out for this little black duck I'm afraid.
My desk is piled up so high with papers that whenever someone removes something, or deposits something else on top of the pile there is an avalanche.
The chaos is such that just maintaining our usual level of day to day duties has become a challenge. During the week at school pick up time I just happened to overhear a group of mothers talking about what their children were wearing for fancy dress to school....the next day! Apparently, they all had to go in some sort of national dress dependent on your family's own heritage.  We also had to take along some afternoon tea, also with an international flavor.
We are English, Scottish and German, however, all I could unearth from the dress up box was a Dutch girl's outfit which I picked up from a vintage clothing fair a few year's ago.
I also got the bright idea of sending along 24 tiny bottles of Italian peach juice, which were a real hit.  Another disaster narrowly averted!
I am so thankful for school holidays, that radically reduces my 'to do' list. However, over the past month I have made so many pledges of good things to come for the children, I'm going to have my work cut out delivering them.  I've been forever saying, 'no, we can't go there (do this/see that)', but once we move out we can!' The sweet little things have been so patient and tolerant of what their parents are putting them through.
While there is utter chaos upstairs, things have improved a lot under the house. The builders have cleaned up the site, finished the excavation and put in the retaining walls.

Meanwhile, whilst packing I turned up the receipt from the first builder dated December 14th, 1904. I also found the specifications, or instructions, for building the house.

The instructions are concise and precise, and read:
"Contractors are to make themselves certain as to levels of ground, as no extras will be allowed in height of stumps, steps, etc.
The shortest stump to be three (3) feet, six (6) inches out of the ground.
Excavate holes for the stumps to a depth of two feet, six inches. for all stumps over six feet out of the ground...."
And so on it goes, step by step on how to build the house. Towards the end of the document it gives instructions on the drainpipes, taps and bathtub.
The specifications are in very poor shape, but we will see what we can do to keep it in tact.
Tomorrow is my mother's 70th birthday party, and I will be spending most of the day hanging fairy lights, wrapping prunes with bacon and making a birthday cake in the shape of a large pineapple.
Sunday we plan to do some more packing and move out more furniture and then finish the rest on Monday - my 38th birthday.
My husband starts his new job Tuesday, and then by Wednesday we'll be officially out.
Our builder will be sending in a second gang the second we're out the door, and the facelift will begin in earnest!
Happy Easter to all!