Sometime last year we decided that the time had come for us to think seriously about downsizing; about creating a simpler, cleaner, clearer, home environment on a smaller footprint and with far less clutter.  Now that it’s just the two of us with only occasional visits from the children but quite frequent visits from friends and family, we feel we can live more practically in far less space.

So we started to look around for either a stand on which to build exactly what we would like, or an older home that would lend itself easily to a major renovation.  We wanted to stay in our general area so we could still be close to friends and all our usual ‘haunts’.

Parktown North was our first choice of suburb but we could find neither a house that was bad enough to demolish, nor an appealing stand.  The Parkhurst stands seemed very small for a household still dominated by pets; three dogs and one cat and counting… And then, quite unexpectedly, we encountered an estate agent who listened carefully and then persuaded us to look at a ‘double’ stand in Parkhurst that opened onto a park.  Initially, we resisted but thought we had nothing to lose by just seeing it.  And the rest is history…

Park view to stream

Park view to stream

Late last year we bought a tumbledown house on what promises to be a lovely property.  The stand is 842 sq metres, so considerably smaller than the 3oo0 on which we currently live.  But facing out over a pretty park gives it an illusion of much more space and having a gate in the wall at the bottom of the garden giving direct access onto the green belt, makes it viable for two very elderly retrievers and one very lively spaniel.  So far I’m trying not to think about the adventures the cat might embark on with that untamed extended ‘garden’ as his disposal…

Park view

Park view

Because it was late in the year, things moved slowly and transfer of the property into our name only happened towards the end of January.  Then the past owners had to move out and now, with plans drawn up and waiting to be submitted to the Johannesburg City Council,  we find ourselves waiting – and waiting – for the Heritage Committee to meet and give approval for the demolition of the existing structure.  It seems a new law has come into being requiring that this committee has to grant permission for the demolition of any building more than 60 years old.  In principle I agree with this as I hate seeing beautiful old house flattened but I can’t help wondering if it would be more realistic to have some parameters to this rule, such as any building that was architect-designed or had any sort of special history attached to it.  Neither of which would apply to the property we have acquired.