Archives for the month of: May, 2013

On Thursday the 9th, 10 days ago, we finally heard that permission to demolish had been granted.  But with one proviso:  we were told to wait until we had received a letter putting the approval in writing before we could officially knock down the old house.  We’re still waiting. Apparently our architect will be able to collect the letter from the Phrag offices on Tuesday, the day after tomorrow.  The offices are in town, so that is in itself something of a mission, but letters like this cannot be entrusted to the vagaries of our postal service.  But at least some progress does seem to have been made and so we inch along.

On the plus side, having had all this time to think about and pore over our plans, we decided just three days ago to change the upstairs layout. We have swapped the position of the north-facing, middle, en-suite bedroom, with the south-facing pyjama lounge/tv room.  We were always a little concerned about the size and position of that ‘middle’ bathroom.  It was going to be rather narrow and needed to have a window onto the upstairs verandah and downpipes built into a channel going down onto the downstairs patio.

Now we’ll have a sunny upstairs study/tv room with the additional space that the bathroom would have used, while the south-facing room will be become the third bedroom with an en-suite bathroom having an east-facing window.  Our second bedroom remains north facing and its bathroom and the third bathroom will be separated by a linen cupboard and all the plumbing will be on the eastern side of the house, along with the plumbing from the kitchen below.  It all seems to make better sense.  We met with Bernard on Friday afternoon to discuss this change and he was very happy to make the adjustment.  We are able to give the third bedroom an additional west-facing window which will brighten the room and allow it to get some afternoon sun.

By having both spare bedrooms and bathrooms on the eastern post of the H-shape, we are effectively getting a guest ‘wing’ and we think it will work well.  And the third bedroom is likely to be the least-used room in the house while a park-facing, bright study will be in daily use.

At this stage of our lives we could probably manage with only two bedrooms and we had originally discussed that possibility but have decided to go with three for two main reasons:  Firstly, resale options are better with three bedrooms under one roof and secondly, with both our children currently living in London and showing no signs of returning any time soon, we still want a home that can accommodate them and their partners when they visit. And maybe, one day, their children.

We’re also putting a bed-sitting room and bathroom above the double garage which would be able to serve either as staff accommodation or a guest suite, so in total the house will have 4 bedrooms.

The more we’ve thought about this change, the more it seems to be a better option than what we had before and so, in the end, having to wait all this time for approval has had something of a silver lining.

In the meantime, the doll’s house is benefitting from my otherwise-delayed creative energy:

Roof and outside walls almost done.

Roof and outside walls almost done.

With another week having passed without a word from the Heritage Association and feeling frustrated by all the wasted time, we took ourselves off to Parkhurst twice today to remind ourselves why we’ve decided it will be a good place to live.  Eventually.  This morning we  had brunch in 4th Avenue which must be one of the most vibrant neighbourhood roads in Johannesburg these days.  It has a great, old-fashioned High Street feel to it and throngs with families out to eat, couples strolling along the pavements and dog-walkers.

Then later this afternoon we took two of the dogs for a walk in ‘our’ park.  We approached the park from the northern side this time, (parking in Hamilton Avenue, Craighall Park) and found it looking beautiful.  The grass has been recently mown and the trees are ablaze with autumn colours.  We crossed the river which is not much more than a trickle at the moment and walked up to our boundary wall.  Several houses away from ours, a gate opened and three dogs tumbled out followed by their owner.  So we have now met a close neighbour who walks his dogs in the park at least twice a day and who reassured us that it is a wonderful place to live.  He was dumbfounded to hear about our Heritage woes. And we were pleased to meet a friendly neighbour.

Here are some pictures of the park, taken from the northern side.

View from Northern boundary of the park.

View from Northern boundary of the park.

North to South park view

North to South park view

A taste of future freedom...

A taste of future freedom…

With my creative energy thwarted in Parkhurst, I’ve turned my attention instead to decorating the long-neglected doll’s house….

The only London Townhouse I'll ever own...

The only London Townhouse I’ll ever own…