Archives for posts with tag: building

A flying visit to Johannesburg this past week showed up a little progress:

Cottage kitchen installed.

Cottage kitchen installed.

The counter tops in the cottage, guest suite and main house are in Caesarstone, colour; panecotta. Although I think chose these handles, I now want to change them…

Kitchen from another angle.

Kitchen from another angle.

West Boundary Wall going up.

West Boundary Wall going up.

Through the opening of this temporary gate, you can see the boundary wall down the western side of the property.  After endless trouble from our neighbour, including veiled threats, we have resorted to building this wall within the boundary line on our own property.

Sandbags outlining the pool.

Sandbags outlining the pool.

The pool company, Curtis Pools, has started work.  They have ‘outlined’ the pool with sandbags for now while the filling in of the surrounding garden continues.

Cottage has been painted and the veranda tiled.

Cottage has been painted and the veranda tiled.

Pavement/Sidewalk View of cottage.

Pavement/Sidewalk View of cottage.

The picture above is probably my favourite from the past week as it looks like something is nearing completion at last.  A concerted effort has finally been made to clean up the pavement.  The board in front of the tree is the pool company’s advertisement.  The square to the left of the gate is the door in front of the electricity meter board and will be painted the same colour as the wall.  If you look carefully at the top of the wall to the right of the gate, you can see that the electric fencing has been installed.  We’ve tried to make it as unobtrusive as possible.

And finally, with reference to the photograph of the patio doors in my previous post, I came across the photo below in a magazine recently.  It shows rather well what the finished product of our doors should eventually look like.

Example of completed stacking patio doors.

Example of completed stacking patio doors.

At this stage it’s hard to imagine that our veranda and garden will ever even vaguely resemble this, but hopefully we’re moving forward inch by inch.

With the focus of my attention having been so fully on moving house for the past several weeks, I haven’t been keeping up very well with progress on the building.  It is a relief to be able to concentrate on the new house again.  Below is a collection of photographs showing more of less how things looked when we left Johannesburg last Saturday:

Electric Sliding Cottage Gate Installed.  To be painted white.

Electric Sliding Cottage Gate Installed. To be painted white.

The emphasis for the past two months has been on getting the cottage completed so that the office can function again from a fixed base.  The ‘box’ fitted into the wall to the right of the gate (for those of you overseas), is the electricity meter board for the entire property.  Meter Readers, who carry keys to these boxes, are supposed to do regular readings.

Cottage Flooring going in.

Cottage Flooring going in.

When it came to the wooden flooring, I have to admit to having been an absolute sucker for marketing.  I have loved all the Oggie flooring print advertisements since I first became aware of them.  I don’t know if I’ve ever seen a room photographed for one of their adverts that I haven’t wanted to move into.

Oggie Ads

Oggie Ads

A visit to their showroom, right back in the beginning when we first started this project, confirmed for me that Oggie floors were the way to go.  And so far, I’ve not been disappointed.  The installers worked beautifully and the floors look great. We chose oak planks in grey mist finish.

Flooring looking good.

Flooring looking good.

Cottage Second Bedroom, South Facing Window.

Cottage Second Bedroom, South Facing Window.

Above is an inside view of the re-positioned window in the second bedroom of the cottage. The carpeting has also been laid in the two bedrooms and since this photo was taken, the skirting boards have been installed.

2nd skylight on the left installed and small west facing window.

2nd skylight on the left installed and small west facing window.

The west facing wall of the cottage looked a little ‘blank’ to begin with, especially from the outside, so we decided, quite late, to add a small west-facing window which you can see in the photo above.  You can also see the two skylights; one west facing and one north facing.  We have used Velux skylights throughout the cottage, guest suite and house.  We had one in our previous home which we loved and we’re very familiar with them in England.  They all open and they don’t leak.  All the skylights have blinds.  We’ve gone with manually operated blinds as they’re simpler and perhaps there is less to go wrong….  We’ve had expert service from Wolfgang Hinze who has the sole agency for Velux in Johannesburg.

Tiling underway in the upstairs cottage bathroom.

Tiling underway in the upstairs cottage bathroom.

The cottage has a very compact downstairs guest bathroom (a toilet and basin – sink for the Americans…) and a small bathroom upstairs comprising a basin, toilet and a shower over a bathtub.  We’re using the same white subway tiles in all the bathrooms on the property.  This little bathroom needs a sliding door and we’re having a some trouble extracting this from the door company.  They have supplied the door but seem to have stalled over the sliding mechanism.

The start of the kitchenette cupboards in the guest suite.

The start of the kitchenette cupboards in the guest suite.

As soon as the cottage is finished and ready for occupation, we’re moving the pressure onto to the guest suite.  Once that is complete, we might have a place to stay when travelling back to Johannesburg for site meetings etc.  The photographs do not show the sloping ceilings very clearly but you  can work out where the slope begins from where the white paint starts.

The small windows above the counter echo those in the main house kitchen. The boundary wall down the east side is very close to the windows.  Close enough to have wall-mounted pots for herbs growing just outside.  At the very least, I will have some sort of garden decoration mounted on the wall beyond the windows.

Taken from living room, looking south through the library.

Taken from living room, looking south through the library.

It was good to be able, finally, to get a sense of this space, looking from the living room, south through the library.  For over a year, this double door space has been boarded up and the library space has been used as a site office. Eventually there will be sliding doors in this space.  Again, while all the doors in the main house have been delivered and installed, we are still waiting for these.  Sliding doors seem to equal delays for some unknown reason.

Taken from library sliding door opening, looking north, through living area and patio to garden.

Taken from library sliding door opening, looking north, through living area and patio to garden.

Now this opening has been boarded up again as we’re using the space as storage for the office furniture that we hope to get moved into the cottage this coming week.  So below is what the library looked like on Friday…

Library used for storage.

Library used for storage.

Below is a reminder of what the north library wall should one day look like:

Shelves (white) will surround the sliding doors between the library and living room areas.

Shelves (white) will surround the sliding doors between the library and living room areas.

The sliding doors (when they arrive) will slide behind the shelving; ie between the back of the shelving and the wall.

Compacting the front (north) garden.

Compacting the front (north) garden.

The level of the front garden has been raised considerably but there is still quite a way to go.  I am reasonably satisfied that I will not hit broken bricks and other rubble each  time I try to plant something, having been very specific about this from the start.  I’ve watched this process carefully over the past few weeks and they seem to be doing a very thorough job.

The pool company is supposed to move on site in about a week, so finishing this is important.

 

Recent Site Meeting.

Recent Site Meeting.

 

The Patio Stacking Doors in place.

The Patio Stacking Doors in place.

Most of the time, I expect these doors to be open and because veranda space is important to me, I thought carefully about having them at all.  But with downsizing to a house with effectively one open-plan living room, being able to use the outside veranda space in all weather is very useful.  There will be fixed glass panes in the curved spaces above the doors.

Barrow Art

7 Wheelbarrows Hanging on the Wall…

And someone, somewhere in the chaos of this building site seems to have a sense of style!

Spires in the small town of Wellington, viewed across vineyards.

Spires in the small town of Wellington, viewed across vineyards.

Last Monday, the 27th of October, I took a break from flying around Parkhurst on my broomstick and went wandering around the vineyards of Wellington in the Western Cape instead.  Along with a group of 10 friends, we did, not for the first time, the Wellington Wine Walk (wwwwinewalk.co.za) which involves three full days of walking and three nights staying at different wine farms.

Wide Open Spaces

Wide Open Spaces

This time we walked 16kilometres on the first day and 12 on day two and three.  The walking is punctuated with several stops on different estates, tasting wines, having lunch and generally getting some idea of life down in that part of the world.

Lunch stop

Lunch stop

It could not be more different from life in Johannesburg and it offered a complete break from all things building-related.

Far From the Madding Crowds.

Far From the Madding Crowds.

A day or two before I left for the Cape, I popped in at the house to check on progress following my previous  not-too-happy visit and found quite a lot of activity.  It seems that the occasional broomstick dive-bombing exercise can be quite effective…

Stair window and front door frames were in place.

Stair window and front door frames were in place.

Living room door frames in place.

Living room door frames in place.

 

Ceiling of cottage veranda with street boundary wall behind.

Ceiling of cottage veranda with street boundary wall behind.

Rhinoliting started in the cottage. And paint samples on the walls.

Rhinoliting started in the cottage. And paint samples on the walls.

Painting undercoat on the garage walls.

Painting undercoat on the garage walls.

The wall bordering on the park  taking shape.

The wall bordering on the park taking shape.

Production Line

Production Line

Bird's Eye View from upstairs balcony.

Bird’s Eye View from upstairs balcony.

Up to now, I haven’t really tried to explain what is supposed to happen in the front garden which is what the chaos above is eventually supposed to be.  And the main reason for that is that I’m not sure where to begin…  Firstly, there is going to be a swimming pool somewhere in this space.  It is designed to run parallel to the park wall.  A vast quantity of ‘filler’ has to be delivered to the site to bring the level of the front garden up to just two shallow steps lower than the finished house.  In effect, the pool has already been dug.  The filler will be packed in around it.

On the left of the pool, close to the gate that will open onto the park, there will be an underground room, housing – among other things – a generator and a couple of water tanks.  For those of you reading this in First World Countries, this might come as a bit of a surprise but having back-up electricity and a supply of stored water is becoming almost a necessity in Johannesburg and seeing we’re building from scratch, we decided to factor that in.  Power outages are increasingly common and every now and then we turn on a tap to nothing more than a burp of fresh air.  This usually happens without warning and with no  information forthcoming as to how long it will be before services are restored.  I never thought that having a swimming pool in one’s garden would prove to be useful in such a variety of ways…

And so it is that landscaping the front garden is not as simple as one might have thought and at this stage, quite a lot of energy and time is being expended there.  But having put up with no fewer than 3 power outages in the last 3 days, I think the effort will eventually prove to have been worth it.

We had a site meeting today for the first time in two weeks and while there was quite a lot of progress to be seen in some areas, in others, chaos still seems to reign.

Site Meeting, Oct 10/13

Site Meeting, Oct 10/13

Architect and Contractor

Architect and Contractor

But brickwork has finally started and it is almost possible to see the layout of the ground floor taking place.

Brickwork up to floor level of patio.

Brickwork up to floor level of patio.

In a nutshell, getting the site ready for building and sorting out the different levels, has been a lot more complicated and has taken a lot more time than anyone ever seems to have anticipated and as each week passes, I am more grateful that we have not yet sold our present home and so have no real time pressure.

One problem that has recently surfaced is the depth of the sewer in relation to the position of the downstairs guest toilet.  I have never before given a moment’s thought to how plumbing works on sloping sites and now find myself learning all kinds of things of which I’ve previously been happily ignorant.  If the sewer runs off the lowest end of a property there’s no problem, but if, as in our case, it runs off the highest point towards a connection under the street, it poses all sorts of issues I’d really rather not think about.

The original house on this plot was built just a little lower than street level.  And now we understand why the guest toilet which was odd anyway, was perched up a step on a throne-like structure.  It needed to be higher than the sewer outlet.

Up until now, we’ve been aiming to position our house as close to the level of the park as possible.  We were hoping to have only one shallow step from the patio down onto the lawn, and from the driveway and front porch, only a very shallow step up into the entrance hall. Tracing the sewer proved problematic.  The council couldn’t help.  Days and days of digging by the builders, however, have eventually revealed the sewer to be – although buried far down – at a higher point than our downstairs toilet was going to be.  So, at this morning’s site meeting we had to take a decision to raise the entire ground floor level of the house by two brick courses and that may still change to three.  Of everyone involved in the planning, I seem to be the one least troubled by this:  Knowing how the rain thunders down in Johannesburg, I was always a little concerned that we might have flooding under the front door occasionally unless the driveway drainage is absolutely and completely faultless.  Also, in our present home, our patio is completely level with the lawn and many storms have left the tiles awash with water, despite our having built a special drain to avoid this.  So a few steps here and there, provided they’re wide, shallow and outside, are fine with me.

I'd like a miniature version of these steps.

I’d like a miniature version of these steps.

What isn’t fine with me is the chaotic look and feel of the site.  I can’t help feeling that by now, with a little imagination, it could be better managed and today I requested that something be done about it.

Still all a bit chaotic.

Still all a bit chaotic.

While I appreciate that there is very little ‘spare’ space to play with in terms of stacking building materials etc, having everything piled on the pavement and sliding down into the road is not an option.

These need to be stacked on site.

These need to be stacked on site.

Today I asked for the entire street frontage to be fenced off with temporary corrugated iron fencing, with a solid gate to replace the untidy blue plastic which is currently operating as an access point. Each time I visit, it has bigger and bigger holes torn in it, made, presumably by curious passers-by.  And I’ve also asked for a proper board to be erected on the pavement giving the details of the contractor, engineer and architect.  I’m curious to know how long this will take.

This blue plastic needs to go.

This blue plastic needs to go.

This house is being designed as a ‘down-sized, lock-up-and-leave, low-maintenance home’ so including a swimming pool in the plans hasn’t been an automatic decision.  But when summer hits and the highveld sizzles, we know we’ll want one so the debate has moved on from whether or not to have a pool to what size and shape it should be.  This will be our fourth home in Johannesburg and our fourth pool but it’s the first time we’ll be having one built.  The others were already there.

Although we have discussed the fact that it is probably best to do most of the pool construction while the rest of the building is underway, but, with the property still looking like little more than a bomb site, we haven’t up to now, given pool details too much thought.  But now our contractor has asked us for specific plans as to the position and size of the pool and we are having to make some decisions.

Here is a drawing showing the position of the house, garden and pool:  The building closest to the street boundary is going to be the cottage which could be used either for guests or let out to tenants.  The driveway can be seen on the left of the cottage, curving in to the next building which is the double garage.  The garage is linked directly to the house via a scullery or ‘mud room’ which leads into the kitchen.  The house itself, is set quite far forward on the site and the garden, coloured in green, is going to be small and – hopefully – manageable.  We are taking the attitude that ball games to exercise dogs etc will take place in the park to which we’ll have direct access.  After considerable thought, we’ve decided to run the pool along the width of the garden, at the bottom, rather than at right angles to the house as I like the idea of a stretch of unbroken lawn sloping very gradually towards the pool.

Position of Pool and Garden in relation to the buildings.

Position of Pool and Garden in relation to the buildings.

Agreeing on the position of the pool was easy.  Agreeing on the style of the pool has been more interesting.

We are definitely going to move away from this look:

The pool we have now.  Probably build sometime in the 70ties.

The pool we have now. Probably build sometime in the 70ties.

There are all sorts of interesting options available and we’ve narrowed them down to two: I am very taken with the idea and the look of pools that could almost double up as ponds, but it seems there is some hope that I might take to ‘proper’ swimming rather than simply cooling off and I have been persuaded to go the route of putting in a ‘lap pool’.  I’m not making any promises and have actually managed to find a picture of a pool that could almost fill both briefs….

I love this one.

I love this one.

… but in the end, I think we’re going to end up with something more like this:

A lap pool with dark coloured lining.  I particularly like the pool surround on this one.  It has the look of a farm reservoir.

A lap pool with dark coloured lining. I particularly like the pool surround on this one. It has the look of a farm reservoir.

(This photo was published in the June 2013 edition of South African Garden and Home magazine.)

Apparently 10m in length can suffice for a lap pool.  We plan to make it only 2m wide with a cut-out bit where there’ll be a shallow step to sit on and which will  also  allow for getting in and out with a modicum of grace.

The Building Centre

The Building Centre

In London, a friend recommended that we visit The Building Centre. (www.buildingcentre.co.uk)  We took the tube to Tottenham Court Road Station and found the Centre easily at 26 Store Street.  Not quite sure what to expect, we were surprised to find a smallish exhibition centre, featuring great designs, 3-D models and providing interesting information on alternative energy sources. As you enter the building you are presented with a particularly interesting 1:1500 scale model of central London, showing all recent and proposed planning submissions.    For anyone who enjoys models and miniatures, this is fascinating place to visit.

House model showing layout of alternative heating source.

House model showing energy-efficient heating and plumbing options.

Model Garden.

Model Garden.

The Chelsea Harbour Design Centre (www.dcch.co.uk) is also a lovely place to spend a few hours – or more if you have the time to spend poring over thousands of fabrics.  It’s a perfect place to visit on a rainy day with its spectacular glass domes allowing light to spill through the central atrium right down to the ground floor.  The emphasis is on fabrics and soft furnishings but beautiful bathroom fittings, bespoke doors and several decor stores are also featured.

DSC02827

One of three linked atriums surrounded by showrooms and stores.

One of three linked atriums surrounded by showrooms and stores.

Loved this Nicholas Haslam trestle table.

Loved this Nicholas Haslam trestle table.

Beautiful Nicholas Haslam Oak table.

Beautiful Nicholas Haslam Oak table.

My primary response to the Chelsea Design Centre was one of feeling quite overwhelmed by the vast array of products and options on display.  It is a place that would require several return visits and probably a fairly specific focus before one could really come to grips with it. It’s worth a visit simply for the architecture of the building itself and must be absolutely spectacular when lit up at night.

There is also a good coffee shop and an excellent RIBA bookshop stocked with every architectural and design book imaginable.  I could have stayed there all day.

A tiny selection of books available in the RIBA (Royal Institute of British Architects) bookshop at the Chelsea Design Centre and part of my growing personal collection.

A tiny selection of books available in the RIBA (Royal Institute of British Architects) bookshop at the Chelsea Design Centre and part of my growing personal collection.

This morning we had a site meeting with Bernard (our architect), our demolition contractor, Mark, who would also like to build the new house and the consulting engineer, Eric, who we had not met before.  This was mostly to discuss getting the levels on the property right before building can start.  The engineer now needs a few more days to work things out more precisely.  In the end we will be looking at three separate levels:  the first, at street level will be where the cottage will be built.  There will be a retaining wall built behind the cottage.  The driveway will slope down past the cottage and curve to the right into the garage which will be on the second level, the same as that on which the house will be built.  The third level will be the garden which will be one or two shallow steps below the front verandah.

Working out where rubble has to be used as filler etc is quite complicated and one thing I am quite sure about is that I don’t want to discover broken bricks and tiles just a few metres down in the garden.  So the preparation of the site is very important and it’s going to take a bit of time to get it right.

Today at last we were able to get a very clear view of the whole property from the street down to the garden wall bordering the park.  We are thrilled with it.  I was also really pleased to hear some lovely bird calls there this morning despite the prevailing wreckage.  There were grey louries around and a black collared barbet fluted continuously.  Leaving behind the prolific bird life in our present garden is the thing I feel most concerned about so it was reassuring to hear all the singing today.

South to North View.  I stood almost where the driveway gate will be to take this. It gives quite a good sense of the length of the site.

South to North View. I stood almost where the driveway gate will be to take this. It gives quite a good sense of the length of the site.

Opposite view from North to South.  Taken from almost the 'park' wall.

Opposite view from North to South. Taken from almost the ‘park’ wall.

Watchman's Hut in bottom  right hand corner.

Watchman’s Hut in bottom right hand corner.

Eric and Bernard in discussion

Eric and Bernard in discussion

More discussion...

More discussion…

And even more...

And even more…

In this last picture we have Phineas who seems to be in charge of the site at the moment, Greg who is one of Mark’s project managers, Eric the engineer and Mark.  Esprit Contractors have an arrangement whereby they donate salvaged materials like the tiles and pavers here, bath tubs, sinks etc to building projects in the townships.  Everything that can possibly be used again, will be.

Stacked up bath tubs and a few window frames waiting to go.

Stacked up bath tubs and a few window frames waiting to go.

A few things have happened since I last wrote.

The ‘written permission’ from Phrag proved elusive.  Having heard on Thursday the 9th of May that permission to demolish had been granted, it was Friday the 24th before Bernard was able to actually collect the letter from the Phrag offices.  Only when we studied the letter did we realise that a copy had to be posted on the outside wall of the property for a further two weeks before the demolition could begin in earnest.  This was to allow for any ‘late’ objections.

We wasted no time in affixing the 'late objection' letter to the wall.

We wasted no time in affixing the ‘late objection’ letter to the wall.

While waiting for that time to pass, we established from the planning department that we needed the neighbours on both sides to sign our plans before we could submit them for approval.  Given our previous encounters with our neighbour on the left, this was not good news.

We were able to contact our neighbour on the right quite easily and he was delighted to give us his support.  He went so far as to say that if we hadn’t bought the property, he would have, if only to ensure that something positive would be done to it.  He also asked if we would be prepared to ‘straighten out’ and raise the height of the wall between our two properties and offered to share the costs of doing so.  We are only too happy to do this and will be pleased to reduce the number of steps in the wall as it stands now.

We deliberately got the “righthand” signature before approaching the “lefthand” one.

This was not so straightforward.

Neighbour on the left insisted that the plans be dropped off at her office so she could discuss them with ‘her town planner .’  This is somewhat out of the ordinary but in an effort to keep things on an even keel, this is what we did.  Leading up to this point, we had had several altercations with this neighbour who for reasons that remain quite unfathomable, is insisting that the existing scruffy precast wall between our two properties, remains in place and untouched.  This despite our offer to build a new wall, twice as high, plastered and topped with a coping, at our expense.  And despite this same neighbour, a few months back, stating in writing that ‘high walls make good neighbours.’  Logic seems to be lacking.

Following a particularly difficult confrontation earlier in the year, we stepped back from the “wall debate” and agreed to leave the existing wall as is and looked on bemused as she had electric fencing erected above it.  We still believe it would have been in her best interests to have allowed us to build a new and substantial wall between the two properties before the building gets underway, but have been quite unable to reason with her in this regard.

Two days after dropping off the plans, we received an email saying that they were signed and ready for collection on the understanding that her little wall remains untouched.  I wasted no time in picking them up before there could be any change of heart and the very next day, Friday the 7th, Bernard submitted the signed plans to the city council for approval.  And so the second waiting game begins.

On the plus side, the additional two week wait in case of ‘new’ objections, passed without incident and demolition of the original house is now properly underway.  This is what the property looked like today:

(In this photo you can see the ‘stepped’ green wall on the right that will be adjusted and on the left, one section of high wall that is painted yellow.  This was the originally the back wall of the kitchen.  In front of it you can just make out a green precast wall with electric fencing above it.  This is part of the precast walling that is deemed too special to replace.)

View of the site from south to north.

View of the site from south to north.

The west wall of the house on our right.  We'll not see this once our new house is built.

The west wall of the house on our right. We’ll not see this once our new house is built.

All I can say now is “Bring on the rubble removal trucks ASAP.”

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.

View from the street

View from the street

We’re hoping that today will prove to have had special relevance:  The Heritage Association were supposed to be meeting to discuss our application to demolish the house.  With any luck we’ll get the all clear within the next few days and then two things can happen:  The contractor can go ahead and demolish the building in its entirety and secondly, we can finally submit out plans for council approval.

In the meantime, the ‘younger’ parts of the house are being steadily dismantled.  On Thursday I visited the site for the first time in almost three weeks and found some progress and lots of rubble.  It’s a dreadful mess.

View from just inside the front gate.

View from just inside the front gate.

View from existing front door looking back up to front gate.

View from existing front door looking back up to front gate.

Brick by Brick.  Right hand side neighbouring house behind.

Brick by Brick. Right hand side neighbouring house behind.

Looking back up to partially demolished house, from bottom of garden.

Looking back up to partially demolished house, from bottom of garden.

Looking down the garden towards the park.  Poolhouse has been demolished.

Looking down the garden towards the park. Poolhouse has been demolished.

The remaining back wall of the pool house is higher than our boundary wall will eventually be.  The existing boundary wall can be seen (painted dark green) to the left of the white pool house wall.  The new wall, between our garden and the park, will be approximately that height.

At this stage, things seem to be moving really, really slowly.  It’s easy to believe that this time next year we’ll still be living right where we are today.