Archives for posts with tag: Johannesburg
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.

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.