Crawling to infinity.

We crawl along with the house… 

…hence all these pretty but unrelated pictures.

We had an architect’s meeting yesterday and there was much joking and idea-spinning , but nothing much to show for it other than marks on paper and thought-balloons strung like bunting between us.  He has been busy dividing the Conservation Management Tome into ‘changes’ and ‘repairs’ and when we’ve amassed another forest of paper we’ll take it all to the various bodies and see whether they will very kindly permit us to make the repairs that are necessary to stop the house (or bits of it) collapsing. 

An interesting thing about these houses is that one governmental department has allowed them to fall into states of piteous decay, while another will have us jump through hoops, swim through crocodile infested waters, tame lions and generally sign over our lives before permitting us to do the works that we, in any case, are required to do.

In the meeting, discussion ran to changes we want to make  and how they might be accomplished.  Things that involve knocking holes into walls and floors and, you know, (sorry for our impertinence), having an upstairs bathroom.  The Burra Charter was invoked and we all stood to attention before it.  I even tried to read it a moment ago but it is a document more turgid than analytic theories of Object Splitting.  More turgid even than Charles Dickens (is that possible?).  Turgid enough, anyway, to require a cream bun and a lie-down before embarking on it.  Neither of which I had, which is maybe why I failed. 


However, I do like their dictum of “as much as necessary, as little as possible” (providing ‘necessary’ spans aforementioned upstairs bathroom, a door between kitchen and dining room, and a few other life or death necessities).  Another thing I like is that new work, such as doors where there were not doors etc, should ‘read’ as new and not pretend originality.    We talked about the new doors following Georgian proportions and spirit but with steel frames. And about off-setting the frame from the wall slightly and having a glass fillet around the gap.  But right now  I am feeling very frustrataed – the internet is  a groaning banqueting table, heaped and overflowing with images of Moroccan leather pouffes, wedding blankets  and ikat cushions.  Really, I am stuffed to the gills.  But if you want a picture of a new door in an old building with a glass fillet in between, you’re going to go hungry.

Hence all the pretty pictures in this post. Unrelated to the house.  They come from 40 W I N K S,  an hotel in London run by David Carter, dandy and decorating impresario.

For years and years I’ve believed he was the son of Angela Carter, writer of ‘The Magic Toyshop’ and other wonderful, iconoclastic books from my youth. Dead now, sadly (both). I don’t know where I got this idea but it was a firm one. I would have sworn there was the same magician at work in each, the same baroque sensibility, the same surreal splashes. And then I discovered that his mother was an antiques dealer and her son called Alexander and my illusion collapsed with a ceremonial plop. The mind – what can you say!

All images here.


5 Responses to “Crawling to infinity.”

  1. The details in these rooms are exquisite! Thanks for posting 🙂

  2. friendandfaux Says:

    So sorry for all the red tape you must endure…but at least in your country your future home is still there. Here in the US, chances are your building would have vanished 50 years ago and the one that replaced it would be slated for demolition next week.
    I am delighting in your progress, be it ever so slow.

    Here in the middle of Michigan, awaiting your next post.

    • I think until recently Australia was similar to the US – when we arrived from London (where nothing ever gets knocked down) about 16years ago we were amazed that houses seemed designed to last about 30 years and then be replaced. The little area where this new house is was also slated for demolition in the late 60s, but a union Green Ban prevented workers participating in their demise and so they still stand. And now of course you can’t sneeze in them without permission. But I’m surprised by what you say – I see so many pictures of glorious old houses in the US. Maybe there are fewer and fewer?

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