The good, the bad and the ugly.

So it seems that our jaunt in the garden of secret (housey) delights was to be a short one, for we have now plunged headlong into the valley of death.  Well actually, if I can stop myself striking attitudes for a moment,  into a sort of ordered brutality. Concrete is coming up, bathrooms are coming out, rotten ceilings are coming down.  More termites’ nests, rotten wall plates and other scary things are revealing themselves.  There’s a lot of builderly sucking of teeth, requests for even more cost variations, and a general fretfulness hanging over Mr Pimperstalsis and me. Money is flying out of the windows like winged birds and the house is looking worse than ever!  All very woebegone and laid bare.  It was derelict before, but  still beautiful.  Now it is just derelict. Its broken bones and dental cavities are on full display and it can be rather disheartening to visit, though we are compelled to go over at weekends and finger its wounds. We know, of course, that this is just a waystation to renewal, a plateau on the ascent to gloriousness, but even so it’s a tad challenging to find tree roots coming up through your kitchen floor, and to see glimpses of sky through your walls.

And those beautiful sandstone flagstones? They are now being gently eased out of their long slumber,  to be numbered, stacked, and dried out.  Soon great troughs will be hewn into their beds for the French drains that  (we hope) will fix our damp problem.


Things are not all draped about with gloom and murk.  We have found ourselves a place to live for the duration – no mean feat in this city with two, shall we say… slightly oversized dogs on the payroll.  We have started to pack and in two weeks are to be nestled deep within the bosom of  suburbia, as it happens, but nevertheless we will have four walls, a bit of a garden and a view of trees.  Remington will have a patch of his beloved grass to roll around on, I will have a corner for my pottery wheel, and we’ll have a place to retreat to. We’ll forget about the vertical blinds for now. Oh, and the laminate laid over carpet. Can you imagine? Like walking over marshmallows!  Gawd only knows what lurks under there.


Delight of  utter delights, a secret window has been discovered buried in a wall in the Regency Wreck! We knew the cavity was there but to find the original window extant, glass and all, was a wondrous exciting thing.  Even more so because the joinery is so fine and delicate and so, well, Georgian.  A little window humming daintily away to itself over the years, quite unheard by anyone.  This is the top half:

and this is the bottom half, still partially boarded up:

The eagle-eyed will no doubt spot the curious fact that the window, which is long and slender, a sort of supermodel of windows, is bisected by a floor.  Actually it is a balcony floor, the balcony at the back of the house originally having been two storeys high. We are keeping the additional floor on account of the un-garden and Ms Pimp’s need for a dressing room (this balcony will have concertina glass doors which she will keep closed but which can be opened).

I love this window. I keep the idea of it  like a well-polished talisman in my pocket.  You know, so that when I feel gloomsome I take it out and rub it some more and feel generally better.  Like a renovator’s blankie, sort of thang.

17 Responses to “The good, the bad and the ugly.”

  1. It is as if the house has become connected to your body and you feel its pain as it is laid bare it’s derelict beauty torn apart in order to live again. And live again it will. To rise out of to the dust to be adorned by you. Faith, determination and Mr Pimps considered reasoning with the forces that ride against you will win out. Did I forget the basics such as lots of moolah will help.

    • Yes it will, won’t it? Rise up and stuff and be adorned.

      We knew about the lots of moolah bit before we began, but it’s fast becoming all of the moolah! I begin to worry that the metal island in the kitchen will get lost. Or even the furniture! But anyway – onwards. Onwards and a stiff upper.

  2. Your delight-of-utter-delights photographs show lots of ugly snaky pipes needing to be arranged elsewhere, a wall of grime and cement patches and a rickety verandah floor. Wonderful that you can see the beauty beyond these.

  3. Who told you it was going to be easy. Have an Option B architect in mind well before you flick “the Firm” don’t hold on cause you are fond of the on site guy. I hope you are getting a copy of the weekly site reports, that way you can see what’s a coming. I love the long window what a delightful find. ” We shall fight them on the beaches, we shall fight them on the site plans etc etc”.

    • Nope, you’re right; no-one said it would be easy, least of all us. But I find that in the case of renovations, ‘forewarned is forearmed’ never really holds true! I’m glad you love the long window – so do I.

  4. I can feel your pain, but also glimpses of the future delight when all is done and the house introduces itself into society. Hang on…and keep blogging, I love the way you write, gloomy or happy, it is always such a great read.
    And thanks for finding and visiting my blog. In the meantime I have created another one and playing with an idea of creating yet another, perhpas in Croatian language this time.
    Be in touch…be well x

    • House as debutante!
      And not only did I find your blog but I’ve managed to get it onto my RSS feed, at long last, so I can have it delivered to my door. X

  5. Keep rubbing that window dear Madame Pimp. Perhaps it will be your magic window where you can wish for more money and it delivers. xx

  6. She is truly beautiful even sans flagstones, with piles of coarse sand, strangely burnt mucous walls and unexpected “skylights”. I always find the grimy, decaying bones of a building intriguing like those ancient bog bodies. Hair and skin hanging macabrely from a brittle skeleton but gently cobbled together by iron age leather booties and simple gold brooch. It’s a rare treat to see the dissection and reconstruction of a building. Perhaps you should imagine yourself Frankenstein and the RW as monster. The builder can be Igor.

    • Oh ma gawd, Jo, that image of the skeleton in leather booties and a gold brooch! It’s absolutely wonderful and very apt but thank goodness there are no cupboards left in the RW! But I think you’re right about the house being beautiful, and it’s important to keep re-finding that. The other day I stood at the open front door for ages and stared in at the proportions of the hallway, and despite the piles of douglas fir, the builder’s paraphernalia and the dirt, it shone.

  7. penelopebianchi Says:

    How timely and wonderful is this post! Our daughter Jacqueline, and her husband Mikkel have just purchased their first home……(she is 47) here in Montecito); and it was built in 1935.

    She saw it for the first time today. They closed escrow two weeks ago!

    She loves it……

    I am going to forward to her your travails…… she will calm down about where to store stuff !

    Bravo to you! You will prevail!


    • Oh! The very best of luck and bon voyage to Jacqueline and Mikkel – because for sure they’ve just set sail on a journey! I hope their new house enfolds them and looks after them as well as our present house has. I do think owning your own place feels so very different to renting (which I assume they’ve been doing) – a much more intense relationship. I hope they love it.

  8. penelopebianchi Says:

    Your responses and comments are an entire book by themselves!



  9. She will be a labour of love and she will love your labour, win win! Great looking project, enjoy…
    Andy O. UK

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: