That was the year, that was.

So, 2012 was the year of Supreme Folly.  The year when we started work on pretty much the worst house in the area and discovered it was even more dire than we’d imagined!  It was the year when whole rooms were mere piles of sand and lumber, when floors collapsed, when walls revealed themselves to be nothing more than giant honeycombs of termites’ nests.  It was the year of the Long Dark Night of the (restoration) Soul when more and more and yet more damage was pulled out of a hat by some malevolent magician until it became difficult to see how the house had not collapsed internally into a pile of steaming rubble. We were stretched further than we ever have been with a restoration (and there have been seven of them) –  mentally, financially, and most of all, emotionally.  Looking back at the end of the year, we had to ask ourselves the inevitable question – would we have done it if we’d known?  And the honest answer?  Probably not.  Maybe not.

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But the fact remains that we have started, and having started, we must continue. (And besides which, we still love that bloody house).  So armed with our one solitary New Year’s Resolution, the only one we could logically make – to survive! – and with pith helmets firmly clamped on, stiff uppers in place, our hysterical gibbering selves closeted once more in the….closet?… we’re ready for the final onslaught. May it not be too bloody. At least not after the floors have been laid.

So ladies, gents and mint juleps, I think it’s time for another little snapshot of progress.

Please allow me to introduce to you the Jungle Lav.  So named because Esteemed Architect originally conceived of it as a sort of high-up, diminutive conservatory, a verdant eerie where we could take tea of a Sunday afternoon and have a natter. You know – our ears nuzzled by potted palms, our cake dusted with fern spores; that kind of thing.  All of which was a wonderfully evocative idea until the humdrum clamour of waterworks started up and it was decided the room should retain its waterclosetory function as a guest bathroom.  As they say, you can never be too rich, too thin or have too many bathrooms. Especially if you might need to sell the house in a hurry on your way to the debtors’ gaol or the insane asylum.

Here is how we found it – an utter joy to behold.

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It had a sheet lead floor which, in our enthusiasm, we thought we’d seal and keep until OH&S and the builder intervened and it was escorted from the premises under armed guard.  It also had a polystyrene ceiling.  With nary a stretch you could reach up and inscribe your name or football team with a fingernail – imagine!

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But what you can’t see from these pictures  is  that when enthroned you gaze out onto this:

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Nice, innit?

When the conservatory idea was set aside the idea of its glass roof remained, which has had an unexpected boon.  On the landing outside there is this rather handsome window which lost the bottom section of itself when the Jungle Lav was originally built (the JL being an early extension).

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You can see how it relates to the JL:

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Somehow, the exact manner yet to be determined, the new glass roof will free the window from its truncated state and allow the bottom portion to be re-instated.

And here is the jungle lav as it now is, in all its transitional glory.  We put in a black and white stone floor.  Thuper cheap.  The border is not a border but water proofing, bee tee dubs.  The hound, however, is a hound:

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The glass roof (above). And ditto the yellow – it too is water-proofing.

Here are the tiles.  I’m not so sure I like them. In fact I’m quite sure I don’t much like them. I don’t think they sing from the same song sheet as the floor tiles.  They were a decision made very quickly, in the sense of ‘let me out of here’, at the end of a verrrrrrrry long session in the tile shop.  I always meant to cancel them and think again, but didn’t because I got buried under a mountain of other decisions that needed to be made at the same time.  Lesson to self – if everyone’s screaming at you for tile choices and you haven’t made one – get a pair of noise cancelling headphones and carry on thinking.

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But that being said, I have hopes the basin might bring them together:

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It’s a little bit Biedermeier. It’s a little bit cast iron.  And it was a little bit cheap –  ten per cent of its original price.  So obviously, it was a done deal, innit?

And that, said John, is that (for today).  I need to gather myself for the onslaught of the weather – we are promised bush fires and temperatures of 40/104 degrees.  And I need to attend to my other  New Year’s Ressie (I lied) – which was to make the bed before lunch time.  Every single day.  Toodlepip.

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19 Responses to “That was the year, that was.”

  1. No point in anguishing over the tiles though – if a little subjective dissonance in the guest bathroom is the worst you have to regret you are Dame Fortune’s own tot. Besides, I’m still gaping at the view and the ceiling. spectacular.

    • I wish it was the worst there is to worry about – it seems the newly laid kitchen floor has to come up and have gawd knows what done to it (residual damp). But you’re right, and I like the idea of being Dame Fortune’s tot. Almost as much as I like the idea of being her totty!

  2. We are always so happy and smiling when PMB arrives via the mysterious synapses of the internet. Were you not in Morocco buying rugs in the bazaar around this time last year? You have made progress at the speed of light when considering it is construction and those amazonian termites. What will you write about when you are done? We’ll all be devastated! I am so sad that someday when I visit your house, I will not have toast with fern spores, but resale is after all a reality factor.
    Toodlepip to you too! Why is your English language so much better than American? I’m trying to think if we have any better words. My daughter’s “dank” meaning “fabulous,” isn’t cutting it.
    Best,
    Liz

    • Be assured Liz that when you come for tea at the RW, there will be fern spores to lightly dust your toast!

      And yes, Morocco this time last year madly buying rugs. Istanbul for a few days in April if all goes well, so lawdy – the house will be up to its earballs in rugs.

  3. Oh my. A lav with a view! And re: the tile choice, the only wrong decision is indecision…Jason throws that quote in my face every time I take longer than five minutes to decide something.

    I think they look good. x

    • Jason sounds like the doer not the decider when he says that! He must have been talking to our builder who thinks it’s bonkers barmy that anyone should dither about grout colour – why not do the whole thing in sand and cement? Mind you, what Jason does always had a strong aesthetic element to it, which my builder would not, left to his own devices. And I’m glad you like them. x

  4. Deb Genua Says:

    Hi Again, actually – I love the tiles! They remind me of cocentrated droplets of mist from the harbor air. Once you have softy soft fluffy turkish towels about and plush textured softness underfoot, the ying and yang of squares, circles, soft, hard, earth, air (dig’n the new ceiling – fab beyond words!) will mesh beautfully. And, Miss RW, whom we all know has had a very tough time of it prior to your arrival, well, she is beginning to recover her long lost voice. Yes, t’s true she is bossing you around quite a bit but it’s only because she TRUSTS you to do right by her. She did suggest a bit of oversized greenery in that room, do you hear it too? Hugs, Deb

    • Deb! Actually, you’ve got me with the droplets of mist – I can see that and I shall remind myself whenever I go past and growl. Yes, and you and I both heard the requirement for some oversized greenery in that room – it’s on the list.

  5. Deb Genua Says:

    Oh the kitchen floor! …the only positive is it’s being re-done NOW while the RW s still under reconstruction and NOT 18 months later when everyone and every thing is settled in and forgotton the pain of the rebirth. A similar incident happened to my friend and it darn nearly killed her – had to share many bottles of good red wine with her to help her cope. Hugs, Deb

    • Thanks Deb. You’re right of course – it is definitely better to have it happen now than later. But oh, that it has to happen at all! Straws and camels’ backs and all. I feel for your friend. I think we should have a bit more of the old libation business happening around here too!

  6. Enough already of the wringing of hands and tossing of hankie. Things are looking good. You lost a few battles, but the job is to get this stubborn, cantankerous old house to love you, and I think she’s coming around. At least until the next drama. …………………. sings ” Tomorrow, Tomorrow” as she skips down the stairs.

    • Eh, tough love Suzanne. Can’t promise there’ll be no wringing of hands but I can almost promise no tossing of the old hankie. Stubborn and cantankerous is right – on both sides!

  7. georgiarose Says:

    Excited for jungle lav! is looking nice! Sit on the look in the rain i think would be awesome. Also… you know this is hard for me to admit but seeing the pic of remo makes me miss him a bit. :/

  8. I need a Clint Eastwood: “I’ve gots to know.” If your house is taking you down, with endless disaster, then how do you go to Turkey on a carpet shop? I am just keeping up my house, and Istanbul is way out of the picture–need tips.

    • You need to have spent most of your life living in another country and to have left a small squirrely nut of resources there when you left (for when you returned) and you need to be able to persuade yourself that running down that small squirrely nut of resources every year or so on a holiday is absolutely necessary for the maintenance of mental and physical health in the face of said endless disaster. You need to be good at wrangling cheap flights and hotel bargains and you need to have rellies to stay with. You also need to think not too much about the future. That’s my best tip.

      • Margaret Bishop Says:

        I’m all for a bit of fresh air, some gathering of wind for your sails and space and time away from the demands of the WR.
        A holiday or time to reflect is just what is needed for you to “gird your loins” for the home run.

        I have faith that all your efforts will be rewarded and some how the world will turn and things will be in balance once more. You will float down the stairs with the walls of the house blessing you for your forbearance.

        We are living in a suspended wait-a-while land which doesn’t seem in time with our bodies. It is important that we express and reflect upon what we experience during the restoration of these houses. Please air you thoughts, wring your hands as much as you feel you need to.

        I’m very passionate about your blog, love the images, words and ideas you share with us.

      • I know what you mean with the ‘wait-a-while land which doesn’t seem in time with our bodies’ – renovating in our area is like being engaged in a psychoanalysis. Neither see any reason to acknowledge real-time needs. Ten years, Sir and Modom – a mere bagatelle.

        Floating down the stairs to the building crescendo of wall-y blessings – now that’s something I’m looking forward to experiencing!

        And thank you for the encouragement to keep wringing and wailing – you of all people understand what it’s like.

        Off to Bali on Monday, back in six days and then heading into what you call the home run. Oh may it be so!

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