Tuesday, June 21, 2011

About the House: Adapt & Evolve.

[Dining Room]

I apologise that these pictures aren't of the highest quality, but I really wanted to show you all our hard work: The "real" camera got misplaced amongst the chaos of renovations, so I had to use my iPhone to document the improvements we are making to our house. iPhones don't take terrible pictures, but I find the camera in mine is quite sensitive to light changes, so often they come out with a lot of shadow. At the same time I find these pictures quite indicative of the mess that our house is in at the moment!

Earlier this month we attended a public meeting about prospective heritage listings in our little town:  It's a somewhat complicated process to explain as it has a lot to do with local government planning and State legislation (yawn!), but in a nutshell the local Council was looking to list the old part of town as a heritage area, and within that area considered listing 68 residential properties individually as local heritage buildings. This was to be done without consultation of property owners.

[Dining Room & Second Bedroom]

Our house is over 100 years old with original architraves, windows, floors etc. Its design features are distinctive of the era in which it was built, and for many years the building was used by the Country Women's Association (CWA). We are also in the proposed local heritage area, and as such were concerned that our property would be one of those buildings on the list for heritage. 

Any building listed as local heritage needs planning permission from Council for all work - that includes both internal and external improvements, aside from painting. As we have not yet finished renovating we were worried that Council would prevent us from continuing with the plans we have for our home.

Last week Council had their monthly ordinary meeting, and in response to public concern decided that the owners of proposed heritage properties must be consulted before anything is listed as local heritage. We will have to continue to wait and see if our home is one of those properties.

[Entrance Hall]

I love that our house is old and we want to preserve it as much as is possible, but at the same time be allowed to make it a workable living space for us. When we purchased our house we didn't just buy a "first home", we purchased what we hope will be our only home. I believe that cultural heritage should be recognised and protected, but still allow buildings to evolve and adapt to changing conditions, because that is what makes them survive in the long term.

In light of all this, it probably comes as no surprise that we are and will continue to be very, very busy with renovations over the coming months. The house is very much a construction site right now, but we're working through it, because it is always worth it in the end.
[Living Room...& Bailey-dog, working hard!]

With the expertise of SJ's dad and the help of his brother, in a single weekend we were able to put up new ceilings in two rooms, and cornice three rooms plus the entrance hall. Tomorrow night the ceiling and cornice in the back hall will be finished, and SJ is taking next week off work to get as much plastering, sanding and general fixing done as possible.

The sooner we can paint the sooner life can get back to normal...
And the sooner we can start planning the next stage of improvements.

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