house: a history (and some plans)

Hi, I’m Hazel.

A few weeks ago, I purchased my first house with my friend (who I shall call Field). It’s—well. It has some issues.

The first bit of it was a three-room shack built by the owner, a plumber, in 1942. It had a kitchen, a living room, and a bedroom—no bathroom, but I sincerely doubt it had town sewerage or water for the first few years anyway. A few years later, our plumber added on a bathroom and another bedroom; and a few years after that, he turned the original kitchen into a sunroom and built another kitchen on at the back. The original section got subdivided, and the address changed when the council regraded the road it’s on now (and stuck in a council road reserve driveway).

At some point, someone added a front porch and stuccoed the place (I think the original cladding was wood panels); the roof got replaced about a year ago; and some of the wiring may have been redone relatively recently. The crawl space under the original part of the house is full of firewood and very narrow anyway; there’s no insulation in sight (or out of sight, even); the open fireplace is boarded up; some of the gibbing has holes in it from when the old roof leaked; the carpet is reasonably new but hideously stained; the garden is overgrown; and some of the windows are painted shut.

I love it.

We bought it knowing that all this was wrong with it, knowing that we’ve got several years of hard work coming—insulation! Rewiring to handle modern electrical usage! Regibbing and redecorating! Possibly ripping out and replacing the bathroom (70s!) and the kitchen (… let’s just go with old)! Transforming the garden into something pretty and useful, and reconcreting the driveway so that the rusty support structure doesn’t show. Um.

But, okay, it’s a really sweet little house and the location is better than anything else available in our price bracket, and the rooms are all of a decent if not spectacular size, and with hard work and judicious design choices I think it’ll be really comfortable to live in. At the very least, it has ALL THE CUPBOARDS IN THE WORLD. Seriously. Like, 6 or so in the hallway? I don’t even know.

Settlement is late January 2012, and we’re moving in on the 31st. First tasks are some minor plumbing fixes, getting cat doors installed, getting a sparky in to assess the wiring, and. Well. Unpacking. Drinking. More unpacking. Consoling the cats. At some point before autumn, we’ll probably have the first little bits of a garden of stuff we want to grow in, and the first Things That Must Die will be dealt with.

Watch this space!

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