Our architect tells us we have entered into the spirit of ‘demolish and refurbish’, which is exciting and terrifying. Having taken on the challenge to create our grand design this year, we’ve been working with our architect, Ian, to try to find a way of structuring our house so that the thousand inconveniences you don’t notice fade away – like ducking out of the kitchen every few minutes to check on Emily, or going down a step, up a step and through three doors to get to the utility room.
The new designs are very exciting, not least because they also afford us the opportunity of clearing out the wallpaper, dated fittings etc, that we have tolerated/not bothered to replace since we moved in. That said, we’re at the ‘conceptual’ stage right now – which is to say, the plans are utterly devoid of any indication of cost, so we have very little idea how much we can afford to achieve. There’s also the practical issue of having to move out for the duration of the renovation…
But; definitely exciting times!
Whilst we owned our last flat in London, it was a basement property with limited prospects for change, and we were never in a position to do any substantial work to it – the vast majority of the work we undertook was managed (and I use the term loosely here) by our eccentric but largely effective builder Kris, and involved decoration rather than renovation.
Now, with a proper home, and with the European investment market shot to hell, and the property market more than slightly wonky as well, we’re looking at the possibility of investing in our own place a bit – and have taken on the step of engaging with an architect rather than just charging a builder with adding a room onto the house.
We had a fascinating conversation with him the other day – about how living habits have changed, about the way mums are with kids in the house, about the many practical compromises we make around the house that we internalize and forget are compromises – such as going up and down a step and carrying the baby when you go to get the laundry, or ducking out of the kitchen every few minutes to check on the toddler’s rampage around the living and dining room. Do it long enough, it feels normal and you can forget there could be any other way.
It’ll be really interesting to see what he proposes (and what we can afford!), but it’ll be an exciting year in our house… if possibly a bit dusty!