-----In 2004 we bought a falling-down house and 30 acres. This blog documents our progress-----

Thursday, January 22, 2004

email minutiae: ideas of what to do with the house

This is in no particular order, but I came across them in the process of unearthing the other emails.

Mum's email with Dad's initial thoughts on how to renovate house - 22nd Jan 2004

Dad said to start thinking about what you want done with house at Amherst - he wants me to draw plan - he is thinking mezzanine floor, open up all along side facing dam - I am wary, thinking you may want to keep it looking as is for those four rooms both inside and out - and do two storey maybe on the back where you put kitchen,bathroom and laundry etc. and a bedroom ensuite and so on upstairs - could do two bedrooms.. whatever.

Two rooms on side of dam could be opened into one, lounge one end dining the other. Could reinstate fireplace int he middle between the two rooms as well - either keep the wall so you have two separate rroms rather than one open plan one. I am inclined, on a few seconds only reflection, to think if it was me I would want two separate rooms because it is easier to set the table in preparation for a special dinner and then shut the door on it. The lounge then looks out away from the road, ie across the land you have. on the dam side.. but there is nothing really to prevent you making the lounge dining on the other side ie uphill towards the forest away from dam. Either way you could have bigger window put in the sides of the house - and if you put a veranda all the way round, it would be very nice and still in keeping with the style and age of house - for big windows read french door style of thing. What do you think about fireplaces reinstated in the other two rooms, presumably bedrooms? They cost of course and about 10 years ago we added $2000 per fireplace. Presumably maybe Peter would build them but you still need to get the bricks etc and then you want fireplace surrounds.

My reply - 22nd Jan 2004

Re: house, can you send me a drawing of what it looks like at the moment? I'm thinking just something you can draw up by hand and scan in, or just draw up on Powerpoint. Not just with the rooms but where the doorways from the hall into each room are, and where the windows are, approximate measurements, etc. At least as best as you remember. That will help me get a better picture of it in my head. I am inclined to think of opening it out into one big room but still having room dividers, but the room dividers being shelving. Like the library shelves in the John Soames museum (which were like pillars) and also perhaps with room dividers like the painting walls. Dad will hopefully remember them from the museum, it was the one place I took him and specifically pointed these things out as I knew that one day would want to use the ideas. We will also do creative things with mirrors too, like having small mirrors in the panelling etc, it's a great way to make it feel light and even more spacious. Again, another John Soames idea that I will apply the next time I am redoing a house from scratch.

I had been thinking of keeping the 4 rooms intact just because seemed a shame to waste the nice roof that was there and I don't want to lose the height. Tall ceilings are wonderful and something that I miss in modern houses. Then extend out the back, and yes, probably double storey to get views. But I would like to think about it more when I have a sense of the plans. Regardless of what we do I think fireplaces, even if it's just those mock ones with those fake gas or electric fires that look real, in all the old rooms. But at least one real one would be good. I love fireplaces in rooms, they help give it a heart. I still vividly remember the lovely fireplaces in a house we looked at buying in Neasden, back before we bought Olive Road. It had all the original fireplaces in it, there were about 6 in total, all with lovely tile work. It was a wonderful house. Just in a terrible position, nowhere near transport and next to a car yard and not a safe area. But the house itself was wonderful.

Enough about the house anyway... don't want to get too carried away for another few weeks till it is all sorted.

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