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

Friday, September 02, 2005

progress on restoring existing house

So far, the only progress on restoring the existing house has been to tear down the rotting & caved-in extension from the back...

back of house

...exposing a wall that also looks in pretty bad shape. Thank goodness it's coming into summer now in Australia, so hopefully won't get too badly wet. Dad's first priority is to build on the verandah which will add protection, and give him a spot to work in wet weather when it comes to repairing the weatherboards.

This photo is also good at showing the wierd shape of the roof. See how it has this crossover bit in the middle? Apparently, almost the entire roof is supported by the hallway walls in the middle of the house. Which, as Murphy's law would have it, is also the section we were planning to knock out.

Now, it could still be done but we'd have to invest in buying heavy supporting beams etc, and we'd rather avoid the expense. So, we've come up with yet another iteration for the floorplan... largely designed on the plane flying back to London!

I'm fed up with designing floorplans (see here, here and here), but I think it was all worth it to get to this, because this is the first one that feels like it properly works, and isn't just a compromise.

Here is the "cottage" floorplan, click to make it bigger:

Existing house plan - cottage (revised Aug)

There are three key elements that distinguish this from earlier drafts.

First, the idea of extending the bathroom out beyond the confines of the existing house shape (an idea from Eric). We like it as not only does it give us extra space, it also adds to the charm of the old house. Dad likes it too, he suggests that it'd be nice to do the extension as a kind of bay window almost, which I can imagine working really well.

Second, the idea of putting a laundry area enclosed on the back verandah. This was often done in old houses, can't believe I didn't think of it before. It saves us a lot of space inside.

Third, and most subtle, is what I'm calling the "open plan compromise". Because we don't want to incur the expensive of buying new supporting beams, we can't knock down the hall walls. But, that doesn't mean we have to have them as solid walls. My idea is instead to leave all the supporting beams exposed and build open shelving around them, kind of like in this:

Existing house plan - shelving unit

This will give us extra storage and an effect of open-ness while also preventing the feeling of the entrances opening straight into a room, which I don't like. I figure, if the existing beams are easily sanded we'll paint them. Otherwise I'll just wrap them in fabric or something, I'm sure there's a creative solution.

Dad is going to get some more precise measurements the next time he visits so we can work out exactly where doors are positioned, etc. Then, they need to get properly drawn up for submitting to get building approval.

For now we're focusing on the Cottage. But, just for the sake of completeness, let me also share a potential longer-term version, in which we convert it to be two large bedrooms if we were to ever run it as a B&B. It works, I think, and the only change is to the back corner:

Existing house plan - B&B (revised Aug)

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