21 March 2009

Three Posts: Three

We bought a house.  In fact we bought this one...

It is an old villa that was built in all likelihood in 1914 as part of a development that was designed to create affordable housing for workers in Nelson. 

It is in a particularly poor state of repair.  You can't see it from this photo, but the lean-to area at the back of the property, which housed the bathroom, kitchen and toilet, can't be lived in at the moment - well not at least with a baby.  It has taken three months just to get rid of the mouse poo and urine stench.

It is proving to be a very interesting project.  Not only does the property need a HUGE amount of work, it is protected by inclusion in the Elliott St Historic Precinct that recognises the importance of maintaining the houses in the street as an example of early New Zealand housing.  

We had to apply for resource consent to approve the renovation work we aim to commence and were worried that this would unduly hold up the project.  However we were very pleased to have been granted consent last week, and are now itching for the building consent before we commence the renovation works.  The condensed list will see us re pile the house, extend the rear lean-to, renovate the front veranda and redecorate and insulate the entire old house.  There are also plans to add a solar hot water cylinder and re-roof but we hope to delay that a little till the funds come through.

In the end we hope that the exterior of the building will look like this:

Will have to post progress photos.

Fortunately  we have the house pictured in post Two to stay in while the work is carried out.  Even better is the fact that the in-laws, and owners of the big house, are dab hands at renovation work, having fully renovated Hillwood over the last number of years.   It is their expertise and support that has allowed us to go full steam into the Elliott St project.

That said, it is proving tricky balancing the demands of the project with a twelve month old baby.  So this Sunday I'm on baby sitting duty while the missus is in at the house sanding and scraping (we are re-using all the original lean-to windows and doors etc.).  The baby is asleepat the moment and I'm not being the productive domestic goddess that I'm supposed to be.  Off now to hang out the nappies, make some vaguely pureed veges and some homemade crumpets for the adults.  But while I'm doing that, I'm itching to be at the house...

Three Posts: Two Point Two

Just a quick follow up on the second post.  Saw this article in the paper a day or so ago.  

Spooky about how that happens; you think of something and then it pops up again a short time later.  

14 March 2009

Three Posts: Two

As mentioned (almost a year ago now...) the plan was to head back to NZ and start settling in Nelson.  Here is a special photo of the house in which the family is currently living.

It is an amazing photo for a couple of reasons.  For a start, the perspective of it makes the massive building look like a dolls house. The miniaturising perspective was achieved by an arborist, who had climbed one of the massive redwood trees on the property.  The photo was taken in on the 28th of August last year, right after the big storms had come through the region, toppling trees and generally making a big mess.  The protected trees at the house in the picture were no exception and this arborist had come to lop off dead hangers, tidy up the fallen branches and, for good measure, climb the tallest tree on the property!  At the time we didn't knowhe had his camera with him.

The arborist died in a private climbing accident eight weeks later.  We read the news article at the time but didn't put two and two together and realise that the climber was the same arborist that had visited a couple of months earlier.  When his widow arrived a week or two later, and offered us copies of his photos, she told of how Stephen had spoken very fondly of the big redwood in his last weeks. 

We are very lucky to have this photo.  Thanks Stephen and Denise. 

Three Posts: One

It has been nearly a year and the silence on this blog has been near absolute.  Here is the reason, my lovely boy Arthur.

This is my favorite photo of Arthur.  It is reminiscent of old photos of me at Arthur's age; always smiling and always with some food in my mouth!

Being a dad is great.