Friday, October 26, 2007

House Proud

I have a definite love hate relationship with my house. There is so much to love. It’s a 1930 design, right on the cusp of the change between the Arts & Crafts, Art Deco and the more brutalist Modernist movement. It is, in a word, odd. So, in the interior we have wood everywhere. Wood floors, gorgeous Red Cedar curved wood plank doors, rustic wood surrounds on the fire places, wood wood wood. It is a warm, welcoming home.

Yet the design is clearly from an architect who’s playing with the new ideas, but kind of hasn’t “got it” yet. I don’t mean that in a bad way, I love it, but not everyone does. So, the basic design is for a Dutch Barn. Very tall, with a mansard roof line. Yet… Out of one side is this carbuncle of an extension. A huge curved wall with a flat roof on top. The windows are all tall metal frames, and there are lots and lots of them. The living room has a curved expanse of over 20 foot of window. The ceilings are not quite as tall as the Edwardians and Victorians built, but they are taller than later home generations. So, as well as all that wood, the house is flooded with light. All the rooms have big windows, and our master bedroom has the same long curved wall of light. When we first visited the house, on a cold cloudy winter day, the house had no lights on, and was still bright.

We’ve kept to the theme, building our conservatory with curved walls and big tall windows. Its easily the best room in the house, helped by underfloor heating. When we redid the kitchen we went for a modern take on Art Deco, which just works. The new extension will play with the themes more, lots of curved walls, tall ceilings and a flat roof. Perhaps a bigger flat roof than even le Corbusier would have approved of, but hey.

Thing is, its also a bit of a sick house. Oh the problems we have had. The house has a water curse. If something wet can go wrong, it will. We’ve had numerous leaks, plumbing floods, wet rot, you name it. Last weekend was spent on back breaking scraping and re-varnishing of an expanse of window cills where water had got under the varnish and peeled up. They are lovely gorgeous wood window cills, but blimey. This is the second time in living there we’ve had to do this particularly monstrous exercise.

This coming weekend I’ve got the lovely challenge of stripping and redoing a bunch of silicon caulking in the main bathroom. Silicon isn’t supposed to go mouldy. Ours does. I’ve got quite good at this particular chore. I could go professional I could. LL will be stripping down and re-oiling a few of the interior doors. Oil on wood is a lovely look, but it does take a bit of work to maintain.

The moral being, if you ever see that perfect house. The quirky one which is just you. The one which you can see all the possibilities with. Have a second think will you? Its bloody hard work.


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