I'm a fan of the British TV program Grand Designs, that follows people through the planning and construction of a grand plan for their dream house. Predictably, most of the projects end up well over budget and take much longer than anticipated to complete, with many tears and disappointments along the way. Despite all of this, most people say they are happy with the eventual outcome.
I'm always interested to see how these houses are expressions of deeply held desires - for space, for freedom, for togetherness, for a new start. Most of the people featured are at an expansive stage in their life - when they're looking forward and aspiring to realise their dreams.
My designs are much more modest. I no longer have the time or money or even energy for a grand design for my new apartment. And I'm not designing a house for new beginnings in my life, but rather for comfortable and enjoyable consolidation. I do want it to be convenient and suited to my tastes and aesthetic, but I don't see it as an ultimate expression of myself. I suspect 'modest designs' wouldn't have too much appeal as a television series.
So, where are the renovations up to? They're a bit behind schedule, but not very much. Most of the things that take time and make mess and aren't very exciting have been done. Walls have been pulled down and rebuilt; plumbing and electricity are all in place to be connected up when needed; cornices have been repaired and rebuilt; sound insulation has been placed in walls as needed. But there have been a couple of exciting developments:
The floor for the living room, kitchen and hallway has been laid, sanded and has had its first coat of varnish. [The picture above shows the space where the kitchen will be]. And yes, I've chosen very 1960s finger parquetry for the floor. In my desire not to have the apartment scream 'I was decorated in 2010' I think I've ended up with a bit of a retro feel.
The other excitement has been laying the floor and wall tiles in the bathroom, and as of yesterday, the acquisition of the toilet:
We now need to wait for the cabinets and cupboards of various kinds to be built and put in place before sinks, basins, taps, power points and lights can all be installed. Hopefully, this will all get under way next week.
In the midst of all this I'm going away for ten days on a road trip around rural Victoria, ending up in Bendigo for the Australian Wool and Sheep Show. We're beginning in Beechworth, Ned Kelly country, and ending in Bendigo, but the bit in the middle we'll make up as we go along. I don't think I'll blog as we travel, but I'm sure there'll be travel reports after we return.
Off to pack (and watch a bit of the Tour de France)!