Let the demolition begin!

On the reality television show The Block there is always one person in the team in charge of design whilst the other is the project manager. In our very own version of The Block, I have coined myself the design visionary whilst the project managing of trades, quotes and timelines has definitely been left to the expertise of my very lucky other half. Therefore, when it came to demolishing, this was definitely a him job and not a me job!

Last week we marked the official beginning of our renovation with the demolition. It can be the scariest part of a renovation because it doesn’t matter to what extent you have done your homework on a particular property before purchase, there really is no telling what is actually there (or hidden!) until you begin to tear the place apart. 

For the cottage there were a couple of large concerns. The sections of the place that we are renovating are additions which possibly contain both asbestos and lead paint so, safety is a major concern. Additionally, we were unsure what actually lay underneath the floors in the bathroom, laundry and sleepout. Was it concrete? Or concrete sheet on top of timber joists? And we’re the terribly dodgy floating floors on the sleepout hiding something worse underneath? 

The demolition itself has revealed a number of surprises which are not all good ones. Underneath those terrible floating floors is a timber floor which appears the be a part of the original verandah.. Good surprise! However, a rotting timber base joist holding up the walls in the bathroom.. Not such a great surprise! We did of course expect that there were going to be things that we couldn’t see and we are thankful that things aren’t worse. 

With the muchly appreciated help of a friend our bathroom and laundry have almost completed gutted in three days. We’ve had to remove a poorly assembled concrete floor in the bathroom but have been able to leave the laundrys concrete floor in tact. We’ve also torn down the wall between the laundry and the sleepout to reposition it and accommodate a small linen closet. 

With the plumbing rerouted and electrical points terminated the next step is to replace those naughty rotting timbers with new ones and cement the floor in the bathroom. A job for next week!

 Current view of the bathroom   
Inside our newly demolished bathroom  

View in to the laundry from the sleepout  

View in to the sleepout from the laundry 

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Indian Inspiration

Whilst recently away losing ourselves in the thick of the ‘country of colour’, India, that beautiful little cottage waiting for us with all of the fun and games of renovating wasn’t far from our minds.

Even before we went on leave, the boy had decided that he was going to take an extra week off from work after our amazing Indian adventure to get stuck in straight away on the demolition stage of our reno. Given that we had been given our keys on the Thursday and flew out in the wee hours of the Saturday morning, there was basically no time to do much more than make the place secure while nobody was there.

India has given us inspiration a plenty. It’s use of colour, silks, marble and all things decadent are truly unique. Anyone who has travelled to this wonderful country would know that the Indians definitely do not do things in halves! What I learnt in India was that you can never judge a book by its cover because the run down facade of a building may not indicate the true beauty of the amazing interior which is waiting for you behind the front doors.

We managed to fill our backpacks while in India with too many souvenirs, as you do on holidays, of which most were for the house. We bought Ganesha statues (in both camel bone and bronze!) for luck and prosperity, masala chai tea (because there is nothing quite like welcoming someone with a beautiful cup of sweet chai) and pop-art inspired street art of India culture (picture very bright turbans in an Andy Warhol-esk theme).

For me though, our best buys were in Varanasi. Varanasi silk, or so I am told, is some of the best in the world. While on tour in this chaotic and mesmerising city, we toured through the small and winding back alleys to find entire sections of the city devoted to silks. We watched as men and women worked one thread at a time to create what can only be described as pieces of art work in the form of scarves, sarees, shalls, bedspreads and throw rugs. We were invited in to a wholesaling business of silks from this area and were shown through some of the most brightly coloured and softest creations I have ever had the chance to see and touch.

We just couldn’t help ourselves. We weren’t leaving without a few of these beautiful and timeless pieces. I purchased a earthy, natural coloured raw silk throw which has hints of orange and green (two of my absolute favourite colours, particularly together). The seller assured me that I was making a justified purchase because this type of silk is affectionately termed the ‘Mahatma Gandhi silk’ after his original profession as a raw silk weaver. Now, I’m not sure if this is in fact a little fib or not, but it was too late, I had already fallen in love. The boy also decided to splash out and purchase a ‘handmade with love over 90 days’ bedspread in a pastel shade of green – just gorgeous.

Raw Silk _ Honey Rust418

An example of a raw silk throw for reference

So once the renovations are finished and we get around to unpacking what we have collected, we will look around and be reminded of the Indian adventure that was. We will remember a beautiful country of endless sunsets, searing hot days and a life changing experience that we wish we could do all over again. I hope that our home reflects all of our adventures together and celebrates where we have been and where we are yet to go!

Some photos of our Indian adventure

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The colours of Jaipur

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The wonders of the holy city of Varanasi

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My favourite – the city of Delhi