One of the great blessings of the home we live in is ample space.
When we first walked up those gloomy stairs 13 years ago into the unknown we had no real idea of what awaited us.
If you have been involved in a house build or a renovation project you will understand the deluge of decisions that flood on to you. Unless you are endowed with unlimited funds it becomes brain bendingly crazy as you try to balance the list of priorities with the ever diminishing numbers in the bank account.
Every visit to the plumbers merchant involves no less than 25 to 30 bucks, this isn’t a huge sum but when multiplied over countless visits in amounts to a sizeable chunk of money that is hidden behind walls and under floors. Modernisation of an old property is a work of unseen proportions in the completed project.
Add to this drywall sheets, screws, plaster, under coats of paint, wood that is deceptive in its appearance of being inexpensive but soon racks up to a considerable sum for each room. Before you know it you have spent all of your mortgage advance and are not even half done. That is without factoring in the tools you bought in ignorance that turned out to be useless, you end up using what you already had.
Whether building new or repairing old if you are doing yourself it is a mighty challenge.
As a couple we took the long view with our house, we wanted to live in it but also enjoy a life outside of it while raising our kids. To do this we have chipped away at the project for years rather than borrow big and finish fast while living on soup for the rest of our lives.
Every decision in life like this comes with certain caveats attached. While our peers lived in comfort and went foreign holidays we showered off 120 year old dust and holidayed in tents. Making the choice to invest in stones is not an easy one in one sense, but was for us the correct one.
With the push of this last year we now have a home that we love, being old it will always need a bit more maintenance than that a modern build but in this country that means the rooms are large and the walls are thick. Modern houses here are a trifle flimsy, the bedrooms are not spacious and that was the definitive that convinced our kids we should stay put a couple of years ago when they wanted a new house.
My personal blessing is a study. In years past I have spent whole days locked away at the back of the house with my books or my trumpet. I made the room out of two smaller ones, blocking up one door and removing the dividing wall. Initially I had a large corner desk, it has now gone and was replaced with a table and chairs.
These classy leather chairs suit our house, they would be at home in a gentleman’s club with port and cigars and legal jargon. Unfortunately I could never relax in it, it is too upright for a sloucher like me. So for years I have been searching for the perfect reading chair to complete my cave, many have been tried out and dismissed for being too old, too hard, too expensive, too big, ugly!
So yesterday when we were shopping for my son’s new summer wardrobe I found myself sitting happily on a chair on the raised platform of a shop display. I do this a lot, standing around makes my back sore so I sit wherever possible. One time in a garden centre at Christmas I was found in a santa display beside a real fire, kids were slightly perplexed but I was comfortable.
Anyway, for my son the shop was a disappointing episode, but that chair went directly to our car. The feet had to be removed for it to fit in but determination is what we do.
I am profoundly grateful that we are now at the stage of picture frames and chairs. Thousands have vanished into unseen corners under floors and behind walls but now we get to see what we are buying. These are external investments, not for future monetary gain but for daily mental improvement.
It’s true that you can’t wear a chair, but no matter what I have on, I can relax in it.