Monday, July 9, 2012

Preparations, and dreaming of a laundry

corrugated metal to enclose space
above a stone retaining wall
It is quite chilly, but we are plugging away making some slow progress on the back extension work.  This part looks quite boring, but it is important to have the basics and foundation pieces done (right ?!). We have stone retaining walls at the back of the property and need to seal them up, so rain does not come into the area.  Once it is all enclosed into  a studio this will be more important a consideration.   Also some of the retaining wall has been repaired and fixed up.  The inside of the retaining walls will be properly lined.  And the space in this area will have skylights, plus nice bright lighting.

We will be using corrugated metal siding for some of our enclosures, so we have started the work on that.

a rather ugly space in back,
enclosed by thick stone retaining walls
Here is an old picture of the inside of the space bounded by the retaining walls.  A rather ugly space, and not very pleasant.  We took a half a container load out of storage one year ago and have had a lot of the stuff stacked up in there, so like shed or garage.   It is still a holding pattern for a lot of it.  Still, I can imagine two working areas here.  One (left, where you see white wall) is a beautiful but utilitarian laundry.  The other, to right, where you see the horrific minty green walls, is to be a small workshop storage area.  To the left of the laundry will be a large lofty and airy high ceilinged studio and workshop space, with outlook to the garden.  French doors opening facing the red brick pathway we paved on the other side (not shown).  And a doorway at bottom of steps shown above (which lead to a good old Australian icon--a Hills Hoist laundry line...and though ugly, it happens to occupy the best aspect on the property for its job of sunning, airing, and drying clothes.  Plus, it is not visible from the parts of the house where we would entertain, and won't even be an eyesore visible from the new studio.   So, it may just stay for a while !)

I do not like Ugly Spaces, but with some imagination, it is possible to consider a more attractive space.

the roof looks low here, but that
is because the rear of the house is facing a
sharp slope, and property is terraced with
retaining walls.  This area is up the steps
seen in previous photo above
Still, many influences at the moment require us to be first utilitarian and functional in our consideration. By this I mean to say, we wish to spend less than originally planned on this part of the build !  I truly had grand ideas for the laundry especially, a full wall of cabinets, including a tall one for stowing the vac, mops and brooms.  A new front loader washing machine (that of course, uses less water and electricity--clear benefits).  A stunning farm sink and a tall necked tap to facilitate filling buckets or whathaveyou !  Gorgeous painted finishes on the cabinets.  A compromise already accepted into the design was a bathroom (toilet and shower) in the room, instead of having a separate bathroom.  But I have been pulling great ideas on combined laundries and bathrooms, so I was ready for a clever layout and finishes that would make lovely conditions for clean up chores (and as a good Virgo/Libra lady, I do like my clean up chores, but ideally their space should also be beautiful).

Alas, practicality of budget constraints at the moment mean that Laundry v1.0 will be a less glamourous affair.  Instead I am reviewing all my sources for clever cleaver ideas that cost Very Little !!  Industrial chic, here I come.  Furiously, I am scanning all my references for anything functional that is not expensive, that can also be interpreted into cool or chic !!  The wall of cabinets is out for now.  The front loader machine will be a refresh when top loader can't go on working.  We will redeploy an old stainless steel sink and drainer we removed from the original kitchen.  (A glimmer of sunshine in this plan will be the sink can get a new tap, as the old one was so grotty and yucky, it fell into a skip bin long ago).  So stay tuned for more about the Laundry v 1.0 fit out  in a coming up post (and find out what is actually left in the design).  All I can say, is it should not be the end of the world, as this story got played out over and over again for our main bathroom renovation, where every lovely idea I had at the ready got brutally dashed by Engineering and Construction Departments, usually due to poor feasibility or some structural thing I had to respect/accept.  In the end, it did turn out nicely.  Though resembling nothing like any of the ideas I had in various stages of redesign !

There is a door leading to the back side of the house, also a space bounded by retaining walls. We have lots of retaining walls, because the house is built on a slope.  They are well constructed, solid, and well engineered too.  So we have decided to work with the retaining walls, and use them as perimeters or parts of our structure.  The door to the side of the house need replacement.  It was not really used much before, so did not have to be super serviceable.  But now it will get used.  Turns out it was in quite poor  condition.  This makes it the third door Ian has had to completely fix, pretty much from pieces and put all back together, but better.  I suppose we could buy a new door.  But the work is now done, it took a couple days.  He had to reglaze it and managed to use some old textured glass from an interior door we will not keep.  Most importantly, he completely fixed and repaired to good service the original old lock.
The back area is still a holding area for stuff
(but way cheaper than storing it off premise !)
restored old door is shown at right, with
glazed light.  The Falcon is front and centre !

The photo showing the door is not very impressive and lighting was not my friend when I photographed it.  The sculpture you see is The Falcon, perched on its (very heavy) solid sandstone plinth.  The Falcon will move when we have finished and decided its home here !  (in our previous home it kept watch and looked out the sunroom window).

I hope to make the next post more aesthetically pleasing !  However, I know from our earlier renovations that this stage is very much about a working construction site and conditions.  I may be the Design Director (and Finance and Procurement Departments too, plus the Planning Commissioner), and have input.  But Director Engineering and Construction is clearly in charge at this stage !!  Still, as I like to do, I will try to find something nice about the view to capture :)


  1. Sorry to hear that you need to rethink your laundry design - here's hoping that you won't need to compromise too much! I am finding helpful for inspiration (and much cheaper than buying magazines!) at the moment. My Director of Engineering and Construction would appear to already have a very clear vision for what our house will be - I am still playing catchup and trying to get my head around everything. I am starting to realise though, that it can be fluid and open to change, and that much thought and discussion is needed.
    I think your studio area is going to look fabulous!

  2. Thanks for the encouragement Marieka. Yes, I now have accepted the compromises. Focus is on not doing things that will be too difficult or costly to redo or upgrade going forward. This will be an incremental plan to an eventual amazing laundry. Though at first, it may be frugally functional ! Good luck getting your plans in order. I agree, being able to be open to change and adapt is really helpful. It can help you navigate things with less stress (hard to believe, but true I think). And you can make decisions to fit your timing, abilities, and resources that you have to use on the work.