Home » Renovation » The negotiations begin.

The negotiations begin.

First:  the agents phoned, wanting early release of the deposit – normally it sits in their trust account for 10 working days first, but 10 working days from today will be bang in the middle of holiday season, and even though the lawyers said they’d be back, they might not be, so did we mind signing off on it to be released now so that it would happen?  I said yes.  It’s to the Public Trust, so there’s a little bit of piece of mind there.

Archives rang.  They can’t find/don’t have the original floor plans for the house, but do have something from the 1930s extension next door, so that’ll be worth a look anyway.  That’s Rachel.  9123101.

Then I had a call from I forget her name in the heritage section of the council, and had the truly awesome experience of trying out TTY text relay for the first time.  It’s a bit unusual – the delays between talking, and having to remember what was said while you reply.  Could get used to it though, and I think just a wonderful example of what humans are capable of thinking of if they put their minds to it.  So, she’s going to send me a brochure on “Your Heritage House” or something similar, and recommended that we talk to them earlier in the design process rather than later, to save ourselves grief later…

As anticipated, it’s entirely our own business what we do to the inside of the house, but they do prefer the frontage to be preserved: if it is altered, we have to consider how it will relate to other houses and the streetscape and so forth.  They also like the basic shape of the building to remain unchanged, which I’d also anticipated. 

So now I’m terribly keen on the idea of three floors: I’m assuming it’s currently got the 3.1m ceilings common to the era (like our current house) – possibly even higher.  So we drop the first floor ceiling down to 2.7m (which my parents have for their living room, so I know I’m comfortable with it), that makes the second floor 0.4m lower than its current height.  Means there’ll be a step up to the front balcony, but I can live with that.  Steps are nice to sit on anyway.  Then we drop the ceiling on the second floor to 2.4m, which makes the attic ceiling 0.7+0.4=1.1m lower than its current height, so should in the middle part at least give enough clearance for a decent sized room or two on the third level.

There’d have to be a bit of architectural jiggery pokery at the front, as the current upper-story windows will be higher than the planned ceiling level on the second floor: my solution is to have the ceiling higher on that second level for the first metre or so back from the front wall – the third floor wouldn’t have good height in that space anyway – to leave the windows intact.  Though the ceiling would need to be lowered a little in that section, because otherwise the front room(s) would have most of their height at 2.4m but that section at 3.5, which I doubt would work aesthetically, quite apart from the fact all the heat would hide up there.

So.  I’m happy with my third floor (I think there’s even potential for a little cut-in west-facing balcony at the back, if I can stand the thought of my children on a balcony 5.7m or so off the ground, and a membrane deck covering – it would be free draining, so should be fine).  And I’m pretty confident that the second floor can be arranged to my satisfaction with four bedrooms, a bathroom, and a walk-in wardrobe and ensuite for the main front bedroom.  The part that’s got me stumped is the ground floor.

The space is, I think, 7m x 12m = 84m2.  In that space I _need_ to have the stairs, the kitchen, a laundry space, and the main living area(s).  I _want_ the kitchen to be a good size, and the laundry to be close to the back, and to have a downstairs toilet.  I’d also really like a space that at some later date, if necessary, could be made a wet-area shower – though I guess if the stairs between first and second floors provide for a future wheelchair lift that may not be necessary. 

 It would also be very good to manage an “in-between” space like we have in the back porch in our current house: it provides a storage space for scooters and outdoor toys.  I guess it would be possible to have it outside instead, but it is handy where it is.

And I’d rather not build further out at the back if I can avoid it: I like garden.  Apart from a garden shed of course – the garages are great, but being at street level they won’t be much help for storing garden tools and lawn mower and other things I don’t want to have to lug up the steps every time I want to potter about in the garden.

Oh, and for my own reference for later, since for now it’s on one of my endless loose pieces of paper on my desk:  Senior Planning Manager at the council is (“code of course, since anyone could read this”) Comet the Wise, ph. 914 9443.  If I want to know what was planned for the site behind, I need to ask the council to see service request# 254205, scan 28/9/17.

Other things I’ve decided today would be preferred:  Cleanaire ventilation (i.e. real HRV, not pretend HRV).  Unit dimensions for the MB600-95 are 560x620x430.  Also, double glazing.  It’s possible to get low-e glass with double glazing if we think it’s necessary.  Concrete slab floor with in-floor heating, probably hot water even though I’m suspicious of the potential for leaks.  Rocwool insulation would appear to be both expensive and unnecessary: Batts are fine.  We’ll want a space for a gas bottle for the kitchen; could it be stored and piped from the garage?  Or would that be dangerous when the car starts?

No lawn in whatever landscaping we plan for the front ‘cos it’d be too much of a hassle negotiating a mower round it. 

Mobility points: handrails both sides of the stairs; wide doorways; provide for future installation of wheelchair lift for stairs (as already mentioned) both inside and outside; provide for future wet-area shower.

I’d like bamboo floors on the upper levels.  If the existing floorboards are still good we could re-use them, but I think I’d rather sell them and have the bamboo because it’s a lighter colour.

If there’s a skylight in the top room it should be a pivoting window so the outside can be cleaned from inside.  Weatherproofing could be a challenge though.

Built-in vacuum cleaner?  Would it work with 3 floors?  If so, I can see the attraction, specially since it would mean not having to lug a cleaner up and down.

Think those are all the notes for today: oh, stairs, for reference: ideal tread depth is probably about 28.75cm; ideal riser height is about 185cm.  Stairs take up a lot of room.

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