Had the most awful sleep, if you can call it that. I put a giant lump in my stomach last night by looking at the overhead view of the section, comparing it with my foot-measured assessment that the house was about 7m wide, and the title document which said the section was 53.5 links wide and 281.81 links long, and 1589 perches/401m2, and it just didn’t add up. I got it into my head that someone had measured something wrong, and the section was actually only 9m wide, which meant it was only 30m long (based on the proportions of the overhead view) and that it was therefore only 280m2, which meant we were royally shmucked (as in, made shmucks of). Couldn’t sleep (the red wine and chocolate probably didn’t help there, but anyway). Got up at 5.47am and turned on Google Earth. Measured the section. It was 11m x +/-36m, just as it should be. Then I realised I’d read the length upside down, and it was in fact 181.87m wide (it was only at this point I figured out they were “links” – the unit of measurement had escaped me up till then), and it was all fine. So that was a waste of a night that could have been a perfectly adequate sleep if I hadn’t wrung myself out. Google is my friend.
Have had an email forwarded from somone who missed out on the tender, an architect who’d crawled over over it taking extensive measurements and so forth for the purpose of restoration (he’s a member of the Historic Places Trust) – and did we want to buy the drawings etc that he’d put together from them. Probably hoping to pay for the flight to Wellington (from Tauranga) that he took to do it. Fair enough. So, he’s going to send a copy of what he put together for his son’s house, so we have an idea of the sort of thing he’s offering, and he’ll figure out a price. We’ll see if we think it’s worth it.
But all that is a bit ahead of myself. Yesterday I headed home at lunchtime, the brochure from the council on “Your Character Home” had arrived. And yes indeed, they are pretty pernickity about what you are and aren’t expected to do. I also went to the archives to see what they had – very little, as it turns out, but they’d established that it was built in the early 1890s (so at least 10 years older than what we’d thought) at the same time as numbers 28 and 32, by, or for, William Adams, who was basically a property developer. Unfortunately the original plans weren’t there.
The house is a very interesting shape though, particularly since it would appear to be original, except perhaps for the solid verandah balustrades, which as far as I can tell weren’t the thing at the time. I’ve Street-viewed a bunch of Wellington’s older streets, and none of the houses have the same shape as our one. I would think that it had been changed at some point, but it’s got the Italianate arched windows on the top floor, so I doubt there’ve been alterations – it’s intriguing. At the same time, I have horrible visions of the Historic Places Trust slapping a preservation order on it, given its original condition.
In the meantime, I’ll work on the assumption that we can look to the other Wright St houses further up the street for inspiration. It would have been nice to repeat the X balustrade from 28, but we couldn’t do that on the top floor, or the children would climb it and throw themselves off. Really needs to be dowelling or timber strips, either of which would be period I think, based on Jeremy Salmond’s Old New Zealand Houses, and the aforementioned Wright St houses.
Also went to the council and got the original plan supplied for the Production Village in behind. Could be better, could be worse. It does look like he intends to excavate at the back of our section, but not clear. If he does, we’ll have to be careful of any effect on the stability of the back north face – though I guess if it starts falling down it’ll be up to him to fix rather than us, which wouldn’t be all bad. Though I’d rather see terraces there than a big giant retaining wall.
Still don’t quite see how the section CAN be 11m wide, but I guess we’ll figure that out. Even if a metre of it’s at the top of the retaining wall, at least it’s still there!
Oh, and while at the council I also got the drainage plan. Such excitement!