My California bungalow renovation at Oswald Street is now finished and I am heartbroken… I’m finding it so hard to say goodbye. I’m filled with immense pride; I think it is my best project to date (I say that at the end of every project). I’m so happy with how it turned out. I had to remind myself whilst on site last week, that I designed this place. I stood there wishing I could keep it, but I can’t, it’s not mine anymore; it’s hard to let go after all the work that’s gone into it.
Whilst designing my projects, I imagine it’s my home I’m designing. I can’t help it, I just get so swept up and consumed by the process; I love it. I design to my client’s requirements and wishes, but nothing leaves my office for their feedback, changes, and finally for construction unless it is a house I wish were mine. I suppose it is the way in which I set the standard I strive for – to be proud when all is said and done.
Each project takes months to design. Even when not at my drawing board (my computer actually, but I miss and romanticise about my old love – drafting by hand) I’m imagining and designing in my head. It can happen anywhere and at any time, in the car or perhaps going for a walk, an idea comes to mind, maybe the shape of a shadow catches my attention, a surface or texture, and my mind is set into motion and I’m in another world – my imagination.
If the project requires a planning permit, that process will take an average 6 months and sometimes up to 12 months should it go to tribunal or if some re-working is required to appease the council or neighbours. Then starts the process of the construction drawings. This is the nuts and bolts of how the project is built. I need to work out how all the various parts meet, waterproofing, detailing, windows and how they open etc etc. I love this part too, it involves making my ideas into something build-able, and the construction drawings are my means of communicating that to the builder. At the same time I am doing the interiors, working on how the kitchens, bathrooms etc look, their design, functionality, materials colours etc. This process also takes months.
Next is the construction phase which on average takes 9-12 months depending on the size and complexity of the project. To see my designs emerge from the ground to become a reality, is truly magic for me. The sense of pride and achievement is beyond compare. I love being on site and seeing it slowly take shape.
The duration of one of my projects, from the day I start to the day my clients move in, is anywhere from 18 months to 3 years. This is a long time to have been thinking about and imagining my designs. Hence why it is so hard to say goodbye. They are each a large chunk of my life. But as hard as it is to say goodbye, the look on my clients faces when I first visit them once they have moved in, is what it is all about. I’ve had clients cry in front of me as they thank me for what i have done. It does not get any better than that.
My purpose is to realise these dreams for people, and upon completion to see that is what has taken place, is the ultimate reward.
So to my newest born I say goodbye. I hope you serve your owners well, and I hope in years to come you will be admired and respected. It’s been a pleasure, now go do your thing – protect, enrich your owners lives, and be witness to the stories that unfold within your walls and laminated glass.
As one door closes and another one opens. I’m busy working on other exciting new projects that I will feature on the blog soon. Due to all this exciting new work going on, the blog will now be fortnightly.
Professional photos of Oswald street are soon to follow.
Inside, the corridor between the old house and the new.
Kitchen meals area, featuring Brad the carpenter, part of the amazing building team who have done an incredible job.
View from playroom to outdoor room.