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Wednesday 16 September 2009 8.49pm
We've got the builders in right now....Oh joy!
You are indeed fortunate if you can find a house where you don't have to make at least one compromise. With us it was the kitchen. (Very small.) After two years in the place we've at last got round to realising our plans, i.e. to knock the wall down between the 'morning room,' (sounds vey posh,) and the kitchen. Today the builders lifted the laminate on the floors,(which wasn't to our taste anyway,) to reveal the tacky 1970's Marley tiles. In the process they inadvertantly lifted some of the same, aforementioned, Marley tiles. Beneath, was the original Edwardian ceramic floor.
Why, oh why would someone buy a characterful, Edwardian property and then proceed to hide the features? It's all a matter of taste I know, but if you buy an old house, then surely you buy it because you like the character and antiquity that comes with it. I remember when I was working in the estate agency business in rural Lincolnshire and I went to value a 19th century former farmhouse. From the outside the stone-built property lookd idylic. Inside, it was the epitome of modernity. The kitchen, which was the size of an average village hall, had a stud wall at one end, which I found curiuous. I asked the story behind it, expecting him to say that it was due to the deterioration of the brickwork, or such. I nearly fell over backwards when he said,
"There's an old cast-iron range behind there, which
wasn't to my taste. So I blocked it up."
It's a bit like buying a Van Gough and going over it in magnolia!
Thursday 17 September 2009 7.13am
I know how you feel, chalkey. I am a total purist, our previous house was built in 1869 and was a gorgeous example of mid Victorian class building. I bent over backwards not to spoil one fireplace, one piece of (plaster) skirting, refused to knock the rooms into eachother (they were huge anyway) and did everything I could to make the house as close as possible to the original without lousy plumbing. The people who bought it didnt give a monkeys about all that "old fashioned" stuff. Same goes for our house in Tel Aviv. Lucky you that the tiles in your house have been preserved and not broken up and chucked!!
Thursday 17 September 2009 5.48pm
Its mankinds eternal struggle between looking fondly to the past or embracing modernity. I bet the blokes/gals who did the first cave painting had exactly the same criticisms - covering up a lovely piece of sandstone! Ironic isnt it, that by covering it up it probably ensured its preservation.
Friday 18 September 2009 11.32am
Interesting points, KP. But, propertywise, if you want modernity wouldn't it be simpler to buy a modern house? That's the part I can't get my head around. To buy something old and characterful and then change its identity seems crazy to me, as well as criminal. (Not literally criminal of course.)
Friday 18 September 2009 11.42am
On the positive side, at least he hadn't taken it out, but only blocked up!

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