Wednesday, February 23, 2011

The Old Cupboard

The Old Cupboard (upside down)
When we got the house, there was an old built-in cupboard in the back foyer.  A bit beat up, but had character and fit the space perfectly.  I knew we would need some storage there and all along have had in mind to tidy it up and paint it.  I thought it would turn out nicely with a bit of fresh paint to spruce it up.

So I was a bit surprised to see it removed quite early in the renovations work.  A fair few times I had to save it from being pitched onto one of the demolition scrap heaps or in a skip bin.  And it seems Ian (and some of the other guys working on the house) disliked the cupboard as much as I seemed to like its old character.  He thought it belonged in the rubbish and wasn't worth doing up.

Ian working on the Old Cupboard
Today the back area behind the back foyer (porch) was cleaned up.  The old cupboard was there all alone, waiting for something to happen.  Ian wanted to just throw it out (again, still).  But at this late date, I countered that we need storage and, unless he had another (cheap, quick) idea in mind, we should use it.

Turns out the old cupboard would need some surgery before it could be returned to its original place.  It used to sit neatly under the window sill.  But those decrepit windows and their rotted frames are long gone (into the skip bin !) and the new window has a new frame, which is very nice (and wider).  And, in order to even up the floor levels in the adjacent kitchen, the tiled floor is a bit higher up too.  So the cupboard was too tall.   It was also too wide, needing to lose some centimeters given up to the new doorframe for the vintage door we have installed.  Even more than disliking the cupboard, turns out Ian did not want to have to cut pieces off the sides and bottom and then patch it up again... Practicality (of time and budget) won out though.  After lunch, Ian began working on the cupboard with loud equipment.  I put my ipod on and zoned out while doing more of the ever dull and tiresome trims painting.
old nail ca 111 years old

When Ian was done, he announced he believes this cupboard is original age of the house.  So over 110 years old !  I asked how he knew this and he said due to the nails (which were pressed out of metal and had a squared shape, see pic for a rusty example jutting out of a cut off side of the cupboard) and also the cupboard construction techniques had some interesting techniques used to compensate for not having glues and adhesives we use today.  The cupboard has been improved along its life, but its original structure is a bonafide antique.

Old Cupboard back in its position, under new windows
So the old cupboard has prevailed.  I vacuumed it out and we returned it to its place, with its adjustments to fit just so.  It looks pleased to have been saved.  I have not painted it yet.  But will soon.  What colour ?

It's nice to have something original from the house.  So many original features have long since been removed or replaced (some of them with clearly wrong or unsympathetic choices).  We are considering which to replace faithful to the old style (some of the exterior features on the verandah for example) and which not to worry about and just do as we please for form and function.

Area behind house.  Future 2d bathroom & new laundry
Meantime, a quick peak at the area behind the house.  Pretty grim looking at the moment.  This will be done over in the next stage of work, Phase 2.   The toothpaste green walls will be the outer perimeter for the second bathroom and new laundry room (temporary laundry is in back foyer...when new laundry is built, it will become a small butlers pantry).  The walls you see have stone retaining walls behind them, so we wont be taking them down, hence why to relocate bathroom and laundry on this side.

Looking out to site of future sunroom & covered patio
To left of the area with white wall will be a sun room (shown in last photo), plus a covered entertaining patio area too.  There used to be an old outbuilding with a decaying old laundry and a second bathroom (outdoors bathroom) in this location.  The plumbing services were centred there and we have moved all of that.   The area where the sunroom will be gets nice light and will make a lovely living space.  We will  plant some bird attracting native shrubs in the retaining wall shown on right of the last photo, for a nice outlook from the sunroom.

No comments:

Post a Comment