From time to time I notice Paul looking at houses online and get sucked in, and we start bouncing ideas off each other. Two years ago it led to us deciding to build a new garage and turn the old one into a studio. Lately we’ve been at it again, only this time we’ve gone to a few inspections. Just testing ourselves.
We’ve been looking at the one acre properties on the other side of the freeway. Expensive houses with pools and tennis courts. But many have no fences with houses positioned at the back of the block, back yards quite close to the neighbours’, so despite being large pieces of land they feel even less private than typical suburban blocks. Not enough gain and too much loss for the upheaval and cost of upgrading and moving.
When I ask myself what it is about our house I most dislike it’s how hot the upstairs rooms get in summer even with air conditioning. It seems every summer is less bearable (and not only because of menopause, though hot flushes in hot weather is a whole new level of discomfort). If our climate goes the way that’s predicted it’s only going to get hotter and windier.
When I asked Paul what he most disliked he picked the same thing, so we discussed what we could do to the house to reduce the problem. I already had a mental list that went like this:
* Work elsewhere in the house
* Work elsewhere out of the house (Rent an office? Buy a holiday home?)
* Plan to spend summer not working
Paul’s went something like this:
* Remove all the weatherboards upstairs, triple the insulation and replace them, fixing the dodgy flashing the builder put in at the same time.
* Get double glazed windows.
* Put in more ventilation.
So you can see, our minds were in two entirely different places.
Paul’s first two suggestions would cost quite a bit and require emptying the upstairs part of the house. When I said this, Paul pointed out that it wouldn’t cost as much as stamp duty or cause as much hassle as moving house. He also reasoned that we did the extension fairly cheaply and, five years later, we should think of any money we spend on these problems as the extra money we’d would have spent anyway if it had been a better quality extension.
Still, it would be nice to avoid a big upheaval.
We debated the groovy upward-angled verandah at the back and realised that we have quite opposing views about it. Paul doesn’t like how it looks and thinks it doesn’t work. I disagree. It’s meant to shade the house in summer, but by being angled up and out it allows sunlight below the verandah to warm the house in winter, as you can see here:
What bugs me about it, however, is that it makes the back wall of the house creak and move when it’s windy. Now the reason that happens is because, though engineers had approved it as a freestanding structure, the dodgy builder’s plumbers wouldn’t put the roof on it until it was attached to the house because they didn’t like how it swayed slightly under their weight.
As we were sitting in the back yard and looking up at it, I hit on the idea of detaching it again, adding cross beams to the uprights, then putting wooden slats between the cross beams to shade more of the house.
Paul thought it would be ugly. I reasoned that it could look, from a distance, like a balustrade for a deck on the back, and he didn’t mind the sound of that. Then I remembered that I’d found a company that would do a nice aluminium balustrade that could replace ours.
The one made by dodgy builder is shrinking and rotting where they extended the posts (because they made them too short to pass the building inspection) and when they removed the top rail they splintered some but reused them anyway, as you can see here:
Maybe, at the same time as replacing our balustrade, the company could attach matching panels to the verandah. Panels like this example from their site, but with the louvered slats facing out and down so I can still look between them into the garden from the workroom:
So I rang the engineering company we used for the reno to booked a consultation to make sure what we’re doing is safe, and made an appointment for a quote from the balustrade company.
Looks like we’re heading down the home improvement path again.