Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Building dreams....

Two of my friends have builders working on their homes at the moment. I love plans and houses and seeing things come to life. One is having an addition built, containing a new kitchen and a bedroom and shower and extended conservatory, and the other is remodelling a house, moving stairs, building new bathrooms, and completely redoing the kitchen, not to mention the master bedroom.

Both are living in chaos, and I suppose that comes with the territory. I remember my own chaos very well. It was nightmare time.

When Mum and Dad arrived, and we found out that they would have to stay, because Dad was too ill to travel, we considered moving, but were advised that that would be worse for Dad, so we planned the changes to this house. It was supposed to happen in an orderly fashion. My garage was full of stuff, and as it was going to be converted into a bedroom, we intended the new kitchen/family room extension to be built first, so we could move all our stuff in there while the garage became the bedroom. Unfortunately, one of my neighbours had an exceedingly odd boyfriend, who caused untold chaos, raised endless objections, and generally made life very difficult. So the builders started on the garage.

Just perfect.

That meant that everything had to be moved into the house. Specifically the lounge. The small lounge. It looked like a warehouse. Mum could sit on one chair and see the tv. I could sit on the couch and see the tv. But between us was a mountain of boxes and furniture stacked up to the ceiling. There were 2 small paths to the chairs, and that was it. We could not see each other. You have no idea how chaotic it was. I must find the photos.

In addition, my daughter was writing her A levels, and with all the bedrooms occupied upstairs by Mum and my children, I was sleeping on the floor in the lounge, in one of those 2 small paths between the stacks of furniture. Geoff, very sensibly, was off in the Far East with his ship at the time. I have absolutely no idea how we managed to cope. But we did. And in the end it was so worth it.

My friends are at that chaotic stage. The frustration of having no room organised, things piled all over the place, never being able to find anything really gets to you some times, even though you know it will be wonderful in the end. One of them has had builders on site since February and I have to say, I would have been a lot less understanding of the lack of speed had I been the one paying the bills. I sense tempers starting to fray a little. Totally understandably.

The other friend, has only had builders there for 3 weeks and is still bouncing with excitement each day at the new developments. One has endless problems with things going wrong, and the other seems to be going smoothly. Two very different people. Two very different experiences.

One of my greatest dreams is to one day build my own house. I know just what it will be like. Not a mansion by any stretch of the imagination. In fact, very simple. Very eco-friendly and sustainable. I have drawn up the plans. I want to have a home filled with light and warmth, designed just for my needs and my family. I don't know what it is about having this need to design my own home. I know my father felt the same way. He designed and owner built the 2 homes my parents had. He knew how to do it, and why he needed to design something for his own family. Almost like the little house on the prairie. A home that suited the family living in it. I am a lot like my father in that way.

The home of my dreams also has the infrastructure to be self sufficient energy-wise as well. Ironically, it has had for all those years I have been planning it. And now, those ideas sound even more reasonable and sensible, given the soaring costs of energy. Not to mention everything else.

So I walk around the building sites of my friends' homes, and I look and learn and check out options, and I dream. And I bounce with excitement right along with them. I love helping them with suggestions when they ask for them, and sometimes I think of things they haven't, because my mind works like that. I have said before, that I am very good at visualising things, that I can see the 3D home, when I look at plans. I own books of plans. I just love them.

I may never get to build that dream, I know. And my whole life is most certainly not wrapped up in it. It is a dream. Not an obsession, and dreams are always good. But when I crawl over building sites, the dream comes closer for a while. I can share in the excitement my friends feel. It is a wonderfully warm feeling.


Dawn said...

We need to do so many things to our house, but it is so costly and so disruptive, as you have said so well. When we had this house built,l it was exciting. But we would do things so very differently if we did it again.

Barb said...

Your remodel job sounds like it was a complete nightmare, Linds. Good grief. And the one friend sounds like she's having a pretty rough time of it too. I know it's all worth it in the end, but you know me. I'd go completely crazy if my house were that chaotic for that long.

I hope you get to build your dream. And I have a feeling you will. Your dream house sounds like a breath of fresh air.

Vee said...

I like your dream. It all sounds lovely to me. Of course, the Brits are doing wonderful things with small, energy friendly homes that are still charming and cozy without causing claustrophobia.

Ahhh, the memories of chaos...yuck. LOL! Best wishes to your friends as they get their additions, etc., together.

Crystal said...

I wish I had your 3D eye for seeing the finished product. That's not my forte' at all. We built this house 30 years ago and it certainly has served us well. There are some things we would change and now it needs some updates but we keeping finding interesting places to visit instead :)) Perhaps you can show us the finished friends projects soon - I'd like that!

Joyful Days said...

I like to build houses in my mind and on paper. But I have no desire to live in it while it is happening. If I owned I would be a lousy candidate for remodeling. You are a very patient woman. My parents built their own home, my dad designed it for them (mostly for my mom). Lovely that you can share in your friends anticipation.

Needled Mom said...

It does sound like they are experiencing two very different situations. It is fun to see the progress and imagine what yours will look like.

We did a remodel last year and had workmen here for 5 months. Everything went smoothly, finished ahead of schedule, looks great, but it was still too long for me! Guess I am too impatient.

Susie said...

I've lived through the chaos of remodeling a few different times. It can be so stressful, but in the end it's usually so worth it!
Your ability to visualize a finished project is indeed a gift. We've often said we'd like to build a home someday, but the price of land here in CA is very expensive.

meggie said...

I have that dream about a home. Too late in my life, now, but the dream still lives.

Judith said...

I appreciate the frustration of making a dream that big a reality, But oh my friend, if you could just get through the dust and the inconvenience of it, how much
sweeter the dream would be.

Would you believe we may get more snow and rain tonight. I am guarding my two tomato plants inside very carefully.

Anonymous said...

My dream home is a combi van. Of course it will have the latest home entertainment system inside.