Ed’s let­ter: The reno has started, and it’s not all joy and cre­ativ­ity.

NZ House & Garden - - CONTENTS -

Ju­lian Davis was pour­ing a con­crete fire­place in his still­roof­less Napier house when he looked up and saw storm clouds gath­er­ing. He car­ried on.

“Let’s just let the rain rip across it and see what it looks like on Mon­day,” he thought – and on Mon­day he had a mi­nor mas­ter­piece: a per­fectly pitter-pat­tered hearth.

I read Ju­lian’s story (page 70) aloud to my hus­band Nick the other day. I was mak­ing a point. “Some­times it’s best if you just go with the flow,” I said.

Nick shrugged. He’d slept badly the night be­fore be­cause the con­crete truck was booked to pour our garage floor, and he was wor­ried about rain. As it turned out, it was fine – but if you’re a per­fec­tion­ist like Nick, there is al­ways some­thing to worry about. He’d moved on to fret about how to match the kitchen beams.

Build­ing on our ren­o­va­tion started five weeks ago. The builders are fast and ef­fi­cient: piles and joists are in, floors are go­ing down. But it is fair to say that, for Nick and me, the build has not been the joy­ous, cre­ative process that Ju­lian and his wife Kelly de­scribe. Most of the time it feels to us like run­ning a small busi­ness: list-mak­ing, meet­ings and con­stant con­cern about cash flow.

“Ev­ery evening we do an­other bud­get,” I com­plain to my friends. “The money is haem­or­rhag­ing out.” “Don’t worry,” they say, blithely. “It will be SO worth it in the end.” My friends are fans of Grand De­signs New Zealand, and they know the nar­ra­tive arc, which is not dis­sim­i­lar to many of the sto­ries in this mag­a­zine. It opens on a fam­ily with a vi­sion for a bold new home. It fol­lows them through months of heartache and bud­get blowouts. Then, in the fi­nal min­utes of the show, Chris Moller vis­its the de­lighted own­ers in their fin­ished home, and the cam­era lingers over lovely in­te­rior spa­ces.

That is not our story, I re­mind my friends. Even if our vi­sion was grand (which it isn’t), there are times in the bleak grey morn­ing hours when Nick and I doubt we will even get the place fin­ished, let alone cam­era-ready.

But, then, there are other times. On week­end morn­ings we take our break­fast up to the build­ing site, walk around with our mugs. We look at the shape of our new deck, and agree the pro­por­tions are just right. We imag­ine sit­ting on it, with the open doors to our new home be­hind us. At those times, it feels ab­so­lutely pos­si­ble.

Watch this space.

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