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So apparently all the cool kids these days are writing blogs about their renovations and building projects.  And enough people have asked us if we are doing one that we figured it was high time we started.  (I think it’s just that they are getting sick of hearing us talking about cladding options and lighting design and kitchen benches, and this way they can just hold up a hand and say, dude…..I read the blog……).

So, for those of you who haven’t had the joy of listening to us bend your ear about it for hours already, here’s the story – we bought a big old building on a wind-swept beach.  We’re turning it into a home.

Isn’t she beautiful!!!

How big?  500 square metres.  Yes, it’s just going to be a house.  No, we’re not going to run a cafe or a restaurant out of it (although we are trying to spread the word in the neighbourhood that it’s going to be a brothel.  Or a day care.  You know, fear is the best way to get to know your neighbours).

How old? The Seaside Picture Theatre was built in 1909.  So, not old if you live anywhere that was settled before the 18th century.  But to us antipodeans – it’s over 100 years old!  It’s practically biblical!

The Seaside Picture Theatre (on the left) in 1909

What was it before you guys got it?  Originally it was built as a cinema – the second cinema to be built in Wellington.  Apparently it must have done well, because in the 60’s another cinema, the Roxy, applied for a covenant over it  to ensure that no future owner would be able to show movies there.  The Roxy is now owned by Sir Peter Jackson – so basically the Hobbit man won’t let us have friends over to watch DVDs.

It became a tearoom in the 40s, when a tram line ran from the centre of town down to the beach.  It’s been a surf shop and cafe for the last twenty years.  Nearly everyone we’ve talked to bought their first wetsuit/surfboard here.   We’re pretty sure there are now other places to buy those, but I may keep a stash of old grotty wetsuits out the back just in case some desperate surfies come knocking.

So what are you doing to it  Upstairs it’s going to end up having five bedrooms and three bathrooms on two mezzanine floors, connected by a walkway/office above the kitchen.

Downstairs there will be living areas at either end, and a big dining space/open plan kitchen in the two-story high central atrium.  We’ll try to maximise the sea views by having it all open plan downstairs (hence –> mother to heat).  This also enables any resident sproglets to create the ultimate indoor rollerderby track.

(And no, we are not planning on filling all those bedrooms with sproglets.  Pugsley and Newbie (coming to a cinema near you in December)  will do quite nicely for us.  Other bedrooms can be used to house Swedish au-pairs or families of illegal itinerant workers. )

As of the early hours of this morning, our builder is a new daddy (Yay!  Congratulations guys!!!!!) so is off the job for the next few weeks.  The timing has worked out really well, as we’re waiting on council consent for our plans before we can go any further.   Dom has spent the past month or so ripping out the old flat upstairs, and getting the place ready to start the new build.  In the meantime, its been lots of decision making on kitchens and claddings and boilers (oh my).   I’m gradually getting used to writing cheques with bigger numbers on them than my university education.

Pugsley puts the new cladding through some stress testing (or maybe just works on her surfergirl moves?)

Though we’d originally planned to move in and live in the flat, its worked out that we’ll stay where we are in our rental until its all complete.  Hopefully the place it finished before Newbie is done cooking- but we’ve got a lot to do before then!