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We haven’t exactly bought the prettiest house on the block.  When people ask us which building on the street is ours,  we say “The enormous ugly one”.  

Amazingly, this picture represents the new, improved version.  When we bought the place, it was in mid-renovation.  The previous owner was turning it from a cafe/surf shop into an 88 seater restaurant.  While he’d made some fairly major changes to the inside – like installing the bones of a commercial kitchen including a huuuuge ass extractor hood   (which he took with him) and a massive soft serve ice-cream machine (which he left behind – roll on summer!) – there was one thing that was fairly lacking.  In this kind of location – where in a southerly, the Cook Strait has been known to stroll up over the seawall and knock politely on the front door, it helps to have the odd wall or two.  And those walls work best when they are composed of something fairly solid and impenetrable.  The front wall of the property we bought was lacking a little something in the “solid and impenetrable” department.   So weatherproofing the house became our first mission, before the ground floor became an unplanned swimming pool.

Apparently these large sheets of flappy metal are quite awkward to handle in high winds, Midge and Dom tell me.

We had always said that we didn’t care what the place looked like on the outside after all – we were going to be living in it, not looking at it.  So for a while there was even talk of leaving the charmingly rustic corrugated iron and plywood that we had put up to keep the elements out.

But one day we were in the wonderful Jacobsen’s looking at wonderful things, and we saw the most wonderful thing of all – a box full of pretty pretty coloured squares.  I didn’t even have to know what they were, I saw the pretty pretty colours, and wanted it immediately.  Midge and James (our architect) took slightly more time to enquire what the product was, what it was for, how much it cost, and how good it was.

Tabitha helping us choose from the pretty pretty colours.

Turns out the box we were looking at was full of samples of a cladding material called Rodeca.  And besides coming in many pretty pretty colours, this stuff seems to be awesome in all kinds of buildingy architechery weather resistant kind of ways. They build shopping malls and airports and convention centres and sports stadiums out of it.  And I’m sure they’re not just choosing it because of the colours.

Well….fairly sure.

And of course, you can’t have a front wall in a lovely shade of Rodeca, and a side wall of horrible yellowy asbestos cladding or corrugated iron, we grudgingly admitted.   And if we were paying to put something up on the front bit of the house, maybe we should just cover the whole place.  And not having to paint the place would be a big plus.  So we found another awesome buildery architectery weather resistant type thing called Nu-Wall.  Which sadly for me, comes in far fewer pretty pretty colours.  But maybe that is a good thing, so we don’t have to tell people that our place is “The Enormous Clown Building”.