Boot Camp Day 5: Renovation realities

There is a situation in New Zealand that has been described as a ‘housing crisis’. We haven’t been building enough houses to keep up with demand (driving up property prices) and what we do have is of poor quality (people pay a lot of money to live in cold, damp housing).

When buying a house most people realise that there will need to be work done to bring it up to a healthy standard. Asbestos was used for a period of time, as was lead based paint and other nasty stuff – so care needs to be taken especially when ripping off old gib (dry wall) or flooring. To keep costs down, my wife and I do a lot of the demolition ourselves – when it’s safe to do so – and we save as much as we can for later re-use.

This poem was inspired by the first stage of renovating our current abode (I am never moving again!). The house and I have a complicated relationship – eg discovering the fire and electrocution risks were only surpassed by broken bones due to poorly built stairs. But most of the big work is now done and we windows that both open and close, and water ingress is no longer an issue.

Mid-century modern Part 1 

The gravity defying counter-levered angles 

A mid-century breath of fresh air. 

A new point of view, modernity. 

Rust stains run like tears down your facade. 

Standing here I imagine 

what you have been, 

what you will be again:

Both of us works in progress 

Striving but never finding perfection.

Can we learn each other’s moods, as we discern what lies beneath? 

We could change together – imprinting on each other new memories.

Mine will be merely temporal, yours ingrained in steel and wood,

eventually passing into another generation 

– they will try to interpret what was left behind, 

the motivations of decisions made long ago by 

people they will never meet.

And I stand here 

Looking up to the roof line 

wondering if this a beginning or a fleeting moment of fancy 

Steel, wood, counter-levered crescendo, 

a mid-century point of view 

and my reflection in your window. 

Photo by on

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