I’m always spotting houses in need of TLC. On a recent holiday into the countryside my darling husband and I came across a renovators dream. You know the type of place. A few repairs, maybe some rewiring, a bucket of paint to make it shine. Add a nice picket fence and a few flowerbeds of daisies and I’d be happy as a pig in mud. My husband was only mildly keen on the idea until he saw this place. In the past I’ve always commented on houses set in the middle of sheep paddocks, but we actually came across this gem in the middle of a town.
Ok, maybe gem is too kind a word. Perhaps this house needs a bit more work than usual. It’s not quite a dream. It probably has a good chance to become a real nightmare, but once upon a time it had been lovely and if I squinted really hard I’m sure it could be again.
No doors – front or back
The entry way to a home creates an indelible impression. Some invite you in, encourage you to linger. Others send you screaming in the other direction. This one’s front door was cladded over at some point and hid lovely colored glass. The door is completely missing, but it should have been dimpled colored glass too. What a waste! And the back entrance … better not to speak of where that went.
Walking though the house was somewhat akin to the sensation of sailing. The floor dipped and swayed. We stumbled in all directions because the stumps it rested on had subsided. You could actually see how bad the floor dropped away at the corners. Even my eight year old noticed his trip through was somewhat of an adventure.
Termites in the Walls
The bugs have really done a number on this old house. Despite the possibilities I had to wonder if the damage was so bad that the house might fall down upon us. I did hope not – especially when my whole family was standing in the middle. The inner walls could be replaced, its true, and an attempt made to keep the features of this 1940’s era style. But to make this house livable we would need to strip it, replace some (ok a LOT) of timbers before attempting to restore its original style. It would be a mammoth job. Neither my husband nor I are experienced renovators. I might be a dab hand with a sander, paint stripper, and beeswax. I can even paint and not be embarrassed by the finish. But with regret we decided that with all the obvious needs and hidden surprises lying in wait for us, it was just too big a project.
So can you see how a renovation of this magnitude might relate to writing?
If you had a story, one you loved but had been battered by the elements (contests & agent rejections) would you be prepared to undertake major repairs to fix the problems? Would you try to renovate pieces or would you simply open a new file and start from scratch?
I would love to hear your opinion on this.