So, with the move to Sydney a definite thing that is actually happening, it's been all systems go on The Big Project. Yep, we're renovating. From a distance.
It's our first time going through the process (which is a nice way of saying we have no freaking idea what we're doing), but thankfully we have an awesome architect who is holding our hands. And who, after five long months, is only just now starting to get annoyed by my midnight emails agonising over kitchen bench options. Anyhoo...
Here's what has happened so far:
1. I found an architect. Via Google. Now I'm sure there's all kinds of checklists and such that give you detailed instructions on choosing the right architect for your project. But there's also Google, which is what I went with. I googled 'Paddington architect' and a bunch of options turned up. I picked Roth Architecture because a) I really liked their portfolio - light, modern and clean but with the personality of the owners coming through in each project; and b) they'd done a bunch of terrace houses in the area, which meant they'd dealt with the council on similar projects before. Very helpful.
2. I put together a brief. Basically a list of things we wanted in the house plus a package of inspiration images. All those pages I'd been ripping out of magazines and pinning for the past year or so, with little notes explaining what I liked about each image. It was kind of like scrap booking your dream house and then handing it over to someone who might actually make it all happen. This bit was lots and lots of fun.
3. We had a chat with the architect. We talked on the phone and then met in person. We talked about our lifestyle and how we think we'd use the different spaces in our house. We talked about what we liked and what we didn't like. And we got a bit excited about all the possibilities. Well, okay, I got a lot excited about all the possibilities.
4. The architect sent us a sketch design, a rough plan of the house. Basically a starting point to play with, to talk over; something to check we were all heading in the same direction. Seeing all those fragments of ideas come together in a drawing - of our house! - was pretty awesome.
5. We went to council for approval (well technically our architect went to council for approval). The finalised sketch design was turned into a plan with all the lines and measurements and stuff that proper plans have. Then we had to get a bunch of reports, which our architect coordinated for us - geotechnical, water something-or-rather...my memory is a bit vague. But I do remember that there were a lot of invoices to pay. Come to think of it, my biggest learning so far is that this whole renovation thing involves a lot of paying of invoices.
6. We got council approval. Hooray! Our architect was great at advising us on things that would be giant red flags (like our original idea to add a second story to our garage), so we'd kind of compromised on things before we went to council. It meant that the plan we submitted was pretty inoffensive. Aside from one adjustment to a roof line, all was okay.
7. Things started getting serious. Up till now it'd all been pretty pictures and scrap books, but to move forward we needed to zoom in on each room and really finalise the layouts. And to start making decisions about tap ware and floor finishes and lighting. So naturally I froze. I did absolutely nothing. I felt a bit overwhelmed by it all, completely overcome with indecision. But we met with our architect in Sydney last month and it was very reassuring and helpful. Although I guess I am still breaking out in a nervous sweat whenever I think about lighting. Or kitchen bench tops for that matter.
Right now we are in the process of getting a council construction certificate and finalising the detailed plans and all the specifications. Then all that information will go out to tender, we pick a builder, they build, we pay another bazillion invoices and then we move in... Easy, right?
The light at the top is the Muuto E27 pendant lamp in black. You can get it from Kido.
UPDATE: I just sent my husband an email about toilet options. I am totally turning in to Bill Murray's wife from Lost in Translation. At least it was just an email and not a box of carpet samples. Though to be fair we aren't actually having carpet in our house so...