I have been head down for the last week or so and I have been avoiding social media, except for work responsibilities and a quick update here and there. I have either been behind my computer for work or with a paintbrush in my hand. Our time has been tied up by fixing up things we have been avoiding for the last few months but has now become unavoidable.
16 March 2017
Our house is in the market.
The agent and the photographer were here today and it was actually pretty tough. This is a beautiful home. For us, it was perfect. We lifted it from the slumps 5 years ago when nobody wanted it. It was screaming for attention and the agent and adverts’ description, “don’t let the TLC the house needs put you off the potential”, echoed in my head many times as we worked on it while living in it! We ripped out EVERYTHING – the floors, cupboards, kitchen, even the bathrooms. Cape Town is not a friendly place for home renovations in the winter. For many months we had bare floors, missing windows, and no water, nevermind HOT water. We worked on it day and night in between our full-time jobs with a small team of local builders and spent many, many hours and a lot of hard earned cash on fixing it up and then maintaining it.
It has 3 bedrooms. The old built-in cupboard in the main bedroom blocked a window – it was the first thing to go (We now wake up with a view of the mountain and light beaming through on our left and to our right, a small courtyard and a view of a large leafy tree). The other rooms all have mountain views too and the spare bedroom opens up to the patio and pool area. We have two bathrooms – one with a shower and the other with a hand-picked bath. I still do not know how they got it through the door (I spoilt myself to breakfast that morning while the builders magically fitted a too wide bath through a too narrow bathroom door). I checked for damaged on my return (none) and did not ask any questions. It will stay a mystery.
The living space (lounge and dining area) turned open-plan as we knocked the flimsy bookshelf down. We had lots of ideas for the kitchen but decided to clean out old fittings and replaced it with a trim look, simple look. My favourite in the kitchen is the five plate gas stove. No actually, it might be the corner drawers and the glass cabinet doors or perhaps the two seater breakfast seats where we have coffee every morning. It is hard to decide. It is probably all the cups of coffees we made and shared with friends over conversations.
We do not have a hallway in particular. We have a reading room in the middle of the house. Here, all our books are on display. The bookshelf in itself has a story to tell as we took it from a store while it was still functioning as a display unit. I was so happy to get all our books out of storage and breathing fresh air. This is also the space that connects all the other rooms and where Clarie the Cat plays in the morning and Christo puts his shoes on before he goes to work. It is where I do yoga and the dogs come to say hello although they are not really allowed that deep inside the house, we still let them.
We have a dining room that leads to the lounge and stacking doors that open up to a lush garden, the pool, hide away coffee and breakfast spots and a braai area around the corner. The braai, and actually the whole property, have a great sense of space and both the Clovelly/Kalk Bay and Fish Hoek mountains are visible. The best view has to be from the treehouse and the garden cottage roof. The ladder to the view is by the lemon tree that magically started bearing fruit after year 2.
We have had many fires on the mountain and although our house has never been at risk, the firefighting helicopters would often fly over our house, collecting water from the other side of our wetland. We would clean the aftermath soot and cry a little as we hiked through the monochrome landscape. It is also on those same mountains we would often go caving. You can see our house in the valley as you exit Boomslang Cave.
We have a garage for my car and a work bench for Christo to tinker with land rover adjustments. The other garage was meant for a darkroom, but that will have to wait. I never did find the right second-hand equipment and to be honest, we had too much on our plates to rekindle an old hobby.
The spare garage did, however, work well to hide old furniture, garden tools, and the odd misbehaving friend or inlaw.
Our flatlet with separate entrance has been entertaining, frustrating and all character building.
It has a view of the pool and garden. The fish pond has been the entertainment of a visiting heron since day one. Due to his mishievious behavior, we have replaced fish, deepened the pond, replaced plants. On rotation. Every few months. A cascading fountain and a spot we have a weekend morning coffee. The patio is covered in vines that carry the most delicious table grapes in the late summer. We would go on the roof and eat it “sommer so”. Towards the end of summer, the patio turns messy from all the birds doing the same thing.
We’ve had many visitors.
The family would come for a quick hello or slightly more extended stay. Friends would do the same and visit on business trips and holidays. We would go out for dinner around Kalk Bay or have a roast at home, or a braai. It is lovely to have the space to offer friends a place to stay and many summers have been spent around our pool (if not on the beach) and the fireplace has been a warm welcome home in winter too. We have many walks around the area too – to the beach, the Spar for sweet treats or up the mountain.
The agent sent me some of the photos and the description of the ad they were publishing read “Rustic Charm”. I didn’t really like the pictures. Although the house looked spacious and tidy, to me, it just looked odd. It was missing the dogs’ beds by the door, a shoe and book lying around here and there. It missed our computers in the lounge and on the dining room table, a used towel on the shower and the bike and landy under the carport. But I realized it does not matter what I think of the photos. It was not intended for my liking. It was meant to attract someone else’s dream, not ours. And that realization was a good thing too because only a mere three days later we received an offer on the house. They fell in love with the garden and space, and the whole nine yards, I suppose.
A little later
We signed the OTP, and by signing, we also signed up to be uprooted, challenged and tested once again.
So why are we doing all this? Why are we giving up a seemingly perfect home?
I believe that happiness is the consequence of personal effort. Dreams come true if you plan and focus. You actually have to work for it. You have to seek it, identify it, challenge it.
We love our house and we love what we achieved with it and was able to provide through it. But we also have other dreams to chase and time is not standing still for anyone.
She will be good to the one who loves her. She will love you back. Always.
But for us, it is time to detach.
There have been some challenges and this process of letting go and selling up has been as though as it has been exciting. We have dogs and responsibilities and… stuff. Not everything is always perfect. I have kept a short diary of the process and lessons learned. I will share it when the time feels right. xxx Niche