Saturday, July 27, 2013

Stripped and Stacked

Have you ever stopped to question what it is that decides the value of a house? I mean monetary value, not sentimental. I mean the actual dollar figure put on the homes we buy. 

How do those numbers come to be?

I mean, I do understand the concepts of land values and location and desirability and northern aspects and a new roof. 

Really, I do. Mostly. 

I understand that, like with cars, many people are willing to pay a premium for something NEW because it will give them less trouble and it's easier and cleaner and you don't have to live with the legacy of former owners and their wear and tear.

I understand that more people want to live in Fortitude Valley than the Lockyer Valley and I understand that means the timber and bricks in their houses are somehow more valuable than the timber and bricks in our houses. 

At the core, though, houses are just the sum of their parts.

Right now, poor Big House is looking so severely pulled apart that it almost hurts to go in there. Most of her walls and big parts of her floors are reduced to piles of timber, lying on the floor and waiting to be put back into a new, improved order.

Parts. All just parts. A pile of timber and not much more. Why do we invest so much of ourselves and our income and our energy and our emotion in piles of building materials, nailed together in certain ways?

At this stage, we're reduced to reassuring ourselves and each other with statements like 'at least it's good timber' or 'she'll still be standing in another 100 years' or 'they just don't build houses like this anymore'.

One day, it'll be nice enough in there that I'll forget this stage and how sad the house looks with all her insides stripped and stacked.

Right now, though, it's a little hard to watch.


  1. she truly looks gutted - very skeletal.
    what a thoughtful post. it's strange to think our houses our essentially made of the same materials, but some of those are deemed 'better' and therefore more expensive - let alone before you get to locations and perceptions of desirability.
    when you're standing in the middle of the mess, it IS hard to accept one day you will forget the dust and sweat and high emotions involved in such trials and adventures.

  2. You have shared this journey so thoroughly that i almost feel emotional as well seeing it pulled apart. But i have vision, as do you and i can see it finished in all its glory. Chin up, it will get there.

  3. It's frightening when you've paid thouseands for something then you see it stripped back, in some cases, to the frame. Keep telling yourself that the frame, the land and it's history are it's biggest value at the moment and right now your adding more value.
    In my humble opinion, a homes true value is the pleasure you get living in a home you've created that's perfect for your family.

    1. That's it. You just look at these parts and you think - what do I own here? Just a bunch of old timber? But then, of course, you get a quote for replacing any of it and realise that rebuilding what you have would cost about four times more than you paid for it. Crazy.

  4. Nothing looks great in the middle of a facelift but once the surgery is done and everything is where it should be the difference is amazing. The things Jenny mentioned, and also the fact that there's 2 houses without the rigmarole of council red tape to extend later, would have been part of what drew you to that property and it will look lovely again when it's all put back together and you've furnished and decorated it in your style. The value you're adding will all be worth it and it will be more personal than a house designed and built by someone else as it will be "your" dream home.

  5. What is being tested right now is your vision. It's great to have a vision when there's something tangible to look at, but when it's altered beyond recognition, that's when your internal strength has to come to the fore.

    We've had the same thing with our property. It fell into disrepair after the floods - our driveway has never been the same, not to mention the extensive garden beds which were wiped out after 2 years of manual labour putting them together.

    It's these vision testing times, we've found, where you come to realise that a house/property is truly formed, by those who are crazy/genius enough to dream that it's MORE than the sum of it's parts. :)

    Our property has changed over the 6 years we've been here - but the vision hasn't. It's only gotten better and we always find ourselves falling back in love with the place. It just takes a wallaby to bring a new joey into the yard, or just recently we found a wildlife carers property in the same area. They had a worse driveway than ours, but we carefully negotiated down it to bring the injured woodland duck to it's new home. Down that ramshackled driveway, was a ramshackled house, but the occupants (being injured animals and their carers) were perfectly placed.

    Keep the vision as your house changes, and you'll have memories no mortgage repayment could ever truly reflect, long after it's all paid off.

  6. Just remember you need to create a mess to get rid of one, looks great though.