A cave of one’s own

Where once we had a shitty old broken shed in the backyard we now have something entirely different. A brand new room, in fact.

I loved the broken brick shed formerly known as my man cave. Water damaged floor, leaky roof, broken walls, dark and dank: I pretty much had the run of the place since the applications for this poorly failing space where so limited and noone else wanted to come near it. Weights, a fingerboard and an old couch were about all it was good for. I could have lived with the imperfections and limitations but the whole thing was sinking lop-sidedly into the ground. Something had to be done.

Concurrent to this has been the growing need for more space in our humble home. We’ve been using our bedroom as a study – desk and computer crammed in next to the bed, books and clothes all over each other – and it’s been far from ideal. Plus them boys of mine are getting bigger and need more cat-swinging space.

We have a decent sized backyard and we talked over the grand vision of what we could do: a new kitchen here, a family room there. But who in their right mind lives through a renovation? I’ve had too many friends try it with considerable damage to their psyches and their relationship, not to mention their wallets.

And so the plan was hatched. Let’s not live in chaos, let’s live near it. Let’s have the reno you have when you’re not having a reno.

You hear tales of people being ripped off by a building experience, so we were super wary going in. Through lots of asking around we found a bloke who would do the job for a not unreasonable amount. He did a lot of hand-holding with us to make sure we were comfortable with what we were planning, and then he brought two extra things to the table that sold me: 1. It would be finished on the agreed time, and 2. Any cost blowouts would be on him. That seems as a good a guarantee as we were going to see.

And then they went to work. Two blokes came in and went at it, tearing stuff down, pouring and hammering, building things up. For two weeks they slogged away, me doing regular morning and evening check-ins to make sure all was well, watching and loving the progress. And lo, one day the lads packed up and left, and it was done.

I spent one weekend doing the major bit of the painting, getting the inside ready to move stuff back in, and I’m finishing the rest bit by bit. It’s the long tail but the room formerly known as ‘the shed’ is pretty much good to go.

But good to go where, exactly? Where once there was a damp and broken dark hole noone but me loved, we now have a functional, clean beautiful space, and everyone in the family has their ideas about how it’s going to be used. The amount of grand ideas I’ve had to fend off are mind-boggling. Certainly the kids seem to think it’s theirs.

I’m glad I had some good locks put on them doors.


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