31 January, 2011

Three days and the three Ms

Make space in the "manifesto" section of the bookcase for my latest:  The Money Management Manifesto.  

Two events, completely beyond my control, have had a significant, and in no way positive, impact on my financial position.  And today is the day when we go to the bank and finagle our available green in preparation for the settlement on Thursday.

So this morning I pulled out my spreadsheet and did the figures.  

The snapshot revealed that although I'm certainly not where I'd projected I'd be when we signed the house contracts, the situation is not nearly as dire as I had dreaded (not in the short term, anyway).  Yay for that.

I hadn't been actively fretting but I also can't deny the dull niggle resulting from not being wholly apprised of the state of things.  And therein lies the foundation and motivation for today's Money Management Manifesto.  

Where prior to today money talk has prompted the yadda yadda yadda reflex, from now on I promise to conjoin a process of personal accounting with my existing monthly business monitoring. Thereby alleviating any future lack of clarity about finances.  

Heavens.  Even defining the scope of the dreaded activity wasn't as bad as anticipated.

29 January, 2011

Pre-settlement and aftermath

I'd be lying if I said: 
  • I wasn't a little stressed when the painter called for the third time, still unable to find the house, 15 minutes into the "half hour" inspection.
  • I was delighted to meet the vendor. 
  • I was thrilled to discover that the parquetry floor in my bedroom is VINYL (as are the "tiles" on the bathroom floor)
  • With just a little tweaking the chook shed will be habitable (by chooks)
  • The kitchen isn't dingy.
  • All the garden needs is for the lawn to be mowed.
Honest to goodness, though:
  • the house will, by Thursday at 2pm, be purged of the box upon box currently choking it (I didn't take pictures today because it felt like documenting someone else's trainwreck).
  • The painter DID eventually make it, and was a very nice Iranian man with an Arabic name and impressive Persian handwriting (leading me to expect he might be handy with a paint brush - which is what you want in a painter). 
  • I am shocked by my compulsion to pull down some of the nastier curtains and blinds (don't know why I'm so fixated on window treatments). 
  • All are in agreement that the floor, the built-in desk and the chandelier in my bedroom have to go.
  • We did confirm that the pool is solar heated and salt water chlorinated and apart from the odd busted tile is in pretty good condition
  • We identified more trees to cull.
  • We resolved (to a degree) the window treatment issue in Mum's Pine Box
  • I bought a new bed.
  • Just the bed, not the side tables and not the bedding.  
    Clean lines no fuss, nice proportions, a 1960s feel.
    and not a million dollars.
  • We bought new appliances:  rangehood, cooktop and oven.
Omega Double Wall Oven OO887XN
Omega 90cm Gas Cooktop OG91XA
Omega Rangehood OR920CXA

Mum and I have absolutely no problem spending money.  We almost bought two new televisions while we had our wallets out. But the spectre of as yet undefined (appliance and catflap) installation and (household) moving costs cast a pall over proceedings.  So we exercised restraint.  

No fun (but lots of fun all the same).

Inspection day. (Just) five days to settlement.

Just checked. My camera batteries are charged.  This morning coffee, however, is a metaphor for my personal energy levels - at best, watery.

Milo, nevertheless, is full of beans and will be relied upon to bounce us through our long awaited pre-settlement inspection.  That's three and a half hours away - at midday. 

Watch this space...

28 January, 2011

Ikea and Me.

Without even stopping to think, I can confidently state that every room of my house contains items from the great Scandinavian flat-packer.  I have always appreciated the clean line, the clever design, the convenience and the price point.  

That all said, I must also say that in my book a huge interior decorating crime is to be too matchy matchy.  To replicate a showroom in your home by sourcing eveything from the one place. And that includes Ikea. 

I take comfort in the knowledge I could never be accused of such a transgression.

It is with this thought in mind, however, that I ponder the issue of my bed.  I bought my bed from friend Charlie in early 1993.  It's probably, now, about 90 - 100 years old.  

Lovely old bed, lovely old teddy, 
precious precious photo (limited edition) by Astrid Kirschherr
of the Beatles in Hamburg 1963.
The red muscling in on the right is Ikea.
Now it would never ever occur to me to replace it except that the rigours and vigour of a bouncing two, then three, then four year old have caused the springs in the spring base to break and spring off - ping!  Consequently the mattress is beginning to sag.

My heart is breaking but so is my back.  Do I replace my character-filled spine cracker with a benign and supportive slat bed like this?
Malm Double A$249

A development in the neighbourhood.

Old habits are hard to break.  

Even though the contracts on the House at Porter Street were signed off nearly three months ago, I still find myself, every couple of days, going back to realestate.com.au and looking for a house, THE house.  The one that got away.  Some think of this as masochism: an exercise in futility.  I, however, call it affirmation.  I've never found anything better than what we have.  So every day, in every way, I become more chuffed with the acquisition.

Woo hoo.

My search parameters are: 
- House
- 4+ bedrooms
- Templestowe + Doncaster + Donvale + Bulleen + Balwyn North 
- And I opt for inclusion of surrounding suburbs.

What I have recently found through this indulgence is there's likely to be a rather big development right nearby.  I know this because I stumbled on this dusty double block being advertised just up the road - for a lazy $1.5 - $1.7M.

At least Milo will enjoy the inevitable, presence of diggers and mixers and cranes.

27 January, 2011

Seven days to settlement

By this time next week:
  • (hopefully) Mum will be totally packed and still have her hair on
  • I will be mostly packed and primed for bizz-niss at the new house
  • the settlement on Mum's place will take place early in the day
  • the cheque for the House at Porter Street will be ready for handing over
  • new kitchen appliances will've been ordered
  • there will be a plethora of new photos and pictures to look at, from our inspection on Saturday at midday
  • we will all be doing a little jig.
Also, the more I look about, the more I like the look of brick painted white. Wonder if there's time to convince Mum to go with an extreme makeover...

(these pics sourced from blog http://www.doorsixteen.com)

    26 January, 2011

    Mum's Pine Box.

    The biggest challenge of the House at Porter Street, decoration and function wise, is indubitably Mum's pine box, aka the Room formerly know as Rumpus, aka Mum's bedroom.

    It is north east and east facing and has two oddly shaped, and one enormous standard window, on three sides, so at practically all day times (other than a total eclipse) the light in this room will be blinding.  There is a giant fold down table which will be removed. There is handy storage space inside the wall cavity in place of any insulation (not so handy).  There is also a bathroom vanity installed just next to where I stood to capture this delightful and ponderous image.

    Mum's pine box is going to be baking in summer, brrrrrrrr in winter and glaring all year round.

    Walls and ceiling of pine (uninsulated), 
    irregularly shaped windows on three sides 
    combined with fear and loathing of vertical blinds - 
    herein lie some the challenges of this room.

    I daren't ask why...

    We will be painting out the timber in "White on White" gloss to create a blank canvas and satisfy an overwhelming desire to purge the room of all that knotty, Scandinavian sauna-style blondness.

    After the expunging, the next imperative will be to find a streamlined solution to cover all those windows.  You can't see it from this picture, but the ceiling is vaulted, and the upper frames of the windows run parallel to the bottom frames. (I'm thinking rhombus or trapezium.) The obvious answer is the vertical blind, but for us, this is no solution.    

    Did I mention yet that the room's location, over the garage, means that anyone looking might be able to see in from the street or the neighbouring house?  (This is the only room in the house where this is the case.)  So I'm a bit in love with the idea of blinds that go from the bottom up.

    Luxaflex Duette Literise Shades

    Or plantation shutters...but I shudder to think how much they'd cost...

    And then you'd have to do a drape from floor to ceiling...but, can you do a drape that has a diagonal track that doesn't look mutated?  Or would you just put a horizontal track across the window (visible from the outside)?

    I always say I'm up for a challenge, and love a parameter.  However, I need to remember to be careful what I wish for, because this room is the mother of both.

    And this is the mother of me.

    My lovely Ma, in the midst of the
    pine challenge.

    25 January, 2011

    Cleansing the aura...

    Ever since June last year when I first entered the House at Porter Street, the thing that has lingered most intensely in my memory is the feeling of the place.  I have had photos and a shaky little handheld movie to remind me of the details, dimensions and colour scheme (brown and brown) but unaided yet crisp in my memory remains the lingering sadness that pervaded the space.

    Don't get me wrong.  It wasn't badness.  It wasn't wrongness.  It wasn't something that a lively, loving family with vigour, colour and enthusiasm couldn't remedy.  It just was what it was: a sense of defeat.

    To compare, Mum and I, in the early days of looking, had entered a house in Coolabah Street, East Doncaster that had the worst feeling of any house I have ever been in, EVER.  The representing agents must've felt it too, because at the open, they'd hired a band to stand outside performing rousing ragtime in a vain attempt to distract the prospectives from the unmissable, palpable echo of death, sustained suffering and malevolence that seeped through every atom of the place.

    The house at Coolabah Street was "The Vortex of Doom" and even now, six months later, the title understates the horror.  The feeling had nothing to do with the decor:  the bitumen surface of the front verandah or the derelict state of the rooms:  after all, I've been able to see possibilities in the most dire of housing environments (as evidenced by the house at Byron Street).  This was different.  This was unspeakable evil. In fact there was a life-sized image of a byzantine Jesus pasted to the wall surface facing the front door and icons in every room but I'm not sure even they helped combat the enmity (if you believe in that kind of thing).

    I now need to go and take a shower after thinking about it.

    Anyway, the point is that the House at Porter Street is a bit sad and longing for some life.  We have plenty to offer.  But I was wondering if a non-religious cleansing ceremony might be in order.  I've looked them up and found that many have to do with the burning of sage or pine (we have plenty of pine to sacrifice).  Sending smoke to the corners of every room and chanting incantations about air and fire and water and earth and energy and spirit and so on.

    I'm sure it'd be great if we went there.  

    But I don't think we will.  A thorough paint out, and a lifetime dose of Milo should do the trick equally well.

    *The Vortex of Doom is at number XXIII.  I see that it has been sold and leased. Oh my.

    24 January, 2011

    Remembering the bigger picture...reprise.

    I just had a word with the vendor's agent about his position on the pre-settlement inspection:  that is, that since we viewed the property within a fortnight of the contract signing, that we forfeited the right to a pre-settlement inspection.  And that we should be happy they were allowing us a half hour walk through on Saturday week...

    I pointed out that our viewing that first fortnight was stipulated in our contract, because we hadn't been in the house within two months of the sale.

    That the law states that purchasers are entitled to a viewing within the week prior to settlement, no matter what

    I noted that the list of chattels in the contract outlines features of the property that aren't actually there

    That we weren't asking for anything that wasn't within our rights under law, and that needed to be made plain.

    All that said, the agent (who is actually very nice) apologised, and agreed that we should be allowed to do what we need on Saturday week.

    Feeling much better about that now.

    Wouldn't like to think that we'd take possession
    and then find this cherub on ball statue
    or pot-plant had been removed.


    My banner is ruined.  Look at it!  

    I feel like I'm out in the world in my underwear.  Most unsatisfactory.  Can't function like this.

    Blogger are having some problems so I'm so glad to say it's not my fault, but that means to say that the fix is out of my hands.

    Let's all regroup when Google has their act together.

    23 January, 2011

    The Back Story - Part 2

    So we liked the house at Porter Street when we first saw it in mid-June.  And wondering how much it, or something like it, would sell for, we turned up at the auction on July 17.  There were seven or eight other parties present, also the agent's agents, and the vendor (peering anxiously through the upstairs verticals).  

    We all waited, under a cloudy sky, and watched (no-one actually listens) while the auctioneer flapped his jaws and eventually, finally, got to the part where he asked for bids.


    So the proceeding was kicked off with a vendor bid, swiftly followed by a lingering, deathly silence.

    It was instantly apparent that the assembly was comprised of observers not players, so the property was passed in on that opening vendor bid.  And we all went home.

    A few weeks later we decided to go back for another look.  In the interim we'd seen two handfuls of possibilities, but none of them had sat as happily with us as the house at Porter Street.

    This time, at the open, the agent, told us the sad tale of the vending family, now a family divided.  The house had to sell.  The people were eager to move on. I told him we didn't think it was worth what they were asking.  

    Within a couple of weeks the House at Porter Street was taken off the market.
    I was glad.  It bought us time.  No one new was going to know about it while it was  out of the mix.

    After Mum's auction came and went without success, it took two long months ('til 22nd October) and a pricing tweak, for a buyer to finally be found. (Hurrah.)  

    On Monday 25th I rang the scumbag agent and informally put a number to him.  "I know it's off the market, but I know they need to sell.  Would the vendors consider an offer in this vicinity?"  

    The agent phoned me back a few minutes later. "Congratulations [pause] on your mum selling her property.  I'd like to help you find the home you're after, but the vendors of Porter Street want a further $100,000 on what you are offering.  Let's make an appointment asap to discuss the prop..."

    I could've spat.  His stupid "when delivering bad news, open with a positive" strategy came off really really, REALLY badly.  I didn't want to talk to him and didn't want his help.

    On the Thursday 28th, Mum and I had an appointment with the bank about my mortgage pre-approval.  When we got home we went straight to realestate.com.au, armed for the first time with a real clue about our budget.

    The house at Porter Street was back out there, don't you know.  (It hadn't been there that morning.)  THE house, with a different agent, at $100,000 less than what the turd former agent had unequivocally informed me they wanted just three days earlier.

    Spooky.  Wonderful.  Magic.

    We had an advocate* negotiate with the new agent, (because I was having a heart attack) and on Sunday 31st we got the call that the deal was done, the house was ours.  And that was the end of the story.

    Mum, Milo and Dawn (our advocate)

    Except it's just the beginning of the story, really.  

    *Our advocate is now no longer in real estate - because as an industry, generally, it stinks.

    **When he heard about our purchase, the steaming pile former agent rang to congratulate me on the purchase.  I told him it was no thanks to him. I added that I know he lied misled me when he said he took our offer to the vendors. So the icing on this spectacular cake is that the rorter didn't get the commission.  HA.

    22 January, 2011

    The Back Story - Part 1

    It was mid-June 2010 when the ball was set in motion for what was ultimately the purchase of the House at Porter Street (on the last day of October).  We couldn't commit to anything until after mum's auction on what ended up being federal election day - 21 August, but were eager to explore the market.  

    There were many steps and considerations.  There were in excess of 40 houses viewed in person, and hundreds trawled through on the internet.  There were whole suburbs discarded outright for having the wrong vibe, and others (yearned for, but) scratched off for being too pricey (goodbye bayside).  There were schools to be investigated, public transport to be considered (?), also shopping, neighbours, traffic, and other amenities.

    We needed a house with four bedrooms and at least three indoor living spaces. One of the living spaces, and one of the bedrooms needed to be separate from the rest, and if possible, connected to each other (if there was no self-contained unit.)  You see, my parents have been divorced for decades and for continuing harmony in our lives, there needed to be room to move, room to breathe, room to be separate.  Room.

    We couldn't consider a house if all the bedrooms were together on the upper floor.  Same, if there was too much flow between the living spaces.

    We wanted an established garden.  We did not want to be on a main road (for the cats).  We didn't want to feel hemmed in by neighbouring houses, but we wanted to be within the 25km radius of Melbourne's CBD.

    Stylistically, I didn't want a new house.  I didn't want a boxy house.  I didn't want a house that someone else had renovated.  I didn't want halogen downlights.  

    I wanted natural light and big windows.  I wanted space.  I wanted something I could transform into something special.  I wanted substantial.  I wanted architecturally interesting.  Era-wise, I wanted 1920s through 1970s.

    The House at Porter Street was of the first houses we viewed.  The identifier as we drove up was the agent's board.  But looking past the board I saw a solid, honest house.  (I also saw pencil and other pines). I liked it (apart from the pencil and other pines). It looked interesting.  And the photos on the internet, though bleak, with an abundance of vertical blinds, showed promise.  

    What I didn't see, until we actually purchased months later, and I was taking photos outside was this ignoble feature.

    Gladly, a dreary little letterbox was not on my list of deal-breakers.

    21 January, 2011

    Bok bok bok

    Many years ago, a friend of a friend, living in Elsternwick, had in her yard, the most magical chicken coop in the world.  It was straight out of a cartoon: a mini house, all wonky and riddled with quirk, painted in bright primary colours, with a ramp to the front door for the ornamental orientals to parade home at the close of the day.

    It represents, in my minds eye, the pinnacle when it comes to poultry housing. (I wish I had a picture.)   It also sadly represents the apex of foul, fowl tragedy.  As one evening, arriving home on the tail of the setting sun, Janet found that a fox had done his worst and ravaged the population.

    I don't know if she ever recovered.

    It seems that Porter Street, too, must've been home to chickens in days gone by.  The abandoned structure at the bottom of the garden, however, embodies none of the charm of the coop of which I've spoken.  Rather than Disney, it summons to mind pure eastern bloc utilitarianism.  

    But that's not to say it doesn't have potential.  And who's to say that chooks don't actually prefer the more minimal and rustic aesthetic...

    20 January, 2011

    Glass half full.

    I saw an enchanting idea on Kirstie's Homemade House where she took some children's artwork and had it transferred onto ceramic tiles to add interest and personality to a family kitchen.  It was absolutely adorable.

    So you can understand now, how bloody excited I am, to've stumbled upon this crowd - asgsplashbacks.com.au.  It appears, with their Graphica Range, that they take client artwork or photos in high res pdf format, and reproduce directly onto glass.

    The applications are endless.  And the result spectrum can obviously extend from mindblowingly good to toe-curlingly bad.  But hey.  You would have to be mad not to embrace the potential.  And that's what I'm doing.

    I could reproduce a collection of Milo's works 
    for permanent display on the kitchen splashback.
    Compositions such as this, Milo's first attempt at capturing the spirit of the festive season,
    entitled Father Christmas and Sack (Dec 2010)

    The emperor, the stone and the porn star.

    If I was appearing in an opera about dream kitchen bench tops, I'd be performing the aria about polished Caesarstone with a double bullnose edge.  It's only the colour I don't know about at this time.

    The whitest white would be nice.  But then every stray crumb would drive me nuts.  (I do have a four year old, and a seventy-two year old, remember).

    Something with a bit of movement and distraction might be more relaxed.

    And not forgetting, our favourite, the porn princess and marble-like,

    We must remember too that since the existing laminate bench tops are about a quarter the weight of caesarstone, the structure of the cabinetry will most likely have to be reinforced (or worst case scenario replaced) to support the additional weight.  (All those acursed hidden dollars.)

    And I can't talk about any of this without touching on the cupboard doors.  I like shiny.  I like white.  I'm very very picky about handles.  I like pull out shelves and clever use of every available space.  

    And the final element to consider, and throw some logistical complication into the mix, is the reality that the older folks have their aversion to bending, and I (with my spinal injury) have trouble storing things overhead, so the configuration is going to have to be nothing short of genius.

    Ah me!  This kitchen.

    And don't get me started on stools...

    Momentary Configuration Dyspacia (MCD)

    In my 42 years, I have lived in 21 different houses in Melbourne.  
    1. Menarra Street, Doncaster (1968 - 1972)
    2. Rathmullen Quadrant, Doncaster (1972 - 1976)
    3. Tyalla Crescent, Toorak (1976 - 1979)
    4. Selwyn Court, Toorak (1979 - 1981)
    5. Aquila Street, Balwyn North (1981 - 1984)
    6. Albion Road, Box Hill (1984 - 1986)
    7. Disraeli Street, Kew (1987 - 1989)
    8. Clifton Street, Balwyn (1989 - 1990)
    9. Willesden Road, Oakleigh (1990 - 1993)
    10. Riversdale Road, Hawthorn (1993 - 1994)
    11. Auburn Road, Hawthorn (1994 - 1996)
    12. Shelley Street, Elwood (1996 - 1998)
    13. Alma Road, East St Kilda (1998 - 1999)
    14. Bent Street, McKinnon (1999 - 2000)
    15. Byron Street, Elwood (2000 - 2001)
    16. Docker Street, Elwood (2001 - 2002)
    17. Kooyong Road, Caulfield (2002 - 2004)
    18. Meadow Street, East St Kilda (2004 - 2006)
    19. Preston Street, Coburg (2006 - 2007)
    20. Orchard Street, Mont Albert North (2007 - 2009)
    21. Riverside Avenue, Balwyn North (2009 - 2011)
    By the time I am 43, I will have completed my 22nd move. 

    So, as a veteran gypsy, I have a system, tried and tested, to streamline the process of moving. I create a blueprint detailing the placement of everything.  

    It usually looks something like this. Except usually it's complete.  And usually there's one for every space in the house.  This time, however, I've mentally stalled: can't get my head around anything.    

    So with just over a month until we hear the screech of the removalist's truck outside, my system, reviewed and refined over the course of 20 odd years, is officially being thrown out the window.

    Did I say before?  I'm living this experience in the moment...

    19 January, 2011

    Forehand. Backhand. Rangehood. Lob.

    I'm watching the Australian Open and all the while, thinking about appliances.

    Today Ma, Milo and I went to Camberwell Electrics and picked the brains of the staff there about induction cooktops with a gas "domino" on the side, electric wall ovens and canopy rangehoods.  

    And I was reminded of my desire for an unconventional sink while we were there. 

    This beauty is being advertised online as being $500 off this month.  So I'm a little afraid to ask how much it might retail for usually.  

    It's sourced from a Queensland company – which gladly, is nowhere near as far away as Ireland. 

    Anyway, I'm daring to dream.

    Update 20 January 2011
    Just had a call from Belfast Sinks. $2,000 for this one. $1,500 on sale.  Hmmm.

    I am woman, hear me hammer: My DIY Manifesto.

    So it appears, after conversations with Ma yesterday, that I'm going to be painting the doors myself.  Truth told I'm a little intimidated by the whole spectre of removing them from their frames and getting them hanging again.  So I've been googling door painting instructions with door on and door off, and I'm hoping I've got it sorted - at least in my head.  

    Success will surely follow under these conditions:
    • Milo's nowhere around
    • I'm not rushed [and I don't need to pee] 
    • I have the right tools
    I come from a family which is all at once incredibly creative, but in no way handy:  we make music and art and food.  We communicate lyrically at times.  We embrace the original, the unusual, the obscure.  And we make wonderful things out of the little or the plenty we have access to.  

    However, when it comes to mending the letterbox, or changing a washer, there is something that comes over us.  A paralysis of sorts.  A heavy doubt.  A cloud of uncertainty.   And it is at these times that everything stops.  Dead.  Until mum organises a man to come and fix it.

    Now I choose to stand in the face of trepidation and challenge.  As a home owner, an independent woman and a person of logic (not to mention limited resources) I believe that the successful completion of simple DIY activities cannot possibly be as ominous as my consternation would have me believe.

    I am not going to be daunted by the prospect of failure.  I am going to research, mentally rehearse, create the right environment for success, jump in, be patient and persevere until the desired outcome is achieved.  And I will remember to live in the moment and enjoy the process.

    This is a new age.

    15 days to settlement.

    Milo and the birthday present
    from Jane and Gene:  seemingly benign, but
    in actuality, loaded with cruel mocking.

    18 January, 2011

    Remembering the bigger picture...

    ...but still a bit huffy.  Prompted by a letter from the agent that we are entitled to an inspection of the property in the week leading up to settlement, we've tried to organise a time.

    Now we're advised that because we went through the house two weeks after the sale (we hadn't viewed the house for two months before that), we have, in effect, already had that inspection.

    I beg to differ.  The walk-though we had was a condition of our offer since we hadn't seen the house in the weeks leading up.

    How are we supposed to ensure that the house was in the same condition it was when we purchased?  Do they expect us to settle on the property blind?

    Big hmph.  

    We're going to get a half hour walk through at midday on 29/01/11.  This is [mildly] better than a poke in the eye with a stick.

    17 January, 2011

    Toying with colour.

    I'm putting together a brief for the painter.
    We're going to maintain the vintage (1970s) character of the lounge area leaving untouched the brick and the timber and the glass (removing vertical blinds) and painting the walls and the ginormous bookcase next to the fireplace in Dulux "White on White".

    The rest of the house doesn't demand making the same statement and could really benefit from some funking up.  We're going to paint out some of the timber, and a bit of the exposed brick but I'm wondering if it would be crazy to also inject a little bit of block colour.  

    Feature walls just aren't my style, so I'm thinking of keeping the walls a blank canvas, but injecting some pops of colour into the doors at the back of the house.

    I am an enormous fan of the work of Matte Stephens and am thinking of using his colour palette for the task:

    Milo told me he would like his bedroom door to be red.  
    The corridor door could be orange.
    I think I would like my door to be green 
    And the toilet door could be blue.

    Is this idea playful.  Or just stupid?

    Update 22/01/2011

    Just found this magazine.  I like these colours even more.

    Twisting by the pool.

    I really didn't want a house with a pool that dominated the whole back yard.  We saw quite a few while we were looking.  In terms of the layout of the house at Porter Street and its garden, I really couldn't be happier with the location of the pool, except of course if the whole house was reversed and the kitchen, livingroom and pool were on the north east side.  But then again, poolwise, there would probably be too much sun and we'd have to erect some sort of canopy. 

    Dig those pencil pines.  Yup, dig them right out of the garden, please.
    So.  I'm happy with the location of the pool.  

    And the great thing about it too is that it's impenetrable on three sides:  you've got the side of the house on one side, the boundary fence on the other side, and a gated brick wall at the end.  (Oh, and I've just noticed from this picture that there are steps at both ends.  Nice.)

    So my thought is that instead of the metal fence on the fourth side, we should install a glass fence for aesthetic as well as safety purposes.

    View of pool from other edge of verandah.

    Melbourne Glass Pool Fencing depicing use of glass and metal fence around pool.
    We will be getting rid, too, of all those straggly plants, pencil pines, pebbles and statues and other crap stuff and clean up the space with a clean, modern, built in timber bench, lining the fence-side which can act as poolside seating and storage.

    As it is, it looks pretty messy, but the brick work / tiles are sound.
    I saw exactly the sort of thing in this month's Home Beautiful.  I'll add a picture if I can find one online.