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Recreating Authenticity

We all have an idea of what we want when we're doing up our homes. There's never really a right or wrong, and as we have to live with what we do, I guess it's a really personal thing.

The part of the house I'm doing up at the moment has been so modernized in the past that it almost has no original features. The walls are modern and the floors are concrete, however, there are the huge beams that run across the ceilings which are a great starting point...the rest will hopefully fall into place.

My overall objective with this house is for the work I do to end up looking like it's always been here... a kind of invisibility: something that looks as if it's been lived in for centuries and has had a fresh lick of paint. Something authentic and comfortable.

This aesthetic of mine comes from a love of historical and imperfect buildings. I've always loved old houses, dwellings that have survived modernity but have also felt its benefits with loving restoration, fascinating additions, and years of ware.

This continues through the materials I like. I was given and old wooden floor by a friend who lives locally and is doing up their house. The wood was a little rough and had areas of that weren't suitable for her sons' room. But these old, thick, wide planks were perfect for my house where similar floors once lay, but had long been replaced.

The walls I'm building are of Ytong blocks which is not a traditional material but very versatile. If you haven't heard of them, look them up as they're wonderful to work with if you're building new walls and don't like the idea of plasterboard. I'm not a good plasterer but the final effect is one I like, it matches the original walls here in No 19 and reminds me of the texture I found in old castles in Scotland where I used to go on holiday as a child.

The work is slow going and that suits me just fine. I'm keen to get the hallways looking good as it stops the house from feeling like a worksite, but the more time that passes with this upstairs project, the more the ideas flow and changes are made.

One of the major motivations is my coworker Dušan. Dušan has helped me over the years and working with him is a pleasure. He's younger and stronger which helps, but most of all he has a different rhythm. My desire to observe the environment and think everything through, is balanced out perfectly with Dušan's drive to get the job finished and I love this combination. It takes the project from the idea stage to the reality.

There are always good and bad days when it comes to this kind of work. After a very successful day yesterday plastering and doing woodwork, I spent the entire day today trying to get some kitchen cabinets to fit in and look good... I failed! When speaking with my mother tonight, she told me to step back, be creative and do it another day with a fresh viewpoint.

Would I do it differently if I had a huge budget? I probably would, but not that much. Rather than customising the bedroom doors I have I'd probably have nice ones made. But I do think the overall end result would be the same and that makes me feel good about this DIY project ♥️

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