June 19, 2008 | Ronda Jambe

Under the Moruya Moon (6)

Two steps forward, one step back. It’s the way of the world. So it wasn’t surprising to find that the termite damage to the house was worse than we thought. The floor in one bedroom had collapsed before the tenants moved out last December, and it has taken us this long to get a good estimate of the full extent. Now the gyprock has been ripped out to have a closer look, and it’s not pretty.
The little brick house is kind of cute on the inside, but truly ugly on the outside, an 80’s creation that missed the only really worthwhile feature of the site, which is distant views of the ocean. This view is of the entry through the laundry, there is a ‘front’ door, but we never use it. The kitchen/dining room has a blank wall where it could look out on glittering water:
brick house.jpg
We refurbished the house to improve its rental prospects a few years ago, with some basic freshening up like new vanity, carpet, curtains, and paint. But always we thought about knocking it over and building something more modern a bit further up the hill. This would both give better views and put it at greater distance from the shed. The kitchen is servicable but original, with crumbling internal shelves and now some cracks in the stove top. There was a leak from the septic system, and now the termite damage.
open wall 1.jpg
The termites are gone, but because some outside cement paths are above the level of the vapour barrier, water has gotten in and rotted the flooring. And it goes right through the frame of the house. Repairs would probably be throwing good money after bad.
But the shed conversion is coming along, slowly:
back view.jpg
Now instead of having a dual occupancy with two functioning dwellings, it looks like we might just have the shed and a condemmed place that we will pillage for its brand new solar hot water system and a few light fittings. We already bought a new vanity for the shed. Or should we just bite the bullet, keep hemorraging money, and repair the house so we can rent it out for a few more years?
I’ve always resisted discarding things, be they clothing, appliances, or furniture. And yet here we are with a purely economic decision to cast away a structure that is only about 30 years old. Houses should last longer, even at the coast, with termites laying in wait everywhere. Mice have also gotten into the house, now that the floorboards are exposed, and we had to lay traps the other weekend.
Bad design together with bad choice of materials have condemmed this house, perhaps we can build something more sturdy. Eventually. At the moment, the termites seem to be having the last laugh:
open wall 2.jpg

Posted by Ronda Jambe at 1:57 pm | Comments (1) |
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