Monday, 6 February 2017

Fifteen years in one house

Old Polish proverb: "The first house you build, you build for your enemy. The second house you build, you build for a friend. The third house you build, you build for yourself." The suggestion is, of course, that practice makes perfect. Far more Poles live in houses they've self-built (or had someone build for them as a bespoke project) than in the UK, where developers build what sells and the punters move in. This is testament to the fact that Poland has a lot more land than England, and that therefore there are fewer restrictions on home-building.

The Polish way, until the recent boom in mortgage loans, was to buy a plot, design the house (nothing to complicated or showy), lay the foundations, erect the structural shell then add roof, put in windows and doors, then finally finish off with plumbing, flooring, heating, kitchen & bathroom - then move in. With a couple of years of scrimping and saving between each phase. Mortgage loans means one can advance faster.

In the case of our home, into which we moved on this day in 2002, it took just over two and half years between me spotting the perfect plot of land and us moving in to a (nearly) finished abode. But then a mortgage helped to speed up a process that the save-and-spend-on-next-phase method would have taken ten years or more.

I look back at where I'd lived...
  • Croft Gardens, Hanwell. 12 years, 7 months
  • Cleveland Road, West Ealing. 6 years, 5 months
  • Warwick University - on and off campus, 3 years 9 months.
  • Cleveland Road, back for another 2 years, 4 months
  • Ribchester Avenue, Perivale, 14 years, 9 months
  • Ul. Gajdy, Pyry, 4 years, 6 months
  • Ul. Trombity, Jeziorki, 15 years.
So I've lived under this one roof for longer than in any other house in my life. Other than two years of living on campus, I've always lived in a house, never in a flat. Never worried by someone upstairs or downstairs playing music too loudly. Twenty-eight years living in a detached house.

After 15 years in Jeziorki, the house feels comfortable. The downstairs windows were repaired last year, but everything else is still as it was. Kitchen appliances, washing machine and tumble dryer (all Bosch, since you ask), the central heating (Junkers) all works fine, thanks. One or two hairline cracks in the plasterwork, oak flooring showing signs of wear (under my desk, top of the stairs), otherwise the structure is sound and well insulated (thick Wienerberger Porotherm bricks, with six inches of expanded polystyrene stuck to the outside). Patch of damp over the upstairs bath (ventilation was put in wrong place), and the downstairs ventilation was never connected to the fan. No other problems to report. The garden's lovely, the moles at bay.

What would I change in the next house? Principally, style. Out goes trad, neo-vernacular, dworek-style with columns and references to the 19th Century. In would come neo-moderne, big windows from floor to ceiling, steel, stone and wood, underfloor heating and even more space. A bigger garage, a bigger garden. Lots of privacy.

This time last year:
London, Warsaw, governance

This time two years ago:
Białystok: Ipswich of the East 

This time three years ago:
Sadness at the death of Tadeusz Mosz

This time four years ago:
Interpreting vs. translating vs. explaining

This time five years ago:
More than just an Iluzjon

This time six years ago:
Oldschool photochallenge

This time seven years ago:
Warsaw's wonderful nooks and crannies

This time nine years ago:
Viaduct to the airport at ul. Poleczki almost ready

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Well done!