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DIY: Destroy it yourself renovations

DOING MY BLOCK: There will be blood, or at least irreversible damage, as the range of murderous attempts of renovation continue in this country.
DOING MY BLOCK: There will be blood, or at least irreversible damage, as the range of murderous attempts of renovation continue in this country. zager

DESPITE having surfed the sea of vitriol out there in cyberworld for a while now without succumbing to the trap of calling an anonymous keyboard warrior an idiot, seems I too have been bitten by the troll bug. I've posted three critical statements on three similar threads now, condemning posts that are otherwise chirpy but oblivious to their faults in an attempt to derail and expose them. I'll call them home improvement posts but that is as complimentary as it gets.

Otherwise it's terms like disregard, disrespectful, disgusting - a general dissing of what is being held up as amazing and inspiring changes.

Seems spotting anything remotely upsetting in the name of home improvement unleashes a snarkiness no other online topic is yet to generate. I can't help but rip into these blinkered individuals who can't see the classic brick for the plasterboard.

The promoters of such appalling examples of defacement and overnight trends feel no remorse in doing so, in fact they think they are saviours all while making a motza out of doing so. Evangelist interior designers whose flock blindly follows their mantra of benign.

Sure, there are cases where houses or buildings are beyond repair and need some help to avoid the bulldozer. But there are plenty of examples where there is absolutely no neglect except for the realisation that the decade in which their house was constructed doesn't go with that dream kitchen they want but will force in there anyway.

My main trolling hinges on this latter trend. Buying a particularly glorious example of a house from a different era and, rather than respectfully enhancing or tweaking it to honour its architectural pedigree, it is completely gutted, wiped out inside and torn from its perfectly formed frame to "modernise”.

These offences mainly hinge on these scenarios:

Knocking out completely functional and well kept kitchens and bathrooms representative of the era of house to put up shiny, new soulless ones. Why buy a 1960s or 70s house if you hate bespoke olive green or brown tiles made and imported from Italy? No, you are much happier with Chinese-made shiny, white ones from Bunnings because light and bright is the way the go. Or ripping out an enamel bath to put in a bigger plastic one that doesn't suit the proportions of the room or discard the dated but original light fittings made of handblown green glass and chrome because that funky white plastic ones on the Block were more awesome and look like a spider.

(For future renovating references, architects are using Italian made olive green and brown tiles in "new” builds because they were featured in houses that were built for and to blend in with the natural Australian landscape, not the Tuscan one. The best design in this country harks back to the mid century - that's the 20th, not the 19th.)

Then there is rendering, painting or plasterboarding over bespoke brick that isn't made anymore. A growing crime that has no policing. The Clarence is particularly brutal when it comes to this modern phenomenon. This was a brick-making town with several very distinctive versions over its 20th century decades in red, cream and brown varieties created by using locally sourced components, unique moulds and kilns to craft signature building blocks. Nope, they're ugly. I want a painted flat grey surface, not bricks that have different textures and colours on them. Inside my early 1970s exposed brick walled, cathedral ceiling, slate floored, I want white, white, white. Everything so dark and gloomy so we are going to plaster all over walls, tile all over the slate and paint the timber panelling and ceiling white.

I blame The Block and other over zealous house flippers for this modern travesty.

I have harped on about this before. Why should caretakers of buildings inflict passing fads on to houses that were and will be there long before and after they will be? Good honest design using vastly superior materials to today's. If you want to live in a new home perhaps you should just buy one rather than trying to turn that 1965 flat-roofed Grafton cream brick example into one that looks like it's off-the-plan.

The fight to save the Brutalist (ugly to your average Block viewer) Sirius building in Sydney is a step in the right direction. Until then it's sledgehammers, reconstituted stone benchtops and two-pac kitchens at 20 paces.



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