Home

I wrote about the fire and the temporary permanence we lived in for close to two years. But I haven’t written about coming home.


There were of course the expected delays in the build. The took a while floors, the joinery too and each had their own knock on effect. But in the last week of May we got the keys on the Friday. We hired a van, bought a shed load of flat pack furniture and over the weekend we moved.

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That Friday I spent the house night building furniture. I am somewhat of an IKEA master and knew from the outset this was going to be tough. Two wardrobes, a bed, two desks, a rather large chest of drawers, bookcase and a bunch on incidentals awaited me. I went and bought an electric screwdriver and every hex key attachment you would need and settled in. I came come at 1am, slept and was back at the house by 8am.

My wife packed up the rental. The problem with losing all your stuff is that you have to replace it – most of it. While there is plenty of superfluous stuff in our lives there are also plenty of ‘essentials’. Technologies and objects that make life easier. Goods that we have that we only use occassionaly, but are vital when called upon. But it’s funny how quickly you accumulate. The rental was fully furnished, so lucky we didn’t have to move much furniture (hence the flat pack frenzy), but there were clothes and games and utensils and stuff to preen and clean and smell better. Toys – so many toys for such a short while, many given to us from those helping out in the aftermath – they were sorted, packed and many given new homes.

Over that weekend all the furniture was erected, stuffed and filled. The house was a mess for a few more days as we began to unpack – and then I left. Off to Oklahoma for the Domains Conference. I left my wife and daughter alone in this new/old place.

My daughter didn’t really remember the house. We had looked at photos but it didn’t click. Saturday she walked in to her new room. Immediately she had her place – the bed, the dresser/desk, wardrobe with her clothes, bookcase with her books and boxes of toys. It became recognisable as her space within minutes.

The house was unpacked, clean and warm when I got home. I hadn’t learnt how to use the new appliances – induction cooktop and fancy oven – so it felt alien at first. But life didn’t stop, it kept ticking with the beat and we slowly got back to the rhythm.

School is close now, a quick walk around the corner. It was bitingly cold some mornings – but I love holding hands with my daughter and chatting as we made out way to class on the cold mornings.

The house is so warm. We’d been used to the typical Australian design feature of gaps and drafts in all our other houses. They let the cold air in and the warm air out in winter, vice versa in summer. We’d decided to spend the money and replace all the external doors and windows with double glazed units and the new building codes required floor and ceiling insulation. The new heating and cooling meant every room could be warmed just so – it was amazing. Can’t wait for summer now 🙂

We spent money doing stuff to the house. There are more cupboards everywhere and a new bathroom. We’ve ditched the deco elements (not necessarily by choice) and embraced modernism. We picked bold primary colours, bright whites and inky blacks. We installed a Mondrian in the kitchen and went redder on the cupboards.

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The laundry is white with a splash of blue and the bathroom opening is golden. The little (expensive) touches were worth it the custom vanity and bench works for that small space. The antique brass finish on the taps is a relief from the standard chrome. I love the patina they’re developing.

The appliances, which were a considerable sticking point in our dispute with the insurance company, work really well. I love the control of modern electric appliances – and now I have that back, where the numbers on the dial means something – not just too hot or not hot enough.

But all that is nothing. It’s just stuff. It’s ours and it’s done but in reality it’s kind of inconsequential.

But what does matter is that I feel like I’m back home, in my place, the one my wife and I made. The one we worked on, and put our sweat and blood into. The one we had to fight for. The one where we bought our daughter to just 2 days after she was born. Where she grew and took her first steps. Where we celebrated birthdays and got together with family and friends. Where we cuddled together on Sunday mornings, bleary eyed and half asleep and watched movies, drank warm drinks and ate eggs.

There’s a few outstanding jobs in the house. We haven’t even touched the yard. But life is good now. We are happy with our spot. Home.

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