Over the last couple of weeks my partner and I have debated a series of house plans and I’ve been up to my neck in a huge effort to empty my home getting it ready for sale. Of course you wouldn’t have to be Sherlock Holmes to work out which part of the house plan I’m really interested in: my train room of course and, to be more specific, how much space I’m going to have available to eventually build a layout in. For me the critical dimension is the length of the room. It’s not that the width is irrelevant however a long, narrow room would be preferred to a square one. My current space has an internal length of 7.3 meters and is just over 4 meters wide. I’ve made a deal with the better half that she can have anything else she wants in terms of arrangement of rooms, finishes and colours as long as I get more space than this.
Now as negotiations progressed I made vague noises about needing a minimum of 8 meters for the length of the room and joked that if I thought I could get away with asking for 10 meters then I’d do so. The problem with asking for a particular length is that as numbers are crunched and room sizes in theory have to face up to the reality of avalilable land, the chances are that a big empty room like my train room is likely the first to face cuts. So the various iterations of the plans I’ve been shown have had a range of numbers on them ranging from 7m right up to 10m. I felt I had to man up and put my foot down: I made it clear that the 8m length of the room was not a dimension around which the final figure would hover but rather it was a minimum length that would be acceptable.
So when the irresistible force met the immovable object we decided that we needed to stop guessing and do some actual measuring and pegging out of the available space. The current plan is to knock the house down that currently sits on the site of the new home and build on the cleared space and down into a large, vacant grassed lot at the rear of the house.We convened in the yard with pegs, measuring tapes, stretchy string and compass to do some pegging out and discuss ideas. The decision had been taken that the new house would be sited only partly overlapping the site of the current dwelling and that the front of the house would run at a particular angle to take advantage of the northerly light etc etc. The main peg line would run under the current house and provide the datum for the rest of the measurements. Guess who got the job of crawling under the house to draw the string line taut! 🙂
We walked around, discussed ideas and plotted dimensions while the chooks scratched about on a glorious Sunday morning. It almost seemed a shame to build a house on the site and spoil the ambience. In the end I had to leave as I had a house to empty and a drive to complete before it got too late so I took off and left her with a thoughtful expression on her face. That afternoon I got a photo of the new plan via text message with the dimensions of the train room marked in as 9mx6m. To the uninitiated this may seem a famous victory. I have a feeling I may have got the point across about 8m being a minimum dimension but I’ve been here before. Over the past weeks somehow dimensions have had an uncanny habit of shrinking when I’m not looking. When the plans are drawn up by a professional and forced to conform to local planning laws I have a feeling that the first space that will be asked to give a bit when needed will be my 9mx6m. We’ll have to wait and see.