I'm not in a mood (or feel like I have the time, anyway) to do any more fancy rendering than these quick sketches on Paint, but here's, basically, what we're thinking we'll do with the house in the next, say, two-three years.
Similar to what we had in our rental property on Ness street, we are going to build a deck which is partly enclosed with clear plastic sheets, marked in blue. There's going to be a roof, and a wall which will protect us from cold Southwesterly winds and give me a good place to hang up washing.
On the outside corner and possibly the whole perimeter, there are going to be plant boxes - strawberries and herbs, probably. (Marked in green.) In the inside corner we are thinking of planting our lemon bush as it will be 1) protected from the cold winds and 2) warmed by the heat of the walls - and that, we hope, will help it survive the climate as lemons are not really meant to live in Invercargill, but we so loved! having them in Christchurch that we're trying to think of ways to have a lemon bush here. Short of having it in a greenhouse, that seems like the next best option...
In pink I've marked the future french doors, glass throughout, for easy access to the deck and to bring light inside the living room.
Living room french doors.
To be fair, we're thinking of putting two sets of french doors in the living room - one to the abovementioned deck for outside access, and another to the spare bedroom which we currently use as a storage space.
The idea is, with the doors wide open (the inside doors, I mean) the living room could be a large open space, for example if we have guests over and the kids need space to run around - but we could also just as easily close them, and then the rooms would technically be two separate rooms. There would maybe be a pull-out couch for guests to sleep on over nighttime, and in winter it would be a smaller space to heat with the doors closed.
Here, maybe this will help you understand: I've taken a copy of our house floor plan straight off our council property file (back in 2001 when the living room was expanded by taking off a wall, they submitted this drawing to the council who've given us a copy) and I've now used it in Paint to sketch on top of it.
Out the back we have five functional areas that we want to set up:
* a toolshed for The Man's wood store and tools,
* a chicken coop,
* a playhouse for the kids,
* a veggie patch and planter boxes and
* a firewood shed.
Again, here is another image I've copied straight off our council property file and sketched on top of:
As with everything else I've mentioned above, nothing is set in stone at this stage: all we're doing is talking and visualising, and seeing how we use this space so we can work out what changes we need to do in order for it to be comfortable.
The good thing is: we're not planning on going anywhere. There's no re-sale values we're bothered about, or investment margins off rental income, or anything else along those lines. We're working towards making this place a home for us, within the limits of our income and what we want to spend on it.
We visualise this place in three years time and ask ourselves, what's the house and our day like, and then we go from there.