Perhaps one of the best parts in buying a do-up villa, is you get to engage in some healthy destruction.
For example, take our master bedroom. It had a fake lowered ceiling, some rough gibbing, damaged walls, and most of the architrave removed and replaced with bland haphazardly knocked together pieces of timber. There was also a mysterious pelmet around the top part of the bedroom.
Why was the ceiling fake? Was the original ceiling damaged? Was it even still there?
And why did someone add a pelmet? Structural reinforcement? Or was it a fasionable quirk from the 60s?
We engaged in an exploratory mission.
Of course the exploratory mission soon turned into a full scale path of destruction.
The fake ceiling turned out to be some sort of compressed cardboard. But underneath it was the original ceiling. And it was in excellent condition (except for the 100s of nail holes from holding up the softboard).
From a fragment of newspaper, and some dates scribbled on a bright green layer of wallpaper, we deduced the house was first gibbed in 1961.
It seems our 1960s home-renovator may have been somewhat insecure about their carpentry abilities, and added extra nails to anything they did, just to be sure it would stand the test of time.
The door frame was securely fastened with approximately 150 nails, some of which are typically only seen in heavy duty construction.
To ensure the door frame would never fall down, our home-handyman used approximately 183 nails per square metre, or 1 nail per 7cm square area of timber.
That’s a lot of nails.
In colonial times nails were equivalent to currency, and people would burn down houses just to retrieve them.* Should we ever face similar times, our house could just be the jackpot.
*Although, I’ve been unable to verify this, and it might just be an urban legend.