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The Thirties House

October 12th, 2011 by admin

Winona, at her sister Helena’s house to survey baby hand-me downs, looks around and sighs. She remembers when this house on a Hutt Valley hill was the archetypical Wellingtonians-in-their-thirties house.

In these newly acquired abodes, the purchasers spent all the money on the mortgage, or the baby, or the mortgage and the baby. The house interior came last. They’d scraped up one or two good pieces of furniture, but the walls were bare. Shoes were lined up neatly on the spare room floor to compensate for the lack of both furniture and closet space. Horrid paint and grey or beige carpet endured throughout. Either the kitchen or the bathroom urgently needed renovating.  Tools had been strewn everywhere. Visitors were treated to a nigh-virtual tour – “and when we renovate, we’re going to take this wall out” – that blurred the plain house with the house the owners saw in their imagination. You didn’t have to take your shoes off – what was the point? Besides, the floor wasn’t insulated yet.

But today Winona left her shoes at the door. Because Helena now has the 40s house. At 39, Helena took a deep breath and announced it was time to live like grown-ups. The mortgage got extended. The furniture’s not patchy any more, the new carpet underfoot is a beigey-grey, and the renovated bathroom gleams. Winona is pleased to admire a non-imaginary bathroom, but she does feel a little twinge. Her living situation, even with the upcoming move, will be the 30s house for a while longer.

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