For those of you that have followed my editorials and Garage Life column in NZ Performance Car over the years, you'll know that I have always had a thing for sheds. I'm not 100-per-cent sure where I developed that strange fascination, but for as long as I can remember I have always enjoyed awesome work spaces; perhaps it's because I find the journey of building a car probably more enjoyable than actually driving it. So each new house we have moved into over the years (10 houses in 10 years), the shed has always been my number one priority. Only this time we have taken it one step further.
Now, anyone who doesn't live in a big city like Auckland will probably not get what I'm on about, but it's always been a struggle to find suitable digs to house myself, my partner, and our collection of cars/projects. The property prices are going one way around here, and finding a place with a big shed close enough to the CBD was becoming expensive, and taking up a little too much car money for my liking.
So that brings me to the introduction of my latest project; no it's not another car, but a borderline derelict live/work situation, located deep in the industrial heartland of AK city. Any realtor may have used tag lines like a do-up dream, potential aplenty, oozing with opportunity, or other such marketing buzz terms, but in reality it was a dark, dingy industrial unit in much need of some energy to bring it back to life. Only problem was we had no money and only three weeks to get it to a liveable standard. Let the fun begin.
The place had been inhabited by an 80-year-old with, what I'm told was, a dependency for the bottle and a pack of Pall Mall reds. He seemingly had no cleaning skills and filled the place with crap. If I'm honest it took a little self convincing that we could turn it into something we could live in — or not be ashamed to call home at our age. The plan is to renovate the two-storey living quarters with an industrial feel; yes hours were spent on the net fleecing ideas.
First up we ripped out the old kitchen and dividing wall to give the living area an open-plan feel. It was at this point that the old ‘what the hell are we up to’ kicked in, but a few hours later the room was gutted and the rebuild could begin. Thankfully the building is clear span, so the wall was not load baring.
It was amazing to see how much of a difference removing the wall made; then it was just a matter of learning the art of GIB stopping; calling in the father-in-law, who is a builder by trade, made life much easier.
The room was then ready for a final sand and then a coat of paint. Believe you me, that's not a job I feel like repeating any time soon. But it's done, so we can now get on with building a kitchen — yes, I said building. When you're strapped for funds it's amazing what you can produce with a little resourcefulness, plywood, and a hammer.
The workshop space itself was in need of a good clean up — this is about halfway through. Once bare, a fresh coat of white for the walls was applied, some lining for the room upstairs, shelving, a lick of paint on the floors, and the rear wall has something special from the guys at Zero 9 Signs that I have been waiting to put somewhere for a very long time. But more on that next time.
We will be using the workshop to shoot most of our NZ Performance Car technical guides as I plan on kitting it out with everything we could possibly need; but before I can get back to playing with cars there is a ton of renovation work to complete.
Living in a workshop might not be everyone's idea of a dream home, but for me its my version of the Kiwi quarter-acre dream, but with no need for a lawnmower. It might not look like much now, but if the vision is realized, it's going to be a rad place for MOMOWERKS to be based from. It's full steam ahead this week, but expect another update on Monday with how things are progressing. But once its sorted I will be kicking the Garage Life blog back into life here on themotorhood.com.