Saturday, December 09, 2006

renovations update, and a meme

Latest renovation developments …….
Renovations on the nameless one are moving along nicely, as long as you understand that things get worse before they get better, and in order to construct, you often need to demolish first! OK you’ve been warned… this is how things progressed today….
(to find out more about this if you are new to this site, go to the previous 2 or 3 posts)

The first few sections of the front wall bite the dust (very literally, my lungs will never be the same again!!)

Beware chicks with power tools!....

Better leave it to the young men…

The gross old vinyl floors have been scraped from the kitchen, sadly leaving the underlying wood quite damaged. We will sand the floors throughout the house next week, and depending on how these come up, we may have to consider putting new flooring on top. There is a cushioned vinyl sheeting which has a wood plank finish, that is not first prize, but is reasonably priced and water resistant. The wooden laminate flooring is lovely, but dodgy to use where water is an issue.

And speaking of GROSS floors, here are the dog-wee encrusted old carpets, ready to be taken to the tip, good riddance!

So there we have it, next week we start to rebuild the pillars and prepare the wooden panels to fit between them.

Much as we all adore trees and hate cutting them down, I have a feeling these ficuses might have to go, look what the roots have already started doing to the wall, and the trees are still young! What possessed the previous owners to plant trees with such notoriously invasive root systems in such a tiny garden, I can’t imagine. Luckily our leopard trees have made lots of babies, and the plan is to plant some around the ficuses, let them get well established, and then remove the ficuses before they do too much harm.
I love memes, but noticed that lately a lot of the ones I have seen were obviously aimed at teenagers. Since that ship sailed a LONG time ago for me, I decided it would be fun to set up my own “working adult’s meme” (Naturally, if you are not officially employed, but stay at home to look after your house and/or kids, you qualify as one of the hardest workers, so this is for you too.) If you are retired, you probably worked once, so could still answer retrospectively.
If you want to play along, copy, paste, delete my answers and add yours in your blog, then let me know in the comments page for this blog, so I (and anyone else who is interested) can visit you. Hope you enjoy it!

1. What is your job/career?
I am currently an Interior Designer.
2. Have you always done this, or have you had other jobs/careers in the past?
I have been through many “seasons” in my life and done some quite diverse things. I love change and new challenges, but whenever I find a new field that interests me I throw myself into it with a passion! Over the years I have been a professional photographer (kids and weddings), a manageress in a bathroom boutique, a laboratory technician (chemical and microbiology analysis), a potter, and a volunteer marriage counsellor, before getting into interior design.
3. Do you see yourself staying with this job until retirement, or moving on to new things?
I am already starting to get restless, after 16 years of this, and although I still love many aspects of it, I also find it very stressful constantly meeting tight deadlines and dealing with suppliers and contractors who let me down. What I would really love to do is ease up on the design work, maybe do a few good jobs a year, and paint semi-full time. As my art is selling more and more, this is getting closer to a reality.
4. What is the aspect or task you most enjoy about your job?
The actual design process, coming up with cutting edge ideas and working out how to make them work. Also putting wonderful fabrics together, playing with colour combinations, and different construction materials. I love using materials for something other than what they are traditionally used for. For example, using a glass curtain rod finial as part of a headboard, mixed with wood, metal, fabric etc. I also enjoy the process of “getting into the client’s head” to turn their vision into reality. I am passionate about making the finished space an expression of the client and who they are, rather than an expression of my own personal style, and I love the process of working with them to get to that point.
5. What do you least enjoy?
Definitely the admin! I am SOOOO not a disciplined bean-counter type. I hate invoicing and chasing a paper trail for orders etc. Also unreliable suppliers, and occasional snooty or difficult clients, although I have been very lucky, and most of my clients are delightful and have become regulars.
6. If you had your life over, would you choose the same occupation, and if you would change it, what would you prefer to do?
This is a tough one, I love what I do, but I also would have liked to try other stuff. I think, because I also have a strong technical and logical leaning, I would have loved to be an Architect, so I wish I had studied Architecture instead of Geology, Maths and Chemistry, but I don’t regret having that knowledge either. As it turned out, I don’t think being a geologist would have fitted in with my married life, and I would have found myself creatively stifled, so I don’t regret that I didn’t pursue it as a career.
I would like to have discovered art sooner, I never did art at school and only started teaching myself to paint in 2000, so I often feel at a disadvantage with that.
And, of course, there is travel, I would have adored a job which allowed lots of travel to interesting places, but again that would have been difficult to fit in with being wife and mom.
7. Do you work for a boss, or are you self employed?
Self employed, and anyone who is self employed know you couldn’t have a worse boss! You make demands on yourself that you would never tolerate if you were working for someone else!
8. Does your job involve working with other people, or being alone a lot of the time? How is that for you?
My job is extremely people oriented. I deal with clients all day, as well as suppliers and contactors, and I also employ an assistant designer, an admin assistant, and a bookkeeper,
I love people, and am very gregarious, but I get to saturation point, so when I get home I treasure my “alone time” and my time with Max.
9. Are you a good delegator, or a “if you want a thing done properly, do it yourself” kind of person?
Sadly I am the second. It limits what you can do, because you can personally only get through so much in any given day, so I have been working really hard at this. I have become good at delegating, and giving my staff chances to prove themselves and grow their skills. I have become much more productive as a result of this, but I still enjoy the ‘hands on’ approach, and can’t resist getting stuck in myself. (You only have to see the photo of me with the angle grinder to see what I mean about this!)
10. Are your favourite leisure pastimes similar to your job, or very different?
Mostly fairly similar, I love photography, reading, painting, travelling.
11. Do you work fixed hours, or whenever there is a demand? (does this mean long or short hours)
Refer to remarks under # 7. I am a TERRIBLE workaholic, no fixed hours, and the demand means LONG hours. Again, this is something I’ve been consciously working on. A few years ago I opened a shop to retail some of my funky furniture designs, as well as all sorts of interior accessories. I still carried on with the design consulting too, and ended up working 20 hours a day, literally. I got the brink of serious burn-out, and realised I must take charge of my life. So I closed the shop, and now work by appointment only.
12. If you have kids, how do they fit in with your job?
Up until a month ago, I would have said “they don’t!” because they are both grown up and out of the country. But I recently employed my daughter, who has moved back here with her Zimbabwean husband and their child, as my admin assistant, so now I would say she fits in well!
13. Do you dread retirement, or are you counting the days?
A bit of both! I feel like I can’t keep up this pace or level of responsibility for ever, and would love more “me time”, but I don’t ever see myself sitting around having nothing but leisure time, it would drive me mad!
14. Do you work from home, or in an office?
An office. I used to work from home, and ended up working all the time. I find it easier to set boundaries for myself and my clients if I work at an office, and come home to chill!
15. Does your work give you the opportunity to travel?
I do get to work for people in surrounding towns, which is fun. I also try and go to a couple of the big Décor expos in Capetown or Johannesburg each year, to keep up with trends. But not as much as I would like.
16. If so, where?
See above


Deb R said...

I love the photos!

The meme is fun too. I'm not sure I'm career-oriented enough to do it, but I'll consider it and let you know if I take it on. :-)

Janet said...

I just popped over to thank you for your visit to my blog and WOW!! I have just spent some time reading and exploring and love it. Your paintings are beautiful (love the pitcher)and your grandson, Ethan is adorable! Such curls! I think the spoons and knives embedded above the stove is a fantastic idea. Also like the "legs" stools! Those would be so much fun. And last but not least, I love your Christmas tree!! I haven't even put one up yet and can't seem to get in the mood. Yours is fun and easy and different.
Well, now that I've written a "novel" I guess I'll be going ... but I'll return for sure. And maybe I'll even do your meme.

Ali Honey said...

Hi Suzi-k, Those are great photos! Please take care when you are chipping or sanding.....even if it is hot ...wear a face mask and safety glasses! You need to set the example to anyone else working there. Imagine if you damaged your eyesight. Looks like you can get stuck in with the best of them! Go Girl!