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Footballs and Fireplaces. Bringing Children up in a Renovated House.
19 February 2015

When we bought our Georgian house on Camberwell Grove my wife Charlotte was eight months pregnant with Eliza, our first born. I was a man possessed , intoxicated by the obsessive desire to take the house back to its original roots and restore it from it’s foundation.

During the restoration of lime mortar and installing eighteenth century steps to lead into the garden we felt it was wise to move out for six months. We returned two and a half years later…

When we moved back in with not one, but two children my darling Eliza (now eight) and Monty (now five) were toddlers. During the renovation I worried , fixated and strived, agonising over every moulding with Rob our builder least anything should be below par. Little could have prepared me for the rude awakening our children had in store. Both children despite my attempts to run their lives like a despot have graffitied the walls like the Romans of Pompeii. When I look back at the adventure of raising two children, the markings on the walls reflect our journey and I wouldn’t have it any other way.

We have an antique measuring stick that has marked both their heights from the age of two to bear witness to their growth.

We have lost a hamster (that we were all too scared of ) behind the aga and Eliza’s two house rabbits to Mr Fox. Such was her despair, she paid homage to them with a drawing on the wall underneath the eighteenth century Jamb in the sitting room.

Tributes to the house rabbits underneath the eighteenth century Jamb

The beautiful Paint library slate walls show the marks of life in the house. From the scuffs of the bike handles to the sticky hand prints. The drawing room with the Palladian Antique Chimneypiece ( from which the Oxford reproduction fireplace takes inspiration ) was meant to be sacred from the bikes and scooters but is now the children’s car park.

The Palladian Antique Chimneypiece similar to the Oxford reproduction design.

Even through my desperate protests the bathroom fireplace: a perfect George I simple frame, has become an irresistible goal for Monty’s football practice.

Of course we wouldn’t have life any other way and it has been a great lesson in letting go … but sometimes my patience is tested when I return home to find my beloved Raku contemporary pot has been adorned with Yoo Hoo stickers! Eliza is trying to persuade me she has only bettered the design…!