The end of 2014 was a crazy mad dash towards the Christmas builders holidays. We had a brilliant builder, who just about delivered on time (I think I’m to blame for extending the ambit of work as we got towards the end!) and we managed to move into our upstairs apartment in time for Leigh’s birthday at the end of November. We were still semi-camping, as had to wait until mid December for the kitchen shelving to be installed, but we were thrilled to be in our new home, complete with an amazing huge hot shower.
The family arrived for Christmas and we hosted a festive Christmas lunch at Hopkins Street as well as a top new year’s party with friends to christen the new venue. I don’t think the family could quite believe the transformation of the place. If you want a glimpse of how it looks now, check out the Distillery listed on the Amazing Spaces website: http://www.amazingspaces.co.za/location/distillery
2015 has been spent doing some finishing touches at the warehouse and in the apartment but, more importantly, we’ve finally been able to concentrate 100% on distilling and perfecting our product.
End of September update:
It’s been a busy month: work on our living space started on 1 September, so we’re now a month in. It’s been a month of prepping with lots of grinding, scraping and bashing and kilograms of dust! The carpets were lifted and glue scraped off the flooring; walls raised with bricks to roof height (we’ve removed the ceiling and won’t be replacing it); further internal walls removed; flooring lifted to be straightened out (we realised there were “waves” in the floor); window frames ground out ready for replacement windows; the original bathroom door bricked up, with space created for a new internal window; door frames widened; air conditioning units tested and moved around; electrics redone; initial base coats put on the ceiling beams and new brickwork; new bedroom, bathroom and kitchen windows fitted and, today, huge efforts are being made to create the openings for our two huge windows for the lounge … It’s been quite a month!
More progress is made, with carpenters finishing the woodwork on the mezzanine balustrade and stairwells and the roofers finally starting on our living area.
More progress has been made on the warehouse side, with the new roof finally going on and a balustrade being put up on the mezzanine section. We’ve also replaced the rusting, falling apart pedestrian security gate with a new rather more attractive one.
As you could see from some of the previous photos posted on the blog, the warehouse was a complete mess when we bought it. We finally got the keys after a long wait (and are STILL waiting for the title deeds to be processed). It was then that we could finally properly consider the daunting task ahead.
The property is divided in to two separate sections: a warehouse, with a tearoom in the front and a factory floor at the back, both sitting under a full mezzanine structure; and a double storey section of offices, each with their own entrances.
We are, understandably, turning the factory floor into the distillery area and are keeping the tea room section as our office (and currently living room as well). To ensure we have sufficient air flow and room for the distillation columns on our stills, we removed half of the mezzanine; leaving only the section above the tea room, which will eventually be turned into a tasting room overlooking the distillery.
The offices section will eventually become our living space. Initially we are semi-camping in the downstairs section: complete with awful blue office carpets, tiny windows and no hot water. We have put in a shower (still cold water only – so the kettle gets boiled a lot) and have now finished unpacking, so it is starting to turn into a temporary home.
We have completely gutted the upstairs section of offices and await a new roof before any work on that area can start. There is plenty of space, but at the moment cold (no insulation at all), leaking (hence the need for a new roof) and dark (we’ve stripped out all the electricity).
It takes quite a lot of vision to see it as a comfortable inner city home!