For the last two months I have been painstakingly drawing my entire flat. Every. Single. Detail. This is the last project in the penultimate module of my KLC course. (It’s actually the first in the module but I always seem to do them backwards, something I live to regret.)
This project is a beast. I’ve so far drawn twenty six pages of an estimated forty. I’ve drawn cornices and cupboards, stairs and skirtings, doors and windows, floors and ceilings. I still have all the services to go and hopefully may be able to get to the bottom of the confounding plumbing and ventilation that snakes around our flat. Definitely a situation where I am thankful that I live in a two bedroom flat and not a capacious house.
I couldn’t have done this project well without my awesome Light Pad which is hands down the best piece of interior design equipment I’ve ever purchased. I love it even more than I love my Prismacolor pencils and that is not something I write lightly.
The devil is in the investigation, rather than in the drawing and documenting. It is hard, laborious work. It’s dull but interesting, frustrating but satisfying. Sourcing the information is a nightmare and without the Collins Complete DIY Manual and some help from my dad I would still be stuck trying to work out exactly why my walls are 360mm thick. The internet has been largely useless, as my dad says, it used to be great for research, now it is just full of things to buy and I’m inclined to agree with him.
The upside is that I’ve learnt a lot about our house. I’ve learnt that it is in the Elsworthy Conservation Area and that it was built in 1860 by Samuel Cummings, a property developer from Devon who also constructed Primrose Hill Road.
The area was built on estate land owned by Eton College since the fifteenth century (Eton still has some weird access rights over our property). Building started in the 1830s with the opening of the Primrose Hill tunnel which served the new London-Birmingham railway line. Once Avenue Road and Adelaide Roads were built, Primrose Hill itself was acquired for public recreation and the rapid residential development began.
It’s hard to believe that less than hundred years ago this entire area, which is only in zone two, was still open countryside. The expanse of urban housing created by the Victorians is phenomenal and an incredible one third of the housing stock in this country is Victorian.
All this has made me love my small, shabby flat all the more, I’ve had to think about what it was like when it was new, who might have lived there and how the area must have looked when it was essentially a new-build housing estate.
But daydreaming aside, this week it’s head down, all eyes on coursework, to get it finished so I can relax and celebrate my big birthday next week and finish planning our wedding next month.
If you are a bit of a geek like me and happen to live in the area, you can find out more about the development of the area from Camden Council’s report on the Elsworthy Conservation Area.