John Marsden Writing Topic #363

Daydream for a while, then write**

My Parent’s Back Verandah

My childhood home has a long, split-level back verandah. The verandah is rarely used for social occasions and it’s just as rare that any of us have a chair and sit on it. I’ve always pictured them being simply converted into rooms.

With the lower level, there is a gap between the house and the verandah itself, which was originally covered with wood slats (which I was always afraid of falling through). At the end of the gap is the backyard tap and drain. I would fill in the gap up to and around the drain with cement. I was thinking of having material like polycarbonate (which was previously used as a roof on the lower level) drilled onto the sides of the verandah for walls, although I don’t know how it’s possible with the verandah being concrete. Due to the need for access to the tap to be able to water the backyard lawn and gardens, I would also have to have a wall built on the verandah to separate the room, the tap and the room needed for a hose, to prevent water leakage in the room. I would also need at least two doors–one for the side closest to the carport to enable carport access to the house and another to separate the room and the tap. I might possibly need another wall to separate the room from the carport access, unless it’s a sun room rather than an extra bedroom and therefore it wouldn’t matter if people were constantly walking through it. Inserting internal walls and doors would be easier with the lines in the concrete.

The upper level doesn’t have a gap between the house and the verandah itself, however it may need re-concreting or another level of concrete may need to be laid, as there are several cracks from pipe problems. Because the back door to the house is on the upper level, similar to the backyard tap, an internal wall may need to be installed to separate the room from the door, this would depend on the intentions for the room. Again polycarbonate walls would enclose the area, however another external door would be needed to separate the upper level from the barbecue area, unless polycarbonate walls were also to be inserted to enclose the barbecue area. However this would be unnecessary as a plastic, roll-down enclosure, complete with a zipper was installed to act as wall in case in rained. However I can’t find where this wall was installed, it should be noted that polycarbonate semi-walls exist around the BBQ area. Since the BBQ area isn’t used that often, an extended room would be a possibility, however it is a lower level and to have such a big area enclosed would look tacky.

In regards to the intention of the verandahs as rooms, it could work either as one long split-level room or two separate rooms. My preference is towards two separate rooms. They could both be two spare bedrooms, with rugs custom made to soften the concrete floor, especially the upper level as a double outlet was installed on the external wall of the house. Cheap furniture could be bought, such as a bed set and it can be basically furnished, however polycarbonate walls probably wouldn’t work well to seal away rain and subsequently mould. The lower level may be better used a sun room with outdoor furniture, especially due to the need to access the backyard tap.

The reason why this has been on my mind is because I have always believed the verandah is a great space, which is wasted due to its lack of use. There are great possibilities for it as an extension to the rest of the house and these conversions would make it more aesthetically appealing.



**Reference: Marsden J 1998, Everything I Know About Writing, Pan Macmillan, Australia.

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