2002 - Calling him Michelangelo

You will be secure, because there is hope; you will look about you and take your rest in safety. x

The premises had been left vacant for a few months and had been vandalized. During the time of our negotiations Mr Voukelatos was dealing with the insurance claim concerning the vandalism. He was also collecting quotes for replacing the roof, fixing the drains and rebuilding the back fence.

Exterior

In December 2001 Mr Voukelatos said to me words to the effect of: ‘‘Before I left for Greece in 1990 I rebuilt the front wall of the shop facing Glebe Point Road because of a problem caused by a twisted wooden beam”. This front wall carried the sign of the previous restaurant; “Timbarra” and the glass in two of its front shop windows were broken. The long sidewall had a bend and a few cracks that were patched. This wall was painted with a mural of a sinking submarine and several graffiti tags.

Interior

The inside of the shop had been neglected and vandalized and there were broken windows, holes in the walls and in the floor, carpets that were damaged from fire, loose and damaged stairs, graffiti and a bad smell. It was evident that the ground floor had been used for a Cafe Restaurant and the upstairs floor for a residence. The telephone wiring indicated to me that the upstairs had also once been used as an office.

Back Yard

The whole rear area of the property was in poor condition. The toilet, the storage room and the back yard fence were in an appalling state.

Fence

On or around the 27 December 2001, Mr Voukelatos employed two tradesmen to rebuild the fence on the north side of the back yard and I was present for some time when the work was carried out.

Roof

The roof did not have insulation and there was evidence of water penetration, rust and holes. Mr Voukelatos received a $5000.00 quote for replacing the roof and applying insulation.

Drains 

Mr Voukelatos gave me the mobile phone number of a plumber and in three or four visits during March to April 2002, I supervised the fixing of the drains. The plumber was to send the invoices directly to Mr Voukelatos for him to pay.

Grease Trap

Mr Voukelatos gave me a business card of a company that services grease traps and it was agreed that I would pay for the cleaning of the trap and its maintenance. In or around April 2002 I carried out this cleaning and a bad smell around the kitchen area was attributed to the fact there had been no running water into the trap for some time, yet the grease trap was found to have been quite empty.

Cooking Vent

The cooking vent in the kitchen was in a good state of maintenance and Mr Voukelatos said words to the effect of: “A few years ago I paid a lot of money for the vent and for the grease trap”. I am almost sure that he said that the figure was $20.000 but I am not certain. 

Moroccan Home

Our plan was to prepare the first floor for my family and to open the Café Restaurant on the ground floor by July 2002. We knew that six months is a short period of time to complete the renovations and the fit-out. From January 2002 all the focus and the efforts of Morden Paint, Evos and me were diverted in to 39 G.P.R.

The plan was to have a first-floor living room in the front, one big bedroom in the middle, bathroom and toilet and two standard rooms for my children. The space between the ceilings of the ground floor to the roof was to be used for storage. The kitchen and the laundry/storage room of the Cafe Restaurant were also to be used for my family’s needs.

Morden Paint’s capabilities and business connections provided at least 25 per-cent discount off building costs. My estimated budget for the renovations and the fit-out was between $90,000.00 and $100,000.00 (with around twenty five to thirty per-cent of this cost in barter to Morden Paint). This included the furnishing cost of the Cafe Restaurant and the first floor residence.

A builder support

Morden Paint submitted a quotation of $9,405.00 to Mr Pasqualle for application of Morden Paint Crystal to three bathrooms in a project that he had in Queenscliff NSW. Mr Pasqualle operated and owned LAMIO, a middle size construction company and he had more than forty years of experience in the building trade. Evos and I appreciated his professionalism and we agreed with him on a flexible barter, in which he will escort and assist us in the project and in return Morden Paint will complete the application in his project with no charge.

15.10.02 Quotation – No 1072 CA 1, 107

“Dear Pasqualle, we have pleasure in submitting out quotation – No 1072

  Days required: 7 days (approx.) Total sum:  $9,405.00”

The olive tree

On Mr Pasqualle’s first visit to the site I raised with him my concern about a tree adjacent to the sidewall and he agreed that it was a matter for concern. I asked him to write a letter in this regard and some time after I sent his letter to the Council together with Mr Johnston’s report of 25 June 2001.

21.01.02 Site Inspection CA 2, 108

“Dear Mr Bodenstein,

1.   Crack and movement have been sited at the external eastern wall facing Dan Minougue Park.

2.   To my professional opinion, the existing tree located 800 mm from the eastern wall, appear to cause a severe constructional danger to the building.

3.   It is clearly noted that the tree roots are growing horizontally, and already penetrated under the building.

This problem will exhilarate with the natural growth of the tree.

In the above mentioned engineers’ report this tree is mentioned as “a small tree trunk 880-1100 from the wall (pages 3&5 /3.3), it is evident today that the tree is no longer a “small tree”.

6.   In my opinion there is an urgent necessity to stop the trees’ growth.

My recommendation is to cut the tree down, without pulling out the roots, and to fill the hole with cement.”

The dream sketches

One of the first pieces of advice that we received was to draft a dream plan, send this to the planners and then see what was possible. At the end of January 2002 Evos, who is an ex-draftsmen and a very talented artist, drew sketches of a design concept in which the restaurant would occupy both floors. Magnum Projects re-produced his drawings on the computer as Evos did not have access to architectural software. I planned to live with my family on the first floor for the first two-to-three years and the possibility of joining the first floor residence to the Cafe Restaurant was an option for the long run. The sketches were reflecting future ambitions and I did not have any intention of carrying out any such plans in the near future, if at all. It was obvious that Council would never have approved many aspects featured in the sketches, yet the idea was to illustrate our dreams for the future and to learn from the feedback. 

The sketches FB 1-3, 225-7

  1. Changing the usage of the first floor from residential to restaurant.
  2. Building balcony in the front over the footpath and changing the windows of the first floor front into doors to the balcony. 
  3. Opening a door and a window in the side east wall on the ground floor.
  4. Building a balcony over the park adjacent to the side east wall and changing the two windows of the first floor into doors to the balcony.
  5. Building spiral stairs from the park to the east balcony.
  6. Adding a back yard deck and stairs that is connected to the east balcony.
  7. Building a new fence with windows and doors on the border between the back yard and the park.

Calling him Michelangelo

xxx

25.02.02 Mr Voukelatos to Me BP 1,  67

“I’ve been looking at the plans you send me by fax and they look fantastic!.  Unfortunately the writing is too small for me to read and understand them precisely but as far as I’m concerned if Council are happy that they comply with their rules and regulations you’ve no doubt had a structural engineer/builder advise you and give OK then I’m happy with it that you proceed as shown. If Evos came up with this concept then I’ll start calling him Michelangelo! Great stuff Evos. Both me and Vess hope you have a tremendous success and wish you good luck!”

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