Grand designs

24 Sep 09 03:58PM EST

If you’ve checked my bio you’ll know I’m Neill and I work in the laundry lab here. Actually I will be working in it once the renovations it’s currently undergoing come to an end — we’re promised we can move in this Thursday. A fortnight ago it was going to be Thursday last week and before that it was… you get the idea.

Strangely when we renovated our house a few years back we had a dream run: the builder was easy to get along with, worked to schedule and stuck to the quote. The kitchen, which was done through a separate company, was a slightly different story: the two week fit out took a year.

Still, once it’s over you forget the pain. As you can see by the picture, the new lab is very white — well except for the burnt-orange refugees from the 70’s. Surprisingly you can’t get tiles in this colour anymore and so that’s why they turn brown for the extension to the wet area further down the lab.

It’s been an interesting journey where every second day you look at the progress of the work and realise that there’s more than one way to interpret the floorplans — there’s what you thought you'd asked for and then there’s what you actually get. Yet in the end we’ve ended up with pretty much what we wanted.

And one of the big things we wanted was windows. Until this renovation the lab was an enclosed, internal space within the building — it’s a very strange sensation to arrive at work on a sunny morning and to leave and find there’s a howling storm. Not that you can see the new windows, but the room at the end is the office for the four of us who test laundry products and dishwashers and it now has an expanse of glass to the outside world. Pity it’s frosted, but it’s an improvement.

The first job once we’re properly settled in is to get the next dishwashers test underway. And shortly after that the next washing machines test. They’ll overlap and that will be a test for the new lab as we couldn’t easily run two big test projects together with the old facilities. On top of this we’ll also be trialling revised work processes to get the test results onto to our website faster so they don't go stale — it’s always annoying after the effort of researching, buying, testing and writing up the story to find a product is discontinued before or shortly after we publish.

Now if we could only get a hail storm to selectively break those frosted windows…

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