Most visitors to Chanters Lodge, Livingstone, when they see the new office building pictured above (with a roof on, you’ll note), ask “are you building new rooms?” They’re usually surprised when we reply “no, they’re offices”.
We then go on to explain that back in 1998 when we were developing the original 3 bedroomed house into a restaurant with some rooms, money was very tight. An admin office seemed to be the last thing we could afford in the light of having to provide private bathrooms for the 3 bedrooms, refloor the whole building (parquet tiles throughout), provide public toilets, convert and extend the servants’ quarters to become the stores, kitchen, laundry and staff changing facilities, and the small existing domestic kitchen into the bar. We also had to landscape (there was nothing), equip the kitchen, bar and restaurant then fully furnish the rooms and public areas.
So, where did we work? Well, initially I worked on the end of the terrace, from where I had good peripheral vision and the accountant worked under one of the seven rondavels we’d erected in the garden as an afterthought! These were soon to become, and still are, one of the most popular features at the lodge! Accounts moved to share our tiny reception area. As for me, I got fed up with having to move from the terrace due to Client demand – the terrace was our second most popular feature – so I moved into the restaurant. When I first got a laptop in 2005/6 it was too risky to leave it lying around the restaurant and I sort of moved into room 2 (we had expanded to 8 rooms at this stage), and later somehow became firmly ensconced!
In 2009 it seemed to me daft to continue occupying a guest room when we did have space and just about enough finance to build offices, and reception is still too small for two people to work in comfort! So in late December we started the construction of two offices. The exciting plan once we’ve moved in, is to convert two of the original rooms into a pool facing suite. This won’t be simple and won’t be cheap but it will be the most innovative challenge since we built the first two pool facing rooms in 2006!
We’ve posted a photo of the original building to give you perspective! Oh! And I was writing this the builders arrived to start plastering the office block.