I’ve been meaning to start a blog recording our restoration of our Victorian house since we moved in (back in 2012…).
The time has just flown by so quickly, but I guess better late than never!
When we bought the house we knew that there was a lot of work to do on it, but compared to
some all of the other houses we’d looked at this one had the least amount of work to do. Some of them weren’t really habitable and those that were I wasn’t convinced that I would want to live in them while we were doing it up.
Both of us run our own businesses and we decided that this house would be the sensible choice as we would be continuing to work while also living in the property and renovating it.
We knew that we wanted a Victorian property and when I saw this one online I loved the look of it. The photo below is the one from the estate agent’s listing.
The house has a real presence, and the original wrought iron around the balcony and over the porch is a beautiful feature. Sadly it has been removed along the front wall and replaced with nasty 1970s railing, but we live in hope that one day we will come across some matching ones that we can replace them with.
We didn’t want to have a house without a driveway, and this one had the additional bonus of a garage. It’s actually attached to the house, which is really useful, and is a great size.
Since we moved in we’ve actually done a lot of work, even if it doesn’t feel like it – another good reason to document it as you never realise it until you look back!
For some reason we never received a copy of the paper particulars of the house when we looked round it.
I did download the images from the estate agent’s website while we were completing, so we do have a record of what it looked like when we first saw it.
Seeing the house everyday it doesn’t feel like we’ve made a huge amount of progress, in part I think because once a room is finished we move everything from the next room into it so haven’t really had a chance to see the fruits of our labour.
Looking back through the estate agent’s photos though it has surprised me how much we have achieved. Below are how the rooms when we looked around.
We have reinstated the wall in this room, putting it back into two rooms so that Adam can use the back room as his office. We really liked this room as it was lovely and sunny when we viewed and it didn’t have horrendous 1970s carpet like the rest of the house! The fire surround probably isn’t original to the house as it is more 1920s/30s in style and we have got rid of that awful plug in fire and the marble back and hearth.
One of the major selling points as it was completely usable, has lovely views over the back garden, and is huge! We replaced the kitchen in 2013 with an IKEA kitchen and removed all of the units along the right hand side, opening the wall up with double doors onto the patio area. We also removed all of the units under the window and built a corner window seat.
The dining room
This is an internal room as the garage has been built over the window. It has an amazing swing door leading through into the kitchen (I feel like Manuel every time I use it).
This is a bit of a through-room, so we are currently in the process of building a built in bookcase along the left hand wall. When the kitchen extension was built on the other side of the far wall they bricked up the fireplace on this side so it could be used in the kitchen. My dad built a fake chimney breast on this wall that is so realistic that I had an argument with a builder that it wasn’t real. He didn’t believe me and was actually quite rude. Needless to say we didn’t employ him.
The third bedroom
This room hasn’t changed much, but is now full of stock for my business. The door on the back wall leads through to an upstairs sun room which gets boiling hot in the summer and freezing in the winter as there is no central heating. There wasn’t a photograph of that room as it was being used as a rubbish storage area. Both of these rooms are still on the to-do list as they need re-plastering.
Mmm… avocado. This was one of the first rooms we tackled, after living with it for about 8 months. There was lots of stud walling, which took up lots of space, so that all came down (I do love using a sledge hammer. So satisfying!) and we managed to fit in a toilet, basin, bathroom and large shower where before it only had a small shower and bath.
The second bedroom
The first room we renovated after an unexpected flood. The window in here, the bathroom and toilet were all wood single glazed so that was the first work we had done soon after we moved it.
When we took the laminate flooring up we found the original fireplace tiles which were under the headboard end of the bed in this photo. We reinstated the fireplace and Adam’s dad moved the radiator to where the dressing table was so the bed could go behind the door.
In this photo the room looks tiny because of all of the furniture in it, but it’s actually huge. We lived with it as it was for about two and half years as apart from some water coming in on the bay window there wasn’t anything wrong with it other than being dated. On the right of the room is a window and door that leads out onto the balcony. This room, like the lounge, gets a lot of light as it’s south facing. It gets lovely and warm on sunny days.
Again, as in the second bedroom, the original fireplace had been ripped out (it was behind the bed with the pink pillows), but the original tiles were hidden under the carpet.
The garage is a great size. From the front of the house it looks like a single garage, but as it has been built onto the dining room it covers the side return as well so is almost the size of a double, though you could only get one car in there. When we replaced the kitchen we installed the old units where the workbench was and under the window, including the sink to create a utility/garden clean up area. It has given us a lot of useful storage and worktop space. The boiler was a floor standing one in the kitchen, so we had a combi boiler fitted in the garage where it wouldn’t take up space in the house.
We’ve actually done quite a lot of work out here; putting up a fence on the left and raised beds for vegetables, planting apple trees, installing a pond (which wasn’t planned – we dug the holes for the apple trees and it filled with water. So, a pond went in instead). At the top left was a huge hardstanding base from a greenhouse which we turned into a deck area using pallets.
I’ve also expanded the borders on the right and created a wildlife area at the top. We also took up all of the concrete paving slabs that made up the path and I’ve attempted to do a crazy paving which isn’t going to plan so might have to be rethought.