Saturday, January 14, 2012

Before and After...

It's almost 12 months since we completed the sale on our house and we're finally able to look at the 'before and after' of our renovation.

When we told our friends we were buying number 2, they literally laughed at us for taking it on. 'It's awful!' they said. 'You must be mad.' Dr B's parents drove to see and couldn't find the words to describe how they felt about it. 'What are you doing?' we were asked. There had been 'many' viewings according to the man who showed us around. 'But it needs so much work....'

We could see the potential, and crucially, it was on the market for less than we thought it was really worth. We even managed to negotiate a substantial discount on the asking price, though in reality we'd have paid the asking price if necessary because it had such a lot of scope, hope of a great family home.

But all the same I cried when we moved in - the house was in such poor shape - during the first few weeks we lived here, the corpses of dead wasps filled the bath whenever we ran the hot tap. The gas board were called to investigate the persasive smell of gas in the garage, which unsurprisingly turned out to be a leak. Pressure washing the patio caused it to disintegrate due to lack of foundations, the toilet began to fail, the front door jammed, the electrics started to buzz.

Twelve months later, the house is transformed; three bedrooms turned into five. The garage and utility room were demolished, replaced by a larger garage and updated utility with masses of storage. The sliding garage doors were replaced with remote controlled sectional ones. The dining room had it's glass wall and hatch bricked up to become a study and we built a playroom. The kitchen came out five times the size of the original. We replaced the windows and ripped out the fireplace.

Upstairs the grotty floral bathroom was ripped out and the space became a galleried landing. Two new bathrooms were created, each twice as big as the original. Walls came down, doors were moved. Even the bannister was replaced. The house was rewired, replastered and had a new boiler and central heating.

Outside, we replaced the roof, rebuilt the porch and pulled down the cedar cladding and original render to replace it with new. We dug up the shoddy patio, replacing it with granite and widening it in the process. We widened the crumbling drive and replaced it with cobbled setts.

The house is absolutely beautiful - Christmas cards from the neighbours all along the road testament that our hard work paid off; other residents stopping us as they pass to compliment us on the build. The old house was an eyesore, they say - a wreck. "It brought down the area" said one neighbour. "you've had your work cut out."

I'm never renovating another house, by the way. We're here for good now.


  1. Well done! Will you be posting interior before and after shots too? I am very interested (read, nosy!) - we have just taken on our own 60s project house. Not nearly the size and scope of yours, and it certainly won't be done within the year... but a project nonetheless... and it is always helpful to read of people and their 'discussions' with the local planning officers - we will go down that road in the future, and it helps to know that sometimes it doesn't pay to trust everything they tell you.
    I have really enjoyed reading your blog. Thank you.

  2. Glad you enjoyed the blog! I deliberately haven't included internal 'after' shots because our builder told us he had been contacted by somebody who has read the blog for quite weird reasons.

    I must admit it's rather odd that this person was reading the blog and I'd prefer not to have them looking at the inside of our private home. HOwever, if you can tell me how YOU found the blog (I suspect I already know) then I'll email them to you xx

  3. Really!? How unsettling and odd for you all. Totally understand you not wanting to post anything more. Shame the world is
    Please don't feel you need to email me anything - when I said I was being nosy, it was just a joke really - I am not a stalker, promise and would never want to make someone feel uncomfortable.
    A friend suggested your blog to me (I think she said she found it through MN - but I am not certain) when I told her what we were doing with our dilapidated 60s pad.
    Definitely did enjoy the blog though - sorry to hear it has ended on a sour note for you.

  4. I must concur with Chelle - I have been following the blog for 9 or so months now (found from a link you posted on a DIY forum I seem to remember!!) - the house looks truly magnificent, such a shame to end it on a bit of a downer but hope everything is sorted now and yourself, Dr B and the kids really enjoy all the hard work!!

    Myself and the OH have just bought an early 1900's terrace as our first, your transformation has been a great inspiration to myself, and I'm sure others too.

  5. Your house has improved a lot Mrs. B! It was a really great decision to add rooms on the top of the new garage. Its resale value has increased so much without eating up the rest of your space. Congratulations!

    Kristopher Diss

  6. I agree - the long wait and hard work finally paid off! Your home is very beautiful. You made it look like new by choosing wonderful colors. I also love the transformation of your door; it’s more welcoming compared to the old one. I’m so happy for you! I know you and your family are having a great time now. :)

    Leah Clay

  7. great result - I'm looking to renovate and would love to hear your tips and thoughts on how to approach this, in particular with reference to hiring contractors.

  8. Nice post more, SW7 Properties is built on the key foundation to exceed client's expectations through professionalism, innovation, and personal service.

  9. I was very pleased to find this site.I wanted to thank you for this great read!! 
    Patio Door Window Replacement
    Windows And Doors Phoenix