The moody looking fella in the hoody above is Stu, my amazingly over ambitious and crazily determined husband!! and this is our house!! A 1930’s semi in suburbia just outside Brighton…
We bought the house in July and it is a shell… and when I say shell, I mean nothing has been touched or changed on it since it was built in 1937! In fact the little old man who lived here before us – Lets call him Mr G*, has lived here happily since he was 6 years old! (*He’s still alive and kicking i’m happy to add –just moved on to a more practical bungalow round the corner!)
The house as it stands has no mains gas so of course no radiators, no working kitchen, an ‘lovely’ blue bathroom suite, minimal electric’s, single glazed windows (in some rooms), patio doors which don’t lock and a 218 sq meter mud patch in both the front and back gardens filled with vegetables and chives. I think the pictures set the scene a lot better than I can write about…….
So why, with a six month baby in tow have we chosen to sink all our money into this crazy money pit …? Surely there are easier options?? Well in all honesty, with house prices as ridiculous as they are in the South East, and the need for us to have an extra bedroom so my parents could come to stay, it’s actually all we can afford- and it’s quite exciting!! So we’ve bought it. Chives in the garden, crazy décor on the walls and patterned carpets galore.
When I say the house hasn’t been touched, that isn’t exactly true. The previous owner has re-decorated, however he’s chosen to go with his own distinct and rather remarkable style. Throwing away the usual conventions of home décor and opting for a more nature inspired look. In fact Mr G has spent hours and hours and hours painstakingly cutting small pictures out of nature magazines and sticking them over each of the walls with tremendous precision. It might look a bit strange, but it’s actually a work of art and we are going to feel horrifically guilty when the time comes to strip the walks and un-doo all his hard work.
So yes small baby in tow, this is the house we’ve spent allll of our money on, and is the house we have three months to make ‘liveable’, before the new owners are ready to move into our existing property and we have nowhere to live.
To give you an idea of the task in hand, this is a list of jobs which need completing before we move in! It is predominantly building work as we will make a start on the decorative work once we are in:
To Do List
- Remove all carpets;
- Strip all walls (sob!);
- Install mains Gas;
- Install new water mains;
- Demolish wall between kitchen and dining room;
- Insert steels to hold the building up – following previous wall demolition;
- Brick up back door;
- Fit new patio doors;
- Build a whole new third floor with new roof (whist we can’t afford to do anything with this floor for the time being, we were advised to at least get the structure up while we are bashing the rest of the house about, as it will lead to minimal disruption later on);
- Install new staircase to third floor;
- Re-plaster walls & ceilings;
- Fit new radiators and pipe work;
- Install underfloor heating;
- Insulate under living room floor;
- Re-wire whole house;
- Install a toilet;
- Design a bathroom – and get shower installed at least!
- Design & fit new kitchen or at least the units;
- Seal the walls;
- Paint all ceilings;
- Fit new radiators;
- Choose flooring;
- Sand all woodwork;
- Gloss all woodwork;
- Change all doorframes and install new doors;
- Choose a colour scheme;
- Paint all rooms;
- Clean all windows
- Remove all spiders….
- Move in!!! (Phew!!!!)
I should also add that this isn’t our first project – we have previously renovated a small two bed flat in the next village, so we are going into this with our eyes open to a certain extent. Although it is the first place we’ve renovated with a small old baby in tow and she has just learned to crawl so I think the hope of us having a quiet baby cooing cosily in the corner while I paint will be lost to the reality of a little demon obsessed with trying to get to the paintbrush and eat it!!
I’ll upload some progress shots as the weeks go by and intend to write some room makeover posts once we finally start finishing rooms! But for now, wish us luck!! xx