In October 2016, we bought ourselves a little project. A detached Victorian townhouse, previously divided up into two flats, left empty for some years before.
When we first viewed it back in Feb 2016, neither of us were sure we had the energy for such a huge amount of work.
Throughout the ground floor damp was rising up the walls, while upstairs the rain leaked down them. In some places, the rain still leaks down them.
Floorboards were (and still are in many places) rotten. So too the windows and doors.
So far, we've seen invasions of bees (to two out of three chimneys and one bedroom ceiling), hornets, ladybirds, slugs, ants, possibly an owl & chick (we think) and of course, spiders. Spiders on whey powder. Spiders you could put the dog's collar on. Spiders we should probably declare for council tax purposes.
We have asbestos. We have dry rot. We have wet rot. We have lead pipes. We have faulty wiring, faulty floor-boards, faulty wall plates. We have precarious chimneys. Triffid-like flora invading from the outside in. Children doing their level best to wreck things from the inside out. Oh, and we're in a conservation area. So there are rules. Specifically, hoops. Lots and lots of hoops to lumber through.
But! For some ridiculous reason, possibly something to do with the dream of living in a beautiful, Christmas-card-worthy home one day with bags of space and character, we let our hearts rule our heads and pitched in a cheeky offer nearly a third under asking price. If only we'd have known, that was the easy bit. Eight frustrating months wrangling with mortgage lenders who wouldn't touch the place with a barge-pole nearly marked the end for our relationship with this forgotten old house (read about the hurdles of securing our renovation mortgage here) but we persevered.
And now we're here! Sharing our own leaky little patch of adventure with you. A little poorer than we were, a little more stressed, but with plenty to play with. A pile of damp headaches for sure, but we absolutely love our ramshackle house and all its potential.
Besides... who wants an easy life, right?