The Ground Floor Flat
So what do you think? Nice little fixer-upper or money-pit? Bit of both?
Are you battling a similar project? Let us know!
We collected the keys to our ramshackle new home on October 30th, 2016. A gloomy, cobwebbed, creaky-doored pair of flats, just in time for Halloween. After six weeks of patching over a few pressing nasties, we bit the bullet, left the cosy nest of the family we'd been crashing with for the previous nine months and moved ourselves, our three boys and the dog in a week before Christmas.
Goodbye cosy family home. Hello renovation...
Jim measuring how many decades this house will take to fix up!
The First Floor Flat
With three growing boys and one very bouncy dog, one item that had been sitting high on our New Home Wish List was a good outside space for the family. Boys and dogs are similar creatures, it would seem. Keep them cooped in and they'll tear the house apart. Give them a little space to blow the cobwebs out and, okay, they might pee all over the garden but everyone's got half a chance of living to see another day. See the silver linings.
We couldn't access the larger of the workshops when we first viewed the house, which was probably a good thing because it's flipping massive, and full of asbestos. I think I might've run a mile there and then. As it is, we've now got a decent size garden in its own right, plus the space currently occupied by the two workshops which will soon (hopefully) be demolished to create even more outside space and allow plenty more natural light onto the back of the house. That's if I can talk Knighty into knocking the buggers down! One year in and he's already formed a strong attachment to his 'man sheds'. Unfortunately for him, I've already called dibs on a writing nook so I can work from home without feeling as though I'm at home. So Knighty's sheds have gotta go, 'fraid.
I have a feeling he's planning on sticking me in the aviary, just off the courtyard right next to the house. Poor bloke is obviously forgetting what a total nightmare I am to be near when my writing deadlines hit. He'll remember soooon enough!
Of all the people we've yanked the door open to in the 11 months since, only one has ever walked in and said 'wow, look at all this potential!' and that person was the conservation officer, technically someone who's paid to champion the kind of intervention we're trying to stage with this house before it rots completely.
Friends and family have mostly made the same noises. They think we're a little bit nuts. Favourite reaction so far? That one goes to one of our besties, who tells it like it is. In her own words, 'Well it's a beautiful s**t-hole'.
We'll let you make up your own mind on that one!
Here's what we got when we picked up those keys...