When we bought our house it was in a bad way. It had no stairs, electricity, water or gas. It had been left in a pretty sorry state by the previous owners. It was cold, damp, unloved and miserable.
The day we took possession of the place we realised the enormity of the neglect the previous owners had inflicted on our poor little house.
We worked out that, on average, when it it rained, 40 litres of water would stream through the roof, down the walls and would snake its way two floors down to the sitting room. The windows let in about the same. If you turned the heating on, all the heat just wafted out into the cold night air. The house was a disaster and we decided to save it and give it back some dignity.
We had stairs built for us by a local carpenter, some building work done by friends who also happen to be master builders (lucky!) and plumbing completed by Mr Yannon himself and a local plumber who was keen to work on a listed building.
The next thing that happened was the boiler was condemned ON CHRISTMAS EVE when I had 14 people coming the next day for lunch. The previous owner had fitted it himself (no he isn’t Gas Safe registered) incorrectly, with the wrong pipework and British Gas couldn’t believe how dangerous it was. It was a good thing it was condemned as it could easily have killed us with carbon monoxide poisoning. We had the heating system upgraded with an Eco combi boiler, insulation fitted in the roof, the entire roof replaced, new bespoke sitting room doors made and all the windows replaced. The house was water tight for the first time in over twenty years.
Let me set the scene of the decor…imagine gorgeous oak door surrounds painted pink and blue and office style carpet on all the floors the whole house had a student feel to it so we set to work…
We stripped the walls down and put up reproduction Victorian wallpaper, all of it quite jolly with an animal theme; we sympathetically reinstated the cornicing on the ceilings and spent hours sanding down and waxing the parquet floor. The shiny, orange varnish that was suffocating the original floor boards was removed and we installed a grand crystal chandelier in the sitting room.
The house is finally finished and we’re incredibly proud of it. It’s warm and inviting and finally, after years of being a neglected, sad wreck it’s now an amazing, graceful, warm, dry and happy family home.