We, that's hubby and I, have just moved into a house that we bought at auction 4 years, 8 months and 3 weeks ago. It's a 4 storey Victorian terraced house and, if truth be told, it looks nothing from outside but is typical of the architecture in Pembroke Dock, South West Wales, in the UK.
The first time we saw the house we were almost bowled over by the stench of damp and sight of black mould on the walls. The wallpaper was peeling, plaster was falling off and there were cracks in the walls big enough to fit your hand into. But we saw beyond all that and noticed the original features and charm of the house. We fell in love with it.
We had a full structural survey done which showed just about every type of rot and damp, and the list of recommendations to make the house sound was endless. We were undeterred and headed to the auction. We set a maximum price we would bid to and fought off the developers. We 'won' the house with £500 to spare.
I have nearly 1000 photos of the renovation but I have chosen just three rooms to show (out of the thirteen) plus the rear of the house. Trust me, it's a lot prettier than the front.
The first job was to dig the basement out in order for it to be tanked to prevent the damp seeping back in from the ground. The solid walls were taken back to bare rock and all the original lath and plaster walls crumbled and had to be rebuilt.
This is the same area now. It's the front room of the basement and, as you can probably tell from the bags and boxes, is now my craft room. The original fire surround didn't survive the damp but we managed to salvage one from another room.
The bathroom is at the rear of the house, halfway between the ground floor and bedroom floor, and had a separate toilet and a landing. We knocked it all into one room and blocked up one of the windows. The roof needed to be redone as well.
Now we have a lovely, bright, big bathroom with a bath and walk in shower. It's even big enough to have a chandelier. An indulgent touch we thought worthy of the room.
What is now a long kitchen-diner was, when we bought the house, a kitchen, a scullery, a lean-to conservatory and the outside toilet. We knocked down all the different walls and rebuilt on the original footprint. The diner area, at the rear, is wider than the kitchen section.
We wanted to keep the décor simple and stuck to black, white and light wood. We installed big windows along the back wall and round the side to make the most of the west facing aspect.
Our house was one of the few that hadn't had the original red bricks rendered over. We asked the builders to save and reuse the bricks so they carefully dismantled the rear elevation of the house, literally brick by brick.
The outside walls of the kitchen-diner and bathroom were built and the roof redone. We are really pleased with the finished look.
I could go on and on about this renovation and it's still not finished. There is the garden to be done and still some finishing touches inside including the restoration of the original fireplaces. But it's finally liveable now. Why has it taken so long, you might ask? Well, apart from the rear of the house being rebuilt and the electrics, gas and plumbing, all the work has been done by us and a helpful friend. I like to think of this as the biggest altered art project I'm ever likely to do.
I hope you've enjoyed the brief tour of my house and a glimpse at the past four plus years of my life.