We have just bought a house, my husband and I. It needs some work, a total renovation really. In most peoples’ eyes it would be classed as ‘uninhabitable’, despite the house having a kitchen, bathroom, electricity and running water. The house was empty when we viewed it apart from tattered curtains at the windows and well worn carpets in the dining and sitting rooms. The previous owner, an elderly lady who had recently died, lived in the house for 50 years raising her family and living her life. It was sad to see the state of disrepair and neglect her home and garden had fallen into around her.
The house, built in the 1930’s gives little away of it’s history. It is detached, has the original Crittal windows, and is laid out of houses typical of the era with a kitchen at the front and dining room in the rear, a sitting room, three bedrooms, two of which still have their original wash basins, bathroom and separate loo. The bathroom basin was obviously replaced in the 70’s due to it’s avocado colour, in an otherwise predominantly white bathroom complete with original black and white tiles. Patterned formica work top near the sink area in the kitchen from the 60’s. (I can date this as I remember having the same in my childhood home) in an otherwise original kitchen, except that someone has removed the Rayburn or Aga. Above the kitchen door is the original bell box, which would have lit up depending in which room the bell button had been pushed by whoever required service. There are still buttons in the rooms, but have no longer work. I told my husband not to get any ideas! I was surprised to find a bell service in such a modest home. I suppose in the 1930’s it would have been quite grand, complete with a garage for a car, and to employ a cook or housekeeper on a daily basis. There is a serving hatch between the kitchen and dining room which has a double sets of doors, maybe this was to prevent the cook from eavesdropping!
I was surprised not to find tiled Art Deco fireplaces associated with the architecture on the exterior, complete with the original ‘Crittal’ windows. Instead there are original red brick fireplaces in the dining and sitting rooms, which is more in keeping with the mock Tudor 1930’s architecture, also a popular design at the time. The internal doors are flush complete with chrome Deco design door handles. With the brick fireplaces I would have imagined leaded windows and wooden paneled internal doors. Two conflicting styles from the same decade in one house.
The garden is quite big, as far as we can tell. It is very overgrown with brambles, weeds and very long grass. Trees and shrubs have grown unchecked for years, hiding the house from view at the front. There is a range of beautiful Rhododendrons, which we aim to keep, but cut back.
I aim to blog in intervals during the renovations from start to finish, with information which i hope will be of interest. I will keep you posted on the updates.