Renovation and Restoration of a 1930’s House (2)

Thousands of new homes were built in the 1930’s, mostly in the suburbs. There were two main architectural trends in the 1930’s. One being Art Deco, with it’s angular lines and modern tiled fireplaces.  The other more traditional based on mock Tudor, with leaded windows, beams, paneled doors and brick tiled fireplaces,  old world charm if you like. Personally I have always favoured the latter more traditional architecture, I am not really a fan of Art Deco or Moderne architecture. It appears that my house is a mixture of the two architectural styles with Crittal windows, flush doors with Art Deco handles, but has brick fireplaces and not tiled.


This is a renovation project to bring the house back to life after years of neglect. It is also in part a restoration to maintain it’s history and origin without slavishly recreating a time capsule museum – a nod to it’s past.  I don’t want to take out all the period details, which was common in the 60’s and 70’s when removing decorative original fireplaces they were replaced with a gas fire. Only to find a few decades later new occupants replacing the gas fires with those of the period to the house.  We plan to extend the house to add a fourth bedroom and en-suite, knock out the wall between the kitchen and dining room to create a large family dining kitchen to reflect today’s lifestyle. We would also like to add a garden room at the rear to make the most of the garden.

A builder would most probably knock down the house and re -build a purpose built modern home. It is easier for them to cost the project and they can reclaim the 20% VAT. Unfortunately, home owners do not get the same financial help on extensions or property renovation unless it is a listed building. This is a shame as the extra 20% would certainly help property owners maintain and improve  homes.

 We have met a couple of architects at the house to discuss possible options and to quote for  the drawings and submission to planning at the local council. Both architects I found on Google search, and though  very different, both we felt would do a good job. It was very difficult deciding which architect to choose. However, one architect had just taken on a very large project and we felt would be too busy for our little job, with the possibility  we might end up at the bottom of the pile. We had hoped to have the plans drawn up and ready to submit to planning on completion of the purchase.  This was not the case, and our architect is presently drawing plans and  incorporating our ideas as discussed at our initial site meeting  including their own ideas. This the key part of the process, as any  changes made later will cost time and money.

Please excuse the extremely poor quality of these drawings, but I have had a spot of bother with my scanner! I hope it gives you an idea though.

Once the plans are finalized and prior to submitting to planning we can pay for a consultation (this service used to be free) with the planning department to see if they think our plans will be passed first time or whether or not changes need to be made in line with their planning guidelines. This could save valuable time and money rather than having to re-submit  altered drawings if the original plans were refused after the initial 10 week wait for a decision. You would then have another 10 week wait for a planning decision. We hope to submit for planning at the beginning of August at the latest. The eight to ten week wait then applies before we know whether or not our application has been successful or not. If not we have to change the plans inline with the councils recommendations and submit another application (and fee of course) and wait it out again for  10 weeks. Once planning permission is granted, the architect and engineer will draw plans to be submitted to the council for building regulation approval. This can take six to eight weeks. If approved, we can finally start building – if your builder is able start then that is! This is the slow bit, when your’e just itching to get going.

I have been busy also getting quotes from tree surgeons and landscaping companies to cut down and remove some trees, cut back shrubs and create some semblance of order in the wilderness of a garden.  A fifty foot cypress tree at the front is too near the house (roots) and blocks a lot of light. Luckily there are no Tree Protection Orders nor is the property within a conservation area.  Otherwise applications, plus fees have to be made to the council for permission to carry out the work.

Oh, I forgot to mention bats and Glis Glis.  (Apparently the Romans used to eat them).  Glis Glis were introduced into the area by Baron Lionel Rothschild, the Naturalist. Glis Glis escaped from his private collection into the wild. Glis Glis scuttle around attics and like warm airing cupboards. Once the council receive the plans, they will send an ecological consultant (another fee ) to check the attic and any outbuildings affected by the proposed works for bats or Glis Glis living in these spaces. Both are protected species and until the Glis Glis are removed by a licensed company and the bats have been provided with an alternative roost you cannot commence the work if it affects these species. Nobody said it was easy!




11 thoughts on “Renovation and Restoration of a 1930’s House (2)

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