I have now compiled ‘before and after’ pictures, with the occasional ‘during’ photo (remember it always gets worse before it gets better) which I hope you’ll enjoy and give you momentum to commence or finish your projects.
The renovation and restoration of a 1930’s house is finished! Are you ever finished in a home? Probably not.
Before – A sad, neglected house
After – The completed front elevation of a renovated 1930’s house
Before – Sad and neglected After – Restored and extended
Before- Originally a bedroom
After – The bedroom now converted to a family bathroom
Before- A tired and dated bedroom After – A family bathroom
Downstairs loo with original 1930’s cast iron cistern
After – The original cistern was restored and re-used
Before with original cistern After – Re-sited and restored cistern
Before – Landing with doors to loo, bathroom and airing cupboard
The internal walls were removed to form one room.
After – Now a guest bedroom
Originally a landing with airing cupboard, bathroom with separate loo. Now a guest bedroom, painted in ‘Setting Plaster’ Farrow and Ball http://www.farrow-ball.com/setting%20plaster/colours/farrow-ball/fcp-product/100231
Before – Rear Elevation and garden
After – rear garden showing first years border plant growth.
Before – An overgrown garden Waiting to mature!
However carefully one plans either a renovation or restoration project, it rarely comes in on budget – it’s usually over budget. This is not just because of unforeseen problems like discovering structural problems once the work has commenced, it can due to adding a few extra plug sockets here and there (it all adds up) or choosing high specification kitchen, bathrooms and fittings. Usually it’s because we’ve under estimated the basic build/renovation costs – raw materials labour plus VAT. Comparing your projected budget spread sheet to the actual costs spreadsheet, helps analyse where you under budgeted or over spent.
Did we go over budget? Yes, we knew we’d go over budget when we decided to install the Sonas system. However, the original quote was less than the final invoice due to the time-lapse between the first fix and completion – the labour and equipment had increased in price. The quote was valid for 30 days only, lesson learned. The building material costs were higher too, despite having a breakdown of these costs from the supplier which our budget spreadsheet was based upon. Generally, the majority of people under-estimate their expenditure.
With the uncertainty of property the market, and the impact Brexit may have, many home owners are opting to improve their current home instead of moving. Having had nearly forty years experience in renovating properties, although home values may dip from time to time, they always go up, and on the whole a good investment.
If you think I can be of benefit to you and your project, whether big or small just contact me.
When undertaking a renovation project it is advisable not to have any other major events going on in your life at the same time. However, life is rarely that simple and we have been busy these last few months heavily involved with our daughter’s wedding, dealing with an elderly parent with failing health and working on the house. Something had to give, hence my time for blogging. Time to bring it back up to speed!
From the front of the house it still looks pretty much like a building site. Safety fencing still in place, a bright blue portaloo sits next to a pile of debris waiting for a ‘grab’ lorry to remove it and a rather full skip.The house, although now complete with new windows and front door still awaits the render to be painted, the roofer to tile the garage roof and a porch to be built. Most of the activity has been taking place inside and to the rear.
I had wanted to renovate the original front door, but was persuaded to opt for a similar design in a composite material in French Grey due to security and draughts. It was pointed out that what was the point of energy efficient windows with a draughty front door, the previous owner had hung a very heavy curtain in front of the door, so I relented. We are pleased with the new windows, despite our compromise on material. These were put installed in stages, the sloping glass roof causing the most grief, due to fixing the glass to a steel beam. The sloping rear roof was finished off with a water proof fibre glass resin prior to the installation of the roof lantern.The seven-metre-wide bi-fold doors which open fully across the rear of dining / day room onto the garden are amazing. We are now fully secure and in the dry.
The new front door in French Grey
The day room showing the bi- fold doors and sloping glass roof
New window and door openings have been made where necessary and old openings either blocked up or adjusted in size in the existing house. The ceilings have been removed due to their poor state of repair. Partition timber frames to form new walls have been built and the electrician has finished his first fix. We did our own electrical drawings for the electrician and provided a key to the symbols so he knew exactly what he was quoting on. This is time consuming, but well worth the effort. Thinking about where you want your plug sockets for lamps etc. means knowing your furniture placement. Light switches too have to be placed for ease of use, and whether they need to be one way, two way or more. Do you want them dimmable? It’s actually quite difficult as one often takes light switches for granted, until it’s put in the wrong place and plastered over! Lighting circuits for layered lighting, for task (bright lights for cleaning etc.), ambient (lamps ) which create a warmer, cosier atmosphere, or specialist lights to high light a feature or art work. It’s also worth discussing your plan with your electrician because often they will come up with ideas and suggestions. We wanted LED lights for energy efficiency and nickel plated ‘toggle’ switches. Although more expensive than white plastic, it’s the small details which make the difference to a house. I chose a matching nickle plate finish for the original door handles, which have come up beautifully.
New kitchen window installed and aperture adjusted
Wall partitions built to make kitchen, cloaks and utility rooms
Plasterboard walls installed after first fix electrics
Original door handles prior to plating
After- nickel chrome plated door handles
Toggle Switch image from Ford and Lomax
I would advise where possible, to walk round the property with your electrician and electrical drawing close to the completion of the first fix to ensure that everything is where is should be, and to make any necessary changes before the plaster board walls and ceilings are fixed in place and plastered. The electrician also suggested a media system with ceiling speakers. This sounded expensive. We researched various systems and options and makes. The Sonas System appeared to be a recommended system. We received a quote from a recommended company and asked him to quote for his extra wiring work involved. It was approximately £5k for the total package, including outside speakers for when entertaining. We oomed and arhed and looked at our original budget to see where and if economies could be made elsewhere. That’s quite a lot of economies to make! After much deliberation we decided to have the system installed and probably take us over budget, as it was better to install it now than a retro fit later.
The first fix electrics in the master bedroom
Underfloor heating pipes laid onto insulation and prior to screeding
The first fix plumbing, including the insulation and underfloor heating to the new sitting room, dining/day room, kitchen and utility room has been laid and the floors have been screeded. Unfortunately, I wasn’t on site this day and the new screed floor level is flush with the original wooden floor in the hall and original sitting room which I wanted to keep and sand and re-finish. This cannot now be done because by the time the new flooring finish is laid over the screed one will end up with a marked floor level difference.
All the plumbing pipes (unconnected) and electrical wires (not live) have been bought out of the side of the house ready to be connected. This is because the new boiler/mud room has yet to be built. This is being built later to enable the digger to have access to the rear for the remainder of the terrace to be completed.
The problem with the slightly differing floor levels upstairs from the existing house into the extension were rectified by lifting some of the original floorboards and planing the joists slightly at and angle to meet the new floor level. The boards were replaced, and now there is no noticeable difference to the levels. Unfortunately this will not resolve the floor level difference on the ground floor.
When writing retrospectively it sounds very quick and easy, but as we all know it takes time, planning and dealing with compromises and sometimes set backs.
The house stands empty, a shell of it’s former home in a plot with a few mature trees, but void of flower beds and borders. There it sits waiting for action to transform it into a home once more. It appears from the outside that nothing is happening, but nothing is further from the truth. A flurry of activity is taking place off site.
Quotes for the Structural Engineers drawings have been obtained for the work which can be carried out on the existing house not requiring Planning Permission, but just Building Control. These drawings provide the calculations for the steel lintels and supports required, for builders to work to, and for Building Regulations to come and check, and sign off once satisfied that the work has been carried out satisfactorily. To remove a chimney breast (leaving the stack in situ) knocking out the wall between the existing kitchen and dining room, knocking a wall out between the hall and new kitchen for a glass partition and doorway. Also to add enforcement in the attic roof area for extra support for the removal of the walls between the existing bathroom, toilet and airing cupboard, to make a bedroom. I also asked for a quote for the additional structural drawings and calculations for the work which does need to wait for Planning Permission. The choice was easily decided upon, in this case the price. One quote for the initial work was for £325.00 with no VAT, the other was £560.00 plus VAT plus disbursements (these being an unknown amount). The quotes for the additional structural drawings subject to Planning Permission i.e. structural calculations, for supporting beams, foundations and ground slab. One was £1325.00 with no VAT, and the other £1595.00 plus VAT and disbursements. As the drawings should be exactly the same, it was an easy decision. The drawings have been sent to a builder we know, and have worked with before, and a copy has been sent to our Architect to pass onto a ‘friendly builder’ he knows to quote on the initial work. It appears however, that builders are extremely busy and think our major stumbling block will be the availability for our planned schedule. We would like a builder to start the work the week beginning the 20th or 27th October, so this work can be finished prior to commencing the extension. We should receive our planning decision by the end of October, and hopefully it will be approved. If successful our Architect will prepare the working drawings. We will also require a Party Wall Agreement. http://www.theguardian.com/money/2013/mar/14/home-extensions-plans-party-wall This is an agreement drawn up between ourselves and our neighbour, because the extension will be less than 3 metres from their boundary. Photographs are included as visual evidence, so if any damage should occur to their property whilst work is being carried out, they will be covered for repairs and damage caused. I have two quotes already for a Party Wall Agreement, one for £650.00 plus VAT and one for approximately £1200.00 plus VAT, as I say, shop around.
Old Kitchen- requires updating.
Before – The original 1930’s dining room
Dining Room Fireplace across one corner unfortunately will have to go to make way for the new kitchen
This corridor leading to the upstairs toilet, bathroom and airing cupboard will be knocked into one to create one bedroom.
Old Bathroom – needs work
In the meantime, the old kitchen units will be stripped out, leaving the sink and working taps for the all important cups of tea. The bathroom, and upstairs toilet will also be removed, leaving the downstairs cloak room in situ for the time being. The existing radiators and plumbing pipes which are mainly lead will also be removed. All items I would like to clean up and restore to possibly re-use in the house, such as the basin in the bedroom in the new downstairs cloakroom and the original glass splashbacks I will bring home and store in my garage off site, to prevent from being ‘skipped’ or damaged by builders. Anything else salvageable which I shall not be re-using will also be stored off site and sold. Remember that copper and lead are valuable materials and these too can be sold and the proceeds put towards something else needed for the renovation. In one of the bedroom cupboards are some wrapped up bolts of fabric left by the previous owner. Much to the consternation of my husband, these too will be bought home and inspected to see if I can re-use the material anywhere in the house or sold as ‘Vintage’ fabric. It will need to be laundered first.
Vintage bolts of fabric and original glass splash backs
Original Bedroom Basin which we’re hoping to re- use or sell. (minus the DIY cupboard beneath!).
original bathroom cupboard, complete with rail for a hand towel. Watch out for the Annie Sloan paint!
Our Architect has arranged a meeting with one of his ‘friendly’ builders to look at the proposed plans and give a rough budget guide price for the extension and other work. This will be a guide price only, to give us an idea, as the working drawings will detail the materials to be used for the structure, finishes and fittings. The drawings will also include electrical and plumbing requirements. These detailed drawings will then be sent to builders to quote on, so they are all quoting for exactly the same work, making comparisons easier. However, we are going to to our own detailed and scaled plumbing and electrical drawings ourselves. This is because we know where we want to place our furniture, bathroom and kitchen plan, the rooms functions and our lifestyle and how we want the space lit. My husband is a professional plumber who will install the bathrooms and domestic plumbing requirements. He is under the VAT threshold, hence saving 20% on the plumbing bill. The electrical drawings, along with details of switches and socket products required will be sent to the building firm to add to their quote package and to individual qualified electricians. However, despite having detailed drawings some tradespeople will still ignore the details and take the easiest route for them, including placing a room thermostat in the centre of a wall. I don’t know about you, but I would rather look at a painting, or hang a mirror or shelves on a wall than look at a room thermostat! It has been done, and moving the switch once the wall has been plastered is an added cost. So keep an eye open as work progresses.
This decision is going to be unpopular with builders. Most builders use their own preferred sub-contractors who invoice the builder direct, and then in turn the customer receives a bill from the builder. Our Architect offers a service of preparing a tender/ negotiation and obtain competitive tenders from builders he has used and worked with before. These fees are based on 1% of the build costs plus VAT. The Architect will also prepare a contract between us and the contractor, issue certificates for payments, for practical completion and final certificate after checking the final account. Again this cost is based on 1% of the build costs plus VAT. This is a great service if you don’t have a clue abut building and renovation or really don’t have the time to project manage yourself. It should remove a lot of the stress and responsibility. Should you be more adept and have the time to project manage, and be able to do some of the work yourself, schedule the trades at the appropriate time, this will save you money. Be realistic about your time and capabilities. Some of the house renovation programmes on television are misleading. I would love to see the detailed budget breakdown on their costs for a substantial building project said to cost £88,000.00 and completed start to finish in just five months, doing most of the work themselves, despite having full time employment.
So, I’m busy sketching, drawing, sourcing and putting details onto my spreadsheet. Don’t forget the exterior of the house and landscaping too at this stage. Incorporate outside and garden lighting, patios, terraces, paths and drives into the drawings. This is time consuming, but will save a lot of time later.The London Design Festival is on at the moment, and have taken the opportunity to visit some of the events. There has been so much to see, which I would have loved to attend, but time has not allowed. These exhibitions and shows are great for ideas and sourcing products. The Home Renovation and Building Show http://www.homebuildingshow.co.uk/ is being held at Olympia from 26th to 28th October (this weekend). This is a great show to visit for ideas, help, advice, talks and lectures on different subjects and have specialist teams on hand to help you. Well worth a visit. If you can’t make it to London this weekend, the show is also being held on other dates around the country.
Wonderful stand of the original Lighting BTC Company at 100% Design
Gorgeous Copper lights from the Original BTC Lighting Company
Interior decoration in our main living areas is always top of our priorities. However, have you ever wondered when walking around beautifully staged show homes where you will keep your vacuum cleaner? Indeed if the home does not have a utility room, where you will keep your ironing board, iron, the pile of ironing for that matter, and the plethora of cleaning materials – in the kitchen or under-stairs cupboard? Even the most modest of Victorian terraced homes had an out house or scullery with a sink and perhaps an old copper to heat the water for wash day. Laundry was not generally performed in the kitchen, this was kept for food preparation only. In today’s modern, modest homes the washing machine is located in the kitchen, which means losing valuable cupboard space. The same loss of space if you have a dryer, and associated cleaning materials and tools. If you have the space, then a utility room is a must.
The minimum space required along a wall is 190 cm, this would allow 60 cm width for the washing machine, 60 cm for the sink and draining board and 60 cm for a tall cupboard to house products and tools – even the vacuum cleaner. If you have a dryer this can be put on top of the washing machine. The minimum depth of space required is 1500. 60cm being the average measurement of appliances and cupboards, plus room to open the appliance and cupboard doors. Layout examples below.
Alternative arrangement and task lighting
Stack Appliances if space is a premium
Place the sink between the appliances
Utility rooms are best located near the kitchen, with it’s own access to the garden. This allows ease of access to the garden for the washing line, and somewhere to leave muddy footwear and hang everyday outerwear. If a separate room is not possible, and you have an integral garage, which does not house your car, but used for general storage, section a partition wall and place your utility area in the garage. Another option is to designate one wall in your kitchen (or elsewhere if space allows) as the laundry area (minus a sink) and hang sliding or bi-fold doors across the whole lot, so it looks like a cupboard when not in use.
A Utility Cupboard using bi-fold doors
Utility area hidden by sliding doors
Plumbing requirements need to be planned, hot and cold supply to the sink, cold water to the washing machine and waste from both into a drain. If opting for a dryer too it will need venting through an outside wall. If this is not possible opt for a condensing dryer. Washer dryers are an option too, but these need to be vented.
White Goods -Appliances – Buy the best quality you can afford. Meille being the top of the range. Consider whether you want integrated appliances, hidden behind doors. If so you need to purchase integrated appliances specifically designed for the purpose.
Hang a simple curtain if your budget is small
Appliances hidden by purpose built cupboards
Cupboards and Storage – A tall cupboard with well designed interior space arranged so that items can be easily retrieved. Think about whether yo would prefer doors or drawers under the sink. A ‘Sheila Maid’ or rack above the sink for drying clothes is useful.
Flooring – Porcelain or ceramic floor tiles are durable, waterproof and are the best choice in utility rooms. If the room is directly off the kitchen, use the same floor tiles as the kitchen as this makes the space larger. Lay electric matting underfloor heating under the tiles instead of a radiator. This frees up valuable space and prevents the floor from being cold.
Lighting – If space, opt for a window as well as a door, if not have a door fitted with glass to let natural day light in. Energy efficient, good quality daylight white or warm white fluorescent tubes provide the most economic, practical and shadow free task light. Under cupboard downlights, track spot or pendant lights are also an option.
A utilitarian pendant light
Under cupboard downlights
Adjustable tack spot lights
Sinks – Consider the use of the sink. If used for cleaning muddy football boots the Butler sink is ideal. If only used for water to wash the floor a stainless steel or ceramic sink will be adequate. A high level mono tap is best in a utility room, so you can fill a bucket or whatever easily. Worktops – Your choice of work top will be lead by your choice of sink. However, laminate is fine, but will not stand up to hard wear and tear. A granite or stone composite is hard wearing and grooves can be cut for drainage, eliminating the need for a sink and drainer set up.
A stainless steel inset sink ith granite work top and draining grroves
A large butler sink with tiled splash back
High mono taps
Decor – If the room is accessed directly from the kitchen, use the same wall paint or a tonal shade. If having a splash back behind the sink use the same tiles as in the kitchen if you have them. If not a plain white brick style tile will create a utilitarian feel.