Late last year me and Mr B moved into our new home. We had gone from a very trendy central Hove location, regency mansion building, sea views. The location was amazing but after 10 years in a beautiful flat the size and potential of it had become exhausted.
So we made the move out of Brighton & Hove to a small village, Southwick. Its a real traditional English village with a medieval church and a cricket green. Our Estate Agent congratulated us, “Well done, she said, You have bought the worst house on the best street in Southwick”. It wasnt until we moved in that we realised how bad it was, no gas to the building, no hot water and no central heating to any of its eleven rooms.
After the initial panic we set to work employing a heating engineer and we began to chip away at every other room in the house. Having three businesses our objective was to do the place up without spending a fortune. By doing most things ourselves (with a huge amount of help from my folks), and with a lot of elbow grease and paint, after 6 months we have completed phase one on a budget of less than £10,000 and we think that we have put an estimated £50,000 on the property.
The Times newspaper liked our story so much they sent a photographer and journalist to take pics and write about it. Read it here.
So I thought I’d share some of our pics and some of my tips.
Here’s my top ten tips on doing up a wreck.
1/ Have a vision, buy the worst house in the best street. You can make it better.
2/ Do it Yourself. I didnt know I could do half of the stuff I have this past 6 months
3/ If in doubt paint it out. Paint covers a multitude of sins. We painted over wallpaper in some rooms and it’s a good quick fix to strengthening walls to literally painting over the cracks!
4/ Go to the dark side. Check out blogs from leading interior designers such as Abigail Ahern. Dark hues rock!
5/ Rip up carpets. Instead of sanding floorboards we painted ours a dark oak thoughout, front to back, this creates the illusion of more space.
6/ Dont buy new, we took our old furnture and painted it and shopped in second hand/antique stores for unwanted furniture. One man’s rubbish is another mans treasure.
7/ Dont buy new curtains. We took our expensive tailor made curtains from the old flat and had a local seamstress make two sets of curtains and two pelmets out of the fabric!
8/ Dont buy a new kitchen. We cleaned our kitchen with sugar soap and painted the kitchen doors, laminated the worksurfaces in pretend grey slate, put on new door knobs – we bought a new oven, the old one wasnt safe. It feels like a new kitchen!
9/ We hung some new art to add a touch of the modern to a Victorian restored building, bought printed cushions and lampshades. Mix it up! Old and new works.
10/ Paint the door. We painted the door. Added a new number and placed pot plants ourside.
Voila We have a new home. Bring on phase 2 and outside office and phase 3 the extension. Have I mentioned the outside loo? There’s always a place for that. So keen to get that working.
So, don’t delay, buy a doer upper and right that wreck to the max!
PS Thanks to Andrew Hasson for some fab photos. www.andrewhasson.com