Spider Lane, a 3 bedroom house, again in Stroud, Gloucestershire, was our second project and needed a lot more work! This was a complete renovation, but we also did a lot of reconfiguration to the interior to make it a much more usable space. I hate wasted space in houses. In fact, reconfiguring badly designed interiors has become a bit of a speciality now! So if you have a problem property and would like to learn how to maximise the space you’ve got, drop me a line.
OK, back to Spider Lane. There was a very small kitchen (with what would have been a pantry/coal house) and tiny bathroom downstairs (apologies to for the poor quality images on this one, but I’ve misplaced the photo’s so had to scan from the nagatives, not very successfully as you can see!).
The hallway was small and dark. The door to the bathroom was almost opposite the front door and there was a built in under stair cupboard that took up even more space, so it really felt cramped.
Upstairs there was a small landing and 3 bedrooms. One large master bedroom, one long thin bedroom and a small’ish front bedroom. To allow us to move the bathroom from downstairs we had to reconfigure all the rooms.
Even though we had shaved more than a metre off the master bedroom, the upstairs actually felt much bigger. It’s a common mistake to think that by reconfiuring and making some space physically smaller this will actually make the room feel smaller – it doesn’t necessarily work that way. Once decorated the master bedroom was still a good size and if you’d not seen it before, you’d have never known. That is why clever reconfiguration can actually significantly improve your property… but, and it’s a big but, unless you have a clear vision and understand about perception of space and the way natural light works, there is a danger of getting it very wrong indeed and making your property much less user friendly.
The garden also hadn’t really been touched for years and although large, was again badly configured.
So, how did it all come out?
Did we hit problems? Of course. For example, the builder who was due to fit the kitchen disappeared the day it turned up (in fact when I finally got hold of him his exact words were “f*** off, I’ve got another job that pays more” – charming, eh?). So we had no kitchen for over a week, until I eventually fitted it myself! You learn very quickly when needs must. And because the new boiler was sighted in the kitchen under the new bathroom, we had no hot water either! Luckily for us we had a friend across the road who allowed us to use her shower!
(MARK’S TIP: When relocating bathroom and kitchens make sure you know where the main soil stack is located, otherwise this could add extra unnecessary costs to your renovation.)
In fact we ended up doing pretty much everything on this one ourselves, including fitting the bathroom, kitchen, building the walls, knocking down the walls!, laying the floors, tiling, some of the plumbing and electrics, landscaping, painting and decorating inside and out… phew, I’d forgotten what a big project this actually was. I’m exhausted now just remembering it all! But it did give us incredible practical experience we’d never had gained any other way, that has really stood us in good stead with other projects we’ve done since.
All this was achieved without the expense of building any extensions… and when we sold the house we got the highest price for any property in that area, which still hasn’t been bettered nearly 10 years on. Reconfiguration is a very powerful and potentially lucrative solution to property problems… if you know what you’re doing of course.
It was during this project we acquired our new permanent house guest… (who is still with us 14 years on)