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Please tell me why I should buy a Victorian house!

(57 Posts)
CuddyMum Thu 04-Apr-13 21:13:08

Well we've viewed a property today and are quite warming to the idea. It has refurbished sash windows, stripped floorboards, tiled hall, Arga kitchen, picture rails, open fires etc. but the thing is we're so used to living in a modern house on an estate in "magnolia ville" with laminate floors and gloss kitchen, double glazing etc. and I'm still getting my head around it all.

I'm looking for your views good and bad on living in and maintaining a Victorian house. smile

PigletJohn Fri 05-Apr-13 17:26:11

if you are going for stripped floorboards, I really, definitely, absolutely recommend insulating between the joists. Doing it before you move in is ideal. You can unblock 100 years of cobwebs and dust from the airbricks at the same time, and will have the opportunity for any underfloor plumbing or electrics, as well as clearing out the dead rats and finding bags of sovereigns.

MinimalistMommi Fri 05-Apr-13 17:31:17

Dead rats? Yuk sad We will be doing our floor soon and that thought makes me cringe.

MinimalistMommi Fri 05-Apr-13 17:32:27

PigletJohn is insulating between the joists very expensive? I'm no good at DIY (have never even put a picture up) so we have to have people in to do everything we need!

Blu Fri 05-Apr-13 17:33:39

PigletJohn - how is this insulating between the joists best achived? Does it involve spending all day crawling around under the floorboards?

PigletJohn Fri 05-Apr-13 17:58:32

if you have an adequate crawl-space, you can clamber underneath. It will be dirty. There will usually be honeycomb sleeper walls at intervals along the room that you will need to break through.

It is much more pleasant if the floorboards are coming up for some reason (this also makes it easier to identify and correct any woodworm or other problems and to insulate all pipes). It can be done by taking up every fifth board or so and poking your arms down.

If some idiot one has put down chipboard flooring, it belongs on the skip, so that's a good reason to pull it up.

In my first house, I fitted an electrical socket in the crawl space for tools and a lamp while rewiring, but I now know that was not a good move as, in the event of a fault, it was not visible or easily accessible for inspection. Always use screws for any boards you might want to take up in future, not nails.

My old dad made trapdoors in the corners of two downstairs rooms of the family house, which were quite handy on rare occasions. (It was on a hill so quite roomy). If you are going to strip the floorboards you are sure to have some faulty ones that need to come up and be replaced. I have a floor safe in my current house.

Blu Fri 05-Apr-13 18:27:02

I once crawled under the floorboards to retrive a rotting rat.
I'm never going under floorboards again.

PigletJohn - are you spoken for?

PigletJohn Fri 05-Apr-13 18:40:21

not saying

MinimalistMommi Fri 05-Apr-13 18:43:34

OMG Blu I'm really worried about what's under my floorboard now, yuk!

Viviennemary Fri 05-Apr-13 18:47:20

Of course a period property is lovely. But I have known people that just haven't afforded to maintain them. And costly to heat. But if those things aren't a problem then absolutely go ahead.

CuddyMum Fri 05-Apr-13 18:48:02

Reviewed the house - I didn't want to leave! I asked all of my questions, tested all the sash windows etc. The house is so much warmer than ours and they had no heating on! I've had ours on all day and it's still not warm. It's been refurbished very well indeed.

yummymumtobe Fri 05-Apr-13 18:58:44

We lived In a Victorian flat and have just bought a Victorian house. Would not recommend. We had to get Victorian as in our part of London there isn't really anything other than old houses and we wanted to stay in the area. Planning to move soon though as realise it was a mistake:
Sash windows are cold
Wooden floors and cold and unhomey
Fireplaces let in draughts
High ceilings make it cold.
Want nice low ceilings, picture windows and carpets and PVC windows now!!
The idea is nicer than the reality I assure you!

yummymumtobe Fri 05-Apr-13 19:03:33

Just to added, if it has been lovingly upkept over the years and has double glazing, new plumbing, insulated wood floors etc then not such a problem. However, victorian places that have not been maintained can be expensive to upkeep and do works too. Eg a Victorian sash double glazed window costs about 4k for one bay window.

MinimalistMommi Fri 05-Apr-13 19:56:37

cuddyMum that's great, if you didn't want to leave that says everything!

Wandastartup Fri 05-Apr-13 20:45:53

Guessing which house from rightmove- looks stunning. I would buy it if in correct location etc...

Blu Fri 05-Apr-13 20:54:53

Well, that wasn't a 'no'....

Though my feminist principles could ever allow me to use a man as a DIY object.



I think we will get carpet instead of insulation. DP says it will improve the acoustics for the new TV sound system. And he won't go under the floorboards, dead rat or not. angry

I liked living in a Victorian house. High ceilings are good - bigger Christmas tree, you don't bash the lampshade when you take your sweaters off over your head....

CuddyMum Fri 05-Apr-13 21:16:42

Yes, bigger Christmas tree!

littlecrystal Fri 05-Apr-13 21:23:33

CuddyMum can you PM the house to me? It would be lovely to see what attracted you in there especially after your love for modern.

serin Fri 05-Apr-13 21:51:44

TBH I wouldn't, I grew up in one and they just depress me. Cold and dark and not renouned for their fantastic gardens but they differ I guess.

DoNotDisturb Tue 09-Apr-13 09:37:26

I live in a Victorian. We and the previous owner have maintained it well and it's not draughty and cold at all. My heating bills aren't crazy either. You need to draftproof the windows (either new windows, secondary glazing or insulating curtains). We knew our windows needed replacing when buying so kept the money aside for new wooden sashes (they make all the difference).

We've put stoves in the downstairs fires which blocks any drafts.

We find the big windows mean that the south side of the house is warmed by the sun. Even in winter.

We have underfloor heating in our kitchen/diner which is ace.

Basically if you can afford to keep money back to address insulating and draftproof ing the house you should be ok but if you push yourself to the limit to buy you may be unhappy as capital outlay on Victorian can be big.

Did you offer on the house in the end??

BehindLockNumberNine Tue 09-Apr-13 09:42:26

We recently sold our Victorian Semi and bought a 1950's house. The 1950s is draught free, with straight floors. But it is bland bland bland.

I miss our Victorian property every day. Yes it was draughty (gaps in the floorboards being the main problem once we had the sash windows restored).
But it has so much character, such a lovely homely athmosphere.

This 1950's box is more spacious, brighter and warmer. But I don't love it the way I loved our Victorian Bearded Lady (so called due to the ivy growing around the bay window giving the impression of one of those bearded ladies so popular in Victorian travelling fairs)

We moved as we needed a bit more space. But I still regret it.
YOu will fall in love with the Victorian house and never want to live in Magnolia Ville ever again.

<goes off to sob into hankerchief as she surveys 50's blandness around her>

BehindLockNumberNine Tue 09-Apr-13 09:43:28

OOoh, and we had a fantastic south facing 120ft garden in ours.

Super super house. But only two bedrooms and on a busy road so we ended up selling....

BehindLockNumberNine Tue 09-Apr-13 09:46:29

Posted too late, seen you have been back for a second viewing and falen in love with it. grin
Are you going to put in an offer, it sounds wonderful!!

FrauMoose Tue 09-Apr-13 09:51:02

Perhaps it depends if you're the sort of person who likes your central heating up high. The house is big so would be expensive to heat. On the other hand if there's loft insulation that would help.

We put in double glazing in our Edwardian houses. The old sash windows were in poor condition and there were some badly fitted modern ones.

To me modern houses - even if they are the 'executive' type - feel bland and boxy.

CuddyMum Tue 09-Apr-13 09:53:18

We're buying it smile grin

MinimalistMommi Tue 09-Apr-13 10:29:59

Cuddy I'm so happy for you! Congratulations! How long will buying it take?

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