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Buying an older listed house. Any websites, books and programmes to help get me up to speed?

(22 Posts)
maggiso Mon 19-Jan-15 17:56:21

Hi. We are buying a 17th century listed house locally - a converted rural building, that will need some renovations before we can move in (windows, kitchen, plumbing, basic repairs etc).Structurally it is basically sound. It was converted to a residential building about 40+years ago, and structural work done then was done well. It is my husbands idea and he has admired this house (and its location) for donkeys years, and has been watching architectural and house renovation project type programmes for years. I would have preferred a modern warm spacious home, but was outvoted on this one. So now its nearly a done deal, I need to get up to speed and try and find out as much as I can to do both the house justice and get a home I can live with, and that I can manage despite poor health ( I have enough trouble with our present 90 year old 2 up 2 down - although part of that is out very messy autistic teenager - who will be living with us far into the future I imagine).
Right so I need to look at kitchen styles, windows, specialist paint firms (old house) and generally find out where I need to look to maintain an older property.
Are there any publications that might help - or books? Thanks.

PrincessPilolevuofTONGA Mon 19-Jan-15 18:27:29

The English heritage website is a font of knowledge

They publish various books too.

maggiso Mon 19-Jan-15 19:15:39

Thank you. I have looked at the listing, but will look at their books and publications.

Eastwickwitch Mon 19-Jan-15 20:16:28

We had a book lost in the move from called Old House Handbook which was quite useful.
English Heritage and a sympathetic and experienced Architect were our best points of contact.
We haven't joined the Listed Property Owners Club but I've heard they can be really helpful.

FunMitFlags Mon 19-Jan-15 20:45:14

Old House Eco House Book is also a good read.

I've found that the most useful source of information and advice is other owners of listed properties, particularly near neighbours who have lived in them for several years and whose houses may have been built with similar materials to yours. They can recommend good local craftsmen (and tell you who to avoid).

OliviaBenson Mon 19-Jan-15 22:03:10

Make friends with your conservation officer- they will guide you on what will need listed building consent (windows etc). Listed building property owners club are good as well as SPAB.

maggiso Mon 19-Jan-15 22:33:30

Thank you, Eastwick, FunMit and Olivia. I have ordered both the Old House handbook and the Old House Eco book, and will look into the SPAB and listed building property owners club. The house is surrounded by other listed buildings (most older than 'our' one) so I hope the new neighbours will be a good source of advice. The surveyor we asked to do the survey has also been helpful.
Its exciting and daunting all at the same time.

OnePlanOnHouzz Tue 20-Jan-15 11:19:58

Think of it as an adventure - you are writing the next chapter. one day someone else will carry it on - so leave them something nice to find in tears to come, where you can ! We have a 'we lived here ' photo book left in a tin box, for whoever rips the pantry out next !!

OnePlanOnHouzz Tue 20-Jan-15 11:21:04

Added a Link to a self planner website too ! Hit post a bit too quick !!

maggiso Tue 20-Jan-15 13:09:41

Thank you oneplan. Lovely idea to leave a photo/time capsule. The present owner (who has lived there for 40+ years and restored it with her late husband) has an old photo of the house pre-conversion, which we hope to get copied. We won't fully see it inside 'till we get possession as it is very crowded with a lifetimes worth of collections. As you say it will be an adventure. The self planner website is helpful.

maggiso Tue 20-Jan-15 13:20:50

I meant to say our present house had very old newspaper laid under the lino when we moved in and it was lovely to see what had been going on then -and it dated the lino for us. We still have the kitchen lino (and its newspaper), although it is very brittle and chipped in places. It is the same pattern my grandmother had in her pantry when I was a tiny girl.

FunMitFlags Tue 20-Jan-15 13:48:21

We get random people knocking on the door desperate to tell us things about our house. One lovely man even brought us photos showing our house during the war when it was used as an impromptu youth hostel.

It is very exciting if cold to own an old listed building that is full of history. It is so much more than just a house.

maggiso Tue 20-Jan-15 15:25:06

How lovely Funmitflags. I look forward to that- would love to see old photos. There is a 'hall' (manor house) next door which has very interesting history, going way back. Its the cold bit that worries me - but we have that problem to some extent with our present house (which still has fireplaces and the draughts that go with them in all rooms). Sat here in a padded jacket! Everything from insurance to windows is more expensive.

Joey8 Tue 20-Jan-15 15:51:07

Sounds like a beautiful house.

In terms of windows, as it is a listed property - you may be restricted in terms of choices such as double glazing etc.

Although I know there are various products out there that are really authentic - so much so that in many occasions they are ok to use in listed buildings.

The Government Portal is a good place to start :-)

maggiso Wed 21-Jan-15 11:26:20

We are hoping to have replacement windows made - some need urgent replacement and others can wait. We have found a couple of firms that specialise in replacing windows in historic and listed houses with double glazed matched versions, but they are much more expensive (and look much nicer) than the commonly available ones. Thank you for the planning portal link. I guess we will need to check planning permission to replace the windows. We did look into costs before making the offer, but I am sure there will be things we discover later or have overlooked.

OliviaBenson Wed 21-Jan-15 11:29:41

Be aware that you might not be able to replace with double glazing- some authorities don't allow it (particularly if windows are original). You will need listed building consent for them too.

English heritage have produced guidance on windows and thermal upgrading which you can download.

Joey8 Wed 21-Jan-15 11:30:50

No worries, yes unfortunately they are going to be a tad on the expensive side but worth it if you get the exact look and quality you are after!

Definitely, I would check everything via the planning portal. Good luck!

Seeline Wed 21-Jan-15 11:37:29

As PP said - get the Conservation officer at your local council on board ASAP. Ultimately it will be them that decides what needs to be applied for, and the success of any applications you make, so it is really worth getting their views at the beginning.

bilbodog Wed 21-Jan-15 12:14:34

I have always bought Period Living and Traditional Homes to inspire me with period houses in terms of decor. You will also find lots of companies advertising in there for kitchens/bathrooms etc., which are suitable for old houses and they usually do advice sections each month about doing up old houses. If you don't want to splash out for the magazines you can get hold of them from local libraries normally.

maggiso Wed 21-Jan-15 12:16:02

Thank you Olivia - I found the advice on the English Heritage window guidance and it does look as if repair is a more sympathetic option - maybe with secondary glazing on the inside if needed (the house is close to a motorway - with only trees and fields to stop noise). I had not thought of the additional weight of a double glazed unit - or the change in the appearance of the glass panes if the original glass is not float glass. I know the glass in the stair case window is of the older wobbly type, so there is a good chance they all are. I think I need to take a walk and have a look! I like to get prepared, but I think it best to not rush into anything until we are up to speed on how to do it properly, and can repair the house sympathetically. Hopefully repairing windows (there are quite a lot of them) will be similar or less expensive cost wise.

Jackiemagazine Wed 21-Jan-15 12:20:50

maggiso Wed 21-Jan-15 14:10:40

Thank you Jackie the SPAB sounds ideal .The courses they run for home owners look very interesting and a good starting point. The more I read the more I realise there is to know and think about.

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