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Help us renovate our dream home

(62 Posts)
FourOnTheHill Sun 14-Feb-16 18:50:26

Edwardian 3 bed end of terrace, needs everything doing really. We have a budget of 25-30k for renovation. All tips gratefully received especially what would you prioritise and what order should we do stuff in so as not to have one job wreck the previous one. We can't afford to do everything we want to do.

Front of property: needs renovation including original front door renovation, pebble dash removal, painting of plasterwork around windows.

Windows: old double glazing think we'll keep it for now and get proper double glazed wooden sash windows eventually

Hall: needs re flooring and decorating. Will probably go for solid wood.

Living room: (knocked through to dining room): needs redecorating, new floor, fireplaces reinstating (will prob get wood burner for front end)may need walls skimmed before painting

Kitchen: original scullery. We hope to extend this into what is currently a conservatory, meaning we'd take down the conservatory and get a new built kitchen extension. We can't afford this yet so will leave the kitchen for now (will probs start new thread about extending)

Utility/ downstairs shower room: we'll leave it for now, it's not bad

Stairs: remove 50 layers of paint from banisters, re carpet

Upstairs: needs new flooring (prob carpet) throughout, wallpaper removing, redecorating, may need walls skimming

Loft: we want to get it insulated and boarded.

There's probably loads more we need to do that we haven't even figured out yet but where should we start? Do floors come first or last? Will the pebbledash removal be very dusty, should we get that over first?

We will be looking at using breathable materials (lime pointing and breathable paints etc) throughout and eco friendly credentials are also important to us, so eg. loft insulation will probably be sheep's wool or similar. Any eco friendly tips also gratefully received.


Ps former mumsnetter, I left after I was on the heartbleed hacked list but have decided to re join

PurpleWithRed Sun 14-Feb-16 19:00:03

I don't think your budget is going to cover everything at once so you're going to have to prioritise. Personally I'd get that loft boarded and lit and a good loft ladder so you've got somewhere to put stuff. Then I'd do upstairs, room by room, and i'd take for granted you're going to have to skim and you may as well sort the electrics while you're at it i.e. put in lights and powerpoint where you want them. So then you have a nice sanctuary at the end of the day. Then downstairs, then outdoors.

lalalonglegs Sun 14-Feb-16 19:01:15

I don't know where you live but that sounds a lot of work for your money - especially with luxuries such as solid wood floors and a woodburner to supply and install. There seems to be no money allowed for vasicscsuch as rewiring and replumbing which would almost certainly be necessary in a propertyt hat needs everything else doing confused

FourOnTheHill Sun 14-Feb-16 19:25:25

Yes! That's the problem. We can't afford it all and don't know where to start. It's London too so not cheap to get anything done, and yes we do want high spec everything, so will just live with what we can't do straight away. We have never done much DIY and it won't be practical to try due to work and 2 dc under 5.

I had also thought of starting at the top, getting the loft sorted first and then working downwards, as we are less sure about what we want to do downstairs. But don't want to spend all the money on boring stuff and then have to wait for the log burner / renovated front door which are the things I get more excited about

Snoopadoop Sun 14-Feb-16 19:29:22

You need to sit down and work out what you can do or at least learn to do and what you need a professional for. You then need to prioritise and work out what's important to you. There are loads of blogs out there that show renovations. Get googling.

I think pebble dash removal is very expensive and often damages the front of your house so may prove costly. Make sure you research this thoroughly.

FourOnTheHill Sun 14-Feb-16 19:30:01

And yeah, retiring and plumbing haven't been checked yet although seem to be working. Was hoping to leave plumbing overhaul and new boiler until we have decided what to do with the kitchen but yes boiler is on the medium term list for sure.

FourOnTheHill Sun 14-Feb-16 19:35:46

We researched the pebbledash removal and we are planning to get a local company to do it, they've done lots of local properties and seem to know what they are doing. Cost of that should be around 6k. there are some good write ups here,1154273 of their work and we've seen other local properties they've done a beautiful job on.

FourOnTheHill Sun 14-Feb-16 19:53:08

Ok so to be clear priorities are easy. We want to and probably will afford to do all of it in the end, when the dc are at school and I go back to work full time. What I was really after was more practical advice like X and Y and Z from your list will ruin the new floor so do those things first, or don't get sheeps wool insulation if you don't like moths (anyone know if this is a problem?) or get the wood burner installed before decorating- pretty sure this is wise in our case as the remains of the old fireplace is boarded up and behind old wallpaper

Pradaqueen Sun 14-Feb-16 20:01:53

Ok my business is renovating houses and my speciality is Victirian/ Edwardian houses. My advice would be as follows: leave the pebble dash. Paint it. It'll do until you have more money but you could easily have a number of firms eat up most of your budget removing that plus the plaster. Ditto leave the double glazing. Paint the front door and surrounding woodwork a nice F&b shade, tidy the front garden. Replace the door furniture and place a lovely planter with a sculptural plant either side. Your front will look 100% better.

Inside check plumbing and electrics are up to scratch. Consider fired earth tiles not wood (I paid £290 for beautiful grey tiles and it looked interesting) it's more in keeping and looks fab. Inlay a door mat.

Insulation is a must, check if you qualify for free via a reputable company such as B gas. Consider thick lining paper not skimming walls until you have the cash.Much cheaper and no mess. Remove any walls you can afford to do to open up the kitchen now. You won't want to dave the mess later. Look at complete used kitchens in ebay until you can afford what you really want. Replace bathroom suite with plain white and some timeless tiles (white/grey metro) ebay is your friend. Scour ebay for fireplaces too.

£30k is doable if you paint yourselves and gave a qualified electrician/plumber/ carpenter and builder for opening up the kitchen. Personally I'd leave the exterior, the wood burner and Dream kitchen until funds allow. Only plaster walls that heavy-duty lining paper won't cope with. Good luck OP.

Pradaqueen Sun 14-Feb-16 20:02:54

*have not dave!

ClaraBorne Sun 14-Feb-16 20:09:20

Electrics and plumbing first, everytime. And if you need a new boiler, get one now, and new radiators and pipework as a new boiler needs then to work properly.

What great advice Prada!

FourOnTheHill Sun 14-Feb-16 20:12:55

Pradaqueen thanks! Love the lining paper tip especially. Have my heart set on the pebbledash going but will think about doing the front door first and seeing if I can wait for the pebbledash. Any front door tips? It's going to need new stained glass and I haven't even begun to research that. Is stained glass £££ ?

FourOnTheHill Sun 14-Feb-16 20:15:39

ClaraBorne I fear you are right. Plumbing and electrics are so boring though! I want to spend money on stained glass and a log burner!! New boiler would save us money in the long term I guess (clueless about plumbing)

FourOnTheHill Sun 14-Feb-16 20:16:57

How much is a new boiler, new pipe work and new radiators in a 3 bed house? Ballpark figure?

Liara Sun 14-Feb-16 20:22:35

I have tried every single type of eco insulation out there, and if I was putting it up myself and price was not an issue I would go for cotton and hemp (it's lovely), because price is an issue for me I tend to go with recycled wood fibre.

Sheeps wool is not as eco as one would like as they have to treat it reasonably heavily to avoid parasites.

Cork is wonderful for where space is at a premium but is very pricey.

Any loose stuff performs worse in practice than on paper - it is very very difficult to avoid places where holes form.

A wood burner is a lovely thing but do make sure you budget enough for making good the flue and all that - can cost more than the stove itself. If it is not well done it will be a nightmare to keep swept.

Lime plaster is breathable if it is straight on stone/brick, if it is used as a skim on top of a non breathable surface then obviously it isn't (you would be amazed at how many times people forget this).

I would second the plumbing and electrics coming first, everything else after. And sadly the plumbing and electrics can eat a fair chunk out of your budget.

Honestly, if you want to do it all for that money in London, you are going to have to get pretty handy at diy. Which will have the added advantage that contractors will be less able to take you for a ride if you have the option of doing it yourself and know exactly what is involved, so no bad thing in itself.

FourOnTheHill Sun 14-Feb-16 20:34:23

Liara thanks that's interesting. We're likely to try and do one thing at a time, really well, so we don't have to do it again later, so knowing what the best eco insulation is, is helpful as we may decide to get that done in the best possible way first and go from there. Will have to look at prices... Cotton and hemp does sound good and I presume not as attractive to insects?

Btw thanks for everyone's concerns about budget (!) I see your point! we are likely to have 500-800 quid spare per month depending what comes up, to save or spend on the house in an ongoing way, so some of this stuff will get done that way. Some of it will just not get done for ages I expect.

Liara Sun 14-Feb-16 20:36:56

I think a lot of us have the experience of having these old houses suck up every penny we have had to spare and then a whole lot more many times over, so the first thing it is natural to say to someone is be very, very realistic about how much it will end up costing and then double it.

I love renovating but honestly it costs a fortune. And I do everything (including plumbing and electricity) myself!

FourOnTheHill Sun 14-Feb-16 20:38:23

And I'm very willing to improve my DIY sills but not currently possible with a 1 and a 4 year old, neither currently in nursery or preschool! I am barely managing to feed them and keep them from braining each other, let alone learn new skills involving dangerous equipment (although they would loooove to help I'm sure). Older one will start school in September so maybe things will get easier!

Liara Sun 14-Feb-16 20:38:48

Yes, cotton hemp (or hemp alone, which is good too but not as soft and lovely) does not need as much parasite treatment (if any, not sure). Stands to reason really, it is vegetable in origin.

Liara Sun 14-Feb-16 20:39:33

And don't worry about the dc being young, they won't be by the time you're done smile

FourOnTheHill Sun 14-Feb-16 20:40:03

Ok I will try to be realistic. And to learn some skills

FourOnTheHill Sun 14-Feb-16 20:42:03

Keep crossing posts! True! smile

Can't believe I'm on a forum discussing comparative loveliness of loft insulation!

tittysprinkles Sun 14-Feb-16 20:51:59

Having done something similar to a 1930s semi recently the order went:

Strip lining paper - revealed that plaster was knackered throughout house and all needed removing
Remove skirting boards, architraves, old picture rails and coving
Pull all old plaster off taking it back to brick
Carpets up
Replaster using dry lining and skim (lime plastering costs at least 1/3 more according to our plasterer)
Coving back on
Electrics updated to move a few switches around, add 5 amp sockets and Ethernet cables
Re-pipe for new radiators (we moved the position of some and added an extra one)
Mist coat of paint to seal plaster
Skirting, architraves back on upstairs
Wooden floor down downstairs then skirting, architraves back on - skirting looks nicer when put back on top of the wooden floor rather than using beading
Carpets down upstairs
Final fix electrics
Put rads back on

We did not need to do the kitchen and bathroom as these were done quite recently. Outside is mainly cosmetic so left till the end.

A major extra expense was sorting out the chimneys. We had two fireplaces with gas stoves in, but they didn't meet regulations and the fireplaces had to be rebuilt. A new marble surround can cost £1k plus. Each chimney needed flue lining at £1k each not including cost of chimney scaffold. Stoves themselves cost several hundred pounds.

We are looking at spending at least 30k and that does not include a new kitchen and bathroom and before other expensive outlays like soft furnishing and white goods.

Oh and we've not been living in it. Aiming to complete within 3 months and that's with workmen working more or less continuously. It is good fun seeing it all come together but not living there and a decent budget has helped a lot.

If we had been living there we would probably have done a room at a time and worked our way from the top down.

Pradaqueen Sun 14-Feb-16 21:33:59

Hi fouronthehill try a local glazier for stained glass. It'll be cheaper than you think! Also consider draught proofing and filling the existing front door until you can afford a proper swanky new wooden one (might be North of £1000) full new heating system assuming you are on mains gas will be circa £3.5k but have a look at wundafloor underfloor heating which is designed to go over floorboards and gives you a better hear distribution. I have it in my own home. You will need to get a chippie in to adjust doors and skirtings.

FourOnTheHill Mon 15-Feb-16 17:07:05

tittysprinkles that's pretty encouraging to hear you've done all that even though your budget is bigger than ours and my list of things I want to do is longer! Useful to see the order you did them in too.

Pradaqueen yes underfloor heating is wonderful, a friend of mine has it, although I've never come across it in an old house. Will look into it although I suspect my piano wouldn't like it. Will have to research...

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