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Modern stuff in period house

(25 Posts)
JillyTheDependableBoot Mon 14-Mar-16 14:45:07

The house we're doing up is a Victorian terraced cottage. Almost none of the original features are left - the floorboards downstairs are original and that's about it. The fireplaces are reproductions and not particularly nice. It's been extended and had various slightly bodgy bits of work done over the past 160 years.

I'm fine with this because I'm not particularly keen on the twee cottagey look anyway. However I don't want to be unsympathetic to the age of the house. We're going to restore the floors and refurbish/replace the timber sash windows, but for example we are planning to put fitted wardrobes in front of the chimney breast in the bedroom, where there is currently a particularly nasty fireplace that isn't even centred on the chimney breast.

Kitchen will be a modern, handleless design and we're going for a slightly industrial vibe in some bits (concrete floor or concrete-effect porcelain tiles in the extension, for eg). Downstairs we'll keep the existing fireplaces for now and possibly replace with reclaimed Victorian ones later on.

I don't want to destroy the house's character, partly on principle and partly because of resale value, but at the same time I do want to love the way it looks. And I am conscious that making it authentically period would mean cooking over a coal fire and using chamber pots!

Has anyone successfully added modern features to a period house, and do you have any tips?

Palomb Mon 14-Mar-16 14:54:13

I think upstairs fireplace aren't central as the chimney from the downstairs fireplace runs to one side of it.

wowfudge Mon 14-Mar-16 14:55:48

Personally I think windows, internal doors and woodwork and fireplaces are key to the character of a house. There were huge swathes of time when period details were out of style and who's to say that won't be repeated?

If you have period detail, try to keep it or replace it to have a coherent look, but no need to slavishly restore everything.

Fireplaces are often off centre where the chimney stack serves two flues btw.

JillyTheDependableBoot Mon 14-Mar-16 14:56:22

Possibly, Palomb, although the one in the back bedroom is centred. Anyway it's WAY off, it looks ridiculous and it's got to go!

JillyTheDependableBoot Mon 14-Mar-16 15:02:00

There are no original internal doors left either. It's been reconfigured internally at some point, internal walls taken out etc.

cosmicglittergirl Mon 14-Mar-16 15:11:09

I'm in an Edwardian terrace (that looks Victoria IYSWIM) and it has glass doors and walk at the back of the house, replacement fireplaces and a very modern kitchen. At first I wasn't sure about it all (it was done by the developer), but I've got used to it. I'm glad there is cornicing, a ceiling rose and period style skirting board as it 'looks' right (all put in recently). So I think those are important to have as is a fire place and if you can get one in the right style, all the better. In terms of the kitchen, I think people are happy to change kitchens when they buy a house especially as taste and fashion changes so get what you like for that maybe. Also, I think it's more popular now for people to juxtapose really modern urban designs next to period features, it's a look in itself.

wowfudge Mon 14-Mar-16 15:16:58

Personally I like to see the original patterns used rather than boring, plain modern versions of skirtings and picture rails or, worse, a section that doesn't match put up. Period internal doors are pretty easy to source. Neighbour's homes can be a good source of reference materials! As for the off centre fireplace - I can't get too worked up about that in a bedroom.

lalalonglegs Mon 14-Mar-16 15:31:06

Lots of people restore period properties to a contemporary design, almost any interiors magazine will have examples. Whether it works or not is very much down to taste and the fundamentals of the design.

OliviaBenson Mon 14-Mar-16 15:43:40

I think you can do a mix of both successfully. However I really dislike fitted wardrobes that interrupt the legibility of a room- in a Victorian house you would expect chimney breasts even if the fireplace wasn't there. To me, hiding it behind fitted wardrobes would jar. Fitted wardrobes to either side of a chimney which didn't go to the ceiling would be fine.

Kitchens are down to personal taste. I'm not a fan of the uber modern handle less ones, but each to their own!

JillyTheDependableBoot Mon 14-Mar-16 19:10:27

Thanks all. I agree re skirting boards, and the architect suggested ceiling roses although there are none there now.

I am not a fan of wardrobes in the recesses on either side of the chimney breast, especially as it is shallow so they would have to stand proud of it. I would have preferred them on the opposite wall but the door is there and DP doesn't like the idea of seeing them before you walk into the room he is wrong but has to have his way sometimes so I can get mine the rest of the time.

Ragusa Mon 14-Mar-16 19:12:41

There is nothing wrong with mixing styles. Personally I find repro or aping original features really dull. Inject your own touch.

Ragusa Mon 14-Mar-16 19:14:09

How shallow is shallow? you could go ultra modern flush with chimney.

OTheHugeManatee Mon 14-Mar-16 19:14:34

It can be done though I would mix a few more classic pieces in. Our bathroom has a frameless shower enclosure and backlit mirror along with trad style taps and radiator, and a vanity made from a super modern style sink top mounted on a Victorian mahogany cupboard off eBay. You can have fun mixing old and new. If you're playful it can look brilliant and it sounds like a more contemporary mix would not be out of place given the house's history and lack of period features.

JillyTheDependableBoot Mon 14-Mar-16 19:28:10

Ragusa - sadly too shallow to be much use - wouldn't fit a full-size suit coathanger for eg. Wouldn't fit suitcases on top shelf. They are 45cm I think. And not having enough storage will annoy me more than not having a visible chimney breast.

OhTheHugeManatee - we have a reclaimed cast-iron freestanding bath, which we're going to keep but with modern taps, and possibly with new feet. Just need to find someone who can repaint it, as it's currently a hideous institutional dark green.

Ragusa Mon 14-Mar-16 19:48:15

Depending on size of room I would go for wardrobe space rather than retaining features at all cost. It's a total middle class obsession IMHO...

SliceOfLime Mon 14-Mar-16 19:54:45

I'm doing up an Edwardianhouse and my bathroom sounds a lot like Manatee 's! You can definitely mix period and modern features, I think a modern kitchen can look great in an old house. Re the bathtub do you mean painting the outside of it? You can probably paint it yourself - I've just bought a new one from the Cast Iron Bath co and their website allows you order it painted, or says you can paint it yourself and I'm pretty sure it tells you what type of paint you need. You can also get the inside re-enamelled if it's stained but don't know the names of companies that do this offhand.

OTheHugeManatee Mon 14-Mar-16 20:17:05

Jilly - we just got our clawfoot tub resurfaced on the inside. They mask up the area and do it in situ - cost about £300 for the inside only. For the outside you just need to turn it over, sand and then paint whatever colour you like - I'm doing ours blue to match the walls. The bathtub resurfacing people will do the exterior too if you want it white with a smooth finish.

OTheHugeManatee Mon 14-Mar-16 20:18:38

(When we moved in the outside of the bathtub was painted custard yellow, with black legs - and the previous owners had given its claw feet a gold-coloured pedicure confused)

LegArmpits Mon 14-Mar-16 20:34:23

We had this problem last year when we moved into our Victorian terrace. Depending on the size of your room (ours is fairly large with a bay window and separate window as well) - we ended up putting our bed in the middle of the room - it has a high headboard- and a 3m run of wardrobes behind, with a small dressing space between. It works much better than I'd hoped! I can draw you a picture if it helps.

LegArmpits Mon 14-Mar-16 20:36:10

although it means the bedroom door is behind us so I won't be able to see any crazy burglars coming in

JillyTheDependableBoot Mon 14-Mar-16 21:30:15

Manatte, are you in London? Would love the contact for your bath person if so. We're totally shit at DIY so would be minded to pay to get the outside done and the inside is actually in reasonably good nick but it might be worth doing both, and certainly cheaper than an equivalent new bath (I want pale grey; DP is saying blue --not going to happen--). Gold feet though!

Legarmpits, I thought about incorporating a dressing space in a similar way to what you describe but I don't think the room is quite big enough - attached pic shows what we have and just how off centre the fireplace is!

OliviaBenson Tue 15-Mar-16 06:55:56

Based on that, the fireplace looks to be in the right position for an upstairs flue. They are all like that in our Victorian house. I'd put the wardrobes on the opposite wall.

LegArmpits Tue 15-Mar-16 07:29:16

Ah, even though our chimney breast isn't central, the fireplace has been removed.
I think maybe the bay window in ours makes it work. I've drawn a rubbish picture with the room size on.

OTheHugeManatee Tue 15-Mar-16 09:00:55

Jilly - I'm a bit north of London but the guy I used might travel - he's based in Milton Keynes. Depends which side of London you are I guess. This is him.

TBH there are lots of people who do a similar service so if he won't come as far as you have a google round and there's bound to be someone. Prices generally £300-£600 depending on supplier according to my research and they all work in situ. They cover the room in plastic sheeting and spray it with some gunk and it takes 24 hours to dry but looks as good as new afterwards.

JillyTheDependableBoot Tue 15-Mar-16 12:05:42

Thank you flowers

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