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Refurbishing a large Victorian house - how much / is it worth it?

(17 Posts)
lolacola1977 Sat 20-Aug-16 16:27:53

Hi all, we have had an offer accepted on a large (5 bed) house in London. the survey has come back and there is quite a lot which needs doing - damp proof course needs redoing in some areas, possible timber rot in various places - windows, roof etc, guttering might need redoing etc...Cosmetically the house is in an OK state, but it has been with the same owners for 40 years, so needs repainting, new curtains downstairs, a couple of new bathrooms and ideally we'd move the kitchen to a different room....We also have small children, and I like being warm and dry in winter, so am a bit worried that we're going to freeze, so anything which needs doing to keep us warm! Just wondered, ball-park, what we'd be looking at for this kind of overhaul in London. Thanks for any input.

Sunnyshores Sat 20-Aug-16 16:41:15

Was it a full structural survey? Just trying to get an idea of whether you know the full extent of the work that needs doing.

What spec are you looking at?
For example are you looking at a £10k Howden budget kitchen or a £50k kitchen with Neff appliances, granite worktops etc?
UPVC windows or replacement sash?

LordPeterWimsey Sat 20-Aug-16 16:46:30

I'd reckon £100K (assuming it's in a conservation area and you'll have to replace the windows with timber framed sashes). London costs, a big house and a huge amount of work to be done. More than £100K if you're thinking of a high-spec kitchen, as Sunnyshores said.

lolacola1977 Sat 20-Aug-16 16:51:27

Thanks v. much for coming back to me - it was a full structural survey, and luckily they didn't find any horrors, we would be v.v. happy with an IKEA-type kitchen, it is in a conservation area so I'm guessing we would have to have the more expensive windows...? Can these still be warm? I am just a bit nervous as the house is obviously expensive, and I am worried that it's going to be a money-pit with things constantly going wrong, but still being cold and damp! I think we'd ideally wait a year or so, save up and do everything in one go...Do you think £100k sounds realistic??

Pradaqueen Sat 20-Aug-16 16:59:01

I've renovated several
Victorian/Georgian houses, three of which were my own to live in rather than my development business. If you like being warm, consider over floor underfloor heating products. I used wundafloor in my current house (3800sq ft) which is a Georgian farm house. It was circa £9k fitted with a water cylinder and runs off oil. It has revolutionised our heating of old houses and I would always use again. Pros are more freedom with furniture placement and efficiency in temp cons are you will lose some height and that literally everything has to be removed - doors before fitting.

I renovated for around £100k (excluding windows) using Ikea carcasses for the kitchen plus more expensive marble tops and appliances. You could spend £100k alone on the kitchen in a 5 bed house depending on the trend you like.

First steps, get the damp sorted, then the room layouts you like then the wiring and plumbing sorted, followed by plastering then refit everything else. It will take much longer if you are living in it as the workmen have to work around you. However, a great finish can be done and it sounds like a wonderful project.

lolacola1977 Sat 20-Aug-16 17:07:16

Pradaqueen - that is really useful, thank you, I love the sound of the heating, will look into it...how did you learn how to do all these things? I am a complete novice and will all rest on my shoulders as DH working non-stop...my next question was going to be - is it worth it vs a newbuild where everything is done...

bilbodog Sat 20-Aug-16 18:01:47

In my opinion so much better to buy a victorian house rather than a new build. I work in estate agency and am often quite horrified by the build quality and lay out of new houses. Things still go wrong with new ones!

Weve rennovated a 4 bed edwardian house and a 3 bed victorian cottage. It always costs more than you think so always have a contingency fund of at least 10 pc. Weve spent almost 100 k on the cottage during the past 5 years so i think you might need more than 100k.

Damp proof courses are not always recommended for old houses - if you can find out what is causing the damp then just fix the reason and it should dry out. Look at down pipes and outside ground levels in case these are causing damp.

Keep wooden windows if you can - old ones are made with much better quality wood than modern versions. You can also have old windows rennovated and draft proofed. If you want more protection from the cold i would suggest good, unobstrusive secondary glazing - ive seen it in grade II listed properties (where it shouldnt really be) but it is very effective.

I find looking in magazines like period living and traditional homes can give you lots of ideas for upgrading your home and the have good articles about old houses. I also think there is a Victorian society in london that can give advice on restoring old houses.

Enjoy the project and you will end up with a lovely home. Good luck!

Pradaqueen Sat 20-Aug-16 19:13:00

Lolacola - you learn by trial and error grin definitely buy period. Your investment is more certain and the build quality / renovation quality of 'done' or new houses is not uniform..... Have a look at Living Etc also for a more contemporary look than the other publications mentioned up thread. You might be inspired. I would also add by the end of chewing through £100k I did have to get creative with the fittings which makes our house more special to us. eBay will be your friend after you've spent £2k on drain covers / down pipes etc. Just make sure your basics are sound before you get to the 'good bit' of decorating!

lolacola1977 Sat 20-Aug-16 21:30:24

Thank you all, you have convinced me, now need to get convince DH!

Cacofonix Sat 20-Aug-16 22:12:31

We are mid way through a renovation of a large detached 1900 built house. Obviously depending on your finish you can spend loads or less but I think £100 000 in London is pushing it. For example - we had our original sash windows renovated 18 months ago - cost £13000. Rewiring whole house is £5000. Curtains etc for large windows are expensive - think we spend £6000 ish. We are extending the back and altering the layout and all up, we expect to spend around £200 000. To be fair we are going for an expensive (but not top of the range) kitchen. Don't underestimate all the little problems you will find and spend on. However I love our house - it isn't cold - it has so much character. Beware damp proof courses etc - have a read of this.

lolacola1977 Sat 20-Aug-16 22:34:23

That damp proof stuff is interesting, I think I need to arm myself with more info about these types of properties, looks like there are some good books on Amazon...we couldn't afford £200k but don't need to do anything structural and I can live with the curtains if new ones would be that much..

Cacofonix Sun 21-Aug-16 09:07:08

Yes the damp proof course and general damp issues in older houses is very interesting. This article is one of many which disputes whether rising damp actually exists anyway! It makes for an interesting discussion with a surveyor who shoves a damp meter on a completely visually dry wall and declares terrible damp. I am always very wary of that. If there is no visible sign of damp - mould, flaking paint, wet/cold to touch then the question is is there actually damp? Just beware. And good luck!

lolacola1977 Sun 21-Aug-16 20:23:29

Done some further digging incl reading specialist stuff about Victorian houses and sounds like that is the general consensus. I am getting quite excited by all this now, sounds like it could actually be fun!

Sunnyshores Thu 25-Aug-16 15:25:20

You are going to need to love the period look. Financially doing all this work will be worth it in terms of capital gain, personally I think its fun and love the look of them - but if youre not convinced and could live in a modern build then it would be much, much easier!

OneTwoOneTwoThreeFour Thu 25-Aug-16 15:37:05

Put in wood burning stoves, if you can, they make a huge difference to the temperature.

There are lots of lovely different styles and colours around too.

Not as traditional as an open fire for that type of house, but so much easier and warmer.

And thick curtains and/or shutters will save lots of heat escaping.

trickyex Thu 25-Aug-16 20:33:42

SOunds like a great project.
I have renovated a similar sized Victorian house also in a conservation area (not in London though) and it has cost over 100K, but that did include lots of work on the garden which is a large plot.
I have found some very nice thick lined curtains on ebay and Gumtree which will save you hundreds, if you get them so they puddle a bit on the floor that is a good way to conserve heat.

hifi Sun 28-Aug-16 19:10:00

we are just refurbishing our large Edwardian, gutting it. the ground floor is currently 220K.

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