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Daydreaming about a grade II listed cottage

(19 Posts)
BurningBriquette Sat 21-Jan-17 20:22:46

Had a spare 5 minutes today, so spent some time daydreaming via Rightmove. Basically looking at and lusting after houses that I can't afford. I have, quite unexpectedly (ahem) fallen for a grade II listed timber framed cottage built in the 1600s. It is beautiful. It seems the current owners purchased in the 1980s and undertook a renovation.

So I am now imagining living in this house... but I have no real experience of what living in a timber framed, beamed listed building might be like. What would your concerns be? Would anyone be kind enough to detail in horrendous detail the negatives? And stop me from viewing the place!

I can't stop thinking about it. And might possibly be able to make the finances work. I live in a Victorian house so no stranger to constant diy and the cold. However, I understand this place is a totally different prospect. Please put me off. Or not.

Sunnyshores Sun 22-Jan-17 15:14:42

I love listed properties, but financially generally its not wise!

Have a look at the listing (council website) and see what exactly is listed. That will give you an idea of what work you may or maynot be able to do in the future.

A 1980s renovation was 30 years ago, electrics etc may need updating and things have moved on re energy efficiency etc (what does EPC say?).

No idea about timber beamed specifically, but my negative experiences of listed properties are related to being cold, constant maintenance (but I quite like DIY so not all bad) and having to compromise greatly over an extension.

But Id do it again in a heartbeat! Sorry....

PinkSwimGoggles Sun 22-Jan-17 15:15:39


Allthebestnamesareused Sun 22-Jan-17 17:55:28

Also if it was listed after the 1980s renovation sometimes the renos are listed too and possibly 80s renos may not be tasteful!

hooliodancer Sun 22-Jan-17 20:41:55

I have just bought one!

Electrics were fucked. But only cost 2 k to sort.

Walls are lovely and thick. It has stood up since 1750 so will stand a lot longer!

1980s renovation a bit bodged, but again not too much to rectify.

It has a wonderful atmosphere. I love old houses.

Wildidle Sun 22-Jan-17 21:07:35

Actually all of it will be listed, you'll need consent even to alter modern additions. The listing will just mention the most significant parts of the building.

SickRose Sun 22-Jan-17 21:18:12

Lived in listed cottage for a year. We had a cupboard in our living room that went backwards into the neighbours house. The ceiling of it fell in at the same time the neighbours whole bathroom fell down. That was fun. Also came back from a holiday and found mushrooms growing on the bedroom floor. Landlords were having a nightmare sorting it out without affecting any of the listed parts of the house. Luckily our tenancy was up a month later so we just walked away. After that experience I would never buy. Shame really, was such a beautiful place and when it went up for sale a year later it was right in our budget.

BarchesterFlowers Sun 22-Jan-17 21:24:11

Have owned 5 houses, 4 listed. Unless it has something seriously wrong with it or you want to change it it isn't that problematic imo.

Full structural survey and then chat it through with the right builder. Many problems are caused by dodgy repairs over the years or lack of maintenance.

I had a horrible damp dining room that resolved itself by replacing the new plaster on (only one wall) with lime plaster and using the fireplace.

Current house is lovely, but it wasn't when we moved in six months ago, using the fireplaces, opening windows when we can and heating the place has solved a lot of issues.

It wouldn't suit everyone but I am not looking for 'pristine'.

BarchesterFlowers Sun 22-Jan-17 21:25:55

And I like the whole listing thing. I think we are just passing through these old houses and that they should be preserved for the future so I heartily embrace it.

Of course it is a bit sad that by listing it it doesn't mean that it can't fall into disrepair.

LumelaMme Sun 22-Jan-17 21:27:15

I have long experience of listed buildings.

They tend to be draughty, damp and cold and often (if low-ceilinged and small-windowed) dark. They are a hassle to maintain and tend to leak when the rain blows over the wrong way. You may find that the local structural engineer becomes a family friend.

The rooms are usually a good size, the atmosphere is wonderful, there are all sorts of interesting nooks, corners and features and you do get used to chocking up the front legs of your chest of drawers so that the back is flush to the wall and the top is level. Your DIY skills come on in leaps and bounds as you relish the challenge of finding out where the fuck you can find some purchase for the new curtain rail in that bloody wall.

I'd be bored in a new house. Give me a cranky old one any day.

VanillaSugar Sun 22-Jan-17 21:31:03

^^ what PinkSwimGoggles said. I live in one. It's ffffff.fffffff freezing. All the bloody time. And damp. And very very expensive. It's a veritable money pit.

PinkSwimGoggles Sun 22-Jan-17 21:32:50

I prefer the listing of buildings in other countries.
a friend just bought a 'victorian' listed place to do up.
it's listed, but it's the 'appearance'.
when renovating they are not allowed to put in single glazing (illegal for residential properties in that country) and they have to replace all structural wood with concrete (apart from the roof structure). the house when finished has to reach an energy rating of b.

elQuintoConyo Sun 22-Jan-17 21:33:10

Good lord no! Used to live in Old Kent Cottage near Folkestone (google it - it is gorgeous!) but never again. Earth foundations, high risk of flooding, ginORMOUS spiders, couldn't move a nail without calling someone.

SimplyNigella Sun 22-Jan-17 21:38:42

We live in a listed property, a converted toll house, and alternate between loving it and wishing we lived somewhere more sensible.

No matter how hard we work on it the house always looks a bit scruffy, it's dusty and full of cobwebs and quite impractical. That said, I know if I lived in a modern house I'd be bored and yearning for character.

BarchesterFlowers Sun 22-Jan-17 21:50:09

Mine have always had a bit of a scruffy edge Nigella.

I have learned that in life (and on mnet) you have the 'bloody old houses' brigade, my parents have crossed into that category recently after leaving our GrI childhood home for a house they had built, they love it, I secretly hate it.

And people like me who embrace my listed home, bills and all. I remember DD saying "Auntie Barchester's house is so shiny and new Mummy" at about 4, read into that what you will!

SimplyNigella Sun 22-Jan-17 21:57:33

You're right Barchester and I would definitely miss the house if we ever moved. DH gets frustrated and impatient as we bought the house before deciding to have DS and now we don't have the time or the money we expected to invest in the house.

I've embraced the Abigail Ahern school of decor which I find works well with scruffiness and try to develop a mental filter when looking at the rooms so that I gloss over the imperfections.

I just hope when we have visitors they notice the distinctive original architecture rather than the bumpy plaster and the cobwebs.

BarchesterFlowers Mon 23-Jan-17 08:31:31

Well, you are one step ahead of me Nigella, you have a plan grin. I just have an old house full of neutrals and mismatched bits of furniture.

Sunnyshores Mon 23-Jan-17 09:50:48

Yes, I know all of it will be listed and the default position is that you cant change anything. But our councils heritage officer was quite reasonable in her approach as all that was mentioned on the listing was the front facade, not the rear 1960s flat roof extension (even though it was there at time of 1980s listing).

However my friend brought a listed house that had been subdivided, badly and cheaply, but because the listing mentioned the partitions she wasnt even allowed to remove the 1980s dividing walls.

SimplyNigella Tue 24-Jan-17 15:19:54

By "plan" I clearly mean numerous Pinterest boards that bear no relation to our budget or level of DIY skill grin

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