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Moving from lovely period flat to uninspiring 1950s house - big mistake?!

(20 Posts)
WeavingLoom Wed 12-Apr-17 10:19:35

We are selling our Victorian flat with beautiful period features and lovely sunny garden because we are fed up with having noisy neighbours above us. The problem is of course we can't afford a period house in our area (and want to stay relatively near here as children at great local school).

We have made an offer on a very uninspiring 1950s house on a road that is convenient for school and friends, and it looks like our offer will be accepted. The plan would be to completely re-design the interior with a double height extension and probably change the ugly modern windows to improve the exterior. The best thing about the house is that it has a great garden that the kids would really enjoy and it is cheap, leaving us enough money to hopefully transform it into a thing of beauty!

I have always lived in period properties with lots of features and I really appreciate these details, I am not a fan of cold, shiny clinical spaces. I'm struggling to know whether this is an exciting project or whether it will always feel like a modern boxy house. Anyone out there had a similar dilemma and/or transformed an unlovely house into something fabulous? I need inspiration! Thank you.

mrscrocopop Wed 12-Apr-17 10:28:49

I think you have answered your own question... although the new house is somewhat uninspiring it sounds like you can't afford a period property in the area you want to be in/sound like you need to be in for family.
We moved to a 50's house after a cute terrace and although it lacks the character it makes up for it in room size, light, warmth, garden, location.
We still haven't turned ours into the fabulous extended gem that I have in my minds eye but it's certainly a warm and comfortable home after a thorough redecorate ☺️
I would say go for it; I have seen some 50's houses that have been extended and look spectacular! Maybe you'll be able to get the period property for the next move?!

didireallysaythat Wed 12-Apr-17 11:53:30

I suspect the kids are going to prefer being able to build dens in the garden to having original ceiling roses. I'd go for it. When the kids leave home you can swap houses with someone who has a period property and kids. Least, that's my plan.

Whatthefoxgoingon Wed 12-Apr-17 11:55:57

Period features don't compensate for light, space, privacy or a garden. Seriously, cornices don't really improve your life in any way. You've done the right thing.

SoulAccount Wed 12-Apr-17 12:03:32

What does the 50s house look like?
Does it have modernist proportions that can be enhanced?
Many 50s houses have airy rooms with good proportions, often better than the long narrow Victorian layouts.

My instinct would be to go with the original proportions, embrace Modernism, and make the best of it as it is rather than work against it with incongruous prettifications.

What does it look like? (Nosey and curious).

EJC85 Wed 12-Apr-17 12:44:13

If the 50's house has the proportions/potential to give your family the space it needs I'd go for it in a heartbeat. I bought a 60's house (twice now) for those reasons. So much potential!

emsyj37 Wed 12-Apr-17 12:45:50

There is a 50s house near me that has recently had sage-y green windows fitted. They look great, and the house really suits them.
I personally like 50s houses. Lovely and bright. And a great garden is brilliant to have - we are about to put our house up for sale to move just to get a good garden.

OliviaBenson Wed 12-Apr-17 14:09:38

I would say a 1950s house is a period property- just different from what you are used to.

I really like houses from that era and you could do some fab stuff with the interior. :-)

WeavingLoom Wed 12-Apr-17 17:14:39

Thank you for all your encouraging words, now to research windows!

TheCakes Wed 12-Apr-17 17:17:40

I did the same when I got married. Moved from my beautiful, rented spacious Victorian flat to a boring 1970s semi. I won't lie - I still bring it up every time we argue, because I loved that flat, but DH owned this place and would have been in negative equity if he'd sold it.
We've been here five years and my kids love it. They have friends in the streets around and about, loads of room to roam, places to play out, build dens, ride bikes etc.
I still dream about my old flat, but for practical reasons this place works.
I'm bloody retiring to a lovely period property though!!!

lalalonglegs Wed 12-Apr-17 17:50:17

I'd actively choose many post-War houses over Victorian ones - the layout is often far better and they are more adaptable. Ultimately for me though, location will always be the most important factor so it looks as if you have the perfect house.

HelloFreedom Wed 12-Apr-17 18:36:35

We did this 2 years ago. Sold a Victorian terrace with courtyard at the back for a 1950's semi.

It hadn't been touched for decades and anything that had been done was very shoddy. is on a big plot with a lot of room to extend, has gardens front and back, a driveway, garage and it is warm and light.

We're gutting and restoring/replacing everything. Changing layout etc and in a year or two will be building a double storey wrap around extension (fingers crossed).

It's miserable to look at now, despite all the work we've done but the potential it has outweights any doubts about whether we did the right thing.

Go into the 1950's place with an open mind. They can make wonderful family homes.

JT05 Wed 12-Apr-17 19:13:11

Yep, 1950/60/70s houses make great family homes. We lived in a lovely Victorian edifice until we had children and moved into a large roomed, garden 1960s house. We stayed there nearly 30 years, loads of space, now they've all left we downsized to a cute Victorian/ Edwardian house, full of features.
So, go for the 50s modernist style and go back to the features later! Something to look forward too! grin

AwkwardSquad Wed 12-Apr-17 19:48:29

Is it detached and can you afford it? If yes, I'd move like a shot. Detached would trump any period features for me right now. I'd be tempted by a cardboard box in a field, tbh.

TheCakes Wed 12-Apr-17 19:49:03

Oh JT that made my heart do an excited little flutter that I might get my cute period home again in the future 💕

JellyWitch Wed 12-Apr-17 19:51:15

We swapped the Victorian terrace for a 1960s semi. It's not at all pretty but it has some much potential to extend and a massive garden. Plus the interior was a totally blank canvas that we have been able to infuse with loads of character. Plus we haven't got any damp issues!

thenewaveragebear1983 Wed 12-Apr-17 23:13:52

We've bought a 50's house and I agree with everything said up thread. It's light, it's bright, it's spacious. It's on a good plot and it has 'clean lines' and still has some period features (we have the original wooden front door now in our entrance hall and done original stained glass on the stairs). We bought it for its space and its potential and it has it in bucket loads,

dietcokeandwine Thu 13-Apr-17 09:10:48

Yep we did this.

Initially swapped lovely 1 bed period flat for a 3 bed Victorian terrace, then 3dc later we traded that for the ugliest boxiest 60s detached house you can imagine.

Bought as a project from an elderly lady-nothing had been done in about 20 years-but the house had a massive garden, big spacious rooms and (joy of joys to the previous Victorian period terrace owner!) its own drive and off street parking.

Three years, one huge extension/total refurb and lots of (carefully budgeted) ££££ later, we now have a beautiful big family home with a lovely garden and the external of the house looks, if not chocolate box pretty, a damn sight more attractive than it did.

I would go for it OP. There are lots of ways you can make uglier modern houses look nice (change doors/windows for a start), and in all honesty the space and proportions of 50s/60s houses are so worth it for a growing family.

ArcheryAnnie Tue 18-Apr-17 10:11:57

If you have got used to the aesthetic of a Victorian terrace, then a 50s house will seem very different. But they have their own charms! A very elderly couple I know have a very modest fifties house filled with fifties furniture (which they bought in the fifties!) and it looks ABSOLUTELY FANTASTIC, even though they have no idea at all that it's the sort of look that an interior designer would kill for!

I'm not suggesting that you go full retro, but do embrace the differences, and make it your own!

beachcomber243 Tue 18-Apr-17 19:51:07

I have a 1950's place and I love it. The plot size and gardens are good. The rooms have higher than average ceilings, there is plenty of light and well proportioned rooms. It is quite a warm house, cosy in winter, airy in summer...and it does have character.

It's a good solid build with quality wide floorboards which I have painted and everyone who comes here admires. There is a very wide drive and larger than average garage, walled front garden and back garden is very private. Loads of loft space.

There is lot which can be done to these properties.

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