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1930s small-roomed semis with big garden or large-roomed victorian terraces with yard?

(28 Posts)
Cazwa Sat 08-Aug-09 21:11:30

We were supposed to be moving into a 5 bed victorian terrace in a week but our buyer withdrew it from the market on the day of exchange angry Still selling ours though and moving in with parents including 2 DCs age 1 and 3.

We are now looking at a wider area for a new house and Im stuck between two types of house. I have always liked victorian terraces with high ceilings and large rooms, however round this way they always have yards rather than gardens as we are walking distance to the beach. Im now considering 1930s type semi-detached, however the rooms seem tiny in comparison, it feels very 'suburbia', but they have great gardens. Before the recession these houses were out of my reach so Id never considered them, but now I can.

Can you make small-roomed semis attractively done out? Dpes anyone have any examples to inspire me? I cant find anything online, all the decor websites usually show large rooms.

Is it better to have a garden with small rooms than big rooms and a yard? I feel Im being warped in making a decision by the gorgeous weather we are having when probably most of the year we are stuck indoors.

Here are two examples of the quandry Im in. The terrace one is no-go as its not in a good school catchment area.

Victorian terrace

1930s semi

Rindercella Sat 08-Aug-09 21:20:33

1930s semi & extend it is my considered opinion smile

I really could not live without a decent outside space now that I have a child. And that yard doesn't really look like an ideal play ground for small children.

Although our house is a new build, originally it did have small rooms downstairs (is very top heavy). We did a 1 storey extension & now have a huge great big sitting room, a really decent size dining room (which was the original sitting room) and have barely lost anything from our garden.

The second house you have linked to looks like it is crying out to be extended.

gigglewitch Sat 08-Aug-09 21:23:32

we have a 1932 semi, which has been extended at the back so the lounge and kitchen are huge - then we bought the house and put a conservatory on as well grin fantastic. And big garden as you say. We chose this over a victorian one because the latter was a whole two bands of council tax higher hmm and would have cost another mortgage worth to heat...

LilianGish Sat 08-Aug-09 21:26:15

Personally with kids of that age I'd go for a garden. However near the beach/park is it still involves a degree of packing up loads of clobber and snacks, making sure everyone's been to the loo etc. With a garden you just open the door and let them play out while you get on with whatever you are doing. By the way am very envy at property prices round your way. A terrace house like that where I live in London would be pushing £1 million - garden or no garden.

MollieO Sat 08-Aug-09 21:31:46

Gosh envy at the prices! I would say garden and area over house. House you can change by extending, decorating, furnishing but you can't make the garden bigger or change the location.

Ponders Sat 08-Aug-09 21:32:50

What you can do quite easily with a 30s semi is extend the kitchen/dining room with a glazed roof or Velux windows over part or all - it gives you an amazing huge light downstairs space.

Also you can get cavity wall insulation which saves a packet on heating - Victorian houses don't have the cavities.

The bedrooms are tiny though.

Jux Sat 08-Aug-09 21:37:37

Go for the garden. 30s rooms aren't really that small and are certainly better proportioned than in modern houses; usually bigger too.

Victorian houses are great - I grew up in one - but older houses are incredibly expensive to keep together. We are now in a Georgian house with lovely big rooms and high ceilings, but it is a money sink. I remember my parents constantly in agonies over how they were going to afford this or that on the house.

DH and I started our married life in a 30s flat. It was spacious and light, and very well built. Not much maintenance to it at all and once the roof was lagged pretty economical to heat too.

I was saying a couple of days ago, that when we move on from this place, I'll go for a 30s build anytime.

Cazwa Sat 08-Aug-09 21:39:44

You are all confirming my thoughts on semi winning over terrace grin however Ponders has picked up on my niggling fear that the bedrooms are too small, and you cant extend the top of the house, unless you go over the garage and I never like the look of those extensions, for me they spoil the look of the house.

Definitely fancy the glazed roof thing.

We are looking at a vacant possession one on my top street I want to live on that needs new kitchen and bathroom. Just hoping it doesnt feel too small inside. If its ok though we can afford it and are ready to proceed straight away smile. Feeling so much better than I did on monday when everything fell through.

Cazwa Sat 08-Aug-09 21:41:14

House prices have dropped loads round here, I used to not be able to afford either house 6 months ago. Obviously not £1million though shock

lyraSilvertongue Sat 08-Aug-09 21:46:00

We've just moved from Victorian to 1930s semi.
The beauty of having a big garden is you have more options to extend, and still be left with a decent sized garden.
I think with two small children, the garden is very important.

Swedes Sat 08-Aug-09 21:48:19

It looks like the semi is much closer to the beach and the park (and v v close to schools and the Metro) than the terraced.

You can't use the space in the void of the high ceilings but your children will most certainly use the garden, a lot. The fact that the semi is out of your reach in a buoyant market (but the Victorian house not) says it all really, doesn't it?

Ponders Sat 08-Aug-09 21:49:04

I think extending over the garage is fine, as long as you do a proper job & extend the roof to match - it's those awful cheap flat-roofed extensions that spoil the lines.

Proper jobs are expensive though.

lyraSilvertongue Sat 08-Aug-09 21:49:38

Our 30s house has two large bedrooms and one small. The downstairs has been extended to give a double-sized living room at the back (plus one at the front) and we still have 80ft of garden.

gigglewitch Sat 08-Aug-09 21:51:39

Hoping I'm not going to contradict anyone, but assuming the layouts are very similar - all the ones in our area are - well it depends if you are extending backwards or sideways as to whether you can put extra bedrooms on. Across the road from us is a beautiful example of extending to the side, the stairs run up the outside wall of the house meaning that the landing window can be made into a door in to another bedroom - obv a large "master" one, ensuite at the end next to the family bathroom, and downstairs they have a study, large living room and small utility room (but how big does a utility rm need to beenvy)
Ours is extended backwards and would limit the practicality of doing a second storey but we do have planning permission for it. All that it would do though would make an already largeish (12ft x 15ft) bedroom into a larger one, and extend the bathroom - we thought why bother tbh...

Ponders Sat 08-Aug-09 21:51:46

The small bedroom in my parents' house was about 6'6 by 6' (properly known as a boxroom of course). I don't understand why those 30s builders didn't just make all the houses a couple of feet bigger all round - there was plenty of space to do it & most of the families then must have had at least 2 children (& no car, probably grin)

gigglewitch Sat 08-Aug-09 21:53:31

my great rambling post failed to mention that I was talking about the 1930s semis blush
For all of it grin

Cazwa Sat 08-Aug-09 21:54:09

OK Im now drooling at the thought of looking round this house on tuesday! I will post thoughts on it afterwards.

Good point about kids not being able to play in the high ceiling space!

CarGirl Sat 08-Aug-09 21:57:03

Depending on the size of the house the "box" room may be a decent size?

Yurtgirl Sat 08-Aug-09 21:59:29

OP I am in shock that you describe the 1930s semi as having small rooms!
Its a perfectly lovely 1930s house with perfectly reasonable rooms and a big garden

My mum grew up (as did I) in a house just like that - Her granma had the biggest bedroom and reception room to herself.
Her parents slept in bedroom 2.
She and her sister slept in the box room until they left home at 18

Small rooms indeed! I think you need a bit of a reality check tbh - they arent victorian huge but they arent traditional terrace tiny either

Pollyanna Sat 08-Aug-09 22:06:59

we went for a 1930s house, although it does have high ceilings and big rooms. It also has a huge garden.

I really don't like it. I love period houses and if it were down to me I would live in one of those. However our house is perfect for the children and the family. It has more storage space than a victorian house and the kitchen is huge, unlike a kitchen at the back of a victorian house. We live in the kitchen.

I'm not helping you, because every so often I try to persuade dh that we should move so that I could be in a house that I love.

Monkeyandbooba Sat 08-Aug-09 22:10:57

We bought a 1950s 3 bed semi in June, it's bloody ugly on the outside hmm but we have just had a massive conservatory (5 x4 m approx) built across the back of the house and knocked through to the lounge. Now feels very light and airy. There is also the potential to extend up and have an extra bedroom. What attracted us was the 100ft garden (2 kids and 2 dogs) and the quiet location.

WE love Victorian normally grin

Cazwa Sat 08-Aug-09 22:11:50

Sorry Yurtgirl, that 1930s example is definitely one of the larger semis, i should have dug out a better example. The ones Ive been eyeing up are more like 14x10 for the living room and 10x6 for the kitchen, which personally I think is small.

I grew up in a terrace till age 9 then a semi like this till i left home, and had the box room...

SpudtheScarecrow Sat 08-Aug-09 22:12:33

We've just moved from the North East (Tynemouth) from a Victorian terrace to the North West and have bought a 1950s semi with much smaller rooms, less space but a big garden and so far we love it. It's made us declutter a lot and generally use our space better and having the garden with little ones is fab. It means they can play out for the odd half an hour here and there even on mainly wet days when you wouldn't want to go to the beach/park or whatever. Also, they can play while you potter about rather than having to go with them.

We're also feeling quite a bit of relief at not having to maintain a Victorian Terrace, ours was very high maintainance!

My friend lives in the street where the semi you've posted is, I think! It's a lovely area, really close to the metro and the beach and a few shops.

Cazwa Sat 08-Aug-09 22:20:06

Wow Spud, small world! We live on the edge of Tynemouth in North Shields. Couldnt afford Tynemouth but it has the most beautiful terraces, Hotspur Terrace and around there.

I hadnt considered Cullercoats before, it does seem really nice.

Good point about the high maintenance, we were going to have to spend a fortune on the one we lost out on.

Yurtgirl Sat 08-Aug-09 22:28:39

Caswa - point taken, it looks just like the house my parents have lived in since 1970 but I do agree 1930s houses can look similar and in fact be different sizes!

Ill find out what size the rooms in my parents house are for comparisons sake

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