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What's it like to live in an older (ie Victorian) house? Pros and cons please.

109 replies

TsarChasm · 27/02/2008 19:06

If we ever get out of out of our 3 bed semi I would love to buy an older house.

I've not lived in an older property before but it seems to me that they are bigger inside (ie you get more for you money) are better built (ie not plaster board walls and chipboard floors) and have more character.

Can you tell I'm very disenfranchised by my house

I'm starting to hate the way newer houses are asking more money for so little living space and quality.

So what are older houses like? Draughty and expensive or better than newer houses? Do you love or hate yours?

OP posts:
YouKnowNothingOfTheCrunch · 27/02/2008 19:08

I love mine! Yes it's a little damp in places, and a little draughty here and there, but it's so nice to live in a house with heart!

My last house was so bland and characterless, it ticked all the boxes, but lacked something...

Twiglett · 27/02/2008 19:08

really built way .. good thick walls .. muffle sound

extremely high ceilings make every room look huge

big windows (would prefer sash but only managed to replace one so far) .. so keeps quite warm

lots of character and alcoves and interesting things

love it .. grew up in 30's semi .. had edwardian flat before (stunning windows) ..

Twiglett · 27/02/2008 19:09

curtains are really really expensive

Twiglett · 27/02/2008 19:09

christmas trees look amazing [girn]

nailpolish · 27/02/2008 19:11

we alived in a gorgeous flat with huge windows and elaborate ceiling roses
big chunkdy doors and 2foot high skirting boards
fireplaces you could stand inside
thick brick and stone walls
beautiful it was

but the windows were single glazed and rattly and let rain in - we couldnt afford to replace them cos it was a conservation area and the council wouldnt let us have double glazing - and single glazed, wooden sash windows were about 5K a window i kid you not (huge windows they were]

nkf · 27/02/2008 19:11

They're not all well built. The Victorians were no stranger to cost cutting. I'd say pros are:

High ceilings
Generous window sills.
Sash windows
Details like coving

Cons are:
Gardens are often dark because the house is tall
Every DIY job always reveals another problem
High ceilings makes decorating less easy for the amateur.

On the whole I like them.

BoysAreLikeDogs · 27/02/2008 19:11

All the walls are squint, nightmare to line up wallpaper.

Damp can be sorted, draughts can be excluded, windows can be remade.

I miss my childhood home, can't you tell

needmorecoffee · 27/02/2008 19:11

Nice thick walls so you can't hear the neighbours. Big rooms.
but damp, bits need replacing cos they are a hundred years old and can be a bugger to heat.
Oh, and we got a coal celler

hatwoman · 27/02/2008 19:16

agree with all the plus points listed. and I would add that having big -wide and high - hall-ways is lovely. in fact I would probably say that our upstairs landing is among my favourite parts of the house!

down points I would say that their lay-out (if still in its original form) is not particularly in keeping with more modern ways of living. kitchens can feel remote from the rest of the house (very often at the back of the house with access from the hall-way rather than other rooms). bathrooms can be disproportionately small. or few.

hatwoman · 27/02/2008 19:17

agree with the walls being off. we had a nightmare trying to get our new toilet square!

Dottydot · 27/02/2008 19:17

Big windows and high ceilings give a feeling of space.

Even with central heating there's fresh air in it (this is a good point!).

But damp was a real issue in ours, and condensation on all the windows.

Small/non existent garden.

We've just sold ours and bought a 1930's 3 bed semi - smaller and fewer rooms, but HUGE garden and I think we'll be a lot happier.

pointydog · 27/02/2008 19:18


hatwoman · 27/02/2008 19:19

never had a problem with damp or draughts (drafts?) in ours

lalalonglegs · 27/02/2008 19:19

Great room sizes, lovely features, good proportions, often in handsome-looking streets, thick walls means less neighbourhood noise.

Colder, liable to damp, more expensive to maintain, no parking obviously, and in typical Vic houses really narrow, irritating hallway that always looks cluttered as soon as you put your handbag down in it.

nkf · 27/02/2008 19:19

Yes the walls are funny. No right angles at all.

pointydog · 27/02/2008 19:19

dry rot will be there, you just might not find it

hertsnessex · 27/02/2008 19:21

ours isnt victorian, but origianl part built in 1700's.

its got tons of original features and character, down sides are dust, seems to appear from no where, creaky boards, difficulty getting furniure in/out and hard to buy new windows/doors for as all odd sizes!

nkf · 27/02/2008 19:21

Dry rot is inevitable. And the reason the houses feel airy is because the windows rattle. They have a charm though. Attics are lovely.

TsarChasm · 27/02/2008 19:22

All music to my ears. Especially Twigs lovely remark about Christmas trees .

1930's would be ok too.

I just hate all these little (emphasis on 'little') pokey new houses. They are rip off.

OP posts:
hippipotami · 27/02/2008 19:22


We live in a Victorian semi. Traditional layout: narrow long hallway with doors to lounge and dining room off it. Kitchen is at the back of hte house off the dining room.

Solidly built, feels strong, cosy and protective.

We have replaced all our original sash windows with double glazed sash windows. Still retains the character but keeps out the draughts and rain.

We have exposed all our floorboards and do get some draughts up from the floor, but nothing a nice comfy thick rug can't handle.

Christmas tree does indeed look stunning in the bay window.

Lovely original fireplaces, coving and elaborate ceiling rose in lounge.

Also, in our case, the Victorians were not so stingy with building plots so even though we only have a very small front garden and no driveway/garage, we have a 100ft long rear garden. Brilliant

All in all, this house has character, it has a soul, it is a true home. We love our old Victorian lady.

pointydog · 27/02/2008 19:22

If It's a detached house, at least you can just pay a huge amount of money to sort out the dry rot yourself withouht trying to involve difficult neighbours

noddyholder · 27/02/2008 19:23

maintenance is on going but if you get on top of it its not too bad and you are more than rewarded for every piece of art and flowers etc just look better and at xmas they really come into their own

nkf · 27/02/2008 19:23

1930s houses are good but they tend not to be in very interesting areas. I wouldn't mind a 1930s mansion block flat.

pointydog · 27/02/2008 19:23

lol @ 'all music to my ears' after dry rot mention

nkf · 27/02/2008 19:24

Dry rot grows really slowly and isn't that big a deal. Damp on the other hand is.

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