We’ve been looking for a little inspiration, and found it in our friends Sam and Anthony! Sam is a menswear manager at a well-known department store, and Anthony is a handyman who works throughout the West Midlands (he’s done a lot of jobs for Betty’s mom, who gives glowing reviews – you can see his website here)
They are currently on their second renovation project, and as with the first, doing all of the work themselves – that’s no mean feat given the project they’re tackling! Here’s a look at their first renovation, and a sneaky peak at their second! With a few words from the boys themselves…
the day they got the keysafter rennovation
We rented a flat in Wolverhampton – this was mostly to build up a solid credit rating which takes three years. Once those three years were up we had itchy feet, we felt like we were living in a rabbit hutch! Renting a house was always a non-goer as it’s often more money to rent than to buy, and we’d have ended up spending lots of money on someone else’s house as we did on the small flat. The new place… to be frank we were looking at park homes due to house prices not falling that much at the end of 2009. After looking at many different park homes we came to the conclusion that they were glorified, overpriced caravans that you actually have to vacate over Christmas which of course isn’t ideal. Ant started to look at authority houses (something that Sam was far too stuck up to consider) and he found our house for £65,000 – Sam soon changed his tune! We viewed it, and instantly fell in love. It was old and unloved, and had a lot of land considering the price. It just oozed potential! We viewed it just once, and made an offer £3000 below the asking price, which was accepted.
The house had problems streaming from it. Everywhere you looked a new issue would arise, causing yet another challenge. This house hadn’t been touched in years. The walls were damp, there was no central heating which certainly didn’t help matters. To add to that, the old kitchen chimney leaked in from the roof, as well as the back garden being slabbed up to the airbricks which meant that the water flowed straight into the house. It was like a swimming pool, not a home! Some problems were easy to fix, simply lifting the slabs for instance; but the chimney took two whole days of non-stop hammering to take down to roof level (it wasn’t in use at the time).
living room before and after
Another big challenge we faced was changing a beam that had wood worm. It was rotten, but it was meant to be a main support for the upstairs. Ant changed this and of course it did weigh an awful lot to carry away! The list goes on…
The biggest success for us was the lounge with its real oak wooden floor and solid fuel fire. It was acosy room, with the light off and the fire lit, you really felt like you were in the 1920s. We had all the technology you could want but we didn’t shout about it – we respected the age of the house. Old buildings influenced us, so we restored all the fires, put the picture rails back up and used simple accessories which really brought the house together. It’s the finishing touches which are the key to success!
The new house… well, again we started to outgrow the house. It was feeling like another hutch. We wanted two reception rooms so we could keep one where we could entertain. We definitely wanted another old house that needed love! We were so surprised to find a house with lots of land, and again original features – but this time in a nicer area. This feels like our forever house; more grown-up, sophisticated. Double bay indows – front and back! Original Stained glass front door, all original 1930s internal doors as well as wood-panelled stairs. It really is a dream for us, and we aim to return it to its former glory!
The end… (for now!)
outside the new house
Stay tuned for more Jack and Betty’s house updates,
Love from Jack and Betty xx