I bought a house. I feel like it’s a major milestone. I’m a grown up now. At the age of 31, I own a house. I have a baby. A husband. A dog. And an English Heritage membership. I am a grown up. And I’m telling you, it’s hard! So I decided to make it harder and start a Victorian house renovation.
Having a vision when you first see a property is such a special feeling. To buy a house, you want to be able to see yourself living there. It needs to make you feel all fuzzy inside. My house did that to me. But, my gosh, did it need some vision. A Victorian house renovation has long been my dream. I stalk interiors on Instagram, gathering ideas. I dream of high ceilings, elaborate coving, bay windows, and elaborately tiled fireplaces.
My house is non of these things. Or, at least, very few. When viewing the house was mostly bad wall paper, seventies bath suites, collapsing floors and damp ceilings. It required vision.
Now the house is exposed slath and plaster, heated only in the areas we’re living in, and looking in worse state than when we bought it. We’re still living with the bad wallpaper and the hideous orange feature wall that bleeds into the next, non-feature wall. But the avocado bath suites have gone … well the leaky ones at least, and work is well underway. Even if it does feel like we’ve done nothing of note in the first four months of living here.
And that is for one key reason. We’ve foregone the usual decoration of a new house, and skipped straight to what really matters. We’re making the house functional. We’re focusing on the critical errors and aiming to make the house more environmentally friendly whilst we’re at. And, in the long run, we’re hoping this leads to saving a few pennies on the heating bill!
Making our renovation project more efficient
Can you believe that our house was single glazed? Not only was it a major security risk (anyone could have levered the windows open from outside), it also meant that our hot air was literally seeping out of the windows.
Our dream was to have beautiful, traditional sash windows. Sadly, they were slightly outside of budget so we went for conventional uPVC windows which were half the price. New windows means that our house is more secure, better insulated, less damp, and quieter as outdoor noise pollution is blocked. I have to say, the new windows makes the house look so much brighter too – they’ve made the world of difference.
Loft insulation is also high on our list and we’re booked in for installation early next year. Insulating the loft helps trap warm air inside, reducing heat loss and lowering energy bills. The government currently have a greener home scheme that means you can apply for a grant to cover two thirds of the cost of loft insulation.
We’ve decided to invest a little more of our own money into the renovation of the loft so that we can get it all boarded and storage built in too. That way, we have somewhere dry and out of the way for those bulky seasonal items, like the Christmas baubles or the inflatable paddle boards.
We actually don’t have radiators upstairs at the moment … it’s freezing up there. Luckily, the downstairs is big enough to house us all until the upstairs is finally done. It will be well into 2021 before we’re able to move upstairs.
But we have radiators on order. We’ve completed a BTU calculator that tells us what size radiators we need for each room to heat the house most efficiently. We’re also looking into radiator reflector panels to bounce heat back into the room. After all, we have very high ceilings and big rooms to heat.
And the rest of it …
The rest of our phase one renovation plan is less about saving heat and money. It’s just as functional though. We’re in the process of having the house rewired as the entire house was on the same circuit. It means we have holes in the walls EVERYWHERE. We’ve ripped out all the leaky old bathrooms and we’re awaiting a roofer’s intervention on the flashing around the chimney and the leaking flat roofs. Once these are all done, we have rooms to plaster, skirting boards to replace, and coving to restore.
Then we can start on the fun bit. Painting and decorating. And, if budget allows, built in wardrobes … but we’ll have to wait and see on that one!
What renovation tips do you have for me? Other than patience. Cause gosh, do I need them!
This post has been sponsored by Three Counties Ltd. All thoughts and opinions remain my own.