Thursday, July 22, 2010

It Won't Take Much Work!

I'm sure many a partner has heard those words uttered by their other half, smitten & madly in love with a 'Renovator's Delight'. Country Life is currently running a Restoration of the Century Award. There are some absolute rippers & it's well worth a visit to have a squizz at all of the entries here. My favourite is this Grade 11 Listed Georgian House, which had been empty & decaying for 50 years & was marked for demolition. The image above is the front of the house AFTER restoration.

And BEFORE. The front façade lead gutter work had split enabling water to leak into the brick work and structural internal timbers. A 9 inch height difference had emerged due to subsidence from north to south gable. All the floor structures had fallen into the cellar - ouch!

The rear of the house BEFORE. Although the brickwork appeared reasonably intact, investigation proved that almost two thirds needed to be taken down and rebuilt to make the house safe.

And AFTER. The facade ornamentation was also rebuilt each brick being removed, cleaned, numbered and stacked before being replaced in its original position. The dilapidated house took six months to make safe and stabilise.

The Hall BEFORE. Before restoration could begin bird cage scaffolding throughout the main house allowed brick work and timbers to remain in place where possible. As the structure had in many places collapsed the internal plan of the building was taken from drawings originally made to justify the building’s proposed demolition in 1984.

And AFTER. Using local craftsmen who excelled in their field, the carpentry was authentically refurbished in the vernacular style, brickwork rebuilt and mortar colour matched.

The Drawing Room BEFORE.

And AFTER. After seeing this, MOTH should be thanking his lucky stars that our 'small' renovation has so far not involved putting internal scaffolding in place just to hold our brickwork up!
Images: Country Life



  1. I'm going to show this to Brunnel. It makes our potential disasters seem so tame in comparison. I love stories like this - don't you just thrive on Grand Designs!

  2. Reminds me of the movie,"Money Pit".

  3. I can't wait to show my husband this...and we thought we had a big job ahead of us???!!

  4. I does really put it all in perspective doesn't it!

  5. That's quite a transformation - takes the expression 'down to the studs' to a whole new dimension!

  6. I just realised what a whinger I am after I read this post. Must show Jason.xx

  7. Hi Millie,

    What a wonderful transformation and goes to show with a lot of hard work and lots of money, it can once again be a magnificent home.
    That is one of my favourite shows, Grand Design.

    Happy Thursday

  8. hello millie! this post seems to send a message to the husbands. bet this works. I admire people who support restoration and preservation of history...verbena cottage

  9. Wow some people obviously have endless energy & cash! My boyfriend Kevin (Grand Designs) would have loved this....

  10. I love a challenge but I have to say I would have walked away from this. Glad you didn't - you did a great job - the house looks fantastic.

  11. I don't know Millie, I'm guessing our other halves would argue that the renovation of a 70's nightmare is right up there with this one! I'll make sure I show my hubby this one next time he complains about all the work to be done here. K xx

  12. Samantha, thanks so much for your comment but I quickly need to let you know that sadly, this isn't my house! We are the custodians of an Unlisted No Grade 1972 Renovator's 'Opportunity' in South Australia. The amazing house featured is in Cambridgeshire in the U.K.
    Millie ^_^

  13. Hi Mills, It is stunning.. I love nothing more than seeing the before and after transformations on such a special building.
    My Hubby is scared about the renno plans I have in mind after we return from our trip around Australia.... I will just show him this, and he won't be able to complain!! Thanks!
    Flick x

  14. WOW, Mill's,
    That was certainly a labour of love. That would be at least one hundred steps too far for us !! I don't think that I could take something as momentous as that on, but I have so much admiration for the people who did that particular renovation. Is that housse in Australia or the UK ? It looks very English.
    Have you shown it to MOTH yet ? It might make him feel a little better about the BFH !! XXXX

  15. 'It won't take much work'.......That's what they all say.......But isn't it the work that us home junkies love? xv

  16. Great pictures!! reminds me of a barn reno I saw in cornwall uk, just as bad to just as beautiful!!! thanks for sharing

  17. oh my, I let out the loudest sigh that I scared my yorkie-

    how incredible! i will never complain about my old homestead aging again!


  18. This is definately one for the Grand Designs collection. Amazing, I sooooo admire those who are prepared to go through the agonies to complete projects such as this. The ecstasy must be well worth it.

  19. It is absolutely stunning, although I wouldn't have had the vision to take the job on!

  20. This seems like a rewarding project for those who have loads of time and cash (I have neither!). The end result is a certainly a show place. Makes me feel a bit sheepish for putting off a few small projects around my house, but it is summer afterall!

  21. I'm so in awe of anyone who takes on a project like this, it makes my little diy projects look a bit 'kindergarten'!

    I miss Grand Designs, it's right up there with Antique's Roadshow and Time Team.

  22. Millie...I was just reading this yesterday and was so impressed with some of the "after" photos. I'm so glad there are people out there that think if there's one board standing, the place is restorable. Loved your post. Rosemary

  23. I so admire people for making the effort to restore such buildings and not pull them down even though the before shots make me in awe of the work involved in such a restoration! You have to have vision i think. absolutely love the photos though! Cathyxx

  24. How interesting..I Own Britain's Best Home recently featured the most gorgeous Georgian manor house that had undergone an incredible restoration. It had been stripped, looted, was full of every imaginable infestation and yet they managed to bring all its beauty back and more. I think it's wonderful when old homes are brought back to life. Not only for the past but for the future. Rachaelxx


And none will hear the postman's knock
Without a quickening of the heart.
For who can bear to feel himself forgotten?
~W.H. Auden

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