If we thought our first home renovation was hard going, our second home renovation, now becoming known as ‘Metcalfe Makeovers’ was in another league altogether! The three bedroom semi detached property which we bought in March 2013 was in a pretty bad state. We actually brought the house in the dark as there was no electric to the property, and I offered the full asking price at the viewing (much to Darrens dismay).
When we returned to have a proper look at the house during daylight hours, we saw the true extent of what we had bought. Our second home renovation project would be no quick flip…..
Our estate agent advised us to offer slightly less than the £175,000 asking price; a previous offer of £172,500 had been accepted before the buyers pulled out, so we did, and our lower offer was accepted. However, the mortgage survey claimed that the property needed wall ties, replacement soffit & facias, guttering and new lintels to the rear of the house and a retention was enforced. We split the retention charges with the seller. In the end, we purchased our second home renovation project for £170,000.
Thorold Road was a repossession, and sadly for the previous occupants, they felt the need to leave most of their possessions behind. We were told that the property would be cleared by the bank prior to our moving in, but as expected, our new property wasn’t emptied. As if we didn’t have a big enough project – the first two days of our home renovation was spent clearing the house (which included an incredible 12 TV’s). Nothing was salvageable, furniture and clothes stank so I couldn’t give it away, despite my initial plans to.
After we emptied the house, we had pest control visit. The mortgage company felt the house had wood worm, and added pest control to the condition of the retention. After a thorough inspection, it turns out the house didn’t have woodwor. Still, I wanted to be sure there were no other creepy crawlies left behind, so the entire house was fumigated…
We considered, very briefly, to keep the original kitchen in all of its red and wooden glory for a while. It would have been useful to have the work surfaces, but as disgusting as the rest of the house, we very quickly changed our mind.
After blocking up the backdoor, and replacing the kitchen window and lintels, we fitted a beautiful grey Ikea kitchen with white work surfaces and lovely ceramic butler sink. All appliances were built in, and except for a few items used on a regular basis, everything was tidy and tucked away. To bring in a bit of colour we fitted a cerise pink roller blind and a layer of pink mosaic tiles over the the travertine edging. Darren didn’t want a splash back, so I spent forever cleaning the back of the cooker (he didn’t get his own way on the next renovation!)
kitchen before the makeover
kitchen & dining room during the renovation
kitchen after the renovation
Originally a separate room, we knocked the wall through to the kitchen to create a large kitchen / dinner space. With double aspect windows and a big window in the kitchen, the room was bright and airy. In fact, it was the space we used most in the house; we rarely used the lounge.
Mum had a mango wood table and chairs from gumtree which offered to look after it. The telephone chair also came from gumtree for just £40, but despite my plans to restore it, I never found the time. We bought the rocking chair from eBay for my nan when she was poorly, and I made her cushion to go with it (my first sewing project – it turned out OK). Grandad wouldn’t have it in the house after she passed away so we got it back, and it fitted just perfect in the previously empty corner. Curtains and nets (not only for old people) came from Ikea.
dining room after renovation
The lounge was the last room that we finished on our second home renovation – in fact, despite the rest of the room being ‘finished’ on Christmas Eve, 2013, we only hung the curtains the day before our first viewing! Because the house was so big, we never really went in the lounge, we were happy enough hanging out in the kitchen/dining space. And anyway, we never could find a solution to hanging curtains in the bay window which we both agreed on.
We created a simple fire place, and decided against having a mantle piece (otherwise known as a space for clutter) with a beautiful mirror – the frame of which we found at the local skip with mirrored glass cut to fit.
Never did we buy a TV stand, an old box was used to hold the TV off the floor, which we probably watched less than 5 times, an the three piece suite, like the mango table in the dining room was on loan.
Like the rest of the downstairs area, we fitted a distressed look white laminate floor. We loved it, but we were asked a few times when we were going to finish the floor…
the lounge after the renovation
Originally the master bedroom (half filled with with a lifetime of possessions) had an entire wall of inbuilt cupboards, covered with a hideous patterned wallpaper to match the rest of the room. As we emptied the rubbish (thrown straight out of the windows) we bashed out the cupboards, and the room was instantly bigger. We chose this room to be the master bedroom in part for its dual aspect windows, but mainly because of the beautiful views to the right over Southampton Waters and the Dock, where we could watch the cruise liners come in and out of the city.
Together with the entire house, the room was re-plastered and new UPVC windows installed. The walls were pained in our favourite ‘Antique White’ paint and new internal doors fitted. With my Dad a carpet fitter, we were lucky to have posh carpets at trade cost fitted upstairs.
We already had our bedroom furniture from our first home, which we actually bought just before we decided to move, and because of the eight-week wait for delivery, it was never unwrapped in the home it was intended. Fortunately, it fitted in our new home, which was lucky; it cost over £2000 just for the bed!
The chandelier was bought from eBay for just £50, curtains were bought from The Range, and curtain poles with more nets came from Ikea. The room was finished with the washing box which was left behind by the previous owner of our first house, a photograph from our round the world travels blown into large canvas, and a mirror I managed to acquire from a skip.
master bedroom before the renovation
master bedroom after the renovation
Our minimal guest bedroom contained the Hemnes furniture from our master bedroom in our first home renovation. Like the rest of the house it was very minimal, with only a bed, wardrobe, chest of drawers and mirror, and one canvas on the wall – just how I like it!
guest bedroom after the renovation
Our third bedroom, again with the fantastic views over southampton water would have made a large single bedroom (it was actually advertised as a double but large single is a better description) but we turned it into a study, and had enough room for two large untidy desks, restored chest of drawers and wardrobe, and a filing cabinet otherwise known as a dark hole.
study after the renovation
The bathroom was quite possibly the most disgusting room in the house; mouldy windows, filthy fixtures and fittings and a radiator above the bath (why?). With a large inbuilt airing cupboard, the bathroom was pretty cramped, so we smashed the airing cupboard out, built a new internal wall and moved the bath back which freed up space to move the sink to the back of the bathroom.
We bought all new appliances, including a bath for just £10. There wasn’t quite enough room for a separate shower, so we fitted a rainwater shower over the bath – and moved the radiator to a more suitable spot! We chose travertine tiles for the floor, and used the same tiles on the wall around the bath, sink and shower area, which we finished with a mosaic trim. I repainted a Hemnes chest of drawers from the Ikea bargain basement to cover the scratches, and finished it off with crystal knobs.
bathroom before the renovation
bathroom after the renovation
ENTRANCE & HALLWAYS
The open hallway was the one thing I fell in love with when we viewed the house. When Darren asked why I wanted to buy a wreck the answer I gave was ‘that hallway’. It was so open and bright! We blocked up the original kitchen wall and used the dining room entrance instead. What once was a pantry at the back of the kitchen became a downstairs pantry. Upstairs, we moved the bathroom and bedroom doors, and whilst we did look a small piece of hallway, the floor space flowed much better.
Instead of buying a new front door, we sanded back and paint the original wooden door. It looked great, so we decided to tie the colour in by painting the stair rails the same colour. We weren’t sure that it would work, but it did! (In the end we painted the garage door the same colour, too!)
hallway before the renovation
hallway after the renovation
Originally, the cloakroom was the kitchen pantry. As much as I love a pantry, we figured that as we were creating a family home, and a downstairs toilet in its place would be more suitable. The pantry was just about big enough to pull it off.
cloakroom before & after the renovation
BACK OF HOUSE
It’s perhaps not surprising we had a retention on our mortgage to sort the back of the property out. The back of the house certainly got the weather from Southampton water and was looking a bit sorry when we moved in. After knocking the kitchen and diner into one, we blocked up the single door in the kitchen and installed a larger window and new lintel as per retention (to take in more of the views of Southampton football stadium for tall people and little people on tip toes). We painted the house with brilliant white Sandtex paint, and with fresh guttering and a bit of decking to hide the horrid patio the back of the house looked beautiful!
back of house before renovation
back of house after renovation
The garden, or jungle, which it better resembled was the one project which we really didn’t want to tackle. For a three bedroom semi in Southampton, the garden was a very good size. In the end, we didn’t finish the garden – and it didn’t make a difference to the selling price. We saved a lot of time and a lot of money in the garden. Although it looked tidy by the time we moved out it certainly had none of the appeal that the garden in Ferndene Way had. We still look back with a sigh of relief that we got away from tackling the garden! Never again will we buy a house with a jungle for a garden.
The majority of the renovations of our first house were completed within 9 months, just in time for us to host our first large family christmas. Sometimes I wonder just where we found the time to finish these renovations as well as both work full time. Most days we would be up at 6am and then not go to bed until 12am. Still it paid off. Two years to the day that we bought our second home, we moved out, having sold the house for significantly more than we had paid for it.
Now, we just needed to find project number 5 (whilst living at Thorold Road, we had already completed another two renovations – the Ice Cream Parlour Dora’s Cups & Cones which we had designed, opened and were now in the midst of selling, and and our 4th renovation project, a two bedroom flat that we would be moving into for the interim)
But in a time of fast and overpriced house sales (which no doubt benefited our own home sale) – it was easier said than done….