My husband and I married in the year the House at Nab End turned one hundred. This year, as we celebrate our tenth wedding anniversary, the house reaches the grand old age of one hundred and ten. But despite its years, it is enjoying a new lease of life, following a period of renovation to gently ease it into the twenty-first century.
We have made our mark on the House at Nab End. But we certainly aren’t the first to have done so. Our part in its history has been to take down the single storey lean-to extensions which we think were added in around the 1940s and the conservatory that was added by property developers at the end of the eighties.
The proportions upstairs felt strange compared to downstairs, a mismatch that was particularly apparent when it came to the bathrooms. The house had a tiny family bathroom, and an ensuite had been squeezed into a corner of the master bedroom by the same property developers responsible for the conservatory.
Removing the 1940s additions left the original 1903 house in tact and allowed us to add a two-storey extension housing a kitchen, garden room and small utility downstairs, and a new family bathroom and guest room with ensuite upstairs.
The old part of the house has been re-wired and re-plastered; we’ve installed new central heating, new windows, and re-done the roof. The halls (the plural a quirkiness brought about by earlier inhabitants) have new wooden floors, and the fireplaces downstairs house woodburning stoves; the corner ensuite has been ripped out of the master bedroom, and the old family bathroom transformed to take its place. And a particular joy has been the removal of a strange infill between the lounge and dining room bay windows, so that two tiny doors, one in each bay, now lead directly into the garden outside.
Thousands of decisions have been made, during the course of the work, from the colour of the bricks for the extension, to the ironmongery on the internal and external doors. We’ve chosen new light fittings, carpets, and wall colours; wood and stone for the hard floors downstairs; sanitary ware, bathroom fittings and tiles; the shape of the skirting boards; the tiles for the roof; the colour of the windows; the fire surround for the lounge and the size of the hearths; where to put the electric points; what kitchen fittings and appliances to have; whether to have underfloor heating; the list goes on and on. And what have we learnt? The decisions that required the most bravery are the ones we will never regret.
This year we hope to return to normal life and enjoy spending time in our home, celebrating both our tenth wedding anniversary and the house’s 110th birthday.
What special occasions does 2013 hold in store for you?
Picturing our progress:
The old lean-to extensions are demolished . . .
The foundations of the new extension are laid . . .
The structure takes shape, front . . .
. . . and back . . .
. . . while the old part of the house is gutted . . .
Do come back and visit again – I plan to post before, during and after photos of some the rooms inside throughout 2013.