Wednesday, 23 March 2011

Would you like your home to be on BBC TV?

The BBC sent me an email to say they are looking for people who are putting the original features back into their homes.

They are working on the second series of Original Features for the ‘Home’ channel. The series, presented by Nick Knowles, is looking for people who are renovating and restoring their homes back to their former glory. It could be any type of property - a Tudor cottage, Georgian mansion or 1930’s semi they are looking to restore and it doesn’t have to be huge - it may just be one room.

With expert advice on design and historians on hand, the homeowner will learn how to restore their property in keeping with the period and learn more about the history of their home - Who lived there before? What was the house formerly used for? What is lurking under the floorboards or behind the plasterboard?

If you are interested you should email or call 0117 974 6898/7499. You can also add a comment to this blog about your project.

Tuesday, 18 January 2011

Web Updated

I have, at last, managed to add a few new pictures for the hall, stairs and landing which you can check out on the Virtual Tour on I still need to update a few things and especially add the new extension to the tour (that will be tomorrow, or the day after, or one day later than that probably).

Another thing I will do is fix the email address - I used a special one to help avoid spam but someting has got messed up.

Tuesday, 30 November 2010


A lot has changed in the house now that the 'other houses' are done. I just haven't updated yet! As I mentioned the hall and stairs were finished ages ago and I urgently need to add pictures. I have just finished the bathroom and have added some new pictures. However, the big change is the extension at the rear. I will add this as a project and get it onto the virtual tour sometime. The extension adds a new family room at the side of the kitchen as well as a shower room, sauna and a link into the garage. The garage has been completely rebuilt. The extension has impacted the kitchen, the utility room, the dining room and I will eventually update these rooms too. So much to do, so little time!

Monday, 18 January 2010

Too many houses

I did not blog for the whole of 2009, so why is this? My excuse is that I have been far to busy to blog or indeed to update my website. So why have I been so busy? The simple answer is that, as well as my day job, I have actually refurbished 3 other houses since my last blog!
  1. My mum got a new house (it is also Victorian) needing renovation throughout and I got heavily involved in that.
  2. I decided to buy her old (1930s) house - which needed a fair bit of work to bring it up to a suitable standard for renting out.
  3. My daughter bought a late 1960s flat, a reposession which required total renovation which I did myself.

Anyway, that is all done and I can now work on my own house. I completed the hall a while ago but have not updated the website yet. I have also been working on restoring the bathroom. A cast iron roll-top bath is currently sitting in the dining room and will be installed once everything else is ready. I do hope to start updating the pictures and the blog soon!

Wednesday, 9 April 2008


I actually finished restoring and decorating the vestibule in January, but I have only just got round to adding some pictures to the web. The main feature of the vestibule is the Bradbury & Bradbury wallpaper. Even for this small area it was rather expensive and after it was shipped from California as well as the postage I got stung for VAT on the import and a handling charge - ouch. The paper had to be hand trimmed using a very sharp knife and straight edge. It was not easy stuff to hang and my edges were not as perfect as you get with modern paper. I was very pleased when I recently visited an old house (Kellie Castle in Fife - former home of Robt. Lorimer the Scots architect) and found that the edges on their original Morris & Co wallpaper was as imperfect as mine.

I finished the hall, stairs and landing in the summer and have still not posted new pictures yet but will get round to this eventually.

Thursday, 6 December 2007

Been a long time ...

.. since I last blogged. The reality is that I am too busy working on this house in the evenings to get round to writing anything. Anyway, completed my hall and stairs and have now almost completed the vestibule, it will be done by Xmas, so during the holidays I will write a bit more an put some pics on

Friday, 6 July 2007

Restoration what are we talking about?

To my understanding restoration is about returning something to, or at least close to, its former state. In a sense that is what I want to do to my house. However, I guess I do want to go beyond this in the sense that I want to restore what is there, or there is evidence of, but when things are not there I will create my intepretation of the style and feel (based on evidence from the period but not from my house). I will get it wrong, I may over "Victorianise" the decor, but I try not remove the original materials that exist.

I have noticed that Historic Scotland, and other bodies have a very strict view on restoration. In some cases old buildings are allowed to crumble and fall into ruins. They may not be "restored" to their former glory. While I understand the need not to create a pastiche, I often feel that potentially savable buildings could be more valuable for the community if they are restored with some compromises. In many cases buildings are A-listed and then left to crumble and not even preserved in their current state since the restrictions mean they are not going to be useful buildings and so no-one will invest in these.

I think we could be more lenient, but not stupid, about the how many historic buildings can be restored. However, we could also be more strict about our vast legacy of Victorian houses which we are permitted to destroy without seeking any permission. Doors are now plastic, stone is painted, lime only means a green fruit, portland cement destroys natural porous stone, mullions are removed, thin framed sash windows are replaced with riduculous fat framed upvc alternatives. I think the balance is wrong and maybe too much attention is paid to a few buildings and too little attention is given to our vast collection of period houses.