This is the second feature in my House Renovation Highlights series, and this week I am really excited to introduce you to Kate @thehouseonhollydale on Instagram who also has a fantastic blog too! Kate has totally transformed her Victorian home into something amazing with a gorgeous extension featuring crittal doors and eclectically styled rooms that are all really different. I like that.
The journey to get to this stage wasn’t easy with builders walking off the job whilst the back of the house was open, which sounds like an absolute nightmare to me. Due to this Kate shares with us some amazing tips for anyone planning a house renovation, and one is to really do your due diligence on your builder. I also love Kate’s top tip on writing down the 5 things you must have and the 5 things you are willing to compromise on. Have a read and admire Kate’s beautiful home…..
Tell us about your home and your renovation project. What did you do?
We have a Victorian terraced house which I think dates back to the late 1800s. We bought the house in June 2017 and started our real renovation work in Feb 2018. We essentially re built a lot of the house. We tore down the hallway, kitchen, downstairs loo, dining room and pantry and rebuilt the downstairs into an open plan kitchen, living room and loo.
We also tore out the upstairs bathroom, the spare room fireplace and the third bedroom and made a larger bathroom and bedrooms.
What did you enjoy the most about your house renovation?
The best things about the renovation were being able to create our own space that was right for us. It was both overwhelming and exciting at the same time. It was a real challenge as we had to manage scope and cost and make some tough decisions but that’s the kind of thing I enjoyed. Seeing it take shape and also learning about the build process was also fascinating!
What was your biggest challenge? Is there anything that you would have done differently?
We lived in the house the whole time which I definitely wouldn’t do again. I know that’s easy to say and it’s expensive to rent a place but I’d either wait and save a little or do less work because the stress was huge living on site. I’d also say definitely go and see previous projects that your builders have done and speak to their clients. Our project was meant to take 3 months but the building company that we found were awful which was disappointing as we’d done so much research. They immediately sub contracted the work without asking us and then left everything to the sub contractor. After a few weeks we could tell things weren’t great as the managements communication was awful and supplies were delayed. It materialised that they had under priced the job and didn’t want to do it. They were also using our money to pay for our work and another house nearby. They also stopped paying the subcontractors. Luckily we stopped transferring them money. They then ignored our calls and sent an email saying they had to stop work until October (it was June and we had a hole where the kitchen was with a bit of ply board).
Legally, they were obliged to do the work for the amount they agreed but enforcing that is so hard. They were registered with the federation of master builders but they said that to have their help we had to go through mediation and couldn’t do any more work until it was sorted. That meant that we would have had to live in a building site with no kitchen for months. Long story short the sub contractor agreed To stay on but we had to pay an extra £10k which we didn’t really have however he did us a huge favour as I think it should have cost way more.
Tell us your top tips…
Every renovation has to make compromises. Write down your top 5 things you want and 5 things you’ll compromise on so you know that going into the build, you will need to make tough choices.
Plan out key decisions and timelines, you don’t want your build to be delayed because you can’t decide or materials have taken ages to arrive. Don’t just assume your builders will always tell you
Get a ton of quotes and go and see prior of current builds before you commit to a builder. Sign a contract and make sure you have a line by line quote down to miniature detail so you can refer back to it – you will need to and you want to be clear on who is paying for what (don’t be British about money conversations!)
And use an architect to make best use of space!
What was your best renovation purchase?
Our crittal doors, they were our big expense but we love them.
Would you do it again?
Yes! But I wouldn’t live there!
What’s next? Any future renovation plans?
I’d love to do another reno but it will probably be our forever / next 15 years home and I reckon that will be a move outside London. We’ll have to see when that will be!
I have loved reading this and featuring you Kate! Thank you! Do all go and check out Kate on Instagram @thehouseonhollydale where you can see more of her gorgeous home, and have a read of her amazing blog which contains loads of information on renovations as well as IVF and infertility.
If you would love to have your your home featured as part of my series, do drop me an email firstname.lastname@example.org