Wednesday, 5 March 2008

My little house before and after...

We've got to a point where we will have to sell the house.

I won't bore you with details, but we had a business fail two years ago and it cost us a heck of a lot of money.Money we had to add to our already big mortgage to save us from going bankrupt, then Pete got an agressive and rare form of cataract in his eye which meant he couldn't drive. Not good news when you drive HGV's for a living. He had left his job and was taking a break before starting a new one, all which meant he wasn't entitled to sick pay and he lost the new job. We have never really caught up and life has become more of a struggle to pay the bills,than a life that's for living and enjoying. Having paid a mortgage for 16 years we are back at square one with another 25 years to go.To use my favourite word..It's all got a bit pants.
(this treacle-like brown varnish was everywhere!)

I had great plans for this house. Extentions,knocking walls about, a fantastic family kitchen (the units and worktops for which are boxed up in the garage) with french doors leading into the garden.We spent a lot of money making it habitable;damp proofing,spraying for woodbeetle and a new roof, windows, garage and 30's style porch.We kept all the original features (unfortunately we couldn't save the rusted metal windows) and went to great pains matching up lightswitches and doorhandles that couldn't be salvaged. The garden had been completely turfed over,there was nothing but a couple of shrubs,a huge conker tree and an apple tree left, so its all been done from scratch.
(yes, that really is just earth on the floor of our kitchen,after the quarry tiles had been taken up-and much to my horror-thrown away by the builders..!!!)
I think the worse thing will be to have people pick your house to pieces, yes it's small and it's un-finished (I hate that fact) but surely they can see the potential? I dread someone coming in and modernising it door had the same treatment...all the chimneys and fireplaces were out, picture rails gone, laminate flooring everywhere and the obligatory beech kitchen with black worktops. All very nice if you like that style, but it's just not me. We renovated rather than modernised.
(each wall had a different wallpaper in this damp-ridden box room,I kept some bits of the prettiest ones and backed some picture frames with them)
Well, I have to do a massive tidy up (someone once asked me how I keep my house so tidy with all those animals..the answer is; selective photography! It looks like a bomb's hit it today!) and then I have to make the phonecall, I have very little trust in estate agents and I will probably cry because I'm a wuss and this is our home.
Then on the other hand it may take us to new adventures and happiness.I'm a great believer in fate and trying to see the positive side of things..hard when you have had a few years of bad luck like we've had.
We are hoping to move to Northumberland and I love Northumberland.... I'll keep you posted!


  1. What a beautiful house, if it isn't snapped up immediately I'll be amazed. I love the before picture too, it reminds me of an Enid Blyton house.
    The garden is absolutely gorgeous, you should be charging people for gardening advice!
    I hope this next step is a happy one for you, Northumberland is a lovely place and you seem to have a great positive attitude to everything.
    Good luck with the estate agents!
    Julia xx

  2. thanks julia..houses are selling a bit slow here at the moment but we'll see..still needs lots of work and the work that's been done probably needs doing again!
    funny you should say about it looking like an Enid Blyton house..I always thought it looked like a house a child would draw!I loved the original windows but they were just too expensive to replace with exact replicas, (although the sitting room one is still there..just about!)
    I'll put some more before and after pictures in another post,it was strange seeing how bad it was,I'd almost forgotten!
    Sairer x

  3. Hi Sairer, I just happened on your blog via ebay (having a little browse as one does!!) and was prompted to leave a comment having read your post. I think you have the right attitude - new opportunities will surely come from new beginnings. It will undoubtedly be a sad and reflective time for you but Northumberland is a beautiful place and by the sounds of it, you will be happy wherever you go as long as you are together.

    You have done great work on the house and I'm sure there are those that will see the further potential (I agree with you about the beech kitchen etc!) You're right not to trust those estate agents too!!

    Good luck in your future - here's to new pastures and new opportunities! Clare x

  4. Hi, thankyou for your lovely comments, your house is absolutley beautiful, we were in a very simiar position to you two years ago, we are currently renting a beautiful house and we are about two weeks away from buying and starting again like you, we are just waiting on contracts etc...its really exciting to be starting over and like you we have x amount of years of mortgage ahead of will find some where equally as beautiful as your current house, as you have wonderful taste judging by the interior of your current home. It will be great to share house styles with everybody....clairey from Blogging for Brenda has just bought a house so their are a few of us to moan and nag about house moves....claire x

  5. Hi there Sairer,
    Firstly, its amazing what you have done with the house, I have always loved your taste from your previous photographs, the garden is just beautiful.
    I can imagine how tough it will be to sell your house, especially since you have put so much time and effort into it, and of course it is sentimental...
    but...I really admire your outlook and your courage.Like so many of us you have had a few set-backs and now you are looking to the future - to new beginnings, and you should definitely be excited, although I know it will be bitter-sweet.
    You are obviously a wonderful homemaker and I can foresee any home that you rent or buy to be beautifully done up.
    Take care of yourself
    Until next time!

  6. Hi Sairer,
    Good luck making that call. I can appreciate that this must be a sad time for you, but also, like you say, an opportunity for a new beginning.
    The home that you have created is stunning and there are many people out there who can see the benefits of keeping original features for future generations to enjoy. (I always say that you can make any house a home and I'm sure that you will meet the next challenge head-on.)
    Take care and good luck,
    Niki x

  7. Hi Sairer

    I've just found your blog and can sympathise totally with your situation. We have moved many times over the years but in 3 instances the wrench has been horrid. We have done work on all ours, and one had the same brown varnish as yours. I stripped the whole house in the 8 years we were there. We were relocated, otherwise we'd probably still be living in that one. However, leaving Northampton and ending up in Somerset has been the best thing ever.

    One little bit of advice. Never go back to see what the new owners have done to your old home. My husband went back to the Northampton one and wished he hadn't, we went to a party at our next favourite in Bath where they showed off their alterations and the character was lost. Finally, I see that the lovely little cottage we left 18 months ago is on the market again and having looked at the photos on the internet I wish I hadn't!

    But, fate has brought us to the place that is right for us at the present time, and who knows what's round the next corner.

    Hang in there and keep your wits about you when dealing with the agents! I'll keep popping in to see how you're progressing.

    Sue x

  8. Hi Sairer,
    You've done a fine job with your house and I'm sure potential buyers will appreciate that. I sympathise with you having been in a similar situation 14 years ago, we had to sell the family home and started again some years later. While friends around us are almost mortgage-free, we've got 14 years to go still. But you just have to deal with it, I'm sure you'll end up in a home just as lovely and you'll survive. Good luck. Perhaps make yourself scarce and let the estate agent show them around! Happy birthday to your boy (I've got a 19 year old and can't believe it sometimes!)

  9. Hello there, I've just discovered your amazingly pretty blog and really enjoyed reading some of your earlier posts (your garned is beautiful!). What a shame you have to leave the house. We've recently moved and even though I loved the old house, our new home (even if it is a modern 60s place) is great, nicer views and better lifestyle all round so I do hope you'll have similar success. Good luck!
    p.s I also read the post about your dear niece and wanted to say that I remember seeing her on television and being amazed by such a delightful and beautiful girl. What a small world blogland is. I'm so sorry for your family's awful loss but I'm sure her memory will keep you lives full of light for such a long time to come.

  10. What a gorgeous home and photos. Your English cottage garden is so beautiful as well. Wishing you all the best as you sell and move into a new lovely little nest.
    Have a lovely weekend.

  11. You have done wonders with the house, I am so sorry you have to leave it, after putting so much hard work in. You really have had a long run of bad luck. But good luck is now on your side, and you will like your next house even more, and you have lots of beautiful things to take along to it. x

  12. Your house is gorgeous !! I know how sad it is to leave somewhere you love , i had to leave my 200yr old family cottage when my Dad died its a long story !!

    i hope the future brings you much happiness x

    Sara x

  13. Hi yes you do have a beautifull house lovely style from the outside and lovely on the inside too. I am sure you could make whatever home you move to great as it looks like you have great style & flair. You can make it just how you want .

  14. Hi...I just stumbled upon your lovely blog...I really feel for you...It might be helpful to focus on all the things about the house that you don't like:)...You will have a new place to work your creative magic on, and that will be exciting and fun...Good luck to you...Katie

  15. Your house and garden is truly wonderful, I'm sure people looking around will love it. I'm sure leaving it behind will be exciting and make many happy adventures happen. Good luck with estate agents

  16. You have a lovely home. I see now that you are moving but I am sure can can create the same beauty you have created here.

    Good luck and so terribly happy I found your little blog, so very pretty! I will be adding you to my Inspiration list.

    Knitty, Vintage and Rosy


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