Saturday, 12 February 2011

Decisions, decisions

I can’t sleep.  You see we’ve decided to do something awful and the consequences are keeping me awake at night.

Our neighbours have submitted plans to demolish their house and build ten flats and the plans are very cleverly done so as to address any likely objections head on.

They did this six years ago and I fought it.  Luckily for us they pulled the plans and we have managed to have six more years of living in our perfect house.

Now though, we find ourselves in the same boat as we were six years ago.  Actually the boat is a little different: I no longer have post natal depression and gave up the Prozac a long time ago; the house, whilst still having kerb appeal, has now got some major maintenance issues; and, up until this week, we had been considering significantly extending the property.

So what would you do in our shoes.  To help you with this question let me tell you a bit more.

When we were searching for a house over 11 years ago this house was out of our price range.  But we looked at it longingly in the estate agent’s window.

Eventually the price fell and, even though it was at the very top of our budget, we looked around the house.  We had a survey done which said we needed a new roof (there were saucepans catching water in the loft), it needed re-wiring and it needed a damp proof course as well as woodworm treatment.

We weren’t put off.  We negotiated on the price and lived with the in-laws while the building work was done.

We installed a new central heating system to replace the skirting board radiator system, changed the arch between the two main reception rooms, fixed the burglar alarm, boarded the loft, built new loft hatches, and moved in.

We lived with a sheet as a temporary curtain at the living room window which lasted for about three years.  Friends say it was there for longer.

We applied for planning permission to build a downstairs shower room and had that work done as well as making structural changes in the kitchen.

Then we had children and lived happily in our “stay forever” house.  We installed a new bathroom upstairs by coming up with a clever solution for a room that had either a window or door at every corner.  We constructed a massive climbing frame that would last for years and erected a playhouse we called “Chuckle cottage”.  Dave built a deck and we even did some gardening (OK not much).

And this is our stay forever house.


It’s Victorian, just, having been built in 1901 and we have the original deeds showing the house with one neighbour (the house due for demolition) and surrounding fields.

It has oodles of character.  It has a round window and a nook halfway up the stairs (just big enough for a computer at a desk).  It has high ceilings; original coving, skirting, banisters and spindles; an original fireplace; a weird vertical loft door to access the second loft space; and a magnolia tree in the front garden which, for one week of the year, has the most beautiful blossom.

So what would you do?


Michelle said...

It looks like you have two options, stay or sell up and leave. There are further options within those, one of which is to buy next door. You write very passionately about your home, but the people who live in that home make up a large part of that warm feeling when you return to your house. So, would it matter hugely if you just upped sticks and moved?

Ann said...

We don't have the money to outbid the developer. In fact we don't have money other than the capital tied up in the current property.
A house is just bricks and mortar. A home is wherever the family is.