2019 is going to be a big year for us. We are finally extending our house and hopefully creating enough room for our family to grow into. We live in a small village in Kent in a Victorian cottage. Our house was built in 1881 and has lots of gorgeous period features that made us fall in love with it immediately. When we moved here I wasn’t really thinking about having children, Gareth and I had been together for less than a year and we saw it as the perfect house for the two of us.
When Ted came along we realised that we’d need more space and as he gets bigger it’s becoming even more apparent! We looked into moving and had the house on the market for a while but the housing market hasn’t been great due to Brexit. We kept our eyes open for houses but didn’t see anything that we loved or that really gave us enough space within our budget. One night over a bottle of wine we started to talk about what we really want from a house and whether we could create it here and we realised that we could.
Our house has a good footprint size but is currently divided into lots of smaller rooms which makes it harder for family living (good if you were a Victorian with no central heating I’d imagine). This is the current floor plan of the ground floor of our house.
At the moment we don’t use the conservatory very much as it is not particularly well insulated. It’s lovely in the summer but has never really been part of our living space, we spend most of the time in our tiny lounge.
The plan is to get rid of the conservatory, knock the kitchen wall down, remove the lobby and downstairs bathroom and create a big family room/ kitchen/ diner with a utility room & loo by extending out into the garden. We will keep our little lounge as a snug for cosy evenings but plan to spend most of our time in the big new family room. We are hoping it will look a bit like this:
I am so excited to have a new kitchen as our one is really on its last legs. We have a beautiful fireplace in the kitchen that will be perfect for a range cooker and I can’t wait to host Christmas next year when it’s all done.
We are currently negotiating with a neighbour to buy some land from her garden as, although she lives up the road, part of her garden sits at the back of ours, behind that there is nothing but orchards. If we can buy this then we’ll have a really nice sized garden which will be great as Ted gets older.
We are also having some work done upstairs. Our house is over three floors (they were built like that) and you currently have to walk through our spare room to get to the master bedroom. We are going to have stairs moved and a landing created to make the house more functional for a family.
Getting planning permission was a little tricky as our house is in a conservation area and although it isn’t listed, the council don’t like anything to be changed too dramatically, particularly the original features of the exterior. Originally we were going to have a small upstairs extension but as this would have changed the shape of the gable at the back of the house permission was refused. Our new plan doesn’t change the shape of any of the original features and our architect is confident that it will go through so our plans have been set in motion.
When we were getting quotes for the work, each builder advised us that moving out while the work was being done would make it quicker and also make life easier for us with a toddler, when we started looking into short term lets, however, we realised that this was going to be hugely expensive as short term tenancies are very hard to come by. We started looking into other options and I found a local holiday let on Air BnB who are just up the road. They have given us a three month let for a great price as its winter and they wouldn’t usually be booked at all. This has meant I can still take Ted to the classes he goes to, see local friends and keep an eye on the building work and we don’t have to worry about extra bills on top.
We are moving out at the beginning of February and are hoping the work will be completed by the summer. I’m going to write a series of posts on what’s happening and how the work is going on so I hope you’ll come back and see how we’re doing, especially if you’re thinking of doing something similar!