In the beginning

 

August 2013:

We weren't actively looking for a place to buy. We were occasionally having a little casual nosey on Rightmove - myself mostly at unaffordable dream homes with acres of land and an annexe - but we hadn't viewed many other properties or spent hours searching and hoping for the perfect house to come along. We had been renting for a while and had decided to move back to our respective parents' homes to save some money with a view to travel the world for a while (so, buying a fixed abode instead makes total sense, right?!)


absolutely not love at first sight...

absolutely not love at first sight...

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A pretty boring looking mid-terraced cottage had been for sale for quite a while in the village where the OH's parents live - a lovely little village (granted, I may be a little biased) in Weardale, County Durham, close to where we both grew up. We probably drove past it a million times without even noticing it... It had recently been reduced to a ridiculous price which is perhaps why it caught our attention as it was well below the average price for the village, so, without any expectations we decided to take a look at it. Whilst on the surface it might not look like the project that it turned out to be, it had been empty for about 4 years and on closer inspection there was a rather long list of things that indicated that it would most definitely bleed us dry and cause severe headaches and sleepless nights, including:

Damp...lots of it...

Questionable electrics that flickered like a strobe light every time we turned on light switches...

An equally questionable heating system...

Concerning woodworm holes in most of the wooden beams...the woodworm were clearly having a party in there...

A leaking roof x 2...

Wallpaper...on every wall and ceiling...bloody awful wallpaper, that it turns out was keeping the walls from falling apart...

An unsalvageable kitchen that was literally rotting away...

A bathroom suite and accompanying tiles in a questionable shade of green from the 70's...apparently fashionable again these days?!...

 

Sounds like a dream, right?! but despite the possibility that we would need to sell an organ each to fund the work that needed doing to it, there was just something about it.


the welcoming entrance way...I can still smell the damp

the welcoming entrance way...I can still smell the damp

kitchen on fleek...

kitchen on fleek...

the living room

the living room

attic room...if you look closely you will see where the water was leaking in...

attic room...if you look closely you will see where the water was leaking in...

bathroom also on fleek...

bathroom also on fleek...


We were somehow able to see past all the faults that were slapping us in the face and the character of the property shone through. We loved the quirks of the layout, the character of the original 1800's cottage and the surprising amount of space created by a rear extension that was added in the 70's, which couldn't be appreciated just by looking at it from the outside - it was like a little tardis! Real selling points for me were the views of the beautiful Weardale countryside and it being south facing meaning lots of gorgeous daylight filling the rooms. We fell in love with the feel of it and we were excited about the potential that it had. For the price, which was within our relatively small first time buyer budget (keeping it real...) it was a steal. 


The views that sold it for me

The views that sold it for me


Of course, it was a complete renovation project. And neither of us had any experience with renovation. Like, zero. We had only previously rented and our joint portfolio of DIY experience was watching 60 Minute Makeover, Changing Rooms circa Laurence Llewelyn-Bowen and putting together flat pack furniture...

Anticipating how much work was needed, we seriously had to consider whether or not it was the right choice, but in the end we went for it. What followed was a bit of a rollercoaster. We made an offer. We got cold feet when the enormity of the work that needed doing gave us nightmares and cold sweats and we retracted our offer. We then regretted this decision and made an offer again. It then turned out a few other people were interested in it and there was the possibility that it would go to auction...argh! Thankfully, after much toing and froing, our offer was accepted. And just like that, in September 2013, after very little house hunting and absolutely no idea what we were letting ourselves in for, we were home owners...pretty damn exciting!

Everything had exchanged very quickly so most of our family and friends were surprised to hear about our new adventure and were keen to come and take a look at our new abode. The horror on some of their faces was rather clear to see (gasps of 'seriously?'...'are you sure?'...I suppose honesty is what keeps us all good friends...) but we are both very lucky to have supportive people around us so offers of help were never too far away. In fact, my 90 year old grandma picked up a wallpaper scraper and set to work when she came to see what on earth we had taken on...legend.



We weren't able to move into the house straight away because of the work that needed doing. Rather than doing it room by room, in all of our renovation novice glory we jumped straight in and ripped everything out and started to get it down to a blank canvas...It was a good idea at the time...and so we began...

I'll be sharing room by room progress of our project. Some decisions we rushed into just so we could make the spaces liveable which we will change over time (I can hear my OHs' eyes rolling as he reads that...) and we have tried our best to achieve what we wanted within our limited budget. The whole point of this? if I can inspire anyone's creativity to achieve their interior goals then my work here is done!

I hope you enjoy the journey with us - Thanks for reading - Sara x