In 1998, we decided to get the builders in. This is the story of what we had done to our old house in Oldfield Road, London N16. We leave these pictures on our site as a reminder of eighteen (mostly) happy years spent living there.
see anything wrong with it as it was. The green had looked good when it had last
been decorated in 1987, and the wallpaper in the lounge was from Sanderson!
But Steve's arrival in 1996 brought a new slant on things. After some hard work in
the main bedroom and the front of the house, we (well mostly Steve) were ready for a
Even Phil accepted that the carpet was getting a bit threadbare in places (and there are only so many ways you can rearrange the furniture!) But while we are at it, wouldn't it be nice to put in a door to the garden. But then we'd have to...
We spent ages creating a 'wish list' of everything we'd thought of changing about the house. We also had decided to get dogs, and this would end up determining a lot about the new layout. We spent even longer drawing up plans and a work schedule on the computer. Finally we got 'proper' drawings made, got planning permission from the local authority and, after a lot of effort, finally found a builder who was willing to consider doing the work within our budget.
We had to move out. There was no choice since the first thing the builders would have to do was to knock down the existing bathroom, which was a one storey extension off of the kitchen. We de-camped to a fairly grotty rented one bedroom flat in Stamford Hill for four months over the winter of '98/'99 while the work was carried out.
So what had been done? Well as you came through the front door, nothing (apart from the lilac paint and the blue carpet) seemed that different from before. But if you looked up, all the decorative plasterwork - indeed the whole ceiling (of the ground floor) - had been replaced. And the stairs in front of you looked the same, but were, in fact, brand new.
It's not until you walked further back into the house that the first big change hit you. We had the wall between the hall and the rear of the lounge removed. Not only had this opened up a previously under-utilised space, but it also opened up the kitchen, and created a new route through to the garden.
But the main way through the house was now via the kitchen (admiring the new lighting above and the new - and level! - slate floor below), through what was the old bathroom but which had now become a conservatory/utility room (this was also supposed to be Benson's 'kennel', but he immediately took over the whole house! And he had his own shower!) From here, another set of doors led through to the - thankfully undamaged by the chaos - garden.
The new bathroom was now - more logically - upstairs. We managed to squeeze a bath in, but in fact we only ever used our wonderful Power Shower, which involved fitting what seemed like an entirely new plumbing system into the house! The bathroom also featured a big roof window, making it really light.
To move the bathroom upstairs without losing another room meant extending what had been the back bedroom (over the kitchen) over the new conservatory. This created not only space for the bathroom, but for an adjoining corridor leading to a new home office / Phil's den, which included three phone lines, fourteen strategically-placed power points, (hopefully) future-proof cabling, and some pretty flash lighting!
While the builders may have done the hard stuff, we were left with the decorating. It took another three or four months of hard labour (after work and at weekends) to turn the house from a building site back into our home. And then, a few months later, we get Benson and our short-lived House Beautiful was turned into a canine nursery!
|As It Was, a Few Years Ago|
|Before and During the Building Work|
|When we Left|