A DIARY OF A RENOVATION
A DIARY OF A RENOVATION
Pammy Kaur, of the hugely popular ‘gram @mama_of all_ _things, starts her regular column in which she will reveal how she is transforming her two bedroom end of terrace into the five bedroom home of her dreams…
Yes, you read that right… I’m going to double the size of my 2-bed end of terrace into a 5 bed, double fronted Victorian house! We decided we could not afford the £1.2m price tag on our road in south west London, so, the sensible thing to do was buy low and go big. Improve but don’t move until you make your £1m tag.
Space is such a luxury, especially in London and Surrey. It’s one that I’m making happen at all costs. We are squeezing every square foot out of this project that we can, including adding bay windows, demolishing our garage, building up and then adding a further 2 rooms over the original house. Then… because that’s clearly not big enough…
We plan to reconfigure the entire house. I mean everything: take for example, changing the current bathroom which is via the master bedroom, and not ideal with a house full of guests (Pre Covid of course). I also want to overhaul gas, electrics and plumbing. And we will be adding a cinema room, walk-through dressing room, office and a utility. Of all the complex parenting decisions I made during the pandemic, creating a mini cinema for my two boys might be one of the best, giving them a fantastic space for relaxing in.
These Victorian houses love a challenge, and that’s why we’re such a perfect match. So, who am I? I grew up in a single parent household, struggling to make ends meet with 4 kids, and I am so proud to be the first person in my family to obtain a mortgage. I purchased my first flat 10 years ago, and things have really ramped up since then. I left my senior role as a Health and Beauty Buyer, and decided to buy a property on my first maternity leave. I had zero experience in property but with a new-found ambition, I knew I would succeed in something new that would change our lives. I truly believe that pushing a baby out gives you the strength and confidence that could change the course of your life and career. So I’ve successfully renovated a number of properties. But this project is like no other, I am in love with its potential to stand tall and proud like the others on this road. This is my new baby.
My learnings so far because, let’s face it, it’s only month one and it’s taken a lot of work to arrive to this amazing point.
1. Research – Our house was originally refused planning, this put many buyers off. For me research is fundamental, by delving into the planning archives we saw the that the restriction of having parking for two vehicles for a large house is no longer relevant and we confidently knew we could argue our case for what we wanted to do and set a precedent. Times change so don’t necessarily be put off by previous rejections.
2. Architect – a local one to the area to where you are applying saves both time and costs i.e. it took us 3 different sets of drawings and over a year to obtain and build a case for planning but a local architect will have better experience of the local council and what they will/won’t be flexible with.
Top tip- walk around the local area and find the house that sticks out the most, in a good way. They have beaten some odds to build it, search the address on the council portal then locate the plans. Once found, you will see the architects’ details. Contact them to understand their relationship with the council and how they can help with your plans.
3. Builder – The most important person in your foreseeable. It is so important to have a builder that you do not feel intimidated by, who encourages you to ask your questions (no matter how trivial you feel they seem). A local builder is key, because they will know the real basics from soil type to clay ratio and other potential hurdles before you even start the work.
We interviewed a lot of builders and it was interesting to see how the prices were surprisingly varied. Cheapest is not always the best option, conversely the most expensive is not the most thorough. You should always get an array of quotes and see which builders are capable of delivering your property dreams. View their work to check the finish! It’s good to see for yourself. Personally, I’ve lucked out with Matt Hannaby @thefamilybuilder.
On my next blog, I will discuss, the working builder and client relationship – one of the most important relationships of your life (sorry hubby), the party wall, how to find an interior designer, sourcing a structural engineer and if you need a QS with a project of this size.
Watch this space … I hate information hoarders, so I am giving you all the tips and tricks alongside my monthly updates through the pitfalls and hurdles of project managing my own build, as well as living the life of Instagram @mama_of all_ _things
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