Tuesday, 20 May 2014

Out with the old.........and (fingers crossed) in with the new

I think I'm working on the assumption that you may be as nosey as I am about looking at houses.....maybe I'm wrong but then you don't need to read further!  I like the idea of having some photos gathered here so that we have them to look back on.  The house seems fresh in our minds just now but I'm sure some of the details of this very quirky old house will fade with time.  I'd also like to remember what a house can look like when it is very tidy and clean, please don't think it normally looks like this.  It required a great deal of effort to keep it uncluttered for the month it was on the market!
I have intentionally never shown the front of our house before - anyone who knows our local town reasonably well wouldn't have too much difficulty working out where we live from a picture of the front.  Especially since I have mentioned in several posts about the lovely street that we live on - we're less than 100 metres, down the cobbled dead-end street, to this and this and this (and this and this).  But since we'll only be here for another handful of days I don't think I mind if anyone manages to work out exactly which house we're in (I'm not sure if I have been silly about this but it didn't feel right before now).
Our funny old house dates back to the early 1800s, or possibly the mid 1700s - no one seems certain (I always planned to do some research, sadly I haven't managed).  But it is clear that it was built as a single house and certainly long before the ones that now adjoin on either side.  It would have been such a grand house too, with lovely formal rooms on the ground floor.  Now, they have been split off into an office on either side, each with their own entrance.  And our front door is the original one in the middle (nearly the middle, nothing is straight in this house). Our wee front hall opens up to the main entrance hall (originally there would have been doors leading to rooms either side - now the offices) with the spiral stone stairs to first floor.  This is one of my favourite parts of the house - although normally it is full of dogs and pushchairs!  I just love the stairs and the stable door into the courtyard garden.

As I mentioned, and you'll see from the floor plan, nothing is straight.  Not many right angles!  And the walls are very thick.
The sitting room is a beautiful room, especially since we removed the blue shiny wallpaper, green carpet and garish blue curtains.  The cornice only extends round part of the room so it was probably at least two rooms that have been joined at some stage.  What you can't see here is the kids' toy shelves and so on which are behind the photographer!  We put the fire in too and we'll really miss that - obviously the huge old fireplace was already there and it was only right to have a fire roaring in it again.  All the shutters on the first floor are original and working - it is lovely to use them and I like the feel of these rooms without curtains.

The dining room is probably where we have made the most difference.  It had a false ceiling which lowered the height to just above the top of the door.  It made such a difference to take it back up to full height and restore the damaged cornicing.  I don't suppose we'll ever have two such lovely rooms as this and the sitting room again.
The kitchen is small (we have to eat in the dining room, no option for being lazy) but the window is big which really helps (for me, anyway).  We replaced the cooker, sink and work surfaces and painted the units and walls.  All of which gave it a bit more character without costing us too much.
The wee first floor shower room was put in just before we bought and is the only room we haven't touched other than a quick paint - I still really like it after seven years.
I don't suppose we'll ever have a bigger bedroom. But I'm not sure it is actually that useful, provided there's enough room to move I just tend to think of our bedroom as somewhere to sleep - I like it to be comfortable and reasonably attractive but that's about it.
We have been lucky to live in a house with so much character, space and light - but it does have it's down sides......no parking, very small garden, small kitchen and funny shaped rooms.  But for us, for the last seven years, it has been home.  And it is us, our family, that makes it home - not the actual walls.  We will take away so many memories, some rather hard but many more rather wonderful.  Home, for me, is also made up of some special furniture, from my mum and dad and grandparents, which I love for sentimental reasons as much as appearance.  What makes home for you?
I think this is quite probably enough rambling for now - the next house is almost ours, hopefully we'll be sure by this time next week.  If all works out we'll be living in a much smaller, completely new, bungalow.  It couldn't be more different - but fewer worries about maintenance, a proper sized garden (to start from scratch - so exciting) and a view. Good things to look forward to.


Louise said...

It looks like a lovely home.. hope everything goes ok with the new home.

Thank you for your comment on my work situation... I do feel a bit better this week and I know I was right, that I would have been really unhappy if I'd taken that job with that awful head teacher! It's just so frustrating trying to find - and get - a job!

Nessa said...

What a lovely home you have made together, no wonder you are so proud of all you achieved there! Thanks for sharing - I do LOVE to look at homes for sale on the web, even though we are not on the market.
For me, home is where my husband is. I don't mind where we live really and am happy to make wherever we live our home.

saffa said...

Such a beautiful home Julie, thank you for showing us :) I love old houses. Like you say though I'm sure the next one will have many more benefits and memories to look forward to. I haven't ever owned my own home (its my dream to) so for me home isn't really about what the place looks like as I can't alter it but more about who is there with me :) Good luck with your move, Safxxx

Lynz said...

Having moved from a very old flat to a (almost) brand new home I know all about the lure of low maintenance, easy-to-heat homes! Especially with children. But your soon-to-be-ex home is rather beautiful, we'd love another old property. And, no, you aren't weird about keeping your location a secret. Mine is blog-listed as "Central Scotland" for that reason. And my surname isn't anywhere obvious either!

Down by the sea said...

What a beautiful home you are leaving. It looks so full of character and unique. I'm sure your new home will be just as good. Sarah x

Down by the sea said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Katy Cameron said...

Just catching up on all the move news - love your house (although I agree about the bedroom being a sleeping/clothes storage area) and fingers crossed the next one goes through okay!

Mrs. Micawber said...

Is there a woman who doesn't like to peek at others' houses? (Houses and wedding dresses - they never lose their fascination, at least for me.)

Yours is beautiful, and the quirky-shaped rooms only add to the interest.

I hope your new home will soon be as full of happy memories as this one.

Beth of The Linen Cat said...

Your home is really lovely, the comments about hiding all the stuff for selling did make me laugh, we put things into storage when we last sold, just to make the house look it's best. I'm sure it'll be both sad and exciting to say goodbye to it, I quite envy you moving, I love being in a new house, I get twitchy every few years to move but as the one we're in was such a big project with so much building involved it's proving quite difficult to leave. I hope the move goes well. Bethx

myBearpaw said...

What a beautiful home, I think I would be very sad to leave. I cried all the way from our old house to our new one (a big old house going to a bungalow, so a bit similar though our bungalow certainly isn't new!)! But I soon got over it. Though I am one of those people that is nosy and likes to see other folk's houses so thank you very much for posting these! Good luck Julie, I will speak to you on the 'other side'! xx

Annie @ knitsofacto said...

I can see that it will have come with cons attached, but what a beautiful old building. A good place to grow a family I imagine, just as your new home will be ... as you say, it's the people that make a house a home :)

andamento said...

Hi Julie, I read this at the time but was too busy to comment. Your old house looks beautiful. I'm sure your new one will too once you make it yours. I hope the move went well, such a stressful thing to do! All the best for your new life in the Black Isle. I've finally persuaded hubby to go there on holiday, we'll be staying in a cottage up on the hill about 1 mile from Avoch. Maybe we'll see you! Any top tips for places to visit will be welcome once you've had a chance to explore...

...Nina Nixon... said...

Hi Julie - I hope things are going well with all the plans you have.

I love your old home - so much character and light...I love old properties and the thicker the walls the better.

take care,

Nina x