We bought our house in 2007. The location (very close to Gloucester Road) and the large garden were more of an attraction than the house itself. Our three-bed semi was built in the 1970s to replace an 1890s house of a similar size and shape; why the latter was demolished we don’t know. There were no period features, the house was grey and pebble-dashed, with a valley roof which was showing signs of leakage. Internally it was fairly basic and the house had been poorly maintained. We bought it knowing that it would need some fairly major repairs and refurbishment.
It took some while to decide what to do with the house, get plans and planning permission and find a builder. Our builders, Bespoke Building Contractors, started work in January 2011 on what should have been a two or three month project to complete the structural and external work. This would leave us with a new roof and some extra rooms under it, external wall insulation, a rear extension on the first floor (over an existing ground floor extension) and some internal changes. Bespoke were a disaster, they over-ran massively, made lots of mistakes which they had to correct (or at least should have done) and they failed to complete the job. We were left with the building inspector rejecting a number of items, a leaking roof and an court case to get back some of the money that we’d paid them. In January 2012 we moved on and started to project manage new builders to complete the work.The work that was planned gave us an ideal opportunity to add lots of energy-saving features to the house, from solar panels to heat-recovery ventilation and of course masses of insulation.
In March 2012 we’re taking part in Bristol Green Doors, so show the work-in-progress to other people.
We haven’t got a deadline for completion – we’re trying to balance the effort and disruption of finishing the house off with the rest of our lives so we don’t know when it will be finished (if any house is ever finished!)