Last Sunday my newly married pals Gideon and Katie very bravely hosted a lunch for twelve friends in their new house. So I excitedly hurried over to Lewisham to check out their original features, sounds like a euphemism! Gideon is an architect which is just as well because their project is not for the faint hearted. I suspect most people watch Grand Designs and Restoration man with a glint in their eye. But have they really thought about how many jumpers they might have to wear to bed just to keep warm when the wind is whistling through your floorboards on a big renovation job. Gideon proudly told me that the temperature is the same in the hall as outside, cripes! It was only two weeks ago that we had snow! Despite, the obvious discomforts I came away with house envy. I suspect that doing up houses is a little bit like child birth….. you forget just how awful it was and look at it through rose tinted spectacles. There’s the going to work with dust all over your outfit and wearing slippers because you daren't touch the toffee like carpet. Not forgetting that you had to sit on camp chairs ( the sofa was wrapped up) at midnight looking up sash window locks which the builders needed YESTERDAY! But all that is soon forgotten when faced with a dream house which can be lovingly restored back to its former glory.
The house’s original features are largely preserved, from servant’s bells to plaster mouldings above the door frame. One of my favourite things about the house is the curved part of the shared wall between sitting room and the hall way. It never ceases to amaze me that every inch and corner of a Victorian house seems to have been considered worthy of decoration. Even the plaster mould of the lady's face celebrates the sense of occasion a visitor might have felt being invited into the grandest room of the house. It is hard to imagine a modern semi built with the same attention to detail the Victorians lavished on cornincing and skirting boards alone. I'm not sure we'll look back in years to come and treasure Velux windows. But I would like to see even modest houses designed with the same consideration as the Victorian terrace.
Katie and Gideon have done so much all ready, removing "Flinstones style cladding from the exterior and re-pointing. The house is pretty lucky to have been bought by them as it will have real presence once they have worked their magic. They just need to build the Granny annexe for me!
Cast iron and original tiles all revealed in the strip off!
Original linen cupboard complete with servants bell. " I say Jeeves where the devil are you.....!"
Curved lines of the sitting room and hallway.
The marble fireplace covered in gloss paint, yet to meet its match in paint stripper! Love the rams head.
A bakelite and porcelain light switch illuminates the cellar.
Fragments of wallpaper lie over the original lathe and plaster.
Oh and did I tell you they are both supremely good in the kitchen......
The wee one George avoiding building site hazards!