It was pitch black and drizzly on the night in 2001 when I found myself roped into helping a friend move from her few nights sofa-surfing with me to her newly found rent-a-room in South Manchester. Hoisting black bin bags and clutching errant shoes, we opened up a creaky gate under drooping overgrown branches and ran for shelter under what appeared to be a rather spectacular porch. Certainly more spectacular than the mini timber overhang on my recently renovated 1930’s semi, was it the fifth or sixth house I’d renovated, I’m not sure, but I sure hadn’t come across a porch this impressive on my house buying travels.
The huge door opened and my friend was ushered in by her new & welcoming house mates. I heard her call my name but like a house hound, I’d sniffed out something special and was already off around the front bay, gazing up at super high windows and looking out on what seemed like a gigantic garden. Wow. What a house.
Then came the fatal words “Do you fancy a look round?” and that was it, I was done for. Fate. Wandering round what was obviously once quite a grand house, the original features captivated me, cornice and picture rails, window seats and fireplaces, plus charming higgledy piggledy levels, mezzanine floors and what seemed like a totally separate wing to the property. That said, the interior design was a little like those collage internet posts of RightMove’s worst offerings…..
Yet still, I left my friend at her new doorstep throwing the words “Let me know if the landlady ever wants to sell” over my shoulder……
13yrs later here we are, about to embark on a spectacular redesign and renovation of this beautiful house, I’m so excited! It’s been a tough few years of working hard and saving, living in a house which is slowly but surely falling apart. For the last three years we’ve had no central heating, no hot water and no bath, which has been an absolute killer for a bubble lover like me but it’s been worth the wait (she says through gritted teeth). At times the inside of the windows have frozen over, bits of walls have fallen off and the electrics regularly blow up, but hey ho, us serial renovators put up with all sorts of chaos in the run up to a dream refurb.
We’ve got subsidence and one of the elevations is falling down so the whole external wall needs rebuilding. There’s no heating or radiators, completely rotten & massive windows, draughty subfloors, dodgy electrics, one awful bathroom, a student style kitchen and plaster crumbling off the walls. One of the chimneys is about to fall off it’s perch (the one on the far left of the snowy picture above). The roof leaks and needs new breathable membrane. Our bedroom ceiling is bowing so badly we go to sleep at night with an extra prayer that it don’t collapse on us in the night.
It’s “A Challenge”. But what a challenge eh? All that space, all those features…. all that potential!
The planning permission is in and the vision is about to start becoming a reality. Work starts in August but we’ve been busy prepping, stripping, clearing, boxing and generally wrecking the place ready for building work to begin. In our madness, we’ve decided to live here during works, simply because we can’t afford to move out. I want to spend every penny possible on making Moregeous Mansions totally spectacular, a design dream and an interiors paradise, with the idea of running design courses, DIY, foodie and craft days from this, our home, how cool with that be?
I’m going to be blogging the whole process, with hints and tips via videos and photographs, discussion on design ideas, products and specifications, plus asking for your input. Do come back tomorrow as I’ll be popping up more images of outside, plus the layout plans, existing and proposed so you can give me your thoughts! I’d love for you to join in with my Do Up Diary, the house a blog built 🙂