In the beginning

Grand Designs was our ‘thing’. Gone were the days of changing rooms. We spent our evenings watching episode after episode of ‘The inverted Roof House’ or the ‘Customised German Kit House’. How hard could it be we thought?

One thing you should know about the other half and I is that we are if nothing else impulsive. We act and think later! Sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn’t. Life is for living right?

We hunted for land within our very narrow search area (with schools to consider) and it seemed impossible. By this stage we had sold our house on a whim within one week of it being on the market and within 6 weeks it was gone.  We found ourselves in a rented house in an area we didn’t know wondering what the hell we had done. With the cash in the bank we thought it would be easy but land proved elusive to find.

Every day I would trawl Rightmove and began to look at property instead of land.

Perhaps this was the man upstairs’ way of telling us it wasn’t meant to be? Perhaps with hindsight we were naive to think we could ever take on a house build let alone a listed building? Perhaps we were supposed to purchase what would now be considered the biggest challenge we have ever taken on? Adventurous or stupid….you decide!

We found a house which had sat online for 18 months. “Lets just go and look at it and rule it out” the other half said. Before we knew it we had agreed a price and it was ours. Maybe it should have been a sign when the conveyancing solicitor contacted us to say that the mortgage company had insisted on 7 surveys. Eeek! There was a bat survey, an electrical survey and even a tree survey to name a few. We had spent a fortune before it was even ours and there was no going back now. We were in it deep. On 15th February 2013 it became ours. Officially. All 7 bedrooms and 4000 sq ft of it. Gulp!

‘It’ was a Georgian, double fronted, Grade II listed building dated back to the 1700’s. It was habitable. Just. And by that I mean it had a kitchen and bathroom so was mortgagable. No one in their right mind would actually want to live in it though. It even came complete with free cat poo on the carpets where all the local waifs and strays had let themselves in.

Everyone thought we were mad, the neighbours thought we were going to turn it into a hotel and we were in blissful ignorance as to the enormity of the task we were undertaking.

What followed was emails, phone calls and site visits from architects, builders, planners and conservation officers. We had grand plans. Some might say Grand Designs……

To be continued.