Out with the old isn’t al­ways ideal

But be pre­pared to call in the ex­perts to make the best of prop­erty pur­chases

Sunday Herald - - NEWS -

WE’RE a na­tion of DIY lovers, with count­less TV shows and on­line ad­vice pro­vid­ing all the step by step guid­ance needed to do any­thing from re­plac­ing a floor to ren­o­vat­ing a pe­riod house.

Such a ma­jor project ob­vi­ously needs care­ful plan­ning and con­sid­er­able re­search, es­pe­cially if you hope to com­plete a trans­for­ma­tion as true to the orig­i­nal as pos­si­ble.

It can be very tempt­ing to buy a pe­riod prop­erty as what seems to be an ab­so­lute steal, but if it’s heav­ily dis­counted that’s for a rea­son, so make sure you know ex­actly what you’reget­ting.

Some peo­ple have an ex­tra­or­di­nary abil­ity to see be­yond the ob­vi­ous, so they can plan around the an­cient anaglypta wall­pa­per, decades of thick paint ob­scur­ing beau­ti­ful wood and rust and mould on iron­works.

How­ever, you have to be pre­pared to call in an ex­pert to de­ter­mine if some­thing like a crack is a mi­nor plas­ter­ing is­sue or in­di­ca­tion of struc­tural prob­lems so hav­ing a re­al­is­tic idea of costs from the out­set is a wise move.

Some builders will have years of ex­pe­ri­ence deal­ing with pe­riod prop­er­ties and that’s who you want, along with a good project man­ager

who knows ex­actly what you’re aim­ing for and has de­tailed knowl­edge of the pe­riod you’re deal­ing with.


Sim­i­larly with re­plac­ing old fit­tings – th­ese can be dif­fi­cult to source or need some­one with spe­cial­ist knowl­edge when it comes to ar­eas like restor­ing cor­nic­ing or cov­ing and re­tain­ing style and char­ac­ter.

Janie Morris, cre­ator of Morris of Por­to­bello, a hand­made fur­ni­ture and kitchen mak­ing busi­ness based in Ed­in­burgh, is pas­sion­ate about de­sign­ing one off pieces with beauty and prac­ti­cal­ity in mind.

“As any­one who’s ever ren­o­vated an old build­ing knows, the qual­i­ties that give them won­der­ful char­ac­ter and charm also make them dif­fi­cult to shop for.

“The great thing about hav­ing a piece built es­pe­cially for you and your home is the way the de­sign can blend to­gether old and new, not to men­tion be­ing built to the ex­act spec­i­fi­ca­tion for your needs - and trued up to fit the walls, es­pe­cially im­por­tant with older build­ings - to fit per­fectly into your new home.”

A STEP UP: De­sign can blend past and present in a way that will fit your spec­i­fi­ca­tions.

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