Out with the old isn’t always ideal
But be prepared to call in the experts to make the best of property purchases
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.