Falling in love again

Of course we loved our house when we first bought it. You’ve got to really love a collection of bricks to hand over the best part of half a million pounds, after all.

I remember when we first viewed it: I was seven months pregnant, we were looking at 13 houses that weekend and we thought we’d found everything we ever wanted as we wandered through the cute little Victorian terrace in East Dulwich.

Pebble dash London house
Our house, the day we viewed it for the first time

It was perfectly preserved in the 1950s, a real home where we could imagine bringing up our imminent arrival.

And, best of all in our eyes, it was a doer-upper. “Oh yes!” we exclaimed when we heard there was no central heating. “Oh we’ll just extend this kitchen right out to the side and back” we panted with enthusiasm on discovering the long narrow galley kitchen with no natural light. “We’ll have that pebble dash off on the very first day” we grinned to each other, all the while thinking of the savings we were making on the purchase price by doing all these things ourselves.

And then we moved in. And the love affair came to a rather abrupt end.

That first winter was so fricking freezing. Without central heating, we shivered away. Ancient electrical heaters in the main rooms provided some warmth but left me with the constant fear of an electrical fire in the night. Heaven forbid if you had to walk out of one room to reach another, shivering all the way down the corridors.

Eventually, the builders moved in, 14 months after we first did. Four months later, structural work completed, we moved back. To a house of bare plaster and a need for endless decorating. Once again, I was seven months pregnant.

Our money long (long!) eaten up, the past 14 months have been spent painting, sanding, hole-filling, caulking and getting quotes for various things that cost a fortune.

But at last it feels as if the end is in sight, signalled by the momentous occasion of the pebble dash being removed. And you know what, I’m reminded for the first time that my house is actually a real little looker.

Under all that ugly brown and grey pebbledash are some beautiful London stock bricks, all now beautifully re-pointed and able to breathe the air for the first time in probably 40 years.

London terraced house
That brickwork! Who knew I could be so excited by a lovely brick?

Next steps: plant a climbing white rose up the front and replace the windows. Possibly in the opposite order. Ah, little house, you’ll be a proper beauty again before too long.

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11 thoughts on “Falling in love again

  1. I agree, so much better without the pebble dash, would you like to send some of that finishing projects over this way though. I need less holes in my house, we have just removed all the ceilings, I mean really!

  2. Yesss! I don’t blame you for being excited over the handsome brick that was hidden beneath pebble dash. You must feel like you are drawing up to a different house each time you come home, now! Love the idea of a climbing white rose, too….Bravo.

  3. Why, oh WHY! would anyone have covered such lovely brick with something akin to pavement? When I started reading this I was afraid you were going to say you were giving up and abandoning the whole bloody project. I am thoroughly chuffed to see it evolving. I am recovering from my Brit mode after just returning from a fabulous week in London and I want to go back ASAP>

  4. Oh my goodness, what a difference it makes without the pebble dash! Gorgeous brick work. I am learning to love a very “unique” sixties, angular style of architecture which I never thought I’d like, as houses like yours just don’t exist in the Hampshire town I live in. Your home has that lovely thing: kerb appeal. Enjoy it! xx

  5. It’s beautiful underneath that pebbledash, honestly, I can’t imagine why it was ever covered up. Well done you for having it removed and refinished so beautifully. Hopefully others will follow your example. CJ xx

  6. It looks amazing without the ugly pebble dash I hate that stuff, Ours doesn’t have pebble dash but it’s painted an ugly red colour which HAS to go. I’m definately going to be reading your blog from the start, we’re currently going through the same thing with our do-er upper I still love it but everytime we fix one problem another crops up and with our wedding only 9 weeks away money’s on a shoes string lol x

    1. Ha ha, that sounds exactly the same as us! We got married about a year after moving in to our doer upper and as a result felt as if we were haemorrhaging money all over the place for years… (Actually, it still feels like that! So much money to sort a house out. I can’t quite imagine what it will feel like once we’ve finally finished it.)

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