New build to Victorian Terrace

I thought it would be good to do a little post on my musings on moving from a new build to a Victorian terrace as they are stark contrasts in size and we have learnt a lot along the way. I will also admit that new build’s sometimes do have an advantage over an old house (soundproofing is one of them) so this may turn into some sort of series comparing the two styles of houses, we will see.

Before moving into our lovely 3 bed Victorian terrace at the end of April 2016 we lived for about 8 years in a 3 bed (technically 2.5 bed) semi-detached new build house (the design of it was called “Brandon”) and that was our first house together and for that reason I will have much fondness for it, however we were so pleased to move out of it for numerous reasons of which I will expand on.

Now I must say after trawling through a bunch of photos I can’t find any interior style pics from our old house, I thought I had some so I will have to have a look properly and that may turn into another post.

Anyway digressing slightly, I have had the following musings on moving from a new build to an old house.


Our new build house as stated above was a 3 bed semi, but really the “3rd” bedroom was tiny and could only be used for either an office or nursery as it wasn’t large enough to fit a single bed in. So really my first thought is that you get so much more space in an old house compared to a new one for the same amount of bedrooms. We moved technically like for like from one 3 bed to another 3 bed but our Victorian terrace is huge compared to our old new build.



In a new build our furniture was dictated to by the size of the rooms, and to be honest the same can be said at times for this house too, we did spent ages looking for a small enough tv cabinet to fit in the fire place alcove. However sofa size, dining room table sizes all had to be small for a new build and when you then move them into a bigger space look ridiculously small. I remember when we were looking for a sofa for the old house and we could only find two designs small enough for the space and being told that we needed to look for “cottage’ size! Taking that into account and also since moving into this house that we are discovering our style mojo we basically have replaced most of the furniture that we had in the old house for bigger pieces and also pieces with style and character.



I don’t care what anyone says, to me and this is my opinion only, you cannot get character in a new build house, yes you can buy nice furniture and make it “show home” style and have everything looking nice and smart but to me there is just no character to the rooms and therefore anything you try to put in with character looks out of place. Character to me is features, whether that be period features or quirky sized rooms, large rooms, beams in ceilings etc and you can only get that from an old house or say a barn conversion not a new build.



We were young when we bought our old house, early 20’s, and I think looking back we rushed into it without thinking properly about what we wanted from a house. We didn’t have much advice as to what was best for us and I think we just got excited at owning our own house and didn’t think much about it until a few years later when you start to outgrow the house and wish that you had bought a bigger house sooner than we eventually did. So I would say to anyone looking to buy their first home to really think about what you want from a house, whether that be size, character, location and also look around at all of the options available before jumping in that goes for both new and old houses.



You will get problems in whatever house you buy, whether that be an old house or a new build. We have had issues in both houses that we have owned, so yes they may be different in the scale of the problems but you will get them and to be prepared for that.




Floorboard and Skirting Restoration

Those of you who may follow us over on Instagram (@middleoftherow) will know that we had some floorboards and skirting board restored towards the end of last year.  I thought I would show you some before and after’s on here as well as talking about why we decided on what to restore.

First up, skirting boards.

In the living room and dining room there are some pieces of mismatched skirting board, we think from when the rooms were knocked through and whoever did it just decided to make do with whatever they could find. Well to us we want to make sure as we are renovating that we are true to the period features of the house (as best that we can) as well as modernising and making it our own, therefore this mismatched skirting needs to be restored to match the rest. The first part of this to be done has been the living room, mainly because of the stove installation and the need to get new skirting board on the fire place wall.

The skirting is 11″ skirting and it was not an easy task to source someone to do it. We tried  website that claimed to do any skirting  (who told us they had never seen any skirting like it!!?), to a local wood merchant who only did up to 9″ skirting (period feature problems). We managed eventually to find a joiner who could get some made to the exact design and also fit it for us, which was brilliant and as you can see from the pictures below has done an amazing job.

*On the left is the old skirting board that didn’t match and on the right is the new one which matches the rest of the room perfectly.*

Second up, floorboard restoration.

Deciding what to restore floorboards wise has been something that has gone round in a circle for a long time, however we finally settled on restoring the hallway and the office for now.  We used a local company who came and sanded the floor down, filled the gaps and then used three layers of a clear lacquer to seal them.

I have to say I am so happy with how they have turned out and with the addition of the column radiators in both of these spaces it looks totally transformed!