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.





Radiator Restoration No. 1

We pretty much decided as soon as we moved into the house that we wanted to change everything in it, radiators included, and were very specific on the style that we wanted.

The house had one free standing column radiator in the bay window when we viewed it, we loved the style and therefore last year began our changeover of some of the radiators from old and tired looking to brand new traditional column ones.

Jason sourced the radiators and valves from Best Heating as we wanted a traditional look but with an industrial edge and I think that this works well with the exposed polished copper piping.

I think they just look amazing, particularly against the restored floorboards but even with the carpet in the second bedroom they look spot on!

In the second bedroom and small office we just replaced the radiators that were there so that involved no pipework being moved, but in the hall we decided to move the radiator to the other side of the hall and get a slightly smaller radiator so it was less imposing with the hall being a narrow corridor.

We are really pleased with our decision and how the finished look has turned out and can’t wait to sort the rest of the radiators out in the house.



Interiors Wish List No.1

I can spend absolutely hours browsing interiors inspiration online and mentally spending thousands of pounds on various sites full of magnificent items that would look amazing once our house is finished. So I thought I would compile a wish list so to speak of various items I have spied or things that I am looking for that would be a great addition to the house and lets face it this list is going to be added to on a regular basis so these may become a monthly item on the blog, we will see.

Firstly I definitely want to find some decorative items for the living room. I bought this stunning vintage brass peacock from Mustard Vintage before Christmas and I think I would like to invest in some other brass items but also incorporating some vases perhaps?


I am also on the look out for some sort of sideboard or cabinet for the dining room, I am drawn to items such as this on Swoon Editions but I also like to keep an eye out for vintage finds as well. I think though this will be something that will be purchased once we have finished the renovation of the downstairs and it’s been decorated etc.


Lastly I am perusing online for inspiration of what to hang above these gorgeous drawers that we again got from Mustard Vintage (a favourite online shop of mine). I can’t decide if a mirror like this from Cox and Cox or a piece of artwork. This will all depend on what we end up doing renovation wise in our bedroom in regards to fitted wardrobes and incorporating mirrors on the wardrobe doors perhaps?





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!




Wood Burning Stove Installation

If you follow us on Instagram (@middleoftherow) you will already be aware that we have recently changed the fireplace in the living room from a gas fire to a wood burning stove. Let me tell you it was a decision that took well over a year but it has been well worth the wait and one of the best decisions we have made because boy does it heat the room up nice and cosy!

This was the gas fire place that was in the living room when we moved in. Everyone who has come into the house gushed about how lovely it looked. It did look lovely and very in keeping with the period of the house, however the hearth was absolutely massive and intrusive into the room and we never found the Gas fire very cosy or very efficient at heating up the entire room. We always have wanted a house with either an original fireplace to burn openly or have a stove fitted and therefore this fire was just not what we envisaged for our house.

On our decision journey we floated the idea of getting just an open fire fitted for the ambience and the dream of what we had always wanted. Everyone told us that they are not heat efficient and stoves are far better for heat etc etc etc….thankfully after finding out that the feathers in our chimney had gone and that this would be a massive cost to rectify that idea was shot out of the window and back to the stove idea we went and to be honest I am so pleased that we couldn’t get the open fire as I think it would have been a big mistake considering the amount of heat that we are now getting from our beautiful stove!

Installation took two days and had a little bit of trauma in that when they took the fire out the flu was not aligned to the centre and the hole was smaller than expected. The original fireplace that would have been in the living room must have been off centre to the right for some reason and that was why the flu was not aligned. This was rectified by removing a piece of the wall in the flu and inserting a lintel to make the hole bigger for the inglenook to fit the stove into. We also had issues with access to the chimney as we were advised that they could use our neighbours roof until the fitters came and said that they would not be able to access it and therefore a cherrypicker would be required which added additional cost.

I just love the finished look and feel that we now get with the stove and I am so pleased that we bit the bullet and decided to get it installed. We now just have a few finishing touches to complete, i.e. replacing the old skirting and decorating, but once that it done it will look even more amazing than it does now.

If you have had a stove fitted I’d love to hear your experiences so do leave a comment below?