Updating a 1930s English Terrace House (With A Great View!)

published Jun 2, 2016
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(Image credit: Submitted by Helen )

Name: Helen
Location: Bristol, United Kingdom

As soon as my husband and I stepped into this house, we knew it was the one for us. Not even the dodgy electrics, lack of central heating and pre-1970s decor could put us off — some hard work was a fair pay off for the welcome that we felt from the house, plus its stunning view. After getting the keys, we spent ten months renovating the house from top to bottom — there’s not a surface that we didn’t touch nor a wall that we’re not intimately acquainted with!

(Image credit: Submitted by Helen )

The house is a three bedroom 1930s mid terrace in Brislington, a suburb in the south of Bristol. It’s built on a very steep street, and also slopes from front to back, so the kitchen and dining room are 1.5m above the ground. There are lots of original features that show its era, such as the Bakelite door handles, leaded glass front door and curved brick front porch.

(Image credit: Submitted by Helen )

The house hadn’t been touched in years, so there was a lot of work to do. We wanted to keep its spirit while bringing it up to date, with the big jobs including installing new electrics, central heating, a bathroom and a kitchen. We mostly kept the original layout, but one big structural alteration was knocking through the kitchen and dining room to make one big room that spans the back of the house. This also involved swapping the kitchen door for a window, and the dining room window for bifold doors.

(Image credit: Submitted by Helen )

We also had to take full advantage of the amazing views, and the drop from the back of the house into the garden, and so the biggest project that we undertook was creating a 3x4m glass and steel balcony from the kitchen diner. This involved knocking down the existing coal house, designing the balcony, getting planning consent for it, and then actually finding a company who could construct it for us — the latter was probably the hardest part of the process! It was all worth it though and the balcony space is a wonderful addition to the house, particularly in summer.

After the structural work was complete, the finishing touches were stripping and polishing the beautiful original wooden floorboards and painting all the walls white to maximize the gorgeous light that we enjoy. My husband and I did the majority of work ourselves, with some invaluable help from my parents, and I’m still in awe of what we managed to achieve.

(Image credit: Submitted by Helen )

My favourite part of the house is the kitchen diner — I love having a sociable space where we can be cooking and talking to guests at the same time. The room faces south so we get beautiful sunshine all day long, even in winter, making it a wonderful spot for reading and day dreaming. It’s even better in the warmer months, when we can open up the bifold doors and spill out onto the balcony. My husband would agree with this, but he’d also add the wood burner — a long-held dream that was finally realized in this house!

Thanks, Helen!

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