House Renovation- 1901 Terrace House

article-houseIt’s November 2009 and two brothers Daniel & Matt Clarke decide to invest in their first property together to get on the property ladder.  Daniel is a bricklayer and Matt a young professional working for a local insurance company.

With Daniel’s occupation in mind and having both watched shows like channel 4’s ‘Property Ladder’, they decide to try and purchase a property with scope for improvement.

They commenced their search by registering interest at local estate agents and looking online on

In December 2009 they came across a typical ‘two bedroom and box room’ terrace house located in the fine city of Norwich. The house is situated south of Norwich City centre and is within a desirable location being a 15 minute walk away from the city centre.


Early 2010, the house sale completes therefore they move in. After unpacking boxes, they discover the modern combination boiler isn’t reliably working as it should, so a boiler engineer visited to resolve the issue. Several hundred pounds later, the property renovation starts.


With the house previously being a rental property there were clear signs that the previous tenants’ didn’t look after the property as well as should have. The living room had children’s writing on the white emulsion painted walls and the curtain pole brackets were bent downwards (probably due to children swinging off them for entertainment!).  The general decoration was dated and in poor condition throughout the house.

They commenced decorating the living room starting with removing the outdated artex patterned ceiling by sanding off the peaks in the pattern and applying PVA glue before plastering flat. Once plastered they poly-filled any imperfections within the walls then sanded them flat. The next stage was to remove the outdated dark green carpet exposing the original floorboards. They then hired an industrial floor sander to restore the floorboards by sanding off the dark brown layers of varnish. The ceiling/walls were then painted and floor was varnished. Lastly, the room was kitted out with new furniture and curtains…voilà! The first room was then complete and habitable.  A plan was then followed to decorate the remaining rooms throughout the house.

Matt and Daniel then started to consider how they could improve the layout for 2010 living. The house was built in 1901 therefore the layout was typical for this period and was somewhat dated for modern living. They therefore decided to:-


(a)   Extend the size of the bathroom (ground floor)

(b)   Add a rear entrance hallway so you didn’t have to walk into the living room at the front.

(c)   Extended the width of the typical narrow kitchen.

(d)   Knocked the wall down between the kitchen and dining room to form a large modern kitchen diner.

(e)   Construct a pitched roof on bathroom (previously had a flat roof) complete with velux window to let the light in.

(f)    Repoint the external brickwork.

Detailed plans were drawn up and confirmation that planning permission wasn’t required was received from the Council. Building control however did have to be involved because of the erection of a new pitched roof, the construction of new walls and removal of load  bearing walls.


The renovation did however present its challenges. During winter 2011, it became apparent there was a leak in the roof, therefore, Daniel went into the loft to inspect where the roof was leaking, and made another unfortunate discovery. The rear chimney breast had a large visible crack from top to bottom. To add to the complication of putting this right, it was a shared chimney with next door (4 chimney pots, 2 allocated each side). Daniel and Matt therefore obtained permission from the neighbours to erect scaffold to allow them to do the work which of course would be beneficial to their property and their neighbours. Daniel and Matt removed the top of the chimney into the loft significantly reducing the weight/risk.

The “over the door” porch was replaced, a modern attractive front door installed which also kept the front room draught free.

The garden was tidied at the front with a smart wall replacing the dilapidated original one, decorative chippings were placed in the small garden area at the front, where pots of plants brightened the appearance.

The back garden was cleared and a small attractive garden shed was erected and a path area created with chippings eitherside, making the area low maintenace and attractive.











Two years later after both working on the house every weekend without fail, the renovation was complete. Within two weeks of it being put on the market it sold to a young couple who fell in love with the property.

See below for some key facts about their renovation (below)rear-of-house-new-and-old

Property originally built: 1901

Bedrooms: 2 + 1 (box room)

Location: South Norwich, England

Purchased in 2010 for £124,995

Sold at profit in 2012 for £161,500

Total house renovation costs: £12,000

Time taken to renovate/extend: 2 years

Time elapsed to sell: 2 weeks




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