Today I had the opportunity to see what our house looked like before it was renovated. No, not by getting a bulldozer along to start again, but because next door was up for sale, unmodernised.
The daughter of the people who used to live there let me in to have a look around, and it was fascinating. Our house has had huge amounts of work done, like an ageing film star but to much more practical effect. What’s interesting about seeing an earlier version is that it was actually quite big even then, and a generation ago would have been regarded as perfectly suitable for a family of, say, four or five.
As the house was exactly the same as ours, rather than the mirror image of a semi-d, it was easy to see how changes had been made. The original kitchen has become our downstairs toilet and utility room, and the utility room door originally led to the back garden. On returning home, I noticed that the outline of the old larder was still there, opposite our washing machine.
Upstairs, we now know that one small bedroom was removed to provide a big landing, where we’re going to keep our books – and I’d previously said to Nick that if we were running a B&B then that’s where we’d have put in an extra room. Two other bedrooms have been knocked together for our bedroom and en suite, and again it was intriguing to see how it was done.
A young couple with children have bought the house next door, and it’ll be interesting to see what they do with it. But I feel privileged to have seen it laid out as it would have been the day the first occupants moved in, and to have gained such insight into the design of our new home as a result.