An update on a house renovation journey of a 1930's property on the Bournville Village Trust in Birmingham including an extension and hard landscaping.

Lolly’s House Renovation {An Update}

Author: Lolly Gautier-Ollerenshaw

Blimey hasn’t time flown. I promised you in my last house renovation post that I’d be sharing an update in eight weeks but that was back in January and here we are in May already! In the spirit of complete housebuilding honesty, things haven’t progressed as quickly as I thought they would but as of last week we’re now starting to see considerable changes including a brand new roof!

So why the delays? Why the lack of progress?

Well it’s been a combination of so many factors, money being one (why oh why doesn’t it grow on trees?!), the weather (I mean honestly we’re in the middle of a heatwave one minute and then back to torrential showers the next) and the fact that Ste has been so horrendously busy with work. Lastly we’ve been dithering…mostly about whether to replace the roof entirely or just stick with creating one for the extension. In the end we decided to bite the bullet and do the whole thing in one go whilst the scaffolding is up to save hassle further down the line.

So what have we done?

Well let’s start with the back of the house. We’ve now completed the second storey and the structural elements of the roof are in place. As of yesterday the roofers from began work on removing the existing roof and replacing it, with as many of the existing tiles as possible. We’ve decided to go for reclaimed tiles around the back – hence one of the reasons for the delay – to ensure that the new extension is as sympathetic to the original house as possible.

The garden has been extensively landscaped – hello new lawn – and you can just about make out from the images the beginnings of a brick wall as you look at the back of the house which will form part of the terrace with some stupidly wide steps going down to the lawn. I’m envisaging sitting with friends on the steps with wine glasses in hand next summer. I know, I know! It’s pretty hard to fathom it out from ALL THE RUBBLE at this stage but I promise you that it will look glorious. At least the old shed has gone and there’s some grass rather than a muddy trench to walk across. I’ll share an update on my instagram wall as the wall progresses.

There’s also a picture in the gallery below of the foundations of the shed/greenhouse which is built in reclaimed bricks to match the house. The bottom part of the garden will incorporate four or five raised beds for next year’s vegetable patch and there’ll be cold frames too. Trust me I’m intending to make this all look as gorgeous as possible with climbing clematis over the shed and beautiful brick paths. It’s all so blimming expensive!

Moving to the front we now have a beautiful reclaimed brick wall at the front of the driveway and all the existing and mostly dead shrubs have been removed from the front bed apart from the conifer which is 110% going to follow its companions into plant heaven very VERY soon. Please can someone pass me an axe! The front bed will start being planted up this weekend and I can’t wait to see the results. The driveway has mostly been cleared of rubble…I say mostly since bizarrely each time the area is freed from building detritus it mysteriously fills up again. Ste tells me I need to face the fact that our house is a building site and until we move in the situation will repeat itself; I can’t help but feel the compulsion to tidy every time I visit. Oh and those big pieces of ply laid across the front? Yep they’re there purely to stop the place descending into a mud pit rather than being a permanent feature…

We’ve also purchased a new to us, but original to the house, front door from eBay that is currently being glazed with a new piece of glass and I can’t wait to start choosing colours and selecting some gorgeous pots for kerb appeal!

I was going to include some photos of the inside of the house but other than the additional bedroom there’s not much that has changed. We’ve been focusing so hard on completing the external elements that we’ve not touched anything internally; I’ll be sure to include any progress made in the next update.

What Next?

Well firstly finish the drive and the accompanying flower bed. I’ll be sharing a post on the blog soon about a recent trip to the garden centre and the nitty gritty details of which plants I’ve selected for growing in the front bed and up the house itself. Hint; it involves wisteria and voluminous hydrangea!

The half dead conifer will be coming out! That my friends is a definite (and apologies to anyone that actually likes the plant) and all of the current building rubble on the drive will be disappearing into a skip to make the front of the house shipshape. I’ve also asked Ste for a resin bound drive and he’s agreed but only when all the work on the house is complete. In the meantime we’ll be putting our original front door back into the property which I feel is more in keeping with the age of the house rather than the uPVC number that is currently in place.

Lastly the side extension will be built; this will form the utility room, the downstairs toilet and the garage and once that’s erected I’ll feel like we’re really getting somewhere. Ste tells me that this will be completed in the next month…time will tell. Hopefully the remainder of the brick wall and the steps in the garden will be completed simultaneously and that will be the end of the structural hard landscaping…for now at least. Obviously there’s a whole heap more to do but that will do for the next few weeks until my next post on the renovation project…Stay tuned!

If any of you are undergoing your own refurb projects I’d love to hear all about them. Why not share your own journeys in the comments box below…

Author: Lolly
Lolly is a self-professed frustrated florist and styling maven with an endless passion for all things pretty.
Follow Lolly on instagram @graceandgable
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29 thoughts on “Lolly’s House Renovation {An Update}

  1. Morning Lolly how exciting! I know it’s hard going – we started renovations on our house October 2014 and it’s still an ongoing process! You think you’ve finished and then another job appears! I totally get what you mean about the rubble too, where does it come from?! My current battle is the never ending source of dust, not as heavy as rubble I suppose. And yes that money tree if you find one let me know it would be handy!!! Best of luck for the rest of the build X

    1. Oh Nadine don’t even get me started on the dust – in a way it’s worse than rubble because it’s just all-pervading and just when you’ve cleaned it all up you find another layer has settled. I’m not looking forward to that bit!

  2. Amazing progress Lolly, things are really starting to take shape. You must be itching to get the build completed so you can start the interior design!

    How have your neighbours been? They must have the patience of saints! ?

    1. They really really do Lynsey and they’re so nice too! We’ve honestly hit the jackpot with them. It’s partly why I’ve placed such an emphasis on getting the outside looking respectable before tackling the inside so it’s one less eyesore for them to look at. I’ve mentally painted everything and already moved in!

  3. God Lolly, you have my admiration. We’ve been doing a internal re-jig (wee bit of building but mostly removing the 1960s decor…) and that has been time consuming enough! I don’t know how people manage a full time job & a renovation (& a child!) at the same time. We have vowed never to buy anywhere that needs work again, haha!

    1. I’m not sure how I do either Lynsey which is probably why we haven’t made a huge amount of progress so far. That said I really do love a project and I don’t think this house will be our last (despite promising each other we’d never EVER do this again). You’ll have to share some pictures of your own project with us!

  4. Hi Lolly, what a fab project! Such a shame that your plans were so limited. We bought a 1970s bungalow last year which needs gutting, re-wiring, new central heating (original 70s electric underfloor at the moment!), replacing the mushroom en suite and turquoise main bathroom extending to add more living space and a third bedroom… We are in a conservation area but there is no trust to put a dampener on the plans like that. It’s super exciting but all comes down to money at the end of the day, doesn’t it! So frustrating when you’re itching to get on with it!

    1. Maxine, a mushroom en suite AND a turquoise bathroom?! You lucky thing you! I dread to think how much this whole project would be costing us if it wasn’t for Ste’s building contacts. That said if I ever won the lottery I think I’d spend my life buying up derelict houses and making them homes again. It wouldn’t be for the money but just for the love of creating something beautiful. Ste rolls his eyes at me whenever I start this conversation! We’d love to see some pictures of your 1970s bungalow though – what are your plans for the space??

      1. Hi Lolly, we plan to split what’s presently a very large lounge/diner into a third bedroom and then use the rest of it as part of the extension that we will build as a huge open plan lounge kitchen diner with a utility room and a boot room. We’d love a guest loo as well but not quite sure we will fit it in! The house is quite open plan now and the architect was inspired by American bungalows so we’re keen to keep that as our inspiration. But yes in the meantime it’s colourful! Don’t get me started on the tartan AND swirly carpets… We’re hoping to get it done at one hit so thinking it’s worth saving hard now so once we start we can get it done! We’re also trying to work with the existing structure where possible to minimise our costs. You’re very lucky to have a builder husband, though I imagine it means your project must come second to his earning projects! I keep seeing lovely furniture and homewards etc that I want for the completed house and not being able to do anything about it!! We will get there – at least yours is getting off the ground, we are yet to finalise the plans and get permissions etc! Xxx

  5. Hats off to you Lolly, seems like you are making great progress! We moved into a 1930’s property a couple of months ago and I am itching to get rid of our uPVC front door and also change the internal doors to 1930’s panelled ones rather than the modern ones they have been replaced with. I never thought of looking on ebay. Did you go for a brand new 1930’s style door or a reclaimed original one – would love to know! x

    1. It was a reclaimed one Tish – I love the idea of repurposing and as long as you get one in good nick that doesn’t need loads of work there’s nothing better than the original. We paid £80 for our door and had it couriered to us using the delivery service Shiply for £25. Bargain!

      1. Wow, that’s a great bargain! The ones I have been looking at have been £900.00 plus. Dashing over to eBay now………! x

  6. Hi Lolly, so exciting for you to see things actually happening!

    We are right at the beginning of the process. We moved into our Victorian farmhouse last year thinking we’d like to do stuff but we didn’t need too – wrong. So far I want to replace the heating, possible rewire, renew two bathrooms and sort the plumbing, replace the kitchen including the range and replace all the horrible white 80s upvc windows and doors. Not much then and I know as soon as I start there will be more that needs done!

    1. If there’s one type of house I’d love to own Joy then it’s a period farmhouse – Georgian ones are particular favourites – so I’m stupidly envious of you right now. It’s just a never-ending list of things to do though and just when you think you’ve done everything you’ll find yourself right back at the beginning doing it all over again!

  7. Oh Lolly, it really is taking shape isn’t it? It wont be long now, you have the patience of a saint! xxx

    1. Karen I really don’t. In fact impatience is one of my vices but I figure I got myself into this mess so I’ve got to take everything that comes with it including playing the waiting game. I know it will all be worth it in the end but my gosh there’s been some really testing times.

      1. I bet you could weep though every time someone says ‘it’ll all be worth it in the end…’, things sure never feel that way when you’re right there in the thick of it!

        Grit your teeth and keep going x

        1. Oh yes. They mean well but there’s been times where I’ve been grimacing through clenched teeth. The plants will see me through though – its something that I can nurture and grow and that I have some element of control over without it costing the earth. Which reminds me…I need to message you!

          1. And I still need to buy Rooting powder! So much love for your gardening passion. It really is magical to see something you’ve nurtured springing to life xx

  8. Wow you are so brave having all this work done! We are planning on replacing our ugly uPVC door too, do you have any retailers you would recommend?

      1. Yes a traditional wood door, ours is a Victorian terrace so something that is in keeping with the rest of house. Any retailers you can recommended would be greatly appreciated! x

  9. Yay! Huge pat on the back lovelies. What a great job so far. Slow and steady is always the way. We are now eighty per cent finished downstairs over at ours and 0 per cent finished upstairs. Well it’s all about balance isn’t it 😉 our new sash windows are currently going in which will also open from the top. This now means our pesky cats can’t go leaping about over our bed in the middle of the night as they climb through the window! Keep the faith as its all coming together xxxx

  10. It’s looking immense Lolly. I know how much you’ve had to go through to get this far. Can’t wait for the next update x

  11. What a generous sized extension, I can’t wait to see the end result. The front of your house with the wall is looking great too, and I’m desperate to see this door!!

    We’re redoing our drive at the moment, well I say redoing but we’ve come to a holt because we’ve had issues with builders in regards to having the drop curb installed and they also tried to increase the price at the last minute so we’ve ended up looking else where. After the drop curb is installed we’ll be having a pebbled drive with a path at one side and then adding a fence to the side that currently doesn’t have one, painting the fences and popping plants around the place. I can’t wait to get a move on with it more, I feel like it’s been a half muddy mess for forever already!

    Gemma x
    The British Feather – A UK Lifestyle, Travel, Beauty & Home Decor Blog

  12. Hi Lolly. We also live in Bournville and are about to start an extension but are struggling to find the right bricks to use that match the existing. Where did you source yours from as they look great!

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