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The journey begins

Retrofit
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We are in the midst of purchasing an old flint cottage and this blog will follow the journey to discover the challenges of retrofit and the competing bands of cost versus level of insulation/adaptation.

The remit for our purchase was a building with 2 bedrooms and plenty of land for all our animals.  Our complication was that any habitable house in the area we wanted to live (near Petersfield) had a price tag much much higher than our budget.  Then one day a little cottage appeared on the market with plenty of land but plenty of issues – we decided to take the plunge!   And it has unraveled ever since!

Issues identified on initial visit:

  • Big hole in the roof with rain coming into the bedroom and stable
  • Small rooms with low ceilings
  • Leaking pipes that have been turned off at stop cock
  • Half built shower room
  • No information about cesspit (no mains drains)
  • No heating apart from some very dodgy electric radiators/storage heaters

Our new cottage has already proved to be a mission and we have not even got the keys  (hopefully in a couple of weeks) but the mission has allowed us to understand the building in great detail and I am sure more is to come.  As we learn more we have fallen deeper in love with this little neglected building, and have a huge desire to make it habitable again.

Since the first visit we have asked for several other inspections prior to purchase:

  • A surveyor has visited and the report shows that the building is structurally sound, apart from a lintel above a window needing replacing.  This to us was great news and at least a solid starting point.
  • The surveyor also identified that one of the rafters in the barn needs replacing due to water ingress and most of the pipes from bath and washing machine etc empty onto the path (not into the drainage system).  There are also odd pipes and taps all over the garden (I think they kept fish).
  • The solicitor has carried out searches which have discovered very little because the property has not been sold in living memory and so there are no records to link back to.  There are some planning applications on microfilm which we will investigate but information about the property is sparse – we will have to investigate ourselves as we go.

And so the journey begins ……….. photos to follow once we have the keys!

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Hampshire & Isle of Wight Wildlife Trust
University of Southampton
Garden Organic