The Ten Year Project

I know a house is never ‘finished’. I know before I finish one room for the first time there will probably be rooms that I decorate over and over again and I know the plans that I have at the moment will change, that we’ll make mistakes and need to fix them. I know this is the ‘forever’ house and that will mean trends will change, so things will need updating and replacing.

Having said all this, right now I can see the ‘end’ point. Where we have everything we initially want to get done, done. Where we can come in and feel like we live in a nice, finished house. Where things ‘make sense’, doors are in the right places, the kitchen is logical, the bathroom isn’t so dated I want to scream…

And there is A LOT to do before we get to that point. In our last house we redid everything. It took us around five years (with the majority of work done in the first 18 months). That house was much smaller, and there were fewer structual alterations to make. And we didn’t have a newborn baby to contend with that time around!

We’ve set ourself a ten year target on this one. It may take us longer (we might suprise ourself and actually take less time!) but we feel that’s a realistic time frame to aim for. Hopefully this will give us time to have a bit of a life outside of just renovating the house. And we are going to try to learn lessons from last time around and do fewer jobs at once, and concentrate on finishing one task before we start another.

We are, as I’ve mentioned before, adding an extension to both the house and the workshop. The house already has a ground floor one, but we’re taking this up to the full height to gain a bit more space. We’re changing the layout (floor plans at the bottom of this post!) to make the house flow better, and then we’ll be updating a redecorating the entire thing so it’s more reflective of our style and taste.

Obviously in practice it’s not quite as simple as that. And so in no particular order, here is our list of everything that needs to be done:


  • Drainage moved (to allow space for conservatory, drainage for new en-suite and to get the correct fall on the existing drains)
  • Old septic tank removed
  • Main electric consumer unit moved
  • Current extension demolished
  • Foundations dug and poured
  • Slab poured
  • Block work done
  • Roof built and tiled
  • Windows and doors fitted
  • Extension rendered
  • Extension painted
  • Upstairs floorboards fitted
  • Walls plaster boarded
  • New wiring installed
  • Central heating plumbing fitted
  • En suite plumbing fitted


  • New garage built
  • Old garage demolished
  • Fence built
  • Trees planted
  • Pond demolished
  • Gateposts moved
  • Gate
  • Patio
  • Driveway
  • Grass grown
  • Landscaped and planted
  • Move drainpipes
  • Re-render existing house
  • Paint existing house
  • Window frames painted
  • Facia boards replaced
  • New power supply to the property
  • Services split from the adjacent plots (water and electric)

Layout Changes

  • Extension knocked through
  • Kitchen doorway moved
  • Corridor moved
  • Snug doorway moved
  • Utility and downstairs toilet built
  • Stairs moved
  • Upstairs corridor created
  • Fourth bedroom wall
  • Study created in old stairwell
  • Landing opened up
  • Conservatory added

Additional jobs

  • Front door and front porch added
  • Two front windows moved (to level with upstairs windows)
  • Rear window moved (to get to correct height)
  • Two rear windows bricked up
  • Chimney breast moved and supported
  • Log burners installed in two rooms
  • Electrics replaced and house rewired
  • Lighting moved
  • Radiators moved and plumbing updated
  • New insulation and plaster on external walls
  • Conservatory built
  • Wall supported for new utility
  • Upstairs beams exposed

Rooms Decorated

  • Living Room (extension)
  • Snug
  • Kitchen
  • Utility
  • Downstairs WC
  • Rear Porch
  • Hallway and landing
  • Master bedroom
  • En-suite
  • Nursery
  • Spare bedroom
  • Playroom
  • Office
  • Family Bathroom
  • Conservatory

So a fairly long list!

Here’s the before and after floor plan so you can see what we’re aiming for:

Current floor plan:

Our main changes are:

  • Adding a front door and corridor between the downstairs rooms
  • A bigger, more practical conservatory
  • Stairs at the front of the house (off the corridor)
  • A large master bedroom with an en-suite
  • A proper fourth bedroom (not a space that has to act as a corridor to the bathroom)
  • A study (or fifth bedroom) to maximize the space left over from moving the stairs

What we’re aiming for:

An upside down version of the original one just to confuse things!

There have been times already where we’ve both felt like we’ve bitten off more than we can chew, but we just keep thinking about what we’ll have when we’re finished. Hopefully it’ll be worth it in the end!