Abandoned house renovation

For some it’s a dream; for others it would be their worst nightmare. Remodelling an old or abandoned house is the kind of thing we see on Grand Designs. If you fall into the former category and are thinking of taking the plunge, there are a few things you’ll need to know about renovating an old house. Where to start? We can help…

Look for potential

The first challenge is, of course, to find the right kind of property. For this, you’ll need some imagination. Look past the dilapidation and think about what the building could become. That said, there are certain things you should avoid, such as large cracks that could indicate subsidence, or water damage that may have caused dry rot. Unless you have the know-how and the patience to deal with this, you could end up with a nightmare on your hands. Taking note of whether the plot has space to extend is worthwhile too – this will allow for some wiggle room in the design.


When looking for a property within your budget, you’ll need to factor in more than just the price of the plot and the cost of improvements. A structural survey is a must – it will detail the things that need addressing, some of which you may have missed. You’ll also need to recruit an architect to draw up and submit plans. If you’re restoring an old house on a budget, save around 20 per cent more than what you’re hoping to spend – all too often renovations have to be put on hold because the budget runs out too soon.

Start with the basics

You might be brimming with old house renovation ideas, but you’ll need to stay grounded and get the basics done first. Masonry, roofing and windows all need to be taken care of before you even think about installing central heating and moving the outdoor toilet inside.

Restore or replace?

Part of the joy of restoring a property lies in bringing its original features back to life. Restoring an old fireplace, for example, or cleaning up tiled floors. If the house is a listed building, you’ll need to check what can and can’t be replaced to ensure you comply with the regulations. We’d recommend only replacing where absolutely necessary to preserve the property’s character. There are lots of specialists out there who can lend a hand with the more tricky parts.

Embrace quirks

These days, we’re largely used to modern houses with level floors and minimal creaks and groans, but old houses don’t always conform to our expectations. Instead of trying to make everything perfect – which can be extremely costly – embrace the oddities: the not-quite-straight back wall and the wonky floor, for example. You might even start getting on with the ghost that haunts the spare room… If you want to know more about remodeling an old house, what to restore and what to replace, speak to the specialist architects in Kent and South East London, Bluelime Home Design, today.

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