A typical Victorian property is quite spacious, with high ceilings and big windows. You can also expect it to be elegantly designed, with ornate coving and period architrave, mouldings and skirtings. However, a Victorian terrace property might not always have the layout design that is practical for modern living, and the urge to make structural changes to suit your lifestyle can be overwhelming.
Major renovations to a Victorian terrace property are of course possible, but the problem comes in making sure you retain the charm and character of the property, making best use of some unique features and balancing the cost of your proposed renovations against the value it is likely to add to your property. Everyone has different priorities, so the re-sale value may not be important to you right now, but it is something to consider, and in terms of retaining character, you should remember that Victorian houses were typically very well built, so it may be cheaper and more aesthetically-pleasing to restore existing features rather than replace.
That said, it is very cost-effective to replace certain period features, such as Victorian architrave or skirting boards. These can be replaced and painted to suit your interior design ideas and to match new features that you introduce into the home. But what are the major renovations you can make in a Victorian terrace house? Read on and we can offer you some great ideas for making a modern home out of an amazing period property.
- Open plan living downstairs
A Victorian terrace is unlikely to have the space and flow that you want downstairs, and often the staircase is a major restriction. If it is feasible, knocking out a wall between a living room and kitchen can open up the downstairs and you can maximise this with a single-storey extension into the garden. With bi-fold doors this can integrate the indoors with the outdoors, create a great communal living, cooking and entertaining space, and still provide a cosy living room space for the evenings.
- Introduce more light
With a single storey extension downstairs you can also add some skylights to introduce more light. In a small, cluttered terrace house, light and space can be a real issue, so skylights immediately create a more airy feel and reduce the sense of claustrophobia.
- Loft conversion
While Victorian terrace houses are usually quite narrow, they didn’t mind building upwards in those days. So you can maximise your available space by converting the loft into an extra bedroom and maybe with a study, a playroom or an en-suite bathroom if the layout, space and budget allows.
- Utilise existing features
When stripping back a Victorian property you will uncover many features that you really should try and retain. As mentioned above, this could involve architrave and skirting boards, which are a great way to link rooms design-wise, but this can also include exposed brickwork. This can provide a very contemporary feel in a living room or dining area, and the quality of the brickwork can be fully utilised, even if you have to re-point it slightly.
- Is there space under the stairs?
Often, Victorian properties have large staircases that retain space underneath them and which aren’t always fully utilised. A space underneath the stairs can be used for storage or as a cloakroom to avoid clutter elsewhere in the house, or if you are lucky, you may be able to fit in a downstairs toilet.
- Looking downstairs as well as up
Most Victorian properties have a basement, which you may have written off as a no-go zone or simply as a dumping ground, but it is precious space that you can use. Could this be a kids’ play area? A study? An extra communal space? Or even a wet room or extra bathroom?
Every home is different and every renovation project is limited by budget and ambition, but looking around the home and applying some of these tips and ideas might just spark a renovation plan that could change your life.