An introduction to Liskeard
When we were looking for our first house to buy together we had a few criteria in our minds, like everyone does that were a) essential b) desirable c) no way on earth we could live with.
Looking back my essential criteria were;
- More floor space,
- A garden – any size as long as there was a garden with some lawn for the bunnies and Arthur,
- A kitchen with actual cupboard space – the kitchen in the flat was tiny
- A bathroom with a window,
- Three bedrooms – we were already in a two bed flat,
- Not on a busy/ main road,
- Scope for increasing value later down the line.
Desirable/ dream world criteria were;
- Bay windows,
- High ceilings,
- A standalone shower,
- A fireplace/ woodburner,
- Three double bedrooms,
- A big hallway,
- A garage/shed.
And no way on earth are we living there;
- No garden,
- No privacy/ view – the bedrooms in the flat looked onto an industrial estate,
- Open plan living – because no-one wants to look at the dirty dishes while they relax,
- A conservatory – way too cold in winter, too hot in summer and too noisy in the rain,
- Anything ugly!
I imagined us living in a small, semi-detached, Victorian style house with some room for improvements, somewhere quiet but close enough to get to the cheaper train line in Essex for commuting to London.
Obviously the house I live in now, well bungalow, looks nothing like this house at all! In fact whilst this house was love at first sight for Jamie, I was not so keen. Not so keen to the point where it to took Jamie six months to convince me to go and have a look. In the end the only reason I agreed to go and look was to prove to him that a) the house was as ugly in real life as it was in a photo and b) it was way too small for us. And so we viewed the house one night in November and I did exactly as I said I would. The house was ugly, it was even smaller in real life than the photos – there was no way on earth we’d fit all our bulky furniture in there, plus it was pitch black so we couldn’t see the garden, which apparently was really muddy and the grass needed cutting so we weren’t missing out on much. Jamie being Jamie though, didn’t take no for an answer and so he dragged me there again that weekend.
Low and behold the house was still ugly! I admit the approach to the house was pretty lovely; a quiet, private road with only a handful of neighbours, but damn, the house (that “damn” was written to be read in the style of Will Smith a la Men in Black, you know the scene where he first sees the red headed woman’s memory wiped). It’s not Victorian, it’s not even brick, it’s a mish-mash of wooden bungalow meets flat-roofed extension meets conservatory. It had really twee white trims round the roof, a crazy tall aerial and a very dirty white PVC door. See for yourself:
To make matters worse the rooms inside hadn’t grown at all between our visits, but they did look a little better with natural daylight coming in through the windows. The main bedroom fit a double bed in, but the two spares only had room for single beds. But there were two of them none the less.
Here’s that bathroom with the stand alone shower and the window that I wanted……….
The living room was a nice, cosy size but it would be a tight squeeze with our big chesterfield sofas and there was no way we could fit in our coffee table – my favourite piece of furniture we owned, (which that was later eaten by the dogs so I shouldn’t have wasted energy worrying about it) but it did have real dark wood flooring and french doors – tick!
The kitchen though was, and still is, my favourite room in the house. In fact it’s everyone’s favourite who comes to visit. It’s a proper country kitchen with solid oak cabinets, a slate floor with underfloor heating, a range cooker (a bloody range!), an island, space for a dining/ living area and the piece de resistance – a dishwasher. Only joking that is not my favourite part of the kitchen, but it is my second favourite.
The actual piece de resistance is that it’s in a conservatory extension, you know that item on my no way on earth am I contemplating living there list? But the conservatory is what makes it. Just look at those views.
Turned out the garden was huge and surrounded by a field used only for horses, further on there were hedgerows, trees, more fields and the river Thames. You don’t get much better views than that in Essex with the budget we were on.
Anyway we had to leave as another family of viewers were coming, but we had brought little Arthur with us and so we went for a short walk to explore the area and talk about the house itself. I was still umming and ahhing as the reason we wanted to move was to gain more floor space and we certainly weren’t achieving that with this property. But then we found the woods. There’s a footpath down the side of the house which leads to a woods and it was there when I realised we had to live here. Everywhere else in our budget had tiny back gardens and were on streets with no front gardens, yes the houses were beautiful, but a garden was our priority and what with now having Arthur being able to nip out the back for a walk through the woods was pretty idyllic.
We put our offer in, obviously under the asking price as we still couldn’t really afford it and lucky for us it was accepted the same day. And so that’s how we ended up moving into this teeny tiny bungalow
, with no window in the bathroom, no high ceilings, no real fireplace and a conservatory cosy cottage with cute little bedrooms, a snug, a huge garden and a country kitchen with amazing views. Oh and did I forget to mention that after we moved in and I finally got used to its “character” Jamie told me the reason he fell in love with it was because in years to come we can knock it down……….