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Why a 1930s house could be the perfect DIY project

Make the most of your 1930s house with a bit of decoration.

Think of a typical British home and you might think of a chocolate box thatched cottage, roses round the door, an apple tree in the garden. But you’d be more on the money if you pictured a bay fronted 30s semi-detached, pebble dashed and wide door-ed.

Those very same houses were built at a time when Britain was plunged in to a depression as serious as today’s. So it’s not a surprise that, unlike today’s identikit homes thrown up overnight, 1930s homes were built to last. That’s why so many families still live in so many 1930s semis today. That’s not the only reason that one of these homes is an excellent buy. Whatever your hopes and dreams for family space look no further – with good thick walls and oodles of space inside and outside the possibilities are endless.

As far as extensions are concerned few properties offer so much potential as a typical 1930s home. With high roofs, lofts can be converted in to useable rooms by simply boarding out and adding a loft ladder, indeed go one step further and add a dormer (more often than not planning permission is not difficult to gain on these kind of homes and in the areas in which they are found) and you could find yourself with two rooms or a very impressive master suite. Extensions are also simple to both rear and side of 1930s semis as the plots tend to be large with long gardens and garages that can be built over or indeed converted themselves.

The long garden of your typical 30s town house also lends itself to the addition of a garden office or summerhouse or, if you’re feeling a bit Good Life, you might choose to add a vegetable patch or fruit trees. Meanwhile add a decked or patio area immediately behind the house, add sliding or fold back doors to your kitchen and you’ve got the ultimate in indoor/outdoor living.

When it comes to modern decor schemes there are few older houses that can take them so well. Your 1930s semi will more than likely have an outdated fireplace that can be replaced with a cool modern design, walls are taken down fairly easily to give a funky, open plan design, which suits young families and dinner party throwers alike while wide windows throughout let light flood in, essential in today’s home where we appreciate every ounce of light we can get.

While making a 1930s home work for you might take little more than a lick of paint or paving the large front garden to add parking space, it is undoubtedly worth asking an architect to come over and give you some ideas for how to best use your space – most will spend time talking through ideas with you free of charge in the hope of a commission. As our finances look back to the war years there’s no better time to make the most of your 1930s home.
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