Our Bungalow Renovation: A fresh start for my childhood home

a pretty house

I know most people are downsizing at our age – my husband Dave and I are in our mid-to-late 60s. But this is our chance to have our dream house, so we’ve taken on a rather large project – our bungalow renovation.

Our bungalow renovation started after my dad left me my old family home last February. We’ve decided to begin the next chapter for it and us, but have never done anything like it. In fact, we’ve lived in the same three-bedroom semi-detached house in Middlesex for the last 36 years. To say we’re nervous is an understatement.

The two-bedroom bungalow is in the London Borough of Richmond upon Thames, and was built in 1959. My mum and dad bought it off-plan for £3000.

It included everything and they could pick anything they wanted, from the wallpaper, flooring, and and lighting to the bathroom fittings.

They chose pink for the WC, bath and basin, all of which are still in there, in fine condition, and – so I’ve heard – on trend again.

our bungalow renovation
Me standing in the doorway of the bungalow as a little girl.

Our main worry about the renovation

My dad was happy there for 60 years and Dave and I were in two minds as to whether to sell it or renovate and move in.

To be honest, our main worry about our bungalow renovation is whether we’re too old to start a big project that will probably take a year or more. Another question we ask is can we afford it?

We don’t want to sell our home until we’ve finished our bungalow renovation. We like our house now and, as you can imagine, feel very attached to it after all these years. You see, we’ve raised our two children within its walls, who are now grown up with homes of their own.

How we were convinced to undertake our bungalow renovation

However, we put all our worries aside after thinking of all the positives of our bungalow renovation. We’ve always wanted a bigger house, especially a larger garden, and this is the only time in our lives that we can realistically do it.

The property is in such a great position in a nice area. There’s a bus service just round the corner, a train station a five-minute walk away, a doctor’s surgery nearby, and shops within easy reach.

The garden of our bungalow renovation faces south, so gets sun all day, whereas our current house loses it very early. There is a greenhouse where I used to raise plants for my allotment. I’ll now be in the same road as this instead of a drive away. In addition, the property has ample parking while the road we live on now is getting more crowded each year.

a picture of Jan and Dave
Here’s a picture of us before starting our bungalow renovation.

The possibility of future proofing the house

We’ve also realised we could future proof it. Dave’s dad had to go into a nursing home at 92 because there were no downstairs facilities at his house. However, my dad, who was the same age, could stay in his bungalow.

We also didn’t want to sell, only to drive by later and see someone else had achieved what we could have.

But I think the deciding factor in our bungalow renovation is this. Even if we sold the bungalow, we still wouldn’t be able to afford the type of property we’d want in the area.

This way, we will hopefully have some money left over. And we’ll be able to move into a lovely home after our bungalow renovation.

our bungalow renovation
The original advert for my parents’ bungalow.

Our initial idea is that we want the property to be very different to when my parents lived there. So we greatly need to undertake our bungalow renovation.

We imagine a loft conversion, as well as a rear-and-side extension. These will enhance it for us and make it very saleable in the future.

We’d like to be able to go upstairs to bed while we still can, and then with advancing years, move downstairs. So a bathroom with a shower on the ground floor is key. I really think my parents would have liked seeing us living there.

So, although slightly anxious about it all, I can’t wait to get started…

If you enjoyed this feature, then why not read more blogs in this series?

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