1. What made you choose the area you currently reside in?
We had quite a long list of features we wanted in a house and location, and Telegraph Hill ticked all the boxes: good primary and secondary schools, parks, several travel options into central London, large houses with basements and gardens and a village feel with a diverse demographic.
2. Do you believe an area guide would have been beneficial in helping you choose a neighbourhood to live in? If yes, why?
Yes, it’s always good to know what other people see in an area. Most of our research was via friends but we are still finding out new things about the area.
3. Did you purchase a freehold or a leasehold? And why?
We purchased a freehold of a house.
4. Did you go through a mortgage broker or a direct lender? And why?
Osmaan works in finance and did the research himself, which was really helpful. We found the mortgage we wanted and went directly to the bank.
5. What challenges did you encounter whilst renovating this property?
Where to start… Planning permission took a long time as it is a conservation area. When we did start the build, one external wall was bowing and had to be knocked down and rebuilt. We then found out a chimney stack was leaning so made the decision to tackle it then and there as the scaffolding was up anyway so cheaper in the long run plus it provided peace of mind. When the extension was being built, Storm Ciara blew down one of the walls. We can laugh about it now… ! And obviously Covid had an effect on timescales; coping stones for the roof were out of stock for a long time, which meant the scaffolding couldn’t come down so the extension build was delayed.
6. What was your budget for your renovation and did you over/underspend?
We overspent a bit but not too drastically. We don’t plan to move for a very long time so hopefully it won’t be an issue. It’s our family home and where we spent on bigger features that were non-negotiable, we saved on other things, like Ikea hacks.
7. What have you loved the most about designing your home?
Designing a layout that works for us as a family. We have a cinema and music room in our basement as we like to watch films together plus Osmaan is a great blues guitarist. We both really wanted polished concrete flooring in our extension and as we were gutting the place anyway (it was a wreck when we bought it), we could add most features we loved. We also made the decision to take a bit of space off the traditional master bedroom and put a utility room on the first floor as the laundry comes to and from the bedrooms and goes back to them; it has been a game-changer! Choosing paint colours and quirky wallpaper has also been a lot of fun.
8. What do you love the most about your home?
The space! We were in a two-bed flat before we moved here so now we cannot believe how big the house feels.
9. What advice would you give to people who are trying to design their dream home?
Go with your gut! Some builders will say they don’t like your ideas but a good one will enjoy the challenge and will enjoy helping you realise your vision. I would also say plan out every single millimetre and measure two or three times on every little detail.
10. What advice would you give people who are trying to get onto the property ladder?
This is a tough one as everyone’s financial situation is different. Osmaan and I don’t come from rich families so we saved as much as we could and researched properties and location for a long time before deciding on this house.