So how did we end up living in quite possibly the ugliest house in London?
We'd just had our second baby and were living in a lovely Victorian house in Twickenham which we'd spent three years doing up. It had four bedrooms, two bathrooms, huge kitchen, a big garden and original features galore. With the benefit of hindsight I can see that it was a perfect family home, located a few hundred yards from the station and from the school our son was due to start attending that September. We had a small mortgage and money in the bank.
Here's a couple of pictures of our old house (sob)...
And then I saw an advert for a house in the local property mag in May 2006. It was over £100,000 cheaper than houses normally were in that road. The road is one I've always loved, moments from the Thames and Marble Hill park, and a few minutes from all the shiny shops in Richmond. However, it hadn't been touched since 1969 when the previous owners decided to paint it grey and got planning permission to convert the sitting room into a garage. Hence the 'bargain' price. I think the post-natal hormones made me take leave of my senses. I strolled past a couple of times with my pram. I had a viewing with an estate agent who clearly thought I was mad. 'Hey, it's not too bad!' I said, eyes on the black and white tiled hall floor, cornicing and ceiling rose and marble fireplace, and firmly averted from the damp stains, tiny kitchen, holes in the roof, outside loo and weeny garden. Oh, and that garage.
My husband had a look too. Personally I blame him - if he'd put his foot down then we might not be in this mess now.
Naturally our lovely, sound, freshly decorated Twickenham house sold instantly, even before the sign had gone up. As luck would have it our buyers had no chain, and as the owner of our new house had died it was possibly the fastest sale ever, with no chance for us to reconsider. So we found ourselves moving into the garage house before we'd really realised what we were doing, in July 2006.
I'm 39 and married with two children aged seven and four. I'm fatally attracted to house renovation projects, and this is our third in the last seven years, my personal fifth since I bought my first flat in 1996. I think we might have bitten off more than we can chew with the Worst House.
Our architect recently commissioned photographer Joel Knight to take some photos of the Worst House in its finished state. Have a look on his website at joelknightphotography (The Worst House is in a couple of pictures on his Architectural page under 'extensions'.)
You can also see some very scary photos of the Worst House under construction on our architect's site -architecture wk. (The Worst House is under selected projects/residential/Morley Road.)
And photographer Carl Pendle took some pictures of the Worst House in January for Real Homes Magazine - watch this space...