Practicing the profession, we happen to work with houses way older than 1940’s but it is not always clear when the alterations have been made, and often it is important to understand the timeline of such alterations to a property.
As a practical example, we had a client who wanted to renovate a flat, being part of a detached house with some very dysfunctional layout:
– the main bedroom was taking the light from an internal glass panel, not a window, opening into a corridor,
– the corridor was running along the side wall of the house and having all the actual windows opening on it, limiting the natural light delivered to the rest of the house.
– The kitchen room was raised from the entrance level and had a very tall cill, deeper than 1 m, before the short and wide window placed in a very high position.
– The original basement cellar was altered to be used as main bathroom of the flat.
– The main bedroom had a small en-suite, consisting of a resulting space built under the stairs which, sited out of the flat, are leading to the first floor; it hosted barely a loo and a micro sink and the internal height was very limited.
– To make things more exciting the house was extended to the rear 2 times and once to the front, causing several discontinuities.
What the client knew was only that the previous owner was a builder and made the alterations by himself.
So we had to dig into the history of the house to understand why it was such a maze, with 4 levels of flooring, 11 changes of ceiling and an undefined number of hidden beams, in order to propose a reasonable scheme to meet all the project requirements.
Long story short, while the plot was occupied already in 1896, the original house was likely to have been re-built or intensively renovated in the 1940’s, following some extension attempts (front, rear, porch, terraces, roof) in the early 80’s which eventually happened, culminating in the conversion in flats in the late 1980’s, after almost a century, which gifted us with the glorious intricated condition we have found it in.
After this research and an accurate site survey, we finally had the clear picture to understand what-happened-where and what to expect during the construction stages.