A combination of great taste, imagination and building craft has given Rick Croasdale and Gillian Wigley’s Victorian home a remarkable character all of its own.

If ever a home could be described as individual, it’s the renovated Victorian town house of Rick and Gillian. Situated within a few minutes’ walk of the centre of Nottingham, it has undergone a loving improvement programme over a decade — which has seen it turn from “a sorry state,” as Rick describes it, to a character-packed family home that is a real one of a kind.

Despite its remarkable look today, the primary motivation behind the renovation project was in fact energy efficiency. “It’s a big old place and we quickly discovered that to heat the whole house was almost impossible and far too expensive. Consequently not only did I want to create a comfortable and beautiful home, but I also needed to make it energy efficient” says Rick.

The kitchen with built-in seating for a dining area

Of course, it’s not the energy-saving measures that the visitor immediately notices upon entering the house for the first time. For this is a house that hasn’t just been renovated, it is a home that is absolutely full of the artistic and creative character of its owners.

What is so impressive is that Rick and Gillian have managed to create all this on a modest budget using only Rick’s innovative, almost make-do-and-mend approach, always managing to find a solution to the problems the old house threw at them. One of the biggest problems the old house presented was the heating system.

One of the major changes was to the roof and master bedroom, situated in the loft space. “The existing roof had interlocking concrete tiles that were too heavy,” says Rick, “and so it was completely stripped and replaced with reclaimed slates bought from the demolition of a property at the back of the house. The 1970s flat-roof dormer was taken down and I designed and constructed a new dormer with patio doors to allow proper access onto the new roof terrace from the bedroom.”

The front stairs

The new exterior is one of the main highlights of the renovation, having been repaired and repainted, whilst the second storey of the rear extension has been turned into a brilliant conservatory bar. Rick also fixed homemade solar panels to the bar’s south-facing roof.

So, there it is — a truly remarkable renovation project, completed entirely on a DIY basis, using largely reclaimed, handmade or salvaged materials, resulting in an inspired, energy-efficient, characterful home. Rick and Gillian are perfect examples of how, with personal involvement and a thoughtful approach, cold old homes can be turned into warm, comfortable, personable spaces.

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