The search for the perfect pile of rubble….

Having completely finished our mini pile of rubble, we set about searching for our perfect pile of rubble on The Isle of Wight. We are very lucky to have family living in Niton, who we have dragged round a few properties during our search.

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At first we were unsure exactly what we wanted, we had several different options. We knew we wanted something that we could turn into a holiday let and generate some income, however it also had to be our main home as well. We had our house on the market, and chose to use Purple Bricks, absolutely brilliant for us as we had total control and an online diary, very exciting. We started looking at property in and around Ventnor online and arranging all viewings over a couple of days whilst staying in Niton. We found what we thought was our dream property in the village of Niton. It was at the top end of our budget and had a two bedroom let attached to the front of the property. Unfortunately our offer was not acceptable and we reached our limit. At that point we walked away from what at that time we believed to be our dream property and once again the right move app was over used by us both.

We spent some time walking around Ventnor and realised that we had to find a property there, not on the outskirts, as there was much more going on and we were no where near retirement age just yet!

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We also changed our search criteria. We decided to start looking in a much lower price bracket. Our original reason for this was to buy two properties. one as a holiday let and one as our permanent home. Our main problem in this beautiful part of The Isle of Wight was parking so that was top of our criteria. We found a few holiday lets and a couple of cottages to look at but none really ticked all the boxes for us. We were not prepared to compromise and were always left feeling that something was missing.

We were in constant communication with all of the estate agents in Ventnor, Pittis took pity on us and pulled out all of the stops. Chris the manager left Sean in charge of finding us our dream property. Sean is fab, it took him a while to get our sense of humour and understand our requirements, but after a few weeks of careful training on all parts, we got there!

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We then spent a few weeks in France visiting family and deliberating over what makes a good forever home and holiday let. Then it happened. The taller one found us our ‘dream’ property………….a run down, grade II listed house in need of complete renovation that had been on the market for over two years. The reasoning behind it was that it had been put on the market on shorter ones birthday, so it must be fate. This property was not on our list to see but got squeezed in on our one week return from France.

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We went, we came, we saw and we fell in love. We both had that warm, squishy feeling you get when you just know. We ignored the 1980’s borders and wood chip on EVERY wall and ceiling, yes, ceiling. We glossed over the lack of kitchen on the ground floor and we barely noticed the crack in the back outside wall that you could actually see glimpses of the sea through. As for the plumbing and electrics, no central heating and an original crapper left a lot to be desired.

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The windows were rotten, the garden a concrete jungle and the back was painted battleship grey, but we fell in love with it…………

Around this time, we had an offer on our 1980’s 4 bed property which we had just finished decorating throughout. It had all the mod cons, central heating, two bathrooms, an amazing brand new kitchen, and no major structural work. Of course we accepted the asking price offer and set about securing the pile of rubble we had fallen for.

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The only issue we faced was being temporarily homeless, however the taller one had a flat in Aldershot which also needed a bit of work. We looked at it, decided we could live in it, and then yes you guessed it, started taking it apart.

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The taller one is a Gumtree wizard, as you can imagine saving money was our driving factor, we had at this point paid for three structural surveys on our pile of rubble, and had yet to secure the deal. The taller one learnt very quickly how to barter on this brilliant little app, and before we knew it we had secured a kitchen, shower, tiles, flooring, day bed, bathroom cabinet and TV unit for our new little pile of rubble.

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Our only major problem which you are often faced with when purchasing from Gumtree, was how to fit it all in a Renualt Captur. We became very good at loading the car to the max. this often resulted in the taller one squeezed into the tiny back seat of the car, whilst the shorter one drove our purchases to Aldershot. The kitchen however proved a bit trickier. Between us we have four off spring. We employed the two owned by the shorter one with their cars to meet us at the home of the kitchen, we then filled three cars with kitchen units, a cooker, a dishwasher, cooker hood and very heavy units, then drove in convoy to Aldershot. This part was easy, what we hadn’t thought of was that our little pile of rubble is on the third floor, and no there is no lift!! Finally after the promise of food and drink, we managed to get the kitchen parts we had up the stairs and into the flat. IMG_9290.jpg

The Gumtree kitchen was a little bigger than we actually needed, and we could only get the biggest bits into the three cars. After careful consideration, we decided to hire a van, for a limited time we became, Two Women and a Van. We had great fun, and managed to pick up many more Gumtree purchases, including the rest of the kitchen, shower base and various other very important items.

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Unfortunately it wasn’t a split screen, that still remains a dream for the shorter one.

One thing about selling a property online is that it goes very quickly, we managed to get the flat to a lovable state within six weeks, and with our Gumtree purchases, came in under budget. A very good outcome as our Pile of rubble has the potential to run way over budget, if taller one takes her eye off the ball.

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So on the 1st November we moved out of our house, put most of our belongings into storage and moved to Aldershot. We also spent some time in Glasgow with friends as soon as we moved out, and got some design inspiration from the amazing buildings in the city.IMG_9724.JPG

We also took a trip over to France to help out with a Christmas fair, and get a little bit of winter sun. We found ourselves visiting the wine region on the very day that the Beaujolais Nouveau was released, great planning 😉

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After our visit to France we finally managed to secure our Pile of Rubble, we hot footed it back over to Ventnor and signed the final documents. Even in November Ventnor is a beautiful place.IMG_9787.JPG

On the 19th December 2017 we completed the sale and picked up our keys. We are now the owners of a falling down house in Ventnor, lovingly known as our pile of rubble. Accompanied by Eric and Evan, if you have seen any of our Instagram and Facebook posts during December, you will know that these naughty Elves have played a big part in our last two Christmas countdowns, we stepped into our next adventure.

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The Journey Begins

Recently, we have been posting photos and clips of our adventures on Instagram and Facebook, but there are never enough characters or spaces to show you what has really been going on! Some of our family & friends have been asking us to start a blog to show in more detail what we have been up to and how we have arrived at our new destination, Ventnor, on the beautiful Isle of Wight………..

“Good company in a journey makes the way seem shorter”      Izaak Walton

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Our journey started 6 years ago when we first met and became good friends. Since then our friendship has gone from strength to strength and finally we both realised we had feelings for each other. We will have been together 2 years this summer and are loving life.

Over the next few blog posts we will attempt to show you how we have ended up renovating a grade II listed house, 5 minutes from the sea, fondly known as ‘our pile of rubble’.

We started with a very small project redesigning the back of the shorter one of “Two Women and a Pile of Rubble” house, which included the kitchen and creating a large open plan living space. This mini pile of rubble involved taking down the back of the house, building an infill extension and creating a kitchen and living space within a 1980’s 4 bed property. The taller one of “Two Women and a pile of Rubble” designed the kitchen area, and a mural with a waterfall and forest.

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During our big build, we decided to move in together. Why not, we had no kitchen or running water in the downstairs of the property, and had to wash up in the bath. Looking back almost two years into our adventures, this seems like a minor inconvenience.

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This little project only took us four months to complete, and ignited a flame in “Two Women and a Pile of Rubble” we just had to work out how to make it all work.

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Life has a very strange way of giving you opportunities when you least expect it. Due to circumstances beyond our control, including death and divorce, we were able to make some new life choices. We quickly realised that living in a suburbian property, as lovely as it was, was never going to generate an income and make us a living and so it was then that we put our thinking caps on.

We both love The Isle of Wight. The shorter  “Two Women and a pile of Rubble” grew up in Cowes, and left the Isle of Wight after 6th form. The taller “Two Women of a pile of Rubble” visited her aunty based in Ventnor a couple of times a year during her childhood, and continued travelling over with her own children throughout adult life. When we first got together the Isle of wight provided a welcome distraction from a particularly stressful point in our life and soon became our place to relax and unwind. We both began to fall in love with the Island all over again and started to see the benefits of living there full time. Once we had both got that sorted in our heads, taller rubble had only just got settled living in our first mini pile of rubble, everything else started to fall into place.

We had our first solo overnight break together a few months after we got together in Steephill Cove, and we both fell in love with this beautiful part of The Isle of Wight.

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And so began our search for our own little piece of paradise……………….