Friday, 29 March 2013

Home No. 4: Dorothy Road

Dorothy Road in Hillsborough is a street lined up with Victorian terraced houses where workers from the city's steel industry used to live. Decades on and after the soots from the factories have cleared and the houses have changed ownership, this street is now home to professional employees with young families and a handful of pensioners. 

These houses were built to last and last they do. In Britain, and throughout the Old World, buildings such as these endure hundreds and hundreds of years. Only a re-plastering a couple of times or so every century is required to keep these buildings as good as when the first ever occupants arrived here. Solid brick and stone built, they offer a build quality that most modern concrete or glass buildings can only dream of. As they say, if Paris, Rome, Vienna, Madrid, and most of the other great old world cities were built to today's standards we would not have had the opportunity to see them as we do now. It makes you think with a certain degree of melancholy how today's flamboyant cities don't just look very generic and bland but will deteriorate much more rapidly, especially those in the 'flat pack' countries such as China and the United Arab Emirates amongst many others. False economy, a not so efficient use of resources, and not thinking long term springs to mind. 

These houses look deceptively small from the outside but is actually spacious inside usually with three bedrooms including a converted attic, a kitchen with a separate dining room, a living room with a bay window, a large bathroom and a dry cellar. At the back is a good-sized garden that gets a lot of sunlight until late in the summer evening if you have a south-facing one. 

When we came to view No. 74, I fell in love with the place. Oozing with character that most newer builds just simply lack, it ticked all my boxes. John was dubious about its size, we have previously lived in a one bedroom flat and briefly in my mother-in-law's attic but I was very adamant. I loved the space, the furnishings and the garden. So Dorothy Road became House No. 4 in just two years in Britain. 

If we were living anywhere other than this country with no huge heating bills and plenty of sunshine, it would have been a perfect house. But alas, there were those things to consider and suddenly a huge pretty house by the end of summer suddenly felt cold and empty. There was the subject of keeping it clean too, a chore that needed to be done every weekend that usually fall on my husband's shoulders. It became too big for us to manage. 

But there were still no regrets about living there. It has taught us a lot about properties and what to look out for when we would eventually buy our family home. 

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