“It literally needed everything”: See the mind blowing transformation of this Victorian house in Sunderland
Have a look inside this 19th century home in Sunderland, which was once owned by civil engineer Henry Hay Wake, who designed Roker Pier
The historical Victorian property, in Ashbrooke, was in danger of falling down, but Lee Patrickson and his family rescued the neglected period house when they bought it in 2012.
Lee and his wife, Helleni, took on the challenging task of renovating the home alongside working full time jobs. The refurbishment lasted four years and involved fitting electrics and repairing the roof, while also trying to retain all the beautiful original features, which Lee uncovered in the home.
He said: “We knew it was a big project and we knew it needed a lot of work, but we fell in love with the house, because we love period properties.
“When we first bought the house everyone thought that we were mad, basically. It literally needed everything. We’ve done a new roof, full electric, brand new heating system, we’ve fitted underfloor heating all the way through the ground floor.
"The house itself has five toilets, three bathrooms, so it was a big, big job, which is why it took so long.”
The ten bedroom property in Thornhill Gardens had stood empty for almost 30 years before Lee and his family got it. Dating back to the 1870s , it was once home to civil engineer Henry Hay Wake, who designed Roker Pier. Lee said the biggest challenge was modernising the house, while preserving its heritage.
"We kind of saved it from falling down. It's quite nice to rescue a house like this, because it was a shame that it had been left for so long and got into the bad condition that it was in.
"We’re so lucky because it had lots of original old period features. Some of those features were actually a nice surprise that we didn’t realise existed until after we bought the house because they were all covered.
"The hardest challenge was retaining everything that was there, but at the same time try to modernise the house; retrospectively fit electrics and thing like that.
"We wanted to modernise the house as best as we can in terms of technology.”
The full renovation journey has been documented on the home’s Instagram account, @sunderland_victorian_terrace, which is followed by almost 2,000 people. Lee has advised new home owners to focus on how they want their house to look in the end and not to give up.
"Don't give up because it is hard. It's very, very tough. Especially if it needs a lot of work. Sticking together with your family will get you through everything and you'll get there in the end.
"Keep that imagination going and keep trying to see the end picture. Even if you just draw what you want the house to look like and sketch out this room and keep that picture in your head, and you’ll achieve that in the end.”