Villa renovation: Part 1

Villa renovation: Part 1

Right back to the beginning…

Whilst I trudged through the fields in the pouring rain in the heart of Sussex, England, with a pack of dogs at my heels; I listened to Mr Sidestepping-Normal explain about the run-down villa in need of renovation he was viewing in Greece.

Let me set the scene for you…

The year was 2015. Mr Sidestepping-Normal and myself were running two busy and successful dog-walking and pet care businesses in the South East of the UK. We had already purchased our derelict stone ruin, when we heard of a villa for sale in need of renovation. Through the grape vine, we discovered that it had been on the market for years and needed a lot of work. We weren’t considering a second property, let alone a villa needing renovation. None the less, we started to wonder whether fate was guiding us along a new path.

In the following weeks, we found out more about the villa needing renovation; above all, we were very intrigued. As a result, we decided we’d be foolish not to at least view it. Never one to decline a quick trip to Greece, Mr Sidestepping-Normal volunteered to fly out and take a look…what would I do without him!
Unfortunately, I was unable to take time away from the businesses, hence I stayed at home whilst Mr Sidestepping- Normal and my parents flew to Crete to view the property.

Waiting for news on the property…

I went about my usual day (which usually involved washing down a dog that had rolled in fox poo and being pulled over by a Labrador…Oh, what a glamorous job it was) whilst eagerly anticipating a phone call.
Towards the end of the day, my phone buzzed; I excitedly answered and listened…

“First of all, it needs a lot of work. Your dad’s found quite a few big problems that need sorting.” Mr sidestepping-Normal explained “But on the whole, we all agree it would certainly be a great investment. With some time and money, it would be a stunning place; similarly, the location is beautiful.”

I could hear the cicadas chirping in the background as we talked on the phone. Whilst I sat there sipping my tea, recovering from the the relentless rain and dog walking, I longed for an injection of Crete.

That evening I cooked myself dinner at the grubby housesit where I was minding three unruly dogs. I looked over the photos and videos they had sent me of the villa and tried to imagine what it was like in real life.

The villa looks tired and in need of renovation.
Plenty of weeds, slabs and concrete!
Tired and dated, I couldn’t wait to get started!
Just waiting to have our stamp put on it!
Uneven paving and unruly climbers!
The rat infested basement!

The problems…

From the photos the views were amazing, however it needed renovating. My dad is an experienced carpenter/master DIY expert, so I was relieved that he was there to point out the problems and asses how bad things were. Due to it being vacant for a few years, the gardens were overgrown and unkept. Clearly it had been loved and tended to in the past but now it lay abandoned and un-loved.

The actual building was sound and stable, it just needed modernising. Primarily, the biggest problem was the patio. In the past, it had been extended (shoddily). Consequently, the room below (our basement/store room) had flooded many times over the last few years. In conjunction with being water damaged, it was also infested with rats.

I put my trust in the three of them and handed the decision over to them. They viewed it again the next day and having scrutinised every inch of it, they told me that they thought we should go for it.

Proceeding with the sale…

Within days of their return, we started the process of buying villa Theodora. Firstly the legalities and paperwork were sorted and next the money was exchanged. Suddenly, just like that, we became the owners of a second property in the mediterranean. Furthermore, I’d never even seen it!

We weren’t entirely sure what the plan for the villa would be; somehow it seemed like the right move to make. Some people thought it was risky to purchase the stone ruin, let alone to plunge the remainder of our savings into another property requiring more work…

It’s now 2019. What was once a dated and run down property, is now an inviting mediterranean home…well we think so anyway!

We can’t wait to show you how the villa is looking now; It’s a real transformation. I will be posting very soon with the latest photos…sorry to keep you in suspense!

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6 thoughts on “Villa renovation: Part 1

  1. So lovely to see the journey you have been on. You’ve done a fantastic job with the renovation. You should be really proud.

  2. Well done to the both of you, it’s a mammoth task you have set yourselves but I’m sure it will be well worth it in the end. Maybe we’ll come and visit sometime in the future.
    Much love, Mae, Reg & Dylan (age 9 now!)xxx

  3. So happy to see how far you came from back then, climbing that high ladder to fill the wholes in the wall of our house! Well done!

    1. Hello! It’s SO lovely to hear from you. We have such fond memories of staying with you. We hope you are both well and that we will see you again at some point in the future:)

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