West Street,




Simon is a mechanical engineer and a keen DIY enthusiast.

“When I bought the house it was rather run down and in need of TLC. I did not intend it to be a major project, but when I started working on the house it became apparent that many problems had been covered up in the past.
I decided that I wanted to fix the problems and make the house as sound as possible as I renovate it.”

The 1830’s terraced property has five floors plus an attic.
It is built on a very steeply sloping site – the entrance from the street is two floors above the back garden. The walls are constructed from granite, slate and Hurdwick stone and the roof is synthetic slate. The front wall is rendered and the rear is slate hung.

The house is on mains electricity, gas, water and sewerage.

The property is in a conservation area but is not listed.


Energy reduction and conservation:

Installation of argon filled, double glazed hardwood sash windows.

Installation of damp proof membranes and insulation to ground floor and cellar wall.

Installation of water underfloor heating in entrance hall, kitchen, shower room and utility room.

Replacement of oak lintels and suspended timber floors.

Replacement of old wiring and plumbing.

Conversion of a damp cellar into a “country kitchen”.

Re-slating of roof and fitting of new roof insulation.

Replacement of front door.


Progressive upgrading of comfort level.  The damp-proofing made spaces habitable, underfloor heating is efficient, insulation, double glazing and draught-proofing reduces heat losses. Ongoing work will address further energy efficiencies.

Problems and Solutions:

Don’t start too many things at the same time.

Plan things carefully to avoid having to modify things that you have already completed.

Buy the best tools you can afford – cheap tools are a false economy.

Lessons learnt:

Old houses are full of surprises. When you start on what appears to be a fairly simple task there is a good chance you will discover a problem that needs to be fixed.

Beware of hardboard – it has probably been used to cover up something nasty.

Future plans:

Simon will: Install mains pressure hot water cylinder and new condensing gas boiler. Complete the shower room, utility room and dining room. Lay oak floors in dining room and living room. Complete the re-wiring and re-plumbing.

Additional information:

”Transition Tavistock , Food and Energy: Our growing book of community stories” booklet.

Contact details:



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