Restoring the hallway wrongly

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Londonterrace
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Restoring the hallway wrongly

Post by Londonterrace » Sat 28th Dec, 2019 10:22 pm

**Update at end of thread**

Hello,

My second thread here and this time I've got a question about hallways. I've got a fairly typical Victorian terrace and the downstairs has been thoroughly knocked through so that the front room, back room and hallway are all one, and the stairs are in the living room. The hallway would originally have turned a corner around the stairs and connected to the kitchen.

Image

We have gone round and round in circles about whether to put the hallway back in. I would like for all the heat not to fly up the stairs and to have some separation between the front door and the living area. But reinstating the hallway makes the back room really quite tiny by modern standards, and it would be difficult to have guests around the table. So recently we've had the idea to put in a hallway, but to have the wall run directly from the front door to the stairs, boxing in the stairs and meaning the kitchen continues to be accessed from the living room. This seems like a good compromise. Obviously it makes the hallway seriously poky and claustrophobic, but it wouldn't be a wide or glamorous hallway even if we put the whole thing back.

I suppose my questions are:
-How much of a sin is restoring the hallway 'wrong'? :oops: :twisted: Some of the Victorian terraces in the area do have the hallway like this, but ours would definitely have run round the stairs to the kitchen - our neighbours' house has it intact.
-Does anyone know why some houses in the area have the straight-through hallway and other have the turn? Did one system predate the other or was it just different styles?
Last edited by Londonterrace on Mon 23rd Nov, 2020 4:34 pm, edited 2 times in total.

Craig89
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Location: Shropshire

Re: Restoring the hallway wrongly

Post by Craig89 » Sun 29th Dec, 2019 10:15 pm

My hallway, is straight to the bottom of the stairs with 2 doors off it into the front and rear rooms. I think it all depended on the size of the property, the smallest had no halls and the staircase was between the front and rear rooms, then you have what I have then there's as you describe where the hall continues around the staircase.

In your circumstance I guess it would be easiest to just put a hallway in to the bottom of your stairs with a door into the room

Gothichome
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Re: Restoring the hallway wrongly

Post by Gothichome » Sun 29th Dec, 2019 10:36 pm

I maybe out of place here but I see a major structural problem, what is holding up the common wall from the bedrooms? Open plan can be a real [Bad Word] if not done correctly. I too believe reinstalling the hallway wall with two doorways is the way to go. If nothing else it puts back a way to transfer the first floor loading onto the footings.
Ops I guess I used a bad word ‘bug’r’

Abi Cott
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Re: Restoring the hallway wrongly

Post by Abi Cott » Mon 30th Dec, 2019 12:34 am

Gothichome wrote:
Sun 29th Dec, 2019 10:36 pm
I maybe out of place here but I see a major structural problem, what is holding up the common wall from the bedrooms? Open plan can be a real [Bad Word] if not done correctly. I too believe reinstalling the hallway wall with two doorways is the way to go. If nothing else it puts back a way to transfer the first floor loading onto the footings.
Ops I guess I used a bad word ‘bug’r’
You're right to sound a note of caution, but based on the layout there's a very good chance that wall on the upper floor is non-structural. It's obviously worth checking, but your probably looking at a "two up, two down" with outside loo that has been adapted at some point to provide a kitchen plus extra bedroom in the extension. Last one of these I lived in the date of the extension was 1893.

I've lived in a house of similar date with stairs in the living room. It's bloody freezing, so I would definitely look to recreate a hallway in this situation. I'd aim to make it at least 1m wide (most stairs are 800mm ish) or possibly a bit wider.

Maybe move the dining area to by the front window and the living area to the wider portion of the room. TV etc built into the under stairs area.

Obviously if your listed this would have implications, but if you're not there is quite a bit of flexibility. As Gothichome suggested a check of which walls are structural and which aren't would be a good idea.

Flyfisher
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Re: Restoring the hallway wrongly

Post by Flyfisher » Mon 30th Dec, 2019 12:54 am

Might another option be to close off the stairs with a suitable door?

It would prevent heat being lost upstairs and it would be considerably less work. It wouldn't give an entrance hall though.

plasticpigeon
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Re: Restoring the hallway wrongly

Post by plasticpigeon » Mon 30th Dec, 2019 1:05 am

My house built I believe in 1902, has a straight hallway with doors to the front and middle room, and the kitchen accessed from the middle room. It is 15ft wide. Some houses on my road look almost identical but are about 16.5 ft wide (2 extra bricks) and they have the kitchen accessed through the hall that does a dog leg round the stairs, making the middle room a bit smaller but still a reasonable size to put a table. I like you think that taking away the hall was a mistake and it would be good to reinstate it, but beyond that it's your choice. If you had a dog leg hall your middle room downstairs would end up the same size as the middle bedroom upstairs, which would probably be too small for a table.

Craig89
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Re: Restoring the hallway wrongly

Post by Craig89 » Mon 30th Dec, 2019 7:23 am

Abi Cott wrote:
Mon 30th Dec, 2019 12:34 am
You're right to sound a note of caution, but based on the layout there's a very good chance that wall on the upper floor is non-structural. It's obviously worth checking, but your probably looking at a "two up, two down" with outside loo that has been adapted at some point to provide a kitchen plus extra bedroom in the extension. Last one of these I lived in the date of the extension was 1893.
If it's anything like mine then originally the centre dividing wall would be supporting the first floor floor and ceiling joists. If configured like this then there must be a steel in place where the lower section of the wall has been removed.

Anyway as this property is a recent purchase for the OP then it probably had a survey that, I hope, would have highlighted any potential structural issues.

To the original topic I don't think there's anything wrong with putting the 'wrong' hallway configuration in considering how much it has been knocked about, any hallway would make it more period. Put some nice flooring in and no one would bat an eyelid

CliffordPope
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Re: Restoring the hallway wrongly

Post by CliffordPope » Mon 30th Dec, 2019 9:00 am

What about a partial hallway to about a door's width from the foot of the stairs, then a heavy curtain across dividing the sitting-room?
That way you can keep the curtain drawn back normally, retaining the long room, or can close off a snug front room to retain heat and maintain privacy if people tramping through to the kitchen.

Our daughter's 1907 house has exactly that layout. There were once two rooms, now knocked through, but the curtain allows the option.

MatthewC
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Re: Restoring the hallway wrongly

Post by MatthewC » Mon 30th Dec, 2019 3:17 pm

I would also consider a door at the bottom of the stairs, especially if the stairs are already boxed-in up to the ceiling.

I had an aunt who lived in Bedford in a semi of roughly the same sort of pattern. They had a narrow hall with the boxed-in stairs straight ahead and two doors to the left, one to the dining room (and then through to the kitchen), and one to the lounge. It worked apart from the question of greeting guests in the narrow hall - and their internal width was less than your 15 ft, as I recall - more like 13 ft.

As far as "restoring the hallway 'wrong' " is concerned, I wouldn't worry too much - do what works for you. Even my difficult Conservation Officer accepted the need for houses to be actually lived in!

Owain
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Re: Restoring the hallway wrongly

Post by Owain » Mon 30th Dec, 2019 6:29 pm

You could reinstate the wall between the front door and the stairs but have glass or glazed pocket doors. That would give you thermal and noise insulation to the downstairs, but you wouldn't have a dark hallway.

The Victorians often had glazed partitions to give borrowed light, so it wouldn't be completely inauthentic. And pocket doors wouldn't take up swing space.

malcolm
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Re: Restoring the hallway wrongly

Post by malcolm » Mon 30th Dec, 2019 7:53 pm

I have a similar setup to your current one. Little box lobby to stop the draught from opening the front door, and stairs (down another corridor for me) open to the ground floor. From a thermal point of view I've set up heating zones for downstairs and upstairs, and it does seem to be downstairs heating that does most of the work so upstairs heating only occasionally switches on. Doing something similar and putting all the heat in downstairs might be a fix.

I wouldn't do a dogleg corridor as it would take up too much space. I have considered boxing in from the front door to the stairs to avoid a virtual corridor that restricts where I place furniture, but my current thought is to move the door on the little box lobby blue to your alignment, paint it blue and write 'police box' on the top.

a twig
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Re: Restoring the hallway wrongly

Post by a twig » Tue 31st Dec, 2019 10:38 pm

My old Victorian place had a "box lobby" then a "straight to stairs" hallway, worked really well, one door off to the left gave access to an "open planned" downstairs, had a small fireplace in and got proper toasty in winter!

a twig
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Re: Restoring the hallway wrongly

Post by a twig » Tue 31st Dec, 2019 10:42 pm

CliffordPope wrote:
Mon 30th Dec, 2019 9:00 am
What about a partial hallway to about a door's width from the foot of the stairs, then a heavy curtain across dividing the sitting-room?
That way you can keep the curtain drawn back normally, retaining the long room, or can close off a snug front room to retain heat and maintain privacy if people tramping through to the kitchen.

Our daughter's 1907 house has exactly that layout. There were once two rooms, now knocked through, but the curtain allows the option.
My neighbour had this but a full width hardwood concertina partition instead - worked well

Londonterrace
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Re: Restoring the hallway wrongly

Post by Londonterrace » Fri 3rd Jan, 2020 10:13 pm

Thanks everyone for the thoughtful replies; all the ideas are really appreciated. I thought I would be told I should put the house back as it was.

I've taken a look at the floorplans for the houses in our area that have the straight corridor and ours does indeed seem to be ~30cm wider so I guess that tiny difference pushed our house into the twisty hallway category.

Gothichome - there is a box across the ceiling of the downstairs room which I hope houses a steel so I think we're OK structurally although this house has been pretty bodged so it wouldn't hugely surprise me if we eventually find the box to be empty...
The house has been seen by a surveyor, but nevertheless I have vague worries there might be a missing structural wall under the stairs. It's on my "to do" list...

Abi - thank you for giving the widths, that is helpful. Have had a measure and the stairs are 80cm but the box is currently 1m so I guess the hallway would have to taper.
As far as we can work out the layout of the house is as originally built, including the upstairs bathroom. The others in the terrace are the same.

The stairs don't have a second wall at the moment, so that would need to be built to close them off and my thinking is if I'm going to build a wall, I might as well get somewhere to shove shoes out of it.

A dark hallway is definitely a worry and I will look at glass doors. We do have a fanlight. The on/off snug is a nice idea but I don't think it would work - if we put the front room back to the original length then there wouldn't be space to walk around the stairs into the back room, and I don't think we want it smaller.

malcolm - please could you explain your heating zones? I don't know what that means but am intrigued. Making a tardis is obviously the best idea of all but only if I can solve my heating problems at the same time...

Edward Ian
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Re: Restoring the hallway wrongly

Post by Edward Ian » Sat 4th Jan, 2020 9:43 am

Hi there,
There house next door, which we can see in your other post about the scullery, looks like it hasn't been knocked around too much. Why don't you knock on the door as ask what there layout is (or some feeble reason to get to that place)?

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