Many of us have simultaneously endured and loved the process of renovating a home, but very few have taken on a challenge like the @manwithahammer.
Here, we chat to Greg about his amazing journey restoring an extraordinary Georgian property by the sea and find out why he chose Windsor column radiators to suit his eclectic style.
“My name’s Greg, aka @manwithahammer on Instagram and a year ago I got the keys to what I hope is my forever home, an 1804 ex-Naval Georgian townhouse. With 5 floors and around 30 rooms it’s going to be a real labour of love across many years as I do the vast majority of work myself around a full time job.”
What inspired you to take on the project?
“I’ve always loved old buildings and fell head over heels the first time I saw Admirals House. It was very, very dilapidated and presented terribly but I saw it had the most wonderful bones and the potential hidden behind years of decay.”
Do you have an interior background?
“Very much self-taught. My parents have renovated houses beautifully but I didn’t show much interest when I was younger (though very much had a good understanding of the blood, sweat and tears that goes into it). “
Did you ever imagine that the project would receive so much love on Instagram?
“No it’s come as a huge surprise but is incredibly heart-warming. At the minute I’m flat our with Admirals but in time I would absolutely love to spread my wings a bit!”
What has been the hardest challenge so far?
“I think at the minute the most gruelling thing is just the scale of it… working out what to do when and not getting overwhelmed!”
What do you love the most about the property?
“For me, it’s the oval entrance hall… it’s just so unusual and a real ‘wow’ entrance.”
Is there anything you wish you would have/could do differently?
“Thankfully nothing yet. As everything takes time, doing it myself, I don’t make decisions in a rush and give myself plenty of time with something before committing.”
Why did you choose the Windsor radiators?
“They had a lovely traditional feel, but I wanted something that would get up to heat quickly which these do, being steel but with the look of cast iron. Admirals House has some ‘interestingly’ positioned radiators (did you catch my story where they’ve drilled into an original marble fire surround twice to hang a radiator in front of it?). And none of them sadly are pretty. So I did a very happy dance when the folks at @bestheatinguk were keen to get involved with these absolutely beautiful column rads for the party room!”
How do the Windsors fit in with your home style?
“It’s the mixture of traditional with a modern twist that I think sums me up rather nicely. They look extraordinary against the panelling on the windows (and the location actually means I can have some furniture in the room too as otherwise almost every wall was occupied with a radiator!)”
How do you find the heat output for such large spaces?
“Well, they’ve yet to be tested in anger but it was very, very toasty in there when I tried them out!”
When do you think the project will be finished and will this be your forever home?
“I think the house is going to take 5 years, and the garden another 2 after that and yes, all being well it’s the forever home (though you never know what life might throw at you!).”
What advice would you give to someone starting a similar project?
“Don’t be afraid to have a go. It’s amazing what you can achieve when you throw yourself into it. Most of it isn’t technically that tricky, but it can be very, very hard work. Physically and mentally exhausting and scary at times especially when you’ve a tight budget as I am but, it remains the most satisfying thing I’ve ever done!”
Milano Windsor – Horizontal Triple Column Anthracite Traditional Cast Iron Style Radiator – 600mm x 785mm
Milano Windsor – Traditional Thermostatic Angled Radiator Valve and Pipe Set Aged Bronze
Milano Windsor – Traditional Triple Column Radiator Feet – Anthracite
Jess has a passion for interior design and wants to inspire people to look at radiators as home decor. She enjoys keeping on top of the latest design and heating trends to ensure the Advice Centre has all the information and inspiration homeowners need to make the best choice for them.