Georgian House was one of the first houses to be built on Montpellier Terrace and is a fine example of a late Georgian terraced house. It was built in 1807 together with the house on our left. At that time it was described as in the Parish of Cheltenham called Red Acre Field. By 1887 it was number 31 and later still it changed to 71 and then 77. Interestingly, we found out more about the history of the house when someone contacted us to say they had found some of the old deeds in a box on a landfill site in Oxfordshire! The deeds went back to 1887 when the house was sold for £32.00.
The house was a bit smaller in those days. Originally the kitchen would have been in the basement, the back wall would have been the present back wall of the sitting-room and there wouldn't have been a bathroom. The Victorians probably added the part where our kitchen is now and there was a little wooden staircase up to the room above. Sadly this had been replaced by a modern monstrosity by the time we arrived.
When we first came to Georgian House in 1999 it was divided into 7 flats. We had always wanted to start a hotel or guesthouse from scratch as usually when you buy a fully-furnished going concern, you inherit the ideas and tastes of the previous owners. This was our chance to do our own thing. We had no antique furniture or furnishings so, before we actually owned the building, we scoured the auction rooms and antique shops. One amusing result was that at the first auction we left absentee bids for furniture and thought that, with luck, we'd get tables, chairs etc. The prices rocketed and the only thing we bought was an Edwardian vacuum cleaner - you can see it in the dining-room!
We then had to store everything until the builders had finished converting 7 flats into a 3 bedroom guest house with owner's accommodation. We even had to sleep surrounded by the huge antique mirrors that are now in the dining-room and sitting-room! This was to protect them from damage. Every piece of furniture was represented by a piece of cardboard stuck on a floor plan. It was rather like a military exercise!
We moved into the house on 31st March and the builders moved in on 1st April. They had to finish the top three floors before the end of May, including dealing with all the unexpected problems. As soon as they had gone, we put all our furniture in place, following the floor plan with the bits of cardboard stuck on it. Luckily, it all worked perfectly so we only needed to buy rugs and some extra pictures.
As far as possible the ground floor is Georgian and the bedrooms are more Victorian in style. We have had to compromise of course - for example, the Edwardian vacuum cleaner, and a Victorian bidet being used as a coffee table! - but we have tried to keep the general period feel.
ITV series: Have I Been Here Before
Two episodes of the ITV series 'Have I Been Here Before?' were recently filmed at Georgian House. This was a fascinating experience for us in spite of being quite hard work finding the right 'props' for them to use!