Who are you? Tam Landells and Tim Ratliff i.e. TimTam, aye like the biscuit.
Why Margate? TAM: Friendliness and Opportunities. Our interest was spiked by The Turner, Tracey, gorgeous houses without the London price tag and the sea and when we arrived we got a dozen welcoming friendly faces, constant sun, creative excitement and a feeling of relief. Combine all that together, why would you want to live anywhere else.
First Margate memory? TAM: The Station. When we first arrived to look round houses we were blown away by the beautiful domed roof. Totally unexpected. TIM: Staring out of the window of the old cafe in dreamland when I was 16, very hung over…
If you were an animal, what would you be? TAM: Ah well I think Tim would be a cat and I would be a chimpanzee. TIM: Most definitely a cat! warmth, fuss, your meals prepared for you and all that sleeeeeep!
How do you define style? TAM: It means whatever is in vogue or someone’s personal taste. Collective or Individual – it can belong to all or one. TIM: Class, dignity and impact.
What is the biggest extravagance you have in mind for your home? TAM: Painted artwork on the ceilings is probably fairly extravagant but what a wonderful surprise it’ll be when you walk into the room. TIM: We forgetting about the ‘suicide’ stair then? TAM: Tim means the alternating tread stair and it will be very safe!
How long do you think the renovation / restoration of your house will take? TAM: 3 months and not a moment longer. TIM: Forever unless we start drawing!
If you could change one thing about your house what would it be? TAM: A bigger garden!! Our garden was chopped off to build some houses in 1930s otherwise they would have been massive. As a keen gardener it was a bit of a disappointment until I realized there are allotments just round the corner – Amazing. TIM: You’ll see when it’s finished…
What interesting things have you learnt about the history of your house? TAM: We have some great signs in the house left over from when it was a guest house telling people not to loiter in the corridors, ha-ha we are putting that straight back up. There are little stubs sticking out the walls everywhere where the gas lamps used to be – we think that is wonderful. TIM: That all those Cliftonville avenues were once lined with trees, I just can’t get my head around the idea that it’s worth taking something so beautiful away to preserve something as mundane as a pavement.
Favourite place to eat and drink locally? TAM: It has to be Bachelors for tea and cake. We can barely make it down Northdown Road without Tim wandering in, plus they ask me exactly how I like my tea, which basically makes me love them. We went to BeBeached just before it closed for winter – that place is food heaven. The rest of the time is spent at our other favourites GB Pizza Co and Forts. Ok so we don’t have a favourite, we love them all AND we fully intend on eating somewhere new every month. TIM: Forts it feels like home.
What couldn’t you live without? TAM: Pigs. I don’t actually have one but as soon as I do I’m not going to live without them ever again. I grew up on a farm and architecture is ok but if doesn’t work out I want to be a pig farmer. TIM: Tam so I guess one day her pigs as well…
Best and worst thing about your renovation experience so far? TAM: The best thing was taking up all the carpets and stripping all the wallpaper so you could see truly all the original features. All of this was taken away by tw services who are a ‘zero to landfill’ waste management service in Kent – bloody marvelous. The worst thing is that we have to do it slowly between working hours and weekends – nothing has gone wrong yet but that’s because we haven’t done much… TIM: Best – Managing to spend a whole week in Margate, pulling the carpets up and removing all that wallpaper – It just confirmed what a splendid idea it all had been. Worst – climbing Ken’s ladder to re-fix the gutter to the wall at the back of the house, how come it looks so much higher when your at the top!
Best advice you’ve been given? TAM: Our next but one neighbour Ken told us that the marble surrounds to the fireplaces were original. Ha-ha thanks Ken otherwise we might have taken them out, they don’t look original but those Victorians wanted something with a bit more stature in these houses and marble surrounds was what we got. TIM: Our walls would still be damp if it weren’t for Ken shaming me into getting up that ladder!
Favourite space in your house? TAM: The stairs without a doubt. I just sit at the top of the stair reading my book, no idea why it just feels like another room in the house. TIM: second the stairs! they make the place, so generous and light and with a window all to themselves – lets you know that someone cared about designing it.
Describe your perfect day. TAM: I wake with the sun beaming through the window, I look at my clock and it is only 9.30am and I have had the best night’s sleep. I sit quietly reading the paper in bed with tea and eventually wake Tim up and dress. We leave with flasks of tea and orange club biscuits and go on an adventure. TIM: A Christmas morning, presents just about to be opened, house finished, snow outside, friends and family about to arrive (at a sane time!), films, drinks, getting out on my bike, playing games, music and being stupid – what do you mean that’s too much for one day?
What would buy if you won the lottery? TAM: Ha-ha that’ll never happen I don’t play. Argh! Ok I would give it all to charity, and not just the big ones but the little charities too.
What do you collect? TIM: unobtainable dreams TAM: I don’t collect anything but if I had space then I would collect pigs, stripy socks, lamp shades, records and pianos.
What would you do if you were mayor of Margate for a day? TIM: Thanks for the offer, but I reckon I’m more useful where I am. TAM: I think this has been said already but I would probably go a bit crazy about the dog poo everywhere – seriously that needs to be sorted out. Then I would probably want a bit of a heart to heart with Thanet Council to find out why they wanted a Tesco Extra on the seafront right next to their inspiring project for Dreamland and on a key position along their beautiful seafront. Then I would set about supporting the slow but brilliant regeneration that has already been happening for some time across the whole of Margate and give those making it happen some funding.
What are your goals for 2013? TAM: Move to Margate, see my best friends get married, meet some great clients, start a project or two in Margate, swim in the sea a lot, buy my first pig. TIM: Complete house, get some punch behind us professionally, win at least one architectural competition, travel, ride, stroll, kiss and smile.
ROUND-UP: This Victorian terrace house in Cliftonville has been stripped back. Tam & Tim are starting again. They are fortunate enough to have inherited many original features, fireplaces with marble surrounds, cornicing and the most beautiful stair spindles, but they are adding their own stamp by converting the loft & they have grand plans for opening up the kitchen. We will be re-visiting and documenting the progress of this house in a few months…….
WHERE TO BUY: Rob Croudace from Ramsgate is fixing the stained glass in Tim & Tam’s front door, www.rgcroudaceglass.co.uk
TW Services for zero to landfill collection www.tw-services.co.uk
WHERE TO EAT: Bachelors Patisserie, 246 Northdown Rd, Margate.
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All images ©Jo Willis