#ReadyForRain – Follow a real-life property renovation

#ReadyForRain – 33a Chapel Street

Follow the real-life renovation of a house in Appleby with our fortnightly videos and on-site events!

You’ll find out how to make a traditional stone building cosy and free from damp – even if it’s at risk of flooding, like this one.

Meet 33a Chapel Street

33a Chapel St - #ReadyForRainThis three-storey terraced house in Appleby is being fully refurbished in a way that makes it resilient to extreme weather, like flooding and wind-driven rain.

We’re really excited that the owners of the property are allowing CAfS to follow the renovations, so that everyone living in lovely older homes can learn about the materials and techniques that work best for insulating them and managing moisture.

We’ve been able to bring in a professional film-maker thanks to a grant from Historic England, as part of their support for the Appleby Heritage Action Zone (HAZ).



Progress so far

Have a look at the ReadyForRain timeline to see what’s been happening at 33a Chapel Street

Meet the team

Emma Greenshaw CAfSEmma Greenshaw from CAfS leads the #ReadyForRain filming, supported by other colleagues in the CAfS team.








Chris Morphet from Lake District Lime

Chris Morphet, from Lake District Lime, is leading the construction project. Chris will be the main star of our fortnightly vlogs, as well as his own ChrisCam footage! He specialises in renovating older properties using products such as lime that work really well for these kinds of buildings. He’s also one of the owners of 33a Chapel Street.

We’re extremely grateful to Chris for letting us follow the works he’ll be doing. It’s such a unique opportunity for us to share all his know-how.






Joe Connolly architectJoe Connolly from Joseph Architecture Ltd is the project architect. His designs will help the owners make the most of the space inside this narrow, three-story building.







James Innerdale, conservation architectJames Innerdale is a conservation architect, advising on the build and sharing his expertise in traditional buildings.







Paul Johnson, Explainer HQPaul Johnson from Explainer HQ is our professional film-maker. He’s got a background in conservation building and education, so he’s a great partner to bring out all the important things to know about these traditional buildings.







Adrian Banford - CAfS trustee

Adrian Banford from Eden District Council leads the Appleby HAZ project, which the filming and events are linked to.







Darren Ratcliffe is the Historic England lead for the Appleby HAZ.


About the house

The house dates back to the 1800s and has a solid-wall construction in red sandstone. Over the years, it’s had some renovations that weren’t so sensitive to its stone fabric. It hasn’t been lived in as a home for a while, as it was most recently used by a charity.


About the build

Work will hopefully start in August 2018 and it should take around nine to twelve months to complete. The house will be gutted inside and stripped back to its bare stone walls. The roof will be repaired and re-slated. The existing cement render on the front of the house will be removed and the original window layout will be reinstated.

It will be fitted out with new flooring, electrics, plumbing and wall coverings – all using materials and methods that will leave the house well insulated and able to manage moisture (‘breathe’) really well.

You’ll get an insight into the types of materials and building methods that are perfect for keeping older buildings warm and dry – from lime used the traditional way to newer lime-based technologies.

Given that 33a Chapel Street is also at risk of flooding, there’ll also be lots of information and tips about fitting out homes so that they can cope better with extreme weather, making it quicker, cheaper and less stressful to get moved back in if it does happen again.


The challenge with older houses

Making an older house warm and comfortable is different to dealing with a modern, cavity-wall building, whether it’s at risk of extreme weather like flooding or not.

Here in Cumbria, lots of us live in solid-wall, stone buildings that can be hard to heat and suffer from damp. Often, it’s because some of the materials used on them just don’t work well for them. They disrupt the way these buildings are designed to manage heat and moisture.


Get #ReadyForRain!

Subscribe to our social media channels now, to get notifications when any films or updates go live:

Every fortnight, we’ll put out a new vlog, covering what’s happened over the previous two weeks – what’s gone well, what hasn’t, problems the build team have uncovered, decisions they’re making about materials and all the different factors they’re weighing up.

At a few points along the way, we’ll also publish short films recapping on progress so far, and then the full story at the end.


See for yourself

You’ll have opportunities to visit 33a Chapel Street during the build, with open days and other events linked to the renovation. We’ll share details on our website and social media.


Skilling up

Workshops & demos: You’ll have the chance to pick up some of the skills you’ll see used on the build at these sessions during the project. Keep an eye on our social media for dates.
How-to videos: You’ll be able to find out more about some important aspects of renovating an older home, like insulation options and flood resilience, in the guidance films we’ll put out towards the end of the build.


The #ReadyForRain filming is led by Cumbria Action for Sustainability (CAfS). It’s overseen by Historic England, the funder, as part of the Appleby Heritage Action Zone (HAZ), run by Eden District Council (EDC).
It’s also part of the Rebuilding Together programme to increase Cumbria’s resilience to extreme weather, funded by the Big Lottery Fund and delivered by CAfS, Cumbria CVS and ACTion with Communities in Cumbria.