As every home decorator knows there are some jobs you wish you had never started – but you push on hoping to results will be worth it.

For the team behind the winners of this year’s Weymouth Civic Society design awards it was much the same.

Developer Rob Cox bought the Rodwell Road , Weymouth property in a very run-down state and then went on to spend more than 1.5 times the original sale price on the building works.

“I came into it with open eyes but there was a lot of work which didn’t show up initially,” he said casually, adding that some of the stairs had been removed, the property had suffered a fire and was full of rot, having been derelict for about 15 years. Parts of it were structurally unsound.

Local architectural technician Paul Dean was brought in to help having worked with Rob on other projects. But even he was surprised at the challenges this scheme presented: “At the back it had almost collapsed. Almost everything seemed to need special treatment – including a specialist paint job which involved a four-part process….to say it was a lot of work was an under-statement.”

Around £20,000 was spent on decorations alone and about £6,000 on taking up flagstones and laying underfloor heating in an area which could not sensibly take a radiator. The flags themselves varying from 6 inches in depth to around an inch – which increased the difficulty in re-laying them.

The Grade 11 listed building is believed to date back to the mid 1800s although there may have been another property on the site prior to that.

Rob Cox has many projects under his belt but admits that there were times when he felt very challenged by this particular building: “I love renovating properties and have won another Civic Society award with another local building on Portland Road, but I did wonder if I was doing the right markthing at times,” he said.

He paid tribute to Paul Dean and builder Andy White who, tragically died, half was through the two-year project, in a diving accident in Devon, for helping overcome all the hurdles.

Paul has worked with Rob on several projects but admits that when he saw the state of the building for the first time was taken aback at the likely scale of the venture: “I thought it was a big ask …and it turned out to be right,” he said.

“But it was worth it, we all became very proud of it and lots of people said they appreciated what we had done.”

Specialist help and advice was needed throughout the two years because the historic nature of the property. The plastering, in places, has included traditional horse hair and suitable ‘new’ floor boards having to be sourced locally.

Rob did as he intended and moved the property on once it was finished.

New owners Julie and Mike Symondson fell in love with Rodwell Cottage when they saw it and moved from the delights of Fowey to come to Weymouth in the summer.

“We’ve loved it – it has such charm,” said Julie who still marvels at the lack of noise from the busy road outside and the warmth of their new home.

“We have added a few touches to make it our own – and there’s a few more things yet to be done, but we feel very settled,” she said.

Mike adds that a sign of the success of the property is the eagerness which family members expressed after their first visits – saying they would come back again because they too, love it.

Weymouth Civic Society said of the development, which was judged the best in the area for their 2018 awards: “ The finest project was the restoration of Rodwell Cottage, a Georgian house with a Victorian annex. Under the previous ownership it had deteriorated and was starting to look rather shabby, in full view of the main road to Wyke and Portland. Now it has been completely restored with most painstaking care to return it to its original character. The thorough and detailed renovations, indoors and out, have made a real improvement to the area, earning it a Certificate of Merit.”

The Society say their awards were created to encourage just the sort of project which Rodwell Cottage represents and to encourage others to follow the example by preserving fine, old character buildings – or even creating new ones which add something to the area.