A couple have added £50,000 to the value of their property after transforming the majority of their home into a modern family space.
Elle Hutchinson, 27, a social media manager from South Wales, has given new life to her period home which dates back to the 1900s.
She and her partner, Alex, 28, purchased the three-bedroom terraced property for £180,000 in August 2021 and could see the potential as soon as they walked in – particularly liking the spacious layout and original features.
However, as the house’s interior was rather dated, the space needed a serious revamp in order to fit the couple’s ideal “bright and quirky” theme.
While they had no previous DIY experience, they began learning on the job and used YouTube tutorials to aid them along the way.
Firstly, they tackled the open-plan living and dining room, where they ripped out the entire space – but disaster struck after they found mushrooms growing.
“Once we moved in, we found mushrooms growing behind the skirting board and this indicated dry rot,” Elle told NeedToKnow.online.
“We started lifting the floorboard to investigate and it was quickly apparent that the entire room was rotten.
“Our hearts sank at this point, but we got stuck in and researched where needed with a huge help from my dad.
“We ripped out the rotted floor joists and had to dig out a lot of wrongly dumped rubble from the foundations.
“We stripped off the wallpaper and then reconstructed new floor joists, as well as floor boards.
“After laying the fibreboard, we laid down some laminate parquet flooring and replastered half the walls for a smoother finish.
“We then repainted the walls and ceilings, before adding a picture rail to add to the house’s character.
“Picking a calming sage green shade, we accented this with white and gold accessories, which has created such a bright and serene feeling.”
In total, they transformed the once-drab room into a light and inviting area for only £1,600.
Now, the space allows ample light to shine through and is accented with mirrors, patterned rugs and decorative pillows which sit upon the neutral-toned sofa.
In the dining room, they have repainted the fireplace white and have carried out a similar theme with light parquet flooring and a four-seater dining table placed in the centre of the room.
For the downstairs hallway, they ripped up the “dirty” and worn carpet on the staircase, replastered and repainted the walls in brilliant white, before painting the bannister black.
While they still need to replace the tiles and fix the understairs storage, the walkway instantly looks brighter than before – costing them £200 so far.
In the master bedroom and spare bedroom, they stripped the brightly coloured wallpaper and carpets, before replacing these with neutral toned furnishings.
Elle said: “Firstly, we stripped off the wallpaper and ripped up the carpets.
“We had the ceiling replastered and added new skirtings, new carpet and repainted the walls, as well as the ceiling.
“As the plug sockets were sitting proud previously, we also had these sunken into the walls.
“In terms of tools, we were lucky that my dad had so many we could borrow without having to spend anything.
“We used his wallpaper steamer, spirit level, drills, jigsaw, circular saw – the list is endless.
“My favourite room is the open-plan living and dining room, as we spent four months turning this space around and it was so worth it.
“We added black accents in the dining room to make this feel a little different to the living room, especially as it’s an open plan space.
“I really feel like these rooms make the centre of the house.”
10 months on, they have nearly completed renovating their dream home and plan to tackle the kitchen and bathroom next once they’ve saved more money.
In total, they’ve spent £6,000 so far and have been able to keep costs low by completing the process themselves, with the help of Elle’s dad, Nick, 60.
Elle said: “We’re so lucky and grateful as he’s always been extremely handy and as he’s just retired, he was looking for something to keep him busy.
“It was important to us to only maximise the space we had with how we decorated and decor variety.
“We wanted to keep a bright, classic style with some quirky elements and bold accents.
“You can really turn a house around with colours and layout options.
“We viewed around 10 houses before this one and we had a feeling it was the right house for us – it felt so light and airy.
“While we save over the next couple of years so we can fully renovate, there are rooms which look fine.
“We’ve actually never done any previous projects before and although I’ve always been quite creative and Alex has been very hands on, this is a first.
“It’s really new to us, so we’ve researched a lot on Youtube and it’s really an amazing learning tool.
“I’ve also learned from the Instagram community, where I’ve watched reels and stories of others.
“I’ve picked up tips and tricks along the way too.”
While the couple wish they had been more thorough with the survey prior to purchasing as they were unaware of all the issues they would run into, they estimate £50,000 has been added to the value.
Now, they plan on tackling the garden next year and hope to regulate their attic space into a bedroom, further increasing the property’s value.
Elle’s biggest piece of advice to renovate while on a budget? Be prepared to get stuck in.
She added: “Do the work yourselves as it will save you a lot of money.
“YouTube is an amazing tool to learn and upcycling is also a great way to save money, as not everything needs to be bought brand new.
“You can really find some great things that will be a fraction of the cost.
“I documented our journey as I followed a lot of accounts which looked too perfect and never showed the reality of how hard renovation can be.
“I want to share our experiences; the good, bad and ugly, in the hopes I can help or inspire others.”
Living room – £1,600
Dining room – £1,000
Spare room – £750
Master bedroom – £800
Hallway – £200
Misc. (incl. labour costs, materials, extra furnishings, etc) – £1,650
TOTAL – £6,000