Starting a home from scratch and making it your own is a lot of work, but as this project shows, it can really pay off.
Lois Spencer-Tracey, 38, from Brentwood, and her husband of nine years, Gary Spencer-Tracey, 37, bought their first home in December 2015 for £250,000.
One year later, they began renovating the bare property, starting with the garden before moving onto the two bedrooms and bathroom, and finishing off with an incredible kitchen transformation.
The couple have done nearly everything by themselves – with the exception of fitting new electrics and the plastering (which Louis’s step-dad lent a hand with) and installing a new boiler (which they hired a professional for).
They have replaced the ceilings, windows, both the front and back door, radiators and electrics, as well as re-plastered and fitted new floorboards as the previous ones were in a dire state.
The pièce de résistance – the kitchen – was saved for last and saw the biggest makeover, with a complete renovation that cost £10,000.
‘When we first moved in, the house was bare, apart from the kitchen and bathroom,’ Lois told Jam Press.
‘There was carpet throughout and we completely gutted every room and also started afresh in the garden. The kitchen is our most expensive room.
‘Even though it is a small room, it cost £10,000, but we wanted to make it work for us as we enjoy cooking and we wanted something super different in look and feel.’
The statement kitchen used a deep teal colour scheme, with copper and wood accents to pull it together. The couple have drawn from this theme for the rest of the house.
While renovating the two upstairs bedrooms and bathroom, which took 10 months, the couple used their living room as a base.
Speaking of the upstairs rooms, Lois added: ‘We put up new doors inside, along with new skirting, and we made our walk-in-wardrobe, my dressing table and cupboard.’
To save on money, Lois, who runs a blog called Bunni Punch and Gary, a welder and fabricator, also made a lot of their own bedroom furniture a bespoke palette bed with underneath lighting.
The hardest part of the renovation was going back to brick and pulling down the old ceilings – with the dust “going everywhere”, while the easiest was painting.
The couple are delighted with their new home but still plan on making more adjustments in the future. They have so far spent £50,000 in total.
Lois said: ‘We are so happy with our home transformation. We only have the stairs and living room to complete, which will be super creative.
‘Gary will be making the bannister on the stairs himself and we are having exposed brick, feature wallpaper and vintage/industrial fittings put in.’
For anyone else considering transforming their own home, Lois added: ‘Before you get started, make sure you have the money to complete the work you want to do as lack of money can derail a project.
‘Also be ready for it to cost a lot more than you originally budgeted.
‘If I could do it again, I would consider living in a caravan instead of living in the house as it does take over your life and it’s not great for your mental health, as you can’t get away from it and renovating could last years.’
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