DIY savvy man spends 18 months turning 1950s bungalow into lavish dream home

A man put his DIY skills to the test to transform his old bungalow into a lush dream home.

Fireman James Stuart, 37, spent 18 months turning his dated 1950s property into a lavish pad.

He put hard work and determination where he was left with nothing but a tiny heater and microwave on some nights.

Now James has revealed how he's managed to achieve his renovated home in Wakefield while sharing tips to others too.

Speaking to Mirror Online, he said: "When I moved in, it didn't even have a gas connection.

"I lived in the house the whole way through it, had no lights, no bed and had to use a microwave for food and a heater for warmth."

The property had been owned by an elderly couple before it went to rack and ruin.

James had to take the whole structure back to its walls, replacing and updating all the fittings.

He started by knocking through two bedrooms in the front, ripping out all the windows and extending the bathroom into the hall.

After buying the property for £190,000, down from an earlier estimation of £250,000, James spent between £60,000 and £70,000.

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Now it has been valued at £350,000 to £400,000, although James had no intentions of selling it but to make it his dream home.

It wasn't until he found out the valuation he realised how much hard work he put into the house.

He detailed: "I kind of thought I can't give up the chance for that money.

"I could have found a new career. Having finished this one I want to look at the next one, and see where I can go with it."

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James had taken a year out at the age of 31 to travel through Australia and South East Asia before returning to the UK.

When he came back, he resumed his career with West Yorkshire Fire and Rescue Service at Ossett Fire Station.

Alongside his job as a firefighter, James has won trophies in bodybuilding shows.

And now he's found another dream he always wanted to fulfil – renovating his dream home.

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He admitted: "It was quite a lonely process. When you are living on a building site, you are freezing cold, you can't see your mates.

"Can't have a day off, can't cook yourself a nice meal, you don't get to relax in a nice warm house. Every day was a working day.

"I actually lost a lot of weight. All the energy had to go into the house. But that's what I have got to do, if you put yourself through it.

"Good things will come. And now I am willing to do it again, hopefully on a bigger scale."

When sharing his advice, James said pay traders on a day rate, find the materials yourself and then buy them.

He added: "You need good contacts. One of my neighbours is a retired joiner – he's now like my dad – he came in when I needed him.

"We fitted the kitchen and the garden together."

And James said don't forget to budget when you plan a project like this.

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