I thought the best way to share our house renovation story would be to answer the most common questions that we have been asked about the work undertaken to make our house a home.
What we renovated
Our house renovation project consisted of us
- Fitting a new kitchen
- Hanging all new internal doors
- Fitting new architraves and skirting boards
- Having new carpets fitted throughout
- Plastering the kitchen, living room, porch and landing
- A new tarmac drive and removal of conifer trees
- Painting or wallpapering every room
- General modernisation of decor
- Re grouting the bathroom tiles
- New blinds in every room
- Landscaping the back garden with fake grass and building a pergola
How we prepared for the house renovation project
- Gathered decor ideas-
We were both so excited to buy our first home together so when the time finally came, we already had quite a few decor ideas in mind. I created a board on Pinterest for my house ideas and we began to speak about colour schemes for each room and think about how we imagined the room layouts to look. We would visit kitchen showrooms such as BNQ, Wickes and other local stores for inspiration.
- Created a want list-
Below is the list we hoped our first house would have…
- a island in the centre of the kitchen
- a cosy living room
- a dog friendly secure garden
- an alcohol cabinet in the living room
- Researched cost estimates and set a budget-
From the moment we knew the house was going to be ours, that’s when the research began. We had been to visit the house a couple of times and even taken photos and measurements of the rooms etc. We began to really think about what we wanted to change and how much things would cost. We set a budget as we had a set amount that we had saved to spend on home improvements. Before we got the keys, we shopped around to get rough estimates and even went to a kitchen shop and got a quote for the kitchen that we wanted. We decided on what was the biggest priority to renovate first and which projects would be left until the end when we knew if we had any money left. As well as this we thought of ways we could cut costs by doing jobs ourselves and we were money savvy by keeping certain items that were left in the house and freshening them up by painting/cleaning them instead of buying new.
Where we started
With Tom being a Joiner, we did most of the work ourselves or if we wasn’t able to, Tom knew someone who could help. To start with, we stripped everything back by taking the wallpaper off the walls and ripping the whole kitchen units out so we were left with a shell. We also knocked an arch way wall out of the kitchen to open the kitchen up so obviously the kitchen needed plastering and we took the dado rail from the living room and landing so that also needed plastering. We had the living room, porch, kitchen, and landing plastered.
As we had family and friends helping, there were sometimes a few rooms being tackled at the same time. We didn’t really have a set plan, we all worked around each other doing the jobs that needed doing, in order to tie in with the next steps. At one point there were Tom and his dad downstairs fitting the kitchen, Toms mum and sister painting the banister and me, my mum and my brother wallpapering a bedroom upstairs all at the same time.
By contacting the tradesmen that we needed early before we got the keys, we were able to get them to come pretty much straight away when we needed them, so we wasn’t held up waiting around with nothing else to crack on with. We had a tarmacing company pull down our massive conifer trees and fit us a new red tarmac drive. An electrician fitted us 3 lights as we wanted the kitchen light moving to above the middle of the kitchen island, a light fitting in the porch and an outside light. As I have mentioned above, we had a plasterer in too.
We went around painting every wall and ceiling in the house white and even painted all the wood too including the wooden banister and spindles. Wallpaper was added to 1 or 2 of the walls in each room as a feature. Tom fitted the skirting boards, architraves and doors, as well as fitting the full kitchen and all new blinds throughout.
One of the final jobs to complete our project was having the carpets/flooring fitted. This meant we could focus on getting the furniture in place and finishing touches such as ornaments positioned.
Since the renovation project, we have saved up and now landscaped the garden by levelling the garden off and fitted artificial grass. We also decided to build a pergola with wooden seating underneath for us to socialise under. We fitted a perspex roof on this and have hung fairy lights around the top.
How long the house renovation project took us
We got the keys for our house on 15th March 2019 and literally started the work that day ripping the kitchen out and steaming wallpaper off the walls. By the end of June 2019 we had completely transformed our house. The only project we had not done at that point was the landscaping of the garden which has been done during lock down (March 2020).
It roughly took us three months and that is with us both working full time and spending every evening and weekend decorating and a lot of help from family and friends helping every chance they could.
How we managed to live in the house & do it up at the same time
As we were excited to move out from our parents house into our own place, we decided to move in the day we picked the keys up. The way we managed to do this was by keeping 1 room in the house that we didn’t do any work in, which was our bedroom and we had a working bath/shower and toilet in the bathroom. Luckily for us we were only moving from our parents houses who literally live around the corner, so we only brought our essentials to the house, which we kept in the bedroom we didn’t decorate to start with. As I mentioned in my kitchen blog post, we set up a station in the living room with the essentials such as tea, coffee, sugar. We borrowed a mini fridge for milk and cold drinks, borrowed some fold out chairs and bought a cheap kettle to put us on. The bath became the sink for a while as we had to wash any pots we had in there due to no kitchen or sink downstairs. Our parents helped with our clothes washing, which wasn’t actually that much, as unless we were at work, we had our decorating clothes on.
How much we spent on the full house renovation
As the plan for our house renovation project was for us to live in, we did spend more money to modernise to our taste as opposed to us doing it up pretty basic to sell.
Breakdown of the costs
- Kitchen – £4000
- Tarmac drive – £5000 as I wanted red tarmac, it would have been £3500 for black tarmac
- Doors – £250 for 5 upstairs doors and £300 for glazed double doors between kitchen and living room
- Architraves and skirting boards- £150
- Carpets- £1000 fitted
- Plastering- £1000
- General decor e.g. wallpaper, paint, blinds, light fittings – £1000
Unexpected projects/costs that occurred during our renovation
Below are any hidden costs or surprises that we come across during our renovation project.
- Wasp nest in the porch ceiling- this was only found when the electrician came to fit us a new ceiling light. Luckily their were no live wasps up there. Obviously we had to pull the ceiling down and clean away the nest, board up the ceiling and have this plastered which wasn’t in the original plan.
- New internal doors- our first idea was to paint the pine doors that were already in white , however this didn’t turn out very well as no matter what we did, the paint still dried patchy and uneven. We made a joint decision to buy new doors and go for oak instead. Looking back this was the best decision to do, as the oak doors look really effective against the white walls and frames.
Here’s to saving up for the next project!!