Couple add £31,000 to 'vanilla' home's value with just £4,000-worth of incredible DIY

A British couple has given their 'vanilla' home an incredible DIY renovation on a £4,000 ($5,500) budget, adding £31,000 ($42,600) to the property value. Kelly Rowland, 32, and partner Blake Dixon, from Sheffield, bought their first home in June 2019 for £126,000 ($173,000). But they weren’t happy with the lack of character inside, and decided to spruce up the three-bedroom Edwardian house. “It was very vanilla when we moved in,” Kelly, a graphic designer, told Jam Press. “There was plain and safe decor with no style or personality.” The couple had previously helped Kelly’s parents transform their home, picking up skills including plastering, tiling, fitting windows and block paving. They decided to put their newfound expertise to good use and give their own house a complete overhaul. Sticking to a tight budget of £4,000, they got to work giving the property fresh floorboards, plastering the walls, laying down wooden flooring, tiling – and, of course, a fresh lick of paint. The large bathroom originally had a plain white three-piece suite with grey walls – something Kelly was quick to rectify, giving the room a snazzy update with printed blue and white wallpaper and adding shelves full of leafy plants. Their bedroom, which is in the loft, was transformed from a character-less space with plain light walls and a simple light fixture for decoration, to a gorgeous rustic retreat with warm peach walls and wooden finishes. Meanwhile downstairs, the dingy dining room underwent a simple yet effective transformation, with Kelly and Blake adding a feature wall with a forest-print paper, adding a chic black radiator to blend in, and brightening up the space with a quirky light unit. In the living room, they quickly replaced the plain magnolia walls with an on-trend dark grey, adding rattan finishes and plenty of plants. The kitchen was equally lacklustre before, with cream units with wooden tops that Kelly and Blake updated with sage green paint and adding white diagonal tiles for contrast. They also set about reinstating traditional features throughout the period home – adding coving, a cast iron fireplace and column radiators. Outside, the simple fenced garden was given a complete revamp, with a dedicated BBQ area complete with log storage and decorative tiles, plus a large table for al fresco dining and plenty of fairy lights. The duo, who have been together for 11 years, did the bulk of the renovation work themselves, ensuring costs were kept at a minimum. Many of the projects were handmade, including the entire garden makeover, which set them back less than £300 – including the plants. They recycled existing materials, creating the log storage from picket fencing which they sanded and cut in half to create the slatted look. They purchased the garden furniture second hand for £30, refurbishing it by sanding it back to its natural state, painting the bases black and sealing it with exterior varnish. To create the faux tiled wall, they used £17 masonry paint and a £7 stencil from an auction site. Inside, they spruced up the bathroom for £346.40, excluding the gifted wallpaper, by adding panelling, new flooring, new lighting and an extractor fan. They also upcycled an old set of drawers to create the luxurious-looking vanity unit – which Kelly says has given the space “a whole new personality”. They also revamped the kitchen cabinets for just £150 – excluding the handles, which were gifted – using primer and furniture paint. They refinished the existing wood worktops with sanding and coating them in hard wax oil. Kelly said: “It looks like we have a new kitchen. “[The house] has taken two years due to budgeting, and some of it is still ongoing – like the summer house and workshop which we are currently building. “I am always redecorating so I will never be finished. “[I would advise other people to] be unique and individual. Don’t be overly influenced by perfectly styled interiors.” And the DIY lover has a tip for anyone planning to give their own home a new look. She added: “Always try and do things yourself – it is far more rewarding and satisfying.”

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