DIY couple transform tired cottage into stunning home for just £12k

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Thirty-four year old mum, Stacey Forrester and her partner Ryan managed to transform their tired cottage into a rustic cottage-style dream home sticking to a tight budget of £12,000. Stacey, mum of two and part-time barista purchased her dream home in Cheshire with her partner in 2020 after they started outgrowing their frost home. Though the cottage had all the period features she loved, it needed a lot of work doing to it.

Stacey sat down exclusively with British hamper brand, Cartwright & Butler to share exactly how she renovated her home.

She said: “We first viewed our soon-to-be forever home in January 2020. Although it was very dated and the layout didn’t work for our lifestyle, we could see it had so much potential.

“We love period properties and cottage style, and with it being across the road from our kids’ school, we decided to take the plunge and go for it.

“We borrowed £12,000 for all of the renovations. We knew that this would be pretty tight for the work that needed doing. Within the budget, we wanted to get a lot of major work done. This included completely renovating the kitchen and bathroom, changing the fireplace for a log burner and restructuring some of the house.

“When we first moved in, you had to walk through one bedroom to get to another which didn’t work for the kids or us. Unfortunately, we also ended up running into some costly problems along the way such as dampness and mould. 

“This meant that some of our budget was eaten away by the need to splash out on a damp course. We were also advised to invest in a new boiler.”

Stacey and Ryan managed to cut the costs by taking on a lot of DIY projects during the renovation, despite being fairly inexperienced.

However Stacey’s dad, who is an experienced painter and decorator, managed to help the couple out a lot.

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The DIY mum added: “We started off with the kitchen and bathroom renovation. My husband and dad worked together to do all the tiling in both rooms and they fitted the kitchen themselves.

“My dad then successfully built a stud wall to extend the landing area and fix the fact that you had to initially walk through one bedroom to get to another. 

“The final major project was completing the living room. We stuck to a neutral colour palette in the living room and throughout the home. My husband and I painted and my dad helped out again with the wallpapering.

“Some things we couldn’t do by ourselves, so we hired a plumber to help with the piping in the kitchen and bathroom and a professional company to install our log burner. 

“We also managed to purchase a new front door at a heavily discounted cost as a favour from a family member. We went for a custom green shade cottage style door which totally changed the look of the front of our cottage.”

Despite the couple doing lots of work in their home, they managed to stick to their £12,000 budget by shopping around for competitive prices.

They also upcycled pre-loved furniture to create pieces that blended within their home. Stacey said: “When renovating the kitchen and bathroom in particular, we found it was important to shop around online to find the best deals. 

“We bought our kitchen from a DIY kitchen company and we bought our worktops from another retailer to get the desired look. We also used the worktop off-cuts to make some rustic kitchen shelves. 

“We purchased our dining table second-hand and upcycled it to keep the cost down – and ended up with a piece that we really love! We also sanded, primed and repainted some of our old wall art and decor to match our current style and colour scheme. 

“I also created personalised pieces for my son and daughter’s room by buying msg name plaques from eBay and glueing on materials, such as straw on my sons as his room is farmyard theme.”

Without hiring a painter, decorator, tiler or kitchen fitter, Stacey and Ryan still completed their home to a high standard, with gorgeous decor running throughout.

The mum added: “We wouldn’t have done it without all the help from my dad and my husband.

“All in all, it’s been a great experience and we all learnt so many new skills. This led me to start my own Instagram account to document our journey. It’s great to reflect on and remind ourselves how far we’ve come.”

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