A FIRST-TIME homeowner has revealed how she renovated her rundown pad in just four weeks with £5,000 – and she had no DIY experience.
Lisa Allison, 33, from Nottinghamshire, said that despite her modest budget, her home is now worth £20,000 more than when she bought it thanks to her work.
The media and digital content specialist bought the property in October 2020 and turned it around in a month.
Her incredible work included knocking down a wall to make a kitchen with a breakfast bar, sprucing up the bathroom and making a large decking area outside.
Lisa said: “I bought my home for a good price due to all the work it needed, so I knew that by doing it up I would add some value, but I was surprised by how much.
“I thought that I may just cover my costs, but an estate agent has informed me that the renovations have added around £15-£20k to the property’s value.
“I’m over the moon with the result. It means that down the line, when I do sell up, I will have that extra money, my deposit and any equity I have built up in the home as my reward.”
When Lisa was searching for houses in September 2020, the idea to renovate a home hadn’t even crossed her mind.
She said: “I didn’t mind a bit of painting, but I certainly wasn’t looking for a whole house renovation.
“Then, this house popped up in the perfect area and for a great price. I saw it the day it went on sale, immediately put in an offer and after viewing the home another three times my offer was accepted.”
Lisa’s excitement soon turned to nerves when she came to terms with the amount of work that would be involved to make the property liveable.
She said: “It wasn’t a house you could just move into.
“I knew it would take a lot of work, but I had fallen in love with the property and started thinking about all the things I could do to turn it into a home.
“I thought it would be easy, but I was so wrong. I don’t regret it though.”
Lisa explained how she needed to get the whole house turned around in four weeks in time for Christmas, but could only take two weeks’ leave from her job.
For the first two weeks of the project, Lisa could only work at weekends.
She said: “On the first weekend I knocked down the dividing kitchen wall and ripped out the kitchen.
“The plasterer came to do the kitchen not long after. The second weekend was spent taking all the rubbish to the tip, ripping up the flooring, and removing the radiators.”
Lisa’s two weeks off work were used to finish the new kitchen and decorate all the different spaces of the house: the master bedroom, the living room, kitchen, dressing room/office, conservatory, and garden.
Most days, she was working from 7am to 10pm, which Lisa says was tough at times, but she was determined to stick to the plan.
Calling in the pros and the cost of the new kitchen sucked up the lion’s share of her budget.
She said: “They fitted the kitchen, but I helped with certain parts, such as building the cabinets, which saved me around £400. I also paid pros to fit new radiators, do the plastering and fit some flooring.
“The kitchen was such a wreck. It was falling to pieces so I knew I needed to replace it immediately.
“Plus, I wanted to knock down the wall to create more space that flowed through to the floating breakfast bar.”
Once the wall came down, Lisa removed the wall tiles and ripped out the cabinets.
She added: “I also picked a laminate worktop over granite or marble.
“The fitting costs came in at around £500, but would have been around double that if I didn’t help out and build the cabinets myself.
“My favourite part of the kitchen is the breakfast bar. I’m so happy with the marble and rose gold design teamed with the pink chairs.”
Lisa tackled the tiling herself and fitted £30 lino flooring in the kitchen and bathroom.
She said: “I knew a brand new bathroom suite would be way out of my budget so I had to think about how I could make it all look new on a budget.
“The bath, sink and toilet came with the house, but I changed the bath panel for a new one. I also bought a new, mirrored shower door to replace the curtain – it helps the bathroom look bigger.
“I bought a new cheap wall unit and an under-the-sink cabinet from B&M, and got a great deal on a grey designer style radiator for the bathroom.”
She added: “I also changed the shower door and the sanitary ware in the bathroom, which was my first time using a drill.”
Meanwhile, in the garden Lisa extended the existing wooden decking area with the help of her dad, and was gifted a secondhand wooden dining table and chairs by her parents.
She said: “I love spending time in the garden and knew I needed a good decking area to unwind on
“I like having BBQs, so I wanted an entertaining space – even though I’m yet to host due to the pandemic.
“The rattan sofa was secondhand from Facebook Marketplace, the rug was cheap from Aldi and the egg chair was the most expensive item at £150 from B&M.”
The shed, also donated for free, was painted in a pink shade of Cuprinol. all the fence panels were repainted too, and Lisa built some raised sleeper beds in the garden to fill with plants.
Lisa is elated with her newly decorated house.
She said: “Sometimes, I can’t believe that this is my house and that I put all the work in to create my perfect first home. I feel so proud – especially as most of the upgrades were done in two weeks.
“I used to look at the amazing homes on Instagram and think I would never have that, but I love my home so much.”
If you’re keen to take on a fixer-upper like Lisa, she advises you do as much yourself as possible.
She said: “I knew I could decorate, but I never thought I’d be able to tile, lay floors, remove radiators, take down walls and change sockets.
“There are so many tutorials online that you can teach yourself anything.”
We shared how parents whose kids share a box room show how they give them their own space from triple bunkbeds to high sleepers.
And a couple transform dark and gloomy pad into a stylish home for £6k – despite having NO DIY experience.
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