Couple with no DIY experience transform rundown three-bed house with just £6,000

A couple managed to transform their dark and dingy property into a stylish home with only £6,000 despite having no DIY experience.

Jenny, 33, and her husband Sam, 31, from London, purchased the three-bedroom 1907 Edwardian terrace house for £550,000 in September 2019.

After renting in the capital for several years, the pair were excited to have their own place and eagerly set about giving it a makeover during lockdown.

Jenny, who is a children’s surgeon at a large children’s hospital in central London, has been documenting their journey on their Instagram account ( @se9_edwardian_terrace ) to the couple’s 12,000 followers – who are blown away by the results.

“We had zero DIY experience, and only owned a screwdriver when we moved in but we were keen to learn and do as much as we could along the way,” she said.

“We made a long list of things that we wanted to change in each room and started work straight away.

“The bathroom was already beautiful when we moved in, so we were lucky that we didn’t have to do that.”

“We started on the sitting room first and the first job was to pull up the black carpet, which was a very messy job.

“We discovered 110-year-old floorboards underneath and set to sanding them back. They were dark brown and covered in dirt and dust.

“Next up, we stripped back the textured wallpaper, definitely one of our most hated jobs.”

The couple did most of the work by themselves, bar hiring a builder to skim the walls and build shelving on either side of the chimney breast, which they then primed and painted.

Jenny said: “I love painting so decided to paint the walls and do all the paintwork white.

“We love dark colours and the room is so light – it works really well we think.

“We styled it with a Laura Ashley sofa, a mustard ottoman and a West Elm coffee table.

“We also found two French button back armchairs in our local antique shop in Blackheath and had them reupholstered to finish off the bay window.”

One of the couple’s biggest challenges was the hallway, which the pair re-did with Victorian mosaic tiles – but they couldn’t find matching border tiles.

Jenny said: “Sam spent hours cutting and templating the tiles and we laid them ourselves, which was quite tricky but totally worth it.

“Every time we walk downstairs we smile as it was our first big DIY job.”

Sam then set about panelling the hallway and stairs.

Jenny said: “We painted the woodwork white and the walls ammonite. We finished it off with a wool herringbone carpet with matt black binding along the sides.

“It is our favourite part of our transformation so far.

“For our bedroom, we wanted a change from the blue walls and grey carpet. We chose Farrow and Ball Oxford Stone for the walls and wardrobes.

“I made roman blinds and headboard in a fabric we bought from Laura Ashley. We bought tiles and recreated the hearth around the fireplace to complement the black and stone colour theme.”

The couple have spent a total of £6,000 on the makeover so far and most of the transformation took place during the past year.

Jenny said: “It was the perfect lockdown project but the templating, cutting the tiles and making sure they were central was definitely the hardest part.”

“We find painting the walls makes such a difference and for rooms like our office and bedroom, just changing the colour had such an impact.

“The fact we have done it all ourselves makes it that bit more special, too.”

The couple are beyond delighted with their home, with their favourite room the hallway, as it was very dark when they purchased the house.

They plan on renovating the kitchen and dining room in coming months, which they expect to be a very big project, and look forward to having friends and family over to showcase their new home.

Jenny said: “Ironically, no one has seen it in person due to Covid-19 restrictions.

“They have loved seeing the transformations on Instagram but we really cannot wait for people to come when it is safe to do so.”

For others who are thinking of doing a bit of home DIY, Jenny added: “Speak to your neighbours and find a good team of local tradespeople – this is essential.

“Next, make a list, and tackle each room one at a time.

“Instagram is perfect for inspiration, and people are generally very helpful at giving you tips etc, we have learnt so much along the way.”