Couple transform dated house ‘stuck in the 1970s’ into dream home for just £25k

A couple who found themselves priced out of their dream home decided to take on a renovation project and create it for themselves instead – and the results are incredible.

Clara McGillian and Nicholas Felstead had viewed new-build homes in Bridgend, Wales, and saw the town as the ideal location to buy their first property.

But competition from other buyers saw their budget fall short and the only option was to find a run-down home at a reduced price and revive it themselves, as reported by Wales Online.

Despite having very little DIY experience between them, Clara and Nicholas picked up the keys to their 1930s period property and had to get to work straight away with only enough budget to stay in their rental home for just six more weeks.

Teacher Clara, 31, said: “When we first walked in and saw the original front door with the stained glass, we just knew that we had to have it. We could see so much potential in the house.

“However, at this point, we didn’t even own a drill and we totally underestimated how much work was involved.

“It was like a time warp. It had elderly previous owners who we think last decorated it in the 70s – we found a date for 1972 under the wallpaper in the hallway.

“We also had found out that it had been empty for approximately four years and so it was quite musty and damp.”

The house still had the original electrical unit from the 1930s and original plumbing, so the pair got in professionals to bring them both up to date.

They stripped every scrap of wallpaper off and knocked down an interior wall between the kitchen and dining room to open up the space.

After a few weeks, the pair were forced to pack up and move into the run-down home and began working even harder to get it done, spending the summer of 2019 doing as many DIY jobs as they could to save money.

They successfully fitted their own kitchen, with the only labour expense being the worktops which were fitted by a professional with specialist tools.

The interior design could then begin and the dated carpets and wallpaper was replaced with vibrant colours and modern fittings to create an Instagram-worthy home.

Clara said she didn’t meticulously plan each room but instead decided on the atmosphere she wanted to create and went from there, using pink, green, yellow and grey tones throughout.

The old bathroom was transformed with a budget of just £180, adding a pink cabinet and plant-themed shower curtain – but Clara admitted once they have a bigger budget they will eventually rip it out and start again.

To date the renovation project has taken 17 months and cost £25,000, including all the major work such as a new roof, rewiring, plumbing, heating and plastering.

Clara is now encouraging others hoping to get onto the property ladder to do the same thing, and shares tips on how to do it and the lessons they have learned on her Instagram page.

She wrote: “Do it! Buy a renovation job and paint your house in colours you love. Be brave because it will pay off.

“Start off small with accessories like cushions. Build yourself up to wanting to use colour. And also remember that if you don’t like it, you can always paint over it.”

Clara added: “We would also say get involved! You can learn so much for tradesmen if you watch them work. It’s also unbelievable how much money you can save by doing the work yourself, such as painting and decorating, although some jobs need to be left to professionals obviously.”