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DIY-savvy couple transform dated period home and increase its value by £73,000

A couple with no professional building experience saved thousands by giving their dated period home a complete DIY makeover – and have increased its value by £73,000. 

Abbie Mottershead, 28, and partner Mark Moloney, 33, from Staffordshire, purchased their 1930s semi-detached home in June 2019 for £287,000. 

Over the past two years, the couple have set about transforming the three-bed property, which they felt was ‘extremely tired’, giving it a modern overhaul. 

Abbie and Mark completed most of the work themselves – including levelling the floors, fitting the kitchen tiling and decorating – and only hired builders for the structural work and an electrician for a new fuse board.  

Abbie and Mark spent £40,000 on their new kitchen, with builders knocking down three original rooms to create the open plan kitchen-diner. The couple were quoted £1,200-£1,800 to have the kitchen professionally fitted, which was another expense they decided to forgo (the kitchen is pictured after the renovation)

Abbie Mottershead, 28, and partner Mark Moloney, 33, from Staffordshire, purchased their 1930s semi-detached home in June 2019 for £287,000 and set about transforming it, including the narrow kitchen (pictured left before the renovation and right after). They spent £40,000 on their new kitchen, with builders knocking down three original rooms to create the open plan kitchen-diner

The house now has three bedrooms and, before the kitchen was touched, the house was revalued at £330,000 (pictured: the bedroom before the renovation)
The couple transformed the bedroom, giving it grey features and a wallpapered feature wall, with a large headboard and two grey bedside tables

The couple transformed the bedroom (left before), giving it grey features and a wallpapered feature wall, with a large headboard and two grey bedside tables (right)

Abbie (pictured left, with Mark) who is a children's nursing sister, was working 12 and a half hour shifts and fitting in renovating the property on her days off

Abbie (pictured left, with Mark) who is a children’s nursing sister, was working 12 and a half hour shifts and fitting in renovating the property on her days off 

They kept costs down as much as possible by doing what they could themselves, spending every day off work doing bits around the house. 

Abbie estimates they have saved around £2,000 by tiling the chevron-patterned floor without professional help, and £1,000 on plumbing costs by doing the radiators and taps themselves with no expert assistance. 

Additionally, the couple have saved thousands by doing the decorating themselves – with every wall and ceiling in the home freshly painted. 

To create the incredible kitchen-diner, the builders knocked down three original rooms – a utility room, dining area and galley kitchen.     

Abbie and Mark were quoted £1,200-£1,800 to have the new kitchen professionally fitted – another expense they decided to forgo.

The couple were attracted to the house because of its original features, high ceilings and big room sizes, but it didn't suit their needs (pictured: the back wall of the kitchen before renovation)

The couple were attracted to the house because of its original features, high ceilings and big room sizes, but it didn’t suit their needs (pictured: the back wall of the kitchen before renovation)

Abbie and Mark fitted a large floor-ceiling window and door leading out onto the garden from their new kitchen (pictured after renovations)

Abbie and Mark fitted a large floor-ceiling window and door leading out onto the garden from their new kitchen (pictured after renovations)

In total, the couple have spent £42,000 doing up the property – with all but £2,000 of the money going into the costly kitchen renovation.

Before the kitchen was touched, they had the house valued at £330,000 – but they now believe their stylish new open plan kitchen will add another £30,000 to the property.

Abbie, who works as a children’s nursing sister, said: ‘We were attracted to the house because of its original features, high ceilings and big room sizes.

‘But it was very dated and didn’t suit our needs with a narrow galley kitchen that was poorly designed and impractical. The whole house was very dirty and extremely tired.’

The kitchen is now a stunning space with black and cream cabinets, chic marble countertops and the floor-ceiling doors, giving it a light and airy feel with plenty of natural light

The kitchen is now a stunning space with black and cream cabinets, chic marble countertops and the floor-ceiling doors, giving it a light and airy feel with plenty of natural light

Abbie is no stranger to home renovations, having transformed her first property at the age of 23, so she was happy to rise to the challenge.

She said: ‘I’ve learnt a lot from my first build and other than needing builders for structural work and an electrician for a new fuse board, we were able to do everything else ourselves.

‘The goal for the new house was to do it up for us to live in for a few years and be able to grow into.

‘We wanted to do it to a high standard and take our time to allow us to save the money we needed for the renovation, doing one room at a time.’

The house now features three bedrooms, one bathroom, a large kitchen-diner and large living room-music room.

The stunning home has been freshly decorated in stylish neutral tones throughout with black finishes.

One bedroom has been transformed into an office space for Mark, who works as a test analyst.

The kitchen has undoubtedly seen the biggest makeover; from a narrow galley kitchen with wooden cabinets and pale green walls to a stunning open space with black and cream cabinets, chic marble countertops and floor-to-ceiling doors offering plenty of natural light.

One of the three bedrooms has been transformed into an office for Mark (pictured before)

It has a black desk and a cream chair in front of the window (pictured after)

One of the three bedrooms has been transformed into an office for Mark, who is a test analyst, with a cream chair and black desk in front of the window (pictured before, left, and after, right)

But it came with a hefty price tag of £40,000 and five months of gruelling work.

Abbie said: ‘The hardest part was the kitchen – we had to live in lockdown without it for nearly five months as we did everything we physically could ourselves.

‘Once the builders left, we had to sand down, plaster, paint, level the floor, plumb the radiators and tile 30sqm worth of kitchen floor with the most difficult pattern I could have chosen.

‘It took weeks to floor between my shifts but it saved us a lot of money.

‘I’d done a lot of tiling before but never that pattern or that amount of space – every tile company we spoke to told us we were brave doing it ourselves as it’s one of the most complicated designs.

The stairs have also seen a transformation, matching the colour scheme adopted in the kitchen (pictured before)

The carpet has been removed and the stairs painted white while the bannister has been transformed from wooden to black (pictured after)

The stairs have also seen a transformation, matching the colour scheme adopted in the kitchen, while the carpet has been removed and the stairs painted white. The bannister has been transformed from wood to black (pictured before, left, and after, right)

‘Towards the end we were struggling as I work 12-and-a-half-hour shifts, so every day off was spent doing DIY and eating nothing but microwave meals.’

Although the property is unrecognisable after the couple’s efforts, they have kept a few original features, including the parquet floor in the hall and living room and a cast iron fireplace in the living room, which Abbie painted and re-tiled. 

The couple aren’t finished just yet and are currently fixing up the bathroom.

After that, the garden is next on the to-do list – but Abi’s not convinced she’ll ever be truly finished.

She added: ‘Decorating is never-ending and I’m always evolving and changing my style.’


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