So we brought our very first home, got super excited about putting our own mark on it, only to be greeted by dodgy after dodgy DIY done by the owners before us. Excited about the possibilities we could do with our limited budget of £4000, quickly got diminished when we realised the state of the house. Now unless you’ve got super lucky and the previous owner has thrown in all their furnishings free of charge, you’re likely to turn up to an empty house. Our big plans for the house included lavish bookcases, beautiful wooden floors and a dinning booth to die for. Most of which have been put on hold while we sort out the finances and fix the existing problems left to us by the previous owners. So to get our dream house, we are having to be pretty savvy. I’ll share a few ways with you now of how we are going to pull it off, plus will do update’s and ‘how to’s’ as the work goes on. This week ill show you the extent of the damage left to us, but for now lets talk renovating on a budget.


So they aren’t quite ceiling to floor shelves, but I’m pretty happy with how they came out. Ill do a big post on these at some point when the livingroom is finished, but we ended up getting the shelving unit from Ikea, but making the shelf inserts ourselves. The inserts in Ikea are £5 a piece. we were able to make all the shelves using plywood, at about £20 a sheet, and we used about 2 sheets. Saving our selves about £70. I love the outcome too, with the plywood grain against the white wood.

Upcycling has become a hugely popular trend in the last few years. It essentially involved taking old, discarded or even broken furniture and restoring it to its former glory. Upcycling means you’ll need to be prepared to get your hands dirty. You can find discarded furniture in skips, at second-hand stores or from people you may know. I love freecycle, and so far have managed to source an excellent resource of free pallets, great for making furniture, that may have cost a bomb if using a timber or plywood. Talk your local labourers, or go to some industrial sites, if you see a lot of pallets just ask if they are up for grabs as most of the time, places like this have tons just waiting to be discarded, and pallet wood is a great resource for furniture, give it a sand and some oil and paint and your ready to go.

Buying off sites like Gumtree, Craigslist or eBay are great way to find furniture, in good condition, for a steal.The only problem is getting the furniture to your new place. This can be a big problem if you live a long way from where the seller lives, or if you don’t have a large vehicle. Contact some interstate furniture removalists or look at sites where you can post the item you want collecting, and couriers can give you their price.

If there’s anything better than getting something cheap, it’s getting something for free. Contact local community groups in your new area and see if there are any swap shops or community fairs coming up soon. Many people sell home items very cheaply at these kinds of events, or you can even swap something of your’s for their item in some circumstances. You also have the advantage of being able to see the item in real life this way, which you don’t have when buying online. Or why don’t you set one up in your town?

Ok so the next few images im going to show you aren’t’s just a few of the problems going on with our house.


So we had to pull the existing carpet up because the owner before us apparently kept his 3 dogs locked in the living room all day and night. When we visited the house all the windows were open, so we didn’t notice a smell or anything. But when we picked up the keys and got in, by god it bloody stink…It really did hit you in the face, and after trying to clean the carpets with a rug doctor, and getting about 2 bin bags full of dog hair out of the carpet, the smell was still really strong so we decided to get rid of the carpet and get a new one. Good job we did because the underlay was sodden, which turns out was from the dogs, and the leaking bathroom which the owner plumbed in himslef..see below. Anyway thankfully Richards parents helped us out with the carpet, as as you can see the room is pretty big and it wasn’t cheap getting carpet for it.


Ok so this is our downstairs bathroom which he plumbed a washing machine into…under the floor..going up to a waste pipe..which according to every plumber we spoke to, is an idiot move. The bozo also plumbed in the sink without connecting the overflow…so you guessed it, mould all up the back of the sink, and when we took the skirting board off, it’s clear to see the pasteboard behind has soaked through and started to rot. Like I’m not interested or have any clue about plumbing or electric work, stuff like that. But surely how dumb do you have to be to not think to pipe in the overflow..i mean it’s a bloody overflow..anyway see damage below.



That’s just one part..its all around the other side where he plumbed in the washing machine by cutting a new hole in the pipe instead of using the existing outer pipe like 3 inches above. seriously you can’t make this stuff up! moving on to our lovely out house.


Now when looking around the place, the outhouse sold it for me. I pictured my beautiful office there, instead of the hot tub of course. But I said a deal breaker for me would be the ease of getting rid of the hot tub without damaging the outhouse. Oh he said, the back just pops off in one piece he said.


it didn’t.

it was nailed to all the corners, meaning we had to physically cut the wood out, it also came in 2 sections with insulation too… fun fun fun.




Luckily my other half is a genius, and he worked out that if he just took the bottom half off, and only cut the word from the inside so he could pop the back off, the hot tub would slide underneath nicely. So after a long couple of weeks, the hot tub was gone, and my office was on its way. I’m not going to go into my war with white paint and resin marks, but let’s just say I will win the war.

I won’t bombard you with anymore cowboy DIY’s for the moment, but I will simply mention, holes in upstairs cupboard floors (dangerous is a understatement) and chipboard in original wooden beam flooring replacements where he fitted in spotlights..which just makes me hate them even more..oh and holes in badly plastered walls…everywhere.

Side note. I’m all for DIY-ing bits your home to save money here and there, but take it from someone who has moved into a house and suffering the many consequences. For plumbing, building work, electricity and gas…let’s leave it for the professionals..yeah?



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