The journey of turning a house into a home can be long and arduous, not to mention costly – and stressful.
Over the last year, many of us have chosen to go down the DIY route – with varying levels of success.
Sometimes outsourcing to the experts is money well spent – but other times, you should try and complete some tasks yourself, if you’re super careful.
One couple’s attempt to turn their 70s house into a modern dream house really paid off – increasing the value of the property by £238,000.
Mum Jennifer Grammer, 47, and her husband from Atlanta, Georgia spent a total of £25,500 ($35,000) carrying out their renovations.
The couple bought their four-bedroom home in 2018 for £335,000 ($490,000) and started renovations six months after moving in.
“We had immediate ideas of what we would like to do upon purchasing the home, but we waited six months to a year to get started,” Jennifer said.
“It was important to have time in the space to really understand how we were going to live here and what was important to us.
“I think you always start with visions of grandeur and then reality slowly sets in.”
The couple first repainted the entire house white in order to let their personally chosen artwork, furnishings and textiles stand out.
The kitchen was stripped out and contractors installed new plumbing, gas and electrics, as well as new semi-custom cabinets.
Jennifer and her husband bought a dishwasher, oven, fridge and other appliances from American chain Home Depot.
The pair also installed new lighting, a new sink and backsplash, and a new quartz countertop – costing them around £13,000.
In the bathroom, they preserved the original 1973 floating vanity unit but added a new toilet, countertop, mirror and lighting – at a cost of £360.
The main bedroom also received a new lease of life, after the couple spent £1,800 ripping out the ancient carpet and installed gorgeous hardwood floors.
Meanwhile, the living room received a lick of paint and the old fireplace got a shiny makeover, costing £145.
Speaking of the fireplace removal, Jennifer said: “We carefully and painstakingly removed all of the mirrored panels to reveal the smooth drywall beneath.
“We then had to patch and repair any of the damage left behind from the glue and then darkened the shiny brass panels to a beautiful deep rich bronze.
“We added a fresh coat of paint to the entire fireplace and reattached the metal panels.
“This was more of a make-under but it made a huge difference.”
In the basement, where Jennifer spend her days working, the couple added luxury vinyl flooring, painted the walls and new lighting, costing a further £1,300.
Jennifer said: “I find renovation to be very satisfying overall.
“It is extremely enjoyable to see your visions come to fruition and be able to partner with my husband in the process.
“Being able to create is very cathartic for me. You are pouring so much of yourself into your home during this process and creating your story.
“We are so grateful we have been able to make these improvements and create a home that we feel truly reflects who we are and our story.
“Even with the best laid-out plan, you never really know what you may run into along the way.
“We had a few plans we had to quickly alter as problems arose. We had planned for a much larger pass-through in the kitchen to the dining room but due to air conditioning vents in the wall, we had to rethink the size for budgetary reasons.
“Due to the age of the home and settling over the years we also ran into uneven ceilings and floors in the kitchen.
“This led to a happy accident where we had to remove upper cabinets that would not fit and added floating shelves instead.
“We were much happier with the end result than our original plan.”
Finally, the couple hired a contractor to repaint the exterior of the house a dark charcoal shade and redid the lawn in order to create a tranquil outdoor space.
The entire renovation cost the couple £25,000 – and they couldn’t be happier with the final result.
They now estimate the property is worth £573,000 – a massive increase if they decide to sell in the future.
Giving advice to others who wish to renovate their home, Jennifer added: “Take your time, if you can.
“Get to know the spaces and how you will really be living in each. This will tell you a lot about what you need and do not need.
“Plan your budget, build in a contingency and do your research on everything!
“You will be your own best advocate, so be sure to educate yourself.
“Know when you can DIY versus when you should call a professional and comparison shop for materials – you can save a lot of money this way.
“Be creative when sourcing new materials as many items can be repurposed in your renovation. Do not feel you have to fall for the latest trends, find items that you feel represent you but are also timeless.
“I love to try to honour the architectural integrity of the home. Have patience things may go wrong and that is ok, it can just be an opportunity for a new direction.
“Be kind to yourself and anyone you are working with.”