We added £85,000 to rundown flat using smart DIY hacks – now it's our dream home | The Sun

A COUPLE added £85,000 to the value of their rundown flat to create their dream home by using smart DIY hacks.

Sophie Donnelly, 29, and partner Mark Stacey, 34, from Walthamstow, Greater London, bought their two-bedroom, one-bathroom Victorian flat in 2020 for £465,000 after selling their previous home.

They sold their other flat in just three weeks but after around three months of looking, they struggled to find something new they could afford in their local area.

Sophie, a publishing editor, and Mark, a head of PE, were starting to give up hope when a local agent who they knew from when they bought their first flat told them he had a property that they might be interested in.

It was dated, despite being well-cared for, and needed some major repair work.

Sophie and Mark got to work rewiring the property, replastering the rooms, replacing the kitchen and bathroom, and restoring its old features.


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"It needed a full rip out and redecoration", Sophie and Mark said.

"We had a few ‘I want to give up moments’."

But despite their challenges, Sophie and Mark refused to give up.

The couple spent around £40,000 renovating the property into their dream home.

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"This budget included new double glazed sash windows, a full rewire, replastering in some rooms, new floors and subfloors where needed, carpets, kitchen and bathroom, restoring the old floor, windows, painting etc," they said.

"Our biggest cost by far was the supply and fit of the kitchen and bathroom, which came in at a combined cost of about £19,000.

"Our biggest savings were reusing what we could and doing messier jobs ourselves.

"Another key saving for us was not moving out and living through the works."

Sophie and Mark were inspired by other amazing home renovations on Instagram and Pinterest, as well as the history of the local area.

The couple also offered some advice to others thinking about renovating.

"When you first move in, make it livable but don’t change anything beyond the superficial," Sophie and Mark said.

"Live in it for a season if you can so you know what you want for each room.

"Really think about how you are going to finance it. We are not ashamed to admit that our renovation was a mix of savings, credit cards and interest-free finance agreements.

"Renovating is expensive, and it can take time, so for many, using finance is the only option – but please do it responsibly.

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"Accept you will make some mistakes and some things will go wrong or won’t be quite as you wanted them, so compromise is very important."

“And reuse everything you possibly can or upcycle it, because that really is where a lot of our savings were made."

Approximate Cost Break Down

2 Bedrooms – £3,000

Living Room – £2,000

Bathroom – £8,000

Kitchen – £11,000

Ad Hoc (Including full rewire, the upper and lower hallways, and new double glazed windows) – £16,000

TOTAL: £40,000

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