A MUM has revealed how she and her partner renovated their entire cottage for £12k.
Stacey Forrester, 34, and her partner Ryan bought their dream home in Cheshire in 2020 after starting a family and quickly outgrowing their first home.
Though the cottage had all the period features she loved, it needed a lot of work to be done for it to feel like home.
Speaking to Cartwright & Butler Stacey said: “We first viewed our soon-to-be forever home in January 2020.
“Although it was very dated and the layout didn’t really work for our lifestyle, we could see it had so much potential.
“We love period properties and cottage style, and with it being across the road from our kids’ school, we decided to take the plunge and go for it.”
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Though they knew a lot of work was needed, the couple decided to only borrow £12k to cover the renovations.
“We borrowed £12k for all of the renovations. We knew that this would be pretty tight for the work that needed doing,” Stacey said.
“Within the budget, we wanted to get a lot of major work done.
“This included completely renovating the kitchen and bathroom, changing the fireplace for a log burner and restructuring some of the house… When we first moved in you had to walk through one bedroom to get to another which didn’t work for the kids or us.
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“Unfortunately, we also ended up running into some costly problems along the way such as dampness and mould. This meant that some of our budget was eaten away by the need to splash out on a damp course. We were also advised to invest in a new boiler.”
Stacey and Ryan cut the costs by taking on a lot of DIY projects during the renovation, despite being fairly inexperienced.
“We were fairly new to renovating, but with the help of my dad who is an experienced painter and decorator, we planned on doing a lot of the work ourselves,” Stacey said.
“We started off with the kitchen and bathroom renovation. My husband and dad worked together to do all the tiling in both rooms and they fitted the kitchen themselves.
“My dad then successfully built a stud wall to extend the landing area and fix the fact that you had to initially walk through one bedroom to get to another.
“The final major project was completing the living room. We stuck to a neutral colour palette in the living room and throughout the home.
“My husband and I painted and my dad helped out again with the wallpapering.
“Some things, we couldn’t do by ourselves, so we hired a plumber to help with the piping in the kitchen and bathroom and a professional company to install our log burner.
“We also managed to purchase a new front door at a heavily discounted cost as a favour from a family member. We went for a custom green shade cottage style door which totally change the look of the front of our cottage.”
To stick to the tight budget, Stacey and Ryan shopped around for competitive prices and even upcycled pre-loved furniture to create pieces that blended with their home.
“When renovating the kitchen and bathroom in particular, we found it was important to shop around online to find the best deals,” Stacey said.
“We bought our kitchen from a DIY kitchen company and we bought our worktops from another retailer to get the desired look. We also used the worktop off-cuts to make some rustic kitchen shelves.
“We purchased our dining table second-hand and upcycled it to keep the cost down – and ended up with a piece that we really love! We also sanded, primed and repainted some of our old wall art and decor to match our current style and colour scheme.
“I also created personalised pieces for my son and daughter's room by buying msg name plaques from eBay and glueing on materials, such as straw on my sons as his room is farm yard theme.”
Stacey and Ryan managed to achieve a rustic, cottagecore-inspired interior, all within their initial budget, thanks to getting so hands-on with the renovation.
“We love rustic interiors with a modern twist and I really think we achieved this in our cottage,” Stacey said.
“Without hiring a painter, decorator, tiler or kitchen fitter we managed to complete the works while keeping within the budget. We wouldn’t have done it without all the help from my dad and my husband.
“All in all, it’s been a great experience and we all learnt so many new skills. This led me to start my own Instagram account, @the_white_cottage_by_the_hill, to document our journey. It’s great to reflect on and remind ourselves how far we’ve come!"
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