I was on benefits & homeless when I got my ‘dirty’ council flat but I’ve transformed it on the cheap

AFTER saving for six years, one couple was able to transform a run-down flat into a beautiful home by bargain hunting.

Abby Dunsmure, 26, was homeless when she and her husband Stuart, 25 moved into a council flat in Helensburgh, Scotland, two years ago.


Relying solely on Stuart's salary at the time, the couple had no furniture, other than a bed, and could not even afford a fridge without taking out a payday loan.

With both of them now work full time, care worker Abby says they both pay rent and she is proud of the home they improved with their savings.

Taking to her TikTok channel,Abby showed off her home makeover, after putting a total of 6k into the home.

Abby says she loves her home and wants to break the stigma around living in a council flat.

Saving up for over a six-year period, the couple made money stretch, spending just £60 to refresh the bathroom and updating their kitchen with just £40.

The sofa was an investment piece as they spend £1k on it, and £350 on the coffee table, while accessorising with bargain buys from TK Maxx.

Speaking of their period of homelessness before moving into the flat, Abby said that people living in council houses are not bad people, just going through tough times.

"Me and my husband both work full time now, it's just we were in an unfortunate situation at the start," said Abby.

"It angers me when people judge council houses. I've had a few comments because of where my flat is – it's in the worst area in Helensburgh" she added.

With people referring to her area as "Junkieville", Abby says that people make assumptions that the couple are drug users, and judge her based on where they live.

Abby says that the couple had little choice when they were relying on one income, and was unable to buy the essentials before she got a full-time job.

Formally working as a cleaner, Abby says she has a keen eye for design and is particular about how she likes things.

The wife also says that although money can be tight, some furnishings are worth the investment as they last longer.

"Buying cheaper, like we used to, is a waste of money because it wouldn't last, so we'd build up the savings and buy the bulk of the furniture," she said.

The couple is currently saving up to purchase a home, and Abby says they would prefer to buy outright in case they are made redundant from work again.

"Me and my husband aren't wanting to get a mortgage – we want to cash buy a house which is why it's taking so long," said Abby.

Adding: "We're looking to buy an ex-council property. Council properties are much better standard than new builds. You get much bigger gardens."

Abby said that she has not received any handouts from the state or relatives and feels they have been judged unfairly.

"We've never claimed any sort of benefits and we've not received any family help at all. We've got this far and saving to cash buy on our own. Stuart works 100-hour weeks including his sleepovers" she said.

 The TikTok video has racked up a whopping 123,000 views and 13,500 likes, with many viewers thanking Abby for shining a positive light on council housing.

One person commented: "Absolutely stunning gal, I lived in a council flat for eight years before I bought. Absolutely nothing to be ashamed of."

"There shouldn't be a stigma around it being council owned at all. Your flat is lovely" said another.

In other home transformations, a couple discover a secret room hidden behind a wall in their house and transform it for just £45.

Plus Mrs Hinch completely transforms a £4 Ikea stool and table into a stunning display in minutes.

And woman transforms her boring beige home into a colourful paradise thanks to £20 paint and charity shop bargains.



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