Couple who purchased a 'fixer-upper' apartment renovated it for £3,500

Couple who purchased a ‘fixer-upper’ apartment for £65,000 reveal how they renovated it for just £3,500 while both on furlough thanks to second-hand buys and DIY videos on YouTube

  • Charlie Knowles, 23, and Shaun Yates, 24, bought an apartment in Wirral in 2019
  • They spent lockdown renovating the home with DIY skills learned from YouTube
  • Spent £3,500 in total, with budget buys from eBay, Gumtree and Facebook
  • Used favourite coffee shop as inspiration for their rustic new kitchen with exposed brickwork  

A couple has renovated their entire home using second-hand items purchased from eBay, Gumtree and Facebook – costing them just £3,500 in total.  

Charlie Knowles, 23, and partner Shaun Yates, 24, from Parkgate, Wirral, had been interested in property development for a long time, when they decided to purchased a ‘fixer-upper’ for £65,000 in April 2019 with the aim of renovating the space. 

During lockdown, they decided to focus on transforming the home after mechanical engineer apprentice Shaun, was furloughed and Charlie lost her job in the NHS.

The couple used their local coffee shop, Elephant Coffee, as inspiration for their designs, as well as Pinterest and followed YouTube videos to pick up DIY skills.  


Charlie Knowles, 23, and partner Shaun Yates, 24, from Wirral, have transformed their home using second-hand buys for a total of £3,500. Before the renovation, the kitchen was cluttered and dated (left), but the couple removed the breakfast bar to create space, painted the cabinets cream and gave the room the feeling of a trendy coffee shop with exposed brickwork and plants

Charlie and Shaun purchased a ‘fixer-upper’ apartment for £65,000 with aims of renovating the space in April 2019.  Pictured: The dining area features rustic touches such as wood panneling, cow skin cushions and exposed brickwork


The couple decided to focus on overhauling their house after Shaun was furloughed and Charlie lost her job during lockdown. Pictured left: Before the bedroom was a dull grey space that lacked a focal point, right: the bedroom has been transformed into a relaxing space with cream walls and accent lighting, while the radiator has been covered, creating a shelf for personal trinkets 

Charlie and Shaun worked tirelessly from early morning until past midnight most nights to complete the mammoth task.

Charlie said: ‘We would like to go into property development in our spare time in the future and we knew that our first place was a good starting point.

‘We bought our apartment two years ago and knew we wouldn’t get the opportunity to have so much time together like lockdown again, so we took on the challenges and renovated the entire apartment room by room.’

Charlie and Shaun began by transforming their kitchen into a café-like setting for £2,000 – complete with a rustic wooden wall, a brick stove area and coffee bar.

They also revamped their bathroom with a new toilet, sink, heater and mirror, as well as adding trendy accessories to create a crisp, minimalist look, costing another £600.

The pair sourced new wardrobes, costing £400 and added new accessories to the bedroom and living room for an additional £500.


A nook in the hallway housing the fuse box was dead space before the renovation (left). The couple cleverly transformed the space into a home office, incorporating the fuse box into the design by building a desk around it (right)

The couple began by transforming their kitchen into a café-like setting for £2,000. Pictured: The kitchen previously lacked any memorable features 


Charlie and Shaun added a rustic wooden wall, a brick stove area and coffee bar to their kitchen. Pictured left: Kitchen wall for oven placement before, right: Frame for fridge

 Charlie said they decided to work on the renovation during lockdown because they wouldn’t have another opportunity to spend the time together


The couple spent £600 on renovating their bathroom, adding a new toilet, sink, heater and mirror. Pictured left: Before, the bathroom looked dated and the layout didn’t maximize the space, right:  The addition of an electric towel rail along with installing a new sink has refreshed the space 

Charlie and Shaun sourced most of their materials second-hand from eBay, Gumtree and Facebook Marketplace, as well as buying DIY goods from Screwfix, B&Q and Wickes.

Their entire home renovation took around 10 months to complete and cost £3,500 in total.

They posted before and after photos of their home transformation on Facebook, where users praised them for a job well done.

‘Wow you’ve done an amazing job, it’s all lovely but the kitchen is amazing. Sit back and enjoy it all now,’ one person said.

‘Wow. What an amazing team you pair are, absolutely love it well done,’ another added.

Charlie and Shaun worked from early morning until past midnight most nights to complete the challenge. Pictured: The addition of the brick wall now gives the kitchen a rustic feel 

The couple spent £400 on new wardrobes and added new accessories to the bedroom, including a dressing table with lights around the mirror and a plush bed with a grey backdrop 

Charlie and Shaun spent an additional £500 on overhauling their living room and used candles and silver accessories


The pair revealed their entire renovation took around 10 months to complete and cost £3,500 in total. Pictured left: DIY coffee bar before, right: The addition of a coffee bar has given the kitchen a personal touch 

‘Looks amazing!!! You have a great eye for design I love what you have done,’ a third wrote.

Charlie said: ‘The most enjoyable part was accessorising the place at the end and adding the finishing touches.

‘The most challenging part was the hours we spent [on the renovation], the early mornings and nights every day became exhausting.

‘We’re so happy that everyone on Facebook enjoying it which is so rewarding!’

Offering advice to others who want to revamp their home, Charlie added: ‘Anything is possible.

‘Don’t be afraid to get stuck in and have a try.’ 

Charlie said her most enjoyable part was accessorising the place at the end and adding the finishing touches. Pictured: DIY kitchen ledge and flower box

Charlie explained the most challenging part was waking up early to work and finishing late. Pictured: The couple in their new kitchen 

Charlie has advised others to renovate their home because she believes ‘anything is possible’. Pictured: Filling the bathroom with white accessories has given the space a clean and minimalist look 

Facebook users have dubbed the renovation ‘amazing’, with many saying they love the finished look 

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