Bleak to Boutique

By Chloe Shakesby


THIS WOMAN has revealed how she transformed her once-bleak house into a boutique-style pastel paradise for £30k – less than a tenth her home’s original cost.

Make-up artist Zoe Bywater (38), from Telford, UK, moved into her four-bedroom detached house in January 2021 after paying £375k for the property.

Zoe began transforming her home in 2021.

After moving in, Zoe decided that she wanted to inject some personality – and colour – into the home.

“When we moved into this house in January 2021, it was very outdated,” said Zoe.

“I started off getting workmen to do the garage as the garage doors had been breeze blocked up.

“I got them to  take out the odd layout and had new garage doors added.

“Then I’ve done the kitchen, snug, dining room, downstairs WC, hallway and I’m currently doing the lounge.

“I probably do a new room every two or three months. I don’t know what I’ll do when I have no more rooms to decorate.”

While Zoe does love pastel colours, she says there is a lot more to decorating than this, and has spent around £30k on updating the interiors.

Zoe’s kitchen before its transformation.

“I’m not solely drawn to pastels, I like a multitude of tones,” she said.

“I don’t want to be put in an interiors ‘box’. There really is no scientific formula to my choice of colours other than that I choose whatever makes my heart sing.

“It has to be said that pink and blue are the colours I’m drawn to the most.

“All of the transformations have made an impact as the house hadn’t been redecorated for many years previously.

“There was a lot of décor from the nineties, so any paint was going to modernise the space.

“I’ve learnt how to use more power tools since living here, like cutting wooden shelves to fit using a jigsaw.

Zoe’s kitchen.

“My dad helps me with my DIY projects when needed, but I do try to stay as independent as possible and I like learning new skills.

“I’ve also learnt how to put screws into the dreaded plaster board, that was quite a shock when I first moved in and my screws would just fall out.”

So far, Zoe has tackled the kitchen, downstairs toilet, garage, one bedroom and the hallway, and is planning out the other bedrooms and the main bathroom.

“The biggest was the kitchen as it cost the most money and was the hardest to arrange with workmen,” she said.

“Splitting the costs out, it would roughly be £13k on the kitchen, £7k on the garage, £1k on the WC and the rest just adding decor and furnishings I think.

“My favourite transformation is the downstairs WC, we added a stud wall to hide the pipes, ripped out the panelling out and replaced with blue tiles, added a handmade pink sink frame and gorgeous Tiger wallpaper.

“I painted the snug myself and added a mural wallpaper.

“Most rooms upstairs need redecorating. I’ve only managed my eight-year old son’s bedroom so far so I will need to do my five-year old daughter’s bedroom next.

“When the finances become available the main bathroom needs to be fully replaced.”

Zoe first started posting about her home during lockdown in 2021.

“Like a lot of other interior accounts, I was stuck in lockdown and just started taking photos of my cute homewares,” she said.

Zoe even spruces up her doors.

“Then I added posts about doing up cheap second-hand furniture. Now I talk mainly about my style of interiors and how adding colour into your home can bring you so much joy.

“I’ve had an extremely positive reaction – I don’t recall having anyone criticise my style.

“Even if they did, I wouldn’t care. It’s my house and my family loves it.”

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