By Shannine O’Neill
THIS COUPLE transformed their Victorian home into their beloved abode and added over £135K – more than doubling their money on a £60K spend.
Steph White (34) who works in the Educational field from the Midlands bought her first three-bedroom end of terrace home with her husband in 2013 for £150K.
When Steph and her husband James (38) who also works in Education bought their home, they didn’t think that they would spend the next TEN years renovating it.
Their hard work paid off when in 2023 they got their home revalued and they were told it was £285K.
They spent just over £60K to renovate their house, a sum larger than they had initially expected.
The couple fell in love with this house as it offered features like high ceilings and other traditional features from character properties that they loved.
But they still wanted to make some changes to suit their own taste and style and to make it a perfect home for them.
Steph and James have since then added their driveway, relandscaped the garden, added a new patio, all rooms have been re-plastered, new flooring, carpets and added floor to ceiling fitted wardrobes.
“We bought the house because we prefer character properties for their space, high ceilings and the traditional features,” said Steph.
“We bought it thinking it wouldn’t need much work (naivety as first time buyers maybe) but have since slowly renovated each room.
“We bought to renovate ourselves but have got the renovating bug and have spoken about moving into the buy-to-let and flipping houses as a career.
“The renovation has taken up most of our outgoings over the last few years and we’ve roughly probably spent around £60K.
“This has added a lot of value onto the house, as we had it revalued last summer and came to about 285K.”
Steph and James started with renovating each room of their home, but in the past four years have branched out to renovating around the property, such as adding their driveway and adding extensions.
Steph’s favourite transformation has been their kitchen, which they have added an extension onto, but still kept key original Victorian features alongside the modern fixtures such as matching the bricks.
“We added the driveway, relandscaped the garden, and added a new patio,” she said.
“All rooms have been re-plastered, added new flooring, carpets and all redecorated.
“We’ve also added floor to ceiling fitted wardrobes.
“I also love having the extra light with the bifolds and skylights – it has totally changed how we use the house as we spend most of our time in there and the adjoining snug.”
Steph’s favourite part of the home renovation has been using the conservatory space, ‘a useless space’ according to them.
“My favourite transformation is the kitchen,” she said.
“We opened it up but still kept the feel of a Victorian house.
“I am pleased with the matches of the bricks and the fact it isn’t a huge modern extension on the back of the house that it is in keeping with the period feel.
“We spent a lot of time, effort and money on the garden so it’s nice to be able to see it from the kitchen.
“The previous conservatory was a useless space.”
The natural light fixtures have made a big impact on Steph and James’ lives as they now use their ‘snug’ extensions a lot more than anywhere else in their home.
Their renovation journey had its difficult points throughout the decade, such as the rising cost of materials and delays due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
At times, Steph and James were living without electricity and water while renovating, making it difficult to keep the motivation up.
“We didn’t have water or electricity in that part of the house for a while and that was very draining physically and mentally,” she said.
“After a full day at work, having to come home to clean all of the building work and cook meals with no real space too. It certainly took its toll.
“Also making sure we take the time to sit back and enjoy the house now that it’s pretty much finished.
“We have looked at other projects very recently and it has made it difficult to want to leave the house now that it is exactly how we’ve always wanted it.
“We also found it difficult during the Covid-19 lockdowns as we had started the kitchen extension; so rising costs, lack of materials and wait times were difficult.”
The COVID-19 pandemic proved a struggle for Steph’s renovations as they discovered a well under the boundary line so they had to get it checked by surveyors, which took a lot longer than usual due to the pandemic pushing people to work from home and longer waiting times.
“We had problems with the original build as we found a well under the boundary line so had to get this checked out by surveyors and added wait times due to people working from home,” she said.
“Steel calculations were missed so we had to reapply and have an extra steel added to the extension.
“We really struggled to get roof tiles as the company only had so many workers in so we had to find and source an alternative roof tile (thankfully I now prefer the one we have as it’s a replica of our roof).
“We also struggled to get hold of plaster as there was a nationwide shortage.
“Just general disruptions throughout the pandemic.”
Although there have been ups-and-downs of their renovation journey, Steph still stands by that she would do it all over again for the end result.
“We would definitely do it again,” she said.
“We have decided that we’re going to wait it out for the forever home and we want to possibly move out of the area into the countryside.
“So it will depend on how the market is and finding the right project.
“We know it will be another period property and they are hard to find.”
Kitchen (including extension building work) – £33k
Living Room & Snug – £1800
Bathroom – £3.5k
Master Bedroom – £900
Guest Room – £600
Box Room – £250
Driveway – £2k
Garden – £4.5k