Woman adds £100K to value of home after experimenting for design business

A designer and tattooist has added nearly £100,000 in value to her Hampshire home after spending £50,000 on a makeover.

Nicola Smith bought her £570,000 four-bedroom home with her partner, Garin Harbottle, in 2001 – but soon embarked on an 18-month-long DIY project.

When Nicola couldn’t work as a tattooist during the pandemic, she decided to complete an interior design diploma – and was inspired to transform her blank canvas home with her own eccentric style.

With help from Garin, the mum-of-three painted, papered and decorated the house, installing new wallpapers and decorative items.

They also turned the property from a four-bed into a three-bed home.

She said: ‘We had a supporting wall removed in the main bedroom and knocked through to the tiny fifth bedroom, which was too small for a bed, and turned this space into an adjacent dressing room.

‘In the downstairs hall, Garin tiled the floor and then we papered and painted.

‘For the upstairs landing, we used gold leaf on the ceiling which took forever but it makes the space a lot brighter.

‘In the kitchen we also used gold leaf on the worktops which we then sealed with resin.’

The couple also spent £30,000 on an extra room at the bottom of their garden – which has increased the property’s value.

They also did most of the work themselves – except the demolition and building in the main bedroom.

Nicola added: ‘We loved the bones of the house and saw its great potential.

‘It was pretty much a blank canvas so other than having two bedrooms knocked into one to create the main bedroom, the rest was just decorative.

‘The hardest part of it all was the time that it took.

‘Everything takes longer than you think it will.’

Nicola adores her maximalist haven and is encouraging others to follow their own unique style.

The mum has also now set up her own interiors business and is set to launch her very own collection of wallpaper, fabric designs, along with cushions and lampshades.

She added: ‘People should create a home they love and not follow trends. Follow your heart and don’t worry about what anyone else thinks.

‘Minimalism is too little for me so each to their own. I’m a slightly eccentric, eclectic maximalist.

‘I adore wallpaper, bold colour choices and layers of texture.

‘I’ll often start a scheme with an object that has inspired me or a particular wallpaper and build the colour and other elements around that.’

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