Couple with no DIY experience transform new home for £6,000

Jenny and Sam bought their first home in September 2019 but with a price tag of £550,000 they didn’t have much to transform it into a stylish pad.

Although they didn’t have any DIY experience they decided to do as much of the work as possible to keep costs down.

Now, over a year on, they’ve given the whole place a makeover for just £6,000.

Children’s surgeon Jenny, 33, and Sam, 31, from London, bought the 1907 Edwardian terrace house after years of renting.

They were able to use lockdown to get more of the work done and have been documenting their journey on Instagram (@se9_edwardian_terrace).

The transformation has helped them gain 12,000 followers.

‘We had zero DIY experience, and only owned a screwdriver when we moved in but we were keen to learn and do as much as we could along the way,’ she said.

‘We made a long list of things that we wanted to change in each room and started work straight away.’

They decided they like the bathroom and wouldn’t touch that but wanted to do work to the rest of the house.

Jenny added: ‘We started on the sitting room first and the first job was to pull up the black carpet, which was a very messy job.

‘We discovered 110-year-old floorboards underneath and set to sanding them back. They were dark brown and covered in dirt and dust.


‘Next up, we stripped back the textured wallpaper, definitely one of our most hated jobs.’

The couple did most of the work by themselves, barring hiring a builder to skim the walls and build shelving on either side of the chimney breast, which they then primed and painted.


Jenny said: ‘I love painting so decided to paint the walls and do all the paintwork white.

‘We love dark colours and the room is so light – it works really well we think.’


Once they had decorated, they were able to add some new furniture.

‘We styled it with a Laura Ashley sofa, a mustard ottoman and a West Elm coffee table,’ Jenny added.

‘We also found two French button back armchairs in our local antique shop in Blackheath and had them reupholstered to finish off the bay window.’

A big challenge was the hallway, which the pair re-did with Victorian mosaic tiles – but they couldn’t find matching border tiles.


Jenny said: ‘Sam spent hours cutting and templating the tiles and we laid them ourselves, which was quite tricky but totally worth it.

‘Every time we walk downstairs we smile as it was our first big DIY job.’

Sam then set about panelling the hallway and stairs.

Jenny said: ‘We painted the woodwork white and the walls ammonite. We finished it off with a wool herringbone carpet with matt black binding along the sides.



‘It is our favourite part of our transformation so far.

‘For our bedroom, we wanted a change from the blue walls and grey carpet. We chose Farrow and Ball Oxford Stone for the walls and wardrobes.

‘I made roman blinds and headboard in a fabric we bought from Laura Ashley. We bought tiles and recreated the hearth around the fireplace to complement the black and stone colour theme.’


Everything cost £6,000 and they are now happy with how it looks.

Jenny said: ‘It was the perfect lockdown project but the templating, cutting the tiles and making sure they were central was definitely the hardest part.

‘We find painting the walls makes such a difference and for rooms like our office and bedroom, just changing the colour had such an impact.

‘The fact we have done it all ourselves makes it that bit more special, too.’


Their favourite room is the hallway, as it was very dark when they purchased the house.

They plan on renovating the kitchen and dining room in coming months, which they expect to be a very big project.

Despite all the work, they haven’t been able to show anyone due to Covid restrictions.

Jenny said: ‘Ironically, no one has seen it in person due to Covid-19 restrictions.

‘They have loved seeing the transformations on Instagram but we really cannot wait for people to come when it is safe to do so.’

For others who are thinking of doing a bit of home DIY, Jenny added: ‘Speak to your neighbours and find a good team of local tradespeople – this is essential.

‘Next, make a list, and tackle each room one at a time.

‘Instagram is perfect for inspiration, and people are generally very helpful at giving you tips etc., we have learnt so much along the way.’

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