We bought our 1884 built cottage the same year we got married, 2012. Making the age old mistake of just visiting the bank and seeing how much of a mortgage we could ‘get’… Which then led to us finding the broken down shithole we now inhabit. My fault… I accidentally put on offer on it without asking my hubby.
To be fair we both loved it, I think he would have just preferred a discussion about it first.
Ah well what can I say…I’m impulsive.
Anyway, back to the story in hand. We had bought the shithole, Mr S was a student and we had just got married. Money was tight and we were sleeping in a bed in the kitchen. Life was happy and simple, but there was no money to be had.
The property was amazing, in fact the stuff dreams are made of.
Period, detached, huge wrap around gardens, plenty of curb appeal and a bargain. We were incredibly lucky.
BUT, the décor was outrageous, I can’t begin to describe the issues I had with it, like:
-heavily varnished wooden panelled ceilings EVERYWHERE
-dreadful old patterned carpets EVERYWHERE
-old floral wallpaper EVERYWHERE
-electrical trunking EVERYWHERE
-old disgraceful light fittings EVERYWHERE
-random pieces of green slate EVERYWHERE
Basically, just shit EVERYWHERE and random DIY jobs that the old fella must have done himself, bless him.
Anyway, we’ve done lots to it but I thought I’d pick out a few of our bargain basement upcycles to tell you about. Because I’m an UPCYCLE WHORE.
Bathroom suite £32
So we lived with this bathroom for about a year…. Fuck my actual life.
I had had just about enough.. We had £200 spare and I had zero tolerance for my throwback bathroom.
What did I do? I hit eBay hard, B&Q got annihilated and Mr S mostly got bullied and harassed to death.
Now, if the turquoise suite hadn’t been rotten and full of random holes I would have totally rocked the retro look and just painted the tiles white with all white accessories- I get sad thinking about how fucking epic that would have been, but anyway this is what we did:
Bathroom suite: £32 eBay (yes a near brand new suite…bath, toilet and sink for a mere £32 quid) we have a plumber friend who put the bathroom in for us for a few beers and a mean Italian meal. #topchefamelie
Tile paint, shower curtain and blind- B&Q
Towels and bath mat- IKEA
Hearts-Ikea and Asda
Turquoise chalk paint- Annie Sloan…obviously
Waterfall shower –Homebase
Knick knacks- Homesense, TK Max and the range.
Spare piece of vinyl floor-from when we had our conservatory floor put down- Standon Flooring.
All in all we spent £200.
It can be done.
It wasn’t a permanent solution but it’s given us a few years of pain free bathing.
We ended up with this magnificent white/turquoise/red number:
I wanted a big kitchen table and I wanted it for next to nothing.
My dad is an eBay master- which is odd because he has trouble typing his name into into anything with a keyboard- but there we are. He taught me everything I know about bidding. On this occasion I’d seen a splendid table online that had a starting price of £0.99, I was at a locum shift while the bidding ended and with being a pharmacist at the beck and call of patients in a low signal area.. I decided to call in the big guns.
Pops sorted it for me, there was a bidding war for the last two minutes and my dad sat back, watched and swiped the table with three seconds to go for a mere £16.
A bit of sloaning later- I had created this little beauty to match my ‘Paris Grey’ kitchen cupboards and sideboard (I picked my heavy oak sideboard up for free from Freecycle!)
It’s worth adding at this point the whole kitchen was another successful upcycle… The dark wooden cupboards and ceiling transformed with Chalk paint, floor revived with some inexpensive vinyl, our horrid green slate fireplace updated with some old white masonry paint, the addition of some gingham and lace to the Windows was easy and the godawful kitchen tiles (brown with some randomly placed cottage scene tiles) were updated with tile paint.
Tile paint is my hero.
Add a little feature wall..and BAM kitchen complete. I do love hearts. Sorry, not sorry.
The room was transformed from dated…to ‘darling’ within two weeks and probably cost about £300 to do..including the floor!
This room gave me so much untold joy to create.
Prior to the rejuvenation the conservatory was a carpeted, dated thermo-chaotic room… We didn’t use it, because firstly, the extremes of temperature were weird but mostly it was just minging.
Again, a bit of cream tile paint transformed the brown earthy tiles and a lick of a fabulous ‘Tudor green’ paint to the brick work brought the outside in!
Again, the vinyl floor was added to this room, essential when you basically live with the cast of Aristocats.
Now for the fun part… Get on this. Every bit of furniture in this room was free!
I procured the pieces from Freecycle, freegle and freebay. It was like a game to me. Those two armchairs, a wicker conservatory suite (lovingly painted white with some old emulsion and treated to a little coat of Annie Sloan wax by my own fair hand) and both tables, all for the bargain price of FUCK ALL. (I have recently replaced the wicker sofa we had with…GET ON THIS a beautiful leather Chesterfield sofa and another fab leather armchair, that were of course FREE!)
We did spend a bit of money in there mind. I picked up some green fabrics from Aberkahn for £7 and cut out a basic throw for the conservatory chair and using a bamboo garden trellis created a ‘blind’ to cover the godawful halogen light- you know like those ones you used to have in school? One day we will get the electrics changed In there but this decade will have to make do.
I probably forked out around £50 on artificial plants and a further approximately £40 on storm lanterns, slogan wall hangings and such like.
It’s a lovely room for a little evening tipple and a game of Jenga.
We have since had a leak in there which has damaged the wall so we need a bit of skimming work done to sort that,but the upcycle was simple and all for under £150 quid excluding the floor.
If anyone is wondering what the floor set us back, I really can’t remember it wasn’t excessive a few hundred quid perhaps. We had a couple of hundred quid knocked off the price as the couple that own that flooring shop are family friends and gave us a voucher when we got married. Sound.
I’m merely scratching the surface of the immense online bargains I have procured over the years but I wanted to show you what could be achieved on a tighter budget.
Just for a fun here’s some pictures of our newest rooms updated lounge, office (former second bathroom) and both hallways. All updated to unrecognisable levels; costing more than the other rooms as we had a lovely reclaimed floor and other bits of joinery/plastering etc to do in there.
But you know me, still mostly bargains! For example- Mr S created the lounge brick feature wall after hours of removing plaster and turning our house into a plaster-dust shit storm of doom. What a guy!
Entrance Hall, stairs and Office-all still works in progress (The office was a ‘delightful’ peach bathroom before!) –
Here are a few ‘Before’ photos from the sale brochure! They don’t even capture how fucking awful it was!
I inspired the other ferals to get paint happy too.. Here’s a little slideshow of some of mine and Clara’s upcycle projects. It’s amazing what a bit of chalk paint and wax can do.
Happy DIYing lads! Please comment below if you want to know any more about sloaning or Upcycling in general! Take a look at the Annie Sloan website for Chalk paint ideas too. Pretty sure we have kept her in business over the last few years!
All photos Utterly Ferals own. Animal head app used. Quotes made using Typorama.