A South Belfast woman has shared amazing transformation photos from the interior of her property renovation.
Denise, who is originally from Dublin, shares her home journey on her Instagram @southbelfastrenovation.
Along with her husband, they began the process on the four-bed 1930’s McDowell style house just days after Denise found out she was expecting her second child.
The family of four moved into the Belfast home in July 2019 and had architect plans drawn up straight away, starting the building process in March 2020 when the pandemic hit.
They increased the overall size of the property to 2500 sq ft by creating an open plan extension.
Denise said the last day tradesmen were at the house was back in November, but she has even more plans on improving her dream property further.
The mum-of-two told Be why she decided to do a renovation, her top tips for those doing similar and easy ways of saving money when working on your own home.
She explained: “We decided to move because we knew at some point we wanted to make the move to a bigger house, ideally detached and with more bedrooms. We had previously done a renovation on our old house so we weren’t afraid to look at houses that needed work done to them.
“We fell in love with this house after the first viewing but knew it wasn’t suitable in its current layout. It had a tiny galley kitchen with a random room off it that had a cold leaking conservatory attached to it as well. We had an open plan kitchen living dining area in our old house and knew we wanted to create that idea again in this house.
“Elsewhere in the house the layout was good but everything just needed to be updated eg rewiring and replumbing etc. We knew to achieve the finish that we wanted in a house, that we would have to do a complete renovation to ensure we got exactly what we wanted!”
She said the best part of renovating is that you get to choose and decide every detail in your house, including picking your new kitchen or new tiles, along with what to keep.
And for the worst and hardest parts of the process, Denise added: “The worst part about renovating is having difficult conversations with tradesmen about things that have not been done exactly to the plans! Some people probably use project managers but we managed the build ourselves which meant having to deal with all the little problems along the way.
“The hardest part about renovating is living through the mess. It was our decision to live in the house throughout but that didn’t mean it wasn’t hard especially when the build was meant to take four months but ended up taking eight! The electricians were still here the morning I gave birth.
“It is definitely stressful. Not the whole time but when little problems crop up then that can cause stress.”
Denise has shared where she gained inspiration from.
“I used to just Google kitchen ideas and then click on images to see what came up! I knew I wanted a big island with seating on it so that people can sit around and chat while I am cooking. I’ve recently got into Instagram and there are lots of ideas on there too which is helping for ideas to finish things off,” she said.
For those thinking of renovating, the Belfast mum added “stop thinking about it and just do it”.
Denise said: “There is no such thing as the right time. If you’re moving into a doer-upper don’t waste money on updating things, just wait and do it properly instead of doing it twice. We had ordered a cheap kitchen to replace our galley kitchen and then cancelled it. So glad we did because we might have been reluctant to start the extension if we had gone ahead with it.”
Denise’s top tips
- Always get at least three quotes for everything
- Ideally get a recommendation for a builder from somebody you know very well
- Shop around for everything. We saved thousands on our bathrooms by ordering online. Try to get as many things from the one website as possible as pallet delivery is usually about £90. It’s worth it though as you will get things so much cheaper online
- If you can live in the house then do. Our build went from four months to eight months. That’s a lot of extra money if you’re paying to rent somewhere
- If you do live there, try and get a dishwasher plumbed in somewhere. Washing the dishes in a sink in the bathroom was one of the worst parts of the renovation
Denise said you can easily save money during the transformation process by doing small jobs yourself, such as painting.
The mum-of-two added: “I even painted the downstairs toilet when I was eight months pregnant! I also painted the rainbow mural in my daughters room. I found a rainbow decal online which was over £60! I bought sample pots from Homebase for £1 each and did it myself! Total cost £5.
“I am also in the middle of painting Ikea wardrobes as we were quoted almost £3k for new wardrobes! I am going to add nice handles to jazz them up a bit.
“So really if there’s anything you might be able to do yourself just give it a go! I might even try tiling the utility room myself once I watch a few YouTube videos!”
Denise is extremely happy with how her property is currently looking and is definitely glad she decided to renovate.
“There are still lots of little finishing touches needed which have been hard to do with all the shops closed, so I’ll hopefully get to order a few more things when they reopen.
“So glad we decided to go ahead with the extension when we did and we were lucky our builder was still able to get supplies. If we hadn’t proceeded at the beginning of the first lockdown then I doubt we would have the amazing space that we have now.
“I just love this house and sometimes can’t believe I live here! It really is our dream house!” she added.
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