This month we caught up with Kerry and Grant to hear about their second property project and Kezzabeth, their hugely popular home renovation blog. Showcasing their hard work and creativity, the regularly updated blog brilliantly documents their latest DIY skills and design ideas.
Tell us about your current property?
Our current renovation project is a 3-bed Victorian Terrace in Nottinghamshire. The previous owner had lived there for a whopping 60 years(!!) and it hadn’t seen any renovations (aside from an 80s conservatory) since she moved in, back in the 50s! We were actually in the process of buying a different house originally, but the horrendously lengthy and drawn-out sale of our home meant we ended up losing said house at the last minute. We became house-less, had to move in with Grants parents and were desperately property searching to get back onto the property ladder fast. We viewed this house as a kind-of “wildcard” house as our initial budget was quite a bit smaller – but we instantly fell in love and literally could not turn down such an amazing house with so much potential.
What are your plans for the property?
We purchased the house back in the summer of 2014, complete with floral carpets, polystyrene ceiling tiles, a 60s back boiler and a kitchen with nowhere to put an oven. (How she cooked is beyond me – there weren’t even any hobs!). The house needed a lot of modernising, from rooms without electric to needing a whole new kitchen and bathroom, and also one very dank basement. Luckily there weren’t any major defects structurally, it was just a very outdated home. We moved in with the intent of it being a long-term renovation project, which we would take on ourselves as and when we could (and when money allowed). We’ve grown to love the property even more since we’ve lived here, and we now see it more as our long-term home and have no plans on selling it for quite some time. Our style .incorporates everything – industrial modern chic, with a classical edge. Basically, I like all styles and throw them into one bag (or room) and hope for the best.
Are you bringing in tradesmen or doing the work yourselves?
We’re doing around 95% of the work ourselves and have only had trades people in for gas plumbing, electrics and some bigger building work. It can be quite stressful, particularly with jobs where we’re very much learning as we go – but it’s also very satisfying. We renovated the whole of our bathroom ourselves, learning how to plumb and tile – saving ourselves a small fortune. The end result is one we’re very proud of and a true product of our own hard work.
What has been the most challenging aspect of the project?
The hardest part of a DIY renovation is keeping to timescales. Getting the balance of life/ work/renovating right is tough and when projects drag on for longer than we expect, it can be very disheartening and feel like we’re getting nowhere. We don’t have an overall budget for the renovation, but we do try to keep costs as low as possible, scouring second-hand materials and fittings where we can. I would suspect the overall renovation will cost around £15,000 by the end.
Looking back, would you do anything differently?
I would definitely have made a better “mock-up” kitchen whilst our actual kitchen was under renovation. We ended up being kitchen-less for much longer than we ever anticipated (a whole year) and not having a proper cooking space, in a room that was dust-free and clean meant cooking proper meals wasn’t really an option. You can only last so long on ready meals before you’re ready to throw them out the window and have a toddler tantrum. I’d love to take on another renovation project, but perhaps one in a separate house on the side to a lovely finished one we can live in.
Why did you decide to blog about your experiences?
After renovating our first home, I looked back on the project wishing I had taken more photos and documented it in some way, so I decided to set up the blog for our new project/ home. In the beginning, I used it as more of a personal diary – but now it’s very much renovation/diy focussed. I write to share our experiences and hopefully help others too! I try to update it weekly, although as of late it’s been quite difficult when the renovations get hectic. Juggling a blog, renovation and work is certainly easier said than done! The blog has definitely generated quite a bit of interest, I get a lot of emails and I’ve even been approached a couple of times to appear in a TV series, but I don’t think TV appearances are quite for me! Maybe one day.
What is your top tip for budding renovators?
One of the best tips I can give fellow renovators is to re-use or re-sell! Old doors, skirting and architrave can usually be brought back to life for example. And things like old kitchens can be often be re-sold. There’s even a market for buyers after things like bricks and scrap wood, so if you’re on a budget (like us) don’t throw away money here.
Where can we find out more?
To follow the renovation blog visit http://www.kezzabeth.co.uk