Couple with no DIY experience revamp run-down period property

A couple with no DIY experience has shared the incredible renovations they completed on a run-down period property – and now it’s worth an additional £95,000 just two years after they bought it.

Lisa McDermott, 31, and Ed McDermott, 32, from Dorset, purchased the 1930s three-bedroom home in Bath, Somerset, in March 2019 for £355,000.

The shabby house had dated furnishings that Lisa believes hadn’t been updated since the 1960’s, and needed a complete overhaul.

The couple, who are both marketing professionals set about completing extensive renovations of the whole property, removing internal walls, the original kitchen, the toilet and wallpaper.

The couple carried out the bathroom plumbing themselves, before decorating the whole property with neutral colours and modern finishes.

Lisa and Ed watched YouTube videos before undertaking some of the larger jobs, such as chasing in pipes into the walls and under the floorboards.


The only room they hired professional help for was the kitchen-diner – which they knocked four existing rooms down to create.

Although their builder warned them of the mess, Lisa and Ed had no choice but to live in the house during the project – although the process was sped up when they were both furloughed in April 2020.

To cut costs, Lisa and Ed up-cycled and made items of furniture such as wardrobes, shelves, mirrors, bar stools and cabinet.

To cut costs, Lisa and Ed up-cycled and made items of furniture such as wardrobes, shelves, mirrors, bar stools and cabinet.

The renovations were complete in December 2020, 21 months after starting the renovations, when the carpets were laid.

The house now features three beds, one bathroom, a downstairs toilet under the stairs, a kitchen/diner, a lounge, and an attic room.

The upstairs layout remains the same, but before renovating there was an additional dining room, utility room and toilet.


The total cost of the renovation was £45,000, including trade, materials, tools, appliances and furnishings.

As a result of their efforts when the couple had the house revalued, they found it was now worth £95,000 more than they originally paid for it.

The couple are particularly happy with their savings on the bathroom as doing it all themselves and purchasing it in the sale meant it cost them £1,700.

‘We couldn’t afford to live in Bath unless we purchased a doer-upper and renovated it ourselves,’ Lisa told Jam Press.

‘We had three goals when we purchased the house – to enjoy it, to learn and to not spend more money than it was worth.’

The original kitchen – which was expected to be the most expensive part of the revamp – featured dated white cabinets and a dull brown floor with an archway leading into the utility room.

The space was completely overhauled according to Lisa and Ed’s designs, and the finished result looks like a new house altogether.

Another challenge for the DIY newbies was learning the ropes when it came to plastering, which they found the trickiest element of the renovation.

But they were adamant that they complete as much of the work as possible themselves to stick to their budget.

‘It’s so easy for costs to creep up – there is always something you want to add,’ Lisa explained.

‘We budgeted each part of the house and created a separate bank account for our renovation costs.

‘The idea was that once the money is gone, it’s gone, so we knew that if we spent more on one thing, we would need to sacrifice something else.’


One way of getting around their budget was to use their newfound passion for DIY and create some of the furniture themselves.

The couple purchased items second-hand from Facebook Marketplace and upcycled them, including a wooden dressing table which Lisa painted forest green.

They also created an on-trend black grid mirror using individual photo frames and mirror pieces from Ikea.

Thrifty Lisa also reused old bronze pipes and created a unique shoe-rack for additional storage.

One room which underwent a particularly impressive transformation is the lounge.
Formerly featuring pale green wallpaper, a clashing amber carpet and dated pink fireplace, the room was made more harmonious with grey and white walls, and soft wooden furnishings.

The fireplace was ripped out and replaced with a sleek white stone fireplace – which only cost £25 after Lisa sourced the wood surround on Facebook Marketplace. The new grey-brown carpet completes the room with a warm, cosy feel.

Every room in the house was given the McDermott’s special treatment with a fresh slick of paint and updated, modern furnishes – all in their staple natural tones.

The garden also got an overhaul, with the couple removing an old pond, adding in turf and building a decking area to create their very own oasis.

After 21 months of hard work, the couple are finally finished and are focusing on enjoying their home – though they aren’t ruling out any future projects.

‘We would absolutely do it again and were actually sad when it was all done as we enjoyed it so much,’ Lisa said.

‘We couldn’t have done it without the internet and the willingness of people sharing their skills and experience – and we have learnt so many skills over the past couple of years.’

Check out the rest of their renovation on their Instagram.

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