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DIY Mum Saves £9,000 Converting Garage Into Swanky Bathroom

Tom
25th September 2019, 4:30 PM
DIY Mum Saves £9,000 Converting Garage Into Swanky Bathroom
  • Kelly Magness, 30, and her husband Sean, 33, pulled off an incredible transformation
  • The couple watched YouTube tutorials to figure out what to do
  • The project saved Kelly £9,000 because she did it herself

If you have a garage full of junk, it’s time to get inspired by this amazing garage conversion. 

Kelly and Sean Magness, 30 and 33, from North Wales, have two sons, Ted, two, and Kailun, eight. 

Back in 2017, when Kelly discovered she was pregnant with her second child, the couple decided it was time to rejig their home to make space for the new arrival.

Kelly told LatestDeals.co.uk: “In October 2017, my husband and I found out we were pregnant with our second son Ted after 17 months of trying. 

“We had given up hope of it happening sooner rather later so the fact that we only have two bedrooms didn’t even cross our mind. We knew that eventually we would need another bedroom so instead of paying thousands for planning permission and an extension which we definitely couldn’t afford, we decided to move the bathroom to the internal garage and then turn the old bathroom into a bedroom.  

“We had a few companies come round to quote at the start and I don’t quite know what we were expecting but one was £14,000 and another was £11,000 which was many moons away from what we could afford. 

"After a long discussion we decided that as we had about 16 months (including all my pregnancy and six months after birth), we’d just wing it and do it ourselves as we went along. Little did we know it would take two and a half years or longer altogether and that we’d be sharing our bedroom with a toddler!”

Kelly, who works for a high street bank, says one of the main reasons the couple decided to go for it was the length of time they had to try to make it work, and says that despite having no building background, she loves inspiring herself by home transformations on social media and on TV. 

“We knew it would be a lot of hard graft but we decided to bite the bullet and attempt it ourselves seeing as we had 16 months to play with,” Kelly says. “I follow so many home accounts on social media and love seeing transformations. This is exactly where all my inspiration came from: Instagram, DIY pages on social media, Pinterest and home programmes on the telly. 

“When we decided 100% we were going to do it we literally just woke up the morning after and started. I took my inspiration from a mix of homes I follow on social media, told my husband the look I wanted and scribbled a drawing with my son’s felt tips and that was that.

“We had to get all the necessary checks done first. My husband had to raise the floor as it was lower than the rest of the house which was great to allow us to hide the pipe work. A window had to be cut in as there wasn’t one in there. The double garage doors had to be bricked up.

“A huge wall had to be knocked down to utilise the corridor behind the garage which leads to the rest of the house and all water needed to be plumbed in and connected to the drainage outside. All this is before we could even start to build and design the bathroom and this is what cost the bulk of our money and probably what took the longest. 

“Before we had even got all this completed, Ted decided to make an appearance four weeks early, making me even miss my own baby shower! As you can imagine the bathroom took a back seat for a while, as I had had a C-section and they take a bit of time to heal.”

After Ted’s surprise arrival, Kelly waited a few months to get cracking with the bathroom again. 

“A few months after Ted was born, we decided to get a move on as babies normally go into their own room at six months,” Kelly says. “I had known I wanted a freestanding bath so I could clean around it, I knew I wanted a walk in shower which you could access by walking either side, I knew I loved the look of double sinks and I knew I wanted the toilet system hidden.

“But as for the specific details, I knew we were going to make it up as we went along. We scanned the internet daily for weeks to find the cheapest deals and Victoria Plum seemed to be coming up as one of the cheapest. I basically had an idea of what I wanted in my head and just went with the cheapest lookalike items I could find. 

“I wanted a floating sink vanity unit but they were all ridiculous prices like £600 for the size we needed, so I found the look I wanted and my husband created it using B&Q kitchen units and cutting them down to size. 

“My unit worktop is just a cheap kitchen worktop cut to size which looks like stone but is a fraction of the price. The big storage unit holds so much stuff and we had a huge space to fill which it does fantastically. I literally have everything in there from towels to ironing to dirty washing to bedsheets. 

“I didn’t have a clue what tiles I wanted but I knew I loved textured ones and I knew I wanted a colour that wouldn’t go out of fashion. My mum has always taught me to have plainer walls and to always incorporate colour into the room with accessories as colour themes change like the wind. 

“We went to a few tile shops and told them what we needed and they all wanted about £900, which we thought was bonkers but we found the best offer and cheapest tiles were from B&Q for a fraction of the price.  

“I personally don’t like bathrooms that are tiled from top to bottom as that’s what my old bathroom was so we decided to just tile the back shower wall and the sides in case water splashed with the shower being open. 

“I got these ideas from some bathrooms I had seen on Instagram. This saved us a lot of money as our bathroom is pretty big and the floor alone was costing a fortune. We decided on spotlights in the ceiling and a light sensor because I hate pull cords.”

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In order to make sure everything was done properly, Kelly drafted in the help of friends and also spent lots of time watching tutorials on YouTube. She even contacted fellow renovators on social media to ask for tips. 

“We paid a friend who is a plasterer to plaster and we had an electrician friend come in to help with electrics,” Kelly says. “We both spent hours on YouTube watching tutorials for various things. I even private messaged a girl on Instagram to ask her how she managed to get her bath flush to the floor! She was actually so lovely and so helpful. We had a tiler who was a friend of the plasterer to tile and my husband did everything else.”

Kelly says that although creating the bathroom was definitely a challenge, she is delighted with the result and feels the project has brought her family closer together. She’s even received hundreds of messages from strangers admiring her new bathroom after sharing photos on social media. 

“It did not come without its problems and struggles, and we had many stressful nights wondering how to do certain things and not knowing why things weren’t working, but overall it’s saved us thousands of pounds and brought us so much closer as a family because we all got involved in it, even the kids,” Kelly says.

“It’s so crazy to think that our bathroom has now become other other people’s ‘inspiration’ and ‘bathroom goals’ when I took so much inspiration from them.

“My advice to anyone looking to renovate themselves is: 100% go for it, but be realistic and plan. I’d also say don’t buy expensive materials, have fun and don’t be afraid to ask for help. 

“I can’t lie, we definitely winged every bit of our bathroom, from building and buying things to saving money and putting it all together. Even though I didn’t have any plans set in stone, I had my bathroom design in my head and knew exactly what look I wanted. 

“We didn’t start off with a budget, so we planned to buy some things or put a bit of money aside each payday for items or tradesmen as we knew we had over a year to complete.

“Expensive is not always best. Would someone really notice the difference between a £150 tile and a £12 tile? Between £30 sinks or £500 sinks? I definitely wouldn’t. I got the exact look I wanted for a fraction of the cost just by shopping around and finding lookalikes.

“Although we don’t have an exact price I think our bathroom overall cost about £5,000. Now to some people that might seem like an awful lot but our bathroom is a huge space. We had thousands of pounds of work to do before we could even start the main work and I have longed for a bathroom like ours my entire life. 

“Finally after nearly three years, my two year old can finally have his own room! We just have to gut the old bathroom out and start renovating all over again!”

Kelly, who shares photos of her renovations at ourbudgetbungalow, says that the project cost around £5,000, but that originally she was quoted £14,000, so she’s saved around £9,000, a figure she’s chuffed with.  Here’s a list of some of what Kelly bought to transform her bathroom, and how much it all cost: 

  • Bath, free standing tap and shower head, double sinks, double taps, toilet and cistern and flush, ceiling shower head and handheld shower and wall dials - Victoria Plum £1400
  • Mirrored Shower Screen - Victoria Plum £170
  • Tiles - B&Q £500
  • Sink unit and worktop - B&Q £300
  • Mould resistant and wipeable Dulux Paint £80
  • Large white & grey cabinet - Ikea £260
  • Navy Rug - Very £30
  • Sink mirror - The Range £40
  • Large canvas above toilet - The Range £40 
  • Pictures above bath - The Range £30
  • New window - £200
  • New door & fittings - £100
  • Spotlights and automatic light sensor - £100

Tom Church, co-founder of LatestDeals.co.uk, says: “Kelly and Sean’s garage to bathroom transformation is simply amazing and the fact they saved £9,000 by doing it themselves just shows the value of learning to do DIY. I fully agree with Kelly’s suggestion to find materials you like and then source the cheapest possible lookalikes: as she says, no one will ever know the difference between a £30 sink and a £500 sink! If you have a garage that’s collecting dust, it’s time to consider renovating it: garage conversions are usually far cheaper than extensions, and you can also end up increasing the value of your home.”

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