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Savvy Homeowner Quoted £1.4k For Bathroom Refurb Does It Herself For Just £300

November 5, 2020, 11:00 AM
  • Lauren Ham, 33, was quoted £1.4k to overhaul her tired-looking bathroom
  • Using paints from B&Q, furniture from Argos and accessories for Dunelm, she did it herself for just £300
  • Lauren describes DIY during the lockdown as “a tonic for the soul"

If your bathroom is looking dreary but you don’t have the funds to hire a builder to revamp it, have no fear: you can do it yourself for a fraction of the cost, just like this savvy homeowner.

Lauren Ham, 33, from South Wales, who works as a case management assistant working with individuals having suffered from traumatic brain and spinal injuries, was desperate to overhaul her small, uninspiring bathroom.

Lauren, who lives with husband David and stepdaughter Ella, was quoted £1,400 for a full bathroom re-fit, but decided to transform the space herself on a tight budget.

Using supplies from Argos, B&Q and Dunelm, Lauren turned her bathroom from drab to fab - and all for just £300.

Lauren told money-saving community LatestDeals.co.uk: "We moved into our home at the end of August this year in what was the dreariest wettest day in history, or so it felt.

"It was a very long and stressful process from offer accepted to moving in day, further exacerbated by the restrictions of a national lockdown and the delays moving within a chain can bring.

"We first saw the house back in March and instantly fell in love. We hadn’t decided to move entirely, it was on the cards for later in the year as we needed more storage space for my husband's work, but whilst browsing Rightmove I came across this gem.

"Desperate to go and view - one of my many impulse decisions - I was thrilled to hear they had a cancellation that afternoon so I went with my Mum after work. We made an offer the minute we stepped out the door. I have a very trusting husband!

"When you know it feels like home you just know. It’s very true. We rushed to get our own house on the market that very day and it was sold on first viewing the following weekend. Everything seemed to fall into place. We couldn’t believe it.

"This house is just perfect for us and ticked all of the boxes we had in mind for our dream home together. We have been married three years but this was to be our first and forever home.

"It lends itself as a spacious three-bed, three-storey townhouse with a generous sized garden. The only thing that we compromised on was the size of the bathroom which was just over 2.06m by 1.58m.

"We are fortunate to have a little en suite too, but the bathroom is my sanctuary and I knew I’d struggle with a small one with no natural light.

"It’s situated right next to the airing cupboard which contains the hot water tank so it gets extremely warm in there.

"We’d had a few quotes for work which were fairly reasonable, but after spending much more than we had intended on other jobs in the home we just didn’t have the budget left.

"I’d had the best part of six months to plan how I had envisaged the bathroom would look, and had seen many posts with this wall colour in.

"I love blues anyway but the muted tone was exactly what I had in mind. I was hoping to have the room retiled but with the hope of that fading fast under mounting costs associated with new home projects, I accepted it was dropping down the list of priorities and would be something we’d tackle next year.

"For this bathroom, I wanted the tiles to be light and fresh to compliment the blue, and chose a pale metallic effect vinyl tile to bounce the light from the spots around the walls.

"For me, the colour palette elegantly reflected the traditional basin and bath taps. The original suite was in perfect condition and we absolutely loved the traditional features.

"We only had to change the taps on the basin as the old ones had stopped working when we moved in.

"I remembered years ago seeing a full wall mirror in a show home bathroom and loved how effective it was.

“Having no window here was the perfect opportunity to try it and we are thrilled with the illusion of light and space it offers the room now.

"Having no intention to do anything this side of Christmas with the bathroom, the one evening last week I decided to pull up the lino to see what was underneath out of interest.

"That was my mistake because once I’d done that there was no way it was going back down.

"Over a period of five days we stripped the floor, sanded it back and primed it.

“We stripped the sealant from the bath using a Stanley knife and white spirit and an awful lot of elbow grease. This was probably the hardest part and something I wouldn’t do myself again in a hurry.

"It was inches deep under the base of the tiles and back-breaking work. I have to admit, I did cry and wish I’d never started!

"Once this prep was done I spent some time researching tile paint. I was conscious I’d read so many horror stories and seen countless pictures of tile painting gone wrong, but with the best reviews and lots of handy tips, I settled on this brand and had nothing to lose, or basically no other choice by this point!

"I scrubbed the tiles with sugar soap, any bumps were sanded back with soft grit sand paper and we got to work with a foam roller using V33 Satin White Tile Paint from B&Q.

"The first coat goes on very thinly and I was distraught at the look of the room after coat one. It had been a very long day so I turned to DIY groups on social media for some positive stories to encourage me to keep going and I wasn’t disappointed.

"You need to leave exactly six hours between coats which when you’re impatient is quite the task. My husband took coat two as I couldn’t summon the wherewithal, and we closed the door on it until the morning.

"The result was outstanding. This paint dries brilliantly. The coverage was excellent after two coats but we decided on a third to ensure it would be long lasting.

"My plan is to go over the grout lines in a week or two once the paint has fully cured but I don’t think it really needs it at this time.

"As complete DIY novices working full time we had some help from some very trusted tradespeople to complete some of the other tasks above our skill set.

"We were originally quoted approximately £1,400 for a re-tile and floor with sealing the bath and sink.

"The cost to transform the bathroom recently came in at just over £300 for paint, flooring, wall art, help from trades for the work we couldn’t do and the large mirror.

"The bath shelf and bath tray were £25 and £5, the white soap dispenser was £8 and the soap dish was £5, all from Dunelm.

"I bought these before we moved at the beginning of the year as I had this vision that I wanted to create when we could afford it. They do still stock these now.

"I feel the wood tones compliment the light design and soften the room.

"The small mirror above the sink was £20 from Argos along with the under sink cabinet which was £50.

"The large mirror we measured and was custom made by a local glass supplier for £130 and delivered for no charge. We fitted it ourselves using mirror adhesive. It dries within 5 minutes.

"I’m sure we held on a lot longer than that though until we were confident it wouldn’t slide right off the wall.

“The blush towels and flannels we already owned from ASDA, the wall prints were £21 for three from Etsy, the wooden frames were £5 each from the Frame Company and the green reusable bottles were £9.99 for the two from ebay.

“The floor was primed underneath with Zinsser BIN Multi Surface Matt Primer. No underlay was required as the floorboards were chipboard and in perfect condition. We still have most of the tin left, this stuff is wonderful! I’ll be priming everything in future.

“The peel and stick vinyl floor tiles were £15.60 a pack from B&Q. The wall paint was Dulux Denim Drift Bathroom, and was mixed by Valspar as our local B&Q were out of the original brand (the joys of local lockdown). It cost £15 for one litre.

“The woodwork paint cost £26 for two litres and was Dulux One Coat Satin White.

“The tile paint was V33 Satin White wall tile and panelling paint from B&Q, applied with a small foam roller. We used three light coats with six hours drying time between coats. It cost £36 for two litres.”

Lauren is delighted with the finished look of her bathroom, especially considering that she saved over £1,000 on what it would have cost to install professionally.

"We are thrilled with the final result,” she adds. "It’s a room we stop to look in every time we walk past. Although small it feels calming, light and fresh.

"I love the warmth that wooden accessories lend, I’m a nature girl at heart and love bringing it into my home.

"We’re really quite overwhelmed by the response we have received in relation to it. I posted the finished result online to thank the people who had given me the encouragement to keep going. It was just our little project that we never thought would turn out so well.

"All in all our bathroom renovation came in at just over £300 for labour, materials and accessories.

"I think these DIY projects during a time of worldwide pandemic are a tonic for the soul.

"My husband and I have been fortunate to continue to work mostly throughout but not without financial burdens as life has changed for us all.

"All our big plans have had to be scaled back. We don’t want to sacrifice on quality but what we can do ourselves we definitely are. We are an average working family on an average income.

"Like many other families money is tight, so we hope that this inspires others to tackle the jobs around the house they’d been putting off. It can be as expensive or low budget as you want to make it. Everyone’s budgets are different.

"After just over 8 weeks we have created our perfect home. It’s going to be the ideal place to continue to grow as a family.

"I think having these DIY projects to focus on outside of work right now has been a godsend. It can be very isolating being at home even if you live with other people.

"We all miss our extended families. I have a beautiful niece who was born just before lockdown.

"My main inspiration is how wonderful this home will be for the younger generations of our family to grow up in.

"I want to make it an environment our families will enjoy visiting, and most importantly, my step-daughter will feel is an extension of her own lovely home when she is spending time here with us.

"The beauty of the internet delivery services and click and collect is that many of the items you need to get started with your projects are so readily available now without having to go far.

"My advice for anyone wanting to do the same is don’t put too much pressure on yourself. Rome wasn’t built in a day. Take your time to do it properly. You’ll be happier with the end result.

"Take to social media for advice and guidance, but if it’s above your skillset, seek a professional. Especially if the job can carry risks.

"Do your research, don’t buy the first thing you see. There are so many similar items all over the internet.

"It’s okay to start a job and keep saving until it’s finished. We have a few other accessories to add when payday arrives.

"Make the most of the space you’ve got and don’t wish for what you don’t have. The right lighting and carefully thought out layout will maximise the room space you are working with.

"Most importantly have fun. It’s not supposed to be hard work. That’s what the professionals are for!”

Tom Church, co-founder of LatestDeals.co.uk, comments: “We are now in another lockdown which means even more time at home! If you’re truly fed up of the tired look of your bathroom, kitchen or bedroom, make like Lauren and transform it yourself on a budget.

“Free inspiration can be found on Instagram or Pinterest, and there are loads of handy step-by-step guides on YouTube.

“Even if you don’t own a set of DIY tools, everyone can get to grips with simple tasks such as painting, which can make the world of difference to the look of your home!"

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lindaalexa565a year ago

Well done you. We have moved into a house in need of total renovation and other unexpected expenses have cropped up. I have just bought paint today from B and Q to upcycle existing bathroom vanity units that are at least 30 years old. It is a 4 door floor unit and a matching wall unit with mirror and great😃 light. A similar new floor unit is over £1100 at Plumbstore (no wall unit or mirror). I have paid £19 for the paint and I saw 6 pewter door knobs for £9 in B and Q which will suit. I will have to get a new inset sink and worktop. I am estimating £100 for a recessed sink and tap, £125 for a new worktop, unfortunately only using half of 3mtr top, £100 labour. Total £353 compared to £1119, saving at least £766.

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