Our new home hadn’t been decorated since 1992 so we transformed it with just £5K


When Darren and Andy Robertson-Leggatt moved into their new home, they knew they had a lot of work ahead of them.

The five-bedroom house in Ilford, West Sussex, hadn’t been decorated since 1992 – meaning the flooring, wallpaper and furniture was very dated.

However, the couple managed to turn it into their dream home during lockdown, and their good eye for a bargain and decision to do most of the work themselves meant they completely transform it for less than £5,000.

Carer Darren, 39, was gifted the house by family friend Jan, 84, who is like a grandmother to him and he knew it would need a new lease of life.

But determined to save wherever possible, Darren and husband, Andy, 44, dismissed quotes of more than £5,000 and have transformed the house into a modern stylish home for just £4,700.

Darren said: “We have done quite a lot and it’s all been done on a shoestring.

“We were getting people to come in and give us a quote for the work but then we thought, actually we can do that ourselves.

“We were quoted £8,000 to insulate the roof in the conservatory but then we realised it was just Celotex and PVC cladding so we bought the stuff and did it for £1,000.

“We saved ourselves money on the flooring because we opened a business account with Wickes so they knocked about £400 off that and we got the whole downstairs done for £900.

“Loads of the furniture is just old stuff that we’ve repurposed or we’ve bought from Facebook Marketplace and eBay.

“There was a coffee table in the hallway that we bought off eBay for £1.32 and I had to pay through Paypal because I was too embarrassed to go round to the man’s house with the change.”

The house which belonged to Darren’s family friend, Jan and her late husband, Neil, 81, hadn’t been updated in decades as Neil liked the old flooring, mahogany details and dark wood doors.

But when he died of an aortic aneurysm 18 months ago, Jan was ready to give the place a new lick of paint.

Darren said: “I’ve been caring for Jan for 16 years now and she’s like my nan, she’s wanted to update the place for years but her late husband loved all the dark brown doors and everything, he would never let us change any of it.

“When he passed away, she decided it was time to breathe a bit of life back into it and give it a fresh lick of paint, but it really only started in lockdown.

“We have done pretty much all of it ourselves over the last 12 months and it feels like we have brought it back into the 21st Century.”