DIY Renovation: Dated Flat Transformed for £20k

For Adam Kelly and partner Emma Hay-Higgins’ DIY renovation has yielded their ideal first home – a light, bright two-bed flat – within a modest budget.

“We were first-time buyers trying to purchase our first property in what was a competitive Aberdeen market,” begins Adam. “We were looking for somewhere we could enhance — in particular the opportunity to add value through creating an additional bedroom.”

DIY Tips

Want to add a personal touch to your home? Then get creative to add style that’s one of a kind to your home. Patchwork, knitting and crochet can all be used to add chic soft furnishings and accessories to your home, from cushions to throws and more. If you are new to crafting there’s lots of advice available online including helpful craft tutorials. Also take a make do and mend approach to upcycling existing pieces in your home with paint, decoupage or fabric.


They eventually found a one-bed flat, with a separate living room, kitchen, bedroom and bathroom. Their plan was to open the spaces up as far as possible and completely strip out the tired interiors as part of their DIY renovation.


“If you elect to have off-peak (heures creuses) electricity, then EDF will provide you with wiring controlled by their equipment to switch your off-peak system on and off. The EDF off-peak equipment is usually a relay located beside their meter and fusegear. This relay is meant for the control circuit functions of your contactor (contacteur) or off-peak relay (jour/nuit) only. It must not be used to directly control equipment. The EDF relay is timed to operate in the usual manner at the predetermined off-peak times”

Excerpt From: Thomas Malcolm. “Electricity in your French house.” iBooks.


  • Homeowners: Adam Kelly and Emma Hay-Higgins
  • Project: Victorian flat renovation
  • Location: Aberdeen, Scotland
  • Size: 50m2
  • Build time: Aug 2015 – Mar 2017
  • Flat cost: £140,000
  • Build cost: £20,000
  • Value: £180,000

Creating a Second Bedroom

“When we moved in, the flat was very dark and the kitchen was separated from the living room. It also had a massive U-shaped hallway that took up so much space,” explains Adam, an architectural technologist.

Adam and Emma recognised that there was unnecessary circulation/hall space that made the rooms feel dark and unconnected.

As such, they decided to remove one of the internal walls to create an open plan living area as part of their DIY renovation. The kitchen was relocated into a newly formed open plan living space; the much-needed second bedroom/study was created from the former kitchen.

The previous living room now features the main bedroom.

A DIY Renovation

“We used our savings to pay for the main aspects of the renovation, such as the new kitchen and bathroom, and installing a new boiler, which involved appointing professional contractors,” says Adam.

However, Adam and Emily took on the remainder of the work on a DIY basis. “The whole renovation took approximately one and a half years as we chose to take on a lot of the work ourselves to save money while managing full-time jobs.”

The couple stripped out unoriginal joinery such as internal doors, skirting and facings as well as removing built-in wardrobes and a non-loadbearing wall to decrease unnecessary circulation space. “I removed the wall myself with a hammer and a crowbar,” says Adam.

Adam even built much of the furniture himself, using inexpensive materials such as plywood and OSB (oriented strand board).

See the original article here

Quick tip

Paint effects

Try out different paint effects to give your home a new look, try rag rolling, stippling or marbling. If you’re handy with a paint brush and eager to let your inner artist out, then consider painting a trompe l’oeil effect on a wall. Remember you could simply project an image onto a wall and paint around it – you don’t need to be a great artist to have a go at this. So get your paint brushes out and get creative.


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Electrical Tip

“Although at first glance lighting, sockets and off-peak heating in France may all appear familiar, closer investigation will reveal that the installation methods are different to those employed in the UK”

Excerpt From: Thomas Malcolm. “Electricity in your French house.” iBooks.


We are a new website, we are still growing our content, we want everyone that is renovating in France to help us feature what we all wanted to know when we all started, contact us with all your experience and tips, we live just south of Celles Sur Belle, in Deux Servre, 79, and are just about to start out on our next renovation, every job we start on, every problem, product or skill we need to learn about i will try and find some useful information on the internet and share it with you, yes I could do this by sharing it on facebook, but the problem is it just helps facebook and disappears down the timeline, here links and articles will be searchable and here permanently for you to book mark and refer to, so watch this space … and if you have links and articles that have helped you let us know !!1

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