A couple in Hertfordshire have managed to transform an old, run-down house into the luxurious home of their dreams, complete with a two-storey extension and swimming pool.
DIY duo Lizzy and Phil, who have been sharing their home makeover on Instagram at @renovationhq, bought their home in 2014 and have spent the last five years gradually turning it into a property to be proud of - throwing £100,000 and a LOT of elbow grease at the project.
The married couple have had to complete the work over weekends and evenings as they both work full time, with jobs in marketing and finance.
Lizzy told LADbible: "We have done roughly 90 percent of the work ourselves, from digging the foundations, plumbing the entire house, converting the garage into four rooms (garage was too narrow for a modern car), fitting kitchen, bathrooms, underfloor heating throughout the ground floor and installing the pool, amongst other things.
"During lockdown we tiled 100sqm of the back garden. It was back-breaking but a great achievement over the period.
"The house has full home automation, which includes scene lighting, whole house audio, room-by-room smart heating and an integrated audio-visual system."
After completely gutting the house, they even teamed up with a neighbour to build a two-storey rear extension, with Lizzy adding: "Joint planning allowed us both to gain a much bigger footprint in our extension and our neighbour is a bricklayer so he built both extensions at the same time."
While the physical labour has been difficult, it's not the only challenge that the build has created.
Lizzy said: "Living without heating over the first six months was really hard as we moved in over the winter and the gas had been cut off.
"Fighting the constant dust was a losing battle and it could be found on everything we owned.
"We made many sacrifices with time and money, dedicating both to buying the necessary parts for the house and weekends to carry out the work.
"We can't say for sure but we're confident we've spent £100,000 - but not much more than that."
Despite the downsides they've faced over the years, Lizzy and Phil are delighted with the end result, saying they've found the transformation 'incredibly rewarding'.
Lizzy continued: "We love so many parts of the house, as we've made it into our space which works really well for us.
"The garden is a blessing - having a pool is a real luxury when the weather is good. The garden is in a valley so it's very relaxing place filled with wildlife, which is great for the soul.
"We must admit we're enjoying the latest stage: relaxing at the weekends, enjoying the fruits of our labour in the pool and garden when the weather is good!"
And if anyone else is hoping to follow in Lizzy and Phil's brave footsteps, they say you're probably more capable than you realise, urging people to have the guts to give it a go.
Lizzy said: "Online has been our biggest friend for getting confident in how to do things. Instagram, Houzz and Pinterest have been our go-to places for inspiration - compile a moodboard of all the images you like for inspiration.
"Decide on colours early doors; one of our biggest regrets is painting the house in neutral colours with the intention of repainting once we knew the colours we would ultimately prefer. Problem is repainting the house will be a mammoth job - would have been better to do it right from the start.
"Always consider lighting at the start of your project; you will need to lay cable early doors so consider how you want to light up your space.
"It can make or break a space and add oodles of atmosphere.
"Consider home automation if you possibly can. We used Loxone and it's fantastic - it's incredibly intuitive and gives you freedom in your space that standard electrical systems don't do."
She added: "Have the confidence to give things a try, don't be afraid to fail."
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