Refurbishing projects

by Janet
(Stevenage, Herts)

Over the years we've saved loads of money buy doing some quite major projects ourselves.

I'm fortunate in that hubby is a very practical man who can turn his hand to almost anything so that helps a lot. I've had to learn as I go along though so some things have taken longer because of the learning curve.

I think that the most important thing is to do the planning properly. There's nothing more aggravating that getting halfway through a job and finding that you're missing some critical component. It's almost always late at night when you find that out so you have to stop what you're doing and wait to the next day for the shops to open.

Measure twice and cut once is a good principle to live by when you're doing a DIY project. Materials are expensive so it's good not to waste money by being careless.

Over the years we've renovated and refurbished most of the rooms in our house. We've completely redone the bathroom and the kitchen. The bathroom suite was brand new when we came into the house, so we didn't change that, but we did install cupboards and completely tile the bathroom. It was quite a bit of work at the time but it's been worthwhile as the maintenance is now minimal.

The only thing that was replaced recently was the toilet cistern and the flooring. This was due to a leak on the cistern that ruined the old floor.

For some things we've had to get some paid help. We don't mess with electrical and now that we're a bit older we don't do ladders for outside work on the house.

Our biggest success has been the kitchen. We gutted the old one and added more units. Even though this was several years ago, the kitchen still looks amazing and it functions really well. We planned it according to the way that we use it. A place for everything and everything in its place.

We bought flat-packed cupboards and drawers and assembled and fitted it all ourselves. We saved thousands of pounds doing it this way. All the units come with instructions so as long as you read them and you can use a screwdriver it's a straightforward job.

There is a very satisfying pleasure from using and enjoying the finished product when you've done it yourself.

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