It was June 2019 when Michaela Shoebridge, 35, and her partner signed the deeds to their dream home in Kingston Upon Hull. The property in question is a modern, spacious bungalow built in the 80s, situated in a private cul-de-sac in a picturesque village.
The couple had a lot to work with. Although on one level, the bungalow has four bedrooms one of which has an en-suite, a living room, kitchen and utility room, a bathroom and a large conservatory which opens up onto the back lawn.
The couple immediately fell in love with the idyllic location and privacy, but what they didn’t bank on was the ceiling collapsing in both the hallway and bedroom just as they were about to exchange. “We always knew that this property would need a lot of TLC but as we love a challenge we didn’t see it as a problem,” Shoebridge says.
“It was dated and neglected when we first saw it, but we had high hopes about what we could do. Then, just before we purchased the property there was a huge leak from the water tank located in the loft. As the property was empty at the time, it was around two weeks until the leak was discovered which resulted in the ceiling in one of the bedrooms and our hallway completely caving in.”
The previous owner was instructed to repair the damage in good time; however, the old water tank remained which Shoebridge says gave her “extreme anxiety”. Because of this, the new homeowners’ first job was to purchase a new boiler and fix up the old plumbing to avoid another disaster – although there were more glamorous changes she would have liked to start with!
Shoebridge regards her tight budget as being one of the most difficult parts of doing her renovation, although it is also something that pushed her to be creative. Conscious of keeping costs down, the pair first assessed what would take up the biggest chunk of their budget and decided to attribute this to installing a double-sided log burner situated in the main living space, replacing the old wooden rotten windows throughout the house and a ripping out and installing a new bathroom suite.
“Our dream kitchen is unfortunately postponed until our savings are topped up. We quickly realised houses are expensive! So, whilst we continue to save for the bigger jobs, we have been busy transforming our home with cost-effective DIY hacks and temporary upcycles,” Shoebridge enthusiastically explains.
Best DIY hack… faux terrazzo flooring
“I’ve always loved the terrazzo floor look but it can be quite expensive. We managed to get the same effect and transform our hallway and kitchen tiles by simply painting them with our chosen base colour and then scattering paint chips over the wet paint. The total cost of less than £50.”
Favourite room… the living and dining areas
“My favourite part of the house is definitely the lounge and dining areas. The space had a lot of potential from the beginning as the living room has a fantastic view of the garden and it’s a perfect size being spacious and yet cosy.
“We elevated the space by knocking the chimney through from the living room to the dining area and it was one of the best decisions we have made. Now, both areas benefit from a double-sided log burner, which is keeping us warm on the wintry nights.”
Biggest challenge… staying within budget
“The hardest part was definitely managing our limited budget. We tried to compromise on many of our projects by finding more cost-effective ways to achieve the high-end look. Hence, why we decided to design and build our own radiator covers instead of replacing the radiator.
“We also designed and built our own dining table and transforming our floors by painting the existing tiles and using stencils instead of buying expensive new ones.”
Michaela’s top 3 home accounts:
Michaela’s top 3 small homeware brands:
Black & Barn
Black & Barn is a recently launched Scottish homeware brand which specialises in stylish storage solutions.
With lots of glass jars and containers your cupboards have never looked so good, or so organised.
Green Lili delivers a happy mix of on-trend artwork and soft furnishings, like this dusty pink rug.
It’s a great place to shop for big canvas pieces to fill larger wall spaces.
The female form has provided ample inspiration for ceramics and vases over the last year with lots of brands giving their own take.
Shoebridge particularly likes Curated Grey’s cheeky bum vase, which has a wide neck for lots of flowers.
Images: Michaela Shoebridge