August 18, 2022

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Home Finishes First

First-time buyer transforms ‘atrocious’ mould-covered home

7 min read


a view of a living room filled with furniture and a sink: MailOnline logo


© Provided by Daily Mail
MailOnline logo

A first-time buyer has revealed how she completely transformed her ‘atrocious’ mould-covered home into a chic property – adding £45,000 to its value.

Amberley Rainey, 37, from Wirral, spent £18,000 on the extensive renovations and is now reaping the rewards, with the home now worth £220,000.

The officer manager says the three-bed house was a ‘real do-er upper’ with a kitchen covered in damp and mould, with uneven floors.

The décor wasn’t to Amberley’s taste either, with 1960s-style powder blue anaglypta wallpaper and salmon pink curtains in one room.

Having bought the property in December 2016 for £175,000, Amberley has lived there for three years while slowly chipping away at the makeover.

When the UK went into lockdown in March last year, she was furloughed and finally had enough time to focus on the house.

The ‘glow-up’ of the home included merging the kitchen and dining room into an open-plan space and redecorating the bedrooms, lounge and bathroom, as well as working on the garden.

The kitchen was completely ripped out and replaced with fresh white units – bought second-hand on eBay for £400 – with wooden floor replacing the old black and white patterned floor tiles.

The living room fireplace is perhaps the most impressive transformation, going from a dated black grate with a mahogany mantelpiece and cream patterned tiles to a stunning cream mantel with a black coal fireplace at the base. 

The bedrooms are also unrecognisable after Amberley completely redecorated two of them with on-trend wooden furnishings, with the third box room converted into a work space.

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Meanwhile, the garden was transformed using fresh paving slabs and pebbles leading to a seating area – right in the middle of a summertime sun-trap.

Even the garage got the golden treatment, going from a standard storage space to a stylish laundry room.

Amberley estimates the renovations would have taken two years’ worth of weekend work had it not been for her being furloughed.

Thanks to her efforts, the property value has increased by £45,000 

‘I was drawn to nothing but the fact the house was so light and bright with good-sized windows,’ Amberley said. 

‘Everything else was atrocious and, being a first-time buyer, I had no idea what lay ahead to improve it.

‘I lived in the house for three years just trying my best to bear it by painting walls ‘for now’, but after saving some money I was able to start renovations – starting with the kitchen wall knock-through, which was done by a professional weeks before lockdown.  

‘After lockdown happened, I was stuck with all the time in the world and knew I had to sort my act out, and got planning the rest of the renovations. It really kept me busy to say the least.

‘My family are based in Devon and abroad so I didn’t see them at all but I used to call them for DIY tips and used YouTube a lot for decorating advice.’

The structural work was the most expensive part, setting Amberley back £2,500 to have a steel bar fitted for the kitchen/diner knock-through, but she was otherwise able to cut corners.

She said: ‘I knew the kitchen would take up a lot of my budget and didn’t want to spend a fortune on units via a high street brand which I’d be paying off each month.

‘I researched my options, which took forever, but in the end found a second-hand kitchen on eBay which belonged to a local family in Wirral who were upgrading their own kitchen. 



a room with a wooden floor: The structural work was the most expensive part, setting Amberley back £2,500 to have a steel bar fitted for the kitchen/diner knock-through, (pictured) but she was otherwise able to cut corners


© Provided by Daily Mail
The structural work was the most expensive part, setting Amberley back £2,500 to have a steel bar fitted for the kitchen/diner knock-through, (pictured) but she was otherwise able to cut corners



diagram: The kitchen is pictured during the renovations (the damp and mould are circled in red)


© Provided by Daily Mail
The kitchen is pictured during the renovations (the damp and mould are circled in red)

‘I made the purchase for 15 units for £400, which was a really risky move and meant having it fitted was challenging and the hardest part of the renovations – but so worth it in the end, and it means I’m not in kitchen debt.’

Although she had to battle damp walls, cavity problems, faulty electrics and uneven flooring, Amberley described working on her home during lockdown as a ‘huge blessing in disguise’ that kept her mind preoccupied.

‘Pre-lockdown, my life was all about work and seeing loved ones – then suddenly it became all about buying Polyfilla and drills,’ she explained. 

‘Until 2020 I didn’t know I would ever be capable of any form of DIY or decorating, it’s really been a matter of sink or swim.

‘The very fact I didn’t do it before lockdown shows how little time I had and how much of my life was taken up by other things. It’s now become a hobby as I refine the finishing touches.’

Amberley now plans to take a well-deserved break from renovating.

She added: ‘There’s always something to do and the list keeps growing, but for the most part it’s all done.

‘After a year of renovating I don’t want to pick up a paintbrush for a while, but my future plans are to convert the loft space into an office.’

You can follow her journey on Instagram (@raineysresidence).

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