NEWS FROM THE WORKSHOP
We’ve had an action packed summer teaching loads of children our “Kids Pallets & Power Drilling” workshops as well as lots of “Life Skills for Leaving Home” courses for those who are flying the nest for the first time. The courses have had great feedback and we’ll be putting more on around Christmas time.
We are really excited to announce that we will be providing our “Life Skills for Leaving Home” as an online course from this winter. We have had such supportive and encouraging feedback from all our social media followers but with many saying they are too far away to access our courses. We are in the process of solving this problem and will post updates when this course is available. Filming has started in the workshop and we’re thrilled with how its all coming together. The course will be split into short modules which can be accessed on any handheld device.
5 MINUTES WITH SHARN RAYMENT FROM @SHARNSHOUSE
Sharn has been self renovating her Victorian home for 2 years. She’s self taught in decorating and DIY and has learnt lots on the job. She shares her progress and all her tips and lessons on her social media @sharnshouse whilst carrying on with her full time job – what an inspiration!
What was your driver for taking on such a massive renovation project?
We always wanted to live in London and when the move from Essex to the city became viable, we quickly realised a renovation project was our only way to get a decent size house in our preferred area. Having never fully renovated before, we went into it with blind optimism and have definitely bit off more than we can chew!
What has been your biggest learning curve?
Everything takes soooo long. In my mind, we’d have most of the house done in the first year. We’re now over two years in and have just started renovating upstairs, after completing most of the ground floor interior. I wouldn’t say I’m the most patient person, but I’ve definitely had to learn to live with the fact that every little job opens up 10 other jobs, and they all take hours. Me and my partner work full-time jobs too, so it was never going to be a super speedy project, but I’m starting to find my peace with progress being slower than we’d like.
And what is your greatest achievement/are you most proud of?
Walking around the house, knowing that we designed and created everything you can see, is quite special. The before and afters of the rooms we’ve renovated so far are astounding (if I do say so myself), taking it from a rundown pensioner pad to a premium Victorian palace. If I had to pinpoint one specific thing I’m most proud of, it’d be either restoring our 130 year old staircase (a really tough job but worth every minute), taking a punt on a bright green kitchen, which I absolutely love, or putting a Victorian-style fireplace back in the lounge. These elements really make the house what it is, and elevate the whole vibe.
What is the easiest way you have found to save money when doing up a home?
Always DIY the messy bits. Stripping out and carting things to the tip isn’t fun, but it saves a lot of cost on labour. Also, find your lane in DIYing – mine is painting and decorating, so I’d always do this myself over paying for professionals. But I’ll always get the pros in to sort plumbing and plastering for example, which I can afford by saving cash on the final decorating stage. On top of all of this, always have a good thorough Google for the best deal on anything you’re buying, from radiators to flooring and beyond, as every last penny really does count!
What would be the one top tip you would give to someone considering doing their own renovation project?
Make sure you’re coming at it with some solid savings. It doesn’t need to be millions, but it needs to be thousands, so you can at least start some of the work straight away. There’s nothing more frustrating than sitting in a room that you’re gagging to change, with only a couple of quid in the bank. We always make sure we build up some savings month to month from our day jobs before we commit to starting a room, otherwise it can grind to a halt quite quickly.
What’s the best simple DIY hack you’ve learnt along the way which you now couldn’t live without?
1. Don’t pay for a skip on your road, get a Hippo Bag instead – a lot cheaper and just as easy to use.
2. Caulk is your best friend. Caulk every join in your final decorating stage, and it’ll make everything look professionally finished.
3. Don’t bother trying to paint your skirting boards white, just paint them the same colour as your walls. The colour drenching approach always looks good, saves you time versus trying to cut in straight lines and saves you paying for another tin of paint!
What sources have you found most useful for advice/information/tips/help?
TikTok, Instagram and YouTube are fantastic resources – if you’re trying to learn how to do something, chances are someone’s done it before and uploaded a handy video guide. Also, if you have a builder/tradesperson in your family or friendship group, firsthand advice is unbeatable. My partner’s brother is a builder and can always point us in the right direction.
How has doing your own renovation affected your overall health and wellbeing – the good and the bad?
It’s been a mixed bag of ups and downs. When we’re in full, flat-out renovation mode, it’s physically exhausting and emotionally draining. My mental health has absolutely suffered at times, mostly from me putting too much pressure on myself to get things done, and trying to juggle it around a full-time job and busy social life. The overwhelm is real. My body also aches like never before, so now I’ve dedicated time each week to my physical and mental wellness, to make sure I’m taking care of myself and not running myself into the ground. Therapy, running three times a week and monthly massages are now built into my monthly budgeting, because self-care shouldn’t be a rare treat. On the flip side of all of this, living in London has improved my life tenfold – I’ve never been happier with who I am and where I am. I finally feel like I’m where I’m meant to be and it’s helped me unlock another level of confidence in myself. Once the renovation struggles are over, I’ll be able to feel this more fully and really let go of all that reno pressure.
Is there anything you would change/have done differently?
Overall, there’s very little I would change. A few small details, like the flooring in our kitchen being too light and showing every single mark, can be frustrating, but generally I think we’ve done the best we ever could with the money we have! One thing I do want to do in the future is repaint the white part of our hallway a different colour, but again, a small changeable detail.
Do you know when you’ll be finished!?
We’ve estimated this whole house will take us about five years in total, which feels accurate. That’s another 2.5 years from now to renovate the bedrooms, roof, loft room and garden. And let me tell you, I cannot wait for that final day to come!
WHAT WE LOVE THIS MONTH
We have just discovered the fantastic brand Elvis & Kresse. They are based in Kent and rescue raw materials from landfill and transform them into ethically handcrafted, sustainable luxury accessories. Check them out on Insta!
If you haven’t come across him already, check out Sam Bentley who has dedicated his Instagram page to making videos about good news for the planet which we may not have heard of. He has also published a book spreading the good news. We particularly love his video about “bee bricks” which we hope to be seeing everywhere soon. Congratulations Sam on brilliant content. We love it!