A couple transformed their old and dull-looking 1850s into a modern and colourful home in an incredible DIY transformation.
Lilian Gougeon and Valentin Richard, both 27, purchased the property in Saint-Omer, Pas-de-Calais, in 2018, paying £172,000 (€200,000).
They planned to renovate the entire house and began the makeover in December 2018.
The couple worked on their home for eight months, then took six months off and completed the rest of the renovation during lockdown.
Lilian and Valentin completely transformed the space, doing most of the work themselves.
The stylish update, which gave the house new colours while retaining its original features, cost the couple just under £86,000.
The couple said: “We were looking for a house with a lot of character and very quickly found this magnificent mansion, which we fell in love with.
“There was a lot of work to be done to bring it up to date but we still embarked on this renovation project.
“Our goal was to transform this house into a modern and colourful cocoon.”
Lilian and Valentin planned the interior themselves, adding small details to each room to get a feel for the ‘mood’ of the space.
As for the work itself, they did most of that too – although got some help for trickier aspects such as electricity, plumbing and window replacements.
Starting with the staircase, the couple stripped the plaster off the walls by hand and then removed the tiling on the floor.
They added new tiling with an old, rustic effect and painted two of the four walls black, at a total cost of 2,000.
For the kitchen, the couple added wooden furniture purchased from local craftsmen and painted these black to make the pieces stand out against the rustic brick wall.
Lilian and Valentine also installed new lighting fixtures, a kitchen island and several kitchen appliances.
The furniture cost £17,215, while the building material and plumbing came to £6,025.
Next up was the laundry room, where the pair replaced the old flooring and tiles on the walls, and installed plasterboards.
They painted the walls in a green shade and added white furniture to create a fresh and natural ambience to the room, which cost £4,300 in total.
Additionally, they added a new bathroom to the mansion, which was previously an office – meaning they had to install a new plumbing system, bringing in local contractors to help.
They removed the carpet to expose the parquet floor below and sanded it down to make the flooring look as good as new, before painting the walls white and green.
The bathtub, cabinet and a new toilet were added, along with plant decorations.
The couple also upcycled furniture, creating a vanity unit from an old chest of drawers found at a flea market.
An existing bathroom hadn’t been touched since the 1950s – but has now seen a complete makeover too, after being thoroughly gutted.
The couple said: “We broke everything to redo everything; a concrete screed, tiling on the floor and on the walls, the creation of a washbasin cabinet, the installation of a shower and airing.
“We have chosen a ‘spa’ atmosphere in this room with black, ecru and turquoise tones.”
So far, Lilian and Valentine haven’t done much to their living room and dining room – except paint the walls blue to brighten up the space – but have plans to tackle these in the future.
Over in the three bedrooms, they removed the carpets to expose the original parquet flooring, which they sanded down.
Additionally, they added mouldings on the headboards and new wallpaper on the walls.
Lilian and Valentine also spent £27,550 on new windows and £5,165 on heating systems.
Lilian said: “The most enjoyable part of our renovation was clearly the fact of being able to project oneself.
“We love creativity a lot and being able to imagine the decoration of a room throws us a lot: colours, furniture, decoration, lights.
“The result suits us perfectly, it is exactly the type of atmosphere we envisioned when we started our project.
“The only downside is the atmosphere in our living room, which does not live up to our expectations and which we will surely have a look at re-doing this the summer.
“The best advice you can give to someone with a home improvement project is to get started.
“We didn’t know anything about renovation before we started and we trusted ourselves.
“You have to trust yourself and you can only be surprised by yourself!”
Breakdown of costs
Kitchen: £23,245 – £17,215 furniture + £4,300 material + £1,720 plumbing
Laundry room: £4,300
Green bathroom: £9,470
Blue bathroom: £11,190
Living room : £260
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