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Home Makeover Feature – Part One – The Build

Just over a year ago my husband and I embarked on a journey we thought we were completely ready for.

After jumping on the property ladder in 2017, we purchased a two-bedroom red brick cottage – complete with planning permission for a double story extension. It was small and snug with heaps of potential.

We tied the knot in 2018 and did what most couples do once the wedding was out of the way and started nesting. With our tweaked, inherited extension plans from the previous owner; we were ready to start ‘Project Hillside’, taken from the name of our cottage.

Where to start…

The next step was to secure a good builder. In my opinion, having been through the process (and having spent most of my days with these guys), I would say this is the most important decision of your build. You want a builder who is reliable and affordable. If you can achieve this you’re half way there – trust me!

Your builder should be able to provide you with the contacts for decent electricians, plumbers, carpenters and plasterers or may even provide these services themselves. Always get more than one quote and don’t be afraid to ask questions. You will also need to organise building regulations to oversee your build via the council.

Prepare for the inevitable…

With a strong team behind us, the groundwork’s commenced, what could go wrong?

As I watched our downstairs bathroom being torn apart to make way for the new foundations, you guessed it… it was the perfect time to fall pregnant!

The show must go on as they say and at least this gave us a deadline for completion – it also made me more determined to get more involved.

A house can go up surprisingly quickly when you need it to. All in all it took two weeks to lay the foundations and a month and a half before the house was watertight. Plus a few further weeks to get all of the electrics, plumbing and plastering done.

What we didn’t anticipate was a five-month wait for the builder to return to the site.

Another good tip – always keep in mind that if a builder takes on other work whilst working on yours it could delay things for your build.

Stay positive…

I spent my next few months caught between liaising with tradesmen, purchasing materials and battling morning sickness. To say it was an enjoyable time for me would be a complete lie, but at the end of each day seeing a little bit more completed was worth it.

July arrived – I remember being nine months pregnant with a paintbrush glued to my hand, I was still painting on the day I went into hospital to have our baby. I wondered if it would really be possible to bring our son home?

Without the help of my superstar team at Access Plastering this wouldn’t have been possible, so I owe a huge thank you to Olly and his team.

With all of the messy bits now over it was time to make it a home. Keeping positive throughout the tough times and thinking of the bigger picture was essential!

So the moral of the story is – even when you think you’re ready to take on a house project, as first timers we learnt a lot of things along the way – but what an experience. Now there’s just the garden to landscape – stay tuned!

To read more about how I undertook my home makeover please check out the following articles >

Rachel Hunt’s room by room house makeover 

Ways to update your home interior in 2020  

If you don’t have time to read – click here to view the video!