Couple save £34,500 on bungalow renovation by doing work themselves

Work began on the home in June last year (Picture: Jam Press/@renovation_at_5a)

A couple has shared how they transformed their dated plain bungalow into a luxury space, saving £34,500 in the process by doing most of the work themselves.

Anna Cooper, 41, and her partner Phill Cooper, 43, bought the three-bedroom home in Manchester for £175,000 in 2009.

The property had been recently renovated and so the couple felt they didn’t need to change anything. 

However, as the years progressed, Anna and Phil wanted to create an open space that would be more suitable for them and their two children.

They waited 11 years to ensure they were in a stable financial position, and borrowed £68,000 on their mortgage to fund the work.

The exterior before (Picture: Jam Press/@renovation_at_5a)

In June 2020, construction began on the single storey extension and renovation. As these changes were taking place during the pandemic, Phil was less busy with work as a medical engineer, and decided to tackle as many jobs as he could. 

In doing so, the couple have spent £72,500, but they estimate the going rate for a similar extension in their area is £107,000. This means they saved nearly £34,500 – all by becoming more DIY savvy. 

The dining room area (Picture: Jam Press/@renovation_at_5a)

‘After completing a similar yet smaller renovation project alongside his dad the previous summer, Phill felt confident enough to take on this project,’ Anna says.

‘Being an engineer meant that his day job became a little less demanding during Covid and he found he had a little more time at home. 

The kitchen has the wow factor (Picture: Jam Press/@renovation_at_5a)

‘We did hire an architect, who was a personal friend. He was always on hand to advise or rethink ideas with us. We also hired a team of bricklayers, a team to fibreglass the flat roof, a professional renderer, and a plasterer. 

‘All other work, including digging the foundations, fitting the kitchen, plumbing, flooring, decorating and electrics were carried out by ourselves.’ 

The exterior after the work (Picture: Jam Press/@renovation_at_5a)

In the downstairs area, the couple knocked the walls between the living room, kitchen, and downstairs bathroom to make one large open space.

Next they replastered the walls and added wooden flooring throughout. 

The outdoor area (Picture: Jam Press/@renovation_at_5a)

Along the back of the house, Anna, who works as a teacher, and Phill decided to put in bifold doors, a large two-metre picture window, and two large roof lanterns.

Meanwhile, they also added a stylish bathroom with Victorian-style tiles and a large utility room. 

‘We wanted the kitchen to be the real feature of the house and have that ‘wow’ factor,’ Anna explains. 

The lounge area is open and spacious (Picture: Jam Press/@renovation_at_5a)

Upstairs, the couple have also extended to refit a large family bathroom, and they are currently decorating the three bedrooms. 

Throughout the renovation the family lived in the property, but faced issues because of Covid-related delays.

Lots of natural light (Picture: Jam Press/@renovation_at_5a)

‘Living in the house during renovations was hard as we only had a temporary kitchen in our old garage,’ Anna recalls.

‘For around six months, we were cooking from a two-ring camping stove. The holes that were only covered with tarpaulin didn’t help as they often fell down in the wind and rain.

‘It was not easy with two children’ 

Anna, who shares their DIY journey on her Instagram account @renovation_at_5a, said they plan to have the house valued when the upstairs work is finished.

She hopes that the investment they put in pays off, but is loving her fresh surroundings regardless.

Anna says: ‘We’d be really interested in finding out if we have added value but we have no plans to sell at the moment.

‘We’d just like to enjoy what we have worked so hard to achieve.’

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