I was ashamed of my grim council house for many years

When she first moved into a three-bedroom council house with her family, Sarah O’Brien was in tears every day because of the state of the house.

With the walls covered in old-fashioned woodchip paper, the thin rugs at the bottom legs, and the old cabinets in the kitchen, it wasn’t the new beginning she expected.

Sarah O'Brien was'embarrassed' by the state of her council house before renovating it with funding


Sarah O’Brien was ’embarrassed’ by the state of her council house before renovating it with funding

35 years old lives near Chester, Cheshire, with husband Adam, 35, a correctional officer, daughter Lilly, 14, from a previous relationship, and the couple’s youngest daughter Honey, five.

They moved into the rented house in November 2016 and a year later, the part-time cleaning and education student took care of everything on her own.

“The house was grim and let me down a lot,” she said. I hate it.

“For two years, I cried every day because of it. One day, I grabbed a wallpaper stripper and started removing wood chips from the wall.

“Me and Adam ended up tearing down all the walls. It was horrible after that. We had to redo it all, it was a long process. The couple, who have been together for eight years and have a combined income of £34,000, began slowly renovating their council home on a budget in 2018.

Cutting back on luxuries like dining out and overseas holidays frees up £1,000 a year to spend on improvements to their home.

Sarah and Adam started by licking the paint, using Asda’s £20 white powder-coated tub.

They brought in a carpet repairman and paid £500 for the entire staircase and stairs, including his labor and the carpet. Sarah said: “In the past, I was embarrassed about the state of our house.

“We did as little as we could afford, not much because we were saving for a wedding and Honey was in daycare, which was very expensive.

“I am very happy with the look of this place now.

“Anyone can do it all on a budget, as long as you take your time.”



ADAM transformed the family’s garden by rebuilding a Wendy’s house for the girls.

They also have decks and a flower bed built during the lockdown, after an overseas holiday was canceled due to Covid. It costs £1,000 and comes from money Sarah got when her nanny died.

Sarah said: “Adam built the girls’ Wendy’s house from an old slide. He let go of its leg. All we bought was pink paint from Johnstone’s and chrysanthemums from

Amazon. It costs less than £10”.



THEY updated their tired kitchen cabinets with Rust-Oleum furniture paint from B&Q for £15 and covered the countertops with B&Q vinyl wrap for £10 per roll.

They added plants from Ikea for £6 and a bargain print on the oven from a small Instagram business for £3.

Sarah said: “During the lockdown we updated the kitchen, which cost us £200. Two years later, it’s still great. You might think it would need to redo where we did cheaply, but it really doesn’t. ”



SARAH adorns the bedrooms with a coat of paint, adding fairy lights from Amazon for £11, Desenio prints for £9.95 a pop and eight cushions from B&M in the master bedroom.

She said: “We bought the cheapest white paint we could get, at £20 for a 20-litre tin.

“We have a basic Ikea bed. Ours is a Hemnes frame that costs £229.

“I love the lights behind our bed, they are one of my favorite parts of the house.



SUCCESSFUL living room is one of the top priorities of the family.
Sarah bought a £7.99 mirror from Home Bargains, a tree from Asda for £8, was given a rug from the Instagram Online Store and bought a £90 Next lamp.

She said: ‘I would normally never pay that but splurge because we had a £100 Next voucher as a wedding gift.

“The sofa is second hand. My sister saw it on Facebook Marketplace and I bought it for £200”.



SARAH and Adam paid £50 for sticky tiles from Dunelm, bought a £35 wooden cabinet from B&M to put under the sink and added finishing touches, such as a Get Naked bath rug from B&M for the price. £6.99 and a fern from B&M for £10.

Sarah said: “The difference is amazing. We can’t afford the right tile, but that doesn’t mean you have to live in a home you’re not happy with. Accessories complete the look. Everything I get is cheap but you can style it to look good.”



IN the girls’ room, Sarah created striking walls using the I Love Wallpaper design for £22 per roll.

She said: “Lilly wanted a double bed but her room was too small so we bought her a small double bed for £189 from Dunelm. Honey’s bed is Lilly’s old bed.

“The girls don’t have space for a wardrobe, so they have cabinets that don’t come from their grandmother, who passed away. They also have Kallax preserves boxes from Ikea, which cost as little as £3”.

We built a cottage in our garden and Airbnb it out for £2,500 a month – it doubles our mortgage

https://www.thesun.ie/fabulous/8221590/renovated-grim-council-house-budget/ I was ashamed of my grim council house for many years

Fry Electronics Team

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