Young couple transform drab ex-council flat into Insta-worthy show home, saving £10,000

A couple have transformed their dated kitchen into an Instagram-worthy apartment without breaking the bank – and it looks a world away from the place that was once called home

Shen and partner Nico now have an Insta-worthy show house
Shen and partner Nico now have an Insta-worthy show house

A young couple has completely transformed their drab ex-council apartment into an Insta-worthy show home.

When they moved into the apartment in 2020 – just before the pandemic hit – Shen Outar, 26, and partner Nico Harvey, 28, knew they needed to add a bit of sparkle to their sad-looking apartment.

They say their home looked completely dated — with laced drapes, industrial-style lamps, a stainless steel sink, and a kitchen that was crying out for a makeover.

Shen, who works as a photographer, and her real estate partner said they’ve always wanted to decorate and decorate their home to a high standard — without breaking the bank.

Savvy Shen then decided to look everywhere for the best deals.

Although the pair originally asked a company to remodel their shelving and cabinetry for £7,000 without new appliances, paint, tiling and flooring, the pair put their skills to good use.

The couple were originally budgeted at £7,000 for the refurbishment

The kitchen looks a world away from what it used to be

And with a little help from friends and family, the couple managed to spend just £5,000 on a complete top-to-bottom makeover.

Shen explained: “For £5,000 we managed to replace the sink, worktops, floor, tiles, appliances, shelving and lighting. As we looked for alternatives rather than going to one company to do everything for us we managed to save around £10,000 in total.

“By looking online at places like eBay and etsy, I was able to find cheaper alternatives. I also love thrift stores, so I would look for jewelry at local stores.

“We installed all the shelves ourselves and also painted all the furniture and walls ourselves. Not having to pay a painter and decorator saved us a lot of money as it would have cost over £1,000.”

Thanks to the help of family and friends, the couple was able to complete their kitchen renovation in a budget-friendly manner

It has now been given a new lease of life – complete with modern gadgets

She continued, “We also saved thousands by keeping the shell of all the cabinets and shelving and just swapping out the doors and handles. Instead of ripping everything out and starting over, we kept the shell and just redesigned it. If we were to replace them entirely it would have been well over £1,000 too.

“For the worktops, instead of buying marble, which would have been well over budget, I found laminate online that was only £350.

“I wouldn’t say I’m the best at DIY because I’m scared of it, but I’ll try. Definitely not one of those DIY Instagram-worthy women, but I have the ideas and make it work with people who can. I know I can.”

Since the entire apartment seemed ready for a makeover when the couple moved in in 2020, they decided to start with the kitchen.

The aging kitchen cabinet was not to the couple’s liking

The apartment, in its original condition, lacked the glamor the couple was looking for

Shen and Nico’s kitchen is now completely unrecognizable.

The photographer, who works in south London, said: “We have replaced all the doors and cupboard doors. We took them out and replaced them with MDF.

“We also have a pantry, so we installed shelves in it to match the new countertops for glassware and cooking utensils. When I replaced the door handles I found a local seller on Etsy for them that was a lot cheaper.

The couple wants to do their rounds in the apartment – redesign it piece by piece

Nico and Shen looked everywhere for the best deals

“We also built boiler covers because I hate the look of boilers and it was the first thing you saw when you walked into the kitchen, so we built cabinets around to hide it.

“Then we changed the flooring to laminate flooring with a herringbone pattern.

“For the colours, we chose a chalky paint to give it that old school painted look and to mix modern and traditional styles.

“I think now you can see modern aspects as the kitchen is navy blue, marbled and gold.

The couple used marble and gold to add a little personality to their new kitchen

“The brass sink was an amazing addition which I also found online, it was a bit more expensive at £300 but because we saved so much on the cupboards and shelving it worked well.

“I’ve always been interested in interior design, the space isn’t huge but I wanted to make it look amazing.

“Now that the kitchen is finished, we worked on the toilet next.”

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Fry Electronics Team

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