Couple share how they transformed their small home on a budget of only $5,000

A couple with a knack for completing DIY home projects have renovated their small family home for only $5,000.

Last year Chrissie and Gary Hughes purchased an early 1980s home with a large backyard, double garage and pool to upgrade.

‘My husband and I were previously living in Ocean Shores and with the cost of housing in the Byron Shire at a high, we decided to look elsewhere to buy a home,’ Chrissie told FEMAIL.

They relocated to Wollongbar, 55km south of Ocean Shores in northern New South Wales. 

‘We moved in April 2020 and with the country being in lockdown we had plenty of time to get started.’  

The pair are the perfect renovation team as Chrissie, 46, has a creative flair while Gary, 49, works as an electrician.

The impressive budget of $5,000 was possible thanks to the couple completing the renovations – including painting, flooring, installing new cupboards and tiling – themselves. 

Chrissie and Gary Hughes purchased an early 1980s home with a large backyard, double garage and pool to upgrade 

Before:  The original house had cream and terracotta tiles throughout the living areas with dark exposed red brick walls

Before:  The original house had cream and terracotta tiles throughout the living areas with dark exposed red brick walls

After: The house is 148 square metres and the husband and wife duo renovated approximately 70 per cent of the entire area

After: The house is 148 square metres and the husband and wife duo renovated approximately 70 per cent of the entire area

The original house had cream and terracotta tiles throughout the living areas with dark exposed red brick walls, which is expected in an old 80s home.

The kitchen looked dreary with wooden cupboards and drawers in a ‘worn state’, while the bathroom was dull with a toilet, shower and vanity crammed into one small space.

The house is 148 square metres and the couple renovated approximately 70 per cent of the area.  

While the entire renovation isn’t complete, the pair have finished the kitchen, two living areas, laundry and bathroom.

The roof has also been upgraded and new lighting and solar panels have been installed.  

‘We have been doing bits and pieces since April and we’re still going,’ Chrissie said. 

During the initial planning stage of the renovation, Chrissie said they had a 'clear plan' of what they wanted and what needed to be done

'We tackled one job at a time. Painting the brick walls took about four days with four coats of paint,' she said

During the initial planning stage of the renovation, Chrissie said they had a ‘clear plan’ of what they wanted and what needed to be done 

Tips for renovating a home on a budget:

Preparation and planning is key

Decide what you can complete and what needs to be done by tradesmen 

Get plans approved prior to starting 

Purchase products from Bunnings Warehouse – such as paints, lighting, flooring and roofing materials 

If possible, avoiding moving the plumbing and electricity 

Create a timeline  

During the initial planning stages of the renovation, Chrissie said they had a ‘clear plan’ of what they wanted and what needed to be done.

‘We tackled one job at a time. Painting the brick walls took about four days with four coats of paint,’ she said.

‘The flooring took about three days, the kitchen cupboards took about four days to complete and my husband replaced the old lighting in one day.’

The flooring, paint, door handles and lighting cost between $3000 to $3,500 of the overall budget.

Chrissie also said they bought supplies from Bunnings including Taubmans paint, vinyl planks (senso rustic walnut), lighting and cabinet handles. 

'The flooring took about three days, the kitchen cupboards took about four days to complete and my husband replaced the old lighting in one day,' Chrissie said

‘The flooring took about three days, the kitchen cupboards took about four days to complete and my husband replaced the old lighting in one day,’ Chrissie said 

The flooring, paint, door handles and lighting cost between $3000 to $3,500 of the overall budget

The flooring, paint, door handles and lighting cost between $3000 to $3,500 of the overall budget 

The end result looks stunning and was the perfect uplift the old home needed to bring it into 2021.

The most expensive aspect of the renovation was the flooring as a professional was hired to evenly lay out the concrete.

Chrissie said the ‘most challenging’ aspect of the DIY project was painting the exposed brick, but the end look was ‘so rewarding’.

‘We love the look of our new home. It’s so bright and a little more modern!’ she said.

In future the pair are planning to retile the kitchen splashback and replace the counter tops and sink.

‘We would also like to design and renovate a new master bathroom, replace ceiling fans, refresh air conditioner and landscape the front garden,’ Chrissie said.

The end result looked stunning and was the perfect uplift the old home needed to bring it into 2021

The most expensive aspect of the renovation was the flooring as a professional was hired to evenly lay out the concrete

The end result looked stunning and was the perfect uplift the old home needed to bring it into 2021 

The bathroom originally looked dull and boring with a toilet, shower and vanity all in one small space

The bathroom originally looked dull and boring with a toilet, shower and vanity all in one small space 

According to Homes to Love, it's also essential to consider style you like, get any plans approved before buying products and creating a timeline

According to Homes to Love, it’s also essential to consider style you like, get any plans approved before buying products and creating a timeline 

Prior to beginning any renovation, Chrissie highly recommended preparing and planning as much as possible.

Their other top renovation secrets have also been shared on their Instagram page Little Reno Duo. 

According to Homes to Love, it’s also essential to consider styles you like, get any plans approved before buying products and creating a timeline.

If possible, avoiding moving the plumbing and electricity as this will reduce the budget by hundreds of dollars. 



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