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Woman transforms her drab home into a colourful wonderland for £12,000 while pregnant and shielding

A homeowner has shared how she has upgraded her drab home into a colourful wonderland for £12,000 – all while shielding during the pandemic and bringing a new baby into the world.

Makeup artist Laura Norton, 39, from Watford, first moved into her £386,000 three-bedroom terraced house in December 2019, and immediately decided to give it an upgrade.

Since beginning the renovation, Laura and husband Lewis have welcomed their second baby, Esme, nine weeks, along with bringing up their older child, three-year-old Pearl, all while shielding during the pandemic – but that hasn’t stopped them from transforming their dull rooms into a cosy colourful home.

Laura says she has spent around £12,000 on transforming the house, spending £5,600 on the kitchen, £1,200 each on the bathroom, living room and bedroom respectively, £600 on the downstairs toilet, and just £150 on the office.

That £12,000 of work has added more than £60,000 of value, with the house now being worth £450,000. 

A homeowner has transformed her formerly drab house into a colourful, vibrant living space. The kitchen makeover (pictured, after the work was complete) cost £5,600 and features a green and mustard colour scheme with gold accents 

Seen here before the makeover, the kitchen was formerly a drab, lifeless space, with tired decor and finishing

Seen here before the makeover, the kitchen was formerly a drab, lifeless space, with tired decor and finishing

No wasted space: Laura made the most of the kitchen by installing a breakfast bar in the corner, mixing leafy and animal prints and a funky neon sign

No wasted space: Laura made the most of the kitchen by installing a breakfast bar in the corner, mixing leafy and animal prints and a funky neon sign 

Before being made over, the master bedroom (pictured) featured plain white walls and peeling plaster

The master bedroom (pictured post refurbishment) now boasts rich greens and oranges

The bedrooms have also been revamped. Images taken before (left) and after (right) show Laura’s consistent vision in creating a colourful home

The living room, pictured after its transformation, now houses plush velvet seating and a sleek wooden floor, after Laura spent £1,200 making it over

The living room, pictured after its transformation, now houses plush velvet seating and a sleek wooden floor, after Laura spent £1,200 making it over

‘In the kitchen we had to completely gut the whole room, replace the ceiling, new floor etc,’ said Laura.

‘It was timely and due to Covid, there were lots of material delays but it is unrecognisable to how it was previously.

‘I love our kitchen – mainly because it was such a huge makeover and looks so different than before.

‘I really did hate the kitchen and hated being in it. I love cooking so it was important for it to be a space that was enjoyable to be in. I love it now and we spend most of our time in there. The breakfast bar was a great addition to the room.

‘The bathroom was another massive job, again had to be completely gutted, new flooring, all new bath, sink, loo etc.

‘The creation of the downstairs loo (transforming an old under the stair cupboard) was probably our best decision. I couldn’t imagine not having it now and it was a godsend when Pearl was potty training.

‘I love the bold, floral wallpaper we have used in there. I think you can really have fun with the decor in a downstairs loo.

‘I also love the mermaid mural I painted in Pearl’s room – it just finished her ‘under the sea’ room off perfectly. I hand painted it myself (freehand, no stencil).

‘The office makeover too – it just gave the room a new lease of life. With my husband working from home, it was important there was somewhere to sit and enjoy being.

Before it was dramatically transformed, the living room (pictured) had little character, dressed in muted and drab tones

Before it was dramatically transformed, the living room (pictured) had little character, dressed in muted and drab tones

The post-makeover living room boasts original features like fireplace tiles, alongside modern touches

Careful touches like colour-coordinated flowers add an extra stylish touch to the room

Vibrant colours , varied textures, and thoughtful details have all been carefully curated in the living room (pictured post makeover) to create a stylish space

Before being transformed (pictured), the office was a cluttered room, filled with bland blacks, greys, and creams

Before being transformed (pictured), the office was a cluttered room, filled with bland blacks, greys, and creams

Adding bright bursts of colour, like this orange chair and the painted wall detail, means the same desk and shelving has been given a new lease of life

Adding bright bursts of colour, like this orange chair and the painted wall detail, means the same desk and shelving has been given a new lease of life

‘Previously the grey walls made the room so depressing. I chose the colour orange as it helps stimulate positivity and purple as it encourages creativity. This made it the ideal room for him to work and a space for me to be creative.

‘We’ve also taken colour out into the garden too, which I love as it makes it so fun to sit out there. 

‘The garden was one of the earlier projects we did at the beginning of lockdown and that really helped us having that bright, vibrant space in that time.

‘On the whole, everything has been a huge transformation as the house was so badly neglected by the previous owners.’

The bathroom (pictured before it was made over) initially featured a tired black and white design

Post make over (pictured) the bathroom combines pink, brass, green and fresh white

The layout of the bathroom stayed the same after it was made over, but the overall look is transformed and refreshed, thanks to the addition of modern features and colours

Brass basin taps, green walls, and a fresh new white basin and pedestal make the bathroom clean and coordinated

Brass basin taps, green walls, and a fresh new white basin and pedestal make the bathroom clean and coordinated

Laura explained how she decided to give her home the ultimate glow up as soon as she had the door keys in hand.

‘We knew when we moved in, that we would be fully decorating the home as it was really in need of some love,’ said Laura.

‘On the surface, it didn’t appear to look that bad but once we started to live in it, we realised it had been really neglected by the previous owners and the diy had been done really badly.

‘It was beyond just painting, every room has been a big project. It’s a great house but I just felt it needed a bit of TLC and injecting it full of colour has brought the home back to life.

‘We moved in not too long before the pandemic started, so we got to know every inch of the house pretty swiftly, and lockdown helped us have time to decorate.

This cupboard, which was neglected, dirty and peeling, was totally transformed into a downstairs toilet

Adding plumbing, and wallpapering, as well as adding some colourful paintwork, transformed the space

One of the most interesting changes is this new toilet room (pictured, right) which used to be a neglected cupboard under the stairs (pictured, left)

Creative: the homeowner showed off her creative abilities to the max, painting this mural in her daughter Pearl's bedroom

Creative: the homeowner showed off her creative abilities to the max, painting this mural in her daughter Pearl’s bedroom

‘Our daughter Pearl was on the shielding list due to her health, so we were fully locked down indoors, not going anywhere.

‘Filling the house with colour and items that made me smile really did make the difficult situation a little more bearable.’

Despite her busy life, Laura says she is always working on new projects, from brightening up whole rooms to upcycling individual pieces of furniture.

‘We’ve completed around seven rooms so far and we still have more to do,’ she said.

‘We are constantly working on something though, there’s still so much we want to do.

‘My parents had a second-hand furniture business when I was growing up, so I’ve always upcycled furniture.

‘There’s always something in the house I’m painting or upcycling. I’ve also made a lots of things like cushions in the house. I love making unique things for our home.

The exterior of the the three bedroom terrace house, which cost £386,000 and is now worth in excess of £450,000

The exterior of the the three bedroom terrace house, which cost £386,000 and is now worth in excess of £450,000

Images taken before the refurbishment was complete show just how much work the couple was able to achieve with their £12,000 budget

Images taken before the refurbishment was complete show just how much work the couple was able to achieve with their £12,000 budget

‘I’ve never been afraid to experiment with colour. I think in my job as a makeup artist, I am used to playing with colour and textures so it makes sense that I would do the same within my home. I love big, bold prints and colours.’

Laura decided to start sharing her interiors online shortly after beginning the transformation.

‘I’ve always loved interiors and following home accounts,’ said Laura.

‘Once we started transforming the house and realising how big the changes were, I thought I’d start documenting it online for fun.

‘The interiors Instagram community is such a friendly, positive space and I really do enjoy sharing our home transformations online.

‘Fortunately, I’ve only ever had positive comments and never experienced negativity online.

Even the garden hasn't been forgotten, with Laura designing a brightly cosy colourful seating area with rugs and lamps

Even the garden hasn’t been forgotten, with Laura designing a brightly cosy colourful seating area with rugs and lamps

Laura Norton, a 39-year-old makeup artist from Watford, says despite the dramatic transformation, she still has more plans for her home

Laura Norton, a 39-year-old makeup artist from Watford, says despite the dramatic transformation, she still has more plans for her home

‘I wouldn’t really care if I did though as everyone has their own tastes and what I love isn’t going to be everyone’s cup of tea.

‘I love the home we’re creating and that’s all that counts. It really does show our personality throughout it.’

Laura is not yet done improving her house, and has plenty of plans for the future.

‘We are hoping to extend the house, which I’m excited about as it means more rooms to fill with colour,’ she said.

‘Our hall has never been touched but that will probably be the last space we complete after all our other plans.

‘We also need to decorate a room for our new baby, which I’m looking forward to and will no doubt include another mural!’

Follow Laura’s home transformation journey on her Instagram account, @pearlsandplaster.

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