DIY SOS

When I was asked by my extremely vivacious and courageous friend Hanna (furniture restorer at Fyra Company) to be in charge of the styling for a worthwhile design project, I jumped at the chance. A family she knew quite well was in need, and she was looking to embark on a kind of DIY SOS type mission to make over the ground floor of their two up-two down end-of-terrace home.

Me and my friend Hanna

The family, a single mum and her two sons, who are some of the most welcoming people I have met, have had a difficult journey, and their tired, rented home had become a burden – an unloved space that none of them relished spending time in.

With a tiny budget and a small, but willing team of people, we set out to revamp a cramped, badly laid-out kitchen and a living/dining room.

The shelf behind the fridge meant much needed space was left un-utilised in the small kitchen. We needed to de-clutter and clean, create more storage and decorate

When visiting the property to meet the family and get an idea of the work that would be involved, I was immediately motivated to create a lighter, brighter space in the living room using white paint and light coloured furniture, and to add lamps to create a cosy evening atmosphere. The kitchen layout needed tweaking to make the most of the small square-footage.

The over-use of dark brown furniture and accessories meant that the living room felt bland and there were no lamps to create ambiance

Hanna managed the project, working out a schedule for the two days we would have to complete the work, and matching people with roles they were best suited to. A deep clean would be the first job, and then we would decorate, build shelving, and bring in new furniture and accessories to create a more pleasant atmosphere for the family to enjoy.

We managed to find a light wood table and chairs, mirror and shelving unit on Freecycle, all in great condition which was a positive start. Hanna had a fabulous G-Plan sideboard in her garage that had been sitting there for a couple of years, and which we thought would create a much needed focal point in the room, which has no fireplace. She upcycled it using some leftover paint from a job and wax for the areas she left unpainted.

With some money that was kindly donated to the project by my family and church members, I shopped at H&M and Matalan, and Hanna made a trip to Ikea. We purchased items like curtains, cushions, artwork, decorative accessories and kitchen homewares.

A new kettle and toaster were bought by one of the team and we also went to B&Q to purchase supplies such as paint and wood. Cleaning items and tools were brought along by workers and we started the project on Friday morning.

Kat cleans the kitchen
We stripped one of the walls and Hanna’s husband Rich re-lined it using fibreglass lining paper

Once the rooms were emptied of furniture and cleaned, we painted all the walls with two coats of Dulux Trade White emulsion. We scrubbed the floors and painted woodwork and radiators. In the kitchen we refreshed the tiles using tile paint, and painted the kitchen units with a Valspar custom-mixed green wood paint.

Hanna painting the cupboard fronts with a Valspar paint mix that she had leftover from painting her own kitchen door fronts

We replaced light fittings, blinds and curtains, and brought in furniture and accessories to make it feel like home again.

My husband made some kitchen shelving using a large plank of pine bought at B&Q and some white metal brackets.

My husband helped a lot on the second day by making shelves, wall-mounting a nearly new TV, and putting up curtains and a blind.

We kept the family’s dark grey leather sofa’s and chose items that would work with them. I purchased two posters (which are yet to be hung on the walls) which are vibrant and colourful, and a nod to the family’s African heritage.

I also added wicker and baskets and lots of houseplants.

After two long days of very hard work by the team, and the family, who were so grateful for the opportunity and helped enormously – we were finished. The result is just fantastic, and we have created two spaces that they will hopefully love for a long time to come.

Living/dining room

The gorgeous up cycled G-plan sideboard and soft rug (that you may recognise) look fantastic. The artwork mentioned above will hang either side of the television. The rattan light shades are from Iconic Lights

New light grey curtains and voiles from Ikea look simple and stylish at the window

The pale wood table and chairs are perfect in size and colour and we covered the chest freezer with a pretty patterned tablecloth from H&M Home. Mirror from Matalan

The shelving unit was from Free-cycle, the shoe storage given by a team member and the beautiful woven baskets were donated by the lovely Tina at Mushroom London

Kitchen

We have added more storage and a new blind and clock. The tiles look clean and fresh after a lick of tile paint

These shelves look lovely but are also practical storage

A brand new kettle and toaster will make for a more enjoyable breakfast. Tea and coffee canisters and dishcloths are from Matalan
The green paint looks great and has give the kitchen a new lease of life
More shelves will be put up here either side of the cooker

The family were thrilled and we all feel blessed to be a part of such an amazing experience.

Hanna with Martha, the delighted owner of two new bright and cheerful rooms.

Until next time.

Kat x

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