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Couple use YouTube to transform £150k 'ugliest house' into dream home

Lizzy Williams, 37, and her husband, Phil, 40, renovated their four-bedroom house in St Albans, Hertfordshire, over nine years using mainly online tutorials.

A couple who bought 'the ugliest house on their street' used YouTube tutorials to renovate the property and turn it into their dream home.

Lizzy Williams, 37, and her husband, Phil, 40, bought the four-bedroom house in St Albans, Hertfordshire, in June 2014. The semi-detached property had been empty for four years, and no one had tended to it, leading to the home-growing fungus in the downstairs toilet and holes in the ceiling.

They decided to turn to the internet and watch videos to transform the ugly home. Lizzy, who works in marketing, said: "Phil is very details focused - he absorbs information really well.

"We used a lot of online forums to help us - we would watch YouTube videos too.

"He would lean on friends and family to help us out and ask advice on how to approach situations.

Lizzy and Phil Williams at their four-bed St Albans house during the renovation. (SWNS)
Lizzy and Phil Williams at their four-bed St Albans house during the renovation. (SWNS)
The cool and contemporary-looking living room and stairs in the couple's home. (SWNS)
The cool and contemporary-looking living room and stairs in the couple's home. (SWNS)

Lizzy said their renovation took nine years as they did most of the work themselves and believe they have saved an estimated £200k in costs. She said: "We fully completed the renovation last year, finishing off the garden - nine years after we originally bought the house."

During the lengthy renovation, Lizzy and Phil lived in the building site property, which posed its own challenges. Lizzy said: "We set the front room up as our bedroom and then we had a back bedroom that we used as a living room.”

More South and South East stories - click above
More South and South East stories - click above

In total, they spent £150k renovating "the ugliest house on the street" using savings and their salaries and say that this doubled the value of their home.

Lizzy said: "The £40k we had saved lasted us around two years, we borrowed some more money and used our salary for the rest of it.”

The work took nine years as they didn’t have “huge reserves”. She said: "It has been a hard slog but we love it."

Phil Williams at work removing walls during the renovation of the house. (SWNS)
Phil Williams at work removing walls during the renovation of the house. (SWNS)

They hired builders in order to contract an extension at the rear of the property to build four extra rooms and fit a new roof. Lizzy said: "We converted the garage into four rooms that we use as a utility room, toilet, study and boot room.”

All the work was completed in September 2023, and they said it was transformed into a perfect family home.

Lizzy’s favourite room is the kitchen, she said: “We really like the kitchen, we love the high ceilings and the space we have.

"In 1950s houses you don't really get that, our ceilings in the kitchen are three-and-a-half metres tall.

"It gives you a feeling of space and openness which you wouldn't otherwise get.

Five ways to add value to your home on a budget

There are many affordable ways to renovate your home yourself to add value to your property using methods that could take only a few minutes.

One way is by starting with the outside of the house. The front of your property can make buyers warm up to it, and this can be from just tending to the outside by clearing up clutter or adding a fresh coat of paint to the door.

The second way is to have a well-groomed garden; doing up a garden can take a lot of work, and that could put buyers off. Adding something like a new shed or renovating an existing one can also add value to the home.

Another way is by removing any clutter that may give your home a dishevelled appearance. Removing unnecessary items can make it appear like you have more space.

A fourth way to add value is to transform the kitchen, and this doesn't mean going as far as fitting new cupboards. This could be anything from painting cupboards to simply giving a thorough clean.

Another way is to make changes to the bathroom. Similar to renovating the kitchen, this can be done in very simple ways, like thoroughly cleaning or regrouting the bathroom tiles, bathtub and sink area.

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