Real Home: 6 Tips to Learn From This Low Budget Vintage Makeover


We’re always on the lookout for tips on how to save a little money when it comes to home renovations. From reuse to second-hand shopping, there are plenty of ideas to help you get the most for your money – and the best way to learn the tips is to talk to those who have done it before, like Emma and Adam Carr.

The couple bought their Edwardian home in Cleethorpes after working in Dubai for five years. “We knew we weren’t going to be around forever, so all of the upgrades were made on a small budget,” says Emma. “I had lots of extravagant ideas, like lining the ceilings and using even more color, but I always had to hold back knowing that we would end up selling. “

Spending just £ 14,700 on home renovations, Emma and Adam are pros at finding cost-effective solutions for every room. And now we’re sharing their top tips with you – so get your notebook ready, there’s a lot to learn …

1. It’s all about reuse and recycling

Shaker style white kitchen with blue island, black suspensions and pink and brass bar stools

Island unit and worktops, Smart kitchens and bedrooms. Saddles, Dunelm. Suspended lights, Do. Floor tile, Tile giant. Bell has similar black stoves

(Image credit: Katie Lee)

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The owners Emma Carr (@ahomeinthetropics), a schoolteacher, her husband Adam, IT director, and their children Daisy, five, and Henry, two
The property A four bedroom detached Edwardian house in Cleethorpes, built in 1911
Project cost £ 13,700

Using the existing kitchen units saved Emma and Adam thousands of dollars on that space – and they ended up spending just £ 3,000 on the room. “The only thing we did right away here was take out the old brown tiles from the kitchen and lay some pure white – they gave it an instant boost,” says Emma. “We pulled out a dilapidated dresser to make way for a new island with modern pendant lighting above it, and I was also happy to paint over the big black stripes on the walls, which looked way too modern for the house. . “

As part of the kitchen renovation, an extractor was installed and boxed in to blend into the white wall. “The old extractor was useless because it didn’t even come out,” Emma says. “It’s not expensive work because it’s all MDF, but it does add appeal and character. “

2. Consider collecting period pieces

Burgundy living room with blue velvet sofa, pink marble fireplace with gold adorned mirror, gold and walnut coffee table and oversized cream rug

Walls painted as an Adventurer, The little green. Sofa, coffee table and stool, Western elm. Cushions and ceiling light, Do. Masterpieces, We are Dorothée

(Image credit: Katie Lee)

From fireplaces to ceiling roses, you can find almost everything you need to restore period items at second-hand sites, salvage yards, and second-hand shops. Expecting to pay around £ 1,500, Emma and Adam were delighted to find this red marble log fire salvaged from the living room for just £ 400 on Ebay. “This provided the starting point for the color palette,” says Emma.

In terms of colors, she made bold choices: burgundy and navy blue enhance the fireplace. “I normally paint the baseboards the same color as the walls, as it enhances the character and height of the ceiling,” she adds.

3. Don’t be afraid to mix and match your tracks – and your sources

Dining room with dark wood floors, mid-century dining chairs, blue paisley tablecloth and blue paneled walls

Dinner table, Western elm. Chairs, carpet and ceiling light, Do. Tablecloth, The Redoubt

(Image credit: Katie Lee)

Savvy buyers see furniture buying as a marathon, not a sprint – and Emma is no exception. “High-end modern furniture likes to rub shoulders with vintage pieces,” she says. “Over time, we replaced our first household furniture with better quality pieces. I have strived to be quite durable by using scavenged and salvaged items, with vintage decor accents like mirrors, plant pots, and vases. I also painted most of the art. ‘

Due to the interlocking, the dining table and elegant Mid-Century style chairs did not have
been used as much as hoped. “I had imagined having dinners for family and friends, but that did not happen! Emma said.

4. Think outside the box for your bathroom

Bathroom with light gray paneling and white walls, wooden floors, gray roll-top tub, white Edwardian-style sink and gold-embellished mirror

Faucets and washbasin, Burlington. Ground, Tile giant. Wall lights, Amazon. Bath mat, John Lewis & Associates. painted walls Dulux‘s Pure Brilliant White and Farrow & ball‘s Bathrobe

(Image credit: Katie Lee)

Bringing back a period feel to your bathroom doesn’t have to come at a cost, as Emma and Adam have shown – it costs them around £ 3,000 to redo completely. “Other than the shower area, we got everything out,” she says. “The modern, space-age-style fully tiled bathroom didn’t quite suit a period home, so we opted for a classic, traditional look instead. The claw-foot tub was another bargain on Ebay at £ 100. “It didn’t need any glazing, just a really good clean up and a new coat of paint,” says Emma. ‘Wood effect ceramic floor tiles are really practical and easy to clean.’

5. Choose your “splurge” articles wisely

Pink bedroom with paneling, blue patterned wallpaper, black metal bed and light blue bed linen

Walls painted in China Clay Deep, The little green. Bed, DFS. Bedding, The Redoubt. Suspension, Home Lights Direct. Pimpernel Wallpaper in Anthracite, Live wallpaper

(Image credit: Katie Lee)

In the master bedroom, William Morris wallpaper highlights the fireplace, acting as a feature and allowing Emma to use a more user-friendly paint elsewhere in the room. She was keen to honor the house’s Edwardian past in this space. “It was solid gray with two modern ceiling lights on either side of the bed,” she says. “But we added moldings, wainscoting and a large period style rosette for an oversized center pendant. “

6. Be creative with your textiles

Children's room with blue and white striped wallpaper, white crib with terracotta canopy, rattan toy storage baskets and streamers

Estelle wallpaper, Sandberg. Country Collection Cot, Boori. Canopy, The modern nursery. Bunting, Nobodinoz. Blanket, Bloomingville. Baskets, Dunelm

(Image credit: Katie Lee)

Eager to transform her children’s bedrooms on a budget, Emma took the decor in hand by tinting their old bed canopies to match the new scheme. “In Henry’s room, I didn’t really want a single theme, so there’s a mix of his favorite things – space, dinosaurs, and pirates,” she says. “There are a lot of baskets for storage because they are much nicer than the plastic ones”

Children's room with beige walls, burgundy canopy and bed set with blue and pink floral patterns

Bed, vintage. Canopy, The modern nursery. Handmade streamers and cushions. Star sparrow and bedding, H&M Home. Nightstand, The Redoubt

(Image credit: Katie Lee)

A warm neutral gray beige shade was chosen for Daisy’s bedroom. “At the time, I was so sleep deprived with the two kids,” says Emma. “Creating a quiet space to help her sleep without too many distractions was important. She loves purple, so I dyed the canopy for her and added some mixed floral upholstery. ‘



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