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. âWe knew we weren’t going to be around forever, so all of the upgrades were made on a small budget,â says Emma. âI 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 Â£ 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
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 Â£ 13,700
Using the existing kitchen units saved Emma and Adam thousands of dollars on that space – and they ended up spending just Â£ 3,000 on the room. âThe 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,â 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. âThe old extractor was useless because it didn’t even come out,â Emma says. âItâs not expensive work because itâs all MDF, but it does add appeal and character. “
2. Consider collecting period pieces
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 Â£ 1,500, Emma and Adam were delighted to find this red marble log fire salvaged from the living room for just Â£ 400 on Ebay. âThis provided the starting point for the color palette,â says Emma.
In terms of colors, she made bold choices: burgundy and navy blue enhance the fireplace. âI normally paint the baseboards the same color as the walls, as it enhances the character and height of the ceiling,â she adds.
3. Don’t be afraid to mix and match your tracks – and your sources
Savvy buyers see furniture buying as a marathon, not a sprint – and Emma is no exception. âHigh-end modern furniture likes to rub shoulders with vintage pieces,â she says. âOver 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. âI had imagined having dinners for family and friends, but that did not happen! Emma said.
4. Think outside the box for your bathroom
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 Â£ 3,000 to redo completely. âOther than the shower area, we got everything out,â she says. âThe 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 Â£ 100. âIt didn’t need any glazing, just a really good clean up and a new coat of paint,â says Emma. ‘Wood effect ceramic floor tiles are really practical and easy to clean.’
5. Choose your “splurge” articles wisely
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. âIt was solid gray with two modern ceiling lights on either side of the bed,â she says. âBut we added moldings, wainscoting and a large period style rosette for an oversized center pendant. “
6. Be creative with your textiles
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. âIn Henry’s room, I didn’t really want a single theme, so there’s a mix of his favorite things – space, dinosaurs, and pirates,â she says. “There are a lot of baskets for storage because they are much nicer than the plastic ones”
A warm neutral gray beige shade was chosen for Daisy’s bedroom. âAt the time, I was so sleep deprived with the two kids,â says Emma. âCreating 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. ‘