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Couple save £34,500 on home renovation by transforming bungalow themselves

December 19, 2021


Anna Cooper, 41, and her partner Phill Cooper, 43, a medical engineer, purchased the three-bedroom, two-bathroom bungalow in Manchester for £175,000 back in 2009

Their living room beforehand
Their living room beforehand

We’ve all watched Changing Rooms and felt confident of our skills to transform a property in 60 minutes or less.

But the reality is much harder – so this couple’s home renovation is especially impressive as they undertook most of the work themselves.

Their hard work paid off – and they transformed their dated, plain bungalow into a luxurious, modern space and saved around £34,500.

Anna Cooper, 41, and her partner Phill Cooper, 43, a medical engineer, bought the family home in 2009 for £175,000 – much lower than today’s property prices.

After saving up for 11 years, they borrowed £68,000 on their mortgage in a bid to add a single-storey extension and renovate the rest of the family home.

Phill Cooper digging foundations


Jam Press/@renovation_at_5a)

The kitchen after the incredible transformation


Jam Press/@renovation_at_5a)

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Phill decided to do as much as possible himself as renovations took place during the pandemic when he wasn’t too busy at work.

Now they’ve soon off their hard work -and estimate they saved themselves £34,500 by doing the project themselves.

In total, they’ve spent £72,500 so far but estimates online for a similar size extension in their area put the costs at around £107,000.

They saved £34,500


Jam Press/@renovation_at_5a)

Walls being knocked down while the extension was being built


Jam Press/@renovation_at_5a)

“After completing a similar yet smaller renovation project alongside his dad, the previous summer, Phill felt confident enough to take on this project,” Anna said.

“Being an engineer meant that his day job became a little less demanding during Covid and he found he had a little more time at home.

“We did hire an architect, who was a personal friend, he was always on hand to advise or rethink ideas with us.

“We also hired a team of bricklayers, a team to fibreglass the flat roof, a professional renderer and a plasterer.

They transformed the dated property


Jam Press/@renovation_at_5a)

The family renovated during the pandemic


Jam Press/@renovation_at_5a)

“All other work, including digging the foundations, fitting the kitchen, plumbing, flooring, decorating and electrics were carried out by ourselves.”

Downstairs, the couple knocked down the living room, kitchen and downstairs bathroom, to make it into one large open plan space.

They then re-plastered the whole of the downstairs and added wooden flooring throughout.

Along the back of the house, Anna, who works as a teacher, and Phill decided to put in bifold doors, a large two-metre picture window and two large roof lanterns.

The extension was continued round to the side of the property, adding a stylish bathroom with Victorian-style tiles and a large utility room.

Anna said: “We wanted the kitchen to be the real feature of the house and have that ‘wow’ factor!”

The kitchen during their renovation


Jam Press/@renovation_at_5a)

Upstairs, the couple have also extended to refit a large family bathroom, and they are currently decorating the three bedrooms.

While renovating, the family decided to live in the property, but due to delays and issues because of Covid, they faced setbacks.

Anna said: “Living in the house during renovations was hard as we only had a temporary kitchen in our old garage.

“For around six months, we were cooking from a two-ring camping stove.

”The holes that were only covered with tarpaulin didn’t help as they often fell down in the wind and rain.

“It was not easy with two children.”

The couple also found booking professionals was more difficult because of delays in materials due to covid.

The couple did most of the work themselves


Jam Press/@renovation_at_5a)

The garden of dreams


Jam Press/@renovation_at_5a)

Anna, who shares the transformation with her followers on her Instagram account @renovation_at_5a, added: “We had to cancel some professionals and rebook others as they couldn’t fit our job in or there were delays because of Covid. It was a bit of a balancing act at times.”

They have not yet had the house valued as they are waiting until the upstairs is finished, which they hope will be within the next 12 months.

Anna said: “We’d be really interested in finding out if we have added value but we have no plans to sell at the moment.

“We’d just like to enjoy what we have worked so hard to achieve.”



Plans and drawings £800

Building regs £400

Foundations £3,800

Concrete slab and mesh £500

Bricks and labour £2,000

Drainage/waste £700

Total £8,200


Building materials £3,000

Labour £10,000

Supporting steels £6,000

Wooden roof structure £3,000

Insulation £1500

Fibreglass roof £2000

Glazing £8500

Fascias and soffits £2000

Rendering £2000

Total £35,000


Flooring £3000

Woodbruning stove £2000

Doors and frames £1500

Bathroom suite £700

Radiators £800

Plumbing materials £700

Plumbing labour £500

Electrics £500

Extractor fans £200

Light fittings £500

Plaster £2000

Skirting £1000

Kitchen £11,800

Tiles £1500

Paint/Brushes £300

Total £24,000


Groundworks £400

Patio flags £800

Outdoor concrete £300

Railway sleeps £500

Porcelain tiles £600

Grout £400

Artificial grass £300

Skips £2000

Total £5,300


Getting off the ground £8,200

Bricks and Mortar £35,000

Inside £24,000

Outside £5,300

Total: £72,500

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