A DESIGN whizz shared how she upgraded her drab home into a colourful wonderland for £12k – all while shielding during the pandemic and bringing a new baby into the world.
Makeup artist Laura Norton, 39, from Watford, moved into her £386k three-bedroom terraced house in December 2019, and immediately decided to give it an upgrade.
Since beginning the renovation, Laura and husband Lewis welcomed their second baby, Esme, nine weeks, who joined their daughter Pearl, 3.
They were also shielding from the pandemic while transforming their dull house into a cosy colourful wonderland.
Laura explained she spent £12k on refurbishing the house, spending £5,600 on the kitchen, £1,200 on the bathroom, £1,200 on the living room, £1,200 on the bedroom, £600 on the downstairs toilet, and just £150 on the office.
The renovations added more than £60k of value to the house, with it now being worth £450k.
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Laura said: “In the kitchen we had to completely gut the whole room, replace the ceiling, new floor etc.
“It was timely and due to Covid, there were lots of material delays but it is unrecognisable to how it was previously.
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“I love our kitchen – mainly because it was such a huge makeover and looks so different than before.
“I really did hate the kitchen and hated being in it. I love cooking so it was important for it to be a space that was enjoyable to be in. I love it now and we spend most of our time in there. The breakfast bar was a great addition to the room.
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“The bathroom was another massive job, again had to be completely gutted, new flooring, all new bath, sink, loo etc.
“The creation of the downstairs loo (transforming an old under the stair cupboard) was probably our best decision. I couldn’t imagine not having it now and it was a godsend when Pearl was potty training.
“I love the bold, floral wallpaper we have used in there. I think you can really have fun with the decor in a downstairs loo.
“I also love the mermaid mural I painted in Pearl’s room – it just finished her “under the sea” room off perfectly. I hand painted it myself (freehand, no stencil).
“The office makeover too – it just gave the room a new lease of life. With my husband working from home, it was important there was somewhere to sit and enjoy being.
“Previously the grey walls made the room so depressing. I chose the colour orange as it helps stimulate positivity and purple as it encourages creativity. This made it the ideal room for him to work and a space for me to be creative.
“We’ve also taken colour out into the garden too, which I love as it makes it so fun to sit out there.
“The garden was one of the earlier projects we did at the beginning of lockdown and that really helped us having that bright, vibrant space in that time.
“On the whole, everything has been a huge transformation as the house was so badly neglected by the previous owners.”
Laura explained how she decided to give her home the ultimate glow up as soon as she had the door keys in hand.
“We knew when we moved in, that we would be fully decorating the home as it was really in need of some love,” said Laura.
“On the surface, it didn’t appear to look that bad but once we started to live in it, we realised it had been really neglected by the previous owners and the diy had been done really badly.
“It was beyond just painting, every room has been a big project. It’s a great house but I just felt it needed a bit of TLC and injecting it full of colour has brought the home back to life.
“We moved in not too long before the pandemic started, so we got to know every inch of the house pretty swiftly, and lockdown helped us have time to decorate.
“Our daughter Pearl was on the shielding list due to her health, so we were fully locked down indoors, not going anywhere.
“Filling the house with colour and items that made me smile really did make the difficult situation a little more bearable.”
Despite her busy life, Laura says she is always working on new projects, from brightening up whole rooms to upcycling individual pieces of furniture.
“We’ve completed around seven rooms so far and we still have more to do,” she said.
“We are constantly working on something though, there’s still so much we want to do.
“My parents had a second-hand furniture business when I was growing up, so I’ve always upcycled furniture.
“There’s always something in the house I’m painting or upcycling. I’ve also made a lots of things like cushions in the house. I love making unique things for our home.
“I’ve never been afraid to experiment with colour. I think in my job as a makeup artist, I am used to playing with colour and textures so it makes sense that I would do the same within my home. I love big, bold prints and colours.”
Laura decided to start sharing her interiors online shortly after beginning the transformation.
She said: “I’ve always loved interiors and following home accounts.
“Once we started transforming the house and realising how big the changes were, I thought I’d start documenting it online for fun.
“The interiors Instagram community is such a friendly, positive space and I really do enjoy sharing our home transformations online.
“Fortunately, I’ve only ever had positive comments and never experienced negativity online.
“I wouldn’t really care if I did though as everyone has their own tastes and what I love isn’t going to be everyone’s cup of tea.
“I love the home we’re creating and that’s all that counts. It really does show our personality throughout it.”
Laura is not yet done improving her house, and has plenty of plans for the future.
She said: “We are hoping to extend the house, which I’m excited about as it means more rooms to fill with colour.
“Our hall has never been touched but that will probably be the last space we complete after all our other plans.
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“We also need to decorate a room for our new baby, which I’m looking forward to and will no doubt include another mural!”
Follow Laura’s home transformation journey on her Instagram account, @pearlsandplaster.
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