Thrifty woman upcycles and buys secondhand in stunning house renovation

Martina Creevey, 46, from Dublin, Ireland, purchased a three-bedroom semi-detached house in Dublin for £123,000 back in 2000.

She’s spent the last 10 years or so renovating the home, using budget tricks to keep costs down on the most recent workl

Martina, who lives with husband Paul, loves getting her hands dirty in DIY projects and took it upon herself to redecorate the home as a hobby.

Due to budget constraints, she had to be thrifty with materials – hunting for bargains at supermarkets like Lidl and high street stores such as B&Q, as well as scouring the web for deals.

The couple have given every room in their house a revamp, doing almost all of the work themselves – including most recently creating a gorgeous garden from scratch, as well as updating the kitchen, bedroom and bathroom.

Martina describes her house as having a ‘maximalis’” style – with no surface untouched.

‘For me, maximalism just evolved,’ she told Jam Press.

‘I never really set out for that look but when people describe my interior style, maximalism is definitely the word that is used.

‘I do like lots of different art around my house, whether it be prints or paintings, there is a mix of both in our home.

‘I also really like colour and I think that is very obvious throughout my home.
“I don’t think I have any one particular style, I like to have different looks in different rooms.

‘I suppose you could describe my home as an eclectic mix of lots of different colours and textures.

‘When I travel, I always like to try and pick up a unique piece from other countries, whether that be a lampshade or a throw for the bed, I am always on the lookout for something different.

‘I don’t like empty spaces or walls really, I find that look a bit clinical or cold. The key sometimes is knowing when enough is enough… but not sure I’m always sticking to that!’

Last summer, Martina and Paul set out the task of revamping their garden, all on their own.

They levelled off the slope to even the ground, as well as installed a seating area and a new lawn.

Martina also decorated the space, adding a pergola for €400 and bamboo fencing for €70, both from Amazon, to square off the area.

She also added a new wall from soil and stone, which was one of the most expensive costs at €2,500.

For the bathroom, Martina kept it simple by purchasing a new toilet seat and adding decorations bought from B&Q, Amazon, Dunelm, Homesense, Lidl and Next.

The entire bathroom transformation took Martina just a week to complete – and cost her around €405.

Elsewhere, in the kitchen, the couple extended the area, adding storage. It is also the only room where they hired professionals to help respray and re-tile the floor, as well as install lights and other electronics – which cost €2,000 (£1,754) in total.

Martina and Paul also invested in budget furnishings for €200.

Meanwhile the bedroom got a new coat of paint (€100), a fresh carpet (€500), curtains (€50) and a chandelier that Martina won at a contest, worth approximately €600.

Even the couple’s bed got the upcycling treatment, as did some lockers and a chest of drawers that they had already owned for 20 years – at a cost of €200.

Adding on a couple of decorations, the bedroom transformation totalled €1,020 (£900).

The entire house renovation has cost €50,000 (£44,130), added up over the past decade.

But the work won’t be stopping any time soon, and the pair have plans to do even more to their stunning home.

Martina said: ‘We are not finished with the work at all. This year, we are thinking of actually building a proper extension to the back of our house.

‘I want to completely change the layout of my kitchen and dining area. We are toying with ideas and budgets at the minute so watch this space.’

Breakdown of costs

This is what Martina and Paul’s most recent renovations cost (not including the work they did years ago).


  • Paint €100
  • Carpet €500
  • Curtains €50
  • Chandelier (won in competition, approx value €600
  • Bed, lockers and chest of drawers, approx cost of upcycling €200
  • Shelf over bed from Etsy €70
  • Lights, gifted from (free)
  • Miscellaneous accessories, i.e. prints, fairy lights, candles approx €100

TOTAL: €1,020


  • Pergola €400 from Amazon
  • Bamboo fencing from Amazon
  • €70 Paint €100 from Dulux
  • Stencil from @dizzy_duck_designs €40
  • Wall, soil, stone and labour €2,500

TOTAL: €3,110


  • Kitchen resprayed, tiles and labour €1,600
  • Paint €100
  • Lights and electrical work €400
  • Miscellaneous €200

TOTAL: €2,300


  • Toilet seat €25 from B&Q
  • Rug €18 from Next Official
  • Industrial style towel rail and toilet paper holder, both €34 from Amazon
  • Parrot shower curtain €22 from Amazon
  • Plants €50 from local garden centre
  • Bamboo bath board €28 from Dunelm
  • Black toilet brush and holder €11 from Homesense
  • Two small wicker baskets €11 from lidl
  • Two prints €48 from Iamfy
  • Tile paint, Bradite (prime, block and finish in one can) €50
  • Pink paint for bath panel, B&Q good home range (Hyogo) €12
  • Black paint for radiator and woodwork, B&Q multi surface durable paint, (Matt black) €12
  • Dulux undercoat and primer in white €20
  • Spray paint for vent, €1.50 from Dealz
  • Grout pens from Amazon, three for €12
  • Self-adhesive tiles for the floor from Dunelm, €50 for 3 boxes, 10 tiles in each box

TOTAL: €405.00

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