Check out this before and after renovation story
Anyone who’s ever watched an episode of Grand Designs will know that renovating or extending a property is one of the most fulfilling things a homeowner can do.
Whether you’re a first-time buyer looking to transform a doer-upper or a seasoned developer hoping to restore a period property back to its glory years, the process is often fraught with unexpected hiccups.
These bumps in the road can burn a hole in your pocket as well as delay your project by months, so we’ve spoken to an experienced renovator for his top tips to a successful house renovation.
Andrei Kostuch, 50, who retired from the police force almost 20 years ago after a serious head injury, told us about his most recent project – restoring a 19th century property in Gloucestershire to its former glory.
The father-of-three said: “This place was a complete wreck when we bought it. But we fell in love with the spot and the character of the building.
“It was built in the 19th century and whoever built it was really fortunate with how the natural light strikes it. It’s beautiful.
“We purchased it back in 2016 for around the £330,000 mark. It’s Grade II-listed, so we wanted to restore the outer structure but also give the rest of the property a really contemporary feel.
“It was a massive challenge; the local authority was quite difficult as well. It’s built into a hillside and there were some ferns actually inside the property, so we had a lot of water-related issues to contend with.
“We had to use five tonnes of lime plaster from Castillon. The total renovation cost us about £350,000.”
The five-bedroom property is now on the market for £649,950. Set in approximately an acre of land and boasting its own viewing tower, Andre has stylishly refurbished this quirky building from a ruinous state.
Talking about why he enjoys renovating properties and advice he would give to homeowners considering similar projects, Andre revealed that taking time do to the proper research is key.
“It all started when we moved to France in 2002 for a quieter life. We renovated one property for a bit of fun and then 20 properties later I realised we were taking it quite seriously,” he said.
“We met some great people along the way and learnt so much. My advice to other people thinking of taking on their own renovation projects would be to research, research, research – I can’t stress that enough.
“Make sure you buy the right materials at the right price. For example, we paid £9,000 for the windows to be repaired in Spain rather than £35,000 in the UK market. That’s where the savings are.
“I carried out most of the work myself with two friends, as we wouldn’t have been able to afford it if we’d paid for a contractor. It took us 18 months in total, but I’ve got years of experience.
“But also make sure you work with a really good architect and just be patient with the local authority. I’d also allow about an extra 50% over your original budget, because with an older property like this one, loads of problems can just jump out of nowhere.”