Mother-of-two reveals how she’s using YouTube tutorials to transform eight-bedroom former Methodist church into a modern family home in between homeschooling
- Emily Barratt, 36, from Manchester, had one viewing before buying the house and put in offer at airport
- Mother-of-two paid £470,000 for the eight-bedroom former Methodist church and renovated it
- She spends five hours on weekdays renovating after homeschooling her children and 7 hours on weekends
A mother-of-two has revealed how she’s spending seven days a week renovating the eight-bedroom former Methodist Church she bought in a hurry after just one viewing.
Emily Barratt, 36, from Manchester, and her husband paid £470,000 for the property, and spends five hours every weekday renovating her house while homeschooling her children, working on the house between 1pm and 6pm, while she spends seven hours a day on the weekends.
Although she called in the professionals to do the kitchen, which needed a lot of structrual changes, Emma has been doing the bulk of the work herself, learning through YouTube tutorials and by trial and error.
Her renovations include turning a bedroom into her dream dressing room; the master bedroom where she spent two weeks sanding the beams and fitting new carpets; doing the painting, floors and tilling in her new pastel-themed downstairs loo, and even turned the garage into a bar.
The house was also still with the previous owners’ old belongings, which Emma has been able to repurpose
She told Femail: ‘We’ve had some good finds like some really old trunks in the loft, some of the original children’s school chairs from when it was a school. They were really cute. I upcycled them and put them in the playroom.’
The kitchen was the biggest project so far, and the one room that Emma didn’t renovate herself (left, the outdated kitchem before being transformed). Right: After a £45,000 makeover to remodel the space into an open plan kitchen-diner
Emma turned one of the bedrooms into her dream dressing room, knocking through to another bedroom to make the room (pictured left: the dressing room before the renovation). Right: She DIYed a floral-lined mirror and put up shelves to hold her shoes and perfumes
Emily said that she spent two weeks sanding the beams and then laying the carpet so redecorating the master bedroom was a lot of ‘physical’ work. It was ‘the most exciting’ room to renovate, but admitted that it wasn’t very enjoyable because it ‘was very, very, very hard work’ and took three weeks for the painting alone. Right: The finished bedroom features a freestanding bathtub and cream carpets
The old bathroom was dark blue and the toilet had a non-changeable toilet seat which Emily said had been there for around 20 years. She decided on a pastel colour scheme for the new look, based on the Drama Llama nickname her friends have given her
Emma and her partner were contemplating moving because they lived in a ‘tiny’ two-bedroom cottage and, despite extending it, they didn’t have enough room as their children grew.
They came across the property because it was only a short distance away from their home, but Emily didn’t initially want to view it because she knew she wouldn’t be able to resist after seeing it, and the property needed a lot of work.
Emily told MailOnline: ‘I knew it needed a lot of work and I said, “I don’t think we should [view it] because I know if we go and see it we’re going to buy it because we like a challenge.” But he [the agent] said, “No, I really think you should book a viewing.”
‘So I booked a viewing, we came to see it and then the next day we were going on holiday and I was just panicking that somebody else was going to buy it.
Emily Barratt, 36, from Manchester, had just one viewing and was sitting at the airport when she and her husband put an offer in on the eight-bedroom former Methodist church (pictured: kitchen diner after the renovation)
While exploring and renovating the house, she discovered a lot of hidden treasures also, from old books to antique guns hidden in the walls and floorboards (pictured: the kitchen diner after the renovation)
The room they have spent the most renovating is the kitchen diner, because it needed a lot of structural changes after they knocked a wall down to make it more open plan
As we were boarding the plane we put the offer in. And then we were waiting to hear back for the full flight and then we arrived and they said they wouldn’t accept it because we’d not sold our house or anything yet.
‘So as soon as we got back we put our house on the market, sold that and I think it was about two weeks later they accepted the offer.’
Emily, who shares her renovation project on her Instagram (@our_big_renovation), and her husband made an offer on the property in May 2019, moving in January the following year, after issues with the paperwork.
The family bought the house from a family who had previously inherited it. She said: ‘I think it was the dad who inherited it. He died and left it to the two sons who moved in.’
Emily said that she doesn’t have a budget for the renovations on the whole property.
She said: ‘We haven’t set a budget. We are just kind of seeing how much money we’ve got at the time for each room and then just going from there with that.’
The room they have spent the most renovating is the kitchen diner, because it needed a lot of structural changes after they knocked a wall down to make it more open plan.
The mother-of-two (pictured) also created her own dressing room, complete with a DIY flower mirror and shelves to display her shoes
‘The kitchen diner was the most expensive and that was the least DIY one we did because that was structural so we had to get in structural engineers and building contractors for that,’ she explained.
‘And I didn’t fit the kitchen either – so the kitchen was probably about £45,000 including fees, the kitchen, walls being knocked down, walls being built up, that included an archway being knocked down in the hallway as well, steel works, everything like that.
‘That was probably the least room that I had involvement in – as in I just project managed it, I didn’t physically do anything – other than paint it.’
In her hallway, Emily has framed photos and leaflets which she found when she first moved in to the property, dating back to as far as 1865 when the then-church was hosting a fait to raise money.
She added: ‘I also found a handwritten script which was written by somebody that explained how the church came to be.
‘So all the villagers chipped in with money and work and the village built it together for the village. So that was really nice. We framed that as well.’
She has put the items in white frames on the wall in her hallway, adding the title, ‘The history of our home’ which she made herself from aluminium craft wire from eBay.
Emily added that the strangest thing they found were guns under the wardrobe. She said: ‘The strangest thing was probably the guns that we found when we were moving a wardrobe that had been left – a very old, very heavy, very big wardrobe.
‘That was probably the most shocking – just because it had bullets and stuff like that. We could see that they were really, really, really old.’
In her hallway, Emily has framed photos and leaflets which she found when she first moved in to the property, dating back to as far as 1865 when the then-church was hosting a fait to raise money
She continued: ‘They wardrobe came down to the floor if you get what I mean, so it didn’t have legs. If you tried to look under it, you wouldn’t see it until you moved it and they were there.’
Emily has also been directed to a local village group on Facebook, where she has found people who went to the school which the house used to be. She has tried to get in touch with some of them to see if they have any photos of the inside of the house when it was a school.
She has also painted the exterior of the house, from beige to white and added a new door on the porch, changing it into a stylish black and adding plants either side.
The mother-of-two also created her own dressing room, complete with a DIY flower mirror and shelves to display her shoes.
Another room she has renovated is the playroom, as she has added a library nook and a crafts station.
The downstairs toilet also had a dark blue ceramic shower tray, without a shower, which Emily said was a waste of space and needed to be removed
The under-sink cabinet was a cupboard from Wayfair, which Emily adapted for the basin, paying £100 for the basin from Victoria Plum
She already owned the ladder shelf, which she painted white to fit the theme and decorated with ceramic jars and other ornaments
Emily said renovating the downstairs toilets was one of her favourites as she knew she wanted a ‘colourful, crazy loo because it’s the one room in the house that can be a little wacky’
She painted the walls with Dulux Mint Macaroon paint for the walls combined with soft pink floor tiles and accessories, making the macramé plant hanger from a plant pot and string, which she suspended from the ceiling
Emily laid the pink hexagonal tiles herself, thinking they would be easier than large tiles but said they were harder and she had to level the floor first with self-leveller
Emily said that the master bedroom was ‘the most exciting’ room to renovate. She said: ‘I wouldn’t say it was enjoyable because it was very, very, very hard work. But it was nice to see it come together.
‘I mean it took me two weeks just to sand the beams and then lay the carpet. It was really, really physical so it was hard work but it was really nice coming together.
‘Even to paint it, I think it took me about three weeks just to paint it and I am quite a fast painter. But it was nice to see it all come together. It’s probably my favourite room.’
In the downstairs toilet, she had some fun, throwing in pastel colours inspired her her ‘drama llama’ moniker.
She wanted to inject some personality into the dated bathroom, which she knew she wanted to make colourful and it ended up being one of her favourite rooms to renovate, as it was different and ‘was able to go a bit crazy’.
When they moved in, the bathroom had a non-changeable toilet seat and a shower tray with no shower, both in a dark blue colour.
Emily told Latestdeals.co.uk: ‘Friends have me saved in their phones as “Drama Llama” because drama seems to follow me.
‘So the revamped bathroom, with its framed poster of an alpaca unicorn, was a source of amusement for them.’
She added: ‘It was definitely time for a new downstairs loo. The old suite had a non-changeable toilet seat and I think it had been there for 20 years.
‘Plus, it had a huge ceramic shower tray with no shower, which was a waste of space. It simply had to go.’
Up for an interior design challenge, Emily decided to have some fun with the upgrade. She said: ‘I knew that I wanted a colourful, crazy loo because it’s the one room in the house that can be a little wacky.
‘I like the colour combination of pink and green. I’d seen a few bathrooms and toilets decorated in these shades so I decided to follow this style.
Emily (pictured), who documents her DIY project on her Instagram (@our_big_renovation), gleaned all her DIY skills from YouTube tutorials and by learning on the job
‘I usually find that Pinterest has some good colour palettes for inspiration, but I could only find examples of bathroom incorporating darker shades of pink and green. I wanted the loo to feel light and airy, however, so I took a bit of a risk and winged it.’
Emily, who documents her DIY project on her Instagram (@our_big_renovation), gleaned all her DIY skills from YouTube tutorials and by learning on the job.
The mother-of-two stuck to her £1,500 budget and completed the project in under four weeks. Once the main elements in the bathroom were chosen – a lick of Dulux Mint Macaroon paint for the walls combined with soft pink floor tiles and accessories – the rest of the design flowed.
She said: ‘I’ve been renovating our home for a year now so I’ve picked up quite a few new skills. I’d tiled our guest ensuite a few months back, which was a steep learning curve, so this was my second ever tiling project.
‘I needed to pay a plumber to move the sink, change the loo and plaster the walls once I’d removed the old wall tiles, but I did everything else myself, including laying the hexagonal ceramic mosaic floor tiles.
‘I thought they’d be easier to lay than large tiles, but it was actually harder. Plus, I had to level the floor first with self-leveller.’
The under-sink cabinet was a cupboard from Wayfair, which Emily adapted for the basin. She said: ‘It was supposed to be white but when it arrived it was cream, so I painted it.
‘It was easy to turn into a sink unit. I just drilled a hole in the top and side for the pipes using a circle drill.
‘The pink basin wasn’t cheap. It was £100 from Victoria Plum, but it matches the tiles perfectly.’
Emily already had the ladder shelf, which was painted white to suit the theme. She also made the macramé plant hanger from a plant pot and string, which she suspended from the ceiling. The chandelier was £45 from Iconic Lights.
She said: ‘I’m super pleased with how it turned out. If you are looking to do a similar budget bathroom renovation, just give it a go.
She has decorated the bedroom with white and cream furnishings, with a bath on one wall opposite the bed on a raised white platform
‘Do you research, and have a look around your house to see if there is anything you could reuse or upcycle to help keep costs down.’
The next room Emily is going to renovate is her living room. She told MailOnline: ‘I’m still trying to figure out the layout. There’s a door that leads into the kid’s playroom, that might be blocked up.
‘The whole thing needs reconfiguring, building in shelves, things like that. I do want rid of the parquet floor because we’ve got it throughout, so it’s just a bit too much – wanted something a bit cosy in there.
‘All I know is the kind of colour scheme that I want at the moment in there. It’s going to be neutral, like creams and stuff so all animals and children are going to be banned.’
In the spring, the family are planning on redoing their back garden which they started at the end of summer last year. They built a wall and fence at the back, to give them the privacy of a bigger back garden.
They also had to clear it, filling around six skips worth of rubbish from the garden, but uncovering gems such as an old range cooker, which they might use as a barbecue.
She said: ‘So the new back garden that we’ve made, that’s going to have like a raised decking area and a hot tub and then a barbecue and a children’s play area. So we’re keen to get that done for the children.
‘Because the bar leads out onto the back garden as well so it would be good when we can entertain then it could be an indoor, outdoor type entertainment space.’
She upcycled a side table, painting it grey and white and using it to hold a lamp and vases (pictured before, left, and after, right)
She recently turned her rundown garage into a cosy home pub, completing the project in just two months and with a £1,000 budget.
She gave up her pottery painting shop to renovate the old school and church building into a forever home for herself, her husband and two children aged seven and six.
Speaking to money-saving community, she said: ‘We had no use for the garage. It had no ceiling and a barn style door that didn’t lock. Plus, it was full of spiders.
Emily, who documents her renovation on Instagram, turned her rundown garage into a cosy home pub in just two months (pictured: during the transformation)
The savvy homeowner completed her first DIY project on an impressive budget of £1,000, adding a brick bar and musical instruments (pictured: after the transformation)
The Buzzing Bee has a dance floor, exposed brick bar and dazzling copper fireplace (pictured) and has a door leading out to the garden, so Emily hopes that once the garden is finished it can be both an indoor and outdoor space
‘At our previous home, we had a garden shed bar and loved having parties there. We definitely wanted another bar area to host in and, as the garage was directly accessible through the hallway to the main house, it seemed like the perfect place for it.’
Emily set aside a £1,000 budget for renovating the garage and managed to come in bang on target.
She explained: ‘I sold lots of items I already had in there to fund it, such as my pottery kiln, as well as a huge amount of reclaimed parquet flooring that came with the house from when it was a school and church.
‘We had already replaced the windows throughout the house so that was one thing we didn’t have to factor in.’
As with many DIY projects, however, the estimated timescale for the renovation was quickly surpassed.
She said: ‘I thought the project would take a week, but in the end it took around two months. The room needed plastering and we decided to add two radiators so we could use it all year round.’
She called upon tradespeople to tackle both of these jobs taking a £600 chunk out of her budget.
She said: ‘I hired a concrete floor grinder to smooth the floor – the dust it created was horrific – and then sealed it with concrete floor sealer.
‘I then painted on the dance floor using garage floor paint and a stencil to spray-paint on the bee design.’
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