Couple save £ 34,500 on home renovations by remodeling a bungalow themselves


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

Their living room before

We all looked at Locker Rooms and were confident in our skills to transform a property in 60 minutes or less.

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

Their hard work paid off – and they turned their simple, dated 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 – far below house prices today.

After saving for 11 years, they borrowed £ 68,000 on their mortgage with the aim of adding a one-story extension and renovating the rest of the family home.

Phill Cooper digs 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 on his own as renovations took place during the pandemic when he wasn’t too busy at work.

Now they are soon done with their hard work – and estimate they saved £ 34,500 by completing the project themselves.

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

They saved £ 34,500


Jam Press / @ renovation_at_5a)

Walls knocked down during construction of the extension


Jam Press / @ renovation_at_5a)

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

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

“We hired an architect, who was a personal friend, he was always available to advise us or rethink ideas with us.

“We also hired a team of masons, a team to fiberize the flat roof, a professional plaster 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 foundation digging, kitchen layout, plumbing, flooring, decorating and electrical were done by ourselves.”

Downstairs, the couple demolished the downstairs living room, kitchen and bathroom, making it a large open plan space.

They then plastered the entire ground floor and added parquet throughout.

In the back of the house, Anna, who works as a teacher, and Phill decided to install folding doors, a large two-meter bay window and two large roof lanterns.

Extension continued to the side of the property, adding a sleek 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 to have that ‘wow’ factor! “

The kitchen during their renovation


Jam Press / @ renovation_at_5a)

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

During the renovation, the family decided to live in the property, but due to delays and issues with Covid, they suffered setbacks.

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

“For about six months, we cooked with a two-burner camping stove.

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

“It wasn’t easy with two kids.”

The couple also found professional reservations more difficult due to hardware delays 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 re-hire others because they could not adapt to our job or there were delays due to Covid. It was sometimes a balancing act.”

They have yet to have the house assessed as they are waiting for the upstairs to be completed, which they hope will be within the next 12 months.

Anna said: “We would be really interested in knowing if we have added value, but we have no plans to sell at the moment.

“We would just like to take advantage of what we have worked so hard for.”



Plans and drawings £ 800

Building regulations £ 400

Foundations £ 3,800

Concrete slab and trellis £ 500

Bricks and labor £ 2,000

Drainage / waste £ 700

Total of £ 8,200


Building materials £ 3,000

£ 10,000 of labor

Support steels £ 6,000

Wooden roof structure £ 3,000

Insulation £ 1,500

Fiberglass roof £ 2,000

Glazing £ 8,500

Fascias and soffits £ 2000

Return £ 2000

£ 35,000 in total


Flooring £ 3000

£ 2000 wood stove

Doors and frames £ 1,500

Bathroom suite £ 700

Radiators £ 800

Plumbing materials £ 700

Plumbing work £ 500

Electricity £ 500

Extractor fans £ 200

Lights £ 500

Plaster £ 2000

Skirting board £ 1000

Kitchen £ 11,800

Tiles £ 1500

Paint / Brushes £ 300

£ 24,000 in total


Earthworks £ 400

Terrace flags £ 800

Exterior concrete £ 300

The railway sleeps £ 500

Porcelain tiles £ 600

Grout £ 400

Artificial grass £ 300

Jump £ 2000

Total £ 5,300


Take-off £ 8,200

Bricks and Mortar £ 35,000

Within £ 24,000

Outside of £ 5,300

Total: £ 72,500

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