Tiny home revamp costs and ideas

Tony Maloney
16 April, 2019


I've got a small 2 bed back to back terraced home in Cheshire. I live on my own and have toyed with the idea of moving, ideally to an older home that'll need a full renovation. However, I'm put off by the costs associated with moving so I've decided to stay put and spend some money on my current property.

It's around 15 years old now and started to feel tired and dated. I moved in 3 years ago and I'm due to remortgage my fixed rate deal in a few months, so looking to borrow a little bit more than needed to spend on the revamp. The walls have been mostly badly finished in magnolia, the laminate floor in the living room/kitchen's started to lift and all the built in appliances are original and likely to die at some point. I'm tired of beating myself up over the prospect of increasing the mortgage by what won't exactly be a huge amount I just want to get on and do it. I'm figuring for what'll be an extra £40 a month based on adding £10K to it I'd rather come home to a home I'd enjoy living in.

The footprint of the home is really small - the floorplans and dimensions are pictured below - and I'm wanting to refit the kitchen, bathroom, add engineered wooden floors upstairs and down except bathroom and cloakroom, and replace the internal doors with heavier solid ones. I'm looking for a reasonable quality fit out, so maybe a kitchen from Wickes or Howdens, and perhaps an Ideal Standard bathroom that's not fully tiled on each wall.

I've put some costings together and wondered whether you reckon I'm anywhere close? The costs are just for materials only, and not labour.

I'm figuring on maybe £3-4K labour / 3-4 weeks work on top of this - I'm in the north west so estimating £200 a day for somebody who's able to do the job lot of the floors, kitchen and bathroom.

Any thoughts welcome and appreciated. Is any of this realistic?

Comments (24)

  • Beano
    Figures look ok to me, saying that I do nearly everything myself,
    time wise, 4 weeks I feel would be ample for that amount of work as long as it a fairly straight forward old for new, fancy lighting, extra sockets and reposition of bathroom furniture will cost time and money but as I said, I think your pretty good assuming the prices you have gave is of actual stuff you have seen that you like? Don’t get me wrong, those figures will cover your materials and get you appliances but if you haven’t actually looked yet it could get a lot more expensive depending of your taste.
  • minnie101

    Agree, they look ok depending on spec although not sure on kitchen units price but probably do'able (also try Ikea). Blinds may be ok, we can see the width of the windows but not the length so they may be a little more! Don't forget if you need underlay for the wood floor and carpet as that can be quite dear plus ply, cement board or whatever for the bathroom and tile adhesive and grout plus bits "hidden" plumbing. Do you have an extractor or towel rail/rad in there? I don't know if any reskimming will be required plus you haven't allowed for paint. Have you considered a shower over the bath? Also wondering if you have the space to put the washing machine upstairs in that cupboard as it would obviously free up space in the kitchen? I'd also add on the handles etc for the new doors and kitchen units if applicable.

  • Jonathan
    I think the amount you are proposing spending is fine and your attitude to it being £40 a month on the mortgage is just what you need (plus you would have spent much more moving).
    Personally I think you can take on some jobs- in my experience this helps you feel more invested in your home.
    I also think that when you start shopping the bill could go up. Consider borrowing more as most mortgages give the option of repaying 10% penalty free- so borrow more and repay it if you don’t use it.
  • PRO
    Man About The House - The DIY & Odd Job Handyman

    I think it's a good healthy and well thought out budget. Is the 'ST' storage or a storage tank? If it's just storage you could incorporate this in to your bathroom possibly and have a walk in shower.

  • Tony Maloney

    Thanks for the replies everyone. Appreciated.

    I've hardly any units in the kitchen, and even looking at a fixed price unit set at B&Q for £1700 it includes more units than I'd be able to fit in.

    The storage cupboard houses the combi boiler next to the bathroom.

    The current shower is a mixer one which comes from the wall - no idea of the proper term - and not an electric one. Was looking to stay with the same sort unless anyone advises otherwise.

    There's bugger all I can really do with layout since it's so small, so no requirement to do re-plubming or adding extra sockets etc.

    Will also have to factor in new skirting boards as it's probably not worth messing about sanding the current ones down. They'll need to be ripped off to do a decent job with the floor - I don't want beading as is in situ currently!

    I'll probably repaint the place myself. I'm absolutely hopeless at DIY and can't even wire a plug I'm afraid.

    As much as I'd like high end stuff I don't want to spend the money. I'd have thought my budget would get Howdens or Ideal Standard/Grohe which is mid-range but still decent quality.

    As it is, even with this sort of money being spent I don't think I'd recoup it on resale. The property is already at top end of its value. It'd just make it much easier to sell.

  • forzaitalia

    I’m no expert, but I have done a lot of work in my little terrace, and if you can’t do any of the work yourself, then the labour cost seems inadequate. We recently changed our bathroom into a shower room, so there was a lot of changes of sanitary ware, plastering etc as well as the tiling and electrics. I used mid range sanitarywhere from a bathroom centre, but the loo was ex showroom so got it for £150 instead of £800 (who would pay that much for a loo?). The total cost for removing old bathroom, plastering, fitting new shower etc, and tiling and flooring was £6000 in total. I just feel labour costs can run away with you, but would be interesting to see what others say. Maybe it’s worth getting builders in to quote for labour to give you a more realistic cost?

  • Tony Maloney

    I'm aiming to get some quotes soon.

    What was the breakdown in cost between materials and labour re. the £6K spend?!

    Given the tiny size of my bathroom and no need to move the layout, mostly because it's not possible due to size, even six days at £200 a day it'd only be £1.2K labour. So plus materials I'd be looking at around the £3.5K-£4K max. I mean, it's not even 2m x 2m!

  • forzaitalia

    I’ll have a look through the paperwork and let you know tomorrow.

  • Tony Maloney

    Thank you

  • minnie101

    I think trades costs vary hugely depending on location. I would struggle to get a decent decorator for £200 ATM.

    I don't know if it helps, as it's hard to compare without knowing the exact work involved, but I'm trying to change my ensuite ATM. There is some work raising the floor under the shower cubicle and there will be new boxing in of pipes in the shower (as it's everywhere ATM) plus concealing the cistern however my quotes for fitting and removal are 4350 and 3150. The lower quote doesn't include rubbish removal or any electrical work and supply of LED's and extractor. The quotes only include tiling the floor and the shower cubicle rather than walls, it's also a small room. I haven't bothered with a 3rd quote as I know a guy whom I've used previously roughly what he would charge.

    I'm in Essex so not far from London although in a relatively cheap area. My cousin is on the Lincolnshire/Northamptonshire border and she had her bathroom done la couple of weeks ago, same work as me bar raising the floor and less boxing in, and it cost her just under £1,000. ! I'm also looking forward to hearing Forza's costs as she's not a million miles from me :)

    I don't know what various trades cost in your area but it may be feasible. When I've had bathrooms done in the past they tend to be 5-7 days work.

  • forzaitalia

    Hi Tony, managed to find the paperwork on my shower room refit. Most of the labour was paid cash in hand, but I managed to find the original quote. I’m very pleased to say it cost £5000 all in, unless I’ve missed something! It’s a very long list so I wont list every tiny bit, but here goes:





















    TOTAL: £5169.78

    You can save a lot by shopping around for fittings, but labour costs are more fluid. If you have a good plumber/builder, you're on the right road. Good luck with your refurb.

  • PRO

    We did three bathrooms and 5-6K was about the cost each including labour. The guy we used was brilliant and did plumbing and tiling which made a difference. He was also not VAT registered at the time. I would ask in your local bathroom showroom and be cheeky and ask which fitter would 'you' personally use.

  • Tony Maloney

    Thank you all. Will let you know how I get on.

  • Danielle H
    Hi Tony, I’m also in Cheshire and have recently redone my one bed flat (complete refurb). I think my refurb came in around the 13k mark but I did have double glazing included in that. That’s not including labour, which my dad did @ 100 a day (family rate) so I think 200-250 a day is reasonable for someone who’s a decent all-rounder. However it did include the electrician/plasterer/plumber labour. I did all the decorating myself.
    If you can get yourself to Longsight there’s a fab place for appliances. They’re usually customer returns or have small damages, usually on areas that won’t be seen once fitted. Google ‘white goods knutsford road’. I got my integrated fridge freezer and dishwasher from them, both branded, for £350. I wish I’d got my oven from them as they had my exact one for £50 less!
    Wood floor warehouse in Warrington has lots of choice for decent prices.
    I used Howdens in Altrincham for my kitchen, I’ve got 11 units, Matt White handleless and it was around 3.5k not including worktops/appliances. I guess it will depend which tradesperson you use, what discount they get and what they pass on to you.
    I bought all my bathroom online, shower trays uk, Victoria plumb (again if your tradesperson has a trade account they might pass on VP discount to you). Total tiles are very reasonable, I bought my adhesive, grout and spacers from Selco however. My bathroom mixer tap came from eBay for £60 and looks just like a Lusso Stone one. My dad said the quality was impressive for the price.
    As my flats not a period property I decided to just use MDF sanded and painted for skirting. Looks very neat and modern and was slightly cheaper than skirting.
    Hope that info is of some use to you!
  • AMB
    Tony, labour aside, I think you can get your appliances and fittings at a much cheaper price. For example, you have budgeted £400 for a toilet! You can buy one online for £90 and wall hung ones for £200. When I budget for these things I go online to places like AO.com and Victorian Plumbing to browse the things I need/want. Then I add them to my basket to come up with the total actual cost and any delivery costs. I do the same with tiles. This gives you an idea of how much things really are which can avoid any shocks when you actually come to pay and gives you negotiating power if you are using a showroom-based supplier.
  • Tony Maloney

    Thanks. £400 was for a toilet and cistern, seems to be the going rate for branded stuff even when not high end.

  • peggysue67
    We just bought blinds (made to measure) from Blinds2go and they look great quality and really good price. Around £65 each for kitchen roller blinds and £100 for Roman blinds. Nice thick material.
  • PRO

    Figures look spot on really, I wouldn't go to much dearer with these items! if you need to budget your lighting also let me know so we can help you save money on your lighting designs :D

  • PRO
    Brandler London

    Tony, if you are on a budget then I would not rule out IKEA for kitchens. You can buy the kitchen and find someone to fit it and if you wanted to save a little labour cost you could put the carcasses together yourself.

    The quality of the IKEA Kitchens is surprisingly good and although Howden's quality is also good I find that there costs are sometimes unreasonable and the range option is lacking. You could use the saving to buy better appliances such as NEFF or Bosch.

    With regards to Victoria Plumb you can buy directly from them and again I was surprised at the quality of their product compared with the price. For a house I refurbished in the Wirral I used them for both the vanity units with wash hand basins, wall cabinets and also for a "wall mounted" toilet unit with toilet. The caveat is that sometimes Victoria Plumb's customer service leaves a lot to be desired if something is missing from your delivery.

    With regards to skirting have a look at Ebay and find yourself one that has alrady been primed as you then just need a top coat of paint.

    Be brave with your decorating and take your time.... it is those who rush it that generally mess it up and it is not really that complicated.. and don't forget to buy dust sheets! :-) Also where there are any joints between plastered walls and architraves/window cills, wood details, etc., use a white acrylic mastic. This is easy to apply and give a nice clean finish but again take your time and follow the instructions. I generally have this done after the decorators have finished on all of my projects and it makes a huge difference.

  • Tony Maloney

    Thanks very much for the replies everyone. Really appreciated.

    Still a bit apprehensive on spending the money for 3 reasons:

    I've managed to get my mortgage down to under £80K and the house is worth maybe £140K. It just feels like a step backwards adding to the mortgage again, even if it's maybe £12K.

    I'm just very risk averse these days. Despite being in my mid 30s I'm always worried redundancy / job loss is around the corner.

    I won't get the £10K spent back when I come to sell. I think the house has hit its ceiling limit. It'd just be far easier to sell. So in that sense it's not a wise spend.

  • E D

    So after all that, no revamp?


  • PRO
    Man About The House - The DIY & Odd Job Handyman

    Well at least we were a sounding board for thrashing the ideas about and you have come to a sensible conclusion that you're happy with. At the end of the day it's your money and peace of mind.

  • forzaitalia

    Yes at least it has maybe been a reality check for you, so that’s good. Although some refurbishments cannot be recouped once you sell, a nice bathroom and kitchen always help to sell a house. Don’t forget moving costs money too - average of £12,000 (probably less for you as it depends on value of your home). I can understand your anxiety. Maybe when you feel ready you can just gradually paint the rooms. It’s a great way to update a room without costing a fortune! We’ve all done it on here - one of the most popular dilemmas on Houzz is “What colour should I paint my.........”. Take care Tony.

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