Couple wow fans after transforming their ‘tired’ bungalow into something special


A couple has wowed DIY-lovers after completely transforming their run-down bungalow in Cheshire into a beautiful Cinderella cottage. Steph Wilson and her soon-to-be her husband, Owen Smith, always dreamed of building their own house-and have pulled off a striking renovation, tripling its size.

The pair bought the property situated down a country lane in Cheshire East in May 2020, and have spent around £270,000 in total on the huge project. Steph, 39, who is set to walk down the aisle later this year, says they wanted to renovate their first jointly owned home together before tying the knot.

“The lane we bought on we used to walk down quite regularly,” she told the Manchester Evening News . “We saw this bungalow which was extremely tired and had been on the market for a while and just took a chance with it.

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“Thankfully it paid off. It’s been a two-year process but worth it to have a home we love so much.” The couple, who live with Owen’s daughter, Bella, took inspiration from a number of different cottages on platforms Pinterest and Instagram.

“We very much wanted a cottage as we’d previously lived in one and we live on a really pretty lane, so it fit perfectly with our surroundings,” Steph continued. “All of the materials were chosen by ourselves as we really paid attention to all the small details. We wanted the house to have curb appeal.”



The property now after the amazing renovation

Steph says the build began in September 2020. The family then moved out in November of the same year so the builders could work their magic, before returning in July 2021.

When they purchased the home, the property was a simple single-storey two-bedroom bungalow. But it was on a wide plot with plenty of space to extend, with no one overlooking the rear of the house.

“We kept three external walls only. Everything else went,” Steph explained. “We added a second storey to the front, and a large double storey extension to the rear, which you can’t see from the lane so it keeps the house unassuming and fitting with some of the other surrounding properties.



The couple wanted to build their first home together so it was just the way they wanted

“The builder completed the shell only, whilst we were out of the house for seven months. I would say the shell only build cost us around £160k, that’s without all electrics, plumbing, stud walls, insulation etc.

“The only other tradespersons we listed to do work was for the pluming, electrics, floor leveling, window fitting and plastering.” Inside, the property boasts stunning interiors, boasting paneled walls, feature log burners, a stylish open-plan kitchen, and modern bathrooms.

“The beauty of renovating/self-building is that you get to do everything just the way you want,” Steph added. “Everything you see in the house has been our personal choice, the oak beams, interior styling, fixtures and fittings.



Close-up of the gorgeous new porch

“As it is now we’ve tripled the size by adding a second storey. We have a snug room, four bedrooms, and three bathrooms. We chose to have the rooms big, which in hindsight might’ve been sensitive to make it into a five-bed, but for us, it’s more than we need as it is.”

The soon-to-be-wife has shared the journey of the renovation on Instagram on her own home account – Bluebell Cottage. Steph also shares her ella gorgeous styling and ella DIY tips with her 13,000 ella followers.

On her latest before and after post of the cottage’s exterior, she wrote: “It’s hard to believe that this week we’ve had the house for 2 years. A lot has changed! And we’re still not yet finished.”

Follower architect_v_engineer responded: “What a beautiful home” while building_our_happy_place said: “Wow! You have achieved so much! What an absolutely beautiful home”.

Interiors account simplybellemaison_homeware replied: “Wow! What a transformation, it’s stunning.” For more DIY tips and advice on how to build your own property, head to bluebell_cottage.cheshire on Instagram.

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George Holan

George Holan is chief editor at Plainsmen Post and has articles published in many notable publications in the last decade.

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