Woman shares how she added £200k to the value of her home by ‘bringing it back to life’


Civil servant Paula Whitehouse, 42, gutted her 1830s home over six-years and added a fresh, modern style that has boosted the value of the property.

The couple added new, charming features to the property

A woman has shared how she added £200k to the value of her 1830s home by strategically redecorating the property herself.

Civil servant Paula Whitehouse, 42, from South Staffordshire, UK, bought her home and coach house in 2014.

At the time, the house cost £275,000 but had not been well looked-after, with previous owners having stripped away the features that would have made it a listed building, like its neighbours.

Paula decided that it was time to bring the house back to life, and rolled her sleeves up to put some character back into the building.

“It needed gutting top to bottom,” she said.

“Nearly all of the character had already been taken out of our house unfortunately – or fortunately, depending on how you look at it, as we were able to do whatever we wanted.”

The former kitchen before renovation

The ‘country cottage style’ kitchen was relocated in the dining room

Over the past five years, Paula has spent £60,000 on updating her house and giving it the charm it was missing.

Along with her husband Phil, she has entirely remade every room in the house, taking out defunct appliances and redecorating along the way.

Paula said the couple worked from the bottom up and tackled things as they broke. First of all they installed a downstairs toilet as it’s a large house that only had one bathroom.

They changed the layout of the house like relocated the kitchen into what was the dining room so it had direct access onto the garden.

Paula and husband Phil gutted the house over six years

Other works include changing all of the windows with box sashes, changing the front door and adding a new canopy, insulating the entire property and installing a log burner in the living room.

They also updated the heating system. She added: “We also installed a new boiler and heating system, ripped out and replaced the bathroom entirely and built and installed the new ensuite.

“We redecorated as we went, installing new woodwork, new lighting and new flooring throughout.

“”The last thing we did was have a cabinet maker build the alcove unit in the living room. It looks like it’s always been there.”

The only things they haven’t replaced are the roof and the floorboards.

All the heavy work is complete and they have moved onto second room makeovers.


The bathroom hadn’t been updated since the 1990s

The stunning free-standing bath tub adds a feeling of space in a narrow room

Paula’s favourite room transformation is the bathroom, which hadn’t been updated for decades.

In terms of style, the couple have completely overhauled the property, bring the bathroom from the 1990s up to date with a fresh botanical-cum-colonial style. “Having a free-standing bath has created a real sense of space in what is quite a narrow room,” she said.

But the redesign wasn’t always easy, with the pair finding rotten timbers and perished materials that all had to be replaced.

Their six-year-old dog, who was a puppy when the project first started, was always running into trouble. Paula added: “I was regularly fishing her out of rubble bags or off of freshly painted surfaces.”

Even though work on the main house is done, Paula still has big plans for the coach house.

The living room was moved into the old kitchen

The couple bought the large house for just £275k

“We have planning permission and building regulations granted on the coach house, so that’s definitely our next project. It’s currently a summer house.

“Covid, along with astronomical quotes on the work, has meant we’ve paused this for now, but it’s definitely the next thing on the list.

“It’s a beautiful old building with amazing beams, and we want to be able to use it all year round.”

Even without having finished the coach house though, the property has soared in value since Paula bought it in 2014.

The pair bought the house for £275k – and after £60k of work – it is now worth £500k.

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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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