Young couple transform drab old council flat into Instagram-worthy show home – saving them £10,000

A couple have transformed their outdated kitchen into an Instagram-worthy apartment without breaking the bank – and it seems a world away from the place that once called home

Shen and her partner Nico now have an Instagram-worthy show house

A young couple have completely transformed their drab old council flat into an Instagram-worthy show home.

Moving into the apartment in 2020 – just before the pandemic – Shen Outar, 26, and her partner Nico Harvey, 28, knew they needed to spruce up their dreary apartment.

They say their home looked completely dated – with laced curtains, industrial-style lights, a stainless steel sink and a kitchen that was crying out for an overhaul.

Shen, who works as a photographer, and his real estate partner said they always wanted to get their hands on and decorate their home to a high standard – without breaking the bank.

Savvy Shen then decided to search high and low to find the best deals.

Despite initially receiving a quote for £7,000 from a firm to redevelop their shelves and cupboards without any new appliances, paint, tiling and flooring included, the couple put their skills to good use.






The couple were originally quoted £7,000 for their renovation





Kitchen looks worlds away from what it once was

And, with a little help from friends and family, the couple managed to spend just £5,000 on a competitive top-to-bottom makeover.

Shen explained: “For £5,000 we managed to replace the sink, worktops, floor, tiles, appliances, shelves and lights. Looking for alternatives rather than going with a company that would do anything for us, we managed to save around £10,000 in total.

“Looking online at sites such as eBay and etsy, I was able to find cheaper alternatives. I also like thrift stores, so I would look in local stores and find ornaments.

“We installed all the shelving ourselves and painted all the units and walls ourselves. Not having to pay a painter and decorator saved us a lot of money because it would have cost more than £1,000.”






Thanks to the help of family and friends, the couple was able to make their kitchen renovations within their budget.





It now has a new lease of life – with modern devices

She continued, “We also saved thousands of dollars by keeping the shell on all the cupboards and shelves and just replacing the doors and handles. Instead of tearing it all out and starting over, we kept the shell on and gave it to her. just given a makeover.If we had to replace them completely it would also have cost over £1000.

“For the counters, instead of getting marble which would have been way over budget, I found a laminate online which was just £350.

“I wouldn’t say I’m the best at DIY because I’m scared to do it, but I’ll give it a try. Definitely not one of those Instagrammable women at DIY, but I have the ideas and I make them work with people which I know I can do.”

Since the whole apartment was apparently ready for an overhaul when the couple moved in in 2020, they decided to start with the kitchen.






The old and aged kitchen cabinet was not to the couple’s taste





The apartment in its original condition lacked that little sparkle the couple were looking for

Shen and Nico’s cooking is now completely unrecognizable.

The photographer who works in south London said: “We have replaced all the doors and cupboard doors. We have removed them and replaced with MDF.

“We also have a pantry, so we installed shelving there to match the new countertops for glassware and kitchen equipment. When replacing the doorknobs, I found a local seller on Etsy for them, which was much cheaper.






The couple want to go around the apartment and transform it little by little





Nico and Shen searched high and low for the best deals around

“We also built a boiler cover as I hate the way boilers look and that’s the first thing you see when you walk into the kitchen so we built cupboards around it to hide it.

“Then we replaced the floor with herringbone laminate flooring.

“For the colours, we opted for a whitewash paint to give it an old-fashioned painted look and mix modern and traditional styles.

“I think now you can see modern aspects appearing because the kitchen is navy blue, marble and gold.






The couple gave their new kitchen a bit of personality with marble and gold

“The brass sink was an amazing addition which I also found online, it was a bit more expensive at £300 but because we had saved so much on cupboards and shelving it worked well.

“I’ve always had an interest in interior design, space isn’t huge but I wanted to make it look amazing.

“Now that the kitchen is done, we went to the bathroom next.”

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