Couple transform ‘total wreck’ left untouched for 40 years into stunning home


When Kievah and Jamie Wallace bought their four-bedroom home in Newcastle, it was in “drastic need” of an update having been left untouched for 40 years.

Just four months later, the property was unrecognisable after the pair stripped the house back to its bare bones and got to work giving it a complete overhaul.

The couple, who did much of the work themselves, overcame the challenges put in their way by the coronavirus pandemic and have now been left with the “perfect family home” to raise their 18-month-old daughter, Ruby.

There are plans to continue the renovation works, and Kievah said although their first project felt “overwhelming” at times, she feels proud to look back on what they have achieved – but warned others planning to do the same that it will always cost more than expected.

The old living room
They think the home hadn’t been decorated since the 70s

The new living room
It’s stunning now

Kievah and Jamie bought the home they described as a “total wreck” for £312,000 in December 2018 and got to work almost immediately, tackling damp, knocking down walls, and re-plastering.

They’ve so far spent between £30,000 and £40,000 on the transformation, hiring in workers to do jobs like the electrics and plumbing, while also doing what they could themselves, with a little help from Kievah’s dad.

Kievah, 35, said: “When we first bought the house, it had been in the same family since at least the 70s and was in drastic need of refurbishment.

The old bathroom
The old fixtures and fitting were torn out

The new bathroom
Kievah says the new bathroom is her favourite room in the house

“It wasn’t even in a liveable state so we had to start renovations straight away. It didn’t have central heating, had dampness and needed a full re-wire so we started with those jobs first.

“The first complete room was the bathroom which we had to complete so that we could move in.

“It was a long and messy process but so satisfying to be able to have a blank canvas to work with.”

The old kitchen
The bulk of the work took about four months to complete

The new kitchen
They have spent between £40,000 and £50,000 on the transformation

The family were able to move into the home in Easter 2019 and continued to work on it when lockdown struck, with Kievah using the Roomle app to plan everything out and get a feel for how it was all going to look at the end.

She says her dad, who works as a joiner, worked “so hard” to make the home what it is today, and says they continue to tick jobs off the list as they work their way round the property.

Looking back on the project so far, she added: “I would say the hardest part of the renovation, apart from the initial mess, has been having projects halted through lockdown.

“Not being able to have friends and family in the house has meant that we haven’t been able to get the help to tackle big projects, especially with a toddler in tow.”

The new dining room
They say it’s now the “perfect family home”

She says her favourite room is the bathroom, which she calls “my sanctuary” to escape the chaos, and it’s the room she “wouldn’t change a thing in”.

The couple aren’t done yet, with the utility room, downstairs toilet, front door and entryway on the list of jobs still to do, before they turn their attention to the outside of the home and the garden.

Kievah gave advice to those looking to follow in their footsteps, saying: “Things can always cost more than you think they’re going to.

“We were able to get our house to a certain point with our initial budget and then we’ve just been tackling the smaller projects as we’ve gone along.

“It can be really overwhelming and quite draining when you first take on a project, especially if you’re having to get multiple things tackled at once but it’s so worth it when you get each job ticked off your list and look at how far you’ve come.”

What do you think of the home now? Let us know in the comments.

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