She helped the independent retail buyer and content creator nearly double the value of her home by turning it into a colorful wonderland.
Helen Selwood, 36, has Make your own unique home full of color, with the help of her husband Dave.
Helen, who is from County Durham, loves to mix and match different colors and textures to make spaces unique.
Their hard work really paid off because their DIY efforts saved them not only £21,000, but their home is now also worth £125,000 more than it was when they bought it.
Sure, this will be partly due to the fact that they bought it back in 2004, but looking at the average price for a semi-detached home in County Durham over the past year was £148,231 according to Right Move Sellwood’s semi-detached home is now valued at £400,000, and time is unlikely to be the only reason for such a sharp rise.
When the couple first acquired the property, it was a very neutral thing, but Helen wanted to make her mark on the place.
She had some prior knowledge of DIY from doing the couple’s first home, but didn’t really have time to experiment until Covid hit and shutdowns occurred.
Helen has had a lot of positive feedback about the new decor, but there are those who think it’s all just a little off.
“When we moved in, the house was very neutral and classic in decor,” she said.
It was tired and in need of a repaint, and we wanted to put our own stamp on it.
At first we mainly added gray and white, but in the living room we did the accent wall in a navy blue, which gave a really cozy feel and was the first bit of bold we added in this house.
Pink was added years later during lockdown, and I wasn’t really sure at first, but my Instagram followers insisted it looked great, so after living with it for a week I decided I liked it too – it took me a while to get used to it.
I’ve since added pink to the hallway, our bedroom, the loft and two bathrooms, so it’s clearly a bit contagious.
I think it’s a warm color, and it goes well with bold contrasting colors, especially blue and green. The latter is my favorite color combination.
The kitchen ended up being the couple’s biggest challenge, parents to sons Harry, six, and Austin, 16 months, because their plans needed to be changed in part during the project and they found dampness on one of the walls.
It also proved difficult to juggle some work in an indoor ward, and ended up taking Helen five weeks to finish work with childcare and work.
“The kitchen was the biggest project so far,” Helen said.
To save money, we bought it from DIY Kitchens, and ran it.
There were things that appeared along the way that were not expected. We found the RSJ beam, so we ended up putting the trunk in when we were hoping to change the look, and then due to a major step removal we decided to lower the tailgate and get a new, cooler door, which wasn’t in the original plan.
There was also a lot of moisture, so our plaster had to buffer part of the wall.
Not having a kitchen for six weeks was pretty stressful, but it was totally worth it in the end.
“My latest project, our en-suite bathroom was really challenging for me. It involved painting every surface from ceiling to floor and it included lots of tile paint.
It took me a long time to settle on a tile paint color that I was happy with because it had to be a color match.
It took five weeks from start to finish, fitting it around the kids and work and there was a lot of painting until 10pm. There were definitely a few moments when I felt like giving up.
Although she now describes her home as “very renovated,” Helen says it accurately represents her tastes and is full of happy memories.
“I love putting different colors and textures together, creating mood boards and researching to find the best products to create a unique look,” she said.
I think my home reflects my love of color and pattern and is filled with things we love, picked up on our travels or mean something to us.
“We also have a lot of antique furniture, which was handed over to us and I recycled.
You’ll see I have a lot of gallery walls around the house; They have become kind of addictive.
I love adding prints with positive text or pretty pictures that fit the colors and style of each room.
I love classic touches, so our sofas are Chesterfield style, our bedroom is heavily influenced by the Art Deco period and our dining room is still very traditional.
This suits the style and period of the house. I wouldn’t feel right to add a very modern style and bring out the original features.
Now, Helen is sharing photos and clips from her home and DIY process with tens of thousands of Instagram followers.
Most people are really positive. Helen said I share our house most days on my Instagram @baliol.house and get really great feedback.
I think people love seeing bikes that didn’t cost much to achieve. Most of our furniture is used and upcycling is a great way to bring a piece back to life. I always try to record the process so that people can try it too.
Also people really love the gallery walls and living room. I think the contrast between the blue and pink and the high Victorian ceiling really appeals to people, and it’s definitely not your typical Victorian living room.
I feel we have truly created a unique and happy family home for our children to grow in.
I think surrounding yourself with color can be positive and seem to stimulate their minds.
I love seeing people come in and look around at all the interesting things. It’s a very eclectic mix so there’s always something weird to look at.
Helen has no plans to stop making changes and alterations to the family’s four-bed home.
“The next project in the house is the ladder,” she said.
It’s the last bit of gray, so I can’t wait to get rid of that. I hope to add some panels to give it a classic look.
I also want to repaint the kitchen and add some wall tiles.
“Three years later, it’s completely lined, and I wish we had added more tiles when we renovated the kitchen.”
To anyone who wants to take a leaf out of her radical book, Helen says: “If you want to add color to your home, the best advice I can give is just to try it.
Use apps like Instagram and Pinterest to create mood boards and collect ideas.
It will give you the confidence to just go for it, and if you don’t really like it, you can always draw it again.
“As a busy mom, I also learn that projects take time and you try to tackle them in sections now.
“Because this house has high ceilings, the hall looks like a huge job so I broke it down and did the ground floor first and then I’ll treat the stairs as a separate project.”
Helen’s Cost Distribution:
- Kitchen cupboards – £7000
- Mirostone worktop – £1500
- Kitchen floor and fixtures – £3,000
- Radiator, doors and trims – £5500
- Small bedroom paint and accessories – £100
- Bathroom paint – £70
- Bathroom wallpaper – £200
- Living room paint – £50
- Sofas – £3,000
- Living room rug – £500
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