Couple transform shabby old home into modern masterpiece for just £19,000

Amber Masciarelli, 32, and her husband Trey Masciarelli, 32, decided to take on an extensive renovation project after spending a significant time working from home.

The project came in the form of a three-bedroom house which the couple bought for $70,000 (£51,000) in May 2019. All in all, Amber and Trey spent two years using their DIY skills to transform the property entirely.

‘We DIYed the entire house,’ Amber said. ‘We did everything together, but we found it to be funny that I liked a lot of the carpentry work, and Trey liked a lot of the designing. The pandemic gave us nothing but time, and we loved the idea of saving money.

‘We got our materials from many discount stores, tools and some supplies from yard sales and flea markets, including places like Lowe’s and Home Depot.’

‘The best part is we now get to live in a beautiful home that is debt-free! And we’ve learned all these skills along the way, which have now changed our lives.’

Amber and Trey first tackled the living room. They installed plywood on the ceiling and laid new flooring throughout the house, including a batten board wall as a statement piece.

Next, they moved to the kitchen, where they first knocked a wall and fitted a beam to create an open dining space.

Amber and Trey extended their kitchen cabinets by building boxes above them out of plywood to create more storage space. Amber painted all the kitchen cabinets and added new handles for a modern update.

Usually, a kitchen island is an expensive addition; however, Amber and Trey built one from leftover lumber and splurged on quartz countertops for a sophisticated finish.

From Facebook Marketplace, the couple purchased a vintage buffet dining table for just $100 (£73) and reconditioned it with paint that cost $10 (£7).

In the hallway, the savvy pair redesigned the doors with a geometric arrow pattern. Meanwhile, they demolished the entire bathroom to start from scratch and install new electrical and plumbing work.

Tiles were then placed on the walls and floor, including a shiplap for a modern finish. The couple waterproofed the shower before installing glass doors and a brand new vanity unit, costing $650 (£480).

One bedroom was transformed into a laundry room, and to do so, Amber and Trey added six sheets of bricks to the walls that cost $28 (£20) each and three sheets of plywood as shiplap costing $15 (£11) each.

In the master bedroom, the couple knocked a wall to create more space, removed one of the windows and refurbished the closet. A plywood shiplap ceiling and accent wall were used to add a point of difference to the room.

New plumbing was installed in the ensuite bathroom, and the floor was tiled. Amber and Trey then spray painted the mirrors to match the vanity unit, costing $80 (£60).

Some of the most substantial costs came from installing new appliances throughout the house, costing $6,000 (£5,100). A new roof also set them back $6,000 (£5,100). New garage doors for $2,000 (£1,700) were one of the last inclusions.

While this may sound expensive, the entire home renovation cost just $26,000 (£19,000), and the couple couldn’t be happier with the final result.
However, Amber has some words of advice for DIY hopefuls.

‘The hardest part is starting,’ she says. ‘Have faith in yourself, and you will figure it out! Once we got started, we would study and take notes on the job we were about to do.

‘We would start the job and typically mess up, have to take a break and research more into it, then go back to the job.

‘When you’re doing DIY home remodel, it will be a lot of trial and error. Don’t be discouraged. You got this!’

Breakdown of costs

  • Interior decoration – $12,000 
  • New appliances – $6,000 
  • Roof -$6,000 
  • Garage doors – $2,000 
  • Total – $26,000 

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