I have skimmed the walls throughout the house, chased lighting wires into the plaster, repaired problem areas and designed the rooms, decorated and tiled it myself. I thank my dad for passing on his knowledge and teaching me the DIY skills I use daily. I then came up with a design for each room that was functional for my needs, made good use of the space and kept a young and funky vibe throughout.

I took time to find pieces of furniture and furnishings that fit with the look I was going for and at the right price. Re-using and up-cycling is always paramount to me, when I am finished with an item I either sell it or give it away to make sure it is used again. My sister and I were taught not to waste from an early age, my Dad grew up during World War 2 when food and textiles where rationed. This stayed with him and he cannot abide waste of any kind, he drove us mad as teenagers… we would only be allowed one toilet roll a week between us, he always used to say ‘one sheet for a wee and two for a poo’. You can imagine being a teenager and having friends over, it was so embarrassing when Dad would come out with this line, and we would be like ‘No, he ACTUALLY means it!’ We took to having to bring home rolls from school to last out the week. And if we accidentally dropped a roll down the toilet it was like the end of the world! We were also scared to open the fridge or turn on a tap in front of him! I still get nervous of opening my own fridge when he’s around!

My mother started up the first vintage shop in Brighton’s North Laine 26 years ago, we travelled the UK and Europe looking for 50’s, 60’s and 70’s outfits, platforms and accessories. Being a young girl this was a lot of fun, and I didn’t realise at the time but I was learning valuable lessons in bargain hunting and bartering which I now use every day in my line of work. I also grew a real love for second hand and vintage clothing and this is another area which I have become a savvy shopper and keen up-cycler.

I’m glad my parents instilled these values in me, and I wish more people where so waste conscious, maybe the environment wouldn’t be in such a state if they were. I am passing these values onto my children and teaching them about the environment, reusing, recycling and reclaiming. Children are like sponges at this age and they’re never too young to start teaching them about the world and where their waste goes and the effect it has. They see their mum always working hard every day to make their home beautiful and earn a living, I am going to teach them everything I know. I believe if as a Nation we had never stopped teaching our children the skills we have and passing our trades on we wouldn’t have so many uneducated hopeless young people who feel they have nothing to do but riot and behave antisocially, learning a trade also teaches respect and responsibility.


Known in my family as the £11.50 kitchen! I did indeed pay £11.50 for most of this kitchen on Ebay. That included cabinets, extractor fan and doors inc handles and some worktop (which I later changed).

Once I had the cabinets in place, put the doors on and worked out what else I needed to fill gaps, I bought the wine rack on Ebay for £1, although when a man eventually dropped it round he gave it to me! I bought two 300mm cabinets new online for £16 ea (bear in mind these are £60 in shops!)

I popped down to B&Q to order a few more doors (£8.50 – £15 ea), 2 lengths of plinth (15ea) and 2 of their £40 three meter Inari Granite worktops (the cheapest I could find). I have a friend who’s a carpenter that I asked round to help me with the worktop joint because I could not bear a chrome joint strip ruining my new look kitchen! We agreed I would paint him a picture in return for his help. And my old friend who is a plumber put the sink in for me. I tiled the kitchen myself, I bought the tiles on discount for £15 per pack, usually £20.

The sink was given to me by my friend the plumber, I had been talking about doing the kitchen and a few days later he dropped a brand new double bowl sink around. Apparently it came free when he bought kitchen taps for a client and they didn’t need the sink so it would have been dumped! That saved me around £60. And the art deco taps I bought new on Ebay for £18.99 inc delivery and they are fantastic! There are also two second hand glass shelves on the kitchen wall free, from the same man as the lounge glass shelf.


  • Bathroom wall cabinet: £5 Brighton boot sale, I up-cycled this item.
  • Large wall mirror :(next to toilet) £free – out of a skip!
  • Tiles: £15 a pack rrp £20
  • Flooring : £20 a pack x2 , rrp £35 (End of line discount)
  • Toilet and sink vanity unit, bought together £174 (came with the sink taps and a toilet seat, but I bought a better quality loo seat) vanity unit RRp£129 toilet RRp£129.98
  • Handmade resin Black glitter toilet seat £30 (inc postage)
  • Material for curtains: 2 meters £10 RRP£6.75 a meter, I knocked him down! Discount Fabric, Brighton.
  • Walnut veneer bath panel £35 RRP £79
  • Bath w/shower attachment taps £35
  • Paint: water based, DIY own brand, Cocoa bean, Ocean blue and cotton white wood paint.
  • Seagulls: made out of reclaimed driftwood £11 the pair. I used a pair of these on the Glasgow makeover and fell in love so I went back for my own pair!

Dining Room

  • Designer Glass Table & 6 Chairs bought second hand for £100 RRP £1200 – (I re-covered the chairs with a faux leather material x2m @ £10 inclusive.)
  • Bamboo table mats, there are 4 on the table, I paid £5 for 15 – bulk buy on Ebay and sold the other 11!
  • SMEG fridge freezer: I was so pleased with this, I had wanted one for ages and had been keeping an eye out for a second hand one in my area, got this for £260, absolute bargain RRP £1300
  • Vintage flower design curtains: £21.00
  • Mirror: £10 Ebay.
  • Pew: Handed down from a family member
  • Lampshade: Vintage, present from my folks
  • Vintage plant pot on the window cill, £free
  • Louvre doors: These where in a right state, they where here when we moved in. I washed them with sugar soap, sanded them and painted with cotton white paint. I also took the handles off and sprayed them with black enamel paint.


  • Real leather sofa bed, bought S/H £160, RRP £1000
  • Real slate reclaimed roof tile flooring: most of the slates I reclaimed, for free of different sites. I laid all the floor myself. Not for the faint hearted to put it mildly, although now it’s finished it looks fantastic and runs through the whole of the downstairs. The materials for this job probably cost around £550 to do myself. RRP?! Thousands and thousands! (Inc slate, delivery, labour, grout, adhesive, PVA, plywood, screws and finishing sealants.)
  • Large vintage wicker laundry trunk: I use this as a toy trunk, it is so useful for clearing toys out of eyesight once the kids are in bed! £15 Bought at Emmaus, charity reuse centre in Portslade Old Village.
  • Glass shelf: £Free (a man was chucking it out when I spied it)
  • Red Arm Chair: £Free, from Nan’s house, I painted it and recovered it for £10
  • Colour chest of draws: £free. This looked awful when I took it in and up cycled it.
  • Curtains: Boot sale, were £2 ea, I took three and knocked him down to £5!
  • Wooden Curtain rails: £5 (£4 for the large, £1 for the small one) Boot sale.
  • Old joist Reclaimed wooden shelves £free from a building site
  • New reclaimed wood: A neighbour had unwanted brand new wood and knowing how I love to reclaim she popped round to see if I could give it a home.
  • Hardwood Moroccan table: £30 boot sale. (he was asking £50) RRP £199


When I moved in this hallway was scabby, lumps missing out of the walls, woodchip on one side… really ugly and depressing. At first I painted it all a bright yellow to cheer it up, although with my brood going up and down the stairs with grubby fingers and furniture constantly being moved around the hallway soon became marked up to waist level. I then decided I wanted a change, although didn’t want to completely rid myself of the yellow.

I came up with an idea which would make the hallway more hardwearing and more striking. I bought a gorgeous light grey paint and painted to just above where the marks stopped, which looked good but it needed finishing off. I knew if I used masking tape it would peel off the yellow paint in patches and I couldn’t get the paint anymore. I really didn’t want to damage the yellow and end up having to paint all the way up to the ceiling in the stairwell again. I went through my art cupboard and found one of Tigers little craft paint rollers and thought it would be perfect for the effect I wanted. I painted a dado rail just above my grey to finish the walls off. The wooden staircase was a complete mess when I moved in as well and badly needed doing. I sanded the whole staircase myself and used masking tape to plan my red stripe. I painted white up to my tape and when I had finished two coats of white I took the tape off and painted the red by eye. With my artwork on the walls and two tone design I thing the hall looks striking and sets the pace for the rest of the house. Your hallway is the first thing visitors see so I believe it needs to set a certain standard.

Up the stairs all the picture frames are from boot sales for £1 ea. You can also see my St.Christopher hand painted statue, available from my website www.brightonwallart.co.uk.

(Even the cowgirl boots are Vintage, £7 from Brighton boot sale, Brazilian leather!)


  • Antique chairs: Out of a skip in Glasgow when I was on holiday! £free
  • Victorian wardrobe, £50 Ebay
  • Bed: Old Divan from mums spare room £free
  • Reclaimed wood shelves : £free (off cuts from lounge shelves painted white)
  • Photo Wall paper: £50 found online, I thought I’d splash out on this after I fell in love with it.
  • Real feather Angel wings: Wedding shop, £15 per pair, I bought 5 and knocked them down to £45
  • Cushions: high street £5 ea
  • Red Voile curtains: Online discount £6.75
  • Antique Mahogany candle stick: £8 boot sale. (knocked her down from £10)
  • Vases and plant pot: £1 ea
  • Small draw unit: £free family hand-me-down
  • Vintage vanity case: poached off mum for my room design. She bought it at a market, £3
  • Floor: All of the bedrooms and landing upstairs are old original floorboards, I hired an industrial sander and worked them right back and repaired any damage. I then bought a hardwearing ‘dark oak’ floor varnish and sealed them.


Rockery rocks: Free from different building sites. I kept collecting them until I had enough to work with.
Beach Pebbles: bought by the tonne, £40 x2 (I moved these with a wheel barrow up 5 stairs at the front of my property, through the house and out to the back garden, again, not for the faint hearted!)
Flowers: A little tip for anyone buying flowers: I usually buy the half price flowers that are half dead, I find they come back to life once planted, however if I buy the ‘alive’ ones they tend to die on me! And I have spoken to quite a lot of people that this has happened to. Apparently plants that are ‘stressed’ by being moved around can make a miraculous recovery once placed in your garden.
Garden furniture and pots: Mostly second hand and reclaimed, even the shed is second hand.
Ronald Macdonald Vs statue of David: A garden ornament I painted with a contemporary design. I like to inject humour into my work, this is an ironic piece, a classical iconic design statue wrapped in a modern materialistic brand icon. Available from my website www.brightonwallart.co.uk £650

Photos by Stewart Grant, get in touch for amazing pics at http://www.sgrant.co.uk/

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