We splashed ALL our cash on a rat-infested, poo-filled dive – but after an amazing transformation it's now worth £1m

We splashed ALL our cash on a rat-infested, poo-filled dive – but after an amazing transformation it's now worth £1m


A MUM told how she and her husband bought a rodent-infested detached home, transforming it into a four-bedroom home now worth more £1million.

Fashion designer Amanda Cotton, 38, and her husband Jess, 38, an operations manager bought the “wreck” in Watford, Hertfordshire and turned it into their dream forever home.

A friend at a baby group told Amanda that the detached double front property was coming on the market.

“The first time I stepped through the door there was a dead mouse in the hallway. We’d gone to see it with my dad and our builders.

“Inside there was rat poison all over the place. The previous owner had lived there with six dogs and there was dog poo in the kitchen, under the units – it stank.

“We saw the potential. Our old hallway was 90cm wide – buggy hell in other words.

“Outside the garden was so overgrown we had no idea how big it was. But we could see it had lots of outside space for our son Otis, two-and-a-half, to play in.

“It took us nine months for the renovations to be completed and was started just before the first lockdown.”

Originally downstairs were two reception rooms, a small kitchen, a tiny utility room with a downstairs loo which housed the boiler. On the first floor there were three bedrooms with a separate bathroom and loo.

After completing on the £670,000 property in October 2019 and getting planning permission agreed work started in February 2020.

“We won the builder lottery with an amazing family company. They multi-tasked and did everything – taking it back to the brick work and then rewiring and replumbing. They project managed it with some help from me.

“We didn’t do it ourselves because we work full time and wanted to be in as quickly as possible.”

After the extension was finished, the builders worked from the top down replacing the roof and creating a new loft space.

“At one point during lockdown there was a nationwide shortage of plaster. Bags of the stuff were going for £100 on eBay.”

The couple extended downstairs at the rear by 7 metres and on the first floor added 3.7 metres. Today downstairs there is a lounge and a playroom. The extended area at the back was transformed into an open kitchen diner.

The loo was repositioned under the stairs and they also created a separate coat room and utility

Upstairs is a master bedroom with ensuite and dressing room. Otis has his own bedroom and there is a family bathroom. The couple opted to build a spare bedroom and also create an office.

Previously Amanda and Jess lived in a Victorian mid terrace which they renovated over eight years before selling it to buy the “rat house.”

“I loved getting involved in the interiors. I‘m a fan of different textures, prints and colours. Throughout the house there is a running theme of pink and green.”

Amanda estimates they spent £250K on the renovations and while they haven’t had their home valued – sold prices in the area suggest it to be over £1million.

While they should have been in at the end of August 2020 they was a delay with their kitchen (which still isn't finished) which saw them finally move in three months later.

Amanda reckons her favourite room is the family bathroom.

“They’re tricky to design. We had the vanity unit built from scratch. I picked three different types of tiles and they are all of different thickness.

"It was a nightmare for the tiler but it all came together and is the perfect place to relax in.

“It’s finished but with a renovation there are always other little projects to do.

“We’ve still got to build storage space. We need to think about a patio, drive and fences.

“Otis loves it – he calls it The Big House. He's got a climbing frame outside and he calls his playroom the leopard room.”

So is Amanda tempted to do it all again?

“I miss the buzz, the thrill and the pressure of doing it. But Jess reckons it’ll be our forever home."

Vote for your Fabulous Mum of the Year and WIN

Do you know a mum who deserves some extra recognition? We want to pay homage to the best mums in Britain.

During the pandemic they’ve been busy juggling childcare, homeschooling and work, with the added stress of worrying about the health of elderly relatives and vulnerable friends. 

It’s never been a harder time to be a mum, so this year it’s even more important to honour the amazing women in our lives. 

Nominate her for our Fabulous Mum Of The Year Award and she could win an overnight stay for two at a Champneys spa of her choice complete with a Gold package, which includes four relaxing treatments for the ultimate pampering experience.

Two runners-up will Champneys goodie bag worth £50 plus a £100 M&S voucher and £200 Nutmeg at Morrisons voucher, and all three mums will enjoy a makeover with our glam squad before taking part in a photo shoot for the magazine.  

And you could win a £100 Tu at Sainsbury’s voucher, £200 Florence & Fred at Tesco voucher or £250 to spend at Primark just for entering.

If you want to nominate a mum then fill in the form here.   

To enter, upload a photograph of the mum you are nominating and explain why they deserve to win. 

The deadline for entries is Sunday February 14 and one winner and two runners-up will be announced on Sunday March 14. Good luck – we can’t wait to hear from you!

And this couple, 22, buy rundown house & turn it into a chic pad thanks to DIY YouTube clips & Primark & charity shop bargains.

Meanwhile, this single mum-of-two with NO DIY experience transforms her drab pad into a plush family home for just £4k.

And this couple who purchased run-down 1930s house turn it into dream home with eBay bargains.

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