With shows like Homes Under the Hammer and DIY SOS running on our screens for so long, many of us have thought at some point that we could try our hand at a home renovation. While we may have had successful attempts at putting up coat hooks and shelves, bringing down walls or installing kitchens is a step to far for some of us.

One couple who took on the challenge of a DIY dream house has been keeping us updated with their story.

Gemma Rodway, Somerset resident, told us about her moving journey. After spotting a property that ticked lots of initial boxes, Gemma and her partner George discovered that it was previously sold through our Chard office. Despite sitting empty it wasn’t up for sale when Gemma and George were interested.

“We put a letter through the door. Much to our surprise we had a call and the owners offered to show us around and it was exactly what we wanted, but the offer we proposed wasn’t what they had in mind so that was that.”

A couple of years later, and still on the lookout for the right home, Gemma spotted a house for sale just down the road to the one they fell in love with previously. The property was being listed by our Chard office.

“George was desperate to see it, but by this point I wasn’t interested in moving to Chard, so I put it off.”

A little while later, the asking price of the property dropped so the pair decided to take a look. After viewing the property Gemma and George realised that the house needed severe refurbishment, something that wasn’t part of the original plan.

“I was never interested in a project as I didn’t want the stress, but George is great at putting his hand to anything and really wanted a project. I soon saw that by having a project we would be able to make it exactly as we wanted.”

The pair put in an offer and to their delight a price was agreed. Gemma told us; “GTH were great, James Waterman is a lovely friendly guy and very helpful!” The sale went through and Gemma and George collected the keys and got to work on their renovations straight away.  

The first-time buyers planned on knocking through to create a sought-after open-plan kitchen diner. They factored in that they may have had to move a door and do some plastering, and finish off with some redecorating. This first task however became a lot bigger than expected.

“Turns out we completely stripped the place, rewire, re-plumb, re-plastered every wall and ceiling! It was so exciting because everything is brand new and finished as we want it.”

As the kitchen and diner started to take shape, Gemma and George got to work on putting in new bathrooms, a new boiler and new flooring.

The whole project has been an effort of both Gemma and George, along with some very helpful friends. They’ve dedicated evenings and weekends to do the renovations, fitting in around work.

Their move date kept being pushed back to allow for the major works being done. But finally in November 2019, after the kitchen was finished, Gemma and George moved into their new home.

“We still have lots to do: garden, dropping the kerb, re-doing the driveway and garage. We have the footings dug for our double storey extension, so can eventually get that up and knock down our original garage. But for now we are enjoying putting the pretty bits like putting up pictures and getting throws and candles.”

When asked what advice they would have to anyone else considering a renovation project, they responded: “Talk to trades people before you get going! We definitely didn’t align them and so we’d either have people on top of each other, or people waiting on others to get there work in. Definitely speak first to get approximate times and work with that- don’t guess as it causes chaos and delays things. Also, don’t cheap out on labour – pay cheap pay twice!”

“I am so glad we did get a project. It has been stressful and expensive, we have both, and still are, really really enjoying it.”

We wish the best of luck to Gemma and George with their ongoing renovation project!