Half Built House Exeter – *That* £8500 overspend!

Chris and Amie’s kitchen ‘likes’, which I get to see just before the job starts

Telly is supposed to be telly, right? Do the job and move on. Make it look good for cameras and quickly shimmy onto another job. Hmmmm, not so much on Half Built House. It should be an absolute given of any job, tv or not, to provide clients with the best that they can afford and their dream style of home. HBH does make it a touch more difficult than normal by allowing only a small amount of design information to filter through to me, from which I have to ascertain the clients design personalities.

In Exeter, Chris had already opened up the kitchen and dining room which would allow the creation of a large open plan, modern feeling room which which I planned to transform with a rustic yet contemporary white gloss, oak and charcoal grey scheme. However, the work  Chris had done to date had exhausted him and the problem was the ground floor and first floor now felt very unbalanced.

Our work on the ground floor was focused on the kitchen and dining room area, leaving Chris to finish off the hallway, front room and utility. For me, this was a problem. Upstairs were two large bedrooms, two tiny bedrooms and a minuscule bathroom which wouldn’t even fit a bath in it! A decent sized bathroom is a must for a house to reach it’s full potential price wise or style wise, moreover no family needing four bedrooms would ever buy a house without a bathroom. I wasn’t convinced that a family needing four bedrooms would ever buy Chris & Amie’s house anyway, given it’s position on a busy road and relatively small garden.

Chris and Amie didn’t have the energy, skills or cash to address the layout issues to the first floor and I felt sure I had a great design solution. It was crunch time. Even though we were supposed to divide a budget of £60,000 evenly between four houses, giving a £15k budget per house to pay for labour, materials and project management…… should we attempt to do downstairs AND upstairs?

If we did, it was likely we’d go over budget but if we didn’t, I felt that we’d be doing the house a great disservice because when we left, no matter how great the kitchen, the house would never be balanced and the best it could be. No matter how hard Chris worked, I didn’t feel that he had the DIY confidence to turn one of the bedrooms into a main bathroom and make the best use of the remaining space. It was a very unusual dilemma in a rather unique property layout.

With all that in mind, I decided we’d go for it and transform the first floor as well as the rear of downstairs. I was confident we could finish in two weeks but sort of knew Nick would have a massive challenge on his hands to keep a rein on the money. The final £23,500 figure, given all the work done, wasn’t excessive but meant we had less than £25k for the final two houses.

No pressure then!!!

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