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January Guest Writer, Country Life and design

Mon 08 Jan 2018

This month’s guest writer is the wonderful Amanda Lucas but to her Instagram fans, she is hobbit_cottage. Amanda has kindly agreed to share some of her journey and pictures of her beautiful home with us.

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Living in the country has always been a dream. The remote setting, my only neighbours being the sheep in the field. Life in the city is not my style, it’s too busy and rushed.

But how could I afford even a little bit of that with my tiny budget?

Buying a house, you know there is always going to be a compromise. I was willing to widen my search and get my hands dirty in order to find something special and more importantly, within budget.

I moved to Leeds due to my job as an interior designer. I have a passion for interiors, but even with a budget of £60,000, I didn’t think it would be possible to find what I wanted. But when I really thought about what was important and what I could sacrifice, a few more properties became available

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I had booked a viewing for what looked like a tiny house that needed quite a bit of work and money spent in order to get it how I wanted. I thought it was worth a viewing, but I didn’t have my hopes too high.

My feelings started to change when I drove along a bumpy side road, which to me all added to my country life charm! Butterflies began as I wonder what I would find at the end of the track.

In front of me was a row of 3 stone cottages, grade 2 listed just oozing with charm and character. The interior was tiny, just one room downstairs, and two bedrooms and decent sized bathroom, but with a perfect view!

Although the area wasn’t my first choice it had the benefit of being tucked away yet still close to transport links and motorways. I knew right away this was the house for me despite it needing some major updating, but I was excited by the prospect.

My budget was only £2000 so I knew the renovations would have to be done over time and I would have to save and prioritise.

I started with the downstairs and I began to rip out the old kitchen and fireplace and pulled up the floor. I don’t mind getting stuck in and so did a lot of the work myself; I laid floor tiles and did my own plastering. It is by no means perfect but it adds to the rustic vibe of the house, and I only got professional people in for the bathroom and appliances.

To keep costs low I made my own curtains, my own dining table and I have been hoarding house items over the years. The scaffolding boards I used for the kitchen shelving and the dining table was so cheap and you can find so much on eBay! My oven is second hand and as the kitchen is so small, it didn’t cost much at all. I got the worktops on sale for £10 each! When you are on a strict budget you learn to look out for bargains and it never hurts to be a little cheeky sometimes.

It had always been the plan to buy a place on my own. I wanted to prove to people it can be done and done on a budget. It may take you longer, it is hard, and I hated it when winter came around. But the results are worth it.

I am slowly making my way through the long list of jobs still to finish; it’s a work in progress but I am not in any major rush! I just want to enjoy my little patch of the country. If you are happy to do some work yourself and can see the potential in something that most people couldn’t then go for it!

My Instagram will you show my life in little squares. I have just started a blog and hope to encourage people to give it a go, make your house a home that you love and enjoy coming back to after a busy day at work!

I have had the house a year now and still have jobs to finish. But it is mine, all mine!

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Shauna Graley

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