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How Norfolk couple tamed the house from hell

PUBLISHED: 08:48 11 April 2019

Tackling a property nightmare: Olly Savage and Katrina Crossley, from Norwich. 
Pic: Katrina Crossley.

Tackling a property nightmare: Olly Savage and Katrina Crossley, from Norwich. Pic: Katrina Crossley.

A DIY duo thought they had bagged a bargain cottage at auction - only for it to turn into a £50,000 money pit.

The cottage which appeared not to need much work. Pic: Katrina Crossley.The cottage which appeared not to need much work. Pic: Katrina Crossley.

It was the first property venture for would-be developers, interior design student Katrina Crossley, 25, and her business and sales development director partner, Olly Savage, 33, from Norwich.

The pair were over the moon to snag what appeared to be the perfect little cottage at auction for the cut-down price of just £90,000.

But the pretty, if a bit run-down, semi-detached home, in Sutton, near Stalham, was hiding some nasty secrets.

MORE: Meet the Norfolk brothers keeping print alive

And look at it now...the cottage rebuilt by Katrina and Olly. Pic: Katrina CrossleyAnd look at it now...the cottage rebuilt by Katrina and Olly. Pic: Katrina Crossley

When the pair started the renovation it quickly escalated into a full-on re-build after a catalogue of catastrophes.

“We’d had a survey and thought it just needed replastering and repainting,” Katrina said. “But when we started taking the wallpaper off, there were massive holes, the stairs were rotten and just fell down, a chimney fell down. I thought it couldn’t get any worse – but it did.

“There were exposed pipes, no hot water as the gentleman who used to live there had used a kettle and the floors were rotten and you could see through to soil underneath. We actually found the house wasn’t even attached to the neighbouring property, it was just leaned up against it.”

The house was sold with all its contents which took the couple a week to clear and they ended up spending £50,000 to put right all the work.

The kitchen before the renovation, hiding many nasty defects. Pic: Katrina Crossley.The kitchen before the renovation, hiding many nasty defects. Pic: Katrina Crossley.

They removed all the internal walls, re-wired and put in insulation as well as new floors and a new staircase.

And now, almost a year on, the property has been completely transformed. Whereas they had first intended to use it as an Airbnb, they have now rented it on a longer term basis for £650 per month. And they have certainly added with the cottage now worth between £170,000-£190,000.

“It’s a cottage we believe was built in the early 1900s and it now looks really contemporary inside. We wanted to retain the fireplace but it just fell down along with the chimney,” Katrina said.

It’s clean and bright, painted in white and grey with the lurid blue, orange and green paint now gone. The couple added a sleek modern kitchen in pale grey which is open plan to the sitting room. The staircase has been rebuilt with storage underneath and the sitting room has a plush carpet and a modern fireplace. Outside, the couple are finishing with a new patio being laid.

And look at it now; the new, open plan kitchen after the renovation. Pic: Katrina Crossley.And look at it now; the new, open plan kitchen after the renovation. Pic: Katrina Crossley.

“We’re actually renting this property to enable us to buy another to do up, after this one, we think we can tackle anything,” said Katrina.

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Before the renovation. Pic: Katrina Crossley.Before the renovation. Pic: Katrina Crossley.

What a transformation; the bedroom now. Pic: Katrina Crossley.What a transformation; the bedroom now. Pic: Katrina Crossley.

You may also want to watch:

After the extensive work. 
Pic: Katrina Crossley.After the extensive work. Pic: Katrina Crossley.

The bathroom before the renovation. Pic: Katrina Crossley.The bathroom before the renovation. Pic: Katrina Crossley.

And look at it now. Pic: Katrina Crossley.And look at it now. Pic: Katrina Crossley.

The main front room before the renovation. Pic: Katrina Crossley.The main front room before the renovation. Pic: Katrina Crossley.

The new look sitting room. Pic: Katrina Crossley.The new look sitting room. Pic: Katrina Crossley.

A pile of rubble for a home. Pic: Katrina Crossley.A pile of rubble for a home. Pic: Katrina Crossley.

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