Before & After: A Flat is “Dated, Dark and Unloved” No More!

As a first time home buyer, Adam had his work cut out for him with his investment property. But with some serious willpower and skill, he created a lively and efficacious space that bears little resemblance to its former self.

(Image credit: David Barbour Photography)

From Adam: Before we renovated the flat was very dated, dark and unloved. The existing layout was very impractical with the hallway/circulation space taking up a large amount of space. The flat consisted of a single bedroom, kitchen, living room, cupboard and bathroom.

(Image credit: David Barbour Photography)

We were looking to add value to the property and build a nicer living space as well. We wanted to create a second bedroom or study/office space. The existing flat had very dark curtains and didn’t utilize the south facing windows for natural solar gain. The flat had a poor layout, ancient heating and electrical systems which all needed upgrading.

(Image credit: David Barbour Photography)

(Image credit: David Barbour Photography)

We were first time buyers, trying to purchase our first property as a young couple in a competitive Aberdeen market. We were looking for a property we could enhance. Having missed out on a number of flats we finally secured our current 50 square meter (538 square feet) property, which has the benefit of its own front and rear door, in August 2015. Renovation took approximately one and half years as we chose to take on the project as a self build to save money where we could, whilst managing full-time jobs.

We built a large majority of the furniture ourselves, drawing inspiration from Scandi design. We used inexpensive materials such as plywood and OSB/Sterling boards to reduce costs, but keep a contemporary feel. I also took inspiration from mid-century modern design and purchased a small of number Eames pieces, along with salvaging some items, such as an original Angle Poise desk lamp and mid-century modern sofa bed.

This was a personal project with a lot of learning along the way. We are thoroughly pleased with the outcome and are enjoying not doing DIY projects every weekend. We spent approximately 20,000 pounds ($25,750) on the total refurbishment.

(Image credit: David Barbour Photography)

(Image credit: David Barbour Photography)

The space we have created is designed for modern living with an open plan living/kitchen/dining space. The flat is changeable to the required needs. Choosing to have white finishes such as white painted walls, white pine Nordic flooring, white doors and woodwork, all contributed to creating a light and bright space. This allowed for feature furniture and paintings to ‘pop’ and standout within the space. Large mirrors were also used in the living space and bedroom to create a sense of volume in a small space. We would do nothing differently and would do it all over again!

(Image credit: David Barbour Photography)

Adam’s words of wisdom: The advice I would give is not to be afraid of DIY and to learn new skills, whether it be furniture making/designing or painting. Throw yourself into the project and be excited! Producing motivation and momentum will breed creativity, which is very important on projects which are time consuming. Be savvy about what you spend, look for deals or opportunities to up-cycle objects to save money as spend it elsewhere.

Thank you, Adam!


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