Hannah Isichei, owner of The Pheasant Lodge, used social media to help her turn a period property into a beautiful holiday apartment. The part-Victorian, part-Georgian building has been transformed with the help of Youtube tutorials, Instagram and family.
One of the few good things to happen as a result of the global pandemic was the amount of people discovering new passions and learning new skills.
Google and social media became everyone’s best friend during monotonous periods of lockdown as online tutorials sky-rocketed.
Baking, knitting, gardening… You name it; Someone will have googled a tutorial in an attempt to try something new during lockdown.
But how can this benefit you?
Interior design and DIY tutorials have been trending for some time now, and not only can they help you to develop new skills and make your business look fabulous, but it can also save you a lot of money.
Why pay for a decorator when you can do it yourself? Hannah Isichei, owner of Pheasant Lodge in Cumbria, did just that.
Although they called in the experts for electrics and plumbing, Hannah and her family renovated a two bedroom apartment nearly all by themselves; The best part is that Hannah used different YouTube channels and social media accounts to gain inspiration and learn new skills.
“I had no prior experience in design or DIY, but I’ve always been interested in interiors,” said Hannah, “I just knew we could do it and after a couple of tough years, it was exciting to have a project to work on.”
Hannah purchased Pheasant Lodge in September 2021, which took an exciting six months to renovate before she welcomed her first guests in early April this year.
“My husband and I spent weekends driving to the Lakes with our four year old son to renovate it,” said Hannah.
“My parents also live in the area and we couldn’t have done it without them.”
She added: “My two brothers were also a massive help and they weren’t afraid to get given the monotonous jobs or to get dirty.”
Apart from the electrics and the plumbing, Hannah and her family did most of the renovation and interior design themselves.
Hannah said: “We wanted to keep costs down and do whatever we could by ourselves.
“We learnt a lot along the way.”
Hannah’s husband has a building background, so she picked up some handy skills from him, as well as her dad.
But the interesting part is how she used the internet to aid her own project.
“I watched a lot of YouTube videos and DIY-ers on Instagram,” said Hannah, “I would search through the popular hashtags for things like ‘tile painting’ or ‘budget kitchen renovations’.
“People are so daring with what they do now and it was great to see the good and the bad behind the different processes.
“Many of the products we used also had great tutorials, so you can watch them and see how other people used the products.”
She added: “There was a lot of trial and error.”
If you want to try your hand at DIY or interior design, Hannah shared five of her favourite accounts for you to follow:
- “Furniture flips and DIY. Great tips on how to get the best results for upcycling furniture.” – Hannah
- Youtube: Maggie McGaugh
- Instagram: @maggiemcgaugh
- Facebook Group: Flip It! With Maggie McGaugh
- Website: maggiemcgaugh.com
Paint The Town Pastel
- “A Victorian townhouse in Orkney with beautiful designs. It’s such a beautiful account.” – Hannah
- Instagram: @paintthetownpastel
Make It Rust-Oleum
- “Brilliant products, but they also share content from people who have used their products, how and what they used them for.” – Hannah
- Youtube: Make It Rust-Oleum (UK)
- Instagram: @makeitrustoleum
- Facebook: @RustoleumUK
- Website: makeityours.co.uk
- “Great for colour inspiration and they share top content creators who have transformed their homes.” – Hannah
- Youtube: Lick
- Instagram: @lick
- Facebook: @lickhome
- Website: lick.com/uk
- “Ongoing renovation project on a Georgian home.” – Hannah
- Instagram: @northumberlandproject
Renovating an old property is a big task, especially when you are learning from content creators and videos online.
But what about inspiration?
It can be hard to think of creative ways to make your business stand out, and interior design will have a major impact on this.
The fun part about doing it all yourself means it will be exactly what you want.
“I could design everything how I wanted it,” said Hannah.
“I also love crafting so it was great that I could add my own touches to things like the wall art, making my own cushions, upcycling furniture, or making our own headboards.”
Following tutorials and scrolling hashtags for inspiration doesn’t mean you have to do everything exactly the same as the example you found online.
The combinations are endless.
Hannah said: “I wanted to learn how to do things myself, and doing so meant I could change my mind throughout the process if we wanted to.
“At the end of the day, most things were only paint and it can be changed if needed.”
It’s all about ideas and finding inspiration. Hannah explained she saved everything she liked on Instagram so that she could go back through the posts and whittle it down to her favourites.
“I kept inspiration boards for the different rooms for months, even before we got the keys,” she said.
“They were really varied to begin with but as the project start date became closer, I started to look at fitting the rooms together so that there was a good flow throughout the house.”
But when you’re doing everything yourself, how do you know you’re making the right decisions?
“I ordered samples, or picked up paint cards and scraps of wallpaper for different rooms. Then I could make my own mood boards at home,” said Hannah.
“I found that it was helpful to look at different paint and wallpaper samples in different lights on different days.
“Paint a patch on the wall and leave it for a few days to see how you feel about it in different lights as the days go by.”
Choosing the right wallpaper or paint is one thing, but learning a new skill like upcycling is completely different, especially if you’re not confident about it.
“We learnt a lot along the way. People are so daring with design these days.”
“Just give it a go,” said Hannah.
“Research the best products and the best way to do things first. You can also try smaller projects to begin with if you want to build your confidence up.”
She added: “And if you want to save money, upcycle. Search in charity shops, antique markets, car boot sales, Facebook Marketplace or Ebay.”
These platforms are great places to find furniture and other household items which could be transformed by anyone, no matter how great or small your upcycling skills are.
It’s also a cheaper and more sustainable option than buying brand new.
The budget for renovating Pheasant Lodge was another reason why Hannah and her family did most of the renovation themselves.
“We didn’t have a huge amount to spend, so doing the work ourselves meant that we could save money.
“There was a huge workload involved, but in the end, the amount of money we saved really made a difference,” said Hannah.
Hannah’s 5 Top Tips for DIY Renovations and Other Projects:
1. Don’t wait to get started
The longer you wait, the bigger the task may seem
2. Follow all the top DIY accounts
Search on Instagram and youtube and follow the top hashtags. Look for inspiration of how to do things and what has and hasn’t worked for them
3. Buy second hand
Then if something doesn’t work – you haven’t lost much. Most of our furniture was second hand, a lot of it costing no more than £20. So if I needed to paint it or change it – I knew it wasn’t a huge risk
4. Don’t be afraid of big brands
Check out all the top product brands on Instagram too – such as Lick, B&Q, Rustolueom – they all share great content and also share content creators who are using their products in fun ways.
5. What do you already have?
Take a look at what you already have in the house. Do you have an old chest you could practice on, or some old shelves. Have a go with techniques on these. Remember if you go wrong most things can be changed – you can sand away flaws, remove paint or add details on top
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