An Essex couple transformed their ugly 1960s house into a modern marvel as part of George Clarke’s ‘Ugly House to Lovely House’.
Wendy and Allan Ramsay bought their property two years ago for £650,000. Sitting in Colchester, Essex, the house had an aged exterior that gave it the appearance of an “ugly block of flats”. There was also no proper access to the garden, and despite the property’s potential the interior suffered from a terrible layout.
“It was very bland, I didn’t like the look of the house from the outside when I first saw it,” said Allan. “But inside there was so much light, it was really nice.
“We wanted it to look more contemporary, we used to drive past this house and it was one that just didn’t stand out in your memory.”
This is a great shame, considering that other properties on their street have been sold for over £1m!
“We didn’t think it was very attractive and we wanted it to have the wow factor.”
As per the rules of the show, the couple was given the chance to renovate their property inside and out with a budget of £150,000. According to George Clarke’s opening monologue, the show is intended to “prove that great architecture does not have to cost the Earth.”
Over the course of a year the dismal property was transformed into a beautiful four bedroom dream house. In addition to a extra dressing room and a rear garden extension, the property was also transformed with a new front set of steps and a brand new driveway.
Granted, there were a few snags along the way, including an unexpected archaeological discovery that threatened to derail the entire project. Like many other homeowners that have featured in the show, the Ramsays also came dangerously close to going over budget.
Renowned British architect Chris Dyson was brought in to design the transformation, which would need to be done on a much smaller budget than he is used to working with.
"He came up with a design that pushed our boundaries and budget to the limit,” said Wendy.
"The architect was involved a lot in the earlier stages to get through planning and adapting the design slightly to come to an agreed budget."
Even more stress came for the Ramsays in the form of unexpected costs, showing us all the importance of careful planning before embarking on a major home improvement project.
Wendy added: "Everything is so expensive which you don't budget for, like waste removal. We had to pay £8000 for removing waste by skips and grab lorries. It was much more than we thought."
All in One Property Solutions was brought in to provide contractors for the renovation. Director Chris Carroll admitted that the house had looked like “an eyesore”, but claimed that the build had gone “relatively well.”
“My favourite bit is the rear extension, it was the thing I knew I wanted to build and it’s the biggest statement of the home.
“Likewise with the entrance, there was a lot of wasted space which has been utilised to its full potential.”
This week’s episode of Ugly House to Lovely House can be viewed on 4OD.
Stephen heads the team for marketing, media and research at Plentific. He loves sharing insight and advice for the home services market. He has a keen interest in property renovations after successfully completing a number of property projects.