As a presenter of the long-running Channel 4 show A Place In The Sun, Ben Hillman is used to helping homeowners visualise a property’s potential.
But with lockdown grounding flights, Ben finally got the opportunity and time to finish off his own dream home renovation project in Shoreham-by-Sea – and save a lot of money in the process.
Since buying it in 2016, Ben and wife Gaby have been slowly renovating their 1934 semi-detached, four-bed. Ben had spotted the house online while in Costa Rica and checked out its potential for extension and renovation by looking at Google Earth.
The couple were quick to add a wraparound extension downstairs. With that complete and the new, enlarged kitchen created and finished by Ben, there were a multitude of smaller jobs to complete, including a mammoth upstairs bathroom project budgeted to cost £15,000.
When the pandemic struck, Ben realised he needed a whole new approach.
‘We had been saving money for the bathroom but spent that money on shopping,’ he says. ‘I had spent so much money on the house [in the past] but lockdown made me reassess what money I’m chucking at it. We went from spending £15,000 on a bathroom to £500. But even though it’s super-budget, it’s great, and just as pleasing. Lockdown has taught me to be more inventive.’
Out went plans to knock the bathroom, shower room and hall into one larger space with a freestanding bath. In came a self-fitted plywood birch floor and a birch plywood shelf with birch wood bath panel.
Ben also managed to update the UPVC window using a new paint from Zinsser, which allows people to turn the frames