A MOTHER has revealed how her 12-year-old daughter transformed their home in just seven days in between homeschool lessons during the coronavirus lockdown – costing only £50.
Susie Levache, 47, from Kent, said Bea developed her DIY skills, including using a power drill and a handsaw, by redecorating the utility room, the stairs, the office as well as designing a feature wall.
The portrait photographer said Bea was ‘a natural’ and did a ‘blinding job’ and she shared before and after photos on Facebook – to which she received thousands of responses.
Susie added that she and Bea’s brother Ted, 15, also lent a hand, and the family aims to reuse as much as possible, so only needed to buy a few extra items from eBay for the projects.
Writing about the home office transformation, she said: ‘I usually tackle all the DIY projects alone but my 12 year old daughter took an interest and actually I figured I had a lot of time on my hands to rectify anything she might damage.
"Turns out after telling her to just go for it – she’s a natural and did a blinding job-with direction she did this herself. She was VERY handy with a handsaw.
"We just used some thin MDF strips, paint and a roll of wallpaper to transform my office."
Susie added: "I supervised and told her how to use the spirit level and how to measure and cut the MDF strips we had.
"She was really nervous to begin with as she was worried that she would mess up.
"The room was gloomy and hadn’t really been used properly for ages anyway so she had nothing to lose – then there was no stopping her!
"This gave her the confidence to just go for it and after the first two panels she then did the rest alone."
Susie watched as Bea successfully marked, leveled, glued, pinned and added a dado rail before filing the room ready for painting.
The office panelling took just a few hours to do and the following day to paint.
Susie said she had been steadily renovating the family’s 1970s semi-detached house for 10 months, and decided to use the time at home to give the plans a boost.
She homeschools Bea and Ted in the mornings, but after week two of lockdown, the children seemed ‘bored’, so she asked them to help with DIY projects in the afternoon.
Susie said they have been as resourceful as possible during lockdown by using things, such as paint, that they already had in the shed and loft. The only purchase they’ve made during pandemic has been kitchen handles.
After seeing how the new home office looked, Susie encouraged Bea to decorate the stairs with black panelling using the assistance of her brother Ted – totally unsupervised.
She said: "Then we used up some old tester pots I had to stencil and hand paint an accent wall in a funky animal print design.
"She had the patience of a saint for hand painting that job!
Then the family moved onto the kitchen utility room makeover which had the floor completed before lockdown but still required a lot of work.
Susie said: "The room was full of orange pine. I taught Bea how to use the drill and change the drill bits and how to use the little work bench.
"She filled the existing drawer holes, drilled new holes and put in different drawer pulls. They look fantastic!
‘The whole room was then transformed with chalk paint (Frenchic) so all of it including the handles came to about £45 – we loved the end result."
Bea spent three days redecorating the room.
Susie wrote about her achievement on Facebook in a post that was liked nearly 9,000 times.
She shared: "We had a grim 'dumping ground' utility room to part renovate – I showed her how to use a power drill at the weekend (very confident).
"My daughter customised the fronts of the drawers (looked easy but was tricky) then we used leftover paint to repaint the cupboards.
"We also made little initial blackboard effect plaques from leftover mdf, paint and glue – then aged them for the laundry baskets.
If my 12 year old and I can do this – ANYONE can do this
"As before, if my 12 year old and I can do this – ANYONE can do this."
The duo also used their DIY expertise to transform an old broken rattan table for the family’s dreamy outdoor terrace.
Bea used leftover tiles to create a stunning mosaic on the table before placing the original glass on the top to finish.
The tiles for the garden table were left over from previous tiling where the family had purchased the amount needed including spares for breakages and luckily, there was none.
Susie said: "The table now has pride of place on our terrace. During lockdown, we have taken all the blankets out, sat by the fire and drank hot chocolate in the cosy haven.
"It’s definitely a makeover we are proud of. It was probably around £20 if somebody wanted to have a go at upcycling.
"It’s comforting that all the blood, sweat and tears that went into the planning, faffing and upkeep of the terrace garden – that it is enjoyed by everyone."
Susie posted her DIY successes online and received hundreds of questions from parents wanting to do the same with their kids so she created an Instagram account dedicated to sharing her tips and decorating secrets.
She added: "We have been staggered by the reaction. Some of the posts have had thousands of likes.
"We’ve also had some great messages from carpenters and builders lending advice which has been terrific."
Susie added that the family DIY projects haven't just resulted in an incredible home transformation – it has also helped Bea’s confidence.
She said: "I was always a creative child and my daughter thought she didn’t have any skills before lockdown, I hope this will give her confidence that it’s all there. She just needed to believe she could do it!
"Initially she was quite timid about using the power tools and things, but now she’s so proud of what she’s achieved.
"Pre-lockdown I would never have thought to include Bea in my work – this period has really shown me that children are far more capable than we may think."
The family’s six-week complete ‘spring fling’ came after Susie decided to decorate the house.
She revealed in a recent social media post: "No more white box. My husband has zero interest in DIY and interiors which leaves me in charge!"
Despite transforming numerous rooms in the house, Susie said their DIY endeavours are not fully complete just yet.
She revealed: "We’re going to gold leaf some furniture and hopefully the last thing will be to make a brick wall.
"Then we will finally do Bea’s bedroom which she is designing at the moment by researching colour swatches and looking on Pinterest.
"This whole thing has made her a lot more involved and she is excited to plan her post lockdown bedroom renovation."
For more amazing home transformations, this DIY fan transformed her tired patio tiles using £7 stencil and it looks amazing.
And this woman made a stunning window seat for just £30 using leftover wood and cot mattress.
Plus Stacey Solomon created an amazing DIY beauty station using old crate to ‘keep her mind busy’ in lockdown.
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