The renovation game: Climbing the property ladder

with Jen

This week we chat to Jen, as she shares her journey of climbing the housing ladder, one renovation project at a time.

We talk to her about upgrading her skills over multiple renovations and the dangers of taking on more than you can handle.

Plus the benefits of having a large instagram following cheering her on.



Amy: Welcome to Stories from Site, the renovation podcast that digs a little deeper. I’m Amy Dohnalek and together with my co-host Jane Middlehurst we peek behind the curtains of those insta-worthy interiors to bring you the real processes people went through to make their dream homes a reality.

This week we chat to Jen as she shares her journey of climbing the housing ladder, one renovation project at a time.

We talked to her about upgrading her skills over multiple renovations and the dangers of taking on more than you can handle, plus the benefits of having a large Instagram following cheering you on.

So welcome to Stories from Site Jen, really lovely to have you. I thought maybe To start with do you mind telling us kind of when your renovation journey began?

Jen: Oh, right. Well

Amy: Can you take us way back?

Jen: Good. Good question. Yeah. We, we bought our first house in 2013, so that was, we bought three. This is, We’re on our third now, so we have kind of cooked. gone up the ladder with each one. So yeah, 2013, we bought a little two up, two down terrace renovated that, sold that within two years for our next one, which was a three bed Victorian terrace uh, renovated that.

And then in March 22, we, we bought this one and started all over again.

Amy: Oh my goodness. Okay, so you like renovating?

Jen: weLl, I do. Yeah, my partner, not so much, but he likes the end results, but yeah, he doesn’t like the process of getting, of getting there.

Amy: And what have you done to this, this house, the current house you’re in?

Jen: Right. So, so far we there was a lot more to be all the kind of boring stuff, as I call it, when we first moved in and we were expected to, we had to have repairs on the roof, the flat bay roofs were leaking, so they all had to be replaced. We’ve had all the windows replaced, a new bathroom my youngest son’s bedroom’s been, that was taken back to brick, the ceiling had to come down, the whole, whole kit and caboodle We’ve kind of done like a little revamp of the kitchen and we’re just in the process of doing the hall stairs and landing, which is obviously a massive, a massive job.

Amy: Amazing.

Don’t you look like you want to say something?

Jane: oh I was just going to say, So those kind of, you had remedial works to kind of like get the house weather tight and, and okay. But was there any, it’s mainly been internal, have you done any kind of building works, taking walls down or

Jen: not, not yet. Yeah, that is on The that is on the long list of things to do, there’s, we, we have a wraparound extension already on the house. However, it’s been divided up into separate rooms rather than it kind of like flowing as one open space. So we are having one of the internal walls taken down and the roof pitched or vaulted, whichever way you want to say it.

So we’re just waiting for our builder, really, with that, but like with everything, one job leads to another. So we wanted to do that quite quickly when we first moved in. We found out that it was a concrete floor, the pipe work we couldn’t move, the radiator is, There are two radiators for the kitchen and a dining room, of course, are on the wall that we want to remove as is always the way it’s concrete floor, so obviously that would mean taking You know, chiseling into the floor or, or channeling into the floor, as I should say to move the pipework.

And then the floors are at different heights, of course they are, between what was the original house and the extension. One’s a suspended floor, one is a concrete floor, So what we were hoping to have already done by now just keeps getting put off because we keep finding more and more things that need to, to be done and obviously with the cost of building materials and everything at the moment, what, what we’d done previously in our last house when we’d had walls and everything taken down and we had an idea of a cost was coming back at about quadruple what we’d paid, hopefully Yeah what we paid only maybe three years ago, so So, yeah, things have definitely been stalled a little because, because of the costs at the moment.

Amy: Do you, When you moved into the house, did you have a clear vision of what you wanted to achieve? Like, how is your process with each, with each renovation?

Jen: Yeah really, So with this house, I definitely had a very clear vision of, of what I wanted to do. That has only really come from experience of, of doing the last two houses. The first one was very much We were first time buyers. We it was just internal decoration. We didn’t really do anything sort of structurally.

Then when we bought the next one, that’s when we sort of ventured into the world of knocking down walls, changing layouts and, and things like that. So I’ve kind of gained experience as I’ve gone along. So when we moved into this house I already had a very clear vision of what worked for us before, what didn’t work for us before, and we were quite lucky with this house because we’d intended to buy another house and do all the building work ourselves.

So, you know, buy a smaller house and do a loft conversion, do the wraparound extension. And we actually did have an offer accepted on the house that we were going to do all of that on. And then that fell through which I think was actually a massive silver lining because this house already had that building work done that we wanted to do, but internally it was nothing like we would have done it.

So it was kind of weighing up between doing it how we wanted first time or taking on work that somebody else has done. and then making it our own. And actually I think for us it was better that we’ve taken on, you know, we’ve got the shell, we’ve got the lot, do you see what I mean? It’s like the, the walls for the extension are already there.

I just want to change everything inside it. So yeah, definitely a real, real I had to have a a real clear plan to convince my partner to move into this house. When we, when we came to see it, we walked out. I was dead excited and he just turned around and going, right, when, when are we going to see the next one?

Cause it was like an absolute no from him. So I had to have a plan. I had to explain, no, listen, like it’s, it ticks every single box that we said we wanted in a new house. I know it doesn’t look how we would want it to look. However, this is, this is the plan and I managed to sell the plan to him and get him on board with it.

Amy: Do you think that’s because you’ve already kind of proved, proved yourself on the last two?

Jen: Yeah, definitely, definitely. I think and that’s what I had to say. I was like, look what, look what I say, we, I, You know, Paul’s always on board. They’re my ideas and thankfully he’s always on board and because I’ve managed to prove with the others, that my, I can bring my ideas to fruition, then yeah, that, that definitely helps.

Amy: Genevieve, you look like you wanted to ask a question.

Jane: Oh no, I was just gonna say we, We saw on your Instagram account that the, that you do get involved in some quite good DIY projects. And. Has that, How did that develop over the three renovations? Was that out of necessity in the beginning or is it something that you’ve just grown in confidence to do?

Jen: Yeah, a bit of both really out of necessity massively when we first moved in to our very first house, we just had our now, well, he’s now 11, but he was only, only one when we moved in, so money was, you know, I was, I was on maternity. So money was an issue. So a lot of it just came with. out of necessity because I couldn’t afford to pay somebody to to come in and do it.

And then kind of from there that developed into, oh actually I quite, I quite like doing, I quite like doing this. Unfortunately we’ve come across kind of rogue traders in the time and we have paid people to do things and they’ve not done a very good job or not done it. to kind of how I wanted it to be done.

So again, that kind of pushed me to, well, I’ll give it a go myself. If I, if I get stuck and I really can’t get it done, then I’ll get somebody else in. But nine times out of ten, I’ve been lucky enough that when I put my mind to it, I’ve been able to achieve it.

Amy: Amazing.

Jane: things, Can you give us an example of some of the things that you’ve done?

Jen: Oh gosh Kitchen Renovate Re Upcycle was, was myself. So I’ve done so many it’s hard to know where to start really. So, in, I’ll go through the rooms really. In Oscar’s room I, Stripped the floor back, replaced broken floorboards, sanded the floor, I reinstated the, what would have been the original fireplace, so it had been bricked up, so knocked all the bricks out, tiled the hearth found a reclaimed fireplace on fake Sorry, Facebook marketplace installed that. In the, which I did so much in, in his room.

Other, other things I’ve done, I’ve done the paneling in the back in the dining room, in the kitchen, took down all the wall cupboards, built an integrated. extractor fan, put up the floating shelves, painted all the cupboards in the kitchen, painted the floor. I don’t know if you’ve seen it on my Instagram I did.

Amy: Yeah, I love that one. Yeah.

Jen: So a lot of it is like with the kitchen, it’s kind of like a make do DIY job at the moment, but actually now everybody’s saying, why would you want to change that now? Like you’ve done such a good job on it. Why would you want to go and put a new kitchen in now? But unfortunately it’s still the old naff kitchen underneath,

It just looks pretty from, from the outside, but the kind of reason I took on the DIY project with the kitchen was the, again, the wall that we want to take down is, is between the kitchen and the dining room and what is the second living room. And because of all the issues that I mentioned before in terms of different flooring and, and, and what have you, it just meant that. If we wanted to put a new kitchen and we had to put a new floor throughout, and again, the costs were spiraling, so it was a case of, right. Well, let’s take, I think it in total, it cost me about 800 pound to completely redo the kitchen to, to how it looks now. It just buys us a little bit more time to, to save.

And so that when we get the work done we can get it all done in one go. But. It means that we’ve got a nice space to live in whilst we’re waiting to do that. Actually I think, oh, I fitted all the skirting boards, all the architrave, so in terms of DIY that was a new skill that I’ve learnt for this house.

It’s in the old house, we had all the beautiful Victorian skirting boards and original architrave and stuff like that, whereas in this one, I’m looking around now, I won’t show you, it’s absolutely horrendous. It’s your typical 1930s, Very boring design, but it’s actually painted in brown gloss So I was like how can I save this and then I thought no so yeah That was a new skill that I learnt especially for Oscar’s room and nothing’s ever straight. So Teaching myself some joinery skills to make sure it looks good in the end. So yeah, I tend to pick up projects, I tend to pick up skills depending on the project.

You know, right, I’ll go, right, okay, well, this needs doing, how can I do that? And then I’ll try and teach myself how to do it.

Amy: amazing. I guess I was wondering if kind of like What you’ve achieved is so incredible in terms of like setting out and kind of doing a renovation and being able to climb up that ladder. And I think, obviously, people still want to be able To do that, do you feel like what would be your kind of top tips for people starting out on the, on like the first one. Like, what would you

Jen: Oh, gosh,


Amy: I’m just going to tap into all your learned knowledge, if that’s okay.

Jen: I suppose the thing is with, with us is that we started small, I would say. So the house we bought, our very first house that we bought, it was, like I said, it was just decorative stuff that needed doing with it. We weren’t in a position then to be looking at putting in new kitchens, new bathrooms.

So we started with what I would say was our, well definitely our easiest project. So it was just painting and decorating and putting, we put new flooring down, we put our own stamp on it. And we made Just short of 20, 000 on it in two years just by and now I know that’s difficult because saying that that was great I know the market is not like that anymore So that’s not that’s not massively helpful, but I would definitely say to kind of stick within a budget Choose a project that you know, you’re going to be able to to take on, really, I have a lot of people contacting me saying, oh, I’ve built a, a, you know, we’ve bought an absolute shed of a house and, and we don’t know where to start.

Like you’ve, you’ve really got to have a detailed budget because prices absolutely spiral. So if you kind of got a very small budget, try your first house. Just do it, one that, the basics are already there and that you can add your touches to,

Amy: No, that’s great advice.

Jen: Yeah, yeah. And then, as I say, we, we managed to sell and then the next one, we knew we could do a bit more and, and, and work up like, I think the problem with Instagram, I find is that everybody sees these beautiful houses and think that you can just walk into houses like that.

All of it. they’re easy to achieve it that it’s really not, you know, we’re 18 months into this renovation now and, we’re nowhere near as far along as I thought we would be. So it’s just kind of being realistic with your time, your money and your expectations really.

Amy: so with this, oh yeah, go, go Jane, sorry.

Jane: no, you go, Amy, I think.

Amy: No, I was just going to say, So with this renovation do you feel like you’ve just had to kind of stop and re evaluate? Like, are you going through a kind of re budgeting period?

Jen: Yes, massively. Because like I said, we kind of based our renovation costs on what we paid previously. And we, You know, we’ve got a great builder. We’ve got a great plaster, a great people that I really, I really trust. And that, you know, their prices are going up massively. So I know if their prices are going up, it’s not that somebody’s trying to have me off.

It’s, it’s. Just the cost of living issues that we’ve got at the moment. So, so yeah, what a big we had Had some money left over from the sale of the last house that we put to one side But once we’ve done the remedial stuff done the windows Started done the bath the bathroom was always going to be a big one because it was horrendous the bathroom before and my partner was very much like We need to get that done right away.

So yeah, that, that was a big one. But after we’d done, done those, that was kind of our budget gone. Whereas I thought, oh, for that money, we’ll be able to, to do the knock through, we’ll be able to do this. So yeah, it, this kind of, this year. or not quite a year has very much been, right, okay, what can we do to reassess our, reassess what re sorry trying to think of the best way to say it.

It’s been, we’ve had to sit down and reassess our priorities with the house and, and the budget. We decided that, yes, the knock through, the building work is lovely, but there is other places in the house that really need work before we do that. Yes, I find it a pain walking out of the kitchen, through the hall, through the second living room to get to the dining room, but in the grand scheme of it, things, you know what I mean?

It’s the fact that we’ve got two nice spaces linked. It’s one of those, it’s like, whereas the hall, stairs and landing, uh, and the, and the front door, we were like, no, this, these need doing.

Amy: yep.

Jen: thE, We’ve got a. a lovely storm porch and a big front door, but every time you close the front door, you think that it’s going to fall out of its frame. It’s like well and truly past its best. It’s a big UPVC thing that I really hate. So we decided, right, let’s do the hallway and let’s do it properly. So we’ve spent a good kind of six to eight months this year saving to have that done. So, we’re now in the process of having like a bespoke front door made, and having this, so we’re trying to sort of reinstate what it would have been like originally, so we’re having stained glass made for that.

So, obviously that, that’s, It’s not as expensive as I thought it was going to be, but it’s not cheap either. So, we’re having that done, we’re having floor, it’s all got to be re re plastered, the ceilings have got to come down and then we’re having all the flooring redone, the stairs redone, so, yeah, sorry, I’ve gone off on a bit of a tangent there from

your original question, but Yeah, the we, we have very much had to sit down and go, what’s nice and what’s a necessity and that we decided that the hallway was more of a necessity than, than the building work that we’d originally planned to do.

Amy: And can I ask you just like, how, how have you personally kind of dealt with that? Like, cause obviously you’ve got something in your mind, you want to get going. You’ve, you’ve already allocated it, like, I think there’s just like such a hard, it’s like quite hard to shift your expectations and kind of,

Jen: Yeah. Massively you know, it hasn’t been easy I kind of feel like it’s sometimes I kind of catch myself on a little bit because I do think it’s first world problems in a way because, you know, we have this house, we, you know, We’re, we’re able to afford this house, we’re able to do it, but it does get me down at times.

Because, like I said, it’s everything, everything needed doing in this house. So, I was like, when you’ve, when you’ve got an idea of how you want something to be, and we kind of bought the house with, with those ideas in, in mind, and then we realised actually, Right now we can’t afford to do that or other things need to take priority.

It is difficult. And and for a time I just kind of stopped I was just like well if I can’t do that then what what’s the point? But then I would kind of find little projects to do. Well, I say little projects, the kitchen started as a little project and then took me five months to do. So, so, but do you know, so I think that helps me get over the fact that no, we weren’t going to have the big open plan, lovely new kitchen that I thought we were going to have. So I kind of like took a step back, just, just stopped. So I think we finished the bathroom in November. Last year and then I didn’t really think or do much to the house until february this year as I say because I was just kind of adjusting to right well if this isn’t gonna happen What what are we gonna?

What are we gonna do? So then in february that’s when I thought kind of got my mojo back a little bit and thought right catch, you know, catch yourself on Jen

Amy: Because there must be like such a a big to do list in your head. I mean, I don’t know. I

guess that’s how it is for me. It’s just like you’re looking around, you know, because it’s visually there. You must just be like, Oh gosh, that’s on that list. And that list, you know, like it’s yeah, tricky.

Jen: It’s, it’s overwhelming

Jane: Do you actually have a physical list? Do you, have you written

it all down?

Jen: I do, um, on my phones. Yeah. Well, a yeah, because otherwise I am awake at four o’clock in the morning thinking, Oh my God, like in order to get this done, I need to do this. I need to do this. I need to Like at the moment with the whole set, hall stairs and landing and. We’re having antico floor input down, which has always been a bit of a dream of, of mine to have. Like unfortunately when we moved in, I was, I was desperate to find some original parquet under the kind of 25-year-old red carpet. But no, unfortunately when I pulled it up, it was just butchered floorboards.

So we’re going with Antico and so. That’s going down in the hall, which me, and then we decided to run it through to the front living room and have it all done in one go. So we had the guys round for that and then they were like, okay, well you need to have your skirting boards on, you need to have your fireplace finished, you need to have your radiator moved, you need to have this done.

Or not, we don’t have to have the radiator moved, but I want, I want to move the position of it. So they were saying, you need to have that done before we put the floor down. So yeah, I have to have a list because otherwise I’m like, well, in order to get. my mind is just a jumble all the time of all the things that need to do. So with a list I can go right, okay well first of all I need to move the radiator because once the radiator moves then we can do the skirt, do you know, do I mean?

So yeah, it’s, it’s, and I can’t walk around the house without thinking like I need to do that, I need to do that, I need to do that, so, so yeah, it is a bit like you know, a

bit mind blowing sometimes.

Jane: There’s just such a lot involved in every single space. Like you say, you know, so many knock on things and it takes a lot of time to, find the right people and get the right advice and understand even what it is that you have to do in the first place. So I guess like it does it takes a lot of energy doesn’t it to keep the momentum going and It just looks like and sounds like you what’s nice about that is that you put such a lot of care and attention into each space that once the space is done like it really is like an amazing quality and you know you’re kind of the standard at which you’re doing these projects is really high.

So I guess, in a way, all that effort, like, once you’ve finished a project, then, then that door’s kind of closed, is it? That’s just like, right, tick, done. Now I can move on to the next one. Like, you’re doing each space in its total entirety and then moving on. Is that how the process kind of works?

Jen: Yeah, don’t get me wrong. I could walk around all the finished rooms and there’s little snaggy snaggy bits, you know, that need to be done because when I, when I come to the end or, you know, 98 percent done with a project is when my mind starts ticking to the next one. So yeah, little snags, but things that probably other people wouldn’t notice, like my mum’s always.

Like rolling her eyes at me, because you’re right. I do put an incredible amount of, I pay an incredible amount of attention to detail. And like my mum’s like, Jen, people, I’m on the phone to her going like, Oh, I’ve got to do this. Or what about this? She’s like, Jen, nobody’s going to notice, you know? And I’m like, yeah, but I will, I will.

It’s my home and I will notice. So yeah, I think I do go to the kind of Nth degree. With detail. But I think that pays off in the long run and I’ve learned that from doing other houses, like the previous two houses that if I try to cut corners or, or, you know, make a quick decision, it never really pays off and I end up having to do it again.

So, sort of taking that time and that attention to detail right at the very beginning does mean that in the long run. I’m not having to, to change things that I didn’t get right first time.

Amy: Can I just ask how you’re managing to actually do it because it just, it sounds like it is all encompassing, you know, like the time it, yeah, just like very time consuming. Like is this kind of DIY on the weekends? Is this, or in the evenings?

Jen: Yeah, yeah, pretty much because I’ve got two, two boys and I work full time as well. So, yeah, so and that’s, and I think, and again, sometimes I have to remind myself that, that that’s why it’s taking so long. You know, I would, I would love to have a magic money tree and, and be able to, to pay people that I know and trust to come in and do it for me, but I don’t, a lot of it has to be done myself.

So I do have to remind myself that, you know, it is done in my spare, spare time, if you believe that I have any with with kids and a, and a full time job, but yeah. And. It’s evenings, weekends, I work shift, so I’m lucky in the fact that I um, I have days off during the week when the boys are in school, so I get like a good, like, crack at it, because at the weekend it’s kids parties and football and, you know, what have you, so it’ll be like you know.

And, and luckily, Paul, my partner, he, he covers all the sports, so he’ll be out with the boys at the weekend doing that and, and they leave me to crack on with a paintbrush most of the time.

Amy: Wow. They must be so proud of you.

Jen: Yeah, I think they take it for granted a little bit, if I’m honest, you know, I think the boys have grown up with mum always doing this, you know what I mean? So they’re more than, they’re more than used to, to living, you know, living through this, but yeah, you know, they I think they appreciate it once it’s all done.

Amy: you’ve set a very high, high standard for their future wives.

Jen: Oh, I know. I know. They’ll be like, oh, well, my mum can do this and my mum can do that.

Jane: I’m just thinking, like, does the, you know, I’m just imagining kind of trying to psych myself up for kind of doing that amount of work and, you know, starting a project like that. And especially if you’re, if you’re kind of working solo, you know, it’s not necessarily, it doesn’t sound, you know, it sounds like it’s all coming from you, you know, like you’re, you’re driving this.

I was just wondering, does, does Instagram kind of, help you get a bit of that momentum because it’s a bit of an accountability thing? Does that play into it or, or is there something else that like, How do you get yourself psyched up to do, to do each project?

Jen: I’m gonna, To be honest, it is like a bit of a needs must with this house because, and like, like I’ve said before, like nothing is how we would, we would have done it, do you know what I mean? So, yeah, they kind of, most of the momentum comes from that I don’t want the house to look the way that it does.

But, but certainly, certainly when I start a project, Instagram really helps in, in kind of keeping the momentum going because it’s incredible how people get invested in your project, you know, and maybe if you don’t do an update, I’m getting a message sort of saying, Oh, how’s it, how’s it go with the kitchen or how’s this going?

Or, or I’ve been waiting or I’ve been waiting for you to do this because I want to do it. And I want to see how you do it first. I see how I let me make the mistakes and then I can, I can share it. But no, people really do, you know, kind of really cheer you on. They’re almost like a little gang of cheerleaders and they really want to see the finished results.

So this kind of start of a project is, is Instagram helps me, helps me push it over the finish line.

Jane: Yeah, I think I’ve recently moved into a house that is not at all how we would like it and the first time I used our bathroom I was like not wanting to touch anything and you know that kind of whole like, oh, and then I’ve been here a few months now and I just, I’m slowly just really getting used to it and I, I’m just imagining like what seems like really kind of like, oh, I just, we’re going to get rid of this straight away.

I guess I’m getting a little bit more like, oh, I could, this is fine. Like we could, you just get used to things, don’t you? And I, I’m wondering, like, where that, yeah, getting that energy to kind of put yourself in that uncomfortable position where you’re using all your time and energy and waiting for the inspiration to kind of hit or something.

There’ll be a moment where you suddenly like, yes, today’s the day that I begin.

Jen: Yeah, it, it can be like that as well, you know, sometimes, you know, I use sort of Instagram and Pinterest and stuff a lot to, to, to get ideas and it might be that I’m not sure what I want to do with the space and then I’m, you know, kind of scrolling or, or like I say on Pinterest and then there’s just something of like, oh yeah, that, that’s what’s right for that space.

And then that’ll kind of, yeah. You know set the ball rolling because I found that spark of inspiration that I want for, for that, for that room. And, and kind of going back to the question you asked me before, kind of advice for people who are starting out and things like that. You’ve just reminded me there that it is living in a space like you might think that you’ve got a million and one plans for what you’re going to do. And yeah, like in our first house, we were adamant we were going to knock through, it was only two up, two down. So we only had two, two rooms to knock through, but right. Yeah, we’re going to knock through, but actually having lived in it for six months, we were like, Oh no.

Let’s keep that wall up because it means that we can shut the mess of the kitchen and the dining room Away and have a space away from all of Henry’s toys and things like that So it I think it is important to live in a space and once you live in a space Then you know how you’re going to use it And then once you know how you’re going to use it is when you can plan what you want, you know, what you want to do with it.

And, and kind of like I say, get that, that inspiration that, yeah, that, that’s definitely gonna work for that space.

Jane: That’s really helpful.

Amy, do

Amy: I feel like that’s a wrap. I feel like it’s so useful.

Jane: love that.

Amy: Don’t you think?

Jane: Yeah. I just, I

always want to ask one more question, but I don’t, I don’t think I have.

Amy: successful.

Jane: that’s really good. I kind of Is this, okay, I am going to ask one more question. So is is this your, is this it? this the forever house now? Or do you feel like it’s just like a process that will just keep going?

Jen: Um, it’s it’s at the moment

Amy: amazing.

Jen: you know, Paul is, is hugely supportive you know, in, in all these wild plans that I have. But he has said, Jen, this has got to be. Like the last one and in all honesty, this house ticks every box that we need. And I think once we, we do it all and how we get it, how we want, we won’t want, we won’t want to move because we literally do have everything we need here.

Jane: Oh, that’s amazing. I’m looking forward to following now, following on the journey on your Instagram,

Jen: Oh,

Jane: as well.

Jen: Oh, definitely. Yeah. Yeah.

Amy: Can I ask you, where are you in the country? Oh, okay.

Oh, I

Jen: Yeah.

So, born and bred in, in, oh,

Amy: Yeah, yeah, I love it. Whereabouts in

Jen: oh, no. Well, I studied where, I’m in Mosley Hill. So, South Liverpool.

Yeah. Yeah. So, born and bred in, in Yorkshire and then came to, to uni myself in Liverpool and Paul’s from Northern Ireland. And we met at uni and kind of here was halfway, but, you know, between the two, got the, the airport and then the M62 and back either way.

And obviously once we had the boys and they started school, it’s kind of just where we’ve ended up, ended

Amy: Amazing.

Jen: Oh

Amy: an Irishman. It didn’t work, but,

Jen: well, funnily enough, I always said I was going to marry an Irishman. Met Paul, but we’re still not married. So I kind of got, I got half of it, but, not all.

Jane: You should have gone to Ireland, Amy.

Amy: Well, I think I went to Queens. I looked around Queens and then I realised,

like, quite a lot of Irish people don’t actually really like the English that the ones who go to the Liverpool do.

Jane: right, so there was method in the Oh, I like it, Amy.

Amy: not going

to include this in the thing.

Jen: not always to go over to Northern Ireland with an English accent, but so I know what you mean.

Amy: Okay, I’m going to stop our recording there. you so


Jane: Many, thanks to Jen for joining us on this week’s episode.

If you would like to see pictures of Jen’s projects, do you head over to our website homenotes.co/storiesfromsite.


Our closing thoughts:

Climbing the property ladder used to be a bit easier, but now the margins are a lot tighter and things can go awry quite quickly.

Jen’s advice of starting slow and working up in scale and complexity is one we 100% agree with!

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