Bloke with no DIY experience quits his job to renovate his house – and saves £10k in the process

Bloke with no DIY experience quits his job to renovate his house – and saves £10k in the process


A DAD has saved thousands of pounds after quitting his job and working full-time renovating his own home – despite only having very limited DIY experience.

Jesse Leach, 35, from Plymouth, Devon, had only put up shelves before taking on the task, but has now spent the last two months knocking down walls, ripping out flooring and fitting cabinets to transform the entire downstairs of his family home.

He and wife Amber, 39, moved into their four-bedroom Victorian house in October 2020 and were planning to pay professionals to modernise the inside.

But with finances stretched as a result of the recent house move, the couple were unable to pay the £10,000 quoted by builders to fit a new kitchen.

They continued to ask around but were continuously met with the same price tag.

Desperate to have a working kitchen, Jesse suggested he take on the work in a bid to save money.

He handed in his notice in July 2021 as an operations manager before eventually leaving in early November, and later plans to retrain as a consultant like Amber.

But first, he decided to dedicate his newfound freedom to their home.

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He learnt tricks of the trade from father-in-law Lee, 55, and began ripping out the kitchen two days after leaving his job.

"It was great to see the fruit of your labour coming together as the weeks passed by,” Jesse said.

The dad-of-three then decided he would tackle the entire downstairs, renovating the front room, back room and hallway.

The project saw him install a new kitchen and knock down the wall between the back room and kitchen to create an open-plan dining room.

He also ripped out the fireplace in the front room, redid the flooring and insulated the walls before painting the entire downstairs.

Over the next seven weeks, Jesse taught himself how to grout, restore wooden beams, insulate the roof and even basic electrical wiring as he took to transforming the family home.

He worked from 9am to 5pm on the renovation and in the run-up to Christmas worked 11-hour days so it would be ready for the festive period.

Jesse said: "It was very much going into the unknown but it was a great experience in confronting my fears.

"Little by little it was coming along.

"The hardest part was probably the wooden beams as the roof was rotting.

"There were niggling times when I doubted myself and thought I can't do this.

"But I pulled through. Amber's mum's partner is a builder so I learnt a lot asking him and some friends for pointers.

"I'm so glad I did it as it proves if you put your mind to it, you can do it."

Amber, who runs a marketing agency Established By Her, added: "When we first started dating, he would say 'I've got a drill if you ever need to borrow one' but I never really saw him use it.

"And now he's rebuilt everything and renovated the entire downstairs.

"Jesse really took to it. He's learnt basic electrics, insulated the walls, painted, fixed the wooden beams and the ceiling and ripped out the kitchen.

"We've saved a small fortune.


IKEA kitchen – £6,000

Materials – £6,000 including carpets & flooring, sockets, wood, flooring, paints all bought from Facebook marketplace

Other professionals/specialist’s wages – £2,000 including painters, flooring fitters, electrician, gas engineer, carpenter

"Even though we were quoted £10,000 by the builders, we were also told it would be done in three weeks.

"It's taken Jesse two months to get it where it is now as it's an old Victorian house and he had to redo the wooden beams because the roof was rotting.

"So we've probably saved thousands more on top of the initial quote as that would have required more labour costs.

"We did have to call in a carpenter and an electrician to fit the carpets and rewire the electrics. But the majority of it was Jesse.

"The timing was fortunate too with Jesse leaving his job.

"He was very much inspired by me setting up my own business so wanted to do the same and retrain as a consultant.

"So to have him not working and able to take it on was great.

"In the last few weeks he has been working round the clock.

"There's a few snagging bits left like filling in the edges round the door and painting the back room.

"I'm proud of him, he's completely transformed it."

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