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Couple's House Is Unrecognisable Following Jaw-Dropping Home Transformation

Couple's House Is Unrecognisable Following Jaw-Dropping Home Transformation

With lockdown looming once again, it looks like we'll be spending a lot more time indoors.

And if you're in need of some DIY inspiration, look no further than the Old Piggery in Surrey, which was snapped up in 2014 by Michaela Zaben and her partner and is now barely recognisable.

The Old Piggery started as an old house in Surrey (Credit: Instagram: theoldpiggery_)
The Old Piggery started as an old house in Surrey (Credit: Instagram: theoldpiggery_)

Speaking exclusively to Tyla, Michaela explained she purchased the 70-year-old property as a lengthy project to get stuck in to.

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"We bought it with the anticipation of completely ripping it apart," she said. "The house hadn't really had any work done to it in the last 30 years so it was extremely dated."

Lots of work was done to upgrade the house (Credit: Michaela Zaben)
Lots of work was done to upgrade the house (Credit: Michaela Zaben)

The house was so retro it even ran on coal, which needed lighting every evening to ensure the household had hot water the following day.

"The layout of the property didn't match a modern living style with strange rooms that had no purpose," Michaela continued. "It was a true ugly duckling that no one wanted. Apart from a pair of Londoners looking for the good life! Trading our one bedroom bungalow in London for a three bedroom old pig farm in a dilapidated state was truly a dream come true."

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It took two years to renovate indoors (Credit: Michaela Zaben)
It took two years to renovate indoors (Credit: Michaela Zaben)

After taking a year to thrash out their plans for the property and get them approved by their local council, the pair then took to shaping their former piggery to the house of their dreams.

The interiors boast pastel colours combined with strong dark greens, golds and offset with creams, beiges and neutral shades.

The interior design was inspired by recent jaunts abroad (Credit: Michaela Zaben)
The interior design was inspired by recent jaunts abroad (Credit: Michaela Zaben)
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"The inside renovations took two years. Our main influence for the inside was travel," Michaela said. "The summer before we bought the house, we went on two amazing trips - one to Indonesia, the other to Morocco. We felt so inspired and bought lots of beautiful items back with us for our new home."

Once the inside of the house was perfected, the couple then looked to sort their garden and the outside of the house. Having originally decided to opt for a render and cladding finish, Michaela decided to have just cladding for its slick and modern finish.

The house was very dated (Credit: Michaela Zaben)
The house was very dated (Credit: Michaela Zaben)

"The garden and exterior cladding took a further two years," she said. "The exterior was heavily inspired by one of our favourite places on the Kent coast Dungeness. There are so many beautiful cladded homes in Dungeness - these were a true inspiration.

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"So come 2020 it was finally finished. Lockdown meant we were able to finally finish the chicken house and concrete patio."

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The Old Piggery is plush and modern (Credit: Michaela Zaben)
The Old Piggery is plush and modern (Credit: Michaela Zaben)

The house, which was finished in its entirety six years after it was first purchased, certainly looks like a slice of real-estate heaven. However, Michaela warned that this level of graft wasn't without its difficulties.

"Gosh, where do I start?" she says. "We regularly ran out of money, and lots of things went wrong with the extension.

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The couple saved a packet on doing things themselves (Credit: Michaela Zaben)
The couple saved a packet on doing things themselves (Credit: Michaela Zaben)
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"We employed a builder and they were rogue beyond belief. We lost thousands of pounds by getting conned by them. It made us even more determined to do everything as much as possible ourselves.

"The cladding was an absolutely enormous tasks am so proud of what we achieved. The cladding regularly went off-centre and we had to spend hours working out why. Often the issues were just the fact that we were developing a wonky old building. It's all about taking your time and thinking through situations."

The Old Piggery is now a unique and plush living space (Credit: Michaela Zaben)
The Old Piggery is now a unique and plush living space (Credit: Michaela Zaben)

And as expected, a renovation this ambitious often comes with a hefty price tag.

"We estimate it cost about £237,000 for the inside, garden, exterior makeover and workshop/studio," Michaela said. "The house, gardens and workshop were stripped right back to bare bones."

But while The Old Piggery looks incredible, not everything the couple purchased came at a top price.

"We saved a lot of money buying used items and up-cycling them," Michaela said. "When renovating, second-hand goods are a great way to save money. We think we must have saved about 50 per cent as we didn't have to pay ourselves and a lot of the time only had labourers on site.

"We kept skilled trades to a bare minimum. I would say to have it done by a building firm it would be around £400,000."

No matter the price, The Old Piggery is clearly a labour of love - and has inspired thousands of others to attempt some DIY themselves. The creative duo have stacked up an impressive 38,000 followers on Instagram for their project, and hope to create more one-of-a-kind and beautiful spaces.

"The main tips I have for someone tackling a DIY project on this scale is take time out," Michaela said.

"Make sure you make time for yourself. If you get burnt out then it's not good for anyone.

"Budget management is so important. We struggled with this as all our contingency got eaten up by rogue builders."

But most importantly, Michaela says the best thing to do is make sure your humble abode is a fair presentation of who you are.

"Stick to your own style," she said. "Try not to copy; get inspired and find your own style and follow it. It makes for a home that represents you rather than a trend."

Follow The Old Piggery on Instagram here.

Featured Image Credit: Instagram - theoldpiggery_

Topics: Instagram, lockdown, Home, Property, Interior

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Kimberley Bond

Kim is a journalist at Tyla, and has previously worked at the Evening Standard, Radio Times as well as several national newspapers. A showbiz obsessive and a television fanatic, Kim is particularly interested in celebrity gossip, A-list events and the latest releases on either the big or small screen. Contact her at [email protected]