A handy Aussie mum has revealed how she transformed her "horrible" rental into a stylish dwelling with a budget of $6000 – and permission from her landlord.
Tricia Montgomery, 44, from Penrith, Sydney is a DIY enthusiast with an eye for style who isn't afraid to roll up her sleeves "have a go".
She, her husband, a 10-year-old and a grandchild live in a four-bedroom home which has been has transformed from dull and drab to seriously stunning.
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A decision to renovate was a no-brainer; the family had signed a five-year lease and the interior was questionable at best.
"We had a purple and blue room; we had a blue and pink room; we had a green and yellow room. It was horrible," Ms Montgomery told news.com.au.
Today her home resembles those frequently seen in high-end interior design magazines - but its taken plenty of work and had to be done in stages.
Ms Montgomery said the family had to make do with the situation for a year before approaching their landlord about making changes.
"We lived with how it was for about 12 months before asking our landlord if we could paint.
"He said we could go for it and do whatever needs doing."
Ms Montgomery said while she had plans for the whole house, she was glad she had permission to make this change.
Next on the agenda was replacing terracotta flooring in the lounge, laundry, kitchen, dining room and hallway.
Her landlord was on-board with these changes too which included replacing the dated tiles with floating floorboards.
The pair sourced material themselves spending just $600 in total on the flooring, with a trade discount. They also laid the flooring without help from tradespeople.
"I'm a Kiwi so I have an attitude of just getting stuck in and doing it," she said
"I was a solo parent to four children before I met my husband and I didn't have anyone around so I had to learn to do everything myself.
Slowly other rooms in the house were also given some much needed TLC by Ms Montgomery.
The kitchen was fitted out with a kitchen bench, sink and stove, and every room had new light fittings, blinds, curtains and upscale fixtures.
Her landlord, clearly impressed with her efforts, paid for new carpet along with giving the family a rent reprieve from time to time as a way of showing his appreciation.
The passion project, which took Ms Montgomery 12 months in total to complete and cost $6000, was an endeavour she started as a hobby.
"We did a bit here and there. Our next makeover will be the bathroom. That will be getting retiled – but not until I have been to Bali for a holiday," she said.
Although Ms Montgomery concedes spending thousands to do up someone else's property doesn't seem logical, she's happy with the changes and has no plans to move.
She said the family could have easily taken a lease on a home that had already been renovated but ultimately this would have been more expensive.
"It was cheaper for us to renovate than it was to move to a nicer home," she said, adding: "I've got to live here and I'm happy where I am living."
Currently, their four-bedroom home, which also comes with a pool, costs $450 a week in rent.
If they were to move somewhere closer to the city, they could expect to pay double.
Spending on renovations, while keeping her accommodation costs low is a win-win in Ms Montgomery's eyes.
Her house not only looks great but the money she saves allows her to buy homewares she adores – and can take with her when she leaves.
"I have spent a lot of money on furnishings – I don't skimp by buying things from Kmart," she said.
"There are a few pieces which have been upcycled but I there are a few items where I've spent a hell of a lot.
"Coco Republic, Water Tiger and Orient House are my go-tos."
For enthusiastic renters hoping to make changes to their homes, the 44-year-old urges a cautious approach:
"Ease your landlord into it and get to know him first. That way you will get to know what repairs he might be prepared to do and to pay for.
"Some landlords won't do a thing, while other landlords are happy to invest if it contributes to the upkeep of their property.
"Remember ultimately any negotiation comes down to what is in the best interest of the landlord so keep that in mind when entering into any discussion," she concluded.