Ali’s first home was a tiny caravan, but she is now transforming her 5,500 sq ft forever home
A Co Down woman has shared an insight into her stunning home after she began renovating last year.
This is the fourth transformation project 56-year-old Ali Hill has taken on and it is situated in Temple just outside Lisburn.
Before starting her property journey, at the age of 20 she lived in a tiny caravan to save money before moving into a small mobile home.
The mum-of-five said when she first drove by Hillview House, she knew it would be her forever home with her husband Clifford.
She told Be: “I sometimes pulled over looking at it and thought how wonderful it would be if it could all work out timing wise for us. We had to sell our house first and because of Covid it took a year but the minute we got sale agreed we offered the asking price on Hillview House.
“It is on 1.6 acres and is 5,500 sq ft plus it has a large triple garage of another 2,000 sq ft which is absolutely perfect for our family. This was definitely the motivation for buying the house.”
Since November, Ali has completely transformed some rooms of her new home.
She said: “At this stage the kitchen units have all been professionally repainted, we’ve retiled behind the cooker, moved electrics to create island centre lights as a feature and modernised the kitchen throughout by replacing all the handles etc.
“The grandkids’ bedroom has also been completely re-modernised. The sink and worktop needed removed and the wooden wardrobes needed professionally repainted. The next bedroom has been made into an adults’ games room and again there were sinks and worktops needing removed, new tiled floor has been put down and electrics sorted again.
“The lounge was a concrete floor when we moved in and this is the one room where we managed to work with the existing wallpaper. The house wasn’t sold with carpets or curtains and we are still living with some concrete floors, but that is the nature of property renovation and re-modernisation.”
Ali said that so far, each room is taking a lot of input and time – therefore nothing is happening quickly, with one of the hardest parts being starting work during the pandemic.
“So many places weren’t offering shipping and trying to order online isn’t the best as I like to see what things look like,” she said.
“Lots of things needed returned as they just weren’t right. We had an 18-week wait on one of our settees.
“We have learnt so much with our previous self-build and major renovation projects so we aren’t really daunted. The most daunting part is the sheer size of the project which we have taken on this time. I do thrive though on a challenge! Clifford is so practical and we definitely would not be where we are today had it not been for that,” the grandmother-of-seven added.
The counsellor described the style of home she is going for and said: “I definitely love modern but because of the house, we need to consider carefully what fits. It really is a mix of modern and classic all rolled into one. For example, in the grandkids’ bedroom it is very modern whilst the lounge has a classic feel to it. The sunroom where I work from has a more relaxed and comfortable atmosphere which is important for my job.”
Ali’s top five tips for others taking on a renovation project:
1. Rome wasn’t built in a day, so take your time.
2. Break your project into bite size chunks so the mountain of work seems more manageable.
3. Consider your budget to work out which areas require the biggest spend and how can you make money go further in other areas.
4. If you really want a certain feature, save for it as your second choice may never please you and will cost you more in the end. I fell in love with a chandelier for our double-ceiling height hall – our single most expensive purchase – but I know we will love it forever and I am excited to get all 160kg of it assembled and installed over the next few weeks. This of course means other things will be delayed as we save up again.
5. Learn from others and don’t be afraid to price around. Do what you can yourself as this will save you a lot of money.
Ali also shared her favourite places to shop for interior pieces.
“We bought our lighting in JR Lighting in Newry and then our velvet settees for our lounge and a kitchen island lavender pot feature from Watson Browne Interiors. We got several side tables and vases from EZ Living Interiors and some bedroom furniture and wall art from Houseproud Furnishings in Lisburn. A lot was ordered online such as the grandkids’ bed which came from Sweden. I will happily shop in affordable shops such as The Range, Next, Dunnes Stores, Home Depot and IKEA for accessories and love finding a bargain if I can,” she said.
The mum-of-five said all of the rooms that have been renovated so far feel very different, but she fell in love with Hillview House the moment that she laid eyes on it.
“It really is all we could ever want and more. The previous owners built a fantastic home and it has wonderful features like curved walls upstairs, a fantastic ceiling dome and an extremely advanced computer system which controls everything imaginable in the house.
“Our family love it and that is what makes me happiest, as Hillview House was bought for all 18 of us to enjoy. It is absolutely our dream home where I hope we can create precious, life-long memories together.
“A home is truly only bricks and mortar. While we feel really blessed to own Hillview House, our family are a million times more important to us. Our first caravan of around 200 sq ft holds as many precious memories for us, as does our current house. Home truly is where the heart is in life,” Ali added.
Take a look at Hillview House in our gallery below.