ANYONE who has ever rented will agree that one of the biggest downsides is not being able to make the space your own.
Whether you’re in a private rental or living in council accommodation many residents choose to keep decoration to a minimum knowing full well that they’ll one day have to return it to its original state.
But that certainly hasn’t stopped Le Anne Carrol.
The council house resident, 36, says she is addicted to redecorating her pad in Manchester and gives it a fresh new look twice a year.
Speaking exclusively to Fabulous, the former model says: “I'm addicted to redecorating my rented council house.
“I have turned from plain to a palace with the help of my 14-year-old, he does all the DIY.
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“I’ve spent more than £5,000 and 500 hours over the past five years on my interior obsession.
“I’m obsessed with trying new colour schemes and styles in every room in the house.
“We’re always updating one room, It never stops.
“I know critics will think it’s a waste of money renovating but I’m proud of my home and want to be on trend and give my kids a gorgeous space to live in.”
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Le-Anne, is mum to three boys Pierre, 14, Harry, 12 and Tyler, five and two girls Leigh, 11 and May, ten and has been living in her four-bedroom, semi detached council home for five years.
Le Anne and her children were living with her mum in Manchester and were underhoused.
The single mum spent twelve months waiting to get her four bedroom council house and now pays £130 a week in rent.
While she was thrilled to finally have a proper place to call home, Le Anne admits that it was in need of a little TLC.
“When we moved in it was just an empty shell,” she recalls.
“The house had an old fitted kitchen and ugly ‘vomit’ yellow walls and no floor coverings.
“Getting this house was liberating and I decided to make it my own.”
Le-Anne was given paint vouchers from the local council to start her home makeover and had scrimped and saved living at her mums to put together a renovation fund.
She put down grey carpets throughout the house and used a soft pink colour scheme in the living room.
She adds: “I bought everything else new including the beds, sofa, dining room furniture a, shelves and cupboards initially spending £3500 including family and friends gifting furniture
“I was lucky my family helped out. It saved money.
“I spent hundreds of hours searching B&M, Homebase, Lidl, Aldi and Asda for bargains and sales.
“Our living room is three times the size of a normal living room and since we moved in it has been silver, grey, pale pink, blue, hot pink, gold, cream and now navy.
“In one of my many revamps the living room featured elephant wallpaper and cushions.
“I love elephants and I created a feature wall using high end wallpaper I nabbed on sale reduced from 80 pounds a roll to a tenner.
But it’s the most recent makeover which Le Anne is most proud of.
“This time my teen son Pierre, 14, did all the DIY, painting and renovating,” she says.
“He is a superstar with a drill and power saw.
Pierre watched hundreds of hours of YouTube videos and developed his decorating skills helping his mum in her many room renovations.
This time Le-Anne wanted a panel wall in her living room and instead of hiring a builder asked Pierre for advice.
“He had recently taken the top tier off a triple bunk bed in one of the bedrooms and suggested we use the wood from that to recreate the partition,” she explains.
“I decided to let him go for it and the results are amazing.
“Most 14 year old boys are glued to either phones, not Pierre .
“I went out one morning and by lunchtime he had turned the bunk bed wood into a living room panel wall feature and painted it.
“It looks stunning and he’s saved me thousands, I am so proud of him.”
Pierre and his mum hung designer elephant brick wall print paper with a 3-D effect in the living room and painted the room navy.
“I found the brick wall paper on sale for a fiver. It's normally priced at £45 a roll,” she says.
“Whenever I see bargains like this I sweep the shelves and keep them for use on one of my many revamps.”
Le-Anne used the same colour scheme in the dining room, spending £50 to change-up lamp shades, candles and tablecloths to create her bold navy, pink and grey look.
“I know some people will troll me for using the navy,” she says.
“It’s such a bold and striking colour and that takes guts to use.
“It makes your house look like a million pound mansion.”
The mum of five then turned her attention to her own bedroom which has previously been gold, silver , blue, metallic, pink and grey,
In another shock move Le Anne let her teen son decide the new colour scheme for her room.
“Pierre had spent the day building a partition wall in his room for extra storage and had chosen black and grey with realistic faux ivy decorating the walls and I loved it.
“I asked him to help me duplicate his colour scheme in my room. The results are just amazing,” she says.
Le Anne's room now features black three dimensional brick wallpaper, grey and black walls, faux ivy on the ceiling and cupboards and old B&M shelves which were originally gold and cost two quid now painted silver.
Le Anne says: “My friends are amazed, some told me I was making a mistake letting Pierre loose with black paint now they want to hire him and me to come up with colour schemes for their houses.”
When Le Anne first moved into her council house she turned the dated, worn-out wood coloured kitchen from ‘dated to dateless’ by using vinyl wraps.
“I use them all the time to revamp the shelves and kitchen worktops,” she says.
“Vinyl wraps and paint plus new taps or door knobs can turn a ugly kitchen into a masterpiece.”
Le-Anne who is currently unable to work due to illness says she has learned to be especially frugal to fund her habit.
“The cost of living and the fact I am currently on universal credit means I had to save.” she admits.
“It won't stop my council house renovation addiction.
“I keep leftover paints and am also a crafting queen and it means I can make something from nothing.
“I don't know why more people don't decorate their rented homes, It’s like moving house without the hassle.”
Le Anne has shared her many house makeovers with her followers on social media but for every fan there is a troll lurking ready to criticise her work.
“If anyone tells me I don't deserve a council house or shouldn't be proud of it I ignore them,” she says.
“I ignore hateful comments because what people don't know is when I applied for this house I’d experienced a difficult relationship.
“It meant me and the kids had a higher priority for housing on the council list.
“This house signalled a new start for me and the kids and it also allowed me to be independent and unleash my decorating skills without fear of criticism.
“I want other women to know a new start is possible, you can start over and live your best life.
“I know people will kick off at me for spending money on my many makeovers instead of saving or a deposit.
“I can’t get a mortgage at the moment. I am temporarily on UC and banks won’t lend money
“If the trolls want to back a scheme to make that happen then great.
“My makeovers are always done on a budget. I hope to go back to work and save to buy this council house.
“People shouldn’t tell me how to spend my money. When you are a single mum with five kids and can’t afford a deposit, redecoration is the next best thing.
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“That's why I don't care what people say. I am showing mums like me you can escape abuse and you can live a better life. My house shows that and I won't stop renovating it
“I'm already planning my next makeover. It's going to be fabulous.”
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