By Robert Firth


A single mum once so ashamed of her ‘unloved’ townhouse she refused to invite friends round has transformed it into her colourful dream home completely unaided.

DIY-mad Mandy Charlton, 46, felt she couldn’t express her personality while in her 15-year marriage and after breaking up five years ago dreamed of updating her drab and uninspiring home to reflect her newfound confidence as a single woman.

The mum-of-three and photographer moved into her three-storey townhouse on the outskirts of Newcastle more than a decade ago but the demands of family life meant she’d never had the time or confidence to renovate it.

But Mandy longed for a home where she could entertain friends and has now spent £1,500 turning the space into a riot of colour completely single-handedly – putting the finishing touches to her kitchen this week.


She said: “I wanted my house to be a haven.

“I wanted it to be somewhere that I didn’t want to run away from, that I didn’t want to escape from.

“For so long I didn’t have the confidence to do anything and because I work so much, I didn’t have the time to redecorate.

“Now I have freedom about what I can do. I don’t have to ask anyone’s permission.

“When there’s nobody to say no that’s going to look bad, it all comes down to you.

“If it had looked bad it would have been my fault. It’s the power of personal responsibility.

“I wanted a place where I could have friends around. I love entertaining, but I wouldn’t let anyone in my home for seven years.

“Now I have got a place that I can show them that I’m not ashamed about. It’s magical.”

Single mum Mandy carried out nearly all the stunning transformation alone, learning to paint from a friend and teaching herself to put together furniture.

It was only when it came to installing colourful vinyl wraps on her kitchen cupboard doors that she enlisted outside help.

Her inspiration for the bold interiors came from Instagram and her favourite country, Spain, where she first went on holiday to Barcelona after becoming newly single.



She said: “I started searching words like ‘maximalism’ and phrases like ‘my colourful interiors’”

“I wanted to find people like me. I am not Mrs Hinch: I am not grey – it’s not for me.

“Spain was big influence on my colour scheme with the yellow and the red and the tiles on the stairs.

“I used to have blue walls in the kitchen and magnolia walls in the hallway because I thought that they were cheaper, but I found that it doesn’t cost much more for colour.”

Savvy spender Mandy bought the arbour in her garden with Amazon vouchers and reduced costs by using paint from high street stores like Wilko and picking up furnishings from Homesense.

She spent a total of £1,500 on the transformation, a third of which (£500) she splashed out on her garden. The vinyl wrapping she used on the kitchen cupboards and fridge doors cost £350 and the hallway sofa set her back £200, while the flooring in the kitchen and hallway cost another £290.

She said: “When I posted the kitchen on social media, not all the reactions were positive because those colours are going to create a reaction.

“There are some people who think it’s a migraine in my kitchen, but it’s me.

“I have only had real freedom in the last years. It’s amazing.

“I am an all or nothing person. I spent nearly all my income on my house –  I come to everything I do with lots of energy.”