IT is a new year and thoughts turn to giving your home a much-needed makeover – if only the bank account would stretch to it.
That wasn’t a concern for three lucky Lothian residents who, thanks to a competition run by the Evening News and Ikea, scooped thousands of pounds worth of bedroom makeovers and the services of designers to bring their decorating dreams to life.
Competitors were asked to send in photographs of the room they wanted to see renovated and to explain why they thought they would make a worthy winner.
First prize winner Maggi Robinson, who scooped a makeover worth £2500, was in desperate need of a calming room where she could relax at home.
Maggi, 41, was having a stressful time – her son, Dominic, 17, had just been diagnosed as autistic, and she is disabled, suffering from the painful joint condition hip impingement syndrome, which often leaves her stuck at home.
After moving into her new home in Midlothian in August, her daughters, Tamsyn, 19, and Francesca, 12, had been living in the room, but it hadn’t received a lot of attention.
She said: “It was a bit of a mess, it was a nightmare. We moved in at the end of August and we’d not done an awful lot, we’d put a carpet down, but not much more. It was originally the kids’ bedroom, but I wanted somewhere for me to relax.”
She had already seen her ideal bedroom before even entering the competition – as a display at Ikea Edinburgh.
“I’d seen the set-up in the store and I’d absolutely loved it and I said to my daughters before anything had happened, ‘I’d love to have a room like that’ – and bingo! I was in shock when I heard, I didn’t think I would win.”
Her daughters then moved into another bedroom to enable Maggi’s haven to be created. “It was pretty easy, the people from Ikea kept in constant touch. I went in a few times to have a look around to make sure I knew exactly what I wanted and they came out to see me. I explained what I liked and it was the designer that did the room set-up in the store that did the room here for me and he knew exactly what to put where.”
Now the room has rich purple walls, a graceful iron bedstead with plenty of scatter cushions, and lots of storage to cut down on clutter.
In the tradition of all the best TV makeover shoes, Maggi decided to allow herself the enjoyment of a “big reveal” when the room was finished. “It took about a week to do in total, and the last couple of days I didn’t go in because I didn’t want to spoil the surprise, I thought ‘I’m going to wait and go in when it’s finished’.
“I was just amazed. It was just absolutely gorgeous. I love the wardrobe – there was no storage in there before and now I’ve got so much. I love reading and I’ve now got somewhere to put my books.
“I’ve always liked the darker colours and it was just the way that they had it set up in the store that looked absolutely brilliant. I just loved the way it looked and I thought that’s what I wanted to go for. It’s the ideal place for me to chill out.”
Maggi’s dream bedroom was created by Ali Hughson, interior designer at Ikea Edinburgh, who said: “I’m really pleased with how the makeover went.
“Maggi was great to work with because she had a clear vision of what she wanted after being inspired by one of our in-store room settings and I’m so pleased I could turn her dream bedroom into a reality.”
Second place winner and scooping £1500 in the competition was Joey Olsson, who tugged at the judges’ heartstrings when she revealed that she was facing a Christmas of sleeping in her living room after her house suffered serious damp problems.
Joey, who lives in Ingliston with husband John and their three children, said: “In the summer, I’d gone into my wardrobe and my clothes were really damp. We took the wardrobe down and then found my shower room was soaking wet and we lifted all the floorboards up and all the joists were rotten. We had to replace everything and dig out about a foot-and-a-half of mud.
“The house was built in 1848 and I think it was built on soil, and there was a leak in the roof as well.”
The family were shocked to discover the extent of the damage to the house, and a plan they had hatched to decorate the bedroom themselves was put on hold as the damp was dealt with.
The en-suite bathroom had to be demolished, while the floorboards and joists were completely ripped up in the bedroom and dressing room, leaving Joey and John sleeping first in the living room and then the dining room.
She said: “When the competition came up, I thought ‘I’m going to put in for this’. We decorated it ourselves and Ikea came and built the furniture.
“The girls from Ikea came out to the house and had a look around and I picked the furniture and they sent it over and these two guys came down and built it in half a day. It’s fantastic.”
She said the creation of a bright, airy bedroom in the cottage had come as a welcome boost after all their home headaches. “We didn’t realise the extent of what was going on with the house at first. We were going to decorate our bedroom anyway, we’d saved up all this money to decorate, and we ended up spending it on what we had to do to the house.”
In third place, winning a £500 revamp for her bedroom, was Mary Boner, a 72-year-old retired ScottishPower worker from Carrick Knowe.
She had one specific request when she applied to the competition – new wardrobes.
She said: “I was diagnosed with rheumatoid arthritis two-and-a half-years ago and since then I can’t reach the rails. I struggle with it especially when I have bad days, and when the ad came in the paper I thought ‘I never win anything so I won’t bother’, but I went back and thought I’d give it a go.
“I explained how I was struggling and how I needed to wait for someone to come and help me if I wanted something down from the rails.”
The judges were happy to award her the money to spend on new wardrobes, and Mary was delighted when she heard she had been a winner. “I was in tears, I was so excited, I couldn’t believe it. I was really delighted. Ali came and measured up and these two lads came in to fit them, and they were amazing. They just worked non-stop and tidied everything up, I can’t fault them. They fitted these marvellous wardrobes. I have so much room in them, and they’re so much easier. It’s made such a great difference.”
As well as the three top prize winners, the competition also saw £50 Ikea vouchers awarded to ten runners-up, all selected by judges from Ikea and the Evening News.
Ikea marketing specialist Marie Renwick said they had been delighted to help a group of worthy winners. “We wanted to give three Evening News readers the chance to experience our interior design and home assembly service.
“We asked everyone for a picture and a story as to why they needed their bedroom redone, and we were looking for people that really needed it.
“Maggi had a lot of stuff going on at home and really needed some space. Joey was going to be sleeping in her living room for Christmas, so that really got to us, and with Mary, she was so organised already, but she just needed a little extra help.”