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“We got a good team together in the end.”

We sat down with Catherine to ask her about her experience during her first renovation project

Catherine, 36 and from Liverpool, is starting her own business as a freelance interior designer. When applying to take part in The Great House Giveaway, she said she was hoping to embrace independence after the breakdown of a relationship that could have seen her settle down.

We sat down with Catherine to ask her about her experience during her first renovation project: a dated semi in nearby Prescot, with fellow contestant Steve.

Why did you decide to apply?

I've always been interested in property development and thought I'd do as a career one day, but a lack of finances and experience has always put me off. And with my interior design business just taking off, I thought it would be great to have a project of my own that I could really sink my teeth in to.

Having worked in property for years on the sales side of things, I also wanted to find out what it’s like on the other side of the process and really get my hands dirty!

What was the biggest challenge you faced throughout the process?

Like Steve has also said, I think finding decent, reliable tradespeople was a major and ongoing challenge. We got a good team together in the end though…

If you could give one piece of advice to someone starting a similar project, what would it be?

Plan, plan and plan! Write down everything you want to do, and allocate time and money to those tasks. You may find before you've gone too far: that you can't afford to do something you want to, or it’ll take too long. It’s the best way to ensure you don’t overspend and will keep to deadlines.

Is there anything you would do differently if you started again?

I would start the decorating earlier. Once the bathroom was installed the upstairs could have been decorated because the major work was going on downstairs, and being mainly carried out by trades. We could’ve saved some late-night painting sessions if it was spread out a bit more!

What is your plan now off the back of the experience? Will you look to take on another project?

Since the show filmed I’ve become a mum, so any notion of another renovation is on the back-burner! But my plan is to take on another project in the not-too-distant future: a place for myself and family, I think.

Has it changed your life in any way? If so, how?

It has in that I met Steve, who will become a lifelong friend, I hope! It’s also given me much more confidence to go ahead and take on a renovation project in the future - I always thought I could in theory, but now I know I can in practice.

Catherine and Steve’s episode of The Great House Giveaway is available to catch up on All4 and tune in to Channel 4, weekdays at 4pm to see how the rest of the contestants get on!
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