Care worker transforms ‘dirty’ and bare council flat into beautiful and cosy home

Abby Dunsmure, from Helensburgh, Scotland, first moved into her flat in Scotland after experiencing a period of homelessness and was shamed, but over time she has transformed it into a beautiful home

A care worker has given her ‘dirty’ bare council flat in ‘Junkieville’ a makeover – transforming it into a beautiful and cosy home.

Abby Dunsmure, from Helensburgh, Scotland, has been living at the flat with her husband Stuart for the last six years.

The couple had been experiencing a period of homelessness, but this didn’t stop nasty people from making fun of their home.

When they first moved in, the couple only had a bed for furniture, and they took out payday loans to buy the essentials they needed such as a fridge.

Despite having mounting loans, Abby was able to secure a job as a cleaner and they were able to get their financial situation back on track.

They are in a position where they can now save £2,000 and are on track to have a staggering £90,000 saved in the next couple of years.

A determined Abby did not let this get to her, and over time, she has transformed her home into a dream flat.

She redecorated her flat by shopping in TK Maxx and Dunelm, and saved up to purchase more expensive furniture such as a new coffee table.

“I would definitely say buying cheaper, like we used to, is a waste of money because it wouldn’t last, so we’d build up the savings and buy the bulk of the furniture,” she said.

Abby shared her new stylish flat on the app TikTok, and has gained 6,500 followers as a result.

She said that she wants to help to break down the stigma against council housing and those on benefits, and to show that council houses can still be glamourous.

Abby said: “There’s a massive stigma with council housing and people being on benefits.

“I got my flat a good few years ago now and I was homeless at the time. I found myself on my own quite young.

“Me and my husband both work full time now, it’s just we were in an unfortunate situation at the start.

“A lot of people have had bad things to say about council houses but the people who live in them aren’t bad. Some of them are just in sticky situations.

“It angers me when people judge council houses. I’ve had a few comments because of where my flat is – it’s in the worst area in Helensburgh.

“I’ve had people say to me ‘you live in Junkieville’.

“We’re all tarred with the same brush of being drug users or junkies when we’re not. A few people I know myself have said that.

“They just judge what property we’re in.”

Despite the cruel judgment of others, Abby loves her flat and enjoyed the process.

She said: “I’ve found my style. I loved taking something from what we had at the start to what it is today – a diamond in the rough.

“I love transforming things and I’ve always had a good eye for design. I used to be a cleaner as well so I’m quite particular in the way I like things.

The hard-working pair are now looking to buy a house, but they are willing to wait a little longer to buy the house in cash.

Abby said: “My husband especially is working over 70 hours a week at the moment.

“Me and my husband aren’t wanting to get a mortgage – we want to cash buy a house which is why it’s taking so long.

“I pay full rent as we’re working full time – it will take three years in total for us to cash buy.

“In December 2023, we will have the £90,000. We’re saving over £2,000 per month just now.

“We wanted to buy our house outright so we have security in the long run and no one can take it off us. We’ve been made redundant in the past.

The couple want to ensure that they are never homeless again, and are hoping to by an ex-local authority property to be their forever home.

“We’re looking to buy an ex-council property. Council properties are much better standard than new builds. You get much bigger gardens.

“I know people can be judged wrongly, but we’ve got this far and saving to cash buy on our own. Stuart works 100-hour weeks including his sleepovers.”

Abby’s TikTok showing the dramatic makeover has gained around 123,000 views and 13,500 likes, and people admired her for showing council housing in another light.

One person said: “Love that your breaking the stigma of a council flat.”

Demi Vallance said: “Some council houses are nicer than bought houses as people feel a snobbery towards them. I’ve seen some lovely council house accounts on here.”

Hannah said: “I grew up my whole life in a council house. My parents worked so hard and had no money. It taught me to value everything. Your home is beaut.”