Former drug den covered in graffiti gets transformed into stunning family home

This DIY renovation project is more than a little impressive.

Emma Meese, 45, decided to take on a massive challenge by buying a notorious drug den and turning it into a family home she could sell at a profit.

The house had been sitting abandoned for years on the outskirts of Cardiff, after falling into disrepair following being bought by Western Power Distribution for demolition in 2001.

The property was set to be destroyed to make way for a new housing development, but neighbours protested these plans.

The development was scrapped and thus the house lay abandoned and in disrepair for over a decade.

It soon became known as a squat for those using drugs, and even had graffiti on the walls reading: ‘Wanna buy some meth?’

Emma drove past the abandoned house for eight years, looking at the smashed glass and graffiti and dreaming of giving it a makeover.

In 2017, she was able to buy the property for £400,000.

Emma said: ‘I’d driven past the house for seven or eight years and always said, half jokingly, if we ever did a big renovation that would be my dream house to renovate. I always felt drawn to it.

‘I could visualise how it could look from the very first viewing.

‘The house had such a great structure and was solid, so we kept all the original rooms at the front, we opened up the back and added a contemporary new look that really complemented the original house.’

For the next three years, Emma and her husband Gareth set to work on the mammoth renovation, sharing the process on their Instagram, 1five.one.

‘We could only see the house via torchlight as there was no electricity in the house and the windows were all boarded up,’ said Emma.

‘But I could still imagine the original parquet all done up and a Christmas tree in the front bay window.

‘The house was cold, dark, and covered in graffiti.

‘There was broken glass all over the floor and the squatters had nailed some wood across the bathroom door to make sure no one fell through the huge hole in the floor.

‘When we stood in the kitchen and looked up we could see straight through to the attic and could see some daylight peeking through.’

The couple stripped the house back to its basic structure and did a massive clearout before adding an extension to the back.

As Emma had hoped, she was able to restore some of the original features, including the staircase and the parquet woodblock flooring.

But now, the house looks radically different.

Set across three floors, the property has been redesigned as the perfect family home.

When you enter on the ground floor, there’s a large entrance hall and reception room.

Also on this floor is a sitting room, a lounge/diner, a top of the line kitchen (complete with a pantry), and a garage.

The main sitting room is pretty special, with stunning stained glass windows, a fireplace, and a bay window.

Go up one level and you’ll find five bedrooms, including the master, which has a secret door disguised as a bookcase, opening to your own walk-in wardrobe. Fancy.

The master also has an en suite bathroom, of course, and then there are two other bathrooms in the property.

Up one more level and there’s a loft room, plus the loft for storage.

The interior decoration is beautiful, with accent colours on the walls and a glorious kids’ bedroom with a lofted bed.

Emma said: ‘There are also some really quirky design additions too like a laundry chute, magnetic walls, a kingsize mezzanine floor in one bedroom and an outdoor dog shower.’

Outside, there’s a large back garden with a patio area.

Location-wise, the home sits on a sought-after street in Cyncoed, Cardiff – where nearby houses are for sale at £1.8m.

This house, meanwhile, is now up for sale for £875,000 through Martin & Co.

If you’re keen to find out more, you can do so through the listing.

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