From a young age I watched my father develop properties and learned a few things along the way. 

 

I have since, totally refurbished 5 properties from a five story house in Kensington to my current country house in Kent. 

 

My property advice is look at dozens  of properties before you buy. Study the market… it could make or break you. Do your homework  on any interior design project. Consider it will cost twice as much as your quotes and take almost twice as long as anticipated .

 

I have always scoured magazines for ideas and now there's so much online you almost can't go wrong, my golden rule is ... 

 

‘Whatever you’re about to do…

measure it three times then cut it!! 

Estimate your estimates will be out by 40-50% and the time will double before completion…’

 

Then you won't be disappointed! 

It's all in the planning and prep. 

 

Visualize your finished masterpiece when you feel like you really can't go on! 

Enjoy the process and you soon forget the sweat . 

 

Beware… Finding a hard working builder is like finding gold dust… so keep ‘em happy!!!

Trusting her inner vision: Jay with her dog Ted

Bucks Fizz singer Jay Aston shows us around her home

by Andrew Williams

Published November 28, 2017

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POP singer Jay Aston, best known for winning the 1981 Eurovision Song Contest with her legendary skirt-ripping routine as part of Bucks Fizz, is guiding us around her recently completed living room — with her friendly dog, Ted.

Jay turned the room, a former garage, into her lounge last year, and the finishing touch was the recently built chimney breast, made by her husband Dave, a fellow musician, from an old garden gate.

Homely: The lounge was once a garage

The reindeer rug on the floor was purchased in Sweden last year when Jay was performing at a Eurovision convention. ‘I saw something similar to this fireplace in a magazine and liked the look,’ she says, adding that the room has been inspired by a Nordic ski lodge.

Jay’s Kent home, with seven acres of land, was originally built by her father and Jay inherited the property in 2009. ‘My dad built the house in 1984 and it hadn’t been touched since,’ says Jay. ‘He wanted to have a riding school here but by the time he was preparing for that to happen he got Alzheimer’s. He never realised his dream so I guess I’m doing it for him — we sometimes have rescue ponies here…’

When Jay inherited the property it was a three-bedroom house — now it has six bedrooms, five bathrooms and a separate flat the couple rent out as a holiday let. ‘We both work in showbusiness, which is an irregular income, so we get things done when we can, which is why it’s taken so long.’

Jay is no stranger to renovating houses. She bought her first house at auction at the age of 19. ‘It was basically a squat,’ she says. ‘It was declared “unfit for human habitation” which meant I got a grant from the council to renovate it.’ Her dad and friends helped with the project and she turned a healthy profit. ‘I bought it for £20,000 and sold it for £45,000.

 

Jay then bought a four-storey house in Kensington — which again needed work. ‘I had to renovate every floor,’ she says. ‘I had to sack the original builders.

Knot bad: Wooden panelling and an unusual antler light fixture

They thought, “She’s a pop star so she must have loads of money,” and they were ripping me off.’ Unfortunately, Jay didn’t live in the house for long. She left Bucks Fizz and was taken to court by their management team. She had to sell the house to cover her legal fees. ‘So I had to move back here for a few years,’ she says. ‘I went past that Kensington house recently and it’s all been turned into flats.’

Great outdoors: Jay’s home nestles among seven acres of land

But now things are paying off — the apartment has an 80 per cent occupancy rate and is let out to people visiting relatives in the area from overseas. ‘We did that first to make an income to fund the rest of the work,’ she says.

Not every change has been so dramatic — a lot of the work on the place has been decorative. Jay’s bedroom was previously her parents’ sitting room. ‘It was cluttered and had an orange carpet,’ she says. It now has a French country theme — featuring an antique wardrobe Jay bought on eBay.

‘We could have been blown up any minute. British Gas turned up like it was World War Three — with a massive lorry and huge crew of people. It cost us £1,000 just to call them

‘Even when the apartment was completed things didn’t go smoothly — their first guest got a fork stuck in the dishwasher pump which flooded the kitchen and meant Jay and Dave had to replace their newly laid oak floor.

The room also features a portrait of Jay as a small child. ‘It’s by Cicely Mary Barker who wrote the Flower Fairies books. She was our neighbour and I used to model for her books sometimes.’

Jays gone by: A portrait of Aston by the Flower Fairies illustrator

She’s also completely revamped her parents’ former bedroom. It now has a Moroccan theme. ‘I went on holiday to Morocco with my mum a couple of times. We had a lot of fun there and I love the colours and happiness of the place. So I’ve used those bright colours in the room and decorated it with bits and pieces I’ve picked up over the years.’

Marrakesh memories: A bedroom has been revamped in tribute to happy family holidays

The upstairs corridor features dozens of gold and silver discs Jay notched up during her original stint with Bucks Fizz. She also has boxes of memorabilia stashed away.

Jay’s now back in the band, renamed The Fizz for legal reasons, and they’ve released their first album together over 30 years. ‘It’s a shame it all went so wrong in the band before,’ she says, ‘but it’s now the best it’s ever been.’

■ The Fizz’s new album The F-Z Of Pop is out now

“Doing Renovations has taught me about dodgy builders”, she says. “Now I know in a day whether they need to go. If you can’t demonstrate you’ve done your homework and know what you’re talking about then expect to be ripped off.”

 

The worst renovation disaster came in 2010 when work started on their apartment.  ‘A digger driver went through the gas main and electric cables,’ says Jay.