Meet the gran who renovated a 19th century chapel using DIY skills she was taught by her late husband.
Jayne Fowler, 59, decided to buy the £155,000 property after walking past an estate agents window while house-sitting for a friend two years ago.
Within a week the former school administrator set to work and project managed the entire project for the next 12 months.
She was able to draw on her carpentry skills having been taught everything from how to work a drill, to mixing cement when she and late husband Harry built a house from scratch in 1999.
The grandmother-of-three now lives in the 1852 Chapel, in Salisbury, Wilts., which now boasts a modern interior with a kitchen, plush bedroom and its own stain-glass window.
Mum-of-two Jayne said: “I’m pretty pleased with how it turned out.
“When I got my Completion Certificate I looked at Harry’s photo and said “I did it Harry!!”
“When we built Pear Tree Cottage from the ground up I learnt everything.
“Harry taught me how to use power tools and then let me use them under his guidance until I was confident to use them safely.
“He taught me everything — from how to mix cement, chop wood, how to cork and tape plasterboard.
“After he had passed away I realised I had a real curiosity for self build, renovations and the housing market in general.
“I mostly project managed it all but helped out where I could.
“But I used hand drills, regular hand saw, jigsaw and chop saws during the renovation.
“I was helping out with the flooring. It was so much fun.
“It took about a year and I did have sleepless nights wondering whether I could pull it off and one of my neighbours seriously doubted me.
“But a year later I did it! A 59-year-old widow with more determination than sense it seems!”
Jayne built Pear Tree Cottage in Pamber End, Hampshire, with former civil engineering manager Harry in 1999 where the pair would live until his death in 2015.
Suddenly widowed, she sold the home and bought a holiday lodge.
But three years later while house-sitting for a friend Jayne stumbled across the Ebenzer Methodist Chapel in an estate agents window.
She viewed it two days later, and bought it the very next day after.
She bought it instantly for £155,000 and started work on it in the next few days.
After splashing £135,000 to renovate it — including a costly re-roofing her project was finished last July and has been living it in ever since.
Jayne said: “After building the first house I always had an interest in properties.
“We built that one from scratch. The site we bought was an acre site with a derelict 15th Century cottage on it, a London South West first class train carriage and lots of tin outbuildings.
“We cleared the land and out building, and erected a three bed detached and thatched house, and then renovated the little cottage.
“It was a fun project we did together and I found it really rewarding.
“Then a couple of years back when Harry passed away I walking past an estate agents and it caught my eye.
“I saw the chapel in Middleton and Major estate agents on the Saturday, viewed it on the Monday and put a bid on it the day after.
“There were three other people interested in it but my offer was the best at £155,000.
“I completely fell in love with it.
“The next morning I woke up and my husband popped into my head. I thought ‘Oh my God Harry, what have I done?”
“But there was no going back and I didn’t have Harry to help me.
“It took about a year to complete.
“When I first arrived it was covered in ivy and mold. The windows and roof timbers were rotten so that had to be redone.
“I started gutting it out over the next three months as I applied for a change in planning consent and had to have a bat survey done.
“Once that was done I took it back to just four walls and started from there.
“I did have some serious doubts over the course of it.
“I had many sleepless nights wondering if I could pull it off.
“There was a point where I was £200,000 out of pocket and the place was anything but habitable.
“But I was able to do it drawing on everything Harry had taught me.
“I’ve had it estimated since and it’s currently valued at £375,000 but I’ve had other valuations come in at the £450,000 mark.
“It’s hard to value as there is nothing comparable locally.
“He was really remarkable and didn’t have any qualifications.
“He gave me the ultimate gift of giving me the confidence to take on a challenge.
“I see it as a legacy to him.”