Girls Aloud’s Kimberley Walsh on her first home


Girls Aloud star Kimberley Walsh bought her first home, an apartment in a converted hospital in North London, on her manager’s advice (Picture: Dave Benett/Getty Images)

Girls Aloud may have personified noughties pop partying, but behind the scenes things were a bit more sensible. Kimberley Walsh, 40, was one fifth of the quintet and was investing her money in a property back in 2005, around the time of the band’s first tour.

A lifelong DIY fan, Kimberley has joined forces with home improvement retailer Wickes to launch the Wickes Community Programme, which is bringing community organisations the chance to win a whopping £10,000.

Where did you buy your first home?

I bought my first home in north London in 2005.

What did you go for?

It was a really unique property situated in an old, renovated hospital. My apartment was in one of four tower blocks and my bedroom at the top was surrounded by gorgeous windows that filled the room with the most amazing natural light. The apartment itself had lots of quirky features, beautiful exposed brickwork and a lovely roof terrace. It was absolutely perfect for what I needed at the time.

Why did you decide to get on the ladder?

My manager at the time gave me the encouragement I needed to get on the property ladder early and push myself financially. I’m really thankful as it was really brilliant advice. I’ve never looked back.

Kimberley has loved DIY since she was a child and has now teamed up with The Wickes Community Programme, which gives communities the chance to win £10,000 for renovation projects

Kimberley has loved DIY since she was a child and has now teamed up with The Wickes Community Programme, which gives communities the chance to win £10,000 for renovation projects

What was it like? Was it a doer upper or were you not so into DIY back then?

The property was a blank canvas, it didn’t require any doing up as it was brand new, which was what I needed at the time. Having said that I still re-tiled one of the bathrooms as I wanted to make it my own. I didn’t have time to do much DIY in the Girls Aloud days but I managed to do little bits here and there when I could to put my stamp on it. It’s amazing what a difference you can make to a room by just changing the paint colour.

What did you do with it – any cringe mistakes?

The property was very light and bright and a bit shabby chic. It was like a princess tower, I loved it. I did decorate the spare room in very dark Moroccan vibes which, looking back, was a bit of a random choice for me but perhaps it was a trend at the time…

Kimberley Walsh: ‘I didn’t have time to do much DIY in the Girls Aloud days but I managed to do little bits here and there’ (Picture: Dave Benett/Getty Images)

How did it feel to get on the property ladder?

It felt amazing to get on the property ladder so young, it felt like such a huge achievement. I did feel the pressure of a large mortgage though, especially given the nature of the job I was in, but the risk thankfully paid off.

Did you keep hold of the place after you moved out?

I learnt a lot through buying my first home and I actually kept the property when I moved house, it was my first rental.

Any advice for first time buyers?

Don’t leave any stone unturned. It’s always better to spend a bit more money on the surveys and extras to make sure nothing comes back to bite you later down the line.

Girls Aloud pictured in about 2002, in the early days of the band. Within a few years, Kimberley (far left) had made the wise decision to invest in property

Girls Aloud in the early days (Picture: Tim Roney/Hulton Archive/Getty Images)

There’s a lot to think about when you move into a new place and I think that a lot of first time buyers can be really intimidated by the bigger decorating jobs but there’s so much free help and advice online and in stores, it doesn’t have to be scary.

I find it so rewarding to fix and decorate things myself and it saves people a fortune when they know how to DIY. Save money with the DIY jobs and splurge on the surveys would be my advice.

You’re now part of a DIY campaign, but how did you first get into DIYing?

My mum got me into DIY, as a child, as I used to do lots of decorating and renovating with her. I loved seeing the transformation and would get so excited at every new project.

I still feel like that now. I’m working my way back around my own house as I’ve lived here for ten years. I’ve loved working on our most recent transformation of the basement space. We painted it a dark blue and added a built-in entertainment unit and bar down there, it’s totally transformed the space.

Working with Wickes has also been a great way of learning more about DIY – the latest project we’re working on is all about helping communities to improve their spaces with the help of DIY. It’s really important we look after our local communal spaces for the whole community. I can’t wait to see the transformations.

Did you get the property buying bug after that first place then?

I definitely got the property bug. I’ve bought several properties over the years as projects and investments. They’re never without their own stresses but I always look at the bigger picture and see them as an investment for the future.

wickes.co.uk

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