253 fresh ideas
FOR EVERY ROOM IN YOUR HOUSE
Debra says: “We treated our renovations as mini-projects.”
“WHEN WE NOTICED a ‘forthcoming auction’ sign pop up on this house in late 2007, it really felt like it was meant to be. I’d often admired it on our walk to primary school with the kids and we’d been looking, street-by-street, for around four years for our forever home in our much-loved bayside suburb. The house had such unique street appeal with cute little attic windows, and it had all the ingredients we were after: period features, scope for improvement, a little extra land size – and all within a realistic budget.
We were very excited for the first open-for-inspection, but had no idea what to expect. The house had operated as a local guesthouse in the 1950s but had been updated and extended by recent owners with the addition of a large rear living area and pool. When we had our first look around, I saw so much potential for transforming it into our own beautiful beach house resort. Then it was just a matter of convincing my husband, Brian! I spent the next few days creating a huge storyboard so he could see past the heavy burgundy, forest green and yellow, and imagine a gorgeous white, light-filled home. My plan worked and we bought it! We instantly painted the whole interior white – I must have tried 20 sample pots before deciding on Dulux Lexicon Quarter in the front original section, and Dulux Natural White in the lighter rear wing – it transformed the house.
Structurally the building was very sound and had lots of period features we were keen to keep. We also chose to maintain the floor plan just as it was, since the history of the home was one of the reasons we were attracted to it in the first place. A Victorian ash deck beside the pool was the only other immediate addition we made, and then we simply enjoyed our house for a year while deciding what renovations would be next.
Over the last eight years we’ve tackled our renovations as ‘mini projects’, preferring to deal with one area at a time while living at home, rather than moving out for six months and getting it all done. We were very mindful of working with the seasons as well – we updated the kitchen over summer when we could make the most of outdoor barbecues, and did the same with the bathrooms so we could use the outdoor shower.
“I never have enough cushions! I love to change them with the seasons and they don’t break the budget.”
Our most recent project has been overlaying the entire floor space in wide American oak boards. The floors had been a mix of surfaces and, though it wasn’t a cheap option, the floors now look amazing and really tie the house together, not to mention hide the sand and dog hair brilliantly!
Styling our house is very much my domain, but credit needs to go to
Brian for being very easygoing and appreciative of our evolving decor, though I think he wouldn’t mind seeing a few less cushions come through the front door! I will soon have to let go of at least one room of the house, though, as Madison is really developing her own style for her attic bedroom.
Kmart has become one of my go-to shops for homewares as it’s just so affordable and on-trend – I can completely refresh the larger living area for $100. When the season changes, I store the winter cushions, throws and linen in several cupboards, so the colours of summer can take over the house.
I really love continuing the flow of the decor outside the house as well, whether it’s cushions out on the front porch or some fresh towels to hang by the pool, it all adds to the relaxed resort feel that I love. By keeping a close eye on sales and clearances, I make sure it never breaks the budget.
This house is most definitely living up to the vision that I had for it. During summertime, we almost never leave! The kids’ friends are always here for a swim, and casual barefoot barbecues and pool parties are the norm on any given day. In the colder months, the front living room with the fireplace is our room of choice; it has such a cosy feel and often becomes the ‘movie room’ of an evening.
I really can’t see us leaving this house anytime soon. It has the space that the girls need as they grow and become more independent. And though our renovations are nearing completion, I know I won’t tire of recreating these rooms as the seasons and years go on – it’s a neverending process that I love.”
Hamptons-style bar stool, $75, p35
Deb chose Ingolf stools from Ikea for the kitchen bench. Special splurge The functional and attractive American oak floorboards are worth every cent.
Bright wall art expresses personality in a neutral room.