“WE WEREN’T ABLE TO BE AT HOME FULL-TIME DURING THE WHOLE RENOVATION SO PLANNING WAS OUR PRIMARY RESPONSIBILITY!”
LESSON THREE: BE CREATIVE The home already had lots of storage so we just had to update it, but the problem was how to cost-effectively buy 40-odd handles! We decided to have a go at making our own leather handles. We visited some leather wholesalers and tried a few different types and ended up buying two hides to compare: an Argentinian lamb hide (which we went with) and one that was more rigid. The rigid one was more robust but a lot harder to work with so we decided to stick to the Argentinian lamb hide. It’s wearing more than the robust one would have, stretching and building up a darker colour and patina, but we like it that way.
the DINING ROOM
LESSON FOUR: CONSIDER ALL LIGHTING It was only after the renovation, while living in the home, that we realised we could do with some more lighting, for example, over the kitchen sink. It’s something you can work out either during the renovation or after. Generally speaking, I would recommend accommodating for downlights and additional light sources in the planning stage, and we should have, but it went over our heads at the time. Because we needed electricians to do the removal of existing lighting and installation of new, we had to get them back a few times. Definitely try to work it all out beforehand.
LESSON FIVE: PICK THE RIGHT PAINT We are definitely amateur painters! One thing we didn’t realise was that paint brands can be very different. The first one we tried just wasn’t binding to the wall – the paint kept sliding and was leaving a blotchy finish. So we read reviews online and thought it might be the type of walls we have (they have a dimpled effect). We got a few test pots in different brands and found one that was much better (it was Dulux). We had to repaint the whole house but it was worth it. It surprised me how both products had the same intended use but were so different in application.
the LIVING ROOM
LESSON SIX: DO A FURNITURE PLAN We didn’t really leave any furniture choice to chance – we measured up and drew a plan. It wasn’t to scale, but it helped us decide on furniture placement and how the spaces would flow into each other. This is something that definitely worked and saved us a lot of grief! It’s always easier to do a rough plan of what you’re aiming to achieve in the beginning because it will also dictate where you put GPOs [general power outlets] and lighting. Easier to get the electrician to do it all at once. Another reason you should plan your furniture early on is because if you’re buying new pieces there can be lead times – of up to 12 weeks!