HINDSIGHT: PERIOD DRAMA
A 1920s home is given a sympathetic makeover in just four months, thanks to a clear vision and a stroke of luck with timing
With the help of an interior architect, a team of dedicated trades and great timing, this couple renovated their 1920s home in just four months
IT WAS AN INSTANT ATTRACTION when Gillian and Joel first saw their home on auction day. “My husband had only seen two of the rooms when we agreed to buy it!” Gillian says. Wooed by the location and Edwardian features of the 1920s home, the couple knew they had to have it. “While it clearly needed some love, the fairytale front, stained-glass windows, skylights and large interior spaces were impossible not to fall in love with,” Gillian explains. “We knew we could grow a very happy family here.”
Settling on the house in March 2017, and now with a two-month-old baby on the scene, Gillian and Joel knew they had to hit the ground running and begin their renovations. They managed to lock in their trades, who, fortuitously, all had openings and were ready to start straightaway. They also engaged interior architect Georgia Ezra to help bring their vision to life. “We wanted to create a style that reflected our personalities and a home that couldn’t be confused with any other,” Gillian says. “Georgia enabled us to be bold and adventurous when we would have otherwise been afraid to.” Like any renovation, the project had its challenges. Here, they share the valuable lessons they learnt through their experience.
“THE BEST TIP WE WERE GIVEN WAS TO LAY OUT NEWSPAPER TO SEE IF OUR FURNITURE WOULD FIT”
MIX OLD WITH NEW
Whether it’s high-end pieces or secondhand finds on Gumtree, mixing old with new creates a more unique and homely feel. “We decided on the things that were important to splurge on and the items that weren’t,” Gillian explains. “For example, our beautiful mahogany table was purchased on Gumtree and restored, and we found a fabulous wood furniture maker who made our visions of an entry bench and coffee table a reality. So that meant we could then splurge on some key pieces of furniture, lighting and tiles.”
SOME THINGS CAN WAIT
After months – often years – of waiting for your dream house, it can be so tempting to go out and buy the best of everything to fill your new home, but don’t do it at the expense of your finishings. “Many things, such as furniture and some fixtures and fittings, can be bought later, but things like tiles and plumbing are not so easily changed,” Gillian says. “It’s often best to bite the bullet and make the choice now, even if it hurts the wallet!”
KEEP ON GOOD TERMS
“Our amazing team of trades and interior architect are the real reason we had such a fantastic result,” Gillian admits. And it really does pay to choose trades you get along with. “Older houses will continue to shift after the renovation, so make sure you have a good relationship with your builder, painter and cabinetmaker so they can come back after a month or two to touch up any areas that need fixing following any movement.”
DON’T BE AFRAID TO SPEAK UP
When dealing with the experts, have the confidence to voice any concerns you might have. “Don’t forget that you will be the one living in the house for years to come, so you need to be happy,” Gillian advises. “There were some things we were told we could not do that we insisted on, and I thank myself every day for standing my ground. However, there are also some things that we trusted the experts on and I now regret – sometimes your gut just knows best.” And when it comes to the design decisions between you and your partner? Gillian has some sage advice: “Your wife knows best so just say yes!” Wise words, indeed.
LEARN TO ASK QUESTIONS
“If you’re not happy with a product, call the supplier and query,” Gillian adds.
Moody blues Floor-to-ceiling cabinetry was custom-designed by Studio Ezra and painted in Dulux “Companion” with copper handles from Bauer’s Hardware Collections. Statement pendants are from Pop & Scott.
Soft curves A Pop & Scott arched mirror in the entrance echoes the new archway openings into the living room.
Natural touch Green tiles from Signorino add a splash of colour to the kitchen. The benchtop is by Caesarstone.
Fresh feel The kitchen, designed by Studio Ezra and installed by Paros Kitchens, features floating oak flooring and a large pantry. The stool is from Provincial Home Living; the armchair from Weylandts. Grey scale In the living room, a brick wall was given a coat of grey whitewash. The table was designed by Studio Ezra and made by Twist and Shake Wood, the curtains are by Allure Drapes Design Decor and floor tiles are Tiles of Ezra.
Two become one The bathroom was originally two rooms, so a wall was removed and the ceilings raised. Everything was custom-designed by Studio Ezra.