When it’s your forever home you can take time with the renovations
RENOVATING is simple, isn’t it? Okay, stop laughing, and let Danni take you on that perilous walk between your dreams and the reality of home renovation.
AS I meandered down the long driveway and first laid eyes on this beautifully constructed, colonial-style home for sale in the hinterland, it literally took my breath away.
It certainly wasn’t the home of my dreams; however, I knew right there and then it would be. Removing female emotion that has quite the tendency to takeover, I rationally inspected the property looking for quality of construction.
This beautifully curated, 20-year-old master built home had traditional fixtures and fittings, incredible attention to detail in the design, structure and build, with unfathomable natural beauty, charm and character.
We could, of course, build a brand-new home with this level of build quality and style, however the price tag in 2018 would be astronomical. By making the decision to purchase an existing house and renovate, we could pick up a beautiful and structurally sound property at a reasonable price, ready to transform into my dream home.
Today, we’ve been renovating our homestead on and off for 2.5 years and I’m currently in the initial stages of transforming our rumpus room into a resort-style sitting lounge and bar. In that time we also bought, renovated and sold an investment property in Tewantin, which I’m in the process of blogging. People ask me every day when our home will be finished and my answer is always the same – it’s our forever home, which means I’ll be forever renovating.
You may think renovating is like a 100m sprint – more often than not it eventuates into a 200m hurdles race as you stumble across the finish line just happy to be alive. Preparation and research is the key. My biggest piece of advice when looking for a potential renovation project is to ensure you have a clear vision of what you would like the property to deliver, and that the home meets these criteria. Renovating is a stressful and time-consuming process but can be made easier by starting with a home that is structurally sound and can provide a great canvas for your design vision.
Gather your army of trades. In the early stages, bring together a good, solid team of designers and trades that you genuinely like, respect and can rely on. You’ll have a long and tedious relationship in particular with your
builder or carpenter, so maintaining a mutual respect is paramount. If you feel something isn’t quite right about any facet of your renovation, you should feel comfortable and confident to discuss it with your team and change it before it’s too late.
Price it up. Generally speaking your builder will price your project, however if you choose to renovate without one here are some tips. Create a spreadsheet with as many cost estimates as you can, breaking down each section by room. Consider the details of each room from floor to ceiling, what materials are required as well as approximate labour charges. Now you’ve got your trades lined up, they’ll be able to offer insight associated with their particular scope of work including labour and materials. Research your retailers – call the flooring, lighting and kitchen companies and ask them to provide approximate
quotes on a standard selection of products and services based on your measurements and numbers. For example, room sizes for flooring, number of down-lights for lighting suppliers, kitchen dimensions for cabinet makers, etc. Research and document the order of
ceremony. Timing is vital when renovating and if not forecast and planned accordingly has the potential to push your completion date well into the future. Compile a list of time frames from your suppliers including lighting, flooring, cabinet makers, plumbing products, and even furniture orders. To streamline your renovation, order your materials and products according to your time schedule. Forecast and provide each trade appropriate notice of when they are required next, which unfortunately isn’t half an hour. Investments or flipping. If your project is either a flip or simply not your ‘forever home’, compromise on certain aspects of the renovation. I understand how you feel about that gorgeous $1200 light you found from a boutique store in Fortitude Valley – but will it matter when you sell the property in three months’ time with a similar light you sourced for a quarter of the price? Probably not… stay well clear of emotionally attaching yourself to the property and designing a space around your personal taste and style is a definite no-go. Your interior and exterior selection should be beautiful, good quality and aesthetically suitable for all buyers – young, old and in between.
DIY: I like to be hands-on during our projects and if it’s something I can do myself, I will. The versatility, strength and diverse range of paint nowadays is unbelievable and I would go as far as saying, you can paint anything.
They say kitchen and bathrooms sell houses, and
generally speaking, older style houses have larger versions of these rooms than their modern-day counterparts. While they may have a practical layout and functional design, they may also have mission brown laminate cabinetry, an orange tiled bench top with a green feature splash-back. If the condition of the cabinetry or materials isn’t an issue, these spaces are perfect for an aesthetic renovation. White Knight Paints have a great range of laminate and wall tile paint ready for you to transform those hideous cupboards and splash-backs, and Rust-o-leum offer a hardy floor tile paint.
We have access to such a diverse platform of inspiration ready to encourage and educate us on tackling our next project – websites like Pinterest, Instagram, Blogs, Gumtree, eBay and even Ikea just to name a few. Backed with our own research and knowledge, we can be thrifty with our choices and inject our capital in certain areas and save money in others.
Renovating can be really overwhelming, especially when you’re battling multiple projects – list your priorities and focus on one step at a time. Stay true to your style, your budget and your desired outcome. For more interior design inspiration, visit www.designbydanni.com.
Interior designer Danni Morrison.
AFTER: Danni’s kitchen post renovations. PHOTO: RIKKI LANCASTER
BEFORE: The kitchen pre-renovation.
The pool house before (above) and after (below).