Home renovations don’t have to fall prey to every last trend
Iam a former magazine editor, and announcing so feels strangely liberating – because I’ve realised that am no longer at the mercy of trends. Despite the magazines I have edited and my roles on two renovation-based TV shows, I’ve always been a somewhat reluctant renovator myself. And I put that down to being like the plumber who has leaky taps or the chef who goes home to Vegemite toast.
But it’s taken me a while to grasp that the truth was more complicated. I was trend-phobic. Is there a word for that? While I could spend every day in the office editing amazing homes for the pages of a magazine, when it came to my own, I was like a deer in the headlights. I didn’t know what to choose for fear of getting it wrong – or perhaps, more accurately, for fear of being judged. Crazy, huh? Me, of all people. Me, who believes so passionately that when it comes to decorating, people should just follow their hearts.
But that was then. My partner and I are just about to undertake our biggest-ever renovation and, while we have more than a touch of stage fright about the work that lies ahead, the creative vision for our new home is jointly shared, beautifully clear and, importantly, it will be a trend-free zone.
The original house was built in the early 1940s and, in that patchwork way of some Aussie country homes, bits have been added over the decades, not always sympathetically. You could describe it as a gorgeous mess, but the good bits are worth preserving and the bad bits… well, they just have to go.
We’re planning a timeless home that respects its heritage and country location, but with just enough contemporary touches to keep it interesting. The cypress pine floors won’t be replaced, but they’ll be sanded and whitened to reflect the abundant natural light. An internal wall will come down in order to maximise the living space and, down the track, there’ll be new doors, windows and, yes, VJ panelling. It’s not fashionable but – like the subway tiles we’ve chosen for the kitchen – we love it. We’re giving ourselves the luxury of a butler’s pantry and a spacious laundry, but there will be no walk-in wardrobes. Who needs those in the country? Most of our gear will be staying in the city. The kitchen is the big-ticket item for us, as that’s where we tend to live. It’s nice being my own client because there aren’t too many surprises. Unless, of course, you count the surprise in loving our regular trips to Bunnings and IKEA. Because I’m no longer a design magazine editor. And if I want to get excited about a new garden hose, then I will.