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home renovation


My tips for surviving a reno

22nd February, 2021

Big or small, home renovations can be daunting. It’s such a period of upheaval that you want to make sure that you are well equipped to deal with what’s ahead. We recently underwent a home renovation at our apartment, tackling our living spaces and giving it a more updated, modern feel. While it wasn’t our entire place, it was still a big project to tackle and it required having a good plan to take us through the few months of being in reno mode. Having now gone through it firsthand, here are some of my biggest tips.

Work out what you want to achieve

For our reno, we knew we wanted an updated look and also to create more living space, and also to make better use of the areas we spent a lot of time in as a family. Having a clear idea of your vision is important to keeping the project on track.

Work out the main areas you want to update

I would have loved to have done our kitchen and living rooms and additional bits and pieces throughout our place, but for us, we decided to just focus (and put all our budget) on the living/dining and balcony area as that is the place where we spend most of our time as a family. 

Consider outsourcing

If you are not great at interiors and/or dont have the time to devote to searching for the right pieces, I highly recommend a stylist if you can fit that into your budget. We used an interior stylist and while they do charge a fee, you get industry rates for your purchases which can save a lot if you intend on buying lots of new pieces. Also our stylist really helped us work out exactly what we needed and helped us find cheaper options of what we liked if we couldn’t afford the exact look. 

Ask yourself if it’s your forever home

We knew that we wouldn’t be in our apartment forever so we opted not to do any built-ins. All our new cupboards and furniture can be taken with us. We would have loved a built-in TV unit and a built-in BBQ area but we left it and it ended up saving us a lot.

Don’t underestimate the impact of light cosmetic updates

It’s amazing how much new paint and carpet can lift a place. Sometimes you can work with what you have and not have to tear down walls or completely demolish a space—you can lift a space simply by just adding new soft furnishings.

Make the timings work for you

For minimal disruption I highly recommend planning around your calendar to ensure you’re not in the midst of a demo at inopportune times. For example we pushed back our reno so new carpet and paint could be done when we were away for school holidays and then the we booked in our furniture install when the kids were back at school so they weren’t waiting around all day every day. 

What are some of your tips when it comes to surviving a reno?


How to refresh a space according to product designer and interior stylist Sarah Ellison

21st December, 2020
A sneak peek of Sarah’s design work in my home

If you’ve not yet spied product designer and interior stylist Sarah Ellison’s dreamy aesthetic then definitely scroll on over to her Instagram, because it’s interiors goodness a plenty. Not only that, Sarah’s eye for creating innovative pieces that can really make a room, will have you wanting to do a room makeover faster than you can say ‘refresh’.

I worked with Sarah on a project in my own home (reveal coming soon!) and saw her process up close and personal and know first hand how skilled she is at elevating a space and giving it an entirely new look and feel. So, if you’ve got your sights set in on room refresh in the new year (or maybe want to embark on something even more ambitious) read on for her sage advice and her tips for renovating.

What’s the first thing you do when embarking on a renovation project?

“Get excited about what’s possible!”

What are the major considerations to remember when renovating a space?

“Budget, it’s all in the planning. Make sure you have a good plan and budget in place before you get started. 

Also take in to consideration, where the home is located and make sure that is reflected within the design.”

What are the big mistakes to avoid when it comes to renovating a room?

“Not refining the style of the space and trying to add too many trends that aren’t related to the space or the people that live there.”

How can people ensure that their room is cohesive and works together?

“For me there should always be three key pieces within a space that all work harmoniously together. If you get those three pieces right then the rest should fall in to place. For Kate’s space it was the artwork, the sofas and the coffee table. They are all complementary but interesting in their own right.”

What are your tips for determining where pieces should go and the overall layout used

“For example, if we are talking about a living room— 

There are a few considerations and questions you need to ask yourself about a space when planning. There are the obvious considerations, such as the actual measurements and the practicalities of the space. But also, what kind of experience do you want to create?”

Are you creating a media zone where all the focus is on the television?

In which case you would choose an L or U-shaped sectional sofa. 

Or are you creating a family space to accommodate different sized members of the family? You could choose a 3-seater and 2 comfy lounge chairs. 

Is it an entertaining space for conversation? Something like two 3-seaters facing one another and 2 lounge chairs would suit. 

Or is it a room with an amazing view that needs to be celebrated? Something [such as a sofa] with a low back profile perhaps? 

By asking these questions you can narrow down the style of the furniture that you need to purchase but you are also answering questions on the layout of the living room furniture at the same time.”

Where do you get your interiors inspiration from?

“Mostly my inspiration is international and then I like to add my own flavour. I take inspiration from history, fashion and nature.”

What’s your favourite part of doing a room renovation?

“The end result. I love a before and after!”