This was the design brief for the master ensuite. And I think this was achieved to a tee. In entering the ensuite, I wanted the main focus to be on custom joinery that was designed specifically for this space. The timeless shaker style vanity is complimented beautifully by brass handles and tapware, a Calacatta stone top and gentle curvaceous polished concrete double bowls.
This wall of timeless design provides ample privacy for the generous shower and toilet, which are hidden behind this wall. As much as a toilet is practical and essential in a toilet, I really believe that they should be out of sight where possible. Choosing to install floor to ceiling tiles provides an extra element of luxury to this space.
…And can we just stop for a minute and appreciate these mirrors! They took over 12 months to source the perfect shape, scale and size that accentuates the height of the ceilings of the ensuite. But I really believe the they were worth the wait!
I’m so delighted to be sharing this gorgeous space with you. Thank you again for your continued support of my design projects. I can’t wait to bring you more spaces and projects this year!
Much love, Jo
Thanks for joining me – I cant wait to bring you the next room reveal!
This space is one of my favourites, but it was also not planned from the beginning. Where the dining room sits, was going to be an extension of our alfresco area. During the period of waiting for our land to register and become available to stat building on, we decided that this space would be utilised best if it was turned into a dining room.
And it is the best decision we made. As frustrating as the wait was, and as angry as we felt about it, it was also a blessing in disguise, because it afforded us time to make some really smart decisions about the layout of our home. I will be filling you in on this at a later date, trust me!
The reason that I love this space so much has to do with its functionality. When we were eating to begin this build, we were renting a house that we were only supposed to be in for a few months. It was a smaller house and FILLED with carpet, so putting a dining table in was very tricky. We sat up at our bench for every meal, and I HATED it. For me, sitting around the dinner table at the end of the day and chatting is so important for us as a family. Staring at the kitchen cupboards rather than each other while we ate in our rental was so disconnecting – it really drove me kinda batty!
So adding in a designated dining room was an absolute must. And this is why I love interior design and floor plans – each person’s situation is so different, and everyone has different priorities. For someone else, eating at a bench really serves their needs, and a separate dining room would be an absolute waste of space and money. This is why you really need to consider your lifestyle and your priorities when you are planning your own home.
So come on through and take a look below at our dining room.
Thanks for joining me – I cant wait to bring you the next room reveal!
When planning my walk in robe, I wanted a space that was functional as well as beautiful. It’s the first space I enter when I wake in the morning, so I wanted something serene, crisp and allow me to set myself up in a positive way for the day ahead – so having a place for everything was a must. The IKEA PAX wardrobes have been installed in our last 2 builds, and they work so perfectly if you do a little planning beforehand. They are also super easy to install – I was able to construct them myself with a little help from Dave at the end to put it all together – some pieces need an extra pair of hands.
We of course happened to be installing them on THE HOTTEST DAY IN THE HISTORY OF THE WORLD…before our air-conditioning had been given it’s final tick – so there was a LOT of sweating involved, and looking back now, I love that we have yet another little story to remind of us of all of the hard work that we put in together to bring this home of ours to life.
When we were planning the build, my wardrobe was one of the first spaces that I already had mapped out in my head. I needed wall space for the robes, wall space for a mirror and lots of natural light. A few pretty little pops like a stunning chandelier – and you know Elok are my favourite! A custom colour to suit the space really brought my vision to life.
I used the process outlined in my ‘Planning the Perfect Wardrobe’ blog post that you can find here.
I’ve done all the hard work for you – each product is linked below so you are able to click straight through to shop.
Thanks for joining me – I cant wait to bring you the next room reveal!
Picking a flooring can be a really confusing experience. There are so many different options out there and your decision shouldn’t only be based around how it looks. How if feels, its durability and how easy it is to clean are all important factors to consider when selecting a flooring option that suits you best. And, like everything, there is no ‘one size fits all’ approach…you really need to think about your lifestyle and your style preferences to get this right. THINK ABOUT YOUR VISION! I’m going to help you through what is available and the pros and cons of these choices. Come on boots, let’s get walking’!
Please excuse me while I wipe away my drool. This has got to be the ultimate in terms of looks when it comes to flooring. You can’t beat the feel and the sound of genuine timber flooring. And don’t even get me started if it is original timber flooring in a Reno project…..GOALS! But there are certainly some points to consider before hammering this one home.
Genuine beauty – you can’t beat the look! It brings so much warmth and character to your home
Cost to install is higher than other flooring options, but once installed and with the proper maintenance, it can last a lifetime
Hugh variety of colours available and you can also stain later on down the track to change the look
Can be affected by humidity and fluctuations in temperature – may swell in cool, damp weather and shrink in warm and dry conditions
Relatively easy to clean by sweeping or vacuuming and mopping with the correct equipment
More prone to termite attacks than other flooring options
Non-toxic, organic, allergy friendly and does not tend to trap unpleasant odours
Can be damaged by excessive water and harsh detergents and therefore not recommended for all the areas in your home eg. kitchens and bathrooms
Adds value to your home
Prone to dents, stains and scratches
Can be noisy, especially when installing on multiple story homes
Vinyl planks have come a long way since they were first introduced to the market. It’s a great option due to its cost, versatility, durability and visual appearance. There are some really luxurious options available that can look and feel really high end…but without the price tag of hardwood timber flooring.
Cost effective and tends to be cheaper than many other flooring options
Easily damaged by sharp or heavy furniture and objects or punctured by something like a falling knife
Comfortable due to it’s foam underlay
Tough to remove if renovating or replacing
Quieter than timber
Does not add value to your property like hardwood timber flooring
Easy to maintain through regular sweeping and mopping
Some vinyls can dent if a heavy object is dropped on them
Waterproof and can be installed all over the house including the kitchen and bathroom
Not environmentally sustainable
Visually appealing as it can easily mimic genuine timber flooring
Can sometimes be difficult to install – highly recommended to have a professional install this type of flooring
Stain resistant as spills can be easily wiped with a cloth
Bamboo is extremely eco-friendly and cost effective as a flooring option. It can add warmth, character and beauty to your home.
Lots of colour varieties available
Thinner than hardwood and therefore can be quite cold.
Much more cost effective than timber hardwood flooring
Some bamboo flooring can be produced using toxic glues – be sure to check
Can be used in damp climates where hardwood floors would not be recommended
Susceptible to scratching and scuff marks over time. Can also be damaged and discoloured by sunlight – you may need to move your furniture to prevent discolouration
Highly environmentally sustainable
Being a natural material, too much moisture can cause warping, discolouration and growth of mould. Excessive and continued water can cause bamboo to swell and weaken
Easy maintenance and durable if sealed twice a year
Sensitive to humidity and can swell and shrink
This is the product I get most excited about, because it is what we have chosen to install in our last two properties. Our flooring is the Quick Step Impressive Ultra and is BEYOND amazing. While our flooring is premium in both quality and cost (going top of the range always is), there are lots of different laminate options across the board that come with lots of different price tags. Timber laminate flooring is made from composite wood pressed together and can be more cost effective than hardwood flooring. It can also be quite easy to install if you have a little experience…Dave and I have installed our own flooring on the past two builds, however Dave is highly experienced in construction. You’ll need to discuss and research this yourself.
Waterproof options make this suitable for every room in the home, including kitchens and bathrooms.
Not all finishes are waterproof – discuss this with supplier
Click system prevents dust and dirt gathering between the boards
Can not be sanded and re-finnished to give a new appearance like timber hardwood flooring
Can be placed on top of underfloor heating systems when installed correctly
Like all products, they vary from one manufacturer to another. Do your research on product reviews
Solid, pleasant sound
Pattern repetition occurs, as there are generally 5-10 different patterns in the boards when manufactured
Extremely strong, hardwearing and durable and very difficult to scratch
As with other products, a small number of chemical sensitive individual may have reactions to the glues ad resins used in the flooring. Do your research!
Will not stain like other flooring options
Keeps original colour even when exposed to sunlight
Easy to maintain and clean
Quick and easy to install – no need for glue, mortar or nails
Huge variety of colours and finishes – from timber look to natural stone and concrete look finishes.
Warmer to the touch than other flooring such as bamboo and vinyl planks.
Variety of different thicknesses
Engineered flooring is a great alternative to timber hardwood flooring, because it basically IS timber flooring…it is just strategically manufactured to give optimal performance. It’s made up of three layers: a protected lacquered hardwood top, plantation grown core, and a pine back.
Authentic look and feel due to the fact that is is made of 100% timber
While it is cheaper than hardwood flooring, it is more expensive than the other flooring choices
More stable in high-humidity environments
Different manufactures have different quality standards. Do your research to get top quality!
More environmentally sustainable than hardwood flooring
Some engineered planks can sound hollow – research different thicknesses for their sound and quality
More affordable than hardwood timber flooring
Engineered wood is made with adhesives and resins, some of which can give off harmful gases. Research which is the best for you.
This products has been described as the best of both worlds. It is durable and strong like laminate, whilst also giving the soft and luxurious look of vinyl planks.
Superior scratch resistance
Can be dearer than some other floors
Easy maintenance and cleaning
Looks like timber, but doesn’t feel like it
Can handle huge difference in humidity
Tiling was the most poplar choice in flooring until technology came along and reinvented timber flooring and their look alike friends. However, because of the different features of tiles, they are still an excellent choice for flooring throughout the home and in particular in bathrooms, laundries and splash backs.
So easy to maintain and clean
Because they are so hard, they often break whatever falls on them
Glazed tiles are 100% water resistant
Grout can become discoloured and stand due to mildew
Extremely durable Ceramic, porcelain and mosaic are able to handle high amounts of traffic.
In cooler months, tiles can be really cold
Temperature and chemical resistant so they do not corrode when exposed to chemicals or extreme weather
Needs a professional to install
Hygienic and inhibit viruses, mould and fungi from growing
Environmentally friendly when made from clay and raw materials like ceramic tiles
Diverse and affordable so can suit anyone and everyone’s preferences
Such a statement, polished concrete is one of those products that you either love or loathe. They are suited beautifully to minimal, modern and industrial style homes. They are making a real come back onto the design market, so here is what you need to know about polished concrete…
Can be very, very cold in winter and can retain heat in summer
Flood and fire resistant
Not suitable for homes that lack sunlight – sunlight is needed to heat the concrete slab
Ideal for high traffic areas
Expensive – they sit at a similar price point to timber hardwood flooring
Easy to clean and super hygienic
Creating an amazing aggregate, quarts and coloured polish can be very expensive
Can be rebuffed to reshine when it becomes a little dull from wear and tear
Can be very hard, especially when standing on for periods of time eg. cooking in the kitchen or when little ones fall over
Can incorporate underfloor heating into polished concrete flooring (needs to be discussed and approved during planning stages)
Cracks may appear due to the house settling over time
Can be installed to use for so many different surfaces eg. flooring, kitchen benches, vanities, stairs, etc
Will show more dust due to the gloss effect
Can be poured on site, so is made to suit your space. For this reason, it is made to measure and will not show join lines like many other products will
May show scratches, however this depends on the sealer that is used. Different sealers have different pros and cons – so do your research on this too!
Ideal for those who suffer from allergies
Available in a wide variety of colours, aggregates and finishes
Can create a seamless finish from indoors to outdoors
Phew! So there you go…..there is so much information for you to digest! I tend to find that clients have a preference for a timber/timber look, tile or polished concrete depending on the style of home they are going for and the vision and mood they want to create when they step foot through the door.
Remember, do what works for you, weigh up all your options and enjoy sliding those feet out of bed in the morning and landing those tootsies on your floor of choice!
If you have any questions, I am always here to help! Contact me through the ‘Contact Us’ page, or alternatively, send me a DM on Instagram. Either way I will be sure to get back to you with whatever info I can offer.
As I step foot inside the door, I immediately feel calm. I feel safe. I feel joy. Within these walls we laugh, we dance and we slide down the hallway in our socks. We are 100% ourselves and I would never ever want it any other way.
Our entryway is made up of a few spaces, each of them with their own purpose and each of them I love equally because they work together to welcome us home.
I love bright, white and fresh interiors, so knew that the interior of our home would be predominantly white. White walls and white ceilings with a few pops of interest here and there. During the planning stages of our home, I informed (read: warned) Dave that we would be having timber mould panelling EVERYWHERE. I am sure he thought I was either joking, or that I would grow out of the idea. I can tell you that neither will ever happen. I take my moulding very seriously and it’s possibly one of my favourite design features that help to bring texture and character to a space. Believe it or not, we’ve actually added more to our home since we moved in! Being such a white space, I was looking for ways to bring warmth and interest to our entryway. I chose to install Shiplap on the ceiling (also known as VJ panelling). I love the way it draws your eye upwards. We’re planning to install some gorgeous feature lighting in the hallway, but i just haven’t found EXACTLY what I am looking for in Australia yet. Another little project to look forward to creating later on down the track.
Our hallway leads down to the part of our house that we call the ‘entryway’ – even though technically it all is. This space has changed in the 4 months we have been in our home….and probably the space that has changed the most dramatically! I never, in a million years thought that I would be painting any wall in our home black…..but it happened. And I LOVE it! It has added real depth, mood and a touch of luxe. Another thing I love is the gorgeous stone bench. Originally we were going to have a piece of stone floating between the two walls, but I am delighted that we went with the downwards return (also, the stone floating was ridiculously heavy and we would have needed brackets, really taking away from the look we were trying to achieve). The gorgeous stone legs add another view of our stunning EssaStone Calacutta, and I couldn’t be more obsessed with it. I love that it can be styled as either a welcoming space, or that it can also be used as a quiet little study nook and a place of peace and quiet away from the hustle and bustle of the rest of the home. We popped some power there too to charge laptops and power lamps if we want to change it to a study nook. The versatility of this space is going to be great down the track. But for now, it’s just a peaceful and welcoming space as we enter the home.
…and can we all stop for a moment to appreciate that exterior pendant? It’s a little (big) showstopper, and I adore it. As soon as I saw this style, it was love at first sight. I have another of this pendant featured somewhere else in our home…can you guess where?
As you would have expected, we have used the same floors throughout all of the home. And we used them all through the last build. Yep – we are obsessed. The quality is BEYOND and their durability will rival any other flooring. Not to mention that colour. *smitten*.
Throughout our designing, planning and building stages, I asked you, my beautiful Insta Fam, what colour door you thought we would go with, and a majority of you said pink…UNDERSTANDABLY! And to tell you the truth, I really did have my heart set on it. But I asked Dave how he would feel about being the guy who lived in the house with the pink door. He thought about it for a bit and said he was ok with it….but I could tell he wasn’t 100% keen. Completely fair. We decided to choose another colour together and used a lot of inspiration from our last trip to Paris. We had light blues and forest greens picked out and didn’t totally love them. Black was the one colour that we really loved – and I am so glad we went with it – it really makes the brass finished POP!
Speaking of the door and the brass finishes (excuse me while I wipe away my drool), do you remember the struggles I had trying to find a brass door handle?! I searched high and I searched low. I trawled the internet and looked in all the hardware shops both local and in Sydney. And none of them were quite right….you know how fussy I am about these kinds of things. They were either too orange in their brass, or not the right style. But when I found these, they were meant to be. So happy that we could make them work on the exterior and in the interior of the door. The other brass accents including the bell, dummy door knocker and kick plate just work together to finish it off.
And then there is the actual door itself….it’s a beauty! It’s gorgeous and is from Corinthian Doors. We knew we wanted something traditional to really support the exterior architectural moulding and painted brick finish, and this was the only door from the beginning. In previous houses we had chosen pivot doors which were a LOAD more expensive, just for the way that they close. Having had one house previously with a pivot door, and one without, we really couldn’t justify the expense of them and decided to invest the money somewhere else. And it’s not a decision we’ve ever regretted. If you’re looking for great quality and beautifully solid doors, I can 100% recommend Corinthian Doors.
I hope you have enjoyed this little welcome to our home. If you have any questions about anything, you are always welcome to leave a comment below or send me a quick email through the Contact Us page. Be sure to sign up to become an email subscriber here…my subscriber recieve all the goods before anyone else…and more!
Thanks for joining me – I cant wait to bring you the next room reveal!
It’s officially here! Our very first room reveal. And I have to admit – it is one of my favourite rooms of the whole house (disclaimer: you are going to hear me say that A LOT in the coming weeks!). This room is a space that i designed to be 100% functional. Room for storage, the appliances we wanted and for it to also look pretty (not necessarily in that order).
Functionally, I wanted lots of bench space for folding, plenty of overhead cupboards for storage, a hanging rail for drying, a pull out laundry hamper to hide away the dirty clothes and, most importantly, a wine fridge for celebrating when all the work is DONE!
Being a laundry didn’t mean that it needed to be bland, boring and have no thought go into how it was going to be used. I changed the position of the sink at least 8 times throughout the design process. Ultimately this design works the best for us, for how we use the laundry, but also for how it connects to the rooms around it. The laundry is one of our first points when we enter the house, so it needed to be calming and welcoming. It needed to be an extension of the rest of our home, so neutral colours with a splash of brass (HELLO ABI Interiors brass fixtures!) and plenty of natural light was essential for the flow of our home. It is also connects to the outdoors via a full pane glass door, so it needed to be planned in a way that we could glide through easily (primarily to slide on through and grab a drink from the wine fridge!).
I did a lot of research into the products that I wanted to use in here. I tossed up between engineered stone and Laminex bench tops and in the end decided to go for the Laminex. The laundry is a space that we use daily for so many different functions, so I wanted to be sure that the products I used there would be able to withstand this. e.g. washing out paintbrushes with turps etc. For me personally, I would have a difficult time accepting damaging stone, so for this reason, Laminex was the winner. We went with a design that complimented the rest of the stone throughout the house and chose the Carrara Marble in a gloss finish (you can find all the products linked below).
Now for the pretty touches! The entire aesthetic behind the laundry was based around brass fixtures, so beautiful ABI Interiors were of course my first choice. I had seen them in my favourite magazines and knew that they would make a statement in our laundry. I also featured the same fixtures throughout the rest of our home, which gives a gentle and continual flow from the laundry to the rest of the home. It was important to me that all the fixtures had the same brass finish, so even the tile insert (drain/waste) in the floor had to be brass.
I am a firm believer in the finer details being spot on, so this was something that was non-negotiable. The fab part about selecting all of our fixtures from ABI Interiors is that the finish and colour of the brass completely matches. You would think that brass would be the same universal colour, right? WRONG! There is a huge variety in brass finishes (some are more gold, some much more orange) and then there is polished brass, antique brass, satin brass, distressed antique brass….the list goes on. Trust me when I tell you how valuable it is to find one company who are as versatile in providing such a huge range of products to fit out all the areas of your home like ABI Interiors does!
So here it is, our very first room reveal! I hope it was everything you expected and more. I can’t wait to bring you more spaces within our home!
I’d love to hear what you think of our Laundry – make sure you leave a comment below if you have any questions of comments, I always love to hear from you!
I love to be able to help you! It’s the reason why i started this blog and my Instagram account in the first place. To be able to share what we have learnt through our building experiences. So what better way to help you than for you to hit me with your more pressing building questions! I’ve compiled a list of the most frequently asked, and popped them below.
So here we go, this is what you want to know!
Budget, budget, budget! It’s that dirty word when your building. You want to block it out when some gorgeous appliance catches your eye…however, at the end of the day, your budget is a really, really important part of your build. You need to be smart, sensible and safe when it comes to where you splurge and where you save.
Initially, i think it is really important to set your boundaries before you start, so you know where you want to sit by the end of the build. Some questions you’ll definitely want to ask yourself include:
What is a comfortable amount you want to stay under?
What elements in your home are non-nogotiable…and what elements can you sacrifice? (i’ll talk about this more in another blog – it’s a goodie!).
Do you have any room for movement within your budget – or is it firm?
Once you have got these figured out, you have a starting point. It’s time to get started on your spreadsheet! Entering your quotes and keeping track of what you have paid, and what you haven’t is ESSENTIAL. If you don’t know what bills you’ve already spent, it is impossible to know how much you have left to play with. So referring back to that spreadsheet was a really important thing for us to do as we went. Some trades came in cheaper that what we had been quoted for, and entering that info into our spreadsheet meant that we knew we could afford to spend in other areas. For example, our exterior moulding came in at $1000 under what we had allowed for, so we decided to use that money to concrete in a winder driveway which is really convenient for us.
If you want to stay under budget, it is essential that you become besties with your spreadsheet and only overspend in areas if you know you have saved in others.
Need a good spreadsheet? Here is mine! This is what i used throughout the build to keep on top of things…you can download it below!
To be able to complete an owner build independently, there are specific requirements that you need to be able to meet in order to get your Owner Builder Permit. One of these requirements is that you’ve participated in training and successfully completed the units. There are a few ways you can do this – online with a registered provider, or as a face-to-face workshop delivered by a registered provider (make sure it is with professional and registered providers. You don’t want to waste time and money, only to find out that you need to do it again because they aren’t certified).
We opted to do the online training. Due to the fact that Dave already held a White Card (WH&S) and had a carpentry qualification, it meant that he could be accredited and not have to complete some of the training. This saved a lot of time. The information that you gain through this course is not a ‘How To’ for owner building. It really just makes sure you are aware of your obligations as the site foreman in terms of safe workplace conditions, and are aware of the legal requirements for your build.
Due to the fact that Dave works in the industry and this was our third build, we were very well prepared for the ‘how to’ owner build. It was more of the legalities, paperwork, ordering and financial responsibilities that made this different and more challenging to our other builds.
In terms of recommending an ‘Owner Builder Course’, i really am not in a position to be able to, as i have no experience. My biggest recommendation would be to talk to as many people as you can who have been there before you. Ask them about their experience with owner builder, their challenges, how they overcame them and anything they wish they had done differently or known before they started. I think advice like this really is invaluable!
Just when you think you’ve got it all figured out, something tends to crop up and bite you in the budget, so a contingency plan is ESSENTIAL. In fact, if you’re borrowing any finance, your bank just might insist you have one.
We included a 10% contingency plan into our budget. Thankfully we didn’t need to use it, but it was really reassuring to now that the money was available to use if an emergency arose. My budgeting tool does the hard work for you, and automatically includes this for you!
It’s hard! I can tell you, I walk into any shop and within second and without looking at price tags, I’ve managed to find myself in love with the most expensive tile or lighting fixture! What can I say, it’s a real skill. But it’s also super difficult when you’re trying to stay within in fixed budget!
Firstly, when you are planning your build, you need to decide on elements that are negotiable and non-negotiable. (as mentioned above).
Your negotiable’s are the things you’d LOVE in your build, but could live without if you had to. If you needed to cut back, the things on your negotiable list could be struck off and saved for another build down the track. As hard as it is, you can’t always have everything – there need to be a line in the sand. An example of this – I would have LOVED to have ship-lap ceilings featured throughout the whole build. However, that would have sent our budget spiraling out of control, so we had to reign it in and put them just in our entrance hallway.
Your non-noegotiables are the things that you MUST have in your home. It’s not an option to not have them, and if push comes to shove, then it stays, and something else goes. For me, my huge fixed window in by bathroom and free standing bath were non-negotiabes. They were pieces that really took our bathroom to the next level and they had to stay regardless.
So t answer your question, if there was something that really took my fancy and really tempted me to include, I went back to my negotiable and non-negotiable lists to see where they fit in. Was I willing to give up something in order to have them? My freestanding bath and fixed window was far more important to me than a ship-lap ceiling. Having my lists made it much easier to be able to make this distinction!
Also knowing that this is not our forever home really helped when it came to sticking to our budget. At some point down the track we will sell this house and build again. By then we will hopefully be in a position to put everything on the non-negotiable list that we want. For this build, if it didn’t add value to the home when we eventually sell, it sat in our negotiable list. So knowing what your intentions are with the build also really helps.
Remember our painter? That nearly killed us on this build!
One of the hardest parts is finding trades that treat your home and the building process with the respect it deserves. For us, these 4 walls will be the place we experience some of our highest moments as a family, and also possibly our lowest. We will make memories here and grow and love and learn. To SOME tradies, (definitely not all, there are some AMAZING and skilled trades out there!), it is literally only bricks, gyprock and a roof and they don’t care as much as you wish they did. Having really high expectations and then not having them met is hard. And Dave knew a lot of these trades on a personal and professional level, which can sometimes make things a little more awkward to deal with. But our motto the whole way through was to be respectful, appreciative and courteous with the way we dealt with everyone and this, I believe, made it much easier when it came to having the difficult conversations.
On a personal level, the hours upon hours upon hours that went into this build from both of us was enormous. Dave did the whole build after hours, meaning that he would work his full 10 hour days and then head straight to the block to work on our own build. There were weeks when we would see each other here and there and only communicated over the phone. The organisation was also huge on my behalf. I would find myself on my laptop all day and into the early hours of the morning working through the budget, paying bills, entering receipts, ordering products, checking orders and making sure the correct quantities arrived (this is just the tip of the iceberg – there is so much behind the scenes that is involved!). So time was definitely a real issue for us.
Defining our roles was also a little difficult (I put that delicately, right?!). Being married to the builder meant that his thoughts and needs had to come into the equation when managing the planning and design elements. In a usual build, you just tell your builder what you want, and needless of their personal opinion, they make it happen! I’ll be real with you. Dave and I had many arguments over this house. I think this is a true testament to how passionate we both are about this whole process. Being able to include what you both want can be a real struggle. And the struggle was real. Thankfully, we are also both really stubborn and the things we went to war about have really made a huge difference to the finish of this house, so they were important conversations/arguments to have!
Without a doubt, the thing that made this whole process easier was the fact that Dave works within this trade. He knows who to use and who to steer away from (with one massive exception, but let’s not go there!). He knew the process like the back of his hand, so knew what order to be booking in trades for it to flow and be completed in a timely way. He also had knowledge of pricing, which was fab when we were getting quotes back in – it was easy to tell where we were getting more bang for our buck. Obviously, not everyone has a husband who is in the building industry, so I would be doing a lot of asking around. Ask other people who have built before and see if they have any knowledge and experience they can share with you. Ask them about the trades they use and if they have any recommendations. Word of mouth is so important!
Another aspect that i found quite easy was sourcing products that I loved that would suit our home. I spend a lot of my free time doing this anyway because i love it, so I really knew what i was looking for! If you’re thinking about building, start looking for your inspiration. There are literally so many places to feel inspired. Jump on Pinterest and start pinning. Start buying magazines and tearing out images that you love, or make you feel a certain way. Flick through some coffee table books. Think about the places you have traveled to that made you feel calm and relaxed. What was it that you loved about those places? This is how you want your home to feel.
Staying on top of our budget was also really easy, because we used our Budgeting Tool! I would check in on this daily and update regularly. Leaving everything to the last minute makes it REALLY hard to keep on track. Download it below to get you started on yours!
I always said that I would be real with you…..and the simple answer is…..NO! Not for us. And this is the way that we chose to go about it. For us, we wanted to build a beautiful home and do as much of the work as we could ourselves. This allowed us to have compete control over the finishes (we aren’t fussy AT ALL…..) while also being able to save money on the cost of the build. Dave completing all of the carpentry, us laying the flooring, installing the wardrobe cabinetry etc would all happen on weekends and after work, so the chance for us to be able to do all of this wile still go away for weekends, go for Sunday drives etc was impossible. We wanted to get our house built as quickly as we could so we didn’t have to rent for a second longer (you all know how much i HATE renting!). Getting the house built this was also meant that when it was finished we cold really focus on doing things together a a family again, This was the way we chose to do it, which came with a lot of sacrifices, but it has paid off in so many different ways in the end.
Everyone is different and will prioritise different things. It is definitely possible to owner build and still have a life. It will just mean that you would have to be ridiculously orgainised with you time and the build would take a lot longer to complete. But the bonus is that you still get to enjoy time and experiences together. No-one can tell you which way is right, you have to do what feels good for you and your family!
Yesterday! Getting finance for an owner builder project through a bank can be really difficult. In fact, we only found one of the big banks who were willing to take us on. You can go through mortgage brokers, and this is something that we looked into, but for us, sticking with a big bank made the most sense for our financial situation.
Why was it so difficult? Owner Building is considered a really high risk for a bank. If something happens to you, and you are not able to complete the build, and therefore unable to make the repayments, the bank would have a huge amount of difficulty selling a half finished build project to get their money back. The bank we chose to go through (translate that to – the only big bank at the time that was doing Owner Builder Loans) required us to have 80% of the money for the build, and they would loan us the other 20%. Sounds crazy, right?
So honestly, the more money you have saved, or the more investments you have, the better your chances are for getting finance for an owner build. Building through a builder….that’s a different story and FAR less demanding in terms of the money you need to be able to produce up front. We have learnt to be really smart with our money and i’d be happy to share what we have learnt in another blog (let me know below if this is something you wold be interested in!).
YES! I actually look back at a lot of the block designs, and as much as i really appreciated them at the time for their originality and bold designs….I often wonder if the owners are still as content living there today. This can be a really fine line when it comes to trends….will you still love them tomorrow? (or 5 years down the track?)
My natural inclination when we are building has been to create a really neutral pallet that can be easily updated through different styles of furniture, paint choice, lighting fixtures, door handles etc. Because this is not our forever home, I wanted to make sure that I wasn’t isolating future buyers by doing anything that would turn them off (in your face paint colours, really lairy carpet or bold design accents). Having said that, this needs to be a home that I am happy to live in, so it needed to reflect my personal style. I adore classic design so we installed a lot of wall panelling, used engineered stone throughout the house, painted in smooth whites and installed light oak style flooring etc.
At the end of the day, if you love something, can’t stop thinking about it and it works in with your overall design theme of your home (again with the design boarding!) – do it for you! A tap or a vanity, a wall colour or a door handle can be easily changed down the track!
Yes, yes, YES! A million times over!
If it was solely up to me, we would already be in the planning stages of the next one! We have loved this process, despite the highs and the lows, and would definitely undertake an Owner Builder journey again. Next time we build, we will stay in this house until the next one is ready to move into. Renting is something we both decided we would NEVER do again. It just isn’t for us and our family, and the downfalls unfortunately outweigh any of the upsides (this is our personal experience, and you are absolutely entitled to work this our based on your own experiences).
It has always been a dream of Dave’s to build his own home, so it’s time to start building some new dreams and new goals! Who knows where the future will take us. It’s exciting to think about it! And you can bet your bottom dollar that it will involve some hammering, drop sawing, spreadsheets and a few design boards thrown in for kicks!
I hope you’ve been able to gain something fro this blog. I could literally write for hours and hours about our experience and still only scratch the surface. Please let me know in the comments below if there is anything else you’d like me to touch on, I am more than happy to answer your questions and help in any way that I can!
By now, I would consider Dave and I professional packers and movers. We have moved 4 times in 4 years, so I guess we have kind of earned that title! And from this self proclaimed professional packer (try saying that fast five times), I am here to offer up my 14 Top Tips For Packing + Moving!
Time is everything…and give yourself plenty of it! Packing ALL OF YOUR EARTHLY POSSESSIONS into little boxes is no easy task. Moving house can also be a really emotional time. So don’t put extra pressure on an already stressful situation by leaving it to the last minute (says the queen of procrastination…..).
In life we’re always told to THINK BIG. DREAM BIG. ACHIEVE BIG. But with moving I am here to tell you the opposite *gasp* and…….think small! Break the packing into small, manageable tasks. Plan to pack a certain cupboard at a particular time. Once that’s done, pat yourself on the back (trust me, you deserve it!) and move onto the next small manageable task. Before you know it, you will have completed a whole room. And then the next room and the next and then the whole house! If you’re a real freak like me, you can make yourself a planner with specific rooms you want to complete on certain days. I tell you, there is NOTHING more satisfying than ticking that bad boy off, room by room!
I ‘aint no Marie Kondo, but girl….it’s time to let go of the things holding you down and stressing you out! I have a little rule of thumb, and it’s got nothing to do with holding an item close to my heart and whispering things to it (thanks Marie, but no thanks): if I haven’t used it, worn it or needed it in the past 12 months, it’s time to say goodbye. Obviously there are certain exceptions to the rule – sentimental items and things that I genuinely love stay etc. But there is no way in hell that I am sweating and swearing and lugging boxes of things that I don’t love or need from one house to the next. It goes before I go (before I move from the house, I mean. I’m not planning on dying any time soon).
I know what you’re thinking…..”Now hold on for a hot damn second, crazy lady….you’re telling me to orgainise BEFORE i move? BEFORE? Are you insane?” (my answer to that is, technically no, but my husband might tell you different..) I feel like moving to a new house is a chance to have a fresh start. Start anew. Turn over a new leaf. SO when i say to get organised before you go, i mean to start planning your storage solutions in the new place. If you are able, spend a little bit of time in the new place with a measuring tape and a clip board. Have a think about where certain items will be stored. Do you want them tubs or loose in the cupboard? If you’re thinking tubs, definitely measure the height of your cupboards to then be able to find a storage solution that works for you. Trust me, there is NOTHING more annoying than thinking you have found the perfect tub to only find that it doesn’t fit. So do the leg work before you get there!
It took me a little while to figure this out…buuuuuut……find smaller boxes, rather than large ones. Why would you want to do that? Smaller boxes will fit less!I used to pack everything into larger boxes, thinking it would be handier to pack a lot away in the one go. However, try lifting a HUGE box of books. 2 smaller ones are much more manageable to carry yourself.
So where do you find your boxes from? There are a few places you can try. Friends and family that have moved before you. I can guarantee that they’d only be too happy for you to take them off their hand. Also, if you contact the bigger homewear chain stores, they are happy for you to collect their boxes after they have stocked their shelves…their boxes are always really sturdy and it’s so much better for the environment to re-use.
Get groups of things together. Collect up all your faux flowers for one box. All your trays for another. Your coffee table books in another. That way, when you are unpacking, or looking for an item in particular, you will know that your Tom Ford book is inside the box labelled ‘coffee table books’, rather than searching through 17 different boxes that have all sort of assorted books in them. Also, putting your items together is also a good way of you to take stock of what you have. Do I really need another Chanel coffee table book when I already have 5?
(p.s. the answer to that question is ALWAYS YES!)
May sound obvious, but always wrap up your precious pieces, even if you’re only moving around the corner. It would be so sad to get to your new place, excited to unpack your special things, to find them in a shattered mess in the bottom of the box (not to mention glass poking through a box when you’re moving it is never a good idea). Wrap it in whatever you think will keep them protected. I never pack a box of towels or tea towels or blankets. I always use the bigger towels or blankets as buffers between furniture or paintings, or for my tea towels, I use them to wrap smaller items. You’d be surprised how much you look for this stuff on your actual moving day, for a bit of protection on your furniture. If I was given a $$ for every time Dave asked me ‘Have you got something I can use to pop here….” I would be a very rich woman indeed!
You can also start collecting newspapers to wrap glasses etc and can buy bulk bubble wrap from wholesale packaging stores, rather than Bunnings or Office Works – they tend to charge more. Shop around! And remember to save it for next time, that stuff isn’t cheap!
After you’ve taped up your box, label it straight away. Write straight onto the tape (i’ll explain why in a minute). Write where in your house it is going e.g. Living room, master bedroom, bathroom etc and what is in it in smaller writing underneath. If you write which room it is going into, friends or family that are helping you cart boxes won’t be asking where you want it to go. Also, tape up and label straight away. Honestly, in the time it takes to tape the box and reach for the permanent marker, I can tell you that I’ve completely forgotten whats inside (that might just be me. Baby brain 5 years later is still a thing, right?). Don’t kid yourself into thinking that you’ll remember based on the size and shape of the box. You’ll have a mountain of them!
Back to writing on the tape. If you’re a habitual mover like us, this won’t be your first, or your last rodeo. You might need to use your boxes a few times over. Writing on the tape means that you can pull it all off when you’re flattening your boxes to store them. When you come to use them for the next move, you don’t have a whole scribble of ‘where’ and ‘what’ from last time. Feels like a fresh, new box.
You’ve got yourself some full boxes and some emptied rooms, whoop whoop! Now what to do with them? You’ve got a couple of choices here, and which ever option you go with will be what works best in your personal situation. I like to move boxes out to the garage as soon as they are packed, to make room for the next box. Completely emptying a room, and looking around to see just the furniture left feels like you’re really getting somewhere, achieving things and making a difference. When you put them in the garage, try to collect them room by room. E.g. All the pantry stuff here. And all the toy room boxes there. That way when you come to actually move, you’re not jumping from one room to the next and all jumbled all over the place. You’re making trips to and from the same room without having to think too much.
However, putting boxes in the garage might not be an option. So I would suggest stacking them in the middle of the room. You’ll be able to clean around them (vacuuming and wiping down skirting boards is SO MUCH FUN, right? *insert sarcastic tone here*.
Here I am….stating the obvious…but don’t stack your boxes too high. Or too heavy. Put the bigger, heavier ones on the bottom and the lighter,smaller ones towards the top. There is no greater feeling of panic than when you see the Leaning Tower of Boxes start to crumble and tumble.
Start shopping in your pantry for dinner ideas in theweeks leading up to moving. My hubby had a bit of a thing for curried sausages a while back, so when it was his turn to do the grocery shopping, he’d always buy a jar of ready made curry sauce (don’t know why he bought it, don’t even use it). However, I’m not chucking it out, so one of this weeks meals is going to be curried sausages. The less stuff I have to box up and move, the better. Check out what you have in your pantry and in your freezer and start using it up!
When it comes time to actually move, you’ll want to try and have most of the things in your fridge used up. But there will always be that pesky half bottle of milk and tub of butter that is not worth throwing away, and will be SO HANDY when you wake up on your first morning in your new place looking for tea and toast. We have one of those plug in portable Engels that you can use for camping etc. We’ll have our fridge empty and the left over bits popped int the smaller Engel. If you don’t have one, grab an Esky and some freezer blocks and you’re good to go.
Remember though, some fridges need to stand a while after moving them, before you can plug them back in again, so you’ll need some kind of back up to keep things cool while you wait.
We have moved a few different ways. And I sure as hell know which is best!
1. Do it yourself. Dave and I have moved everything from one house to another house all on our little old selves. And we had a LOT of furniture! We are a little insane, and hate asking people for help, or hate to inconvenience anyone. We started at the crack of dawn and were pretty much finished by about 9pm. HOWEVER, it was bloody hard work and we almost got divorced on at least 12 different occasions. Dave also had a bed frame fall from quite a height straight onto his head ( I sit here giggling to myself cause DAMN it was funny! Unfortunately for both of us, it didn’t knock any sense into him, and he also didn’t find it as funny as I did. I honest to god was IN HYSTERICS. (now that I think about it, this might have been one of the times we almost got divorced). If you know me well, you’ll know that I laugh out of control when someone hurts themselves. Yes. I am evil. But DAMN that shit is funny! Also unfortunately, he thought he might have knocked himself out for a few seconds, and possibly need to be taken to hospital. Thankfully he did survive and got to spend his first night in his own bed in the house he had spent 6 months building. Couple of takeaways from this experience. 1. Don’t be an idiot. Ask for help. 2. strap tall objects to side of truck. 3. help husband rather than wet pants laughing.
2. Ask Friends and Family to help. No brainer. See above for cautionary tale.
3. Hire Removalists. I have just discovered this one for this move….you can hire removalists by the hour, rather than by the house. I am going to be moving all the manageable boxes by my self during the week, and getting the removalists in to do the bigger furniture pieces, fridges and beds for a few hours on the morning of our moving day. They’ll come around to your house and give you a quote of how long they expect it will take and how much. It’s definitely worth looking into this one!
Moving is a HUGE task. It can be overwhelming, stressful and a very emotional time. The chances of forgetting to do something important can be really high. So I’ve thought about how I can help you out with this…and I’ve come up with a moving checklist! (you know how good it feels to tick things off, right?!).
You can click below to download. Make sure you tag me in your Insta stories when you use it – I would love to see how it is helping to make your move a little smoother and a little less stressful!
Ever seen one of those AMAZING ‘instagrammable’ wardrobes, fallen a little in love and then said to yourself ‘as if it really looks like that!’ Surely it’s not possible to have a walk-in-robe that looks good but also actually functions well too, right?….I’m here to tell you that IT IS possible to achieve with a little forward planning. I’ve put together my top 5 tips on how to create the perfect wardrobe using the IKEA PAX system. I’ve used it in 2 of my builds and they really are worth the money and time you invest in getting them juuuuust right.
I’m hearing you loud and clear…I asked a little while back what was your biggest frustrations about your current wardrobe, and the OVERWHELMING response was that you don’t have enough space….and I guess there are three possible reasons for that:
a) the space you have is really limited
b) you have too much stuff
c) your wardrobe isn’t functional, so it feels overwhelming
One of those is really easy to fix (it’s time to ditch those neon leg warmers, Jessica) by some serious decluttering, Marie Kondo style. The other 2 take a little more leg work. So i’m going to offer you my 5 top tips for planning the perfect walk-in-wardrobe!
Get your mind out of the gutter girlfriend, it’s time to get jiggy with some numbers and figure out the actual space you’ve got to work with! If you’re a perpetual planner and if you are in the beginning stages of building a new home or renovating a current one, this is the perfect time to investigate and plan for the type of wardrobe that you want. If you know that you will be having a wardrobe custom made and installed by a tradesman, this makes things a little different – the cupboards can be made to suit your space. However, if you’ve decided to go down the path of installing an IKEA Pax Wardrobe system, start researching their sizing. The cabinet frames, or the ‘shell’ as i like to call them, is available in a few different widths and depths. If you can, plan the size of your wardrobe around this. I always opt to go with the 600mm deep shells, as they comfortably fit the size of your standard coat hanger inside it. Going anything smaller can mean that your clothes and hangers start poking out and that would send me and my OCD over the edge.
To give you an example, i’ve popped a plan below of a walk-in-robe i have designed.
To me, natural light is everything, and I wanted to make sure I had enough room for a 610mm window and it’s architraves, plus the depth of the IKEA PAX system which is 600mm.
If you’re already in your home and just looking at updating your wardrobe only, and not to renovate and reconfigure etc, grab your measuring tape and some masking tape and start mapping out some sizes. Physically taping the outline of the PAX system onto the floor will allow you to see if you will still be able to walk around inside of your wardrobe. Cause…you know, that’s kind of essential. As Shayna Blaze says, “…it really is all about functionality…”
While you’re measuring, be sure to check the height of your ceiling as well. The PAX system comes in a few different heights. We got stuck with this once as we had a bulk head in our walk-in-robe…shucks, we forgot about that bad boy! Luckily, Dave was able to knock the bottom of the wardrobe off with nothing but a hammer and a few choice words.
Another thing to consider when measuring – do you have skirting boards on your walls? If you need a tiny little bit more wiggle room to make that sucker fit, you can always ditch the skirting boards…you won’t see them behind the cabinetry anyway and it might give you the extra millimeters you need to make it work.
Functionality…I’m talking about FUNCTIONALITY! Now it’s time to figure out how you want to use your wardrobe. I like to do this by figuring out what is working well, and what is driving me BAT SHIT CRAZY about my current wardrobe. For example, my current wardrobe (we are in a rental while we build and it is literally KILLING MY SOUL!) has no place for me to store my winter wardrobe. You know, all the bulky jumpers, jeans, jackets and coats that take up all the room….SO in my planning for my next robe, I made sure I included some shelving right up the top to pack these things away. Out of sight, out of my way. I had this system in the last build and really loved that I could be a bit more seasonal with my clothing and rotate clothes in and out as I needed them, freeing up more space.
Another thing that is currently annoying me, is that i have nowhere spacious to organise my jewelry. I like to be able to see what i have so that it is easily accessible and is actually worn. No point sitting there collecting dust! So in this next robe, i have included some glass front and top drawers to display my bits and bobs.
Some things you might want to plan for, that I know are driving you guys crazy (thanks to your answers on my Instagram questions!): scarves, hats, shoes, jewelry, handbags. I’ve popped a few solutions below that might help:
Basically, turn your negative storage problem (current lack of jewelry organisation) into a positive by making sure you include a storage solution in your new walk-in-robe plan!
Get pinning, lady! Don’t tell me you don’t have Pinterest…that’s almost a crime against humanity in this day and age. If you don’t *gasp* have an account – go immediately and set it up!. It’s free, but more importantly, your next inspiring pin is just a simple scroll away. Pinterest is LOADED with amazing inspiration on literally almost any topic you can think of.
A good start is searing for ‘IKEA Pax wardrobe‘. Heaps of ideas and different layouts will crop up. You could also get much more specific and search for ‘jewelry organisation‘ or ‘shoe storage‘ etc. Maybe also try the style or theme that you’re looking for e.g. ‘luxury walk-in-wardrobe‘, ‘boho walk-in-wardrobe‘ or ‘hamptons walk-in-wardrobe‘.
Once you have searched, scrolled and pinned, go back and have a look at what you’ve been drawn to. Is there a similar theme? Colour? Layout? Try and find similarities in the things that you like and pin-point what it is that you love about it. It might be something as simple as all the cabinetry was white. Or all the pics included lots of drawers. You might like that the shoe organisation was on show. Or that there were shelves to display your favourite pieces. Make a ‘Wish List’ of these specific things – it will definitely help when it comes time to draw up and tick off your wish list.
Be sure to take inspiration from yourself too…sounds a little corny right? But take note of your own wardrobe to guide you. What type of clothes do you have a lot of? You might be a real dress kinda gal, and therefor need more room for longer dresses. Or you might have a real thing for shoes, and want to show them off in all their glory on a display shelf rather than sitting on drawers. This wardrobe is being DESIGNED FOR YOU so your preferences for certain clothes and accessories should be what guides you.
If you’re really set on getting your wardrobe EXACTLY right, i would highly recommend creating a design board. You can create a physical design board, where you print or cut our pictures and pin them on a pin board together, or glue them on a piece of cardboard. Alternatively, you can create a digital design board (what i prefer to do for each space) and collage your images there. I’ll pop below the design board i have created for my walk-in-robe.
Grab a pencil and a piece of paper (yep, get old school) and start drawing! Check that ‘Wish List’, refer back to your Pinterest inspo and get going. It might take you a few drafts to get it just right, so don’t be too hard on yourself if it doesn’t turn out perfect first go around. Label your drawing so you know exactly what you were including when you come back to refer to it later on. Be sure to include dimensions and heights of the space you’re working with – trust me – these dimensions will come in handy later on down the track when you are doing that final check.
When you’re drawing, some elements you might want to include are:
drawers with glass fronts
drawers with a glass top
shorter hanging space for tops
longer hanging spaces for dresses
pull out shoe drawer
If hand drawing isn’t your thing, you can definitely head to the IKEA website and create your dream wardrobe from there. however, i prefer to do it a little differently…..
In my opinion, go in-store with your final drawing and have the wardrobe assistants at IKEA do the ordering. I’ve heard too many horror stories of people who have ordered the items themselves online and they’ve come to assemble it and found that they forgot to order the shell, or thought they had ordered enough drawers. and lets face it, cabinetry is expensive, so it’s not something you want to muck around with.
In store, you’ll sit down in front of a computer and they will create a 3D mock up of what your walk-in-robe will look like. I’m a visual person, so this gets a big thumbs up from me.
Another advantage of going in store is being able to see the colours of the cabinetry in person – this is never a bad thing! You might also see some other options that you didn’t see online that will assist with making your wardrobe the perfect place to prepare for the day ahead.
Once you have finalised your design, you can also choose to have your order delivered to your door. DO THIS! In the wardrobe i just ordered a few days ago, i have 72 pieces coming. yep, that’s 72 boxes. Imagine trying to fit them into the boot of your car…oh – that remind me of a little cautionary tale I have…..
….last build I decided that it would just be easier if I went and picked it up myself. Listen to me when i tell you THIS IS A BAD IDEA. Long story short, I got there late (surprise surprise!) when IKEA was about to close and was left with a 14 year old attendant who, out of the goodness of his own heart, made his mum wait in the car when she came to collect him while he helped me load up a SHIT TONNE of boxes into Dave’s ute. Those boxes are DAMN heavy, and between the two of us, you would have seen more muscles on a mosquito. In the process, I managed to get my finger jammed in between two enormous boxes and I felt so bad for this kid stuck helping me out that i didn’t want to say anything.
So trust me. Put the keys down and step away from your vehicle.
I REPEAT, STEP AWAY FROM YOUR VEHICLE. Get it delivered. It’s worth every damn cent.
I hope this little blog has been of some use to you. I have my delivery coming in the next few days, so between now and my next blog, my hands will have permanently transformed themselves into Allen keys from putting all 72 boxes together……
Well ….I have great news….I’ve done the hard work for you! If you’re building, planning a reno or wanting to do any of the above, then I have just the tool for you!
It’s a very simple and easy tool to use. Start popping in your quotes as you receive them, and the tool will start adding up your spend. I’ve also included a 10% contingency back up in your budget so it’s covering unforeseen costs you might experience along the way.
It also tracks your spend as you pay bills, showing you how much of your build you have paid, and the remaining amount left to pay. #partytime
I hope you can find it of some benefit to you. I love to be able to help out where i can, so please feel free to send through some feedback, or questions!