Is now the best time to renovate your home?

The Reserve Bank of Australia cut official interest rates to a record low this month. Just 1.25 per cent. Of course, if you have your money in a high-interest savings account, a rate cut is terrible news. If the banks pass on the rate cut to you, your money will earn less interest than before.

Need more space?

Need more space?

Given the latest drop in interest rates for home loans dropping to around 3.5% and a term deposit only paying between 1.7% and 2.4% maybe your best time to invest in your home renovation is now?

New kitchen any one?

New kitchen any one?

If you have cash tied up in a term deposit or as a lump sump you can redraw, with interest rates falling now might be the perfect time to do that renovation you have been putting off. These are three key considerations about when deciding whether or not to renovate your own home.

  1. Affordability: Do you have the funds available?

  2. Seasonality: Can you get the trades at an affordable rate?

  3. Timing: Do you have the time to commit to working out exactly what you want? No - then it might be good to book a design chat!

Picking the right light?


Lighting is often the last part of a project that a client thinks about, however I am always designing to maximise the natural light. Lighting really has a functional and a ambient purpose and so it is worth consulting a lighting expert when designing your home. Picking the right lighting feature is dependant on function and personal tastes. Here are some tips to follow:

  1. Pulling the design together. Sometimes the lighting is simple and understated and sometimes it is the key to pull the design together. Working with colour, shape and size a light is a chance to draw attention.

  2. Frame a space - a lighting feature can frame a space, like a dining room or a reading nook.

  3. Lights can be invisible - but still create drama. Track lighting or LED under a bench or staircase and can really set a mood in the evenings.


4. Colour and materials - are really a chance to show off your style, especially in the kitchen and bathrooms.


Narrow spaces can be delightful sanctuaries

If you have a Victorian style home with that narrow hallway or your home is on a smaller lot of land you know all about narrow spaces. There are many ways to use these spaces well and create a special space in your home. Here are my top ideas.

  1. Squeeze in more storage - we can never get enough storage space and that shelving unit can be any dimension and still be very useful.

  2. Use of side gardens - often the blind side of the house gets little attention but we forget that we often look onto these spaces. Creating a lush green haven can really make a view go from dull and boring to wow and beautiful.

  3. Working from the edge of a space to edge can provide just enough space for a power room especially when you can build on your lands boundary and push the wall out a metre or so.

    4. Built in furniture can really free up a space. It is a great way to provide more seating an a cosy atmosphere.

  4. The use of mirrors can amplify a space. It reflects the light and makes a space feel bigger.

  5. Light is another trick to make a space feel bigger. If you don’t have windows, skylights are another great idea

Interior Designer - We can all do it, but here are some key tips to follow as guidelines

Collect ideas and products you wish to include

Collect ideas and products you wish to include

Storage is a key consideration

Storage is a key consideration

Consider use of outdoor spaces and greenery

Consider use of outdoor spaces and greenery

With the tools like Pinterest and Instagram and TV shows on home renovations the sources for ideas for your interior has exploded. We can all now be interior designer. Here are some good ideas to get your creative juices flowing:

LookBook of key colours and textures

LookBook of key colours and textures

  • Great ways to create cohesion and flow in your home design is to create a LookBook or Pinterest board for each of your rooms you wish to renovate. In here you can collect ideas, images, colour schemes and see how all of this comes together to create a”look” or theme.

  • Think mood. the feeling of your home is really what you want to express in an interior design. Are you relaxed, sophicated, contemporary, classic or beachy? The mood of you home is conveyed in the ideas you collect.

  • Make some key decisions that will shape your look. Some key decisions could include”

    • Lighting style.

    • Power points and door handles.

    • Metal finishes and fittings.

    • Neutral paint or fabric colour.

    • Window coverings.

  • Don’t forget the outside. Bringing the outside in is a real trend. Not just the natural light but the greenery of outdoor planting. Extending living areas beyond with sliding doors and pull up windows is another key consideration.

  • Enlist a professional. While we can all create a “look” and know what we like having a professional eye can really pull it all together. It is a challenging job and having that independent consultant can be worth it.

Traditional, boho bathroom

Traditional, boho bathroom

Some of my key renovations which might give you some more ideas for your Lookbook!

To sell or renovate?

With house prices falling flat over the past few months it is not surprising that growing families are accessing their need to renovate or move with more caution.

Some of the considerations around moving include:

  1. The cost of stamp duty

  2. Conveyancing ($800 to $1,300)

  3. Marketing ($6,500 to $8,000)

  4. Agent fees (two to three per cent of sale price – for example $15,000 on a $500,000 home)

  5. Property styling your house to a sellable standard (property staging companies can charge up to $6,000 depending on the type of furnishings required and the length of time it takes to sell). 

  6. expenses such as agent's commission, legal fees and stamp duty, loan fees and removalist fees. as listed above could be 10% of the property’s price

Some of the considerations around renovating include:

  1. Overcapitalising - spending more on your home than you will make back. To avoid this get an appraisal from a local real estate agent. Let's assume your house is worth $600,000, and the average price in the street is $800,000: you could safely spend $200,000 in renovations. That's just over double the non-productive costs of moving house.

  2. Better appliances and lowering energy costs

  3. Builder doesn’t do a good job or finish the job

  4. Cost of living somewhere while the build takes place.

What ever your decision make sure you do it totally informed. To understand the time, cost and functionality of your home renovation book at time with me to chat.

Victorian Stamp Duty costs

Victorian Stamp Duty costs

Tradie prices fall by 44% - bargain time to renovate.

As double digit falls in housing prices continue the cost of trades like electricians, plumbers, builders and alike has fallen by up to 44% according to's co-founder Jeremy Levitt.

“Demand for builders has fallen by more than 40 per cent. Bathroom renovations were also hit particularly hard, with demand falling 35 per cent followed by a 25 per cent decline for bricklayers and a 20 per cent dive in requests for electricians.”

So if you are after a bargain to renovate that bathroom or kitchen, then it’s time to get going. Drop me a line for a design chat or call me on 0418100872 to get your plans sorted so you can take advantage of these record low building prices.

tradie prices fall.jpg
Source: Demand for builders has fallen by more than 40 per cent. Bathroom renovations were also hit particularly hard, with demand falling 35 per cent followed by a 25 per cent decline for bricklayers and a 20 per cent dive in requests for electricians.

Our Home Completed

Well, it has been a long time coming but I will let the images speak for themselves. Here is our home finished. We are really pleased with how the old part of the home melds well with the modern renovation at the back. The navy blue theme and the mix of wood and concrete smooth elements create a livable natural calm environment that is a pleasure to be in.

Our new Home

Spark Street Existing Floor Plan

Spark Street Existing Floor Plan

After 15 years my wife and I are tackling our own renovation. I thought it would be a good idea to chronicle the phases of our project from the first concept to the through to construction of the finished renovation. Over the next few months and you will see the process of engaging with an architect with my own home and all that that entails.

Like every design I do, the design needs to go through a series of stages.


Front living room

Our California Bungalow has some love features that we wanted to keep, the lovely bay windows at the front, the fireplaces, however we wanted to open up the back of the house to the garden and give us another living area.

Key to renovation design was thinking about what we wanted in the next 10 years. Our son Lachlan will be a teenager soon so having a separate retreat for him and us was part of the brief. Danielle (Dan, my wife) and I love similar designs and so it was easy to agree on most of the design elements, but we still went through a series of questions and discussions to determine what was in and out of scope.


Dan has been using Houzz to collect her ideas. This app is a great tool for home renovators to use when collecting ideas. We had a few restrictions on our block. It is only 500m2 corner block so we need to be really clever with our design to maximise space and light, while being aware of overlooking our neighbours. We knew that the design would really only apply to the back end of our home – or the lean to as it is sometimes referred to. This back part currently contains the kitchen, bathroom, laundry, and sunroom.

Spark Street Floor Plan

We wanted to open up the back and create a new galley kitchen, with more storage, connect the room to the garden and create an upstairs area for our work and Lachlan when he gets older. We also wanted a better laundry and bathroom.  By doing some initial sketches on the current floor plan (which you can access from your local council) we were able to see what we could do within the parameters of the block. It also was good to have some trace paper handy to draw over the top of the original plan until we had exhausted our ideas.  The time it takes to get the foundations of what you want in a renovation can take some time. It is worth coming back to over a series of weeks so that you can check-back in with your initial thoughts and allow ideas to marinate. Once you have the concept and scope defined you can move onto formalising the design.

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