Amy - Real Life Reno
What spaces did you renovate?
We’re renovating our 1912 Queenslander room-by-room. We started in January and have so far ticked off the main bathroom, laundry, study, powder room, ensuite and dressing room. This is our ensuite!
What motivated you to renovate?
While holidaying in Queensland during a Sydney lockdown last year, we decided to capitalise on the booming Sydney property market, sold our house. Border closures meant that we couldn’t go back to Sydney to pack up our house so we organised for movers to come in, pack it all up and move everything north - the dog and car included. We never went home again!
Quickly realising we’d need somewhere to put our house load of furniture, we bought a cute 1912 Queenslander in Brisbane on a whim and settled 3 weeks later. She has great bones but needs a bit of a zjoosh to bring out her best. The kitchen is dated and the bathrooms were last renovated 20 years ago and were best suited to stay in the ‘90s! We’re also adding a pool for our kids to live in over the long hot summers.
Were you living here at the time of your renovations?
Yes! We’d recently renovated our previous home in Sydney and couldn’t face the thought of packing everything and renting again, so this time we’ve decided to tackle the reno room-by-room and live through it.
How would you describe your style?
I love older-style homes (our Federation Villa in Sydney and Queenslander now are my dream) but with pops of colour and quirkiness. I’ve made some bold design choices in this house, like pink and white striped walls in the girls’ bathroom, a blue laundry with a dog bath and green and white hydrangea wallpaper in the powder room. I realise it’s not everyone’s taste but this reno is less about resale and more about what we love.
Talk us through the process you took in the planning stages of the renovation!
I’m an avid Three Birds fan and have done their Reno School and Styling School courses so I wouldn’t dare tackle a room without a vision board!
I drool over Australian House & Garden monthly and scroll endlessly through Pinterest and Instagram while between kids’ dance drop-offs and netball pick-ups.
Amy's Vision Board
Were there any delays? How long did the renovation take?
We have been so super lucky renovating in a new city without any contacts. I stumbled across our awesome builders on a local Facebook group and they happened to slot us in relatively quickly and I just haven’t let them go since! Every time they think they’re about to finish a room I say “Surprise! Let’s do <insert new room> next!” and they just go with it.
Nothing we’ve done to date has required planning consent so I’ve “drawn up” the floorplans myself and we’ve made a few changes on the fly. Halfway through the laundry renovation, my husband got a new job, working from home, which meant I suddenly wanted to increase the size of the study and decrease the laundry and they just took it all in their stride.
Not long after we started renovating the catastrophic floods happened. So much of our local area was devastated but we were very lucky and our house stayed dry. With some jobs cancelled due to flooding, we had the tiler at our disposal for a week so took the opportunity to rip up the dark timber hallway downstairs and replace it with gorgeous TileCloud Paddington Terracotta and Paddington Grey Terrazzo tiles, inspired by Three Birds House 13. We’ve been so lucky and have had very few delays at all.
What was the most challenging part of the renovation? Did anything go wrong? How did you adapt?
Sticking to a budget is always a challenge! As soon as we bought the house I whipped up my vision boards so I knew what items I needed to purchase so I was ready to go when I saw bargains. I got some great deals on the TileCloud tiles and Yabby Tapware through Three Birds Reno School and the vanity, fluted glass shower screen, wall lights and mirrors were all heavily discounted in the Black Friday sales.
I can’t even think of anything that went wrong in this room - how lucky are we?! I’m just so relieved that the previous black bathroom is gone, I thank my lucky stars every time I shower.
Were you juggling a career as well as overlooking the renovations?
Yes, my husband and I both work from home which has pros and cons when living through a renovation. It meant lots of banging and drilling in the back of Zoom calls but it was so good to be on site to make decisions on the fly.
Did you and your partner or family butt heads over the design at all?
Haha, no! He knows by now that it will go a lot smoother if he stays out of the design! In all seriousness, this is another reason I love the Three Birds’ vision boards. I create them and show him and if there’s anything he really doesn’t like he’ll let me know before it’s too late to change. Our girls (aged 11 & 9) love seeing the boards too and adding their own feedback.
When the terrazzo look tiles first went down in this ensuite he told me they look like “an old Formica tabletop”. I’m pleased to say they’ve grown on him now the bathroom’s finished.
Did you come into the TileCloud showroom to look around at tiles? Did you order samples?
No, being in Brisbane meant we couldn’t come in but that didn’t matter at all. I ordered plenty of samples (free for Three Birds Reno School students!) via post. We used TileCloud products in our previous renovation in the bathrooms, laundry, kitchen and butler’s pantry and the team in the showroom was very helpful with tile selection and grout suggestions.
Why did you choose TileCloud / What did you enjoy best about the TileCloud experience?
Three Birds told me to! ;-) I initially chose TileCloud tiles in our previous renovation because of the affiliation with Three Birds Reno School which meant free samples, a fabulous discount and free delivery. I loved the products and service so decided to do the same again at this house.
Any advice for first-time renovators?
Go into your renovation feeling confident and well-planned. I think this makes the process enjoyable rather than stressful. I first did the Reno School course 4 years ago which gave me a lot of the confidence to know what I want our home to look and feel like and I refer back to the materials all the time.
How can we find you?