Andrew and Charlotte - Real Life Reno
Andrew and Charlotte renovated their 70's built Perth home over a 6 month period into kit kat paradise! With some expected delays during COVID and unforeseen delays uncovering structural issues, they have finally finished renovations inside the house! See our Brunswick kit kats transform their bathroom and laundry into a modern coastal sanctuary.
What spaces did you renovate?
We started with just the laundry and bathroom but ended up doing a complete renovation of the house. This included painting the kitchen, replacing the floors, and now the front façade.
What motivated you to renovate?
I think one of our biggest motivations came from both working 9-5 jobs and having such a strong desire to be doing something creative and hands-on. Andrew has always had a passion for creating and I am a huge lover of interior design, so it just felt like the right fit for us.
Our house is an oldie! She was built way back in the early 70’s, which meant bright green tiles, cork walls and moody fixtures. However, we loved her character and always planned on renovating so, naturally, we saw her potential and fell in love instantly!
Were you living here at the time of your renovations?
We were super fortunate in that we were able to live close by during the renovation. In saying this though, we definitely could have stayed if we wanted to, however we knew that we would have lacked in motivation to get the little things done and therefore would not have been as happy as we were when we finally moved in!
How would you describe your style?
This is a question we have been tossing up between ourselves for months now. However, I think the best way to describe our style is ‘modern coastal luxe’ with hints of 1960’s Mediterranean.
Talk us through the process you took in the planning stages of the renovation!
We’d be lying if we said we didn’t spend hours on end looking through Pinterest and Instagram for inspiration in the early stages. We were so inspired by the online renovation community and how many people were designing and creating beautiful homes without needing to build or break the bank in renovations. We were also extremely lucky in that we have similar taste when it comes to interiors and both enjoy exploring different/unique ways of doing things. We found that creating separate mood boards and then combining these together prior was key in highlighting similarities and differences, which therefore led to us making compromises and finally coming to an agreed upon style/layout for the home. We honestly couldn’t recommend this enough!
Were there any delays? How long did the renovation take?
Something we learned pretty early on was that delays were inevitable when you are planning, demolishing and organising everything yourself. With this said, however, I am so grateful for the experience we had as it allowed us to create an extremely high-quality, functioning home that we can be super proud to live in of for years to come! We started the renovation in April 2020 and completed the project by October 2020 – so 6 months in total!
Our biggest unforeseen delay throughout the renovation was due to the bathroom. As soon as we got started with the demolition process, the cracks started to show with regards to the standard building expectations we see today. For example, there was no solid foundation for the flooring and there were some very questionable pipe waste locations that needed to be shuffled around. We also knew we wanted to do a complete reconfiguration of the bathroom layout – which meant a pretty big job for our plumber.
Once we finally got over this hurdle, we immediately fell right back into another one – the tiling. When we first started getting quotes for our bathroom/laundry, they ranged anywhere between $2,500 - $10,000. This therefore caused a lot of confusion and uncertainty for us, particularly being so new to the renovation world and still figuring out how to budget our money effectively. We therefore made the decision to go with one of the cheapest quotes we found as it seemed like the right thing to do at the time. Luckily, we had a tiler friend who pulled us up and insisted that we did not go ahead with this quote as his recommendations would cause us a major headache in the future. Thankfully, we took his advice and quickly realised the importance of spending more money on a quality job – particularly with something as important as tiling and the prep work that goes into it.
Other than the expected COVID restrictions and delays when ordering furniture, the rest of the renovation went relatively smoothly. A recommendation we were given throughout the process and something we have learned along the way is to be flexible when extending your budget for high-quality necessities such as plumbing, electrical and tiling. We are also big advocates for getting a minimum of 3 quotes for everything – I know firsthand how time consuming this can be, however, it will be invaluable in ensuring you don’t blow the budget and will inevitably save you a lot of money in the long run!
What was the most challenging part of the renovation? Did anything go wrong? How did you adapt?
One of the biggest challenges we faced was deciding on the most cost effective but practical design for the bathroom. The bathroom is 1.8 x 2.4m – so a really small space but also a super important space, particularly given that the house is only a 3 by 1. In order to maximise space and create a modern and functional area, we had to completely re-install the plumbing which is usually a renovators nightmare and rarely a cheap expense. We overcame this challenge by knowing the final product would not only create a functional room but would become a selling point when deciding to move on to our next project.
Were you juggling a career as well as overlooking the renovations?
Yes, we were both working full time throughout the renovation, which meant a lot of late nights and busy weekends! Something that really worked well for us though was keeping track of all of the jobs we were needing to complete throughout the renovation. This not only helped to keep ourselves accountable for all tasks, but also allowed us to stay on track throughout the entirety of the renovation.
Did you and Andrew butt heads over the design at all?
There were definitely times we butted heads throughout the renovation but honestly, if we didn’t, it wouldn’t have been a true renovation! The main disagreements we had were usually based around styling choices and the overall structural layout of the house. In the beginning, I was convinced that we needed to knock down a wall in our kitchen in order to give it a more ‘open plan’ feel. However, this was quickly shut down by Andrew who reminded me of how important it was not to overcapitalise with an investment property. Luckily he did, because I haven’t given a second thought since!
Did you come into the TileCloud showroom to look around at tiles? Did you order samples?
We unfortunately don’t have a TileCloud showroom based here in Western Australia just yet, however this wasn’t a problem for us at all! We always knew that we wanted to have a ‘kit-kat’ feature wall in our bathroom, so the choice was an easy one for us – especially after seeing it in so many other bathrooms on Instagram.
Why did you choose TileCloud / What did you enjoy best about the TileCloud experience?
We have always really admired TileCloud for their ability to diversify the market and turn something so simple into such a unique, easy and fun online shopping experience. I never would have imagined buying tiles from an online store, but with their wide range of tiling options, as well as their online presence and impeccable service, it really felt like a no brainer for us!
Any advice for first time renovators?
Research through Instagram and Pinterest to identify your style. Create mood boards to visualise what you are wanting to create, generate a jobs/budget spreadsheet to track your progress, and ensure you get more than one quote before securing a job. The best advice we got through our experience and something we still refer to now is ‘do it right, do it once’.
You can follow Andrew and Charlottes reno journey on instagram: @casa_laforrest