Jenna and Colin - Real Life Reno

During the chaos of 2020 Jenna and Colin were forced into lockdown. They took the opportunity to renovate their 30-year-old one bedroom cottage in Rye, VIC whilst Jenna worked from home and Colin was forced to take a few months off work. They created a stunning main bathroom with our Pink Bondi encaustic tile and the Newport matt square and subway pattern tile. We got chatting with Jenna and Colin about how they went about planning and executing a home renovation during a global pandemic.

What spaces did you renovate?
We are slowly renovating the whole house, inside and out! It is a 30-year-old, one bedroom house and we started it all with the bathroom. Originally it was a separate laundry/bathroom but we decided to knock down the wall and turn it into a big bathroom with a European laundry.

What motivated you to renovate?
When we found our house in May 2018, we fell in love with the vibe instantly but knew we would need/want to update it. We liked the fact it was in its original condition and we could work with it rather than redo a previous renovation. We also knew that all the houses in our price range would require an update of some sort. We don’t know if we will want to sell in the future so for now we are designing everything for us.
Were you juggling a career as well as overlooking the renovations?
Yes, we are both working full time, I am a teacher and Colin is a carpenter. During the week, we are generally too tired to do house stuff so it’s usually left for the weekend. It is busy but we love it!


Using Bondi in Pink 

Were you living here at the time of your renovations?
Yes, and we still are! Part of the reason why we started with the bathroom is because Colin was unable to work for a couple of months due to Victoria’s COVID lockdown. We took this as an opportunity to do what we knew would be a big job. Thankfully, we had already ordered most items including our beautiful tiles from TileCloud. It was challenging living here during the bathroom reno, not to mention working from home too! I was teaching my class remotely so it became quite irritating having construction noise in the background. We moved our shower and toilet outside which was quite chilly in winter!

How would you describe your style? 
I would describe our style as rustic coastal with pops of colour. I think that style changes though to suit the feel of a house, especially in a renovation. If we were to build from scratch our love of industrial, minimalism and nature would come through a lot more.

Newport matt pattern

Talk us through the process you took in the planning stages of the renovation!
We are doing our whole house renovation slowly, which means we can plan as we go. In saying that, we have an overall idea of what we want the spaces to look and feel like, so it will all still come together cohesively at the end… hopefully! I use Pinterest for inspiration photos a lot! I then pin my favourites to my mood board and go through them with Colin, deleting any that we don’t both vibe with. For individual rooms like the bathroom, I create a smaller and more specific mood board using screen shots of things like colours, materials and cabinetry ideas.


Jenna and Colins moodboard

Were there any delays? How long did the renovation take?
So far, we have completed the bathroom and bits and pieces of other spaces. We have decided to focus on the bedroom now and hopefully have that finished early next year. We chose the bedroom after the bathroom as it’s not going to cost as much and gives us time to save for new appliances and materials for the kitchen. We haven’t given ourselves a timeline as we are both working full time but if there was a delay it would be due to time or money. I hope to have our house close to being finished by the end of 2021, but we will see what happens!

How did you adapt? 
From Colin’s perspective, a huge challenge was straightening, leveling, and squaring up a building that has moved around to a point where nothing was straight, level or square! Overall though the biggest challenge has been figuring everything out for ourselves with no project manager and doing things we have never done before such as making the cement bathroom sink.



What was the most challenging part of the renovation? Did anything go wrong?
From Colin’s perspective, a huge challenge was straightening, levelling, and squaring up a building that has moved around to a point where nothing was straight, level or square! Overall though the biggest challenge has been figuring everything out for ourselves with no project manager and doing things we have never done before such as making the cement bathroom sink.



Did you and Colin butt heads over the design at all?
Yes! It almost feels like with every decision we must make there will be some sort of argument or heated discussion. We have learnt to communicate in different ways like drawing our ideas rather than trying to explain them over and over! It does get exhausting but in the end, we always come to an agreement and we are so happy with the results so far.

Did you come into the TileCloud showroom to look around at tiles? Did you order samples?
The TileCloud showroom is too far for us to visit but we did order samples. I fell in love with the pink Bondi tile the moment I saw them on Pinterest and samples were not available, so it was just a matter of choosing the wall tiles. I ordered 1 box of 5 samples to begin with and then another closer to when I was ready to order. There were so many amazing options which made it hard to choose but the inspiration on the TileCloud Instagram made it easier.


Why did you choose TileCloud / What did you enjoy best about the TileCloud experience?
I chose TileCloud because we could order samples which helped us feel confident with our choice.
Any advice for first time renovators?
  • Live in the space prior to making big decisions
  • Silicone is unforgiving!
  • Mood boards are a real thing and do help
  • Think about how you can re purpose materials before throwing them away


You can follow Jenna and Colin's reno journey on instagram: @wondaree.reno

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