Naomi and Lucas - Real Life Reno
Naomi and chippy husband - Lucas commenced the project of renovating their home during Melbourne's lockdown. With the added stress of home schooling their three boys all whilst living at the home during the renovations - they finally completed their main bathroom. Using our exclusive Terrazzo look tiles, we love the final outcome of this space!
What spaces did you renovate?
Our home has been an ongoing renovation for the past 10 years really. When we bought our house it had yellow walls with high gloss black skirts and architraves. It really was quite incredible. We were absolutely sold on the house though as it has the most beautiful tropical oasis of a backyard that you just don’t see in suburbia Melbourne and the house also had so much potential. Our most recent reno project has been the main bathroom.
What motivated you to renovate?
It’s fair to say the space was certainly outdated and far too small for what we needed. It had been on our to-do list for quite a few years but other projects somehow kept sneaking up in between. We knew it was going to be a larger project so I think that was what kept setting it to the back burner.
Were you living here at the time of your renovations?
We were living in our house for this project - a family of 5 (myself, my husband Lucas and our 3 little boys, Billy, Archie and Knox) all sharing our little ensuite bathroom. Let me tell you - sharing an ensuite bathroom with 4 males is not the ideal situation but we survived - just. A few scramble/scuffles from time to time on who could make it to the toilet first but we got through.
How would you describe your style?
I wouldn’t say I have a specific style really, I’m quite eclectic. I see something that I like and somehow manage to make it work. I’ve always had quite a creative mind and have loved designing beautiful spaces from as far back as when I was a teenager in my bungalow out the back of my mums house. I was busy saving all my hard earned cash from my job at Hungry Jacks to buy bedroom decor, slightly different to all my girlfriends that were saving for their Levi jeans, the latest album releases from Backstreet boys or new makeup.
Talk us through the process you took in the planning stages of the renovation?
The space we used was previously a separate toilet and bathroom with an alcove off the hallway that had 3 entries, one into the bathroom, toilet and laundry. I started out with drawing up a plan for the space to give us a larger bathroom and presented it to my husband to see if it could work. On his tick of approval, it was on…
I am forever taking screen shots of images on Instagram, Pinterest, google images and I have a huge archive of beautiful spaces in my phone, it’s what I like to do in my spare time.
I also couldn’t tell you how many interior design pages I actually follow so our design may have been a inspired by a combination of images I’ve seen over time where I’ve pulled pieces from but there wasn’t any particular image that I drew inspiration from. I had an idea in my head of what I wanted so I drew it out and then started putting together mood boards.
I actually started out with the initial plan drawing inspiration from Three birds renovations with the project they did using the Bondi pink encaustic tiles. This is where I discovered TileCloud. My first mood-board was pink, brass and white cabinetry and then went to pink, black and white but when I presented these to the boys for their opinions unfortunately none of them really dug my pink vibe so I went back to the drawing board. I jumped back on the TileCloud website which is when I came across the Redfern tiles. They were so beautiful and were going to be the focal point of the project. I ordered a sample box and they arrived. A couple of months went by with life somehow getting in the way… when I came back to the project planning and had worked out all the other elements for our space I jumped online to order the tiles and they were DISCONTINUED. I almost cried, may have definitely cried... I got in touch with the customer service team at TileCloud and they directed me to the Paddington range that had been released as a replacement to the Redfern so I ordered a sample of those. They arrived, were absolutely perfect and here we are months later!!!
Were there any delays? How long did the renovation take?
Delays is the understatement of the day - throw in a back surgery for my husband after we had knocked out walls and ripped up the flooring and then throw in a few lockdowns courtesy of Covid which slowed up or brought progress to a grinding halt where tradesmen were unable to come in to our house. What we had anticipated to be a 6-8 week project blew out to be (I hate to even say it…) a 6-8 month project.
What was the most challenging part of the renovation? Did anything go wrong? How did you adapt?
The most challenging part would have been the whole sharing one toilet amongst a family of 5 (as mentioned earlier, 4 boys and yours truly - you can only imagine), along with being locked in the house for 22 hours a day for a good part of it with lockdowns. Not overly renovation related but all a part of the mix. There were changes that had to be made regarding the shower screen position to what I had initially planned for but that was no real big deal - we just changed its position and moved on. Other then that little hiccup and the delays, the whole process really was quite straight forward and went just as planned.
Were you juggling a career as well as overlooking the renovations?
I was juggling homeschooling, work and the renovation. Luckily my work wasn’t too demanding during that period so it worked out quite well. While the kids would be having lunch breaks, I would be in the bathroom ripping plaster off the walls and scraping glue off battens or drawing out the layout on the chipboard flooring.
Did you and Lucas and the boys butt heads over the design at all?
We butt heads over most designs really as our tastes are polar opposite but thankfully he generally comes to his senses and realises, only now that we’ve executed a few projects with really beautiful results, that I’m pretty switched on when it comes to these things.
We now go with the general rule that we put in place in order to save our marriage: Lucas’ domain is designing outside spaces (which he has done incredibly well) and my domain is the interior of the house, although we always get each other’s tick of approval before signing off.
In saying all of that, we are currently looking into digging out under the house to put in the ultimate boy zone for the boys with a gaming room/wrestling ring, theatre room and bar area (that will be for Lucas, not the little boys obviously) so it will be interesting to see how much input he’ll want in that space. I may have to compromise there 😬
Did you come into the TileCloud showroom to look around at tiles? Did you order samples?
I wasn’t able to come into the showroom given I am located in Melbourne so I had ordered the samples. I was so impressed with the presentation when they arrived. They were delivered in such a gorgeous little box - they really were something special. I am all about presentation and that won serious brownie points with me!
Why did you choose TileCloud / What did you enjoy best about the TileCloud experience?
As mentioned above the presentation of the samples and the quality was on point. Also the customer service experience was fabulous when I had found out the original tiles I wanted had been discontinued.
I had been to a few different tile shops and had been given samples to take home but they were all very ‘blah’ - the individuality just hadn’t been there and the service levels delivered weren’t as high as what I had experienced with TileCloud which is pretty impressive given there was never any face to face contact. I feel the social content was also a huge contributing factor in influencing my final decision - you can see TileCloud is passionate on their products and deliver it well!
Any advice for first time renovators?
Don’t do it unless you are single or in a solid relationship because it will be a real deal maker or breaker 😂
What did you hire trades for and what did you do yourselves or with help of family and friends?
My husband is a chippy by trade so he’s very hands on. I love throwing on a tool belt myself and getting amongst it. I tiled our kitchen and ensuite but didn’t feel as confident doing this much larger space so we hired a tiler.
My best friends husband is a plumber so we had him in to do the plumbing and then brought in a plasterer and electrician - Oh and a shower screen installer.
Everything else we did ourselves from project management, ripping down walls, re-framing through to installing floors and walls, waterproofing, painting, caulking and all the finishing touches.
How can we find you?
Prior to this interview there was no way to find me other then my personal Insta page which is mostly full of kid spam with a few reno pics here and there. Its always been on my to do list to set up an Instagram page dedicated to our renovations and our designs so thank you for giving me the push to get it together.
We can be found on Instagram @Home_design_and _Interior_Loves