Get 10% off tapware when you order tiles and tapware together. Use the code YABBY10 (T&C apply)
Get 10% off tapware when you order tiles and tapware together. Use the code YABBY10 (T&C apply)

Real Life Reno - Bungalow Up

Layla Sawyer
Becca from The Bungalow Up created this fun, eclectic bathroom design using our  Mornington Limestone look ivory tile (currently unavailable, check out our Byron Travertine look ivory tile as an alternative) paired with the  Coral Bay gloss Teal Fish Scale tile for a beautifully unique space.

What spaces did you renovate?
Having owned the property and rented it out for a number of years, when our last tenant to moved on, we decided now was the opportune time to move back into the space and begin operation ‘ bungalow up!’. Having moved back into the house off the back of a full apartment renovation, we assumed we were prepared for the level of work we had in store… oh how we underestimated things! The plan was to do some LIGHT cosmetic touch ups. Nothing too crazy; the biggest plans were to change up the kitchen. We soon realised when we moved back in that the space had so much potential to be modernised, and we could set down roots here for a couple of years, and make the space a really inviting home. The plan for us for this property was always to rent it out upon completion, and that is still the goal, but we will be living in it for a couple of years until we are ready to start all-over again somewhere else.
We have a massive interest in all things property, interiors and renovation related. Growing up with a really DIY savvy family helped me to overcome my fears of knocking down walls and really getting stuck in. It also gave us the confidence to look at each room as being ‘flexible’ and that apart from structural boundaries, each space was a blank canvas to reshape or recreate as we see fit.

To date we have transformed the dated 90’s décor and layout into a modern, bright and colourful living space that complements our eccentric style amazingly. On the list of jobs completed, we have added a hallway, additional bedroom, office space, walk-in-wardrobe and shower room to the property. Alongside this we completed major groundworks to the rear of the property, extending our garden and creating a more inviting outdoor sanctuary. We ripped out the main bathroom to accommodate a new layout, and give us another toilet in the property. We also opened up the entire back of the house using sliding doors where windows once were.

Were you living here at the time of your renovations?
To save money, all of this this has been undertaken while we have been living in the space. We do not have family in the country, having both been born and raised in Manchester, England, so nipping to our mums for a shower and cup of tea was off the cards lol. We have spent many nights on a mattress on the floor, and I moved out for a week as both of our bathroom spaces were replumed in tandem and I had no water.

Were you juggling a career as well as overlooking the renovations? Did you and your partner or family butt heads over the design at all?
Both of us worked fulltime throughout, and juggled each trade coming into the house in-between meetings and other commitments. Pete works away on a 2:2 roster so I’ve been here for the duration, organising quotes, sourcing materials, and we shared as best we can doing most of the prep work / clean ups.
We work really well as a renovation team. We have had many a heated discussion about my design ideas vs the cost though haha (Pete is the finances guy mainly). I work to the budget and find creative solutions for getting the look I want to achieve at a reasonable cost. I’ve charmed many a sales assistant into giving me free delivery so I can buy more lamps etc ha! We are now 12 months deep, and still have a few more plans to complete before we can relax and enjoy our hard work.

How would you describe your style?
Oooh that’s a hard one! So It’s no secret that I LOVE colour, bold patterns and texture in a space. If it wouldn’t look out of place on the set of an Austin powers movie, I probably love it. While I like elements of retro 70’s styling, I also have a love of modern clean lines, and i'm loving the Nordic / scandi inspired spaces that are trending at the moment. Throw in a disco ball or two and a bright mish mash of textiles and this is the blueprint for my home.

Talk us through the process you took in the planning stages of the renovation!
Instagram is a GREAT source of inspo for us, and I would use adobe illustrator or photoshop to mock up crude images of any ideas I was trying to convey to people when explaining our vision. From the first day we moved back in, I drew up a detailed floor plan using an app called room planner and made layout changes to the plan to see how things may look if we knocked down walls etc.
Failing that being able to spark our imagination, I tape up the floors in rooms to show where doors and windows would be!

Were there any delays? How long did the renovation take?
All of the works took place throughout the height of the pandemic, with the growing demand for trades and shortages of materials, which I really think impacted our timeline more than we bargained for.

What was the most challenging part of the renovation? Did anything go wrong? How did you adapt?
There have been so many elements of this reno that have stretched us, mentally, physically, financially and emotionally, but I think the most challenging bit for me has been walking the road alone sometimes. Having no family to rope in when the nights cleaning up get long was sometimes tough. I think having no kitchen & bathrooms when the jobs crossed over for a week was a hill we shouldn’t have climbed! In our haste to get things lined up and book trades in, we decided that moving out for 2-3 days while the utilities were shut off was a good idea. I would have to drive to the house at 6am, open up, work from camping chair in the garden and clean up / go out and get materials on lunch breaks to keep things moving. Not ideal! Ha
We also did a LOT of the hard graft ourselves. Many days were spent with me going to work meetings, then coming home, putting on steel toe cap boots and knocking down walls and clearing up rubble into the night. Having trades wrap up at 5-6pm, then clean / prep for the next lot of workmen coming the following morning or deliveries of bricks was a challenge, but so worth it to keep costs down and for us to learn a little more about how each job is done. I learned how to use a quick cut saw, and how to render by doing that, so not all a stressful experience.

If it can go wrong, we have experienced it. 2 lots of cowboy concreters, trades burying asbestos from other jobs in our garden, manufacturers delivering the wrong size windows and it not being uncovered until we smashed walls down, kitchen cabinets arriving in the wrong sizes, power cuts, leaks, THE LOT.
I could start a series talking through the stories as some are hilarious.

Did you come into the TileCloud showroom to look around at tiles? Did you order samples?
Not living near a showroom wasn’t really an issue for us, I had been told by many tilers we had quote on our jobs that TileCloud were a really reputable company with an amazing range of products. We didn’t order samples, as I’m quite a decisive character, and know what I want, and I could trust that the quality of products I was going to receive from TileCloud would be second to none.

Why did you choose TileCloud / What did you enjoy best about the TileCloud experience?
Local tile boutiques had very limited choices of tile styles when it came to the bolder choices of patterns and colour I was looking for my shower room. Immediately from browsing the selection on the TileCloud website, I knew that we would be buying from the site and be happy with our choice.

Any advice for first time renovators?
ASK.THE.QUESTION. There is no harm in asking for that discount, or for free delivery, or even how something works. Understanding the reason for why something is done a certain way, or what your options are is VITAL to leaning about your home and really helps with the creative process. Its empowering to be as clued up as you can be about the choices you are making and really helps in motivating you when the hard yards come your way.

ITS YOUR SPACE NOT THEIRS – so often we listen to the opinions of those that aren’t doing the work, living in the space, or manging the investment. Fine, if you don’t know what to decide, ask for support, but ultimately go with your gut as it’s your money, time and comfort that’s at stake.

THIS TOO SHALL PASS – As hard as each dirty job may seem, it will be over sooner than you think. And when you look back on your progress you will be amazed at how you emerged out of that hole and just how fabulous your new space now is.

What did you hire trades for and what did you do yourselves or with help of family and friends?
*The demolition: Ourselves.
*The plumbing: Pursuit Pluming – a GODSEND of a man, who did an amazing job.
*Waterproofing: Pursuit Pluming 
*Tiling: AJ Tiling WA – Again, an INCREDIBLE guy, did all our tiling. We planned to do some of it ourselves, but as he was so good, and so nice, we didn’t want him to leave!
*Painting: Ourselves
*Project managing: Me (Becca)

How can we find you? 
@thebungalowup (Instagram) – Main content platform
@thebungalowup (TikTok)

Layla Sawyer
Layla is a creative at heart, with an Advanced Diploma in Interior Design and being the Senior Marketing and Ecommerce Coordinator here at TileCloud she has a passion for staying up to date with the latest trends within the industry. Known for going down a rabbit hole on Pinterest and being a sucker for a good mood board to kick off any project.