Mother’s Day Outdoor Transformation | Live Video!

This was such a fun-daunting-exciting-scary makeover for me!

If you follow me socially (on Facebook or Instagram) or are a blog subscriber, you’ve probably heard about this project – in fact, you may even have already seen it!

Last weekend I was fortunate to have the opportunity to host a live video on Facebook centering around the easy transformation of an outdoor space for Mother’s Day.

Yes people…LIVE! See where the ‘fun-daunting-scary-exciting’ bit comes in now?

For someone who’s usually behind the camera this wasn’t something I approached lightly. Now that it’s over though, I’m so, so glad I gave it a go. Even if the whole experience feels like a total blur!

I don’t want to give too much away in this post, so pop on over to my Facebook page and check out the video to see the transformation.

Facebook Live Outdoor Makeover

CLICK THE ABOVE IMAGE TO VIEW THE LIVE VIDEO

Whilst you’re over there, feel free to leave any comments or ask any questions. Even a simple ‘hi’ would be lovely. It’d be awesome to hear from you and I’ll be sure to respond to everyone.

And just remember, this is the first time I’ve ever done anything like this so please be kind (and ignore any weird awkwardness, including my daughter wearing a onesie, m’kay?).

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Progress in My Little Boy’s Room | A Landscape Gallery, Bedding & More!

Now that things have finally settled down (in case you missed it I’d been helping my gran prepare her house for sale), it’s time to get back into some decorating for my own home!

Starting with my little boy’s half-finished bedroom.

If you’ve been following along with the makeover you’ll know that…

The walls got a coat of paint

Green Wall Paint - Dulux Tarmac Green

And the door got a mini makeover

Door Makeover

I made some easy repurposed book shelves

Repurposed Drawer Tidys into Wall Bookshelves

And simple landscape art

DIY Canvas Art Paintings Tutorial

And purchased a ‘new’ desk and chair

Child's Vintage Desk and Chair

Then I got stuck.

You see, from the start I had envisioned using a cool wall lamp though I just couldn’t seem to make things work.

Plug-in sconces are virtually non-existent here in Australia so I was always going to DIY something (similar to what I did in my daughter’s room). I only had three requirements – it needed to be easy, it had to have a certain look, and it absolutely, definitely, positively could not negatively impact on my non-negotiable-landscape-art-gallery!

Suffice to say, after lots of shopping around and sideways thinking – and even a few attempts! – I didn’t feel confident I could satisfy my criteria (clearly number one was already out the window!). Of course, I could have compromised, or bolstered my efforts, or dedicated more time, though things just suddenly felt all too hard. Besides, my indecision was holding up the most exciting aspect of the space…the landscape art gallery!

I decided to forgo the wall lamp all together and things suddenly progressed!

I hung the gallery…

Landscape Gallery Wall

And some vintage tennis racquets…

Vintage Tennis Racket Wall

I made the bed…

Vintage Style Boy's Room

And played around with some decor…

Vintage Boy's Room Decor

I have wanted a landscape art gallery somewhere in my home FOREVER and am so excited there’s finally one! I absolutely love it!

Most of the works are thrifted with nothing costing more than $10. The two smaller canvases are easy DIY’s which I shared here.

Landscape Gallery Wall

I didn’t do any fancy gallery wall planning prior to hanging. I simply laid them on the floor and played around until I was happy with the configuration (I like to start with the largest artworks first then build from there) then transferred them to the wall. To keep everything straight and level I secure each frame with a small dob of adhesive putty (Blu-Tack) under one corner.

Boy's Room Dresser Styling and Vignette

The old tennis racquets are also thrifted. They cost around $35 total. Riley plays tennis so they’re just perfect.

Style-wise, the bedding is a bit of a mix of contemporary and vintage, fresh and moody.

Vintage Style Boy's Room

The plaid throw is the HERMINE from IKEA. They no longer seem to carry it here in Australia. I actually bought mine from Gumtree for $35. The army blanket was a $50 eBay find.

The quilt cover was a bit of a splurge (for me!). I wanted something white to freshen everything up (and because it’s a dark room) and just fell in love with this diamond tufted one. It’s the Kokomo from Bambury and was $100 (although the bed is a single I use a double quilt – I just find that up-sizing provides better coverage). I know I could have found something similar enough for half the price though I had been looking for a while and sometimes you’ve just gotta bite the bullet.

The mustard velvet lumbar cushion, which I kinda want to marry, is from H&M ($12). It links perfectly with all the warm woods and the autumn tones in the art.

Boy's Room Decor Detail

The two mini drawer cabinets are previous DIY projects (you can find my tutorial for the green file drawers here and the card catalogue here).

You can buy the timber hands on eBay and the brass magnifying stand is from TK Maxx.

Boy's Room Vignette

The sweet little clock, timber dish and pop gun are thrifted. The skull was found in the paddock behind our house.

I know it’s hard to gather the configuration of the room from these pics (remember, this isn’t the full reveal post!). Just to give you an idea, the chest of drawers is on the opposite wall to the bed. It’s a tiny room at around 2.7 meters/8.5 feet square.

I still need curtains, an end-of-bed toy box and, strangely enough, a lamp (he, he). Some coat hooks, a whimsical accessory or two and probably to paint the desk. I know some of you won’t like hearing that though all of the furniture is wood. Overall, things are just a tad too brown, and it’s a dark room. I’m thinking either an off-white or warm grey?

In other news, I have an exciting announcement!

This Sunday at 4PM (Australia Eastern Standard Time – please check the world clock for your local comparable time) I’ll be hosting a Facebook LIVE session centering around the easy transformation of an outdoor space!

Those of you who know me will know that I’m usually BEHIND the camera, so although this is gonna be fun it’s also kinda scary! Please mark your calendar and be sure to pop on by. I’d love to see you there and any comments or questions during the feed are super welcome. Compliments such as “gee, your hair looks nice” or “those jeans totally don’t make your butt look big” will score the most points :)

Click the image below to join my Facebook page if you’re not already a follower.

I hope you liked this little progress update.

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Rustic DIY Stool Hack…using a $12 kids’ stool

Firstly, I have to express my gratitude for such an amazing response to my last post. Given I almost didn’t publish it I was completely overwhelmed by the comments and emails. Thank you all.

When I shared my parent’s bathroom refresh last month many of you asked to see a tutorial for the kids’ stool hack.

DIY Painted Vinyl Floor in Bathroom

I’d been looking for an affordable rustic “display” stool for ages though just couldn’t find one. Eventually I decided there was nothing to lose by having a go at making my own!

This was one of those experimental projects I wasn’t sure would work so I didn’t document the process first time around.

When I created the second stool for my tutorial I made some slight changes to streamline the process a bit and because I wanted a slightly different finish. I’ve referred to both methods in the supplies section of the tutorial for those of you who are seeking the same look as the original stool.

YOU WILL NEED…

Kmart Stool Hack Supplies

STOOL
I used the Kmart Dipped Stool ($12). Any similar stool which is constructed in the same manner (with brackets which allow the legs to be easily removed) will suffice. Otherwise, it wouldn’t be too difficult to start from scratch with some angle brackets, metal thread and a length of dowel. In fact, it might seem like starting from scratch may be the better option, though according to my calculations at just $12 the Kmart stool can’t be beaten for price, and ease.

CHOPPING BOARD
To create a new top (I decided to replace the original top because it was quite small and made from MDF). I used a 30cm/12″ chopping board from Kmart ($5). I liked this one because it had a slightly irregular edge which suited the primitive look I wanted to achieve. Any similar bread/cheese/chopping board should work fine, or you can always cut your own, or use a natural wood slice.

Note: For the original stool I used a slightly thicker bread board which I found at one of my local discount stores.

DOWEL
To form the ‘braces’. I used 26mm/1″ pine dowel ($8) which was similar in girth to my stool legs. You can use anything round with the right proportions – sometimes old broom handles work well. Just bear in mind that some shaping of the dowel is required (refer to Steps 4 & 7 for further information) and for this a soft wood is much quicker and easier to use.

Note: For the original stool I actually used three little rolling pins! They had tapered ends which provided a nice shape, though for the purpose of this tutorial I wanted to use something a bit more universal.

STAIN/PAINT/SEALER
I used teak stain and danish oil. I wanted a rich finish with lots of tonal variation and a nice natural lustre. Danish oil brings out the warmth in timber without creating too much of a sheen – plus it’s super easy to apply.

Note: For the original stool I used a jarrah stain (because the original bread board was quite red) followed by a grey wash. To finish, I distressed the grey wash to reveal some of the red stain beneath then sealed with white wax.

THE PROCESS…

Sand Legs

STEP 1 SAND LEGS

Remove the factory paint using some sandpaper and elbow grease.

I realise sanding is nobody’s favourite job though this paint comes off really easily. It only took me a few minutes.

Step 2 Kmart Stool Hack

STEP 2 RELOCATE BRACKETS

Unscrew the angle brackets from the original stool top and attach them to the underside of your chopping board.

Attaching the Brackets

You will need to measure to ensure your spacing is somewhat even (it doesn’t need to be perfect) and drill pilot holes; four small ones for the screws and one large one to accommodate the leg thread (as per the original top). Don’t overly tighten the screws at this stage (some movement in the brackets is useful for the following steps).

DIY Kmart Stool Hack

Once the brackets are attached, screw in your legs.

Note: At this stage it may be useful to number each bracket and leg (just with a pencil) to keep track of which one goes where.

Kmart Stool Hack

STEP 3 CUT FIRST BRACE TO LENGTH

Decide at approximately what height you’d like your braces to sit (mine are 16cm/6″ from the floor). Flip your stool over, measure down two of the legs and make reference marks at your desired height.

Measure and Mark

Next, measure between these marks from the approximate center point of each leg – this is the length for your first brace (mine was 24cm/9.5″).

Stool Hack

Transfer this measurement to your dowel and cut it to length.

Dowel Brace

Note: Don’t be too concerned about precision. This isn’t a millimeter perfect kind of project. As long as you don’t cut your brace too short, you can always trim it down later if you find it’s too long.

Rasping the Ends

STEP 4 RASP FIRST BRACE ENDS

In order to slot the brace into the legs the ends need to be whittled down. There are a few different ways you could go about this though I decided to use a rasp. If you’ve never used a rasp before it might seem daunting or difficult though it’s actually pretty quick and easy.

With the dowel secured in a vice (or similar) begin by rasping out a rough square.

Rasping the Brace

Next, round off the corners to create more of a cone shape (sort of like an over-sized pencil). It doesn’t need to be quite this pointed – this is just the shape I ended up with.

Rasping the Brace Ends

You can be as rustic or refined as you like. I wanted a somewhat rough, hand-crafted look so wasn’t too fussy. You can create a smoother, more tapered finish using a finer rasp, some sandpaper and a bit more time and care.

Drilling with a Spade Bit

STEP 5 DRILL HOLES FOR FIRST BRACE

Mark the inside points on your stool legs where the brace will be inserted (ensure the legs are screwed in tightly as this will dictate their final position).

Marking the Stool

Unscrew the legs and secure in a vice (or similar). Select a spade drill bit a few sizes smaller than your dowel then drill a hole, stopping just before you go right through the leg.

Drilling with a Spade Bit

This was the first time I had used a spade bit and it was really easy. Ensure you hold the drill nice and straight and apply steady even pressure. You can stop every now and again to check your progress and feel the underside of the dowel for the tip (this is how I ensured I didn’t drill too far through). Just be careful not to force things as the bit can easily bite into and gauge the timber. Let the tool do the work.

With the holes drilled, check that the brace fits okay.

Check that the Brace Fit

Again, things don’t need to be perfect. You just need to be able to insert enough of the brace so it can be secured with glue later on. If your holes seem too large you can always use excess glue and fill any gaps. If your holes seem too small you can re-drill them with a larger spade bit or rasp the brace ends further.

Once you’re happy, screw the legs back into the stool and test the brace in position.

Testing the Brace

There should be enough movement in the legs to splay them as needed to insert the brace (given the screws for the angle brackets haven’t been secured too tightly – as mentioned in Step 2). Don’t worry if things look a little imperfect. Everything will come together – promise!

Kmart Stool Hack

STEP 6 CUT SECOND BRACE TO LENGTH

With the stool still assembled, determine the position for the second brace. Measure the remaining leg from the floor up (again, 16cm/6″ in my case – as per the height of the first brace) and make a mark.

Measuring the Second Brace

Next, measure between this mark and the approximate center of the first brace from the mid-points of both the leg and brace – this is the length for your second brace (mine was 22cm/8″). Transfer this measurement to your dowel and cut it to length.

Rasping the Ends

STEP 7 RASP SECOND BRACE ENDS

Repeat the process from Step 4 by rasping both ends of the second brace.

Drilling with a Spade Bit

STEP 8 DRILL HOLES FOR SECOND BRACE

Mark the inside point on the stool leg where the second brace will be inserted (the first brace can be swiveled as needed so there is no need to determine its inside point). Unscrew the leg and remove the first brace then drill two holes following the process from Step 5.

Assemble the Stool

Once you’re happy that everything fits okay, dry assemble the stool to check it all goes together well enough. Remember, we’re not going for precision here so don’t be concerned if things aren’t ‘craftsman’ standard. The primitive imperfections will be this stools triumph!

Glue and Clamp

STEP 9 GLUE & CLAMP

Remove the braces and place a generous amount of wood glue in each hole.

Glue the Braces

Insert the braces again, wipe away any excess glue then fully tighten the bracket screws. Clamp everything in position until set.

Stain and Seal

STEP 10 STAIN & SEAL

There are a heap of different ways the stool can be finished. I wanted an aged, rustic, primitive look (which I think suits the nature of this hack) however you can create whatever look you like.

Remove the clamps and fill any gaps around the braces if needed (I personally didn’t bother). If desired, use some tools (I just used my rasp) to randomly distress the stool all-over before lightly sanding everything to smooth any overly rough areas and create a good surface for the ensuing stain.

Distress the Wood

Note: Given the braces were purposefully imperfect, distressing the whole stool gives everything a sense of intention and unity.

Wipe clean then apply your choice of paint or stain (I used one coat of teak stain).

Staining the Stool

This is where the magic happens. Because my stool was only partially raw and had heavily distressed areas the stain produced a lovely inconsistent finish with lots of tonal variation. This is what I wanted and is one of my favourite looks. If you’re after a more even finish, sand the entire stool back to raw first. To bring everything together and provide some protection, finish by sealing the stool (I used one light coat of danish oil which is super easy to apply, enriches the timber and produces a subtle lustre).

Applying Danish Oil

It looks quite glossy in the above pic because, obviously, it’s wet. Danish oil mellows beautifully as it dries (conditioning you don’t apply it overly thickly as it needs to somewhat penetrate the timber).

DONE!

Kids' Kmart Stool Hack

DIY Display Stool Makeover

These pics are taken in my bathroom – which I’ve never shared on the blog before!

I love it!

Kmart Stool Hack

I realise this hack might seem a little lengthy and complex (that’s likely due to my penchant to thoroughly explain processes!) though it’s actually quite simple. Still, if you want to avoid the whole rasping side of things you can use a much thinner dowel and insert it into the legs.

Here you can see where the braces adjoin the legs and how the fact they’re not perfect doesn’t matter one bit.

DIY Stool Hack Braces

Stool Braces

To make things look pretty I dressed the top with a vintage glass bottle holding fern sprigs, a simple nail brush and an old brass ‘pocket change’ dish cradling a cake of the world’s most photogenic soap.

Stool Vignette

I hope this project helps inspire!

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Easy Rustic Stool Hack using a $12 Kids' Stool

 

How to Transform a House on a Budget

How to Transform A House on a Budget

This is one post I thought I’d never publish.

If you follow me socially (on Facebook or Instagram) you may have seen a sneak peek of this makeover and read about my reservations in sharing it here.

Basically, this is my gran’s house which we suddenly needed to sell after she was moved into an aged care facility a few months back. Having been on the market for several years prior with absolutely no interest, we (being mainly my parents, my aunt and myself) knew it needed to be somewhat over-hauled for sale. Though not only did we need to sell it, we needed to sell it relatively quickly, and at a certain price point (in order to avoid interest fees and cover all costs associated with the aged care facility).

The problem? Well, make that problems. We had a large and incredibly dated house, a super limited budget and my gran lives an eight hour round trip away!

I knew from the start that the budget limitations, logistical challenges and time constraints would result in a rather “make do” renovation. Hence, it was never my intention to share it here due to some reservations about how well it would reflect my expected style and standards (blogland can be a scarily lofty and judgmental place nowadays!).

Still, although it took a bit of courage, I posed the question on some of my social channels and was completely overwhelmed by the response…you wanted to see and learn more about this “real life” flip. How could I argue?

Granted, I did show the absolute best room in my social posts, and am still kinda nervous about sharing the entire ‘warts-n-all’ house, though I was incredibly stirred by all of the comments and have even reassessed the direction this blog should be heading in :)

Although we have specifically flipped this property for sale, many of these tactics can be used if you’re simply wanting to improve the look and feel of your current home, or may help shine light on the potential in a seemingly awful house if you’re looking to buy.

Anyhoo, here was our glorious starting point…

Sorry about the quality of the photos and the watermarks. Because I never intended to blog about this refresh, I didn’t take proper before pics. These are some images I managed to find online from when the property was originally listed a couple of years back. Nothing much had changed.

This is a two story house comprising of a three bedroom, one bathroom main residence on the first floor, and a fully self-contained one bedroom, one bathroom unit on the ground floor.

Our initial plan was simple; de-clutter, replace the floor coverings in the main living space and make the most of the existing furnishings. As things progressed the improvement was clear, though it just didn’t feel as good as it could. Any new positive changes we made only seemed to highlight all of the old negatives! I knew that with just a tad more effort, and the addition of some thrifty staging pieces, we could give it some real zing – and, in turn, better capitalise on all of the work we were investing.

As we were on a tight budget and timeline, it was important to pick our battles. A full renovation was just plain unrealistic. And rather than task ourselves with cosmetically over-hauling the entire house, we decided to make the living space our main focus. I figured if we could somewhat wow people with a nice first impression, then make the remainder of the house pleasant enough through ‘dressing’, it would create a good overall vibe and demonstrate the potential.

The main problem with the living space (aside from everything) was the wood burning fire.

Living Beofre

It was smack bang in the middle of the room and virtually impossible to configure furniture around – I can’t count the number of times I’ve said “why the feck did they put it there?” Removing it seemed daunting, though after some inspection we deduced it was merely sitting on a floating brick hearth. As we were replacing the flooring anyway, all we needed to do was remove the fire and hearth, trim the flue off below the roofline then patch a basic hole in the ceiling – easy! We even managed to re-purpose the fire as an outdoor heater in one of the alfresco seating areas.

After a fresh coat of paint (Dulux “Natural White” on the walls and ceiling | Dulux “Grey Pail” quarter on the panelled wall) it felt so much crisper.

DIY Budget House Flip

We also sprayed the existing ceiling fans and track lights white to freshen them up. New carpet was a must. We went with the most affordable option we could find, though I actually really like it! In fact, it reminds me of sisal. It has a neat loop, natural tone and nice sandy fleck which seems fitting given this is a coastal property (plus it’s apparently super durable too).

One other change which made a surprisingly big difference was removing the security screen from the sliding door. This was actually a happy accident. We took it off to repair it and noticed how much more open and modern the space suddenly felt. Not to mention the way the ocean views were instantly emphasised! We went on to remove all of the security screens (and some of the old fly screens) from the entire house. A free and simple change which made a big aesthetic difference.

Before and After with Security Screen

Note: I know what some of you are probably thinking: “But now people can break in more easily” or “That will effect the home insurance”. Maybe so, maybe not. The fact is, security screens certainly aren’t a must and many homes don’t have them. It’s something for the new owners to assess.

The only other thing we did in the room was dress it with some contemporary furnishings. I had my doubts about the feasibility of this. To keep costs down, I normally source second-hand furniture, though this can be a lengthy process: you need to find the right piece at the right price in the right location, then you possibly need to refurbish it – and in this case we’re talking about staging an entire house! We just didn’t have the time for that.

Budget Friendly Home Refresh

Thank god for Kmart! Accent chairs, side table, TV unit, console table and two of the dining chairs all came from Kmart. We also have three bar stools and four cube shelves in the kitchen area from Kmart. All up everything cost under $370.

Note: For my international readers, here in Australia Kmart is the current go-to store for accessible, inexpensive and on-trend furniture and home decor.

The remainder of the furniture was found on eBay. Dining table and sofa were $200 each. The set of four dining chairs was $80 and the large coffee table, which we painted blue-grey to match the panelled wall, was $30.

Budget House Refresh

One of the trickiest things to source was an affordable large rug (I needed something at least 2×3 meters/7×10 feet). After looking in vain for something second-hand, I eventually stumbled across a rug warehouse being advertised through Marketplace on Facebook. They only had a few options in my size and price-range, and this one wasn’t exactly what I had in mind, though for just $150 it would do. My other option was the LOHALS from IKEA, which I do like and have used before, though I opted for some pattern this time around.

DIY Budget House Flip

So, for just a smidge over $1,000 we had managed to furnish the entire open-plan living, dining, kitchen space. Not bad.

Most of the decor is pretty incidental. Some of it we already owned, some of it we salvaged from op shops and some of it we bought from inexpensive homeware stores. I’ll spare you all the specifics given this is a looooong post, though feel free to ask about anything in particular.

House Flip Before and After

Although it would have been amazing to renovate the kitchen, as already mentioned, due to time and budget restraints we had to pick our battles. Given the kitchen was in good condition and relatively neutral we opted to simply freshen it up with a few basic changes.

Kitchen Before

We replaced the carpet with plank sheet vinyl, painted the backsplash tiles white, added handles to the cabinet doors, changed the taps, painted the pantry door, painted the rear of the peninsula, and added a floating shelf to give purpose to the rear wall.

Kitchen Refresh

Kitchen Refresh After

The large fridge nook was tricky. I thought it would have been cool to take up the space with side-by-side fridges – though where was I going to get matching ones from? Then I had the idea of centering the fridge and flanking it with little shelves ($15 each from Kmart). This was an easy fix which works well to make the unorthodox cavity seem intentional.

Fridge Nook Before and After

I wanted to add little feet to the cabinets to bring them up to fridge height, then maybe a shelf along the top, though we ran out of time. It’s hard to see in the pic, though I’ve placed some simple white ceramicware in the little cubbies.

Of course, it would have been great if we’d had the opportunity to paint the cabinet doors and maybe add some moulding to them, change the countertops and install some hanging pendants over the peninsula. I even wanted to paint the fridge pastel blue and install a faux rangehood! If the house was closer all these extra jobs would have been more achievable in little bursts here and there. As things stood, we accomplished as much as possible in the limited weekends we could afford. Trust me, they were very BUSY weekends!

Kitchen Before and After

Although the bathroom, like the kitchen, could have benefited from a full renovation that was beyond our scope of works, and, like the kitchen, it was in good condition.

Bathroom Before

So, to neaten things up we painted the walls and ceiling (unlike the remainder of the first floor it did need a fresh coat of paint), changed the taps, framed the wall mirror with some trim, added moulding to and painted the vanity doors, changed the vanity door handles, installed a new toilet roll holder and some towel hooks, then dressed the space minimally.

Bathroom

Bathroom

I realise these ‘afters’ are essentially akin to ‘befores’ though please be kind :)

The faux roman blind my mum made, complete with leather loops (which are actually re-purposed handbag straps!) is my favourite.

Time and budget permitting I probably would have also painted the wall tiles, clad the floor with something (maybe peel-and-stick planks), replaced the shower screen (or painted the existing frame black) and painted or replaced the basin. Nothing too extravagant, just a few simple additional updates to modernise things.

Bathroom Before and After

Thankfully the paint and floor coverings throughout the remainder of the first floor were relatively neutral and in good condition so we could simply concentrated on dressing things up as best we could.

The three bedrooms are nothing special. We used what we had, adding in a few new inexpensive items here and there, to make them more appealing.

Bedroom Refresh

The master bedroom got a statement light fitting ($40 from eBay), sheer curtains ($30 from IKEA), new side tables and lamps ($15 each from Kmart), two end of bed ottomans ($15 each from Kmart) and an accent rug ($28 on sale from Target). The artwork and most of the bedding we already had and the bedhead was a super easy DIY.

Bedroom Before and After

We decided to turn the smallest bedroom (which was previously gran’s home office/weird guest bedroom) into a sweet little girl’s room. We installed a canopy ($12 from eBay), painted a side table we already owned, created a light fixture from a mesh bowl ($8 from Kmart), made a simple bamboo ladder to hold books and printed some downloadable art to fill a few thrifted frames. The rug, stool and decor was found when we shopped the house and most of the bedding we already had.

Bedroom Before and After

The third upstairs bedroom is quite basic. We re-orientated it to make it appear more spacious, re-purposed another bowl to form the light fixture ($6 from Kmart), hung some new simple curtains ($20 on sale from Spotlight) and added a side table ($25 from Kmart). The large wall chart and bedding we already owned (the beds themselves are the same too – you just can’t see the frames in the before pic). There is also a cane chair (just in shot) and small desk on one wall which gran already had.

Note: Little details can make a difference. Use attractive light bulbs if they are visible in your fixtures. We replaced all of gran’s ugly curly bulbs with pretty round edison ones.

The ground floor is actually fully self-contained. It includes an open-plan living/dining/kitchen, a bathroom/laundry and a bedroom. So, although it’s attached to the main house and can be used in conjunction with it, it could also be reserved for guests, or used as an income suite or holiday rental (which is pretty cool).

Here are some of the before pics again…

Before

Um, yeah.

By the time we got to this area, we were pretty much out of time, energy and decor.

It would have been great to change the fluro light fittings and paint the peach walls though that wasn’t going to happen – remember, our battles needed to be thoughtfully picked. One major thing we did decide to do was replace the flooring. You can’t see it in the before photos, though the original carpet didn’t actually extend to the walls! There was a two inch gap around the entire perimeter where you could see the concrete sub-floor (thanks to some dodgy DIY). We sourced some inexpensive second-hand floor tiles ($330 total) to re-cover the living space and bedroom. Laying these was somewhat fiddly though easy enough. For the dining and kitchen area, we installed new vinyl planks ($500).

Living Space After

To create a focal point my aunt donated her old free-standing fuel burning fireplace for which mum and I built a simple surround using scrap timber – we were super proud of ourselves (if you want to create a similar focal point, you don’t need a working fireplace, a salvaged mantel filled with candles or branches or a large plant works a treat too). The bulky old couch and armchairs were donated and replaced with a cane setting I found on the side of the road (I couldn’t believe my luck – took a different route home from school one day and there they were with a ‘FREE’ sign on them!). The coffee table is actually the original dining table (as can be seen in the before pics) which I trimmed down.

Living Space After

We kept the existing dining chairs and added a new rectangular table which suits the space better. The plastic kitchen pulls were replaced with new black metal ones and some simple sea fan prints give the broken wall a sense of continuity. The fridge was moved to beside the pantry and the lower portion of gran’s buffet (which was originally upstairs) now acts as a dining room sideboard.

Before and After Living Zone

As mentioned above, we were running low on decor at this point so did the best with what we had. It’s not perfect, and far from how I would ordinarily style a space, though it’s fine.

Before and After Donwstairs

The downstairs bedroom was very last minute however I’m really happy with how it came together.

Bedroom Before and After

A sheer curtain (left-over from the master bedroom upstairs) adds a touch of softness and I just love the bedside lights. I wanted to do something interesting in this room to create a point of difference. Of course, installing hanging pendants was out of the question so instead I found these candle holders ($10 each on clearance from Bunnings) then attached them to the ceiling with some hooks and cord. Although they aren’t wired they hold remote operated battery candles so they do actually work as a light source! The bedside tables are from Kmart ($29 each) and the artwork was a free download I printed and framed. Most of the bedding and decor we already had.

The final room is the unusual ‘wet room’, as we call it. It encompasses a little vanity, a laundry area, and a toilet and shower concealed behind sliding doors.

Like I said, it’s unusual.

Bathroom Before and After

This room did get a fresh coat of paint (“Natural White” as per the upstairs living space). We also needed to replace the original sliding doors and tracks which were falling apart. I wanted to DIY this though at gran’s house we just didn’t have the right tools (or enough time) so we had them professionally installed ($600 – could easily have done it for half the price ourselves). I added some strap hinges to dress them up a bit.

Bathroom After

We painted the vanity, replaced the knobs and taps, hung a salvaged mirror (this is nice and long to extend down over the backsplash and cover the one dated patterned tile in the room!), installed a new shower curtain, added a basket shade to the ceiling light and framed an old pillowcase to act as wall art. An IKEA runner rug, some modern towels and a few decor accents help detract from the negatives and create a sense of comfort.

And so concludes the longest blog post in the history of blog posts! Phew!

Whether you’re selling a house, buying a house, or looking to improve your existing house, there are lots of easy and effective improvements you can make on a budget.

As I mentioned at the beginning of this post, the main reason I was hesitant to share this refresh is because it doesn’t necessarily reflect my personal style or standards. Although it was fun to go for a different look, and liberating not to feel confined by having everything ‘just so’, I do wish I’d had a bit more time to finesse things. Oh well.

Also, the photos I took were all shot for real estate purposes so they’re not composed or staged anywhere nearly as prettily (or magazine-y) as usual. Again, oh well.

On the interior we spent $7,000 total – for EVERYTHING. There was an additional $13,000 spent on the exterior which can be mainly attributed to replacing a large deck (the existing one was dangerously weathered). So, all up we spent $20,000.

Four months ago, prior to the revamp, we had the property valued by two agents. One quoted $260,000, the other $280,000. Two weeks ago, with the refresh complete, we were quoted $359,000! I honestly thought the agent had got his numbers mixed up! That’s a profit of around $70,000. Not bad, huh?

It was never our intention to greatly improve the value of the house. Our prerogative was simply to make it appealing for a quick sale, so the jump in price has been a major bonus!

Of course, the best thing is that gran is just thrilled.

Here are some of my tips at a glance…

DE-CLUTTER

I can’t stress enough how vital this step is. And how transformative and inspiring it can be! For me, de-cluttering involves taking a room back to its bare bones, creating a blank canvas to freshly build upon. This means removing all free-standing items along with any fixtures (of course, for practicality purposes any pieces which you intend to keep can stay though I like to clear as much as possible). Light fixtures, window dressings, furniture, decor, hardware, even floor coverings or built-in cabinetry if you intend to replace them, should be removed. Up-cycle, re-purpose, sell or donate whatever you can. Sometimes it’s difficult to imagine what a room can be. De-cluttering helps provide the mental and visual clarity to capitalise on its potential.

PICK YOUR BATTLES

It’s not always viable to undertake a complete renovation which is when tackling the right projects becomes super important. Whether you’re preparing a house for sale or refreshing your own home, creating a neat and clean environment should be priority one. Repair, replace or remove anything which is broken, damaged, or just looks plain untidy, then concentrate on renewing the most dated (or hideous!) features. If your budget won’t stretch to refurbishing the entire house, choose a focus area to completely transform. This will provide impact, leave a strong impression and hint at the home’s on-going potential. Sometimes, when you scatter little projects about here and there, the effect can be lost.

PRETTY OVER PRACTICAL

I know this is a big no-no ordinarily, though if you’re selling there is a place for it. You may well use them everyday, though removing, hiding or reconfiguring items like bulky or excess furniture, ugly security screens, IT/AV equipment (and their visible cords), small appliances and window dressings can make your home feel bigger, cleaner and more spacious. In short, it can look much more appealing.

LEAVE SOMETHING

If you don’t have the ability to undertake a full renovation, leaving some areas untouched isn’t always a bad thing. Many buyers like having an excuse to add their own touch. Of course, always ensure each space is neat, clean and liveable though.

DRESS IT UP

Although it might be tempting to clear your house for sale, thoughtfully dressed homes always present better. It may seem like an empty house will feel more spacious and move-in-ready, however furniture actually helps provide scale, making rooms (especially small ones) appear larger. It also gives purpose to spaces which people may otherwise not have been able to envision. Done well, dressing will make a house sing, working to highlight all the good features whilst diminishing the bad! But where do all of these ‘dressing’ items come from? Of course, you don’t want to spend a small fortune on furniture and decor you technically don’t need, and hire companies can be incredibly expensive. Use as much of what you already have as possible, up-cycling or re-purposing as needed. Shop second-hand, keep an eye on the curb or buy from discount stores. Focus on scale, lay-out and colour to ensure rooms feel spacious, fresh and unified. If you’re unsure what to do with the pieces you’ve acquired, considering selling furnished (that’s what we’ve decided to do). This is especially attractive to buyers looking for income properties or holiday homes.

DON’T MAKE IT ‘YOURS’

You want any prospective buyers to be able to envisage a home as ‘theirs’. So, whilst it can be tempting to appease your own design sensibilities, try to keep things relatively neutral and on-trend to appeal to a wide audience. This may mean putting your personal taste aside. That said, it is still important to create a sense of homeyness, so try doing this by using different textures, inviting colours, earthy elements, interesting wall art, books and generic personal items.

AVOID TRADES

Of course, certain jobs require a professional, though tradespeople can swallow up huge chunks of your budget. Wherever possible, DIY and avoid engaging trades. When you absolutely need to use a tradesperson, keep things as quick, concise and minimal as possible. Of course, I realise this sadly isn’t always in your control.

So, what are your thoughts? Is this the type of ‘real life’ revamp you’d like to see more of? Or were you completely underwhelmed? Feel free to leave your honest feedback – I can totally take it and will completely understand.

If anything, I hope it has given some of you inspiration :)

Given there are sooooo many different little projects, I haven’t provided in-depth details for everything. Please ask if you’d like more info about anything in particular.

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So, this is what I’ve been up to for the past several weeks. Sorry I’ve been absent. Hopefully I’ll be able to get back into the regular swing of things now.

The house has been on the market for just over two weeks now and I’m happy to report we’ve already had lots of interest! If you’re looking for a lovely move-in ready property on Australia’s sought-after south-eastern coast, you can find the real estate listing here for further information – and to contact the agent to submit your offer ;)

 

UPDATE

The house is now sold! Learn more HERE.

 

Budget-Friendly DIY Bathroom Reveal!

I know it’s been a long time coming, though the most protracted bathroom makeover in history is ready for its close up…or wide angle…or medium range shot…or whatever sort of photo it takes to finally get this bleeping room up on the blog!

Bathroom Makeover on a Budget

There’s really no good reason it’s taken me several months to complete. I mean, it’s not astoundingly brilliant, we didn’t run into any issues. I guess, as a low priority project, it just took as long as it took. If you’ve been waiting for the reveal, I’m really sorry for how bad I suck at time management, and hope the room is decent enough to somewhat make up for it.

This is the main bathroom at my parent’s house (as they’re now empty nesters it’s rarely used – hence my lack of urgency in getting it done!). They originally renovated it around 25 years ago and, as you can clearly see, it was badly in need of an update.

Bathroom Before

Before

Bathroom Before

Before

Before

Sorry, had to take the before shots at night before we started working on it.

Hello beige and cream!

Aside from looking pretty darn ugly, there wasn’t anything really ‘wrong’ with the space. I mean, nothing was badly broken or overly damaged, it functioned well and had everything it needed (there’s a toilet in a separate room). Although a major renovation would have been nice, it also would have been unnecessary – not to mention super pricey. Besides, there’s just something incredibly rewarding about transforming what you already have.

So that’s what we did!

Budget DIY Bathroom Update

Aside from the shower base and vanity top, which mum chose to have professionally refinished, the installation of a new shower screen, and some minor plumbing and electrical work, which some friends helped with, my parents and I did everything ourselves.

It’s funny, though we never had a distinct design plan. Our main objective was simply to give the room a fresh, bright, sophisticated-yet-comfortable feel.  And because mum loves blue and white we decided to start with that and go from there. Luckily, for some strange reason, she trusted me and it all seems to have worked out!

Paint was a MAJOR player in this transformation! The floor, tiles, walls, ceiling, vanity, bath panelling, door and architraves were all freshly coated.

DIY Painted Vinyl Floor in Bathroom

The vinyl floor was hand-painted using a tile stencil from Etsy, Rustoleum chalk paint (in ‘Coastal Blue’) and Cabots CFP sealer (you can find my basic floor painting tutorial here). It was completed several months back and has held up fantastically.

Note: The faux tile sheet vinyl which can be seen in the before photos was pulled up to reveal an older layer of plain vinyl beneath. This is what we painted.

Budget-Friendly Bathroom After

Mum painted the wall tiles using Rustoleum Tub & Tile paint. Brightening those dull tan tiles and losing the dated feature mural made a huge difference!

Benchtop with Subtle Fleck

The vanity base was painted in a crisp white semi-gloss. As mentioned above, the top was professionally refinished and although it’s hard to see in the photos, has a faint stone-like fleck (you can just make it out in the above pic – it cost around $350).

DIY Painted Bathroom Update

Mum wanted to paint the bathtub panelling white too though I convinced her to use the navy we had left-over from the floor (we added a bit of black to make it a tad darker and less saturated). It references the stencil, adds depth and creates a bit of drama. I think it was the right move.

The bath itself was in great condition so wasn’t touched.

DIY Budget Friendly Bathroom Makeover

To provide a subtle contrast for all the white we went with a smokey grey (Dulux ‘Limed White’ Quarter) on the walls.

Amazing DIY Budget-Friendly Bathroom Makeover

As things were coming together it became apparent to me that we needed some wood! Nothing brings warmth and depth to a space like natural timber. It took some coaxing, though I eventually convinced mum to strip the cabinet doors rather than re-paint them. Their rustic golden finish is just perfect!

Bathroom Makeover on a Budget

The entry door got a little makeover too with some new trim and fresh white paint (you can find my tutorial for adding trim to plain doors here).

DIY Door Moulding

I know some people probably consider it dated, though we kept the ceramic handle. I think it’s classic and understated.

As mentioned above, although I like to work with what’s already in a space, there are some things which are best replaced.

The shower screen had seen better days so was switched out for a new glass door (it cost $450). It looks soooo much cleaner.

Bahroom Makeover with Glass Shower

And as mentioned above, mum had the shower base professionally resurfaced for $350.

The original basin, which was pokey and off-center, was upgraded to a RATTVIKEN from Ikea.

Ikea Basin

Although these basins are really designed to sit atop a wash stand, we like the uniqueness of it on the long vanity and the character the collar provides.

All of the old chrome tapware got updated to brass which compliments the navy accents perfectly. The shower and bath fixtures are simply from Bunnings (around $80 per set – sorry, I can’t see them on the website anymore) and I found the basin mixer on eBay for $60.

We toyed with lots of DIY ideas to upgrade the existing sconces though then one day I happened to stumble across these ones on eBay…for $25 each! How could I say no? I’d seen similar ones for almost $400!

Brass Sconce Lights

The ugly old ceiling exhaust was replaced with a simple $50 glass batton fix light from Bunnings (dad installed a new extraction fan above the shower). We considered using a fancy pendant though the ceilings aren’t very high and we figured there was already enough going on in the room.

DIY Budget-Friendly Bathroom Redo

The vanity and cabinet handles were on sale from Bunnings for just $4 each! They were originally silver so we spray painted them gold. “Gold?” I hear you say, “they look pretty black to me”. Well, yes, I decided I didn’t like the gold so we tried matte black instead – much better!

You’ve actually probably noticed there’s a mix of metals. It wasn’t our intention to have brass, gold, black and chrome though it just kinda worked out that way – mainly due to cost and availability (for example, the shower door fittings were just offered in silver or white, and the sconces came in antique brass only). Though far from detracting from the overall scheme, I think it actually adds interest. So, if you’re agonising over mixing metals, I say chill.

Everything else in the space is just ‘dressing’.

The little stool is a hacked Kmart piece (find the tutorial here). All up it cost less than $20.

DIY Painted Vinyl Floor in Bathroom

The lovely turkish towels, which hang on $3 SVARTSJON hooks from Ikea, were a bit of a splurge at $28 each. I justified the expense by gifting them to mum for her birthday.

Bathroom with Turkish Towels

Ikea Hooks and Turkish Towels

From the beginning I envisioned a single portrait on the rear wall. This one, of my mum, was a fun DIY I shared a few years back. You can find the full how to here.

Eclectic Classic Bathroom

The other artwork is a sweet vintage print from the op shop.

Bathroom Makeover

And beside it is this lovely washroom coat hook from Abodent.

Wash Room Hook

I was going to leave the top of the cabinet empty, though then I started filling it with our collection of green glassware and couldn’t stop!

Green Glassware Collection

Green Glassware in Bathroom

I get like that with green glassware!

The round mirror is an inexpensive Ikea piece (I can’t find it on their website anymore though mirrors like this are available in lots of places nowadays). It was originally silver so we spray painted it gold. “Gold?” I hear you say, “it looks pretty black to me”. Well, yes, I decided I didn’t like the gold so we tried matte black instead – much better! Is anyone else having deja vu? He, he.

Ikea Basin

Finally, on the vanity a $12 gold metal tray from H&M holds a few vintage finds.

Bathroom Tray

Okay, I think that’s it. Man, that was a looooong post. Now I see why I procrastinated over writing it – ha, ha.

Sorry I don’t have step-by-step tutorials for all of the projects though my parent’s did a lot of the work whilst I was home wrangling my kidlets. If you have any questions, please ask away.

As always, I really hope this has motivated you to have a go at working with something you have. It’s easy to give up on an ugly room, or to get hooked on the design minutiae, though with some imagination, adaptability and your very own hands, reinvention is totally possible.

Now, to finish, some before and after comparisons just for fun.

Bathroom Before

Bathroom Makeover After

Before

Bathroom Makeover After

Bathroom Before 2

Bathroom Makeover After

Before

DIY Bathroom Makeover After

Before

Shower After

I just did some rough calculations and the ENTIRE makeover came in at well under $2,000. Not bad!

I hope you like it.

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DIY Budget-Friendly Bathroom Makeover

In other news, I recently started a home decorating Facebook group!

With a focus on stylish, budget-friendly, DIY interior decorating, it’s a positive community of home enthusiasts designed to enlighten, encourage and empower everyone to craft a home they truly love!

You can share information and find creative ideas, ask a question or offer advice, or inspire others by showing-off your latest project or product find.

I’d love to see you there!

JOIN MY HOME DECORATING GROUP HERE