Preparing the House For Sale…and a special reader offer

This post is sponsored by Fantastic Services.

All images and opinions are my own.

Bedroom Makeover

One of the inevitable tasks when preparing a house for sale is cleaning.

And, I’m not gonna lie, it’s definitely my least favourite!

In fact, I was actually really dreading it for my mother-in-laws property. Although the house itself isn’t particularly large, it’s quite vast due to high vaulted ceilings, and also has lots of fiddly rustic details. On top of this things had been a bit neglected over the years so it was never going to be a quick and easy chore.

Obviously we already had a very long ‘to do’ list, and although cleaning was always a priority, every time I thought about it my heart sank a bit. I know that’s melodramatic, but it’s honestly how I felt. I guess the strain of the past year had just left me a little more stretched than usual.

Coffee Table

So it was such a relief when I was contacted by Fantastic Services.

They offer a wide range of home services, from regular domestic cleaning to end-of-lease cleaning, gardening and pest control, to specialised tasks such as surface honing and appliance cleaning.

Dining Table

Not being one to usually consider hiring cleaners, accepting this opportunity felt a little bit indulgent, but also incredibly liberating! It was like a weight had been lifted from my shoulders.

We were fortunate to have two cleaners attend the property to undertake Spring Cleaning. This is a one-off service you can fully customise to suit your needs.

Once they’d finished working their magic, and I walked inside the house, I finally felt the motivation needed to start the staging process. It wasn’t as though they had simply cleaned the house, but also cleansed my mind! Does that sound crazy? Regardless, I’d probably never felt more sane!

I’m still working through all the after photos so am just sharing these sneak peeks for now.

Bedside Table


I’ll be back soon to share all the “proper” after pics, but I wanted to publish this post for now because if you’re in need of some help around the house, Fantastic Services has been kind enough to offer all of my readers an exclusive $20 credit!

Simply click HERE and create an account to claim your discount (ensure ‘thepaintedhive’ is entered in the Referral Code field).


If you missed my introduction to this house staging project, check out my original post HERE.

A New House Staging Project

Just in case anyone has been wondering where I’ve been…







Sorry about the quality of these photos. I never took “proper” before pics so these are merely phone snaps. Some are taken after I already started decluttering (hence the lack of stuff), others are taken mid clear-out (hence the abundance of stuff).

Several weeks back I started work on a new house staging project which I never intended to share here (sound familiar?).

This is actually the house of my beautiful mother-in-law who sadly passed away late last year. I won’t go into things too deeply, but obviously it was very difficult and certainly not made any easier by the whole COVID-19 fiasco here in Melbourne at the time.

Needless to say there were quite a few false starts with the house preparedness situation given pandemic restrictions, so the process has been quite unpredictable, but that’s not the main reason I never intended to share it.

You see, unlike some of my past “flips” where we undertook minor (and even some major) home improvement works to bring the property up to a certain standard, the scope of this project never extended that far.

Although totally liveable, the house is a bit of a fixer-upper, so short of tackling a full-on reno prior to the sale (which, very fairly, no-one was interested in), it just made sense to leave the bones be to allow freedom for any new buyer to put their own stamp on things.

This isn’t to say that there was little work undertaken. Properly preparing any house for sale is never quick and easy – and deceased estates often bear the additional burden of emotional stress. We all spent several weekends gardening, decluttering, packing, fixing, cleaning, and so on. And general maintenance will persist until the hammer falls.

Given there was no hiding the fact the house itself was a little outdated, our plan was simply to make it look as stylish as possible so any prospective buyer can see the imminent appeal, along with envisaging any future potential.

Of course, as a result of the current state of the house though, I didn’t have a particularly fresh and modern canvas to build upon. And this, paired with time and budget constraints, meant we were never going to have an especially amazing outcome. I mean, staging can be powerful but it’s not exactly magic! I even told myself not to go to too much effort.

But that’s easier said than done!

As per usual I got carried away…painting furniture I said would be fine as is, scouring Marketplace at 2AM, driving over an hour to collect a table because it was “such a bargain”, raiding friend’s homes for quilt covers they clearly didn’t need, coming up with resourceful ways to use old curtains. You know, all that usual stuff that totally sane people do all the time. Honestly, the past few weeks have been little more than a blur of sandpaper, broken fingernails, too many scatter cushions and full-to-the-brim car trips!

But as things started coming together in the house, much more successfully than I’d ever anticipated, I found myself feeling freshly optimistic – maybe staging is a bit magic after all!

I decided that whilst the house was never going to be perfect, it still deserved to shine as brightly as it could. It was time to take my fuss-pot hat off and share this project: warts and all. I’m pretty certain you guys will appreciate it and I can’t wait to divulge more!

I actually finished staging the house a few days back so it’s already completely done! I’ll be back with the after photos soon.






Easy DIY Shaker Peg Rail

Of all the ways to add a bit of custom charm to a standard DIY kitchen, I think shaker peg rails might just be my favourite!

Shaker Peg Rail DIY

This rail wasn’t part of my original plan for the suite extension kitchenette, but over the past few months it’s like they’ve been teasing me by showing up in every kitchen I’ve happened to come across! Of course, that’s not literally true, though in the kitchens they have appeared in, they definitely did jump out at me.

I think it was a sign.

DIY Shaker Peg Board

But more than being a momentary flight-of-fancy, shaker peg rails are incredibly classic (and super lovely!) so will easily stand the test-of-time in this suite extension where longevity is an important part of the brief.

This was such a quick, easy and affordable little project, costing less than $18 all up!

Here’s how I did it…



DIY Shaker Peg Rail Supplies

1 Wood

This is for the backing board. I used a sheet of  18mm/.7″ deep MDF which I got as an off-cut for $8. I found this to be cheapest and best-sized material but you could also use plywood, pine or hardwood.

Note: Ensure your backing board is deep enough to accommodate your shaker peg screws/tenons otherwise they will protrude through the back.

2 Shaker Pegs

I was so excited to come across these right here in Australia for such an amazing price! I found them at Wooden Bits & Bobs for under $2 each. I chose the 76mm/3″ screw option but they have a variety of styles and sizes to select from.

3 Paint

So that the peg rail fitted in perfectly with the kitchen I used the same paint we applied to the cabinetry (Dulux Aquanamel Semi-Gloss in ‘Oyster Linen’). Fortunately we had plenty left-over so didn’t need to buy a new tin.

4 Screws/Wall Anchors

We couldn’t locate our wall studs due to the pressed tin backsplash interfering with the stud finder (and my dad wasn’t keen on me making a bunch of holes trying to hit one!) so I used heavy duty wall anchors in the plaster. If you’re able to find your studs then screws alone will do the trick.

5 Filler/Caulk/Putty

I used timber putty to cover the screw heads, and filler to conceal any gaps around the edges of the peg rail.


In addition, you will need a saw, sandpaper, drill, paint brush/roller and screwdriver.



STEP 1 | Trim backing board to size.

DIY Shaker Peg Rail

You may be able to have the hardware store cut your backing board to size for you, but I just trimmed it down myself using a track saw. I cut it to fit between our overhead cabinets perfectly (which was around 1100mm/43″ long) and decided to make it 110mm/4″ high.

STEP 2 | Sand and paint.

Painted Rail

I figured it would be easier to paint the backing board before attaching the pegs so gave any rough bits a light sand then applied two coats of our chosen paint.

STEP 3 | Attach pegs.

DIY Shaker Peg Board

Once the backing board was dry, I measured out and drilled five holes for my shaker pegs before screwing them in by hand. It was super easy!

Attaching the Shaker Pegs

There’s no real reason I chose to use five pegs. I just wanted a nice spacious look. Here it is with the pegs still unpainted.

Shaker Peg Rail DIY

You could certainly leave the pegs natural, or stain them a deeper colour, if you wanted some contrast.

Note: Be sure to use a drill bit around two sizes smaller than your peg screws so they fit snuggly. You can also use some wood glue.

STEP 4 | Sand and paint pegs.

DIY Shaker Peg Board

If necessary, give your pegs a light sand (I found some of mine were quite rough) then paint.

STEP 5 | Attach to wall.

Drilling the Holes

Drill holes through your backing board sized to accommodate your screws (I went with two holes for the length of my board) then hold you rail in position on the wall, making sure it is nice and level, and poke the drill bit through each hole, just to mark the points on the wall where you will need to drill.

Note: Yes, you can hold the peg rail in place and drill through both the backing board and wall together though as the rail is kinda long and awkward it can be tricky and things might shift. Doing it separately is just an easier and more fool-proof method.

Using those points you marked on the wall, drill holes sized to accommodate your screws (if going into studs) or wall anchors (if going into plaster). Not gonna lie, drilling through the pressed tin was a little bit daunting! If you make a mistake you can’t just patch it like plaster!

DIY Shaker Peg Board

Note: Because wall anchors are so large I like to start by using a small drill bit to create a pilot hole before moving up to a larger drill bit. The smaller bit just allows for greater control and accuracy.

At this stage, if you are using wall anchors like me, push them into the wall until they sit flush.

Plaster Plugs

Sometimes you need to bang them with a mallet or hammer.

Next, using a drill bit slightly larger than your screw heads, drill shallow counter-sinking divots in the backing board at the point of each screw hole.

Countersinking Screws

These will allow the screw heads to be recessed so they can be concealed later. If necessary, sand any rough exposed edges.

Note: Go slowly drilling your counter-sinking holes. Large drill bits can bite-in really easily and before you know it you’ve gone too far through! You can even try drilling in reverse to avoid this risk.

DIY Shaker Peg Board How To

Finally, hold your rail in place so that the holes in the backing board and wall align, then screw in your screws so that the heads are recessed and the rail is nice and firm.

STEP 6 | Fill holes and paint.

Filling the Holes

Use some timber putty to cover the screw heads. Once it’s set, sand it back as needed then paint to match the rest of the rail. If you find the finish is uneven you may need to repeat this step.

Note: You may find you also have some small gaps around the edges of your rail. If so, use some regular filler or caulk to conceal them before painting.


DIY Shaker Peg Rail How To

DIY Shaker Peg Board

For under $18 it’s such a great little way to add some custom charm to a kitchen…or any other room for that matter!

How To Make a Shaker Peg Rail

For now I’ve just used some random decor bits and pieces we already had on hand, but the pegs provide the perfect avenue for getting creative with pretty yet practical styling and storage. I’m especially enamoured with the little hanging herb vessel I attached. It would be cute to have a collection of these to hold a variety of fresh sprigs from the garden.

Hanging Herb Bottle

We will be adding some floating shelves above (in fact, I’ve already started on those!) so ignore the fact things are currently looking a bit sparse.

DIY Shaker Peg Rail

As you can glimpse, the handles I shared in my last post have finally arrived and are attached, plus I made a decision on the rug I asked you guys about…


It was Number 1 for the win!

When I asked for opinions there was a really mixed response so I just went with my gut. Granted, I think Number 1 was possibly the least preferred option so if I don’t like it I guess I only have myself to blame!

But there are certainly no regrets concerning the shaker peg rail.



Catch up on all of the other suite extension posts HERE.


Shaker Peg Rail DIY

Suite Extension Progress | Pressed Tin, Brass Hardware & a “Leather” Sofa!

It may have been a long time coming, but work on the suite extension has finally re-commenced!

With local travel distance limits being lifted, my parents were able to visit a pressed tin supplier to solidify their kitchenette backsplash choice and, much to my surprise, came home an hour later with four panels of pretty sheet metal in the boot of their car!

Pressed Tin DIY

The “much to my surprise” is not because they rocked-up with something totally random (as we had already discussed what they wanted), but because they just went out and purchased it first go!

On average my mum usually requires at least a month and a half of contemplation time before committing to any major purchase (hmmm, I wonder where I get that from?).

Pressed Tin Backsplash

The panels are made from light-weight heat and rust resistant aluminum, and come raw. There are heaps of designs to choose from but deciding on this simple and classic pattern was pretty easy.

Pressed Tin

Some companies offer pre-primed or powder-coated sheets.
Powder-coating is not recommended by the supplier we used as it can apparently chip very easily during the cutting process. 

Although the preparatory and installation process isn’t overly difficult, it was a bit more fiddly than anticipated.

I won’t go into too much detail as there are plenty of expert guides out there, but basically all we did was first coat the panels with an etching primer before trimming them to size as needed using tin snips.

Priming the Panels

Then we attached them to the wall with adhesive, followed by some small nails (you can also use rivets).

Pressed Tin

To finish we caulked all the joins then painted the tin with two coats of water-based enamel (which is the paint type recommended by the supplier – we decided on Dulux Aquanamel in the colour ‘Snowy Mountains Half’) using a foam roller.

Pressed Tin DIY

Having never done anything quite like this before I was a little nervous about the outcome but am so happy with the result! I absolutely love it and my mum is over the moon because having pressed tin somewhere in her home has been a long standing dream of hers!

You can get pressed tin look tiles too, which we did contemplate and they do also look great, but in the end we decided to stick with the real thing.

The panels cost around $100 each and we used four (with plenty left-over). Tiles would have been quite a bit more expensive.

Now that we finally have a backsplash, we can complete the kitchenette!

We’ve ordered cabinet pulls and knobs



I’ve bought some shaker pegs to make a rail between the overheads…

Shaker Peg

And am even at the stage of considering decor, like one of these affordable runner rugs


Which one would you choose?

I’ve seen some other really cool rugs though the standard minimum runner length is 3 meters which is too long for our space. I’ve also found some amazing vintage options on Etsy, but man, they aren’t cheap! Plus, although I love the slightly disheveled nature of vintage rugs, imperfections aren’t really my mum’s thing. Which is totally fine.

In other news, my mum bought a sofa!


For a long time I thought we might use a white slipcovered sofa in the guest suite, but mum already has two slipcovered armchairs in her sitting room and doesn’t love the up-keep. With grandkids and dogs running around like crazy, I don’t blame her.

Leather was always another option, and in this case the clear best choice, and last week we came across this three seat sofa (which is actually synthetic buckskin) for under 1K. Yes please!

Mum has synthetic buckskin sofas, in a much darker finish, in her main living room (in fact, they are manufactured by the same company as the new sofa she just bought) and swears by them.

Living Room

I must admit, they are almost five years old and with all the abuse they cop, they do still come up like brand new!

The new sofa hasn’t been delivered yet but should arrive prior to Christmas. So perhaps we will actually be able to take a seat in the suite extension and share a glass of spiked eggnog to celebrate. Or maybe just some champagne because I really tried to like eggnog but I just don’t get it!


Catch up on all of the other suite extension posts HERE.

I’m Back! Plus a Virtual Design Concept

Why, hello there!

Sorry if you were in the middle of munching on some cereal. Pretty sure the shock of seeing a new post from me now has that mouthful of Froot Loops all over your screen!

In all seriousness though, yes, it’s been a while and I’m so sorry for the impromptu absence. Thank you to everyone who has reached out to me over the past few months.

If you follow me socially (on IG or FB) you may have seen that over the weekend I shared this post:

“When Melbourne went into hard lock-down four months back, it’s fair to say I wholly surrendered.

Going full hermit was never a conscious decision, but with projects on hold and motivation on pause, my blog and social channels just seemed to drift into an incidental silence (the only place I’ve remained active is in my Facebook Group).

At first I justified things by laying blame on home schooling and client renderings (which granted, were taking up most of my time), though as the weeks passed, and I still struggled to find the enthusiasm to share anything with the word, I knew it was more than that.

Lock-down had drawn me into a secluded little hole, and instead of reaching up, I burrowed down, deep.

I may have felt comfortable, but I certainly wasn’t happy.

Now that restrictions have finally eased here in Melbourne, it’s time for a change.

Time to find a solid foot hold, clasp a fistful of grit and raise myself up.

I can’t promise any of this means I’m about to become some kind of “proper” blogger or influencer (whatever that means anyway) but I’d like to try and be better, for myself and for you.

Thanks for the privilege of having you here with me.”

Apologies to those of you who have already read this. I wanted to share here too as blog followers don’t necessarily use social media.

I hope that doesn’t come across as overly dramatic. This year has been difficult for everyone, and I’m under no illusion there are countless people out there doing it much tougher than me. Still, please be aware that my words don’t allude to everything which has impacted our family over the past few months (I’ve never been one for overt public sharing), so feel free to go a little bit easy on me if you like. But also know that in the grand scheme of things I certainly understand I’m one of the lucky ones, and I am eternally grateful for that.

Although one of the reasons I haven’t been blogging is because there simply hasn’t been any new project progress, something I have made lots of progress on is client design work.

I don’t tend to share my client design work much (if at all), but it’s something I’d like to post about more often. Not only because over the past few months it’s become a huge part of my decorating life, though also because I know some of you really enjoy seeing it. Plus, this year I’ve worked hard on developing my knowledge and skills, and am proud of how far I’ve come.

To kick things off I thought I’d share this cute toddler’s bedroom which is one of my favourite designs ever (again, if you follow me socially you may have caught a snippet of this space already).

My client is expecting her second baby early next year so is moving her 18 month old son out of the current nursery and into a new bedroom.

The brief was super open and the room was essentially a blank canvas. The only requirements were to add white shutters to the window, to retain the cot from the nursery for now (with scope to move to a “big boy” bed in the near future), and to incorporate a cane dresser she already had.

Here’s how the room looked before…


And here are the pieces my client wanted included…



Bamboo Dresser

Yes, this is the same dresser I used in the girl’s bedroom at the flip house. My client purchased it when I offered it for sale on Marketplace. That’s how she found me!

And here’s my virtual design concept…

Boy' Bedroom Concept

Boy's Bedroom Virtual Design

It has an earthy vintage vibe, with a bit of an eclectic jungle edge.

Boy's Bedroom Virtual Design

Boy's Bedroom Virtual Concept

You can see the shutters, cot and dresser are all accurately represented. That’s something I love about creating these concepts – the challenge of getting things as true-to-life as possible!

I’ve worked with this client before so I knew her style and taste well enough to take a few risks, and she trusted me to nail things for her. Fortunately she absolutely LOVES it!

Being able to share navigable 3D models and 360 degree panoramas with clients is one of the great features of the software I use (for anyone interested, I use Home Designer by Chief Architect).

View Floor Plan in Chief Architect’s 360° Panorama Viewer.


View Floor Plan in Chief Architect’s 360° Panorama Viewer.

Virtual Room Design Before and After

I know it’s not the same as sharing one of my personal projects, however I figured it was better than nothing, and I hope you like it.

Given the easing of restrictions here in Melbourne I can finally start work on my parent’s suite extension again so will be back soon to share our progress moving forward.

Thank you so much for still being here.



If you’d like help with a room in your home, refer to my Design Services page for further information.