DIY Pergola-Style Balcony Millwork

Firstly, thanks so much for all the love on the bathroom reveal post! You guys are just the best.

I know it seems like things have been sitting stagnant at my parent’s house for a while, though there’s actually been quite a bit of progress I can’t wait to share!

Something that happened a few weeks back was the addition of some DIY pergola-style millwork to the underside of the new balcony.

Pergola Millwork

If you follow me socially (through Instagram or Facebook) you may have seen a snippet of this project already.

From the start I knew the balcony was going to be a bit of a design challenge due to the unusual way it over-hangs the angled roof.

Balcony Before

I get that counter-levered structures can look cool and modern, though something about the stark blockiness of this never really sat right with me, and it just didn’t suit the style of my parent’s more traditional house either.

So, I had this slightly unconventional idea to attach some chunky decorative timber to provide a bit of relief from the boxy lines and add some extra charm and character…and it actually worked!

DIY Pergola Brackets

My dad built all of the elements from inexpensive treated pine, stained them a warm cedar tone, then bolted them up there!

It was pretty easy, very affordable, and looks so much better (well, according to me)!


Pergola Millwork

I know some of you will prefer the more modern appearance of the before but, like I said, it just didn’t quite suit the feel we were going for here.

DIY Pergola Style Mllwork

I’ll be back super soon to share some more of the progress we’ve made.



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


Pergola DIY Before and After


The Suite Extension Bathroom Reveal!

It may have been a long time coming but the bathroom reveal is finally here!

Bathroom Reveal

Just to recap, and for anyone new to my blog, this bathroom is part of an upper level suite extension at my parent’s house. So, in a departure from my usual “make the most” style of decorating – where I tend to cosmetically refurbish dated, existing spaces – this room actually needed to be created from scratch. Yikes!

It was a slightly daunting and weird experience to forgo the need to upcycle and DIY pretty much everything, and instead look at using mostly brand new stuff (new stuff is mildly foreign to me)! But even in a new build, there’s still always room for some creative little projects, and of course, being budget savvy never goes out of style!

Although my parents trust me (way more than they probably should – LOL!), they both had some strong ideas about the design direction of this space and weren’t about to sit back and let me run wild with it – which is wise given their conservative taste. The resulting room is a transitional mix with timeless bones, an overall classic feel and some more unique ephemeral touches, which can be changed out from time-to-time. I hope you guys can appreciate what we were trying to achieve.

I’ve covered most of the bathroom progress in my previous posts, however will touch on some aspects as I share this reveal. For your convenience I’ve linked to all of the products and projects at the end of the post. And, as always, feel free to ask any questions if you’d like more info about anything in particular.

Bathroom Reveal

Bathroom Vanity

Bathroom Reveal

Turkish Towels

I say it every time, though for me there’s always some doubt when a room is in progress, so when things come together nicely in the end it’s such a good feeling!

Bathroom Vanity

The vanity was one of the more major ‘unknowns’ as we designed it ourselves (which is always a little dicey) and were limited in terms of the finishing materials we could choose.

The timber grain vinyl was a bit of a risk though it looks so good and adds just the right amount of warmth.

Bathroom Vanity Handles

To finish it off we added these simple, almost utilitarian, handles from Handle House which I just love! I was originally going to use black handles (and even tried some out) though they felt too jarring. I thought chrome would be lost against the timber grain vinyl, though their subtlety is just perfect!

Bathroom Make Up Vanity

We plan to place a free standing mirror on the make-up bench eventually but just haven’t found the right one yet.

Bathroom Vanity Stool

And my basic hacked Kmart stool is still going strong!

Kmart Stool Hack

Without a doubt the riskiest element was the landscape mural, which I custom designed.

Custom Landscape Wallpaper

Having never done anything quite like this before, I really had no idea how it was going to turn out. There are probably a few little things I might change if I was going to do it again (mainly relating to the contrast and tone of the print) but that’s just me being fussy. It’s really lovely as is, and gives the room such a unique vibe.


It cost a total of around $280 to have it printed through a company called AJ Wallpaper, which, based on all of my research, is a great price. Wallpaper can be sooooo expensive!

Unfortunately the wide-angle photos don’t really do justice to the detail in the print so you need to use your imagination a little.

Over the vanity I love the way the trees seem to cradle the mirror.

Bathroom Reveal

As promised months ago, I’ll be back to share some free printable large-scale landscape images you can use to make your own wallpaper or art!

The shower niche is nice and simple with its pencil tile border, and Caesarstone shelves which match the vanity top.

Shower Niche

Vintage Shower Set

And I adore these static cling labels I found on eBay (I simply removed the stickers from some supermarket bottles and attached these instead).

Shampoo and Conditioner Bottles

Shower Niche Styling

Of course I found a bit of room for some of my blue-green glassware!

Bathroom Styling

Deciding on tiles was surprisingly simple. My parents knew they wanted classic white subways on the walls from the start, and choosing to pair them with a mottled charcoal herringbone on the floor just came easy.

Charcoal Herringbone Tile Floor

Shower Drain

It’s a great timeless combo which works beautifully to provide both freshness and depth.

Bathroom Reveal

It’s easy to get caught-up on the idea that every individual item in a room needs to make a statement. And, I must admit, when I first saw this very basic vanity basin, I was a little underwhelmed. But, I knew that in the context of the space as a whole, something simple like this would work well to ‘sit back’ as needed. And it’s just right.

Vanity Basin

Bathroom Vanity

Initially, I wanted a wide oblong mirror for this room, though we couldn’t find anything affordable. I contemplated DIY’ing something, but in the end it was just easy to use this round mirror from Kmart for now.

Vanity Mirror from Kmart

The faux brass finish was a little dull so we coated it with ‘Gold Leaf’ Rub ‘n’ Buff for a bit of extra oomph.

Custom Landscape Wallpaper

The sconce light is simply from eBay.

Sconce Light

It originally had an antique brass finish, which I thought might work, but in the end it was too much so we painted it black for simplicity.

And it works well to reference the classic towel hooks on the opposite wall.

Towel Hooks

Bathroom Makeover

It feels so strange sharing a room reveal without any before shots!

Bathroom Reveal


Bathroom Reveal

Although it looks quite luxe and custom (if I do say so myself – LOL!), there’s actually nothing expensive about this bathroom. My parents did splurge a little (by our standards, anyway) on the tapware though it was still far from extravagant. For the most part the entire space is actually quite budget savvy. Hopefully it goes to show that with a bit of resourcefulness, patient shopping and thoughtful compromise you can achieve a champagne look on a beer budget!

Bathroom Vignette

Hope you like it!


Floor Tile – Conazzo Charcoal Brick Matt (300mm x 70mm) with Charred Ash Grout ($49 square meter)

Wall Tile – White Subway Gloss (200mm x 100mm) with Misty Grey Grout ($22 square meter)

Wallpaper – DIY Custom Designed Vintage Mural Printed by AJ Wallpaper ($280 total)

Shower Glass Panel – Custom Manufactured ($500 approx.)

Vanity – Custom Designed in Gislaved Sebastion Oak Vinyl with Frosty Carrina Caesarstone Top ($1,200 approx.)

Vanity Handles – Minyana Cabinet Handles from Handle House ($12 each)

Vanity Stool – Kmart Hack ($30)

Sconce Light – Round Sphere Wall Lamp from eBay ($55)

Shower Tapware – Phoenix Nostalgia Exposed Shower Set ($730)

Basin Tapware – Phoenix Nostalgia Basin Set ($420)

Basin – Caroma Luna Inset Basin ($130)

Shower Waste – Sunny Design Brass Waste ($12)

Mirror – Large Brass Look Mirror from Kmart ($30)

Towel Hooks – Adoored Black Deco Robe Hook from Bunnings ($8 each)

Towels – Linen Turkish Towels from Etsy ($12 each)

Soap Blocks – Savon De Marseille ($12 each)

Shampoo & Conditioner Labels – By Me from eBay ($3 each)


Note that the shower panel and vanity costs are labelled as approx. because they were general inclusions in the build contract so their prices weren’t individually specified.




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


Bathroom Vanity





Remember when I said the suite extension bathroom reveal would be shared super soon?

And then coronavirus escalated, and social distancing happened, and home-schooling sort of took over my whole life?

Yeah, that.

Of course, that’s just me being overly dramatic, but home-schooling has swallowed-up most of the time I used to dedicate to projects and blogging. In addition, demand for my Design Services has increased a heap over the past month, so now most of my spare hours have been consumed by working with paying clients.

I’m not complaining or anything, just wanted to share why it’s been so quiet around here, and let you all know that whilst these bloggy wheels might be turning slowly at the moment, they are definitely still turning!

There are plans in the works and projects on the go which I can’t wait to share more of. And I promise the bathroom reveal is still coming (hopefully next week!).

Don’t give up on me! Thank you all so much for still being here.




Painting the Suite Extension House Exterior

You were probably expecting to see the suite extension bathroom reveal this week, but sorry, something unexpected happened I needed to share first (the bathroom will be coming up super soon!).

With everyone being stuck at home, and thanks to a streak of perfect painting weather, my parents abruptly decided it was time to “render” their whole house!

Blog Render After Texture Paint Dulux

Dulux Texture Paint Medium Dulux White Duck

Altering the original brown brick was always part of their reno plan, and after some initial talks regarding hiring professionals to do the job, they went ahead and did it all by themselves – with awesome results!

Painted Brick Before and After

Of course, the exterior is still far from finished so you need to use your imagination to some extent, but the difference is already striking!

I realise that in comparison to the brown brick the new off-white appears somewhat stark and bare, though keep in mind we will be adding some decorative elements to warm things up, provide further contrast and soften the overall look.

They used Dulux Texture ‘Medium Cover’ (the same paint we used, and loved, on the flip house facade). Here you can see the finish it provides…

Render Painted Brick Before and After Dulux White Duck

For those of you who aren’t familiar with the product, it has a thick render-like consistency and is applied with a mitt to give a rustic bagged effect, which leaves the brick pattern discernible. It’s not a look for everyone, but I personally adore it!

Exterior Colours

They went with the same colour as their new extension render, Dulux ‘White Duck’, and although the finishes are different (the extension being somewhat smooth), the house looks beautifully consistent. If anything, having the slight variation in texture actually adds interest and character.

Paint and Render

You can see from my digital swatches above just how tonally different White Duck actually presents in reality, so this is a perfect lesson in trialling your colours where they will be used! It’s fair to say that even after testing as we did I still had quite a few sleepless nights imagining the colour as custard yellow, cold concrete or boring beige. And whilst in comparison to the stark white undercoat it does appear quite creamy-brown, in reality it has a gentle green undertone and I couldn’t be happier with it! This portion of the house is north-west facing so gets a strong punch of bright light which on sunny days would make anything whiter look blindingly harsh.

As you can imagine, this was a BIG job though my parents managed to knock it over in just four days – which I reckon is pretty impressive!

It took two tubs of undercoat and 4 tubs of texture paint which totalled $900.

Dulux Texture Medium Undercoat

Dulux Texture Medium Undercoat Painted Brick

Not bad considering they enquired about having it professionally done and the cheapest quote was $5,200!

I won’t go into all the steps as my parents basically followed the instructional video, though here are a few tips:

:: Tape up well (trust me, although taping is time-consuming it will save your sanity) and ensure you remove any tape before the paint is completely dry. This stuff sets like glue so unless you remove the tape prior it simply tears and becomes a real pain to get off.

:: If you have any glazed bricks, they will need to be acid etched or grinded back for the paint to properly adhere. My parents had shiny sill bricks which my dad grinded back.

:: The instructional video uses two coats of paint, though depending on the coverage you get and look you’re after, you may find you only need to apply one. Both here, and at the flip house, we used only one coat and found it ample.

As mentioned, the facade is clearly still a work in progress which needs quite a bit of work before completion. This includes relatively basic jobs, like finishing the painting, building new shutters and choosing exterior light fittings, to more complex projects, like replacing the retaining wall, adding a pergola over the balcony and having the driveway made. Plus about a million other things in between! Slowly but surely it’s all coming together though!

Render Painted Brick Before and After

I hope this provides some inspiration! Please let me know what you think – I’m sure my parents would love to hear your opinions :)




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


Installing the Suite Extension Flooring

What better thing to do when stuck at home than have a go at laying your very own floor.

Arbre Floor

I mean, what a fun little isolation project to get stuck into? Right?

And surely not difficult at all? Right?

In all honestly, we decided on the suite extension flooring quite a while back (Arbre Engineered French Oak in ‘Foret’ – which is just beautiful).

Arbre Foret Flooring

And I’ve been procrastinating over installing it because, well, I was feeling a bit intimidated by the whole thing.

Having never laid a full floor before, I was nervous about getting the planks straight throughout the entire space, and had visions of everything starting out nice and square only to become a crooked mess by the end!

Compounding my hesitation was the fact we would be gluing the planks down. I mean, what if “someone” happened to stuff things up? There’s no going back with glue! That “someone” would feel pretty terrible about destroying a few thousand dollars worth of beautiful flooring!

Of course, we could have paid a professional to install it for us, but despite all my apprehension, I actually really wanted to give it a go.

Deep down I knew it was perfectly achievable. It was just going to take a bit of patience and effort. Plus I was eager to learn, and build my knowledge, skill and confidence.

And as it turns out, it was actually surprisingly easy (even if a little hard on the knees)! Which is how I find most projects we put-off tend to be (no, not the “hard on the knees” bit – the easier than expected bit). It’s generally that old “why didn’t I do it sooner?” adage.

Anyhoo, the Arbre website has a great installation guide which we followed and I would suggest checking out, but here’s a little glimpse of the basic process…

1 | Remove skirting boards and undercut architraves

The first thing we did was pop off the skirting boards. You can lay the floor with the skirting boards in place, though then you need to install quad trim around the entire perimeter. Removing the skirting boards and reinstalling over the flooring just gives a cleaner finish. We also used a multi-tool to undercut the door frames as needed so that the planks could be slotted underneath.

Undercutting the Door Frames

Here mum is undercutting the door frame in the hallway. We used a flooring off-cut to get the level right and keep the cut straight.

2 | Make sure floor is clean and level

It pretty much goes without saying, though before laying the boards you need to ensure the floor is clean and level.

3| Lay the first row

After working through the design considerations (as outlined in the installation guide), we dry laid our first row to make sure the planks fit nicely. We then applied adhesive with a notched trowel to the floor.

Floor Glue

Then we bedded the planks in place (we used a string line to ensure this first row was nice and straight).

Laying Flooring

A minimum 10mm expansion gap is needed around the perimeter which we spaced out using some moulding off-cuts we already had.


Once everything was just right, we used a rubber mallet to bang the planks into position. We then decided to wait overnight for the glue to set so we had a nice solid base to build from.

4 | Continue laying the planks

This was the (relatively) quick and easy bit. Working in rows from left to right, we troweled glue onto the sub-floor, clicked appropriate planks in place (ensuring joins were as random as possible and staggered at least 30cm apart) and banged them down with the mallet. As needed, I trimmed each end plank to fit (with the 10mm expansion allowance beside the wall) using my drop saw.

DIY Flooring

Laying Engineered Hardwood

Laying Engineered Oak Flooring

Sorry I didn’t get great photos of each step. I always find it tricky taking pics when I’m in the midst of a full-on project (and have glue all over my hands!). I did manage to make a funky time-lapse video though.


I realise this overview makes things sound super quick and simple, and whilst it certainly wasn’t difficult, it was pretty physical (which I actually quite like), and a little bit messy.

I found that once we got the hang of the large open spaces, we made fast progress, but there were some more slow and challenging areas, such as the hall and doorways.

Floor Transitions

I’m not sure if there is some set formula for tackling these tricky bits. We just approached each area individually, trimming planks to size as needed using a jigsaw and slotting (slash muscling!) them into place.

All up it took myself and dad about a day and a half to finish the bulk of the installation, with a further half day to finesse those aforementioned tricky areas.

And I gotta say, I felt super proud at the end. Dad even turned to me and said, “Not too bad for a couple of amateurs”. High five!

The best part, of course, is that it looks sooooo good!

Arbre Flooring in Foret

This flooring is like nothing I’ve ever used. It has a gentle wire-brushed character, soft matte finish, and such a beautiful grain.

Arbre Foret Flooring

Can’t wait until it’s all furnished so I can take the proper after pics!

I shared a few snippets of this project over on my Instagram account and got quite a few questions so I thought I’d answer them here too…


Why not float the floor?

Floating was my first thought, and it can be done, though gluing is the recommended method. It provides a much more solid feel and sound.

What glue did you use?

We used Bostic Ultraset HP as recommended by the supplier.

Won’t the glue cause the planks to buckle? I thought they needed to be able to expand?

Yes, the planks need some expansion room (hence the 10mm perimeter gap) however the glue is deigned to be flexible to allow for movement.

What is your sub-floor?

Just standard yellow tongue particle board.

How do you clean-up the glue?

We used Bostic Handy Wipes which worked super well.

Are the planks easy to connect?

Yes, for the most part. As with any kind of click system, some connections take a bit more ‘jiggling’ than others, though we had no problems. These Arbre planks use a 5G locking system which helps keep adjoining planks securely in place.

I didn’t want to go into too much detail with this post, because well, that would be a bit boring for anyone who has no intention of laying their very own floor. Plus, the installation guide probably does a much better job of covering all the important points than someone like me who’s just laid one floor! But, I did learn a lot and am more than happy to answer any further questions.

In other suite extension news, the bathroom is finally complete! I’ll be back soon to share the reveal. Yay!




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