Let’s just say that undertaking a full scale renovation of a six bedroom house in a ten week time frame does not come without its challenges. Add to this an extra degree of difficulty due to not knowing any local trades or having any building industry contacts after having just moved interstate and you’ll appreciate the learning curve that I have climbed over the past three months. Armed with nothing more than a hammer and three teenage sons to help me do the heavy lifting (along with a work weary husband who may be home after travelling all week) I set myself a goal and chose to ignore the scoffs of the naysayers that said my budget was too low and time frame too short. What would they know?
DESIGN Sian MacPherson | PHOTOGRAPHY Cathy Schusler
As it turns out the naysayers did know a thing or two about budgeting for a Queenslander reno – but they knew nothing about my own determination to have the project finish on time. Disappointingly, my budget was too low, and as a consequence one of the first lessons I learned about renovating a Qld’er is that going over budget by 30% isn’t really considered going over budget at all – its referred to as ‘contingency’. As for time frame – well I was one week over. Eleven weeks it took to totally strip the two storey, six bedroom home apart and then put it all back together again.
During the process I discovered that I really love demolition and ripping things apart. I love cleaning things up and then throwing things out and I really loved stepping away from the computer and getting my hands dirty and my fingernails ripped to shreds. I knew that I loved the process of choosing finishes, fixtures and fittings but working within a tight budget upped the ante on the challenge of creating a beautiful home that I would actually want to live in.
Thanks to the help of Hive by Laminex, the new design showroom in Alexandria, Sydney, I was able to make decisions confidently and quickly when it came to the kitchens and bathrooms based on my personal preference for a ‘Laminex Zen style’ aesthetic. My love for a white interior and black wardrobe is often mocked by friends and family alike and when it came to choosing a particular style for this particular renovation I persisted with my predilection for a calm, restful palette that exudes a sense of calm and sanctuary – far from the chaos that is generally my life – on the outside of an otherwise Zen interior.
Accessing Hive for colour, decor selections and design inspiration cues helped me to narrow down my colour palette to consist of the palest of greys with the Essastone White Concrete benchtop chosen for the kitchen and butlers pantry and Laminex FormWrap in Polar White cabinetry throughout. For the bathrooms I chose Essastone in Caolino Matt for the vanity tops to continue the pure white look and feel with the black tapware and the grey stone tiles adding a darker monochromatic punch that I was after. In the laundry a slightly darker grey bench top was chosen with Essastone in Ash Concrete combined with Laminex FormWrap in Polar White cabinetry to create a fresh, light filled space that would be a joy to work in while undertaking the most mundane of jobs – dealing with the family’s dirty laundry.
“The Essastone White Concrete that was used on the benchtops and splashback in the kitchen, is a really soft, pale grey that is not easily picked up in these photographs. There is a definite overarching subtlety to this monochromatic colour scheme.”
“Choosing a colour palette of black, white and pale concrete grey, the once yellow weatherboard home was painted in Dulux half strength Lexicon inside and out with timber floors stained in Black Japan with a matte finish . Downstairs the white epoxy floor finish took three attempts to achieve but so worth the effort now its complete. ”