Tag: reno tips



Our renovation has finally come to an end.  We can now move freely around our home without leaving muddy tread marks all over the timber floors, we’re cooking in the kitchen instead of the garage and the bar has had an initiation of note!  It’s time to reveal the much anticipated new extension.  We’re extremely happy with the end result and can’t believe we can finally share the first images of the exterior.  Next week, we’ll show you how the interior of the new extension turned out.

Image by Blue Poppy Photography

Image by Blue Poppy Photography

If you’ve missed the renovation in other parts of our home, follow the links below for a catch up:

Lyndie’s Renovation: The end is in SightBefore & After of Entry and Stairs, Before Photos of the Interior, Renovation, First Phase, Ensuite Bathroom Make Over, Kids’ Bathroom Make Over, Demolition day, Formal Lounge Room Reveal, Kitchen installation begins, Kitchen Reveal, Formal Dining Room Demolition, Inspiration for the new Bar, Bar Reveal, The New Extension, Digging the PoolConcreting the Pool, Pool Progress, A new room takes shape.

See you next week for the reveal of the interior of the new extension.

Cheerio ’til next time!

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The Hottest Trends in Window Furnishings Right Now


Windows are a key achor point in setting the tone of your space.  These seemingly innocuous panes of glass are one of the first things people notice when entering a room and as such, they deserve the right complementary treatments.

Whether you want to turn your windows into an eye-catching statement feature or are looking to subtly spruce up the whole ambience of your space, here are the top window treatment trends home dwellers are currently loving.



If you’re looking to revamp your windows but want to invest in something timeless, roller blinds in neutral shades are your best option.  Not only are these ideally versatile, but the current surge in minimalistic design gives them added bonus points.  Crisp whites and simple greys are massive winners right now, and with DIY Online Blinds’ nifty Dulux colour match range of fabrics, customers can easily choose the best neutral shades to match their wall paint.

While it’s stylish to keep colours simple, many people are opting to inject a dose of personality into their roller blinds by choosing interesting textures.  Our Australian-made Serengetti collection has proven to be a top seller, encompassing an intricate, slightly-chunky texture that adds that nice touch of flair.



The idea of pairing a fabric wrapped valance with roller blinds is gaining a lot of traction in the market at the moment.  Customers are either pairing with the same colour/fabric as their blinds, or choosing something entirely different or mix and match.  (The image below shows a Dakota Quartz Sunscreen blind with a Metroshade White fabric wrapped valance).  This style offers a really clean and streamlined look, proving that the smallest details can make all the difference.



This might sound like a bit of an oxymoron, but trust me, it works.  Double roller blinds are always going to be popular thanks to their dual functionality, but many customers are now choosing to take a new twist on the way they hang these window furnishings.  Rather than opting for either a recess fit or a face fit, it’s becoming increasingly on-trend to recess fit a sunscreen roller blind followed by face fitting a blockout roller blind on top to provide better light coverage.  Herein, residents are able to gain greater control over light saturation in a more compact set-up than a standard bulky double roller blind, plus they have the option of adding a valance (fabric-wrapped, if so desired).



Emanating strong vibes of nostalgia, plantation shutters are making a fierce comeback right now.  Traditionally used as a feature in the renovation of period houses in Australia, many residents are now fitting their new homes and modern interiors entirely with plantation shutters.  At DIY Online Blinds, we offer custom Australian-made shutters which can be delivered to your door in just four weeks.



Many residents are also becoming much more conscious of energy consideration in modern home-decorating, opting to furnish their windows with treatments like honeycomb blinds.  These advanced blinds drastically reduce the transfer of heat through windows, thereby cutting down on the need to get that split system cranking during warm summer days or chilly winter nights.  While predominantly chosen for their energy-efficiency, honeycomb blinds also harbour a stylish, contemporary look and boast a slim-line design, making them suitable for almost any window in the home.

Visit www.diyonlineblinds.com.au for more window treatment inspiration.

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Lyndie’s Renovation: The End is in Sight


It’s been a good 4 months of renovating and living in an environment of noise and construction mess.  Can’t believe that very soon we’ll be stoking a fire at night, cook in a beautiful new kitchen and hang out with friends around the new bar.  Next week, I’ll show you how the new extension turned out, but first, the finishes…


The tiling of the interior of the pool is well underway and the limestone paving around it, have come up a treat.  The stone colours flow very well with the indoor tiles of the new extension and create a seamless look.  We can start visualising hanging out on the deck around the bbq and taking frequent dips in the pool as the day heats up.


The brickwork is slowly disappearing under render – this new room will have a bright, fresh look for that perfect indoor/outdoor feel.


To get the massive new bi-fold doors to the back of the house, extra muscle was required.  I couldn’t assist, as I was holding a “heavy” camera at the time…



Our photogenic dog, Chloe, is supervising the tiling process.  She’s trying her utmost to be in every single renovation shot.  These indoor limestone tiles from Marble Matters have lovely warm tones and tie in well with the interior timber flooring.


The last few bits, painting and electrical and we’re ready to roll.  Don’t miss next week’s reveal!


If you’ve missed the renovation in other parts of our home, follow these links:

Before & After of Entry and Stairs, Before Photos of the Interior, Renovation, First Phase, Ensuite Bathroom Make Over, Kids’ Bathroom Make Over, Demolition day, Formal Lounge Room Reveal, Kitchen installation begins, Kitchen Reveal, Formal Dining Room Demolition, Inspiration for the new Bar, Bar Reveal, The New Extension, Digging the PoolConcreting the Pool, Pool Progress, A new room takes shape.

Cheerio ’til next time!

Lyndie camera

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How much does a bathroom renovation cost?

We’ve learnt that clients get frustrated if we answer: “It depends on what finishes you use and the the size of your bathroom.” (Even though it is true!) This is one of the questions we get asked the most!

So today we will give you a better breakdown on how to budget for your bathroom renovation.

We divide it into three categories:

  • The face-lift ($5,000+)
  • The standard bathroom replacement ($15,000+)
  • The luxury bathroom ($25,000+)

1. THE FACE-LIFT ($5,000+)

If you renovate to sell, or you renovate because your bathroom is falling apart but your budget is very low, the face-lift option is for you. This will not be your dream bathroom, but rather a working and less old fashioned bathroom.

To save money, you need to keep the plumbing (positions of taps and toilet included) in the same place. Don’t change the layout of the bathroom at all! Do not buy feature tiles, as they are expensive.  Focus on a cheaper tile, but still choose something interesting and on trend. To save costs, do not tile all the way to the ceiling. (We hate to recommend this, but it will save you a lot of money on tiles and labour) Get a quote to resurface your bathroom if possible. Check out Resurfacing Australia’s website for ideas. Shop around on e-bay for vanities, toilets and taps. If you project manage this yourself, you can save a lot of money!

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This is the minimum amount we always prepare our clients to budget for a bathroom. If you want to have a bathroom that is on trend, new and will have a WOW factor, you need to budget for more than just a face-lift bathroom. This option is for people who want to enjoy their new bathroom for many years to come.

We don’t do face-lift bathrooms for clients, but we do design and project manage many bathroom installations in the standard bathroom category. Clients must be willing to buy quality taps, a new toilet and a new bath. Old fashioned shower screens are replaced by frame-less screens. Many times we twist the bathroom layout too, so the client is willing to add a few hundred dollars to change the bathroom layout slightly. In a standard bathroom you can still not splurge and buy the top of the range products, but you will be able to create a beautiful new quality modern bathroom that will add value to your home.

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3.  LUXURY BATHROOM ($25,000+)

It is very important that you do not over capitalise your home. You can not spend $40,000 on a bathroom if your house does not fall in a price category to suit this expense. If you are unsure on how much you should spend, chat to your estate agent or interior designer. If, however, you are lucky enough to build your dream bathroom, you might easily spend between $25,000 to $40,000. The trick is to choose what items you should splurge on. If you save on some items, you can keep the budget affordable. The labour cost does not change much between the standard and luxury bathroom. It is the finishes that break your budget! Good spatial planning, choosing quality finishes and good styling are the keys for the luxury bathroom.  If you are planning to spend this amount on a bathroom, it might be good to get an expert’s opinion and design advise. It won’t cost an arm an a leg to pay for an interior designer’s professional help, but at least you know the $30,000 you spend on your bathroom will have a WOW factor and be the envy of your neighbourhood.

Bathroom renovation, interior designers hills district, how much does a new bathroom cost
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Always get more than one quotation. We always get at least two quotations from a bathroom installer, and relevant tradies and tile shops. Planning your bathroom will be the key to saving money. And most important, STICK TO YOUR BUDGET!!!! No, you don’t need the fancy tiles you can’t afford!

If you missed the story on how Lyndie renovated her bathroom, read her previous blog about her own en-suite bathroom renovation.   With marble tiles, luxury provincial taps, heated towel rails and a beautiful timber vanity, she added a few extras to a standard bathroom, to create a more luxurious look without breaking the bank.

Happy decorating!

eriana bredenhann interior designers hills district sydney

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Are stone pebbles in a bathroom still on trend?

Do you struggle to keep up with changing trends for bathrooms? Today we have a look at the pros and cons of using real pebbles instead of tiles in your bathroom.

pebbles, bathroom, renovation, blog decor, reno blog, interior designers sydney, hills district

Using pebbles in your bathroom is extremely tricky. You need a good eye, as it can easily look like a children’s playground. Here are a few tips:

  • Stick to a neutral palette
  • Make sure the surface is as even as possible
  • Don’t overdo it, only apply in a small area
  • Have a professional install it

Here are a few examples that you SHOULD NOT DO:

pebbles, bathroom, renovation, blog decor, reno blog, interior designers sydney, hills district

You can either purchase mesh tiles where pebbles are already prepared and ready for installation, or you can follow the traditional road and have them installed one by one. If you want the job to be done quickly and by your local tiler, the mesh option is probably the easiest. (Not necessarily the cheapest!) You could also buy or pick up your own natural stones and lay them yourself. This last method is very time consuming, but sometimes necessary if the area you need to tile is very small or difficult, for example around a bath, or a small splash back above your basin. Even if you need to tile a niche in your shower. Please, don’t try the absurd patterns in the images above!

pebbles, bathroom, renovation, blog decor, reno blog, interior designers sydney, hills district

You can even use left over mesh tiles as place mats!

But is it still on trend to throw them around your bath?

pebbles, bathroom, renovation, blog decor, reno blog, interior designers sydney, hills district

A few years ago everybody used natural pebbles in their bathroom. It was especially trendy to place a few around your bath. That trend has moved on now, but any natural product in a bathroom is always a winner. Make sure you apply it in a classy & elegant way, where it is not the statement in your bathroom, but rather the neutral background.

If you think you’re going over the top, you probably are! Pull back a little and rethink your bathroom layout. When in doubt, read a few of our previous blogs about bathroom renovations:

Until next time,

eriana bredenhann interior designers hills district sydney


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How to Survive a Renovation

Our home had peeling laminated kitchen cupboards, a tile splash back depicting fruit and very unfashionable floor tiles when we moved in about 10 years ago.  We’ve been dreaming and saving for this renovation since our kids were little, so we thought we were truly ready for the next phase.  I’ve learnt a few things in the last few months, so I’ll share them for your benefit:


Planning your renovation is wonderful and the best part of the process!  You dream about your beautiful new kitchen bench top and love browsing through magazines to find that perfect cabinet handle and splash back.  Reality quickly sets in when a team of builders arrive at 7am every morning for 3 months straight and you, and your neighbours, can’t find a parking spot close to home.  You’ll almost think about turning back the clock when your kitchen is set up in your garage and you fold and iron in the same room as washing dirty dishes and the dog.  Although you’ll experience a number of emotions while going through the process, boredom will certainly not be one of them!  A renovation isn’t a fun project to fill in the time or a form of entertainment, but more like you’ve taken on a second job…


renovation survival protect your stuff

The less stuff you have in the house, the better the builders will be able to move around to do their job.  Not only that, but drywall dust is more pervasive than sand in your bathers after swimming in the ocean. It will settle into places you never knew existed.  Make sure you protect art pieces and your timber flooring. Cover your carpets with drop sheets.  Seal off areas not undergoing any changes with plastic sheeting and pack up all loose items and put it in storage.


While undergoing a renovation, your family will still expect clean clothes, clean plates, cutlery and probably a meal more nourishing than toast 3 times a day.  Make sure you set up work stations for those everyday chores and a place for the family to relax and watch telly at the end of the day.  We currently have a kitchen set up in our garage and my husband and I have become experts at cooking meals in the electrical frying pan. Although these meals end up a mixed mess on a plate, the chance of anyone dying of hunger or malnutrition is rather slim.


Try to plan a short family holiday, just to get a break from the mess and noise.  Accept all invitations for social get togethers and drop hints to get invited to friends that love cooking.  Food that’s served in separate heaps on a plate, will count as a blessing and a side salad might be more special than a glass of wine (… or maybe not to that extreme).


renovation survival answer questions

I bet you thought that, if you have a properly drafted plan and a report from an engineer, your job is done!  Nope, it’s only starting… Your builder and team will need constant information and feedback from you.  Even with a drawn up council approved plan, constant adjustments are made while on site, that can’t go ahead without your input.  Make sure you’re prepared and know your building plan by heart.  You might not need in depth knowledge of structural beams and support joists, but take note of the size of your skirting boards, the thickness and size of your floor tiles and the profile of your architraves and cornices. Make sure you know where all your bulkheads will go.  You’ll need to know the position and height of your pendant lights and how you want to control all the lighting of the house.  You’ve probably only dreamt of the colour of your timber floor, but have you thought about how the thickness will affect your existing doors, or if you want it laid vertically or horizontally?  Have you considered the colour of the eaves and fascia of your new extension? Have you given thought to your new interior wall, ceiling and skirting colour?  Make sure you have everything on file, so that information can be retrieved and conveyed instantly, without holding up the project.


Do as much planning as you can before your renovation begins.  If you have your heart set on an Italian tap, designer pendants and handmade tiles, make sure you order well ahead of time.  It would be a shame to turn a 2 month project into a 6 month project because of delay in delivery of one item.


Renovation survival love neighbours

We’re lucky to have wonderful neighbours in our cul de sac and would like to keep things amiable.  Some have gone through a similar project or are due to start one themselves.  They’re interested in our progress and curious about what it will look like when finished.  Learn to apologise frequently – as you will need to 🙂  They’ll be more willing to forgive you once the value of their homes had once again increased, due to the removal of all skips and rubble from the front of your house.  It’s not necessary to wait until your lawn and broken branches had grown back and your driveway repaired, before dropping them a box of chocolates to thank them for their patience.

Remember to take photos of your project as you progress.  The best way to stay positive and excited about the end result is to see how far you’ve come!

Cheerio ’til next time!

Lyndie camera

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Questions and Tips about waterfall kitchen bench tops

What are the pro’s and cons? Is it in or out? Today we will give you some tips on the trendy waterfall finishes of kitchen bench tops. For those of you who have no idea of what I am talking about… It’s when a kitchen bench top is extended on the side, all the way down to the floor, to cover the side panels of your kitchen cupboards.

waterfall bench top, kitchen bench top, marble bench top, tips for kitchen design, kitchen trends
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waterfall bench tops, pros and cons of waterfall bench tops, kitchen designs tips

waterfall edge bench tops kitchen, tiles on kitchen island, blue kitchen
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Oh, it’s very much in and not a trend that I think is likely to change in the near future. It’s almost like the “trend” of using drawers everywhere in the kitchen. People find it so useful that it is now a permanent design to most kitchens. The waterfall bench top is here to stay!


Personally, I prefer the mitre edge profile, as the joint looks seamless. The mitre edge is normally a bit more labour intensive and a few dollars more expensive. The butt edge might be a bit cheaper and sometimes designers like the “architectural look” it creates.


Most people take the waterfall all the way down to the floor. The biggest reason is that it serves as an extra support for the horisontal bench top. If you prefer for it to end 3 or 5 cm from the floor, it needs extra support to “hang” in the air. This can be more expensive too. Some people like the shadow line effect it creates when the bench top is not meeting the floor.


This is entirely up to you. It will depend on your kitchen design. If the kitchen island is a feature  in the kitchen, I would suggest using a waterfall on both sides. You might want to use bar stools on one end, then you can only put a waterfall on the other end. The latest trend is to even let it go down the back panel too!

waterfall bench top, kitchen design, marble bench top
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waterfall bench top, cement bench top, white and grey kitchen
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If you are in the process of designing and planning your new kitchen, try to work in a waterfall bench top. It gives a real modern and updated feeling to a new kitchen design.

(And don’t forget that we can help you with kitchen designing and arrange great kitchen companies to install them!)

Until next time,

eriana bredenhann interior designers hills district sydney


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How to Avoid getting Wallpaper Wrong

The surest way to insanity is to start browsing through wallpaper supplier sites to find that perfect print for that wow factor in a room.  There are endless wallpaper prints available and if you don’t have an inkling of what end result you want, you’re very likely to end up with a less desirable outcome.  Here are a few tips to get you started:


wallpaper panelling
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First decide if you would like four, or only one covered in wallpaper.  If all walls are covered, an understated print with fewer colours and not too much contrast will be a better choice. If you have your heart set on a bold and colourful print, try breaking it up a bit by adding panelling or a mantel piece for some colour contrast.  A combination of no more than two colours for the furnishings will calm it right down and create a more subdued effect.  If you decide on wallpaper to create one feature wall, a bolder, large print for a magnificent statement, would be appropriate.


wallpaper small rooms
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The busier the pattern, the more distance you will need away from it to get the full impact.  In general, small prints work better in tight spaces and larger print for bigger rooms.  Luckily, some rules are meant to be broken…  If you have a small room with odd shaped walls, a large scale print will hide it.  A large scale pattern with a solid background can make an eye catching, graphic statement in a small room.


wallpaper geometric
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Pattern and colour are essential elements in design that impact the way we feel in a room.  Soft pastels, some chevron patterns and spots, look lovely in children’s rooms.  Applying these in a formal living space, will look out of place and not fit the way we’re using the room.  More sophisticated colours such as warm greys, a touch of bling, a textured finish or bolder patterns will look more “grown up” for your living spaces.


If you’d like to push yourself out of your comfort zone and want a full on wall statement in the bathroom, make sure the wallpaper is suitable for wet areas.  After all your hard work and lots of dollars spent, it would be a shame if it started peeling off, because you haven’t read the instructions!


wallpaper tropical
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Take special care that your personal style doesn’t get lost in all the choices and trends on the market.  If you’re after a modern country look, a botanical print or textured paper will make you feel more at home.  Geometric patterns will suit an art deco or sophisticated theme and wallpaper with palms or exotic birds will fit a tropical theme.

Remember to get a few samples before making your final decision.  It’s best to hang it against your wall and living with it for a few days before jumping into the deep end.  If you’re still unsure, you know where to find the professionals 🙂

Cheerio ’til next time!

Lyndie camera

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What you may have Overlooked in your Laundry Design

To get that perfect laundry layout, you first need to consider the tasks that will be carried out in the space.   Although not an essential activity in the laundry, I’ve been known to sneak in my laptop and watch “Orange is the New Black” while happily folding/ironing away.  If this type laundering work is required after sundown, this becomes even more enjoyable with a glass of wine – almost like a Gold Class movie experience, but in an upright position.  I’m getting off track, let’s have a look at the essentials:


laundry, folded washing

Although I sometimes feel like just shoving clothes into cupboards or chucking it onto beds, these feelings are best kept to a minimum and will not get the job done.  In most cases, neat folding is required and if your laundry room can accommodate this, install a bench top that’s as big as possible.


You’ll need a designated hamper for dirty laundry.  In a perfect world, dirty clothes will go into this hamper and not on the floor.  Mmm… I’m considering writing a memo…


vintage laundry me

I love being able to hang those slightly damp items onto a rail for that last bit of drying.  It’s also great for items that come straight out of the dryer and if you’re quick enough, will not require any ironing, Yeaheee!!

4.  SINK

dog in bath

We have a lovely staffy pup and although she thinks she’s a person, I wouldn’t like her to bath with the kids or in the kitchen sink (for obvious reasons).  A laundry sink is great for rinsing paintbrushes, cleaning pets and emptying out the mob bucket.


wine and ironing

There are some great options on the market for mounting an ironing board on the wall.  This will make your laundry space more streamlined and getting the board out will not be such a chore.  You already know my secret for making ironing fun, so make sure you create your own happy place away from the rest of the world.

Have a look at how I created my “happy” place (laundry…) by clicking here.

Cheerio ’til next time!

Lyndie camera

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