Tag: renovating

7 Reasons why you need an Interior Designer

This week, I’ve been dealing with putting a pool into our back yard.  It’s funny how things turn out, even after all the t’s had been crossed and i’s dotted…  During this recent experience, I’ve found that if the digger doesn’t fit past the side of the house, there will be no progress.  There are many little things that happen when you decide to make changes to your home, things that you might not have considered before starting your project.  Find a list below on why an interior designer might benefit you more than you think.


It’s hard enough as it is shipping kids out the door to school on time, packing lunch boxes, working full/part time and keeping things on track to have a presentable home.  Designing a home/room, organising trades and selecting finishes, could take months to complete.  The last thing you want to load onto your fork is sorting through quotes and finding the right person for each project.  A designer has knowledge of all resources that will be needed for the project at their finger tips and will save you endless hours of time in research alone.


My husband gets sentimental about framed rugby jerseys, likes bulky leather couches and a rustic industrial look.  I’m more of a modern country type of girl and like sofas on sophisticated legs and lots of cushions with pretty patterns.  If you and your partner disagree about the style of your couch or whether you should have an underground cellar, an interior designer might just save your marriage and serve as compass to the most beneficial outcome!


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A designer can give you a solid plan of action after assessing the task at hand.  This will give you an order and timeline for tasks to be completed so that you have guidelines for the sequence of the project.  This will assist you in tile selection, floor covering, colour of your walls and furnishings and make sure these are finished in a timely fashion and work together as a whole.


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Not only does an interior designer create a space that’s pleasing to the eye and set a desired mood, but they make sure that it’s functional, safe and efficient and enhance the living and working environment.  A designer offers an extra set of eyes that are trained to see and notice things that you may not.  They have the ability to find unique solutions to problems that you might not have dealt with before.  It can be difficult to trust a designer if you like to dictate exactly what you want and aren’t capable of accepting alternative solutions.  It’s best to take advantage of someone that has many years of experience under the belt and, by working together as a team, will have the best outcome for your home.


Dealing with trades can be frustrating at the best of times.  You will need to understand the plans and know exactly what you want, as they will ask you questions that you haven’t even thought of!  You have to know the size and thickness of tiles, whether they’re interior or exterior tiles, the size of windows/doors, the profile on kitchen doors, the type and size of oven, the placement of power points, the type of timber floor, whether it will be installed over existing floor….The list is endless and you will need either plenty of wine or an interior designer to convey the hopes of dreams you have for your home, to the builders/trades.  Money well spent, I’d say!


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Interior Designers have many tricks up their sleaves…  They not only have to come up with possible layout solutions for a space, but also help their client visualise the end result.  Luckily, with the help of computer programs such as Rivet, Google SketchUp and Photoshop, the entirety of the room can be seen in a completed state.  Add to that a mood board with samples of your flooring, all textiles, such as cushions, rugs and upholstery, as well as pictures of furniture and colour swatches of the rooms, you can already imagine yourself enjoying your new home.


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We all know that kitchens and bathrooms sell houses, but an interior designer will give you advice on moving or knocking down walls to connect areas and create a more modern and open plan style of living.  Value boosters, such as adding windows in the bathroom, creating that extra bedroom and type of lighting that’s installed, are all helpful alterations that would benefit your pocket greatly when selling your home.

You know where to get hold of us for your next project  🙂

Cheerio ’til next time!

Lyndie camera



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How do I know if I can add a second storey to my existing home?

Before you get excited about that second storey for your home, there are a few very important facts you need to know about building up your existing house.


  • The best way is to pay a building inspector to do an independent building inspection
  • This can be for your own home or a home that you plan to buy
  • A qualified builder might also give you some good advice on extension possibilities and problem areas they normally come across
  • A structural engineer can give you more expert advice if you expect that your project will have difficult or unusual building specs
  • A drafter and interior designer can give you advise on what Council will allow on your plot regarding extension regulations for your plot or neighbourhood. They will normally advise if you need an engineer for your project and can put you in contact with builders, engineers or building inspectors.


  • You can expand without loosing existing garden space.
  • It gives you an opportunity to change the style of your home by replacing the roof or view in a major way


  • More expensive than just a normal extension
  • Extra building costs for extra support on existing home
  • Additional cost for structural engineer to be involved in the project
  • If you need to replace or take off part of the existing roof, you might have to move out for a few weeks. This might cost you some money, or you can be brave and stay with family for a while.


  • Your existing house must have the foundations to support a second storey
  • The existing walls must be able to be strengthened to support the new weight
  • The height of the new roof will be determined by council regulations and might influence the style of your extension (your drafter and interior designer will advise)
  • The slope of the new roof is also determined by council
  • Your new storey might influence the view of your neighbours and they might need to give permission for your new storey
  • A structural engineer will be appointed by your drafter to do the engineer drawings for council. These need to be handed in to Council with the drafter’s plans. This will be an added cost to your project.

Just think for the moment what the additional weight of a second storey is… I can hardly carry 5 tiles on my own! A second storey will have new walls, ceiling, new heavy roof tiles, new floor boards or even bathroom fittings. You want to be sure your bath does not end up in your downstairs living room after a few weeks!

Rather be safe than sorry, and get all the facts before you start stripping your home and removing walls.

can i add a second storey to my house, renovating, interior designer sydney castle hill, extending home, structural engineer , council approval for second storey, drafter hills district, drafter sydney, council rules for second storey

Happy renovating,

eriana bredenhann interior designers hills district sydney

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8 Expensive items not included in your builder’s quote!

So you are super excited to receive your first quote from your builder? Normally we advise clients to drink at least one glass of whiskey or wine before they read the quote. It is usually more than you expect! To us it sounds easy… just add a room or two. How difficult can it be? However, there are hundreds of little things they need to add to the price that you don’t even know they have to use. So what is included and what not? I have no idea! What I do know, is that many times very obvious things are not included and you need to check that they are. Even if your drafter, architect or interior designer has drawn them on the plan, the builder might not include it in his quote.  Do not assume that the following items are included in your quote:


It might be shown on the plans as full height, but check if your builder has quoted for tiling half wall height or full wall height. Did he make provision for your fancy decorative tiles in the shower, or does he quote an average tile price and you need to pay in the difference as you go? This can add thousands to your price.

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Most builders only provide for one central light per room, and one power point per room. Make sure all the light fittings & power points on the plans are included in his quote. It’s a good idea to give the builder a separate electrical layout plan, drawn by your drafter or interior designer. Remember to ask for USB plugs too!


Your plans might show your expensive timber floors or tiles, but the quote might only provide for carpets. Read the fine detail!


If you’ve chosen a heavy stone bath, you might need extra support if it’s installed on the top floor. If you have extremely heavy chandeliers, make sure your builder adds a few extra strong beams where needed. If you want to wall mount your TV or very heavy art work, check that the builder adds additional timber beams in the wall in the right position. This is why it’s important to work closely with your drafter, builder and interior designer.

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This is a very dangerous one… Joinery disputes lead to a lot of headaches. Just because your plans show your beautiful “Sex in the City – theme” walk in robe, it does not mean the builder will quote all that detail. He might just allocate an amount for your walk in robe, and you have to pay in if it exceeds the amount. Does your quote specify vinyl, timber or glass doors? What internal hardware is specified? Many quotes are done according to general cost allocations, as the builder knows that clients change their minds and designs during the project. So make sure what the builder allocates, are in line with what you designed.

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Don’t forget the little details outside the house. Does the quote provide for outside taps, includes the decking and water tank installation? Do not assume!


Make sure the builder includes the insulation in your roof. It is not a given that it will be installed.


A few other items to check if they are included and specified in your quote: Fly screens, Gas connections to your house, automation of garage doors, Data & TV points.

We are not builders. So our advice is just little things we learned through the Interior Design projects we’ve done over the years. Building is a stressful period, that’s why you need to choose a good team to assist you. You get what you pay for, so cheapest is not always best. Be ready to commit yourself to your building project, make sure you have that extra time besides your already busy life. You should commit to your project with passion and obsession. Don’t forget to read our previous blog about “Ten things to check before you sign the contract to your new home!”

Good luck!

Until next time,

eriana bredenhann


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How to Prepare your Home Before a Renovation Begins

trolley with blackboard

Due to sudden illness, I ended up in hospital during my first bathroom renovation at our current home.  Needless to say, I was miserably unprepared and, after two weeks, returned home to find the bathroom completely gutted, with not a single item (not even a toilet) selected or purchased for the new bathroom.  I’ve learnt a few things during this process and will be ready for the major renovation taking place at my home in a few months’ time.  Here are a few tips to help you prepare your home for a smoother transition.

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In my home, I have stuff for in case I go skiing, stuff for in case I receive lots of flowers, stuff for in case VHS players come back into fashion, stuff for in case I have grandkids one day, stuff for in case I want to make fresh pasta (ha ha ha)  and stuff for in case I need to use my home as a wedding venue.  You get the idea, if you haven’t used it in a year, chances are you never will!  Get rid of that ridiculous egg poacher and device for pipping olives and move on!  Hire a storage facility for all your larger items, or move it into the garage if it’s big enough.


Think about what you do every day, especially when you’re running a household with school aged kids.  You will need a place to prepare snacks and school lunches, cook lunch/dinner, a place to put kids in a naughty corner, clean dishes and don’t forget about the endless piles of washing.  Set up an area, whether it’s in the garage, undercover entertainment area or lounge room, where you can go about your daily routines without too much interference.  Pack plastic containers on wheels with all the bare essentials you will need for each activity.   If you are doing a kitchen reno, learn to love your BBQ and you might also want to consider freezing a few meals to save on the take-aways.

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Do you really want extra sports uniforms to wash and coming home after dark and then start cooking dinner?  It might only take 3-6 weeks to complete your kitchen or floors, so missing a few after hour activities will not be the end of the world.


Make use of whatever technology has to offer.  Shop for groceries online, or get that little party dress you’ve had your eye on delivered at your door for the big housewarming party!


A worksite is filled with discarded nails, sharp tools and heavy equipment.  Make sure that your kids understand that it’s not suitable to be playing cowboys and crooks on a work site – a game of doctor and nurse will be more appropriate (of course, if they are over 13 and the neighbour’s kids are around, you might want to reconsider this particular game).


Let all your friends and neighbours know about your renovation plans.  You’ll find they will be very happy to help out if you get stuck picking up the kids, or might even kindly drop a meal at your door.


It’s hard to keep your belongings under wraps during a renovation.  Make sure all your valuables are locked away and alarm systems in place if your home is left unsecure, especially if you’re replacing a roof, doors or windows.


Find out what time your builders will start in the morning.  They might not appreciate the saucy minx coming downstairs in her best flannelette pj’s and cotton weave robe or even accidentally catching you in the shower.  Make sure you have a designated private area where builders will not be allowed to enter (unless they are extremely handsome and you’re not married).


Pets are very susceptible to loud noises and changes in their environment.  Doors will most probably be left open and gates unlocked during the renovation, so best to have doggy go for a play date or safely stay in a kennel.


Living on a building site will push everyone’s patience to the limits.  Make sure that you’ve left some room in the budget to take a break in a cabin somewhere far far away in the woods.

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All problems solved – how about that!  Now that the theoretical part is done, let’s put it to practice.  To find out if you should stay or go during a renovation, visit our renovating tips tab.

Cheerio ’til next time!


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Renovation Dilemma: Do I move out or stay put?

I have gone through three full-on home renovations over the last 10 years. All 3 times I stayed in my house while chaos unfolded around me. Was it a wise decision? Okay, I must admit, we could hardly afford the renovations and therefore, we could not move out to stay somewhere else. I always thought that I would rather spend that extra money on better finishes than renting another space for a few months! Was it really worth it though?

Stay put or move out? Are you ready for the mess?

There are so many factors that will influence your decision, but today I will give you a few tips to help you decide. Before you make any decision, remember, like the most things in life, MONEY is always the biggest issue. If you have plenty, move out! If you have an extremely tight budget, stay put. As easy as pie! There you have it, you don’t even have to read the rest of the post! For those of you that fall in the middle…. read on! I am not going to bore you with lengthy discussions of pro’s and cons. Here is my list of issues. Short & sweet!

Renovation tips should I move out

Remember to think about the time of year you do your renovation. It is much easier to stay put during the summer, as your kids can run outside and you all have more freedom to roam around. During the winter it is not fun to be squashed into a small room with your family.

If you can not afford to move into a hotel or rental home for a few weeks, it is a good idea to at least budget for one week away from the construction site. Just to be surrounded by clean bedding and a dust free sofa. Plan this week to overlap with your kitchen renovation or when you replace your flooring.

Good luck!

eriana bredenhann


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