Renovating our House: What I’ve Learned and My Advice for Renovators

“If we ever renovate again, I would…”
“Our next house, we should do this…”

These are words Mr Nerd and I have uttered to each other many a time as we’ve been ankle-deep in renovation rubble here.

I am still FAR from a renovating pro, but we’ve learned a lot of things through trial and error from renovating our 70s fixer-upper – a house we bought after being lured by the real estate listing tagline proclaimed ‘Ideal Makeover’.

No not my house, unfortunately. A timeless renovation in the beautiful modernist home of interior stylist Karen Kelly Tarasin. Photo by Prue Ruscoe for InsideOut.

We bought the Crap Shack when we were 24 and promptly plunged into fixing it up. I mean it when we said promptly and plunged. We didn’t even open the bottle of champagne and the goodie box from the lovely real estate agent; we were so excited and full of enthusiasm we were already in renovating mode; slapping up some terrible DIY render on the dark brown face brick in the 70s kitchen. To give you one example of our ‘trial and error’, while the DIY render in the kitchen brightened up the dark kitchen temporarily, we ended up having to scrape it all back and have it professionally plastered years later when we redid our kitchen for good!

As we edge closer to January when we can start our makeover (you can read about what we plan to do here) we’ve been clearing away bushes and junk from around the sides of the house, ready to get the cladding ready, and have also been thinking about paint colour themes. But in the meantime I thought I’d share a few of the lessons I’ve learned from renovating. Would love to hear what advice you guys have, too.

Things I’ve learned from renovating – step 1. Removing old fish/mosquito pond should be a priority.

Look at the big picture of your home.

This is one thing we DIDN’T do when we first moved into our house – look at all the rooms as a whole and how we’d like the whole space to work cohesively. And in a house like ours, that is mostly very open-plan, that is extra-important – considering how one room should complement and work with the next so the feel flows. For example, you might rethink putting a graphic orange and black 70s-style feature wallpaper up in your hallway if your hallway is visible from your Millennial pink-dining room.

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