March 27th, 2020 in

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Featured Renovator – Becky Marshall from “Flipping The Flip”.

Today we are catching up with featured renovator Becky Marshall. Becky shares her renovation and home improvement adventures over on her blog Flipping the Flip.

I have been following Becky’s adventures for a while now, and apart from being jealous about how often she posts her blogs (something I suck at), I also admire her give it a go attitude.

Becky has tackled all kinds of projects herself such as kitchen modifications, painting projects, electrical modifications, shelving, pocket door installations and much, much more (some pic’s below). If you need some DIY inspiration I suggest checking out Becky’s blog.

I thought I would ask Becky a few questions about her renovation journey so that she can share her story with us.

 

Tell us a bit about yourself and your renovation project “Flipping the Flip”.

Long story short, my first career was theatre in Chicago for many many years as a prop master and scenic designer. Eventually I went back to graduate school and earned an M.F.A. in Interior Architecture. Recently I’ve been working in the television and film industry as a set designer which has included stints at Chicago Fire, Sirens, Jupiter Ascending, and most recently a pilot episode, The Exorcist.

Flipping the Flip came about as an upshot of my various careers making and designing things melding with the latest target of my attention, the house my husband and I bought from a flipper.  That flipper, it turns out, made many a questionable choice and his workmanship left a lot to be desired. The stories of all the work I was doing began piling up in my head so I decided to start a blog with the hope that others could learn from my adventures.

Finn inspecting the renovations.

 

How long have you been renovating your house, and was it always your plan to make the modifications to it?

We bought this house in June 2013 and the pace of working on it, the list of projects, has ramped up over time. We had always planned to remove some trim and repaint every room. Things mushroomed after we moved in and discovered all the things the house flipper had done, or didn’t do, or should have done. Some of his decorating choices and “fixes” were so bad no human should be subjected to them so it became my mission to undo, fix, and improve just about everything he had done.

A photo of Becky's renovated dining room

 

What inspired you to get on the tools and have a go at tackling some of your own projects around the house?

I’ve always been a handy person, a designer type, and a power tool lover so it was a natural progression. It began with the repainting initially, getting up close and personal with the house, seeing all that was done or not done. As I was painting I’d think, well, I best fix that while I’m here. Things rapidly eroded from a “hey, wouldn’t it be nice if…,” to becoming a “I bet I could do that if I tried…” thing. Part of it stems from the desire to be self-sufficient, to learn things and be able to take care of them myself, and part of it comes from the desire to be budget-minded with such a lengthy list.

Becky's renovated kitchen splash back with tiles and grout.

 

If you had to pick one thing in relation to your renovation that you are proud of what would that be?

Boy, that’s tough. As I move from project to project and I see things taking shape around the house, it’s hard to pick just one. I don’t mean to sound boastful; in a simple comparison of the house as-bought to how things are to date, the difference is definite and vast. If pressed though, my latest one, a pocket door to our master bathroom, is the biggest project I have ever undertaken and probably the one I’m most proud of lately.

Becky's custom install of a pocket door.

 

Have you found any of your remodelling tasks stressful, if so how do you go about problem-solving some of these tasks?

Oh my gosh yes. Yes! I tend to un-smartly plow head-first into projects, so I need to first slow myself down. If it’s larger like painting our kitchen cabinets or installing wallpaper or the pocket door, I take time to plan and write out all the steps, how I want to accomplish each task, and how I want the end result to be before even lifting a finger. I find that helps keep the stress tamped as I’m then able to take the project one single step at a time, one small goal at a time thereby feeling less overwhelmed. In the case of the pocket door, I ended up taking several days to plan, prep, do math, write down every single step in order, even draw it out on the computer. That was my most stressful project to date and I found I needed to really parse it down to finest detail.

Pantry Pallet Wood Floor Project

 

If there was one piece of advice that you could give someone about to start on their own DIY renovation journey what would that be?

Don’t be afraid. Ok, be a little afraid as that’s a healthy reminder to be careful and take your time but do not be afraid to try something. Be smart and know your limits but fear of trying something new is squashed by the rush of accomplishment. The worst that can happen is you make a mistake but I think mistakes are not mistakes; they are a golden opportunity to learn and try again.

A Photo of Becky's library renovation

 

Thanks for taking the time to share your story with us Becky, and we look forward to following along with the rest of your DIY renovation journey as it unfolds.

Are you hands on like Becky when it comes to getting things done? If so tell us about it in the comments section below, we would love to hear about it.

Thanks Guys, take care.

Cheers,

James Mason

 


 

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February 15th, 2020 in

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Featured Renovators – The Stone Family

Today we are catching up with featured renovator Sam Stone. Sam and her husband Matt, daughter Olivia and son Declan are about to tackle a pretty major renovation in Sydney’s inner west suburb of Five Dock.

Sam has been writing about her experience so far over on her blog A Life On Venus, and as I write this they have had their plans finalised and are nervously waiting for their Development Application (DA) to be approved.

Like a lot of people Sam has never tackled a major renovation before, so it’s been great to follow along and see some of the road blocks and obstacles through the eyes of someone with little experience in the field of renovating.

I caught up with Sam to ask a few questions about her experience so far, and this is what she had to say.

When did you first get the idea that you wanted to renovate, and what gave you the inspiration to do so?

A lot of people in our street are renovating and then when our neighbours started renovating and we began to see the massive transformation in their place we decided it was time to make some changes to our place too.

We had also been watching a lot of home makeover shows on TV and saw that it was possible to renovate your home to achieve the space that you want.

 

What kind of research did you do before you decided to take the plunge on starting the process?

We googled around onto Interior Designer websites and Renovation websites to try to find out what could be achieved in the space we have available. We talked to friends who have renovated to get their ideas and experiences.

 

What part of the process have you enjoyed the most so far?

The most enjoyable part so far has been working with the architect. He had some really great ideas and some we would never have thought of ourselves.

 

What has been the most stressful?

Definitely the DA process, waiting and seeing if we will get approval and if not, what do we do!

 

Given that you are yet to start construction, what if anything are you the most nervous about?

I think the budget is the biggest thing we are nervous about at the moment. How much will it all cost, can we afford it and will we possibly totally blow the budget once construction starts.

 

I have enjoyed following Sam’s progress so far and I look forward to hearing about what lies ahead in their exciting renovation journey.

I will be checking in with the guys again from time to time, so watch this space and make sure you stay up to date by also following along. We wish Sam and her family all the best with their renovation and hope they have an enjoyable experience.

 

Have you renovated before? If so how did you find the experience? Leave me a comment below and share your story as we would love to hear about it.

Cheers,

James Mason

 


 

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June 12th, 2020 in

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Cost to renovate a house: Interior, Exterior and Room wise split-up

The cost to renovate your house can range from $20,000 to $300,000 or even more if you are willing to burn cash to ready your home.

Don’t panic the 6 figure, your renovation project might not require that big a budget. In fact, most renovation projects in Australia costs around $100,000 for a 3-bedroom house.

So here is a complete guide to finding the budget for your dream home. If you don’t have a renovation idea in mind, it is still advisable to know the basics first and then find a design that fits in the budget.

house fund

Renovation cost per square meter

The renovation cost per square meter will give you an approximated figure on how much you will be spending on your house.

According to industry data, the average cost to renovate a house is between $2,000 to $2,500 per square meter here in Australia. In my experience renovating custom projects, the price can go up to $4,000.

How do I get to this number? Well, I have taken all the financial data from every house I have renovated over the last 20 years and the average from all of my projects is closer to $3,000.

That takes into consideration that most of my renovations were custom designs by architects and usually involved putting a second story on a single-story home and fully refurbishing the existing dwelling.

You can get project home builders that pump out the same design over and over for as low as $1,500 per meter square. But if you are on this site you are most probably not looking for that option.

Now, is calculating the cost per square meter the best way to estimate what your renovation project will cost you? In my opinion the answer is NO!

So, how else to estimate the budget by yourself.

Cost Calculators? Yes, they can be helpful to an extent. But most of them generalize the amount and do not provide options to select every varying factor.

Or you can handpick the elements and rooms to be renovated from the list below and nail the budget.

 

complete bathroom renovation project

Interior renovation: Room wise split-up

Do you know the kitchen and bathroom are the most renovated rooms in the house? Not only it has the most potential to be damaged and look outdated over time, it is the most valued areas home buyers look into as part of home evaluation. They are also the most difficult rooms to renovate that requires many different tradesmen.

Kitchen renovation cost: $10,000 to $45,000

This is will factor in the costs of countertops, kitchen appliances, cabinets, and the labour involved in the relocation/re-laying of pipes and electric line.

Bathroom renovation cost: $10,000 to $40,000

The average bathroom renovation expense is around $30,000 for a modern bathroom with bath. Though there isn’t much to buy new, the tiling across the wall and floor, resurfacing the bathtub and many other things bloat the expenses.

Living room renovation cost: $10,000 to $15,000

The most viewed room of any home. Though there isn’t much except furniture, the expenses are directed towards interior design and décor to give a good impression.

Bedroom renovation cost: $2,000 to 25,000

You can do just the paint and flooring for $2,000 or go full on to get a fresh look for $25,000. The price can go up to $35,000 for en-suite bedroom.

Laundry and wash area renovation cost: $15,000 to 20,000

There is not much to choose in this small portion of the house. You can do a luxury laundry renovation for $2,000 more than regular.

 

 

 

Exterior renovation:

Exterior renovation and maintenance is something not many touch unless they are planning to sell the house. But it shouldn’t be the case. You must take care of the exterior paint and garden from time to time.

Exterior painting cost: $10,000

An average-sized, single storey 2/3 bedroom house costs no more than $10,000 for painting the exteriors. If you factor in the recladding and insulation work you might expect a bill around $35,000.

Garden and deck renovation cost: $2,000 to $10,000

Depending on the surface area of the garden and deck you will have an expense lower than 10,000 for landscaping, basic light setup and fencing. For additional elements like an outdoor kitchen, BBQ or bar you might have to go beyond the budget.

Ventilation system cost: $2,000 to $5,000

One of the cheapest in home renovation is the roof ventilation replacement.

Roofing cost: $10,000 to $20,000

The cost of taking down and replacing the roof is going to largely vary with the choice of material. Corrugated Iron Roof is estimated to cost around $15,000.

home exterior

Home extension:

Some times you do not stop with the house renovation. You might need to add an extra room to accommodate the new member of the family or add a pool. Either way here is the cost involved in home extension projects.

Keep in mind this is going to bounce your budget way more than you think.

Swimming pool installation: starting from $35,000

The starting range of 7.5*4 meter fibreglass pool installation is going to cost you $35,000 without taking into account the cost of covers, decking, landscaping, etc. Concrete pools of the same size cost around $55,000.

Loft conversion cost: $200,000 to $450,000

This one thing is going to cost even more than the whole renovation budget itself. But it is an easy home extension if you need an extra room.

 

Miscellaneous renovation cost that you must know:

Individual prices of some of the common renovation work carried out in a house is listed so that you can add them in your budget. Please note, these work costs are already added in the room wise price if they are required. If you are looking for doing any of the specific tasks but not the whole room, only then add these costs to your budget list.

Designing: 5% to 20% of project value

The design and planning play a larger part in the pre-construction phase that can not be overlooked. You will most often require an architect or builders help to plan your home renovation. The price ranges from $1200 to $1800 for new builds and house extensions.

License, permits, insurance and other documents:

Contact your local council for more information.

Double glazing cost for the bathroom: $10,000

It can almost reduce the expense by half otherwise spent on buying new joinery.

Asbestos removal cost: $500 to $9,500

An unsafe process handled only by professionals will vary depending on the size of the house.

Rubbish removal: $300 to $2000

Skip bin is a buffer to store the demolished remains and other waste from the construction site that will later be disposed of. Depending on the waste, you need to order a bigger skip bin.

Flooring installation price: $50 to $200 depending on floor type

Carpet installation price: $175 to $750 for installation alone.

Interior house painting: $600 to $3,400 including labour and paint.

Interior decoration: $170 to $320 per hour (decors to be bought separately)

 

The budgeting doesn’t end here. There are some un-accountable expenses like transportation of materials and then there is the risk factor – unexpected expenses. Every project is different and has its own unique cost factors such as:

  • Access to the property, is it easy or hard to get materials and trucks into?
  • Is the renovation just a square box added to the back of the house, or an architectural masterpiece?
  • Are there any specialised building materials being used?
  • Are the finishes high end or budget?
  • Will major structural modifications be made to the existing house?

The above are just a handful of questions that you need to ask yourself before you take the cookie-cutter approach of adding a cost per square meter to your design. Leave a good headroom of 5-10% of the total cost for such expenses to avoid nightmares amidst construction period.

The geography of the house is a varying factor that you need to take account of while budgeting. It reflects in the cost of material and costs involved in licensing and buying permits and most of all labour costs. For example, the kitchen renovation labour costs an average of $50 in Queensland compared to $80 in New South Wales.

 

So, what is your budget?

Is the number bigger than you anticipated? It is to most of us. The main reason being the numerous renovation TV shows we are used to.

It doesn’t mean renovation shows are false either. Remember they do most of the work by themselves and do not have a profit margin at all. I know you are already thinking about DIY home renovation. But wait.

 

DIY home renovation

DIY home renovation: Things to know before you start

Taking responsibility and doing as much work by yourself is the best way to save money and get more involved in your home renovation project. But there are some caveats.

  • Construction is not easy. You need proper training to do work with the same quality as professionals.
  • Even with utmost dedication, you need to draw a line. You can’t take responsibility for all of the work. Speciality work like plumbing, electrical and Asbestos removal requires proper licensing along with online courses and training.
  • You need to spend money and time in the pre-construction phase if you are serious about taking complex DIY renovation work. The money you need to spend on licenses is going to be lesser than that you pay to the professional otherwise. But make sure you have enough time to spend on learning and on the site, especially if you want to be an owner-builder. Owner builder has a responsibility equal to the fulltime job of a building contractor.
  • With all that set, the risk of falling is higher when you swap out professional workers with yourself. So, have a larger contingency fund. Take proper insurances and be prepared for any mishaps.

My advice is to take DIY work only if you feel so short on funding and have plenty of time in hand.

 

Final thoughts

To wind it up, there is an easy and straight forward way to get an accurate figure or even a ballpark cost before starting your design is to talk with two to three professionals (I.e. Architects or Builders) about what you are proposing to do and take the averages of the estimates to get a starting point.

If you proceed to the next stage of getting your concept plans drawn, this will be enough for you to get tenders on before you move onto the final design, and give you room to scale up or down depending on the estimated costs.

Have you recently been given a square meter price to renovate your home? If so tell us about your experience in the comments section below to start the conversation.


 

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