Come behind the scenes of a major renovation! Plus, my top 5 renovation tips.

We love sharing behind the scenes of a major renovation – always with the goal of inspiring you and your future projects!  This time we’re giving you a tour of our recently completed Double Bay project, where we transformed a dark and drab 1980’s townhouse into a light and contemporary family home.

When our clients purchased the compact 105m2 townhouse they were initially concerned about how to overcome the dark and drab spaces, but knew there was hidden potential… so they engaged us to help unlock its potential.

With the brief to address the dark spaces, limited storage and create a family friendly home with ‘wow factor’, we took inspiration from the home’s lush, palm tree-filled location to create a home with resort-holiday vibes.  It was an exciting challenge and we loved creating this beautiful home for the vibrant family of four.

Here’s how we transformed the dull and dated home into a stunning sanctuary full of fresh energy… plus my top 5 renovation tips.

1. Diligent spatial planning to create flow and improve room layouts

For any renovation, space planning and room layouts are critical to get right, and certainly for this 105m2 townhouse, it was the most important aspect to maximise the small footprint of the home.  We did this by…

  • Removing doorways and increasing the connection between the kitchen and the living areas
  • Removing bulky columns that dominated the space
  • Reconfiguring the bathroom layout to feel more spacious
  • Leveraging the dead space under the stairs for a practical study nook

Top tip:

My tip for initial space planning is to draw your floor plan to scale and sketch in your furniture and joinery.  It will help you to visualise the space you have to play with and consider various ways to achieve your goals. Take the time to play with the different ways you can create flow and meet your design goals.  It’s better to spend the time upfront planning and playing than rushing it and risk getting it wrong.

Our Pro Tip – this palette is fabulous if you’re looking to create cocooning, nurturing and calming vibes. It’s a very grounding palette that can be layered with the gorgeous tones within the palette – blues, yellows, and wheat. If you’d prefer to tread lightly, you could try this palette in a room where you want to create that cocooning vibe, like a bedroom or a living space. To soften the look, use sheers for your window treatments and crisp neutrals in your furnishings and décor.   

2. Get innovative with joinery and storage solutions

With a family of four (plus a dog) living in this compact space, we needed to create clever storage solutions that were dual purpose.

Here are 4 custom joinery elements we designed to enhance the spaces….

  • Kitchen joinery was subtly extended into the dining area with softly curved custom joinery, designed to hide a nib wall and plumbing services whilst also creating the perfect opportunity for extra storage and display shelves.
  • Reclaiming space from a little-used powder room created a functional butler’s pantry and laundry space
  • A custom entertainment unit was designed to double as a bench seat AND provide loads of extra storage!
  • Adding a study nook under the stairs gave new purpose to an otherwise unused space.

Top tip:

Consider how you can make your furniture and joinery dual purpose.  And secondly, leverage any dead spaces with functional custom-built joinery to create a new use.

Kitchen joinery

Custom bench seat with built in storage

Study nook and storage

3. Set the mood with a fresh colour palette

We took inspiration from the home’s lush, palm tree-filled location to create a home with resort-holiday vibes, and we lightened the previously dark and dated home, choosing a soft, fresh colour palette and natural finishes to create a calm, relaxed and inviting feeling throughout.

Top tip

When selecting your home’s colour palette, there are 4 factors to consider…

  1. Decide the mood and feeling you want to create
  2. Think about the light you have in the home – both natural light and artificial light. This will influence the tone and shade of the colours you choose.
  3. Consider what you’re trying to achieve in the home ie: do you want to lighten and open up the space? Create different zones? Or intimate spaces?
  4. Once you’ve got a shortlist of colours you’re considering, test the paint colour swatches on your walls in different light. Observe them over a few days to ensure they achieve your goals.

For more info on how to select the right colours for your home, check out our other blog articles – How colour can create the perfect feeling in your home  and  How to pick the perfect white paint colour for your home

Colour Palette

4. Select furniture that suits your lifestyle

We kept the furniture streamlined for this project, due to the small footprint of the home, but we also wanted to create zones where the family could gather, and also have spaces where each individual could stretch out and have some ‘quiet time’!  We carefully selected furniture with soft edges and warm timber tones so that they complemented the space.


Top tip:

Furniture selection is key to creating the desired feeling in a space. But there are also functional considerations such as how many people live in the home, how you use the space, if you have pets etc, that will influence your decisions.  Most importantly, ensure the furniture you select, fits in the space well!!! This goes back to the first point around careful space planning and room layouts.

Furniture Selections

5. Let the light in!!

Light makes a space feel instantly larger and more open. This was one of the biggest issues we faced with this home – it was dark and gloomy with minimal natural light. Our solution was two-fold….

  1. Skylights were added above the staircase, in the hallway and the bathrooms. This instantly opened up the space, creating a lofty, luxe feeling.
  2. New floor to ceiling sheer curtains were added to create a fresh and breezy vibe, with double tracks and blockout linings for privacy in the bedrooms. This instantly let more natural light flow into the home.


Top Tip

Think about clever ways to let more natural light in with new windows, glass doors or the addition of skylights.  Also consider updating your window treatments with curtains or blinds that pull back off the glass to optimise the flow of light into your home.

Before and After

So with some out-of-the-box thinking, we were able to create a highly liveable, contemporary family home with the WOW factor that our clients were looking for.

I hope you’re feeling inspired after your little tour behind the scenes of a major renovation project! And that my top 5 renovation tips also give you some guidance when undertaking your own renovation or home refresh.  With good planning, I’m sure you’ll create some magic in your home!

Of course, if you’d like some support designing your space and bringing your home dreams to life, then we’d love to help!  You can book in for a complimentary 20min Discovery Call by simply clicking here.


Anna x