21 NOV - 2023
Upscale but make it budget-friendly.
Home renovations have had a burst in popularity since Covid with the DIY aspect in particular, growing for obvious reasons. Being stuck at home meant people naturally became insular and focused on the details of their living space. Married with the perfect storm of skyrocketing material prices, shocking lead times and labour shortages, for a lot of people, rolling up our sleeves and playing Bob the Builder seemed to be the only option.
Fast forward to 2023, we’re out of the viral woods but suffering in an economic downturn where living costs are criminally high and opportunities are scarce. DIY is still the obvious choice for most of us if we want to fix up or simply add value to our homes. Thanks Richard Kiyosaki for these priceless learnings! If you don’t know who that is, YouTube him or ‘Rich Dad, Poor Dad’ and you’ll have an understanding of how to achieve financial freedom through property. It’s a bible for wealth builders.
This year in Australia, The Local Project teamed up with ubank to create a home improvement series on Tik Tok to assist three lucky young couples with their home renovation projects. Generously matching the couples’ $5000 budgets, every team had a total budget of $10,000 to transform a space in their homes.
One of the participants, Claudia, a client success manager at Uber eats, did a spectacular job turning her bathroom into a Japandi inspired oasis. The simple yet nuanced details within her bathroom are absolutely stunning and Pinterest worthy.
While the Tik Tok videos show a glimpse of the design choices, budgeting decisions and the final makeover results, I had to request some polished photography to do her bathroom justice.
Due to the dated and impractical layout of Claudia’s bathroom’s wet areas, she wanted to make it more livable and ultimately increase the value of the 1960’s apartment. After living in the apartment for a year and a half, she decided to renovate and spent a total of $80K on renovations. The value of her home was sitting at $1.5 Million and she now predicts that the $80k worth of renovations has increased the total value of her home to more than $1.7 Million.
Without further ado, let’s get into the Q&A with Claudia as she provides key insights into how she renovated her bathroom with an upscale design with minimal budget.
What specific renovations brought the most value do you think to your home?
Going from one bathroom to two, introducing an ensuite to the main bedroom.
Can you talk me through what parts of your home you renovated and what you did to improve them?
Prior to our reno, we had an oversized laundry, a separate toilet and a bathroom (3 wet areas). We removed the wall between the laundry and toilet to create one larger space to accommodate a new shower, toilet and laundry within a cupboard. The old bathroom was closed up and a new doorway was created leading to the main bedroom. This allowed us to create an ensuite, with a shower/bath, big vanity and a toilet. We went from one shower and one toilet to 2 of each. So that’s a win!
Did you consult any designers or builders to help you do these renovations?
I did the design myself, and had an amazing builder help bring it to life and even improve parts of it.
What was the most surprising thing you realised during your renovation?
That builders can be good communicators.
Did the current cost of living impact your project decisions in any way and what / how you renovated?
Yes, we mixed and matched expensive materials with more cost effective ones. I.e. We changed our tapware last minute and saved $6k. My partner is good on the spreadsheets and had to rein me in a lot.
Did any parts of the renovation cost more than you anticipated?
Yes, the small things we added in along the way, like changing internal doors, all added up.
Are there specific types of investments that you think are better to make during an economic downturn?
Yes, something like installing under floor heating was quite cost effective as the total square meters wasn’t much… and will make a big difference during winter and for resale value (not sure how much they will cost to run, but I am told not much…) Choosing glass tiles over ceramic/marble tiles were able to save us heaps of money in our main bathroom/laundry and look just as good, if not better!
Do you plan to live in your home for a long time or are you planning to sell it?
We are planning on living here for the next 5 years and hoping to renovate the rest of the place next year.
Did you continue to live in your home as you were doing the renovations?
No, we had to move out as we had no functioning toilets or showers. Plus, there was a lot of dust.
What are three things Aussies should know or consider before embarking on a home renovation?
Find a good builder, someone you are comfortable with and that communicates well with you. Know that you will likely go over budget and that there will be delays.
Do you have any regrets?
Only slightly, but I change my mind everyday. Sometimes I walk past the main bathroom and love it and other days I think it’s too bold. I think it’s good to be different though, and I have definitely created something that is interesting.
Do you plan to do any more renovations in the future?
Yes, kitchen next year! New floors and wardrobes too.