A former Vogue beauty editor and mother-of-two has revealed the eight lessons she learned when she renovated her dream home.
Determined to avoid spending a ‘small fortune’, former magazine editor and founder of
Since transforming her Sydney property, Sigourney revealed that she has learned eight lessons about renovating.
From laminating floors to save cash to using bright paint in small rooms to make them appear bigger, FEMAIL reveals her top tips.
A homeowner and mother-of-two (pictured with her kids) has revealed the eight lessons she learned when she renovated her dream home
You might think laminate floors won’t look as classy as timber or hardwood, but Sigourney said the opposite is true (pictured: before with carpet and after with laminate flooring)
Lesson one: Laminate floors save cash and still look good
You might think laminate floors won’t look as classy as timber or hardwood, but Sigourney – who was recently awarded a certificate in interior design at TAFE (a technical and further education institution) – said the opposite is true.
‘We initially intended to get timber, but the laminates now look so real and are not only much cheaper but are much more hard-wearing,’ she told Beauticate.
On top of that, laminate flooring is practical for people with children because it’s tough and you can wear whichever shoes you want.
Sigourney explained she and her partner Damien removed the old carpeting and tiles without ‘much trouble’.
They then tried to ensure they had a flat, hard surface in order to lay the floating floorboards by using ‘self-levelling concrete from Bunnings’, having heard it would cost $2,000 to $3,000AUD (£1,127 – £1,691) to get a builder to do the same job.
However, Sigourney admitted things didn’t exactly go to plan because it’s ‘really hard to get it smooth’.
The family ended up calling in a professional to add the finishing touches, which cost less than paying to have the whole job done.
Once that was fixed, Sigourney said the floorboards went in ‘pretty easily’ and gave a sleek, modern and minimalist look.
After her concrete disaster, Sigourney said one of the main lessons she has learned is that it really helps to have a professional help out with the finer details of flooring (living room pictured before and after)
Lesson two: Get a pro to do your carpets
After her experience with laying the concrete, Sigourney said one of the main lessons she has learned is that it really helps to have a pro help out with certain things – carpet being one of them.
‘The carpet was quickly and easily installed and I’m really happy with how it feels underfoot,’ she said – adding that the whole project set her back $3,000 (£1,691).
Sometimes, she said, it’s worth spending a little bit more money to get a good finish.
After her experience with laying the concrete, Sigourney said one of the main lessons she has learned is that it really helps to have a pro help out with certain things – carpet being one of them (pictured: one of Sigourney’s bedrooms)
Lesson three: Always get a personal recommendation with builders
Sigourney said renovators should definitely get a personal recommendation for a builder where possible to avoid nightmares down the line.
She said she found a builder online, but was disappointed when after a few days he didn’t turn up on time, ‘citing some convoluted excuse about not having access to a suitable car’.
She said her builder eventually got the job done more than two months late, but she was thankful the cost only came in $750 (£423) over budget.
Interior designers regard paint as being so important that it is often called ‘liquid gold’ – and Sigourney said the right coat can make a small room appear bigger (pictured)
Lesson four: Adjust your paint colours to suit the size of a room
Interior designers often describe paint as ‘liquid gold’ because of its ability to transform a property.
Sigourney agrees and firmly believes you should paint each room according to its size and lighting.
‘If a room gets less daylight, you may want to brighten the colour of the paint,’ Sigourney said, adding that this can help it appear bigger and more modern.
Sigourney said she painted most of her home white as she wanted it to appear ‘fresh’ – and after much deliberation she said she called in the experts and spent $4,000 (£2,255) getting two coats done around the house.
Renovating is messy business, and Sigourney said putting dropsheets down further than you think will save you time in the long run (pictured: her home)
Lesson five: Cover a larger area with dust sheets than you think is necessary when using spray paint indoors
Renovating is messy business, especially if you’re using spray paint to spruce up your furniture.
Sigourney recommended putting protective dust sheets down – and covering more surface area than you think is necessary.
The mum pointed out that they did their spray painting on a windy day, which caused the paint to blow further into their apartment than they would have liked.
‘There’s a lot of prep work required as things can get a bit messy,’ she said.
‘We bought several cans of black matte spray paint and all the equipment, then spent a day just masking and preparing the surrounding area.’
‘We managed to save a lot of money by buying materials direct from suppliers and doing some of the work ourselves with the help of a carpenter friend,’ Sigourney said (her kitchen is pictured before and after the renovation)
Lesson six: Be creative with your kitchen
For many homeowners, the kitchen is the heart of the home – and it’s also the room Sigourney is most proud of.
Having visited a few kitchen renovation stores only to be quoted somewhere between $10,000 and $50,000 (£5,637 and £28,187) Sigourney said she realised they didn’t need to rip out the whole thing and start again – only redo the island and benchtops and add a stylish rectangular sink.
‘We managed to save a lot by buying materials direct from suppliers and doing some of the work ourselves with the help of a carpenter friend,’ Sigourney said.
They also saved cash by finding a Quantum Quartz supplier for the benchtops on Gumtree and later a ‘gorgeous black tap’ on eBay.
Sigourney said she managed to do her entire kitchen for under $5,000 (£2,818) and urges any renovator to look in unusual places for their kitchen equipment – as you don’t always have to spend a fortune.
Even if it’s cupboards in your roof or a bed with a base, Sigourney said any storage space is good storage space – such as the area she found under her stairs
Lesson seven: If you’re tight on space, use any available area for storage
Even if it’s cupboards in your roof or a bed with a base, any storage space is good storage space, Sigourney said.
She ended up turning the area under her stairs into extra storage and built a cupboard into a desk nook, with pull-out drawers and a set of bookshelves for more storage.
Because the family are in an apartment, Sigourney said she really had to think about more creative storage ideas.
They found a void above the bathroom which became an attic storage room and also bought a bed with a storage facility to keep excess beauty products in.
Lesson eight: If you’re interested in interior design, take a course
Sigourney said she benefitted hugely from taking a TAFE interior design course, and said it left her with ‘the foundations to play with the design aspects’.
When she was starting out, Sigourney said she produced a mood board of what she wanted to create, adding swatches of colours and furniture styles she liked before setting out to work slowly and steadily on her home.
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