A perfectly-executed renovation breathes new life into Rebecca Johns 115-year-old home
Renovating in 2022 was no easy feat (not to mention navigating the trials and tribulations of a historic home).
And yet, amidst the shortages of essential materials and a tricky brief, Rebecca's execution of her heritage-listed home in Perth is nothing short of perfection.
Eye-catching accents, playful terrazzo and a timeless palette of timber and white blend seamlessly with re-imagined and restored original features.
Discover how a confident vision and a balanced approach breathed new life into this 115-year-old home...
1.) Thanks for taking the time to sit down with us today Rebecca! You recently renovated your home. Can you tell us a little bit about the process
Our beautiful home was built in 1908. Today it is 115 years old, and we have poured all our love and affection into her! Purchased in 2019, we always knew our goal was to preserve the heritage of the home as much as possible but add on with a contemporary twist!
To do that, we used the juxtaposition of black and white. The heritage portion of the house and its coinciding extension is all white weatherboard, while the new contemporary extension is our “black box”, in a stained wooden cladding. The two contrasting aspects complement each other through our light voids.
The interior house style is a blend of relaxed coastal, scandi with a dash of hamptons - with tones of white, warm beach wood, brushed brass and black accents throughout the property.
For the styling colour palette, we drew on inspiration from our love of art. The main living space is based on two beautiful Jai Vasicek pieces, drawing out tones of olive, blush and ochre.
While the bedroom is based on our Kimmy Hogan floral piece, pulling out hues of mint green and soft pastel pink.
We love to entertain, so we made sure to maximise our outdoor space with a playful blend of terrazzo concrete, lush green grass and a crystal blue pool.
Needless to say, we are in love with our beautiful home!
2.) Can you share with us any Instagram accounts you used for inspiration?
My Instagram was like a walking mood board! I drew most of my inspiration from accounts I love to follow. These include Three Birds Renovations, Granite Lane (of course!), ABI Interiors, Norsu Interiors and Lo & Co Interiors.
I follow these accounts as I gravitate towards their aesthetics - coastal, scandi, brushed brass, crisp whites and pops of on-trend colours.
3.) Renovating in 2022 couldn’t have been easy! What would you say your biggest challenge was?
Having now been through the process, I don’t think renovating is ever easy! But yes, 2022 was challenging. Between Covid, escalating RBA rates, stock levels and product lead times - it was a big challenge.
Planning became our best friend. Products like tiles and floorboards all had to be imported from Europe, so we were looking at lead times of up to 6 months! But because we ordered well in advance, we got through it ok.
Same for furniture, given stock levels are so low, we ordered well in advance (4+ months). That way, the pieces were ready to install as soon as it was go time.
4.) What was your biggest surprise about the renovation?
All the decisions! From big to small. I know that sounds ridiculous, but I wasn’t prepared for constantly having to make decisions as the process went on. I quickly learned that you just have to be confident in your decisions and move on. Being our first build, we were quite naive to the process.
Pictured: Wishbone Dining Chairs
5.) Did you have any features you considered a must-have in the renovation?
Our “Black Box” was certainly one of our must-have features. We wanted a real juxtaposition from our old white weatherboard cottage to the new section of the home, and the stark contrast of black vs white was it.
Another feature we wanted was to integrate as many appliances as possible, to keep the house looking seamless. Fridge, washing machine, pantry, electrical cupboard, washing baskets, ironing board… anything we possibly could!
We love to entertain, so we wanted a seamless flow between our indoor dining, to outdoor alfresco, to grass and then to pool. It involved having very wide spaces, big glass sliding doors and finished off with home automation.
6.) What are some of your favourite furniture selections and why?
We are madly in-love with our Coco Republic round marble coffee table and lounge suite, our GlobeWest oval dining table, our Granite Lane wishbone chairs and Granite Lane's beautiful Retreat Bed in the master bedroom.
Because we have a toddler, we were very conscious about our furniture selections being child friendly, which is why we went with lots of curves. It also softens the space and brings a sense of flow and warmth.
7.) When it comes to a home renovation, where should homeowners splurge and where should they save?
It’s very much down to personal preference, but it’s nice to have a mix and match of expensive and affordable - much like your wardrobe. We splurged on things that were important to us like exterior cladding, flooring and appliances. For other items like lighting and tiles, if you put time into having a good shop around, you can often find beautiful on-trend pieces for half the price.
8.)What would be your top three tips for anyone looking to renovate their own home in 2023?
1.) Make a plan and stick to it:
The biggest cost blowouts come from huge changes part way through a build. Be confident in your early decisions and stick to them. We hit 38 revisions before we even started! But it certainly worked in our favour as the process was relatively smooth sailing.
2.) Nail your aesthetic and learn to love a mood board:
I LOVE to mood board! I would stay up for hours at night mucking around on apps, cutting and pasting ideas together. It really helped me to visualise how our home would come together cohesively - by way of furniture, colours and textures. Seeing our selections all pieced together in one spot allowed me to see what worked and what didn’t (before even buying a single thing).
3.) Budget, budget, budget:
Give yourself a limit, and stick to it. My husband works a mean spreadsheet, and he made me put in EVERY purchase. We allocated monetary amounts to everything, including styling items. And it allowed us to keep on track the entire way through. It also gave me the ability to buy styling items as the build went along, so I had a stack to play with at the end (and this key process didn’t get lost along the way due to negative funds).
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