SHOULD I STAY OR SHOULD I GO?

By Bonnie

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So, you’ve decided to demolish half your house to build your dream home? Are you ready to fork out $25k in rent to move out, like Lana did, or are you prepared to get down and dirty and live through the reno, like some of the #ahem hardier among us?

Now, call me crazy… (Lana did;-), but my husband, Nathan, and I decided to live onsite during our MASSIVE dream home reno. With 4 boys (including a baby), 3 dogs and a year-long build ahead of us, what could possibly go wrong?!

Because our build was in two parts, the plan was to start building the new part of our home, a granny flat/guest cottage, and then move into that while the main house was renovated and extended. Sounds perfect! Simple! #soithought!

 

With hordes of children and animals to relocate, living onsite always seemed to make more sense to me than moving out. And there are definite benefits of being onsite during your reno. Let me explain:

+ You're always onsite to pick up mistakes and make decisions when needed
+ You have longer to spend walking through the half-built spaces to come up with better design solutions.
+ Someone’s always there to accept deliveries.
+ It saves money not having to rent! I don't know about you, but spending money on rent feels like it's rubbing salt in your reno budget wounds. 
+ Nath was able to help with manual labour when heavy deliveries would arrive or some turf needed laying stat!
+ Overall, you have more control because you're always there.
+ Your kids get to see it all unfold – and the mammoth effort that goes into creating their family dream home. I mean, how cool is it for a little boy to wake up with a life-sized digger outside his window!? #renolife. Little Dodge was in 'digger-heaven' ... just quietly, so was his dad. 

 
 

BUT ... and this is a big but, when the exposed plumbing in your hallway is leaking and you've stopped washing your dirty hair because .... what's the point? Reality bites and you realise there are some downsides of living this close to the action:

+ You never get a break from the renovation - it's 24/7 baby! That’s a lot of hours when you’re doing a year-long project like mine!
+ Say goodbye to privacy - you could be sleeping, having breakfast or even showering ... don't be surprised if a Tradie walks in at 7am to ask you a question. 
+ Your family lives in a very dysfunctional environment with no routine and pretty poor sleeping conditions. It’s difficult for adults, let alone children. Did I mention I did this with a baby!?
+ Forget about your personal grooming. I didn't see a mirror for weeks at a time. On one occasion, Lana pulled a pair of tweezers out of her pocket and started plucking my eyebrows which had apparently grown down over my eyelids. How was I supposed to know? 
+ There is dust and dirt everywhere, ALL.THE.TIME. And there’s the never-ending battle to keep where you're living some semblance of clean.
+ Any furniture you leave on site will get trashed #harshbutfair.  So put all your good stuff in your local Storage King and be prepared to chuck out what's been left behind once the reno is over. 
+ Forget about entertaining - those days are dead and buried until you emerge from your reno. The housewarming party may just make up for this!!
+ Owning animals adds another challenge. Our dogs are gorgeous and loyal but they developed a clear distrust for tradies, especially those wearing high-vis vests and holding equipment #noladders #nohammers #nodrills #makesittough. This meant I had to try and lock up the dogs in sections of the house. This proved very challenging. They would often escape and then I'd see a tradie running for his life across the property, diving through the window of his truck to escape the dogs snapping at his heels.

 
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Some days I caught myself humming “I will survive” … and, as it turns out, I did! And the result is better than I ever imagined! Would I do it again? Hmm, ask me that once the dust has truly settled!

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NEW SERIES KICKS OFF APRIL 30


Get excited gang, Three Birds TV [TBTV] is back! And for our BIGGEST reno ever we've created our BIGGEST series ever with our always supportive mates at realestate.com.au. We cannot wait to share every stage of Bonnie's Dream Home with you. Hold onto your hats people, it's going to be a ripper.

Sneak peek coming this Monday!  

INSIDE BON'S RENO... BUILDING HER GROUND UP

By Lana

Wowsers… it’s all starting to get come together! I still can’t believe that Bon chose to live ONSITE during her reno! But this girl’s got grit (and maybe a death wish). Don’t get me wrong, living onsite will no doubt come with some benefits (surely) but right now Bon and her family are dying to get out of the original house and move into a newly built section of the home – the self-contained cottage/granny flat. Seriously… she’s been living with plumbing IN her hallway… and even that hasn't prevented leaks and flooding.

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If you've been following the reno on Instagram and Facebook, you will have seen the demolition underway. After this demo stage comes the site prep and concrete slab stage. This is a hugely exciting… no really it is, trust me. Most people might not know this, but you actually need to have made some important decisions BEFORE the concrete pour - like the location of the plumbing.  At this stage Bon has already designed her dream kitchen and laundry in detail. Everything from the exact location of her DishDrawers to taps and washing machines. 

One positive of living through a reno is that your kids get to see it all unfold. Little Dodge just loves watching the trucks coming and going and tipping and turning. 

Once the concrete is dry and hard (the technical term is cured) next up is the framework. This stage is great because you can really start to get a sense of each space for the first time. It’s actually incredible how fast framework goes up. In the blink of an eye, Bon has a timber framed home #ispyapitchedroof. 

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After the frame goes up, it's time to put a lid on it #bringontheroof! Bon has gone for something really different with her roof. It’s a shingle style tile by Monier, but it's made from a a product called Elemental. It's super lightweight and is made from a composite material inspired by the stuff they use on rocket ships! It's basically unbreakable. I used the same product at my house but the size of tile I chose was much larger! Bon wanted a tile which looked a little bit more traditional so she went for the smaller size. The colour also makes it super-spesh, it's called salt spray… which is almost white #ofcourse.

Around roofing time it's also time to choose the windows and doors. We sourced Bon's from Wideline. These guys are super and really know their stuff. They did a brilliant job at meeting Bon's very specific design needs - those bi-folds aren't standard. You see those timber beads across the glass? I can't wait to see these bad boys painted! Yes she'll be painting them... white.  

If you're renovating your own home, here’s a tip when you order windows and doors… make sure you ask about which type of glass is going into them. There are lots of different types and if you don't ask, you'll be given the most basic option and could miss out on what you really want. Bon chose Virdian Hush Glass for her internal doors to help reduce the noise.  Hush Glass is also what I used in my master bedroom for those Sunday sleep-ins #iwish. 

After the roof and windows are on, the cladding is next cab off the rank. Now many of you will know Bon is cladding-OBSESSED so it’s no surprise she’s used it everywhere in her dream home. Bon chose Scyon Linea weatherboards for the exterior and they're perfect for that traditional farmhouse look. 

Umm .... who else is getting just a little but excited about the shape of this house!?? 

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And the last decision Bon had to make around this time was with her insulation. And just like with glass, you can choose insulation which is a bit more special than the norm. Bradford Soundscreen limits the noise transfer down between spaces - with 4 boys, this was a must-have in Bon's house. 

Phew! What a BIG few months it’s been over at Bon’s Dream Home. Till next time. 

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HOUSE 8 VISION BOARD

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This style combines my two favourite looks - coastal + farmhouse. I love the FEEL of "coastal" even more than the look. As I said in Reno School, the FEEL of a home is the most important element to interior and exterior design. Coastal design makes me feel relaxed and I guess that's why it's such a popular style - especially in Australia where it works so well with our gorgeous climate. Even though most of us don't live on the coastline, that doesn't mean you can't create a coastal home #yeswayrose. I'm 30kms from the beach and I wanted my home to feel like the waves and sand were just around the corner.  

And then there's the sprawling farmhouses that are sprinkled across large plots of land! I love them. I love their roof lines and large single-level floor plans. NZ farmhouses are my favourite - Kiwis just seem to get it.

And last but not least, I want these coastal and farmhouse styles to be expressed in a modern way. I don't want my new home to feel old or traditional. I want it to feel fresh and future-proof for me and my family. As my husband keeps telling me, he won't be leaving this house until he's wheeled out and taken to the old people's home across the road ;-) We're here for keeps peeps.

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I was always going to have a white kitchen in my family home. I love the coloured kitchens we've done in the past but for my dream home I couldn't go past the timeless look of white .... combined with classic marble. And of course I don't mean real marble - not only does it cost a bomb but you need to have the reflexes of a cat (and no children) to keep it stain-free. I'll be using Caesarstone's version of marble #looksreal #lowmaintenance #lastsforever.

Choosing to have a white kitchen is easy - but what tap colour to go with is much harder. What do you think?

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I'm a sucker for a pitched ceiling #whoisnt? But in my master suite I'm thinking I might flatten it off like in the first pic just for a different detail. I'm also planning on having a freestanding wall to anchor the bed off so a flat ceiling will mirror the top of the wall.

I want the master to feel like a sanctuary so the colour palette is going to be muted and whimsical.

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I absolutely love renovating bathrooms and I think it's because I can really get creative with my tiles and taps. There are just soooo many options but I understand that can also be overwhelming for some people - hence why it's so important to have clarity on your vision before you pull out your credit card. Every bathroom in my home is going to be different, but with a common thread of marble - be it marble tiles or marble Caesarstone.

P.S - my love affair with penny-rounds is still going strong so don't be surprised if you see some marble penny-rounds pop up in some of my wet spaces

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OK - here are 3 key things I'm crushing over in these inspo shots:

1) Raked Ceiling

2) Triangle Glass Window

3) Internal French Doors

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So the cat's out of the bag - my home is going to be white... with a white roof! Surprised? I doubt it ;-) Actually, it's more accurate to say it's going to be white + green. We're going to use lush green landscaping (think turf, palm trees and plants) and green-coloured pool, to contrast with the white-on-white property. Which white will I choose? Well you'll have to stay tuned to find that out.

 

CLICK ON THE IMAGES TO BE TAKEN TO THE ORIGINAL SOURCE


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Vision boards are the FIRST step you should take when renovating. It doesn't matter if your project is big or small, a vision board sets the tone and direction for the entire reno and will become your guiding light come decision time.

Renovating without a clear vision is like plonking yourself down in the swivel chair of a new hairdresser and saying, ‘Do whatever you want.’ Chances are you’ll spend a fortune, be forced to live with something you don’t want (bangs, anyone?) and it will all end in tears.

Creating a vision may sound a bit scary, maybe even a bit fluffy, but our success in the reno game comes from our experience, and we know that when you spend quality time planning, you create solid building blocks for renos that run smoother, quicker and deliver better results.

Want to learn how to create your own reno vision board? We'll show you how in The Reno School - Intake 2 is on sale now, click the button below to find out more

 
 

RENO STORAGE TIPS

 
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IF YOU CARE ABOUT IT, GET IT OUT!

Don’t leave anything you care about in your home when you renovate and if you’re doing a whole home reno like me, you’ll want to ensure everything is completely removed from your home. I started off using storage pods, but then chose to relocate all of my things into the local Storage King facility, removing the storage pods from my land at the same time. We all know how tempting it is to try and save a bit of money by putting things in a spare room or your garage ….  but don’t underestimate the amount of dust and dirt that a reno stirs up #holymotherofduststorms. This reno business causes little bits of everything to get into everywhere - whether it’s your chippie cutting timbers or your painter sanding back, you can’t avoid the mess. It’s for this reason that you should get your precious stuff (or anything you want to hang on to) put into secure (and clean) storage.

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PACK IT UP... PROPERLY

That’s right …. the key word here is ‘properly’. Anyone can chuck items in a box you picked up from Bunnings but chances are you’ll live to regret a slap-dash approach. You need the right boxes (that won’t break or crush) and the right packing tape (that will stick). Sounds obvious, I know, but trust me when I say we’ve used tape from Woolies before and it came unstuck quicker than you could say “noooooo”. So now we always use Storage King boxes (and bags) along with their special packing tape #problemsolved.  And last but not least, label the boxes clearly with what’s in the box and which room it came from as this will save you time at the other end when you need to unpack.

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THINK ABOUT HOW OFTEN YOU'LL NEED TO ACCESS YOUR STORAGE UNIT

Did you know the location of your storage unit will impact how much it will cost you? Firstly, if you choose a facility in more remote areas it will cost you less. Secondly, the location of your unit within the facility will also impact the cost. Ie – if your unit is on the ground floor, right near the entrance, you will pay a premium. If your unit is upstairs, towards the back of the storage facility, you will pay less. This can be a great way to reduce your storage costs if you don’t require regular access to your things. On the flip side, if you are like me and value easy access you might be willing to invest a bit more for the convenience.

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HOUSE 8 REVEALED

By Lana

WELL IT MAY HAVE BEEN OUR WORST KEPT SECRET, BUT IT'S GOING TO BE OUR BEST RENO EVER!

It HAS to be, right? It’s Bonnie’s D.R.E.A.M home and she’s been dreaming about it for over a decade. Growing up with ‘renovating parents’, Bon has been surrounded by reno inspo. Discussions around the dinner table (or portable stove in the garage cos they were renovating) covered all things from design to construction to how to style the lounge room. This ‘buy, renovate, sell’ lifestyle saw Bon move from house to house and as inconvenient as that sounds, she absorbed so much invaluable knowledge along the way. A long time ago (well before Pinterest was invented) Bon started cataloguing ideas in her mind of what SHE would do one day... if it were her home!  Well that day has come… 

 
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So about a year ago, I sat down with Bon (our design guru and mother of four boys) to get her thoughts on what lay ahead.

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Lana: Seriously, how long have you been designing this home?

Bon: I’ve had a picture of this house in my mind for about 5 years, but we only managed to get it down on paper about 18 months ago. 

Lana: How would you describe the style of your dream home?

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Bon: I think I’d call it Modern Coastal Barn. It reflects my long-term love affair with the coastal look combined with my connection to the great outdoors and a farm-like life. My husband grew up in the Southern Highlands so having land and lots of space has always been important to him. I’m still pinching myself that we came across this house and land when we did – it couldn’t be better suited for building our dream home. 

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Lana: Are you going to move out or stay put during the reno? Tell me you’re moving out?

Bon: No, we’re going to stay. We have it all figured out. We’ll build the new part of the home first, which is actually a self-contained cottage. We’ll live in the original house while that’s being built, then we’ll move into the cottage so we can renovate and extend the original home. Perfect. What could possibly go wrong?

Lana: Ummm do you really want me to answer that?

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Lana: What are you excited about?

Bon: Creating a home that is a haven for our large family of four boys, three dogs, two cows and as many friends and family as our heart desires. 

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OMG RENO SCHOOL TWO IS HERE

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"I wanted to say that I thoroughly enjoyed The Reno School course, I have learnt so much, and am even more inspired. I talk about mood boards, floor plans and building tradie teams now. Your participation on this Facebook Group has been amazing, I will be recommending this to all my reno loving friends."

ANDREA WILKIE

"Hi ladies, I just wanted to say that I have been completely overwhelmed by how amazing this course has been. You three brilliant ladies have just provided so much invaluable advice! With the course coming to an end soon I just wanted to say thank you so much. You have taught me so much and the amount of detail you have put into each weeks documents has been incredible. The best money I have ever spent!"

MAREE EVANS

"Thank you so much for doing the Reno School. I am now feel like I know where to start and handle my Reno. I am super inspired and love that I have a community of fellow Reno’ers to share my ideas with. I laughed my way through the 6 weeks. Thank you!" 

KELLY STAFFORD


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Did you miss out on joining The Reno School last time?

Don't worry, it's not too late to turn your renovating dreams into a reality. We've just opened enrolments for our NEXT Reno School intake, starting Monday 2 July, 2018. Secure your spot today!

You will join hundreds of other first time Reno Schoolers AND have the benefit of learning from those who have already completed the course via our very supportive (and talkative) bunch of students in the exclusive Reno School Facebook group. We've been having a ball together so far and we'd love you to join in too. 

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Our exclusive online course where we teach you everything we know! Over 6 weeks we cover what you need to know about renovating and styling so you can create your very own dream home... just like we do.

PLUS

You'll get loads of bonus content like budget templates, reno timelines, never-before-seen Three Birds' videos, live Facebook chats with the Birds and lots more.

AND

You’ll get access to exclusive discounts and deals from our friends in the industry which could save you thousands on your reno. 

WANT TO JOIN OUR TEAM?

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We're on the hunt for a CREATIVE soul who can capture and share our Three Birds journey across all our platforms. You need to be a killer writer (not ‘killer’ like Stephen King, think Zoe Foster-Blake).

 
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    In a nutshell, this job is about story telling. A crucial part of our brand is sharing the journey with our fans. Three Birds is about to embark on more renovation projects than ever so we couldn’t possibly share that journey (and joyful chaos) with our audience without a chief story teller… and that’s where YOU come in. We’re looking for a confident and creative writer who feels they can nail all of the below.

 
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+ Write 6 articles per week for the Three Birds Renovations (TBR) publishing network across 52 weeks of the year. Each article is approx. 500 words.  
+ Ensure that the style of writing is in line with the TBR tone of voice - cheeky, authentic, playful and fun, think Zoe Foster-Blake style.
+ Work with with our Digital and Marketing Team to ensure all articles meet the objectives of the Content Strategy.
+ Gain a thorough understanding of sponsorship deliverables within TBR content platforms, and ensure all articles and content meets the needs of our partners.
+ Recommend 1 x extract from each article that can be used for an Instagram Post and Facebook Post, including snappy headlines for social media and email marketing.
+ Link and thread back to existing articles within the TBR publishing world, all of which will be housed on our website.
+ Interview other industry experts on current trends, new products and inspiration.
+ Be available to be on site during key periods of filming, installation and building stages to create and develop storyline ideas in line with Content Strategy.
+ Work closely with Bonnie, Erin and Lana, bringing to life the girls' individual personalities and tone of voice.
+ Work with the Three Birds Renovations photographer, thinking about how images and words marry together for our Content Plan.
+ Work with Marketing Team to ensure days and time spent on site are utilised to the full capacity in terms of ideas generated.
+ Work with our content management system and team members to ensure our deadlines are met as outlined in our content calendar.
+ Use data insights from analytics to craft and optimise content.
+  Capture behind the scenes madness of the Three Birds world with your trusty iPhone (when you are on site) to share across our Instagram and Facebook stories.

WANT TO KNOW MORE? APPLY VIA THE BUTTON BELOW...

MASTERING KITCHENS

 
 

Here are a few tid bits from our ‘Mastering Kitchens’ module of The Reno School…

Of all the spaces someone can renovate, I think the kitchen can be the most challenging. It’s usually the heart of the home and whether you’re a MasterChef or ReluctantChef, it’s a major feature of your space, so you want it to look good. Yes, there are ways to renovate a kitchen on a budget but it is still usually one of the most expensive rooms in a home, so you need to be happy with the end result. And if all that wasn’t pressure enough, we know that ‘kitchens sell houses’ so this is a real reno moment where you can add some serious value #kaching #kaching.

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5 questions to ask yourself (FYI, you'll get asked 20 Questions in The Reno School)!

1. Who spends time in your kitchen and doing what? 
2. Do you want to entertain in your kitchen? What would that look like? E.g - Do you want friends sitting at the island whilst you face them cooking? Or do you not want anyone watching you cook and clean?
3. What do you want to see from your kitchen? E.g – backyard, pool, TV?
4. When you’ve bought groceries, how easy is it to carry them from the car to the kitchen?
5. What annoys you about your current kitchen? 

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How to choose the shape of your kitchen

Time to get your tape measure out people! How much space have you got to work with? Remember to take into consideration if you’re planning to knock down walls or extend. You need to know the future footprint you’ve got to work with.  

Once you know the size of the potential space, most experts turn to the alphabet to describe different kitchen shapes -  there’s the L, U and even P and G shapes #whaaat? To be honest, with the popularity of the island bench, those shapes are becoming more outdated by the minute and we never use that language when designing our kitchens. In The Reno School, we'll use our language to help design your dream kitchen ... and it all begins with finding your anchor for the space. 

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The balance between what ‘looks good’ versus what ‘works well’. 

There will be some design decisions where you must CHOOSE ONE over the other – when what you think ‘looks good’, might NOT ‘work well’ (e.g – push-touch cupboards look great but are a pain in the proverbial if you’re using them often) …. and there’ll be times when what you think ‘works well’, might NOT ‘look good’ (e.g – large, easy-to-grab handles might not suit the streamlined cabinetry look you’re going for).  

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Here are some examples of choices Lana made in her kitchen:

+ Not to locate the oven at eye level (which is a popular location these days) because it would ruin the white, streamlined look she wanted. 
+ To have no handles on the integrated fridge (even though that would make it easier to open) because it would interrupt the white, streamlined look she wanted.
+ To forgo additional storage with no overhead cabinetry above the cooktop because she wanted her splashback to run up to the ceiling. 
+ To locate the sink on the island bench rather than back bench because she wanted to be looking outwards, but this meant her dirty dishes would be more visible.   

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Don’t get me wrong, overall you should be able to create a kitchen which ‘looks good’ AND ‘works well’ (that’s the point of doing this course right!?), but at every turn, you’ll be forced to make these decisions. Our plan is that by the end of The Reno School, you’ll be well equipped to make them.  

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HURRY... SCHOOL STARTS FEB 5TH!