12th June 2018

Surviving a Renovation

Sometimes the best laid plans can or need to change during your reno… as is seen in the latest episode of Three Birds Renovations.

This week saw more of Bonnie’s reveals… an adults retreat for Nathan and Bonnie, the kids playroom (featuring super cool 80’s arcade games), a dreamy breezeway and a secret room! (We love how the Intrim SK58 Skirting board and architrave really set off the look against the internal cladding).

Originally the kids lounge was to be a home gym, but even for the Birds sometimes the best laid plans come unstuck. Bonnie not add the correct structural flooring requirements to bear the weight of a gym and the final room that was to be the kids theatre room was one of the most sun drenched (with the amount of glass doors and windows on EVERY wall) and beautiful in the home that it had to be appreciated in a special way!

Now what was the kids original playroom / movie room became the most amazing sitting room for adults, and the kids playroom is now a secluded area in the home which WAS to be the gym.

What is really exciting, and very cute is the ‘secret room’ added above the gym as a fun place the kids can kid, get away and play.

Although this change was mostly cosmetic and just a change of mind, the whole renovation has not been such smooth sailing. Bonnie was faced with the existing house being so ridden with termites that the project timeline and budget were blown out of the water, even with her professional planning and design experience the correct structure was not included to support a gym (had she really been set on using that space as one) and as we will see in next weeks episode, not ordering enough of a product which becomes unavailable or out of stock before you’re finished can throw a huge spanner in the works.

Things can go wrong, the best laid plans sometimes come unstuck, but we’ve compiled some of the best tips in our experience to help you through….


  1. Decide on your details up front. Be honest about your budget for the build and have a professional architect or designer help you draw up some plans to take to a contractor for discussion. Make your selections early (lighting, tiles, flooring, paint colours, windows) as this will ensure your materials are on site when you need them and you’re not faced with delays or additional expense. Sometimes making decisions can be time consuming (and stressful) especially if not everyone in the household agrees, so take the time to browse inspirational photos and come to an agreement to save arguments later.
  2. Expect to spend more than you budget. We find projects are around 20% over budget.
  3. Stick to the Plan. Sometimes it is really easy to get caught up in new styles or designs mid way through and want to add or change things along the way. This not only will increase your spend but blow your budget out. If you’re inspired by something a little different along the way, try add those elements in at the end with your furnishings and styling of the room.
  4. Plan to get out of the house. Living through a renovation can be difficult especially if you’re remodelling a kitchen or bathroom. Be flexible with your alternatives… you may have to set up a mini kitchen on a table in your garage or do dishes in the laundry sink, but plan for these inconveniences and know they will be short lived. Give yourself a treat and at a point in your reno when ‘enough is enough’ treat yourself to a holiday or time away from the home, even if it’s just a few restaurant meals.
  5. Manage Stress. There will be times during your reno where things are out of your control and when you have so much time, money, hope and dreams invested in creating this dream home it can easily turn into a high stress situation during the process. Make sure you take time to get out of the house, vent to friends or family if you need or do something just for yourself everyday to get some ‘time out.’ Sometimes taking on a smaller project before tackling a large scale reno can set you up to see how you and your family work together and how the renovation process works.
  6. Splurge & Save in the right places. Don’t skimp on quality on things you use or touch everyday – door handles, appliances, cabinets, flooring, skirting boards. The longevity and quality these things add to your home outweighs their initial cost. On the flip side, don’t get set on the idea that the biggest items cost the most – a nice throws and pillows can transform a mediocre lounge, a low hanging statement light can improve the look of a cheap or older dining table. Don’t forget your tradespeople… going for the lowest bid is not always the best option and be wary of any who are really cheap straight away.
  7. Hire Professionals that are a Good Fit. You will be working intimately with these people, and they have to either share or understand your dream. Working with someone you can ‘get along with’ is always easier, but make sure they ask you alot of questions about what you want, that they listen, are curious and if they don’t come highly recommended… you can ask for references.
  8. Having Expectations. Keep your end goal in mind and don’t expect that everything will go to plan along the way. Unexpected things can pop up (like Bonnie’s termite ridden home), sometimes things are not always smooth sailing, but the best preparation is to be prepared for the unexpected and going with the flow and making level headed, non emotional decisions when things don’t go as planned. Sometimes these changes are the best outcome, like the beautiful adults room Bon created for her and Nathan.

Take a peek at Bon’s rooms below…