Call us nosy – or simply “interested”! – but we all love to see a renovation project and hear its tales!
Today I have a real treat for you: it’s the story of a 70’s house transformed into a modern Victorian Bayside home. And it’s one of my favourite interiors of the year!
It’s hard to believe that the owner – Steph Hegerty – had never renovated before. But Steph and her husband had always held a passion for creating a beautiful home.
Yet it wasn’t until they decided to upsize their home that a renovation seemed imminent.
We knew that we would have to buy something rundown to afford the land size and location we wanted, so it was our only option!
The result of their 10 month renovation project is a home that has retained its heritage charm, yet has a decidedly contemporary aesthetic.
Steph works as a Pilates teacher – which I think explains the home’s calming feel – that and the gorgeous blue, grey and black tones that flow throughout. And can I make mention of one of the stars of the show: Gussy – the adorable 6 year old Cavoodle you are about to meet below!
So let’s hear this renovation story!
What was your vision for your home?
I had always wanted to renovate a Victorian or Edwardian home and when we saw this house I saw the potential to bringing it back to life. The goal was to create a modern home that had the warmth and charm of a period home.
How long did the design component take and what was a priority for you to include?
The design component took a good six months. We did have our first baby in amongst that time, so things were quite busy.
Priorities were to bring as much natural light into the house as possible, and to find a seamless contrast between the old and new parts of the house.
Did you bring in any experts to help you with the design and interiors?
My husband and I had a pretty clear idea of what we wanted the home to look and feel like then came up with a rough floor plan ourselves. We then had expert architects to bring it to life and add the bells and whistles. I then looked after all the interior styling, finding the right furniture etc.
Were there any hiccups along the way?
For being first time renovators we were pretty lucky not to stumble upon any unpleasant surprises. There were no challenges as such, just a certain level of uncertainty when it came to what we kept in the original part of the house. It wasn’t until we started the renovation that we were able to determine the state of original house. The brickwork structure of the house was as solid as a rock (being on bluestone footings), but we ended up having to replace the trusses, which was quite a hefty variation. We also didn’t know the state of the plaster in the front half of the house until we stripped all of the paint off the walls which needed a lot of restoration.
Could you tell us about some of your favourite suppliers you worked with for the renovation?
I found it very challenging to find tiles, as many looked good from a far but not up-close, so I was very happy when I found Signorino where I bought all our tiles.
In the bathrooms we used Phoenix Tapware, Signorino tiles and marble bench to keep it consistent. We knew we would spend most of our time in the kitchen and living room, so we didn’t compromise on the finishes in these spaces. We went with the super durable Neolith bench-tops, a carbon coloured timber veneer for the cabinetry, which softens the darkness of the kitchen and a practical smoked glass splashback in the kitchen. Practical yet stylish when you have two small kids.
I love the shift towards darker cabinetry – just like we see in your home. Why did you decide to go with these darker grains?
This was a bold move for us – had you asked me two years earlier what my dream kitchen would look like, I would have said everything has to be white! We laugh now that we did the complete opposite.
We knew that we’d be renovating this house to one day sell, which meant for us that we had to create ‘wow factor’. The beautiful dark cabinetry gives the kitchen and living room depth, whilst the soft grain of the veneer provides texture and warmth. We want potential buyers to walk in and love the contrast between the dark and light tones.
I am a big blue person too! Why did you choose to use this as your accent colour in your home and where was this inspiration from?
The overall colour palette for the home is quite monochromatic, so we injected quite a lot of blue to soften it, like a blue front door, WIR cabinetry and furniture. Blue is such a calming colour by nature, and we wanted to bring that calmness into our home. The blue adds a nice pop of colour, without being something we’d get sick of.
Where are your favourite go-to places for furniture and decor?
I bought all our furniture from Globe West, I love that store!
Looking back, is there anything you would change about your renovation, knowing what you do now?
We often get asked this question, and we’d have to say no. We’re really happy with the functionality and seamlessness of the floor plan, and love how naturally light the house is. Our fixtures, fittings and finishes are easy to live in and practical for our young family. It really does tick all the boxes. That’s not to say we didn’t learn things along the way (we definitely did), but they were relatively minor in the grand scheme of things (process things mostly).
And could you share some wisdom from the experience in terms of your top advice for fellow renovators to be?
Put more in your contingency budget than you think you may need! Particularly if renovating a period home.
I would also suggest that if there’s something that you just have to have (engineered boards/stone bench tops etc.), try to make it work out financially and be willing to compromise on something else. You may have to sacrifice the cabinetry finish you want to be able to afford the benches you want.
After the success of your first renovation, would you consider taking on another fixer-upper?
Absolutely! We have actually already posted our home on NOKK, a platform that allows homeowners to ‘dip a toe’ in the market and if a buyer is interested in your home you can start the conversation directly with the buyer. It’s a great way to have full control of your property journey and decide if you want to commit to a sale you get offered your ideal price.
So first take a look at the “Before” images (move fast – it ain’t pretty 😉 ), and then feast your eyes on the glorious “Afters” – photographed by Melbourne superstar photographer Dylan Lark of Aspect 11.
Photography by Dylan Lark of Aspect 11.