Today we’re going to bring you not one, but two interior inspiration posts. I know, we’re nice like that!
Bride-to-be Gemma contacted the team back in March for ideas on decorating her immense new home. Five bedrooms worth of Victorian splendour with high ceilings, intricate coving and sweeping staircases. Amazing.

{Gemma’s Dilemma}

“We are just in the final stages of buying our ‘forever’ home. We are buying a huge five bed Victorian terraced house that has not been updated since the early 1970s. What room should we start with? My dream would be to do the kitchen. However, I was told that the cost of a kitchen would equal the cost of decorating the rest of the house! I need help!”

How flipping exciting is this?! We’ve split Gemma’s plea into two parts, so if you nip back this afternoon you can hear more about the decoration part.
While I am no stranger to extensive redecoration and have knocked down a wall or two, I am yet to embark on a full-on renovation. From the sounds of the comments we’ve received on our home decor posts, some of you are Sarah Beenys in-the-making, so I would love it if you could share your advice and experiences. First things first, what to tackle primarily.

Structural Repairs

Luckily for Gemma, there isn’t too much structural work involved in this move but for anyone else embarking on large scale renovation your structural repairs should be addressed first and foremost. It’s no good having a beautifully-painted Farrow and Ball lounge if your ceiling is about to fall in, or rising damp is about to attack your walls.

Once you have the house structurally sound I would then draw up a list of everything you want to tackle in your home. If you’re unsure on any layout changes and your budget stretches enough then consider chatting to an architect for advice.
If you’re using tradespeople then start getting quotes and recommendations, and research how long each job will take, so that you can pull together a project plan.

First Fix

If you need to damp proof, rewire or change heating systems, plumbing etc then these are projects best tackled in the beginning, so you don’t need to redo decoration work later on.
It’s also worth considering at this point if you want to replace windows and doors, as making good can be a pain after plastering and redecorating.
Depending on your plans you may need to get planning permission or at least check your changes comply with building regulations. Leave plenty of time to get this sorted. We’ve all watched Grand Designs and seen how this stage can take forever!

Second Fix

After plastering, it will be time for the second fix. Gemma is expecting to rewire her property and so after this has taken place it’ll be time to connect all the light switches, plug sockets etc. If new plumbing has been introduced this is when the baths, loos and sinks will go in. Get an expert plumber in Sydney, to help you install new pipes for your baths and sinks.


Once the second fix is completed it’s time to decorate. Hooray!
For your average house move I’d always suggest decorating one of the bedrooms first so that you have a haven to escape to. Perhaps it’s a sweeping statement but I’ve generally found bedrooms easier and quicker to update than reception rooms and kitchens and bathrooms. If you have kids then I’d assume their rooms would take priority. Another benefit to working your way down the house is that you don’t mess up your newly decorated downstairs areas trudging through dust and grime from the upstairs rooms.

The lovely Gemma is keen to get started on her immense kitchen straight away. I would say if you can wait then live with the space for a little bit. It’s surprising how over time you find your needs (and tastes) change and this way you avoid costly mistakes.

Take Your Time

My next piece of advice is something I continually fail at, so Gemma feel free to completely ignore me! If you can, take on one project at a time. I always have three jobs running in parallel and then get disheartened when it feels like I’m not making any progress.
Also if you’re new to DIY simple jobs can take a lot longer than you think so don’t be too hard on yourself if the project feels like it’s running at a snail’s pace.

Now we really need your help. What advice can you offer Gemma when it comes to managing a house project? Did you fit in a renovation around a wedding too? And finally how envious are we of Gem and her five bedrooms?! Don’t forget to pop back at 2pm this afternoon for the next instalment.