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The Block's Kyal and Kara on two ways to add value to your house for next to no cost.

As former fan favourites of The Block, Kyal and Kara Demmrich have turned their talent for transforming the most mundane of spaces into their passion and their livelihood.

And they’re good at it too. They’re renovating full-time and, as current ambassadors of the Weet-Bix Messy Kids photo competition, are juggling a plate full of new parent responsibilities, life in the public eye and the messy, nitty-gritty of renovating.

So, we put some questions to them: How can the average couple renovate with no skills? What should they focus on? And where do they even start?

What changes to your house will add the most value?

Kyal: “I think first and foremost, before we go making too many massive changes, it’s good to know a coat of paint can make a massive change. White walls in particular can give it a fresh feel.

“Paint is one of the cheapest things you can buy and can be a really good starting point.

A post shared by Kyal and Kara (@kyalandkara) on

“So, that will definitely freshen up the inside. And then on the outside, I would start with some really basic landscaping, getting rid of any overwhelming bushes or trees. It can totally transform your house.”

Kara: “Having a clear path to the front door is also really important, because first impressions really count. That could be using stepping stones or just paving it yourself.

“You can get pavers from a hardware store and generally they are not that expensive and something you could do yourself.”

What’s something everyone should know before they renovate?

Kara: “What your goal is when renovating. Are you going to be there for a year? If so, it’s going to be a cheap, cosmetic renovation.

“Otherwise, is this the house you’re going to be in five years or 10 years or long term? Making sure you know what your goal is and making sure you know if you’re renovating to stay or renovating to sell.”

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Kyal: “If you’re planning to have a couple of kids, do you think about extending the house a bit? You don’t want to be making changes now that you are going to be ripping out in a year.”

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What advice would you give those looking to buy a house to ‘do up’?

Kyal: “If someone was wanting to get into the housing market, I would say try to pick a house that has good bones and that is structurally sound. Really, for starters, you will be doing a cosmetic makeover, maybe rendering the walls at the front, putting a new Colourbond roof in and a few new doors.

“I wouldn’t recommend a big structural reno if you’re new to it. Just pick a house that has good bones, and that isn’t out-of-date or half-dilapidated.”

What does renovating a house on national television – or in general – do to your relationship?

Kyal: “In our experience, tensions can definitely get quite high, but if anything it helped us have a much better relationship.

“We come from totally different angles – I am the builder where she comes from the design angle. We have found it really nice, although challenging, and for me, it’s so good to have a designer with good eye for detail to work with.”

A post shared by Kyal and Kara (@kyalandkara) on

Kara: “It’s nice working towards something together, but you can get to the end and look back and see what we have done and achieved together.”

Kyal: “We do bicker, but it is part of the process. We have to communicate a lot, over and over again. That’s where people can go wrong.”

Kara: “It is true, sometimes I just assume Kyal knows what I want in my head, and so when he builds something and it’s not how I wanted it or what I thought it would look like, it can get interesting.

“Having a baby [has changed how we renovate] so much. We’re much more efficient because we can’t mess around. It’s like you’re working with a little time bomb, because he’s only happy for a certain amount of time and we have to keep him stimulated in other ways. He is our priority and at the end of the day, we want to make sure he is happy.”

Kyal and Kara Demmrich are current ambassadors of the Weet-Bix Messy Kids photo competition. For more information, click here.

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