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Share Your Space: A couple in their 30s who completely renovated their Northern Sydney home.

Mamamia's Share Your Space series asks everyday women to share all the juicy, specific details about their home. How much do you pay in rent? Who do you live with? Where did you get your furniture? It's pulling back the curtain on real estate in Australia, and allowing us to really see how the people around us live. 

Job: Lead Designer - Visual, UI & UX 

Mortgage: My partner and I own a house together, we’re paying off a 30-year mortgage (with 27 years to go!) and are tenants in common.  

Location: North Sydney.

Lifestyle: After a few years of apartment living together, my partner and I decided we would purchase a house to enjoy more space and private outdoor living. We live close to public transport making it easy to travel to and from Sydney’s CBD. 

We own a cat (who rules my world) and outside time is an important factor for her lifestyle and wellbeing too! Both my partner and I work full time, and I currently work from home. My partner at times works night shifts and weekends on a rotating roster. So when we do get adequate quality time together, we enjoy exploring new places, national parks, beaches, cafes and restaurants.

While you're here, have a sneaky peek inside Chrissy Teigen's house. Post continues after video.


Video via Vogue.

So, take us inside: 

We live in a 3 bedroom, 2 bathroom house. 

Built in the 1960s, we’re the second set of owners to purchase the property, so a deciding factor when purchasing it was to renovate the property and modernise. 

We were on a tight budget, so we project-managed the construction work and all independent builders ourselves and completed the new structure renovation on budget. 

We reconstructed the back of the house by combining certain areas to create larger open spaces, designed and built a new kitchen and updated the existing laundry/bathroom area. 

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As part of the renovation, we saved money by refurbishing all the existing doors and windows, sanded and polished the original floorboards and built a new outdoor deck on top of the old existing tiled concrete veranda.

Entry area:

Pulling this area together in my house wasn't that fun. It actually stressed me out... 

You have to budget somewhere and this was it lol. But it's fun, vibrant and this area maintains all her original 1960s features, including those damn window blinds (all rooms in the house still need new dressings). 

When creating this space, I wanted to ensure it worked with and reflected the 60s retro style, so I selected furniture pieces to sit with this theme while decorating with a coastal-boho vibe. 

The couch is old and it was purchased from Harvey Norman ($2,100) 6 years ago. The footstool ($29) and floor rug ($29) are from Kmart and the buffet is from Mocka and only cost $199.95! The coastal prints in the hallway are from Desenio and we’re purchased for around $50 each.

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Living Room:

This area of the house is the central heart of the home. 

The couch is from Oz Design Furniture ($1,949), floor rug from Temple & Webster ($290), coffee table from Freedom Furniture (approx $500), beach wall print is from Olive et Oriel ($89.95) and was custom framed. The assorted cushions are from Adairs (approx. $60 each). 

These photos look picture perfect, but in real life - it's usually messy with dinner plates, chocolate, chippie packets and our daily vitamins/medications left on the coffee table.

It's where we eat our meals while watching Netflix and of course snacking afterwards. My cat also enjoys scratching the corners of the couch for pure attention so this couch is also usually covered in multiple blankets to prevent this silly feline behaviour. And yes, that's a stuffed animal whale toy cushion ($7) from Kmart. ;)

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After:

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Dining area:

I have of course carried the tropical theme throughout the dining area too. 

I wanted the space to be fun, vibrant and meaningful. Not simple, sophisticated and elegant. After all that's not who I am nor what I try to be, lol. 

The print on the left is by Sabina Fenn (purchased from Society6 for $24). It represents me, living amongst my tropical garden oasis. The print on the right is by 83oranges.com (purchased from Society6 for $49) titled 'Being a person is getting too complicated, it's time to be a cat' of course, this represents my furbaby! 

Together we live in our little world full of grounding tropical magic. 

If you look carefully, you may notice a miniature Mexican sombrero. I’ve kept this souvenir in storage for many years, and I’m excited that it finally has a home! 

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The buffet is a heavy design piece so to balance that weight I selected a glass dining table. Balancing heavy furniture with lighter is key when spatial planning. It helps to keep the space from looking and feeling overcrowded, especially when you have loads of plants and accessories! 

The buffet ($2,500) and dining table ($549) were both purchased from Oz Design Furniture, the dining chairs are from Mocka ($70 each) and all plants and pots are from Flower Power Garden Centre. 

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Kitchen:

During our renovation, we merged the existing kitchen with a tiny bathroom, to create a larger kitchen space. 

What can I say about my kitchen? I use it to microwave ready-made meals, make coffee and actually cook pasta! 

You will never find a cookbook on display in my kitchen, besides the fact that I wouldn’t use it - display items aren’t practical for me in this space. 

The Bosch dishwasher is a God and the design itself uses the triangle concept for an efficient, functional and practical kitchen layout. 

It's all white, light and bright with benchtops and splashbacks supplied by Caesar Stone. This is the one space in my house where less is definitely more. Because for me, too much decor can get in the way when mess in the kitchen is literally a never-ending story! 

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After:

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Master bedroom: 

The master bedroom was originally part of the hallway. We reconstructed the room to make it larger and more spacious. The room features a built-in wardrobe and king sized bed. Bonus points if you noticed I have a queen bedhead on a king! 

This is the first time I've purchased a dark, plain bed cover, and trust me when I say, this is so not something I would normally buy! Lol. 

But of course I can't live in a visually dark world; colour, texture, personality and vibe are what I crave. 

All linen was purchased from Target (king quilt cover set $63, king sheet set $88 and throw rug $50). 

The paintings featured were painted by my late Great-aunt, Peachy Moore. The design is a mix of french-boho while influenced by the Australian landscape. 

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After:

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Bedroom 2:

Since there are only two of us (plus my kitty) living in our house, I have claimed this room as my place; my space - so welcome to my haven. This is the room where I listen to music, play with crystals and light candles while daydreaming about life's possibilities. 

I’m always inspired by exotic tropical destinations, so here I have decorated the space where the boho style meets tropical Mexico! 

Fairy lights from Kmart dazzle the room while artificial hanging vines (with twinkle lights) help create a magical dreamy atmosphere. 

The king quilt cover is from Freedom Furniture ($99), the palm tree wall art ($110) and most display cushions (approx. $60 each) are from Adairs. 

The armchair is from Oz Design Furniture ($600) and of course the sunhat I purchased while holidaying in Mexico! The room features a built-in wardrobe and double size bed.

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Since March 2020 and due to COVID-19, this bedroom is also now where I work from home. 

The desk is my old dining table I purchased from Oz design 6 years ago for approx $500. It's a ‘combination room’ where I tend to hangout, it’s also a guest room and now my work from home office all-in-one. 

If you include the fold-up exercise bike featured in the corner, this room is also a ‘gym’.

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Bedroom 3:

The third bedroom is quite small. We currently use it as an ironing station as well as a storage room. There’s not much more I can say about it besides the fact that this is what the room looks like when it's tidy. Lol.

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Bathroom 1:

This is the one room we haven’t renovated. 

The owner we purchased the house from renovated it herself a few years ago to include disability access and handrails. 

At the time, I thought I’d one day remove the handrails, but in all honesty… I love them! While in the shower and during painful endometriosis episodes, I find myself leaning on the handrails for support, and they’re also really handy when shaving your legs! 

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Laundry/Bathroom 2:

This room is located at the back of the house, connected to the kitchen and has direct access to the outdoor deck. 

The bench-top matches that in the kitchen with enough space for two separate washer and dryer machines. 

The renovation here remains unfinished, still requiring a shower screen and all bathroom accessory attachments, including a toilet paper holder and towel rail.

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Outdoor space:

I love my backyard! We built a new deck using hardwood timber with a stainless steel wire balustrade. 

The outdoor furniture set ($399) and cushions ($15 each) were purchased from Bunnings Warehouse. The deck overlooks the backyard and my favourite feature within the property - the large, old jacaranda tree that was planted by the original owners in the 60s!  

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I enjoy having my morning coffee on the deck while sitting in the sun watching my kitty cat play in the yard. 

When I don’t have time to monitor my cat’s outdoor time, and to ensure her safety from other neighbouring cats and dogs, and for the safety of wildlife from a feline’s natural instinct to play and hunt, I purchased an outdoor portable cat enclosure from CatNets ($699) so I can provide her with independent safe outside time.

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Final thoughts:

Renovating and or decorating a property can be fun, but at the same time it can quite literally be overwhelming and stressful to say the least. 

After the structural renovation, it took me a good two years to save money and find the motivation to get the interior decorated. 

But overall, I’m really happy with how everything has turned out so far. 

As a designer, I recommend that when creating your space, you design/decorate it by bringing meaning, inspiration and purpose to the areas you’re designing.

Your space doesn’t need to follow a trend or even ‘look perfect’ but by keeping these three things in mind, it’ll help to ensure you’re creating an atmosphere that makes you feel not just happy with your space, but also connected to it.

 For me, my home is my sanctuary and yours can be too! 

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