When renovating, it’s important to choose updates that will not only stand the test of time, but will also increase the value of your home if you sell or re-finance.
Interior designers and renovators Alisa and Lysandra Fraser say if money’s tight, fortunately, you can make a number of relatively easy budget-friendly renovations which have maximum appeal to future buyers, or score you a good valuation if you want to re-finance.
The identical twins, who won The Block: Sky High in 2013 and defended their title on The Block: Fans vs Faves in 2014, now run their own business Alisa and Lysandra Interiors. The pair are currently redeveloping a $2.2million Victorian terrace site in the highly sought-after area of Albert Park in Melbourne and are filming the project for their new online TV URL channel.
“It’s been a lot of work, but we’ve been thrilled with the results so far,” says Alisa. “We can’t wait to share the results with everyone as we’ve really enjoyed putting our stamp on every aspect of a huge project. We’re honouring the classic style of the existing home whilst adding on a contemporary extension with high quality, hand-picked materials and finishes.”
Here, Alisa shares her top tips for money-making renos:
The Kitchen – improve storage and functionality
Streamline: When you renovate a kitchen, the goal is often to create more space and increase functionality. Look at your design and assess whether or not your kitchen allows for remodelling with the current cabinetry. In most cases we recommend you start from scratch so invest in new cabinetry, improved layout, and new finishes which won’t age.
Think social: Embrace designs and layouts with ample storage, which will help minimise clutter, and cleaning.
Choose integrated storage and workstations: This creates flow and cohesion and ensures appliances don’t dominate the aesthetic. Built-in sink colanders and chopping boards, are considered a must. Not only are they functional, but they add visual appeal and textural variation.
The bathroom – add the right vanity and decrease clutter
Consider the space: The most important question here is “how will you use it?” Other than accounting for hygiene needs, it’s important to establish the vision behind this space before you pick tiles, tap-ware and other structural elements.
Choose the right vanity: It’s important to remember deep drawers aren’t always the most functional. Rather than three deep drawers, opt for a vanity with five shallow drawers which will keep your personal items visible and within quick reach.
Add aesthetic storage: Rather than using plain mirrors for the vanity, we love the addition of shallow storage mirror cabinets, which can be custom designed or ready to buy. This is the best way to keep vanity countertops seamless and clutter-free from cosmetics.
Painting the interior – think white or neutral
Know your whites: Choosing to paint you walls crisp white is always the safest option with the widest appeal. But with over 180 shades of white paint available, choosing the right shade can be confusing. Cool whites have a blue or black base added and are ideal for neutralising bright modern rooms. Warm whites have a yellow undertone that can make a room feel cosier, and work well with classic interiors.
Neutrals are not boring: Neutral walls also have general appeal. You can go three shades darker or more, which will add to your homes’ visual appeal. Neutrals never stop trending and offer you maximum flexibility with redecorating or freshening up your interiors later down the track.
Feature walls: The days of random feature walls are long gone however if you’re still keen for a splash of bolder colour, highlight a wall that features intricate architecture, a fireplace, or a hideaway nook.
Landscaping the front and backyard – curb appeal and decks are winners
Invest in a deck: Outdoor entertaining decks are now wildly popular, but rather than tiling or patching up old paving, choose a wooden deck for instant warmth and the illusion of space.
Embrace green foliage: Plants with large green foliage have massive architectural appeal and can balance out your space nicely, especially when it comes to dressing up empty corners. When choosing plants for your garden, don’t be afraid to embrace repetition. A row of screening bamboo, or a wall of birds of paradise can add that streamlined look which can be calming and look amazing.
Add some curb appeal: First impressions count, so make sure your front yard works in harmony with the entry to your home. Coordinate pathways, plants, and colours so they all work together with great balance, making your facade a true show-stopper!
Flooring – hardwearing and natural choices
Keep it simple: Natural floors add incredible warmth in a home. Keep your flooring simple and single-minded. Our home designs embrace timber floorboards throughout, which we then dress with beautiful artisan rugs creating interesting visual layers that add to the overall decor.
Make it durable: Hardwood and concrete floors truly stand the test of time and in most cases they age wonderfully as opposed to carpet which can get damaged easily and may fade or change colour due to wear.
Painting the exterior of your home
Check the structural integrity before you paint: Never paint an exterior that’s clearly deteriorating; you may achieve a pleasant result but that will only be temporary as the exterior will most certainly continue to deteriorate!
Restore the exterior of a period home: You can add colour touches to the exterior of a period home, but you should never paint over intricate stone work. If the exterior masonry is looking dull, or dirty, clean it carefully but don’t paint over it.
Monochromatic and contrasting combinations are winners: Embrace hues that have a visual punch. Intensely dark grey or anthracite hues, marry well with bright white trims and the contrast is delightful to the eye. But unless there’s a significant element of your architecture that needs to be the show-stopper, avoid matchy-matchy hues, which can come across as too safe and uninspiring!