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Renovation – 3 Bedroom 1950s Home


After renting for the past 10 years it was time to make my first property purchase. As a first home buyer and inexperienced renovator I relied on the advice of family members who had renovated and built numerous times in the past to assist me in finding the right property.  We soon came across a 1950’s property that had been neglected and required a full internal renovation but it was just what we were looking for and priced within my budget.

The interior of the home was not only outdated but was in bad condition.  We knew that we had our work cut out for us but with some imagination, encouragement and help from family I knew that the end result would be great. The home is positioned in a good street on a decent sized block of land and a building report confirmed that the home was indeed structurally sound. To our advantage the home had been previously re-wired, a solar hot water system installed and the bathroom had been replaced approximately 10 years ago which gave us a good head start.

Given the time constraints of having to vacate a rental property and with Christmas nearing we only had three (3) weeks to completely renovate the interior of the property to make it suitable to live in.  My sister in law took over the planning, budgeting and coordination of trades to ensure that we would meet the tight timeframe and budget.  We were fortunate to be able to gain access to the property on a number of occasions prior to settlement which allowed us to take measurements and order in products and materials required for the project and book in the necessary trades which saved us valuable time.

As soon as we received the keys for the property we started work immediately.  There was a strong tobacco odour which overwhelmed you whenever you walked into the property and the walls and ceilings were stained orange/brown due to the tobacco smoke.  Every surface of the home including walls, ceilings and flooring was scrubbed several times with sugar soap using heavy duty scrubbing pads.

On the second day we had ripped up the carpets, removed window furnishings and demolished the kitchen to make way for the new one.  The electrician and plumber were on hand to look after the services and the electrician replaced light fixtures with new fittings including the installation of ceiling fans in each room to save on cooling costs in summer.

Bedroom – Before & After Photos


Kitchen – Before & After Photos


The laundry was located at the back of the detached garage which was not ideal, so the plumber re-configured the plumbing to suit the new kitchen design and accommodate the laundry in this area.  We were mindful to keep the kitchen appliances and sink on the walls that had already had wiring and plumbing connected to keep the plumbing and electrical costs to a minimum.

Thankfully the bathroom tiling, vanity, taps and toilet were all in good condition so we only had to arrange for a new shower screen to be installed and add new accessories such as hand rail, roll holder and mirror and with a new Fan/Light combination installed and a re-paint the room was finished.  All of the existing internal doors were mismatched so new ones were installed for consistency and the locks were changed on the external doors.  Plasterboard throughout the home was patched on walls and ceilings and new timberwork was installed to replace the damaged areas on architraves and around door openings.

Due to the tight timeframe we engaged the services of a professional painting team to re-paint the entire interior of the property which proved to be a great investment and allowed us to finish the project on time. Using an experienced painting team ensured that the walls and ceilings were adequately prepared and the appropriate type of paint was used to cover the different surfaces throughout the property.

I was able to save a considerable amount of money on carpentry costs throughout the project with my brother in law installing a new flat pack kitchen and also creating the new laundry area by re-sheeting walls, installing a new floor and creating a new door opening to the new laundry with the help of my father in law along the way.

The original hardwood timber flooring in the lounge and hallway had been stained a dark brown colour and after a thorough clean and polish the areas came up good.  I had new carpets installed in the three bedrooms and vinyl was installed in the kitchen/dining area and front sunroom.

I am very happy with the end result of the internal renovation. I am now slowly working my way through the exterior of the property and working on the garden, garaging and removing trees that are causing blocked drainage pipes.

Money Saving Tip:  Consider selling items that are still in good working order.  We removed an old combustion wood burner fire, air conditioner, upright stove/oven and sold them to utilise the money on the renovation and save on dumping costs.


Money Spent

Budget Cost   $22,230

  • New Kitchen (including appliances, tapware, sink) $5,000
  • New Laundry Tub + taps $320
  • New Carpet $1,100
  • Painting Throughout  $6,050
  • Plumbing work $2,500
  • New Interior Linings (Plasterboard) $1,400
  • New Vinyl Flooring $1,200
  • Electrical Wiring $600
  • New internal doors and hardware $580
  • New Electrical Fittings Lights/Fans/Power Point Switches $1,400
  • Install adequate drainage to property – Additional downpipes to be installed $700
  • New Blinds to 3 rooms – $780
  • Out of Plan Items $600

Actual Cost   $22,600

Products & Suppliers

  • Bunnings – Flat pack Kaboodle Kitchen + Appliances, Sink, Tapware
  • Masters – Laundry Tub + Taps
  • Bunnings – Carpet & Installation
  • Bunnings – Plasterboard
  • Pullins – Vinyl Flooring (kitchen)
  • Bunnings – Internal Doors + Handles
  • Masters – Light Fittings and Fans
  • Comcoat – Painting

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August 17, 2013 |

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