Love It Or List It Australia

Love It Or List It Australia: Style inspiration from episode 2

Classic empty nesters renovated their large Sydney home - adding hundreds of thousands in value.

This week on Love It Or List It Australia, Neale Whitaker redesigned John and Sharyn’s large family home to turn it into a more functional (and modern!) place for these empty nesters to entertain.

The brief was to create a more luxurious and comfortable home with modern design features. Let’s discover how he achieved it - then see the full before and after here.

1. Make the most of existing features

The house screamed 70s with its original brickwork and archways as far as the eye could see. To put the renovation budget to best use, Neale looked for ways to enhance original features.

For example, they applied a white wash effect onto the internal brick wall using Taubmans paint, which has turned it into a warm and contemporary feature.

Another area that was given a new feel, without spending big, was the kitchen. An updated colour scheme and hardware is all it took to breathe fresh life into this space.

2. Install custom joinery

It may surprise you that the cost of custom joinery, such as the new bookshelf installed in John and Sharyn’s home, isn’t as exorbitant as it looks.

In fact, the price difference between standard furniture pieces and custom-built joinery often isn’t huge.

So if you’re looking for a stylish way to increase storage, or perhaps add personality to your home, why not explore getting a custom bookshelf installed along one wall – it’s an opportunity to display décor, items from your travels, indoor plants, family photos and much more.

And don’t be shy to embrace a material other than white. In my living room below you can see how dramatic a black timber veneer bookshelf can look.

Style Curator room

3. Distract with luxe furniture and décor

A flexible and more affordable way to update interiors is to replace furniture and décor. I’m not sure if you noticed, but Neale kept the same window treatments and flooring in the home, but minimised these by drawing the eye towards the new furniture and items he styled in the space.

The front living room was given a sophisticated makeover, achieved using a warm and muted colour palette of taupe, gold and marble accents.

Style Curator room

Metallic cushions add instant luxe and this round cushion from Adairs has a similar look to those Neale used or if you prefer cooler metallic colours, you could use a hint of silver like the splice cushion I used in the living room above.


Round Quilted Cushion from Adairs - $31.49

Splice leather cushion from Style Curator Store - $99

The more informal and entertaining space adjacent to the kitchen has a welcoming atmosphere, with its softer pale blue and grey colour scheme, and bold abstract artwork. Indoor plants and natural décor items also add to this inviting feel.

4. Go timeless, not boring

Priority number 1 for the couple was to have a modern and luxe bathroom and ensuite to match.

Often when people want to achieve a timeless bathroom they play it too safe and just end up creating a boring space but not Neale, of course!

He paired large format white wall tiles with soft grey floor tiles to create a neutral base, and layered it with a stunning freestanding bath, wall-hung vanity with natural stone-look benchtop, and hanging marble pendant light. He also accessorised the space to the max!

You can create a similar look by styling your bathroom with natural accessories, like this trunk stool from Temple & Webster, and layering it with body brushes, beautiful body products, and natural décor like wicker baskets and the large shell used by Neale.

Luxe Trunk Stool from Temple & Webster - $119.99

5. Create a calming bedroom haven

The final surprise for John and Sharyn was their master bedroom, which went from dated and daggy to curated and calm.

The walls were repainted white with hints of grey, and the new darker furniture from King Living really pops against this backdrop. Washed out green and earthier tones have been used to style the rest of the space.

The wall of artworks was replaced with one large round mirror, similar to this piece by My Furniture, and above the bedhead a deep ocean tone photography print finishes off the calming space.

Circular Wall Mirror from My Furniture - $149.99

All around the home, Neale created stylish vignettes and arrangements similar to the arrangement I styled below. You can find my tips to styling surfaces in your home here.

Style Curator room

There you have Neale’s clever ways of transforming a family home into one that’s more suitable for empty nesters!

Watch Love It Or List It Australia Wednesdays at 8.30pm on Lifestyle.


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