Love It Or List It Australia

Love It Or List It Australia: Style inspiration from episode 5

Neale Whitaker had an especially tough job on his hands this week. 

His challenge was to meet homeowners Matt and Natalie’s long list of renovation requirements on a very tight budget.

Not only did he need to convice them to love it, he needed to convince them it was worth staying in Melbourne rather than move to sunny Queensland!

Their home was a rabbit warren of hallways and wardrobes that acted as secondary walkways between rooms. The biggest and most obvious issue that needed addressing right away was the flow of the home.

Let’s see how Neale fixed this issue, while creating an extra bedroom and completely transforming their kitchen, dining and living spaces too.

1. Get the kitchen right first

Neale’s biggest tip this week was to “get the kitchen right first and then the rest of the home will follow”.

He knocked down the wall between the kitchen and dining to trick the eye into thinking their home was much larger than it is.

Adding a hero feature tile splash back in the kitchen was a genius move – giving the kitchen a contemporary feel while still fitting with the heritage aesthetic of the home.

Another tile option to add a big hit of colour is to use the subway shape. Below you can see a tile feature wall I installed in a bathroom using a glossy emerald crackle glaze subway, laid vertically for a more modern feel.


2. Create storage

The other big issue in Matt and Natalie’s house was the complete lack of storage.

With everything they own out on display, it was making their already small home feel even more cramped. Neale integrated additional storage throughout, including built-in wardrobes and a generous butler’s pantry.

If you lack storage in your home, you could take a leaf out of Neale’s book and look at ways you could integrate built-in cabinetry.

In my house, I made the most of a wall in our guest bedroom by running cabinetry along the entire width and the mid-grey veneer has become a beautiful feature of the room too.

3. Select paint colours that complement the home

Matt and Natalie aren’t shy to use colour in their home and Neale ran with this – selecting a bold colour palette of somewhat vintage, 50s inspired colours.

‘Welsh green’, ‘November rains’ and ‘Lemon pepper’ are just some of the Taubmans paint colours he used in the home and they worked a treat.

Often people shy away from bold paint colours, feeling they are too risky, but it’s an easy change to make and when you get it right… well, Neale shows how great it can be!

The tip to selecting bold paint colours is to create a colour palette first. Colour palettes can consist of complementary colours (colours from opposite sides of the colour wheel), analogous colours (colours that sit next to each other on the colour wheel) or it could be monochromatic (one hero colour).

Start by checking the colour cards work well together and then move to the next stage of getting sample pots and doing swatches. That way you can be sure you’re happy with the colours in real life before painting all the walls.


4. Make smaller rooms feel larger with an oversized mirror

Another clever way Neale made their small home feel larger was by placing a stunning geometric mirror above the fireplace.

Mirrors can make smaller rooms appear larger by reflecting the room or reflecting the outdoors in, and can also help make darker rooms appear lighter by reflecting light.

If you loved the mirror Neale used, you can find a similar one from Curious Grace.

Geo Flynn mirror, Curious Grace $365.00


5. Eclectic styling

The styling this week had a distinctly eclectic feel to it – items sourced from around the world and nothing really matching but ye t all working together.

The bone inlay commode in the master bedroom was a definite winner. You can’t look past that striking design and craftsmanship.

A few coastal elements, such as rattan pendant lights and screen printed cushions, was Neale’s way of bringing a little bit of Queensland to Coburg.

Bone inlay commode ‘The RJL’ from Fenton & Fenton $3,800.

Flora Fun cushion by Annie Everingham from Jumbled Online $129.00.

What did you think of tonight’s episode? I was so impressed with how Neale divided the budget between structural changes to create a successful floor plan, and cosmetic changes to bring the old house back to life.

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

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