At Home With Shelley from @diyshelley
Welcome to KAS' new blog series 'At Home'. Each week we will be chatting with interior designers, innovators and influencers to take you into their home and finding out how they get their home inspiration. This week we are talking to renovator and DIY specialist Shelley , from DIY Shelley.
How did you start out renovating and decorating?
I went on a 12 month career break to project manage a much needed renovation on my home. I got hands on wherever I could and loved it so much that six months in, I resigned from my job and went on to renovate another home and apartment.
Do you have any qualifications in building or design?
No. Growing up, my Mum was always an avid DIYer. Also I have learnt a lot from the qualified tradies that have worked in my home. I also learn so much from all of the inspirational DIYers on social media.
Where do you find all your DIY/design inspiration?
I take inspiration from everywhere. Accommodation I have stayed in, homes I have visited and lots of brilliant accounts on social media.
What has been your favourite space to renovate in your home so far?
Bathrooms are the biggest hassle, but are the most satisfying space. There are legal limitations on how much DIY you can do as you need to use licensed trades for much of it, but to design, plan and coordinate, it is a great space to see come together.
When it comes to your DIY renovations do you always have a clear plan on what you are doing?
I like to think about any project for a while before I start. I stand in the space, map things out and draw scale diagrams to help me visualise. I give myself time to research, but also the time to change my mind about details before I start, rather than mid way through.
I also try to foresee any issues that might arise and plan possible solutions. But the most important part of doing any DIY renovation is knowing what I can and can’t do and the process of things. Great builders are also great project managers so I have a good electrician, plumber and chippy that I call on for the jobs I can’t do and as I have learnt the process of when things need to happen, I can coordinate with them to get the job done and keep the project moving.
Are there any go to starting points when approaching a DIY renovation?
Start small with easy projects and learn from them. The more you do, the more confident you become. Do lots of research. Know what regulations apply to your state and what permits you may need. This will guide you as to what parts of the renovation you can take on and where you need to outsource.
Do you consider what styling you are planning to run with for a space before diving into the renovation?
Styling is always last for me. I am more about functionality, so how the space is used. Also renovations can take a while and in that time my taste may have changed, so the small decorative pieces and soft furnishings will often change too.
When it comes to renovating do you have any tips on where to splurge and when to save?
Splurge on the things that are hard to change or retrofit that also make the most impact. The actual layout and functionality is the most important. There is no point spending money on a marble benchtop in a kitchen that doesn’t function well because of a poor layout. Get good quality flooring and bathroom tiles. Bring in the natural light and add the little luxuries like underfloor heating. Getting the ‘hard to change’ things right is so important to making the hassle of a renovation worthwhile.
Do you have any tips for someone that is decorating a room that does not get much natural light?
Mirrors are a great way to bring light into a room. They help bounce around the limited natural light particularly if they can face the main light source. Paint colour also has a big impact. Lighter colours, particularly whites will help reflect light and give the appearance of a brighter space. Window dressings also make a big difference. If you need privacy but want to let in lots of light, sheer curtains with a blockout roller blind can be a great option.
For people who live in apartments or units, do you have any tips on how to style spaces to make the place ‘feel bigger’?
I’m a bit of a minimalist, so not having too much ‘stuff’ always helps. I find lighter colours on the walls and in your furniture and rugs will help create the illusion of more space. Also go transparent wherever you can, like glass tops on dining and coffee tables. If you have got the ceiling height use it with storage and furniture, rather than large chunky furniture closer to the floor. Floor to ceiling curtains can also create an illusion of height and make a space look bigger.
If somebody wanted to freshen up a room and give it a pop of change without re-doing everything where would you recommend starting? Soft furnishings and art are always the easiest, but the power of paint is amazing. Changing the colour of your walls or even one wall can change the look of an entire room. Paint really is the ultimate DIY tool!
Have you ever had a DIY project go terribly wrong, if so tell us more!
Years ago we had fresh gyprock installed in our kitchen and dining area. A very large space. I painted the whole area and it wasn’t until the third coat that I realised why it didn't look great. I forgot to use a primer! The whole area had to be sanded back before it could be primed and painted again. Preparation really is everything.
What is the most enjoyable part of a DIY project for yourself?
The sense of satisfaction. Being able to look at something that turned out pretty great and say ‘I did that’ is an awesome feeling.
What do you think the next interior trend of 2020 will be?
With 2020 being the year of staying home I think we will find a lot more trends that are based on comfort and functionality which is my favourite part of design. Things that are designed around how we live rather than how things look. Things that feel good to touch, that make our lives easier and provide us with a sense of calm. A more minimalist approach to having good quality items in our home rather than an abundance of stuff.
Want more of Shelley? Check her out her Instagram DIY Shelley.