A Modern Makeover

Journey through Carla Fetter and her partner Jacqui Hennessy's first dream home. For this inner-city property, the couple aspired for a family home that felt equal parts eclectic and comfortably lived in. We caught up with Carla to discuss the highs and lows of this modern makeover.

When did you purchase the property?

We purchased back in 2016 when the market was running HOT! How long did the renovation process take? The renovation itself took about 5 months however working out what to do with the reno was a little more onerous. We were a little indecisive around what we wanted to do and how big/small we should go.

As a real estate agent, you obviously have a wealth of knowledge when it comes to the property market, what was it that drew you to this property?

It’s really funny because when the house first came online, I dismissed it immediately. Whilst I knew it was in a great spot, I thought it was ugly as sin. Jax had to drag me there for a look and instantly we both fell in love with it. The thing that appealed most was the natural light. It has these 2 great internal courtyards and a northern orientation, so the light was incredible. We also liked the cathedral ceiling in the living and ultimately, we believed it could be cosmetically updated into something really beautiful.

What original features did you retain with the renovation?

The only major change we made to the floor-plan was to open up the rear kitchen/laundry area which had the kitchen awkwardly tucked away at the rear and not open which functionally didn’t work for us. The floor-plan otherwise was perfect, so we didn’t play around with that. Although the façade wasn’t super appealing, we ended up putting stucco on the exterior which really livened it up. The cathedral ceiling was kept but we painted the timber white and we made sure to keep the internal courtyards but ended up landscaping to make them even better. What were the biggest challenges in this project? Being pregnant and living at my Mum’s during the renovation, not ideal! Also sticking to a tight budget but with champagne taste.

What inspired the aesthetic for this project?

We worked with Sarah Reid and our brief to her was to embrace the 80’s but to also keep it classic. We didn’t want to do anything that would date over time so there is beautiful marble throughout, engineered French oak floorboards and neutral joinery.

What’s your favourite feature / room in the house?

I love our living area because I get to stare out into the beautiful courtyard which has Boston Ivy running up the stucco walls and then behind us, we have the view of the cathedral ceiling and open fireplace.

Can you share with us your top three tips for anyone embarking on a major renovation?

- Be clear on what you want and ensure your budget is in line with your expectations

- Work with a designer who is creative but is also willing to embrace your ideas too

- Choose the right builder (the cheapest is often not the best option)

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