7 things you didn’t know about Cherie Barber

The Renovating For Profit Queen reveals her design and decorating secrets

We love the way Australia’s TV reno star, presenter and author Cherie Barber can execute an affordable kitchen renovation – from a forgotten room into something truly gorgeous – and always on a tight budget!

But there’s more to her than kitchen renovation ideas and bathroom makeovers! We have a chat with Cherie, who shares with us 7 of her great loves, including vintage style, Salvos shopping and a car named Mildred.

1. Dress designing

“About five years ago I started being into vintage, maybe because I’m becoming more vintage! It’s really hard to find retro clothing, because I’m petite as well. So I designed a dress, went to some dressmakers in Balmain, and they made it for me. Now they’ve made all sorts of stuff for me, and I’ve got so many vintage dresses – not originals, but new ones that look it.”

2. Favourite places to shop

“One of my favourite shops is Grandfather’s Axe, because they have original vintage pieces from the 1940s, ’50s and ’60s. Another is Dedece – it’s the sort of place you go to for the pieces you are going to have for 20, 30, 40 years. West Elm have really fantastic accessories, and I spend a lot of time in Ikea and Bunnings! I like to mix expensive pieces with cheap. It sort of balances out the budget.”

3. Recycling

“I’m a big repurposer and recycler. I hate seeing when someone rips out a perfectly good kitchen or bathroom and throws it willy-nilly into landfill. We’ve got incredible products here in Australia – tile paints, laminate paints, benchtop-resurfacing kits… If people can use them and then maybe throw it out in 10 years, when it really is past its use-by date, it’ll all be better for the environment.”

“I love everything from the 1950s and ’60s. I just missed out on being born in the ’60s. People generally want to be younger, I want to be slightly older, and say I was born in the ’60s!” Cherie Barber

4. Mildred The Chevvy

“I bought my vintage car, a pink 1956 Chevrolet, about five or six years ago. My sparky sent me a link about a classic car auction in Nebraska. It was in the middle of nowhere. I had to take three planes to get there, drive six hours. You know when something happens in your life and you think, ‘I’m going to remember this forever’? It was one of those moments. I nicknamed her Mildred, in honour of her former owner. She’s all original and she’s probably my most favourite asset. I love her.”

5. The Salvos

“My favourite cheap store is the Salvos. They have great secondhand furniture and fixtures. You can pick something up for $50, cosmetically refresh it and make it look brand new. I love original pieces – you wonder who’s eaten off this plate, or who’s sat in this chair. My sofas are an op-shop buy, recovered in vintage leather.”

6. Budget Renovating

“I’ve become known as the girl who can renovate cheaply but still do a good-quality job, and that resonates because most people don’t have a lazy 20 or 40 grand. So when I do my TV renos, and transform a house inside and out for $15,000, people go ‘Wow, you can do that’. That’s where stores like Ikea and the Salvos come in – even Kmart and Target have incredible fixtures and fittings.”

7. Cushion love

“[Queensland-based] The Coastal Cushion Company has really beautiful cushion covers. I got the palms cushions from there. What I love about it is that the owner, Kylie, sends little presents, so every time you order, it comes with stickers like ‘Be Happy’. You get a little present unexpectedly! I love that.”

Renovating for Profit

Cherie’s book, Renovating For Profit ($39.99, Hardie Grant Books), is available now. It includes tips and tricks to help you renovate any room in your home – inside and out – without breaking the bank.

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