Elle’s renovation diary: alfresco

Elle Lovelock reveals product details, style advice, and the lessons she learnt from her alfresco renovation.

Home Beautiful’s editor in Chief Elle Lovelock shares her outdoor renovation diary to inspire your own alfresco makeover. Watch the video above to discover more. 

Rework what you have 

When we bought the house, it had a charming cabana complete with an outdoor kitchen in the backyard, but we never used it. It was going to cost too much to remove the structure, so we repurposed it instead. Now, the space functions as a greenhouse, dining area, storage shed and laundry. All beautifully styled, of course!

Cladding tips and tricks

After stripping everything out of the cabana the walls looked a bit shabby, so as a simple fix we clad them in EasyVJ150 panels from Easycraft. I loved the look so much I had all the joinery (more Kaboodle Kitchen units) clad in the same panels and painted the lot in the soft Porter’s Paints French Green for a cohesive finish.

(Photography: Alana Landsberry)

Greenhouse ideas  

I’d always wanted to grow my own herbs and veg, but we have possums in our neighbourhood and they eat everything. So, to make sure they don’t get into the greenhouse, we had a Zip Style awning from Wynstan installed on the open side.

We opted for the fabric Nougat 508 with hardware in Paper Bark and it’s absolutely brilliant – you can see through it, and it lets the airflow in for the plants, but keeps the wildlife out. Not to mention the mosquitos if we’re dining alfresco.

Lovely lighting

The greenhouse is an extension of our home, so I wanted the lighting to be beautiful. We chose a gorgeous pair of bronze outdoor sconces by Diane Bergeron from The Montauk Lighting Co. I love supporting Australian design.

(Photography: Alana Landsberry)

Stylish tiles

The tiles from the cabana were in good condition, but didn’t suit the new aesthetic, so we laid beautiful travertine pavers in Oyster Grey from National Tiles over the top. They patina beautifully so they’ll age well.

International style 

I’ve always loved the classic look of awnings over restaurants in the high streets of European and British towns and cities, so I used this as a reference when designing the exterior of my house. I showed the team at Wynstan what I had in mind, and they recommended their Pivot Arm awnings.

They give you fabric samples so you can colour match to the rest of your exterior finishes – we chose Monument 542 to complement our render in Dulux Colorbond Dune. Plus, they’re made in Australia so the process is quick and easy. And having just experienced some very hot days here in Sydney, they sure keep the heat inside to a minimum, too!  

(Photography: Alana Landsberry)
Feeling inspired? Explore more of Elle’s renovation series here:

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