When seasoned house flippers Melinda Hartwright and her husband Tom discovered a ‘renovator’s delight’ for sale in their hometown of Bowral, NSW, it was music to their ears. Crying out for a refresh, the 1880s heritage weatherboard suited the interior designer’s timeless-with-a-twist style perfectly.
The couple reimagined the original home’s extension, which was built 20 years ago by knocking through an existing bedroom to create a new living/ dining/kitchen area, which they designed, says Melinda, “using the best north-facing aspect and a natural flow to the deck and garden”. After this major tweak, new v-groove panelling and a fresh coat of Dulux Snowy Mountains Half created the canvas for a look Melinda’s home, which she calls “‘Modern country’ with an English cottage feel”.
Before: dark and dingy
“It was more logical to have bedrooms in one half and the living areas in the other,” explains Melinda, who also built a new laundry, ensuite and kitchen during the renovation. “We gutted the space, sanded and stained all the floors, repaired or replaced the v-groove panels and then painted the dull, creamy walls and ceiling a more cheerful white.”
After: a light-filled retreat
“Trick the eye into thinking a space is more expansive by hanging long curtains close to the cornice and use a contrasting rail to draw the eye up.”Melinda Hartwright
About the renovation
Interior designer Melinda Hartwright’s home has been featured in Home Beautiful many times over the years. First came the renovation of her home in the NSW Southern Highlands followed by a feature on her magnificent Hamptons-style garden abloom with old-fashioned flowers including hydrangeas and agapanthus. This single room makeover inside her home took about two weeks.
The original room: Previously this space was the home’s kitchen and a main bedroom.
Time frame: This room took two weeks in a four-month-long renovation.
The works: Rooms were knocked through to form an open-plan living/kitchen/dining space connecting to the outdoor decks and the garden, while the main bedroom was relocated to the original part of the home.
Lessons learned: “For some of the small jobs at short notice we used tradespeople we didn’t know with mixed success, which cost us time and money,” she says. “I’d recommend getting references beforehand.”